Covid doctor warns ‘surprising’ numbers of healthy young people falling ill

An NHS doctor has issued a stark warning to young people that they are not immune from coronavirus.

Dr Yousef Eltuhamy, a junior doctor in London, said that he has been surprised by the number of middle-aged and young patients lining hospital corridors.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I didn’t expect to see so many young people, people in their 40s and their 50s, patients who don’t have any prior medical history at all."

The frontline medic added: "Every time I start my shift, I walk into my intensive care unit and I'm just greeted with a sight that takes me aback every time, of row on row of patients extremely unwell, all with the same awful virus, all severely critically unwell and looking to me and my colleagues to help them get better.

"That pressure is felt not just in intensive care, it's felt in A&E, it's felt on the wards, it's felt in primary care as well.

"Seeing things get worse, seeing cases go up, seeing admissions go up just makes me feel very, very anxious about the future."

Dr Eltuhamy said he himself became unwell with coronavirus in May despite being fit and low risk.

He added: "I really don't take this lightly and I don't think anyone should take this virus lightly, young or old."

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The doctor said that while everyone is "doing their absolute best" to maximise capacity, there are staff shortages.

"It is extremely difficult and everyone's stretched really really thin," he added.

Hospitals in the south especially are struggling to cope with this latest wave of infections.

Essex hospitals declared a "major incident" overnight as health teams battle to keep patients safe.

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Cases are particularly high in mid and south Essex, and infections are expected to rise even further in the coming days, reports Sky News.

Critical care and the number of available beds are areas of concern, as well as staff sickness and the ability to discharge patients into safe environments quickly.

Anthony McKeever, executive lead for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said: "We are taking every action possible within the NHS and across the wider health and social care partnerships in Essex to limit the impact on the NHS and the wider health system.

"This involves using critical care capacity elsewhere in Essex and the eastern region and identifying additional locations and capacity to assist with the discharging of patients to reduce pressure on hospitals."

Meanwhile, Brits were boosted by the news that the Oxford vaccine has been signed off by medical regulators.

The jab is safe and effective, the watchdog said and will start to be rolled out to vulnerable Britons from next week.

It spurred Matt Hancock to claim, "we can get out of this" pandemic by the spring.

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