Medical professionals in the West Midlands 'hugely concerned' about second Covid-19 wave, union bosses say
Medical professionals in the West Midlands are "hugely concerned" that the prospect of a second wave of coronavirus is very real, union bosses say.
Fears have been raised in a major survey of doctors by the British Medical Association (BMA).
Eighty-six per cent of more than 8,000 doctors and medical students in England who responded said that a second peak was likely or very likely in the next six months.
The findings come after daily cases in the UK soared to more than 3,500 on Friday, and as the R number rose to above one for the first time since March – meaning the epidemic is growing once again.
Doctors say the failure of the test and trace system, lack of monitoring and adherence to infection control measures in public places, and confusing public health messages on physical distancing and face coverings, are the main risks to causing a second peak.
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When asked about the impact of measures to help prevent a second peak, doctors said that a fit for purpose test and trace system that is accessible and provides timely results, as well as a coherent, rapid and consistent approach to local outbreaks were the two most important.
They also highlighted the need for clearer public information and more visible messaging on rules and guidelines, including those on people mixing with others from outside their household.
As new rules come in limiting the number of people who can meet to six, the BMA says this is an opportunity for the Government to end ambiguity and double down on ensuring people are adhering to infection control measures.
BMA West Midlands regional council chair Dr Stephen Millar said: “Medical professionals in the West Midlands are hugely concerned that the prospect of a second wave is very real.
"Unless the Government raises its game, the strain on local services this could cause will be immense.
"We need much more effective track and trace, better access to testing sites, and clearer information about how to stay safe.
"Making information on local infection rates easily accessible to everyone would help keep complacency at bay and enable everyone to take extra precautions where necessary.
“The increasing numbers of people testing positive, especially in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull, is already feeding through into increasing numbers being admitted into hospital in Birmingham, so it is essential to reverse this trend before ITU admissions and deaths increase too.
“All of us have a responsibility to wear face coverings, observe good hand hygiene and observe social distancing – and everyone should take the new rule against congregating in groups larger than six seriously.”