Hospitals will cope with rise in cases after Freedom Day and are prepared to ‘live with Covid’, NHS chief says

HOSPITALS will be able to cope with a rise in Covid cases when the country unlocks on Freedom Day, the chief of the NHS has said.

Professor Stephen Powis today highlighted that everyone will have to learn to live with coronavirus and that the NHS is currently preparing to do this.

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Millions of Brits have now received a coronavirus vaccine - which in turn will help the country to live with the virus, experts have said


Millions of Brits have now received a coronavirus vaccine – which in turn will help the country to live with the virus, experts have saidCredit: PA

His comments comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to hold a media briefing later today on proposed changes to restrictions set to be lifted on July 19.

Mr Johnson will address the nation as Brits prepare to ditch enforced social distancing, masks, and isolation – aspects that have become a way of life in the last 16 months.

It comes after yesterday’s Covid cases rose by 161 per cent in a fortnight – while the death toll remained low with 15 more reported fatalities.

Thanks to Britain’s vaccine rollout, surging cases have not resulted in high death tolls – with Freedom Day just a matter of weeks away.

For weeks infections have been rising across the country and the North West of England has been hit particularly hard by a surge in infections due to the Delta variant.

Despite a rise in infections Prof Powis, National Medical Director for the NHS said that a rise in infections were “geographically very localised” and higher in the North West of the country.

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“The NHS always has its local and regional plans so… we have got well used to coping with this.

“We will have to learn to live with Covid now and that is what the NHS is preparing to do”, he told BBC Breakfast.

Professor Stephen Powis today said that the NHS was preparing to 'learn to live' with Covid


Professor Stephen Powis today said that the NHS was preparing to ‘learn to live’ with CovidCredit: bbc

During the Autumn and Winter months of 2020 local/regional lockdowns were implemented to target higher case loads in places such as Manchester and Leicester.

Prof Powis said the country is now working on a national level, rather than regional.

He added: “The NHS deals with pressures all the time and there is no doubt that as hospital numbers rise over the next few weeks that we will have to manage that pressure.

“A&Es are busy again as life gets back to normal but we’re well used to coping with pressures, we do it every year and every winter.

“So we are prepared and, as you have seen over the last 18 months of the pandemic, the NHS will manage.”

Yesterday it was reported that 24,248 more Brits tested positive for Covid as the Delta variant continues to spread – while 15 deaths were reported.



The latest figures bring the total death toll in Britain to a grim 128,222.

And the number of people who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began has now risen to 4,903,434.

On June 20, the daily Covid case figure reached 9,284.

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But within just two weeks, that has risen to 24,248 – which is a staggering 161 per cent rise.

Despite rising cases, the Covid death rate remains relatively low – and the number of people being hospitalised for the virus is slowly rising.

Mr Johnson has said that one of the main reasons the roadmap out of lockdown can continue is due to the high number of vaccines that have been rolled out.

So far 45.2 million people have had a first dose, with 33.6 million now having had two doses.

Prof Powis said that the best thing people could do to get out of the pandemic was to have the vaccine.


He added: “I think it is the case that cases will continue to go up over the next few weeks and we would expect hospital admissions to rise modestly as well.

“We’ll be keeping a very close eye on the data but at the moment, like I say, things are look very good.

“The analysis that public health officials are doing show the effectiveness of the vaccine, and that of course underlines the need to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“If you haven’t had your jab yet then the best birthday present you can give to the NHS is to go and get it.”

NHS heroes have been awarded the George Cross for bravery on behalf of a ‘grateful nation’


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