The NHS might be overwhelmed this winter by a deadly mixture of Covid-19 and flu, new modelling has prompt, amid warnings that Europe is on observe for a “extreme” influenza season.
The modelling, compiled by the well being analytics agency Airfinity, explores the menace posed to the well being service if coronavirus hospitalisation charges stay steady and flu prevalence mirrors the years previous the pandemic.
Within the first situation – the place Covid admissions proceed to hover at between 6,000 and seven,000 per week and influenza charges resemble 2018-2019, when 38,000 folks examined optimistic for flu – Airfinity estimates the NHS will attain its earlier “lockdown threshold” of 10,500 hospitalisations per week by March 2022.
In a worse situation – the place the flu season mimics the extreme outbreak in 2017-2018, when nearly 50,000 flu circumstances have been reported and hospital admissions peaked at 6,100 in a single week – the lockdown threshold can be hit far sooner, in late January.
There are some indicators that coronavirus infections could also be nearing a tipping level, which may trigger a drop in hospital admissions in coming weeks and ease mounting strain on the well being system. Specialists are additionally divided over what the approaching flu season might maintain.
However Dr Matt Linley, lead analyst at Airfinity, stated coverage makers ought to plan for the worst – particularly as base level immunity for flu is lower than usual, after lockdown measures nearly fully eradicated transmission final winter (see chart beneath).