London coronavirus cases: Capital hits 100k infections — but hospitals under far less pressure than first peak


ondon will today hit the landmark figure of 100,000 cases of covid diagnosed since the start of the pandemic.

But other key figures show that, unlike other parts of the country, the capital’s health system is under far less pressure than at the peak of the first wave.

The number of Londoners dying with covid continues to increase, with 79 deaths in the most recent seven-day period. But that is about a third of the 232 recorded in the week before the first national lockdown was imposed on March 23.

Government figures showed an additional 2,056 coronavirus diagnoses in London yesterday, taking the total to 99,486.

However this is an underestimate of the true scale of the pandemic in the capital due to a lack of testing in the first wave and the fact that thousands of people will have been asymptomatic and thus not sought a test.

The virus continues to spread in London but at an incremental rather than exponential rate. In the week to October 27, 13,809 people tested positive, a rate of 154 cases per 100,000 population. This compares with 12,173 cases and a rate of 136 per 100,000 for the previous week.

For England as a whole there were 228 cases per 100,000 population for the most recent week, according to Greater London Authority analysis.

Mayor Sadiq Khan today used a keynote speech to criticise the Government for the test and trace system, which has increasingly failed to return swab results within the key 24-hour period and to find the close contacts of people who test positive to tell them to self-isolate.

He accused Ministers of “treating local leaders as adversaries or with suspicion, rather than as trusted partners”.

This had resulted in the contracting out of test and trace rather than the expansion of council public health teams. “If Covid-19 and the failures of the test and trace system has taught us anything, it’s that hoarding power at a national level doesn’t work,” Mr Khan told the Centre for London annual conference.

London is currently under Tier 2 restrictions but will be subject to a second national lockdown from Thursday.

At present, there are 857 covid patients in the capital’s hospitals, a 33 per cent increase on the 641 a week ago. There were 1,515 covid patients in London hospitals on March 23.

Of the covid patients currently admitted, 131 are on ventilators, up from 97 a week earlier. The number on ventilators on March 23 has not been revealed but by April 2 there were 673 ventilated patients in London. This rose to more than 1,000 on ventilators at the peak in mid-April.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS trust, which runs Queen’s hospital in Romford and King George hospital in Ilford, appears to be the busiest in London with covid at present, with about 15 per cent of beds occupied by people with the virus, according to a Health Service Journal analysis of NHS statistics.

North Middlesex hospital has about 10.5 per cent of beds taken by covid patients and Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust about 8.7 per cent.

Comparted with the rest of the country, London continues to be less badly affected in terms of overall cases.

Despite bearing the brunt of the first wave, it has long been overtaken by the North West in terms of cases, with more than 218,000 diagnosed. Yorkshire and the Humber is also ahead of London with 133,000 cases.


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