COVID: Can the NHS afford to 'ride out' the Omicron wave?

COVID cases in UK surge as PM, Boris Johnson, suggests that the UK will 'ride out' the virus with minimum restrictions, amidst absenteeism at hospitals.

PM: UK to 'ride out' Omicron wave without restrictions
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PM: UK to 'ride out' Omicron wave without restrictions

Despite the unusual spike in coronavirus infections, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday evening that the minimum restrictions in place in England were the right approach and will be maintained.

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'Ride out' the wave

PM stated at the Downing Street:

We have a chance to ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once again. We can keep our schools and businesses open, and we can find a way to live with this virus.

As of today, the cumulative coronavirus cases in the UK are 13.6 million, with the death toll being 149,000. Despite the grim statistics, the government has not yet made a decision on whether to roll out Plan B measures, which could introduce work from home orders, the mandatory use of masks, and vaccine passports.

Health Secretary, Sajid Javid had previously said:

We’ve said all along that we’ve got Plan A, and that’s where we firmly are at the moment. If we needed to take further measures with Plan B then we would do so, but we're not at that point.

Absentees at NHS

Field hospitals have been put up to deal with an overflow of patients, while public transit has been shut down due to staff absenteeism across England. Hospitals are critically short of staff as they are calling in sick.

Johnson recognized that the next weeks would be 'challenging,' with 'some services disrupted by staff absences,' and vowed to 'fortify' the NHS in order to withstand pressure.

Health Secretary, Sajid Javid simplified how easy it is to get their hands on the scientifically administered vaccine in order to improve protection, as the jabs are ‘far safer than catching the virus.’

COVID: First death with Omicron variant has been confirmed in the UK COVID: First death with Omicron variant has been confirmed in the UK