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Covid-19: We have good treatments for omicron, but questions remain, say doctors

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o61 (Published 11 January 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o61

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  1. Emma Wilkinson, freelance journalist
  1. Sheffield

Although the impact of omicron has largely been mitigated by vaccination, prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, and better treatments, general medical wards still face high numbers of patients, with many parts of the UK still bracing themselves for the peak, say clinicians.

The most recent report from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC),1 with data up to 7 January, showed that 629 had been patients admitted to critical care with covid-19 in the previous fortnight. As a proportion of overall hospital admissions, the figures for covid related critical care are at the lowest they have been since reporting began in April 2020.

On 10 January 18 655 patients were in hospital with covid-19, with daily admissions reaching 2332.2 Simon Ashworth, a consultant in intensive care medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, told The BMJ, “Hospitals are very full, emergency departments are really busy, there are lots of admissions, difficulties in getting people into care homes, and we need to isolate covid patients from others.”

Ashworth said the situation in intensive care wasn’t comparable with that in January 2021 but remained challenging, with a fluctuating acuity of patients. “We still have expansion beds open well beyond our …

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