Record 4,000 Brits fighting for lives on ventilators amid fears Covid death rate could grow further

A RECORD 4,000 Brits are fighting for their lives on ventilators amid fears that the Covid death rate could grow even further.

More people are using ventilators now – 4,076 – than during the peak of the first wave of the virus last year.

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The latest ventilator figures come as Covid deaths topped 1,000 for the fifth day running.

Deaths rose by 1,348 yesterday, while there were 33,552 new infections.

Yesterday's increase in fatalities brings the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 97,329.

Earlier this month, a doctor warned that Covid intensive care patients were in "competition" for ventilators in London.

Dr Megan Smith, of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust, discussed the current shortfall in critical care capacity across London.

"It's not a position that any of us want to be in, and we're used to making difficult decision as doctors, but deciding the outcome of – effectively – a competition for a ventilator is just not what anyone signed up for," she told ITN.

"And in terms of the emotional trauma to those individuals, it's horrifying."

Dr Smith warned that January and February are set to be "the most difficult and awful months that most healthcare workers will have faced ever in their careers".

A leaked memo from management at the Royal London Hospital also said the facility was in "disaster mode", adding: "We are no longer providing high standard critical care, because we cannot."

The Sun was granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to a hospital battling to treat a “tidal wave” of Covid patients.

More than 500 beds – two in three – at Northwick Park hospital are now taken up by victims of the virus.

Worse still, the numbers are continuing to rise, with many patients previously young and fit.

Coronavirus admissions to the hospital in north-west London have gone up 10-fold in the past month, with medical teams now receiving 80 new cases daily.

It was one of the worst hit during the first peak and forced to declare a “critical incident”.

But the “sheer numbers” of patients are now even greater, according to medics working day and night to save lives.

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