London intensive care doctor has said covid rule-breakers have “blood on their hands” as their selfishness was costing lives.
He urged people to accept that it was going to be a “miserable” occasion this year and not to gather in groups.
It echoes official advice to stay at home and not hold parties.
About 44 million people in England are now living under the toughest level of Covid restrictions after tier four was expanded at midnight.
England’s Covid infection rate also jumped to its highest rate since May. The number of people testing positive for the virus reached a total of 232,169 in the week to December 23 – the highest weekly total since Test and Trace was launched in the spring.
“Just huge numbers coming in, my heart goes out as well to our emergency departments, seeing a tsunami in the last week or two of cases. Everyone is working at maximum stretch.”
He said it was wrong to blame the surge in cases and deaths on the new variant of coronavirus, which was only “slightly” more transmissible and caused the same symptoms.
“It is making me actually very angry now that people are laying the blame on the virus, and it is not the virus, it is people, people are not washing their hands, they are not wearing their masks,” he said.
He warned anyone not social distancing or following the rules that they “have blood on their hands”.
“They are spreading this virus. Other people will spread it and people will die. They won’t know they have killed people but they have.”
He added: “I am watching whole families getting wiped out here, and it’s got to stop.”
Prof Montgomery, who was on shift as he gave the interview, said it was “a great myth” that hospitals are being overwhelmed with elderly people.
“The people we are getting are, like the first wave, my age really. I am 58 and I would say half the patients are younger than me. It is middle-aged people or a little bit older that we are getting.”
He also told how he had gone home for a shower after one of his shifts and been called back because a pregnant patient had deteriorated.
And he issued a plea to people thinking of seeing in the New Year later with a party: “I am really sorry this New Year is going to be miserable, but it has to be. Please don’t gather in masses. Don’t make this a last swansong.”
Prof Montgomery’s warnings echo advice from NHS England’s Prof Stephen Powis, who told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday: “Covid loves a crowd.”