Friday Five

The Covid-19 aftermath starts to emerge – this week’s Friday Five

Coronavirus cost on cancer care revealed

Cancer care in England has faced major disruption during the pandemic with big drops in numbers of patients getting urgent check-ups and starting new treatments.

The number of people being assessed by a cancer doctor after referral fell to 79,500 in April – a drop of 60% compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, patients starting treatment dropped to 10,800 – 20% below 2019.

The NHS said it had tried to protect services – and some of the impact was due to people not seeking treatment.

Read the full story on the BBC News.

“Herd immunity is not worth worrying about”

A study run by the Office of National Statistics involving antibody tests on 885 people, has suggested that about 7% of people in England have been infected with coronavirus.

Up until now the number of people who have had the virus had not been clear, because only a small proportion of people with symptoms have been tested and several have had no symptoms at all.

Based on the results from the ONS study, experts estimate that around 1 in 15 people have had the virus and Prof Lawrence Young, a professor of molecular oncology at Warwick Medical School said that “the majority of the population are unlikely to have been infected”.

Read the full story on the BBC News.

NHS hospital waiting lists could reach 10 million this year

NHS leaders have warned that Covid-19’s chaos could cause waiting lists for hospital treatment to soar to almost 10 million people before Christmas.

Over the last couple of months, minimising damage caused by Covid-19 has been the number one priority for the NHS and as a result the backlog of waiting lists for non-emergency surgeries has reached an all time high.

Now, as the NHS tries to return to normal, there are concerns that issues of staff shortages and the need to enforce social distancing in hospitals will mean the situation only worsens.

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Severe covid-linked condition in children now in decline

As the number of Covid-19 cases begins to fall, paediatric intensive care units are now also seeing fewer cases of paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome (PIMS-TS) – the “rare” condition seen in some children that appeared to be related to Covid-19.

It comes after a study from Birmingham University found a clear link between PIMS-TS and Covid-19.

Current estimates are that between 80 and 100 children in the UK have been admitted to PICUs due to PIMS-TS, which appeared between four and six weeks after they were exposed to covid-19. Many showed no symptoms of the virus.

Read the full story in the HSJ.


Quote of the week

In an email to NHS England and Improvement staff, NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens commented on the undeniable link between Covid-19 and BAME and the need to address the underlying causes of inequality.

“For the first time in many weeks, something other than the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the news: Black Lives Matter.

“But these two moments are not disconnected. It is increasingly clear that covid-19 is having a disproportionate impact on our BAME patients, friends and colleagues, and this in turn has brought into stark and urgent focus the layered impacts of years of disadvantage and inequality.”

Read the full story in the HSJ.