Doctor warns fourth wave ‘is already here’ as Covid cases on the rise across UK

Dr Peter Hampshire has warned Liverpool is seeing a fourth wave of Covid cases (Image: Liverpool Echo)

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A doctor said the hospital he works for is "definitely" seeing a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases – just days after the end of lockdown was delayed by a month due to a surge in cases.

Peter Hampshire, a senior doctor in Liverpool, said he is now back to wearing personal protective equipment to treat seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

Mr Hampshire is a clinical director for critical care and pain at Liverpool's main University Hospital Trust, which includes the Royal and Aintree hospitals.

He and his staff have been on the frontline of the city's battle against the virus since it broke out in March last year.

Despite having no cases for a few weeks, the doctor recently took to Twitter to confirm patients are being admitted to the city's Intensive Care Units (ICU) once again because of Covid-19, the Liverpool Echo reports.

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The doctor said seriously ill Covid-19 patients are being admitted to intensive care units again
(Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

And over the weekend he said he is certain the hospitals are now seeing a fourth wave of people in the city with Covid-19 and explained that even just a handful of very sick virus patients can have a big impact on the NHS.

Tweeting an image of a protective mask, Mr Hampshire said: "Been a while since I've had to wear this PPE, but after a week on ICU, I can definitely say that we are starting to see a 4th wave of people with COVID in Liverpool.

"Although still only a handful of people still, this causes some big problems for hospitals. Why is this?

"It introduces a lot of "friction" into how patients move round the hospital – we need to keep infectious and non-infected patients apart, difficult as we don't have many isolation rooms.

"This is inefficient and means some ICU beds are effectively "wasted". This in turn means that surgical patients who need ICU are harder to accommodate.

The government has recently delayed ending lockdown due to a spike in infections
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

"The month delay to reopen allows more people to get 2 doses of vaccine, which reduces risk of severe illness. (50% of adults have had 2 doses so far). Even so, continued endemic infection implies we need better hospital infrastructure, investment in critical care beds, recruitment and retention of staff (which means looking after our staff) & most importantly, encouraging everyone to get the vaccine. (Not just in UK but across the globe)."

Having brought its infection rate down to very small numbers by late May, Liverpool has seen another surge in cases in the past few weeks.

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The current infection rate for Liverpool – based on the seven days leading to June 18 – is 185 cases per 100,000 people, with more than 1,000 new cases recorded in the city in that time.

Last week, the Liverpool University Hospitals Trust suspended the majority of visits across its sites because of the rising case numbers in the city.

There were 9,284 new coronavirus cases in England on Sunday, while six further deaths were reported, bringing the total to 127,976.

A recent surge of cases prompted the government to delay the final step of lockdown, planned for June 21, to July 19.

It is hoped it will allow more time for people to have the second dose of the jab and prevent an increase in hospitalisations.

The surge has been largely attributed to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, which accounts for almost all the cases, according to Public Health England.

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