Coronavirus UK warning: Italy issues dire warning to UK ‘1 in 10 will need intensive care’

And one senior physician admitted he was braced for a massive challenge – warning if large numbers of doctors and nurses are forced to self-isolate, the NHS will simply not be able to cope. The letter, signed by critical care experts professor Maurizio Cecconi, Professor Antonio Pesenti and Professor Giacomo Grasselli, from the University of Milan, and sent to the European Society of Intensive Care medicine prior to Italian Prime Minister Giuseepe Conte’s dramatic announcement this evening that the whole of his country was now in lockdown, says: “We are seeing a high percentage of positive cases being admitted to our intensive care units (ICUs), in the range of 10 per cent of all positive patients.


We wish to convey a strong message: Get ready!

Professor Maurizio Cecconi, Professor Antonio Pesenti and Professor Giacomo Grasselli

“We wish to convey a strong message: Get ready!”

The doctors said Italian hospital has recorded a “very high” number of intensive care patients who had been admitted to hospital “almost entirely” for severe lung failure triggered by the virus, who had required ventilators in order to breathe.

Hospitals in the UK and across Europe as a whole needed to get ready for a big increase in admissions, the experts said, stressing the importance of having equipment to protect staff.

They added: “Increase your total ICU capacity.

“Identify early hospitals that can manage the initial surge in a safe way.

“Get ready to prepare ICU areas where to cohort Covid-19 patients – in every hospital if necessary.”

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“Get ready to prepare ICU areas where to cohort Covid-19 patients – in every hospital if necessary.”

Speaking to the Independent, a senior consultant at a major London hospital said: “It will be tough.

“If a lot of doctors and nurses become sick that will be the crunch.

“If a third of staff are self-isolating that is the time when we stop being able to cope.”

Discussions are already ongoing about how hospitals will ration care to those most likely to survive if there are not enough beds, ventilators or staff if worst case scenario predictions prove accurate.

Separately, Italian intensive care doctor Giuseppe Nattino, shared a clinical summary of the patients his unit has been treating, spelling out how patients with coronavirus experience a severe infection in all of their lungs, requiring major ventilation support.

Worryingly, he said younger patients were being affected, only a small proportion of whom had important underlying conditions.

He added: “The last days are showing a younger population involved as if the elderly and weaker part of the population crashed early and now younger patients, having exhausted their physiological reserves, come to overcrowded, overwhelmed hospitals with little resources left.”

Anyone with cold, flu or a fever symptoms is likely to be asked to stay at home in self-isolation before too long, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty today said.

As of 9am on Monday, 319 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, up from 273 at the same point on Sunday, while five people have died in British hospitals.

The latest patient was in their 70s and was unwell with a number of significant and long-term health conditions.

“They died at St Helier Hospital in Carshalton, south London.

Prof Whitty told reporters: “We are expecting the numbers to increase initially slowly but really quite fast after a while and we have to catch it before the upswing begins.

“We are now very close to the time, probably within the next 10 to 14 days, when the modelling would imply we should move to a situation where everybody with even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for a period of seven days.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was “no hiding from the fact that the coronavirus outbreak will present significant challenges for the UK just as it does in other countries”.

However, he added: “If we continue to look out for one another, to pull together in a united and national effort, I have no doubt that we can and will rise to that challenge.”

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