Covid-19 cases worse than ‘gloom-mongers’ feared, says intensive care consultant

An intensive care consultant has said the number of coronavirus cases looks worse than “even gloom-mongers like me had feared”.

Dr Richard Cree works at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and writes on his blog about his role.

In a post on Tuesday, he said that there were 93 Covid-19 patients in the hospital at the weekend, with “significant numbers” requiring continuous positive airway pressure on the three coronavirus wards, and more ventilated patients in intensive care.

Dr Cree said when the government’s leading scientists presented the worst-case scenario in September, growth of cases was low and deaths even lower.

He wrote: “As a result, most people refused to believe such a prophecy.

“It turns out that everyone was wrong and that the situation looks much worse than even gloom-mongers like me had feared.”

He believed the second lockdown would not be as effective as the first because schools will remain open this time.

Dr Cree also said the number of coronavirus patients in the hospital was “having a worsening effect on the hospital’s ability to function normally” and some surgery has had to be suspended.

He added: “This disruption is likely to continue for the rest of the week.

“However, the organisation continues to do its utmost to ensure that most surgery will continue as normal and there is to be no disruption to urgent and emergency operations.”

He also paid tribute to local radio presenter Julie Donaldson, who died in the hospital where she was treated for coronavirus.

Dr Cree said staff had got to know her and her death aged 50 had greatly upset the Intensive Care Unit team.

He added: “When talking about the large numbers of deaths that could occur over the winter, it’s all too easy to be dismissive and forget that each individual death is a tragedy.”