Dr Alison Pittard, Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, also stressed that some staff treating desperately ill patients were themselves “almost on their knees” after many months of helping people battle against the virus.
In London, there were nearly 8,000 Covid patients in hospitals in the city as of Monday – which is one of the hardest hit areas of the country by the second wave – with 1,220 on ventilators.
Dr Pittard, an intensive care consultant in Leeds, told Sky News: “There are many intensive care units and hospitals around the country that are already overwhelmed and seeing unprecedented numbers of cases, large numbers of very, very sick people, many of whom are dying.
“There are staff who are almost on their knees, having been going through this non-stop for months, and months, and months.
“Healthcare professionals who hear their situation to be described as not being overwhelmed is unfair.
“The number of daily positive cases is falling but we are expecting a further increase in hospital admissions and therefore admissions to intensive care to go up over the next week to ten days so we are nowhere near out of this at the moment.”
She added: “I’m really concerned, not just for people who have to come into hospital with Covid, and come to intensive care, but to all staff who are working in intensive care at the moment, even if they don’t normally do that, because it’s terribly stressful and the long-term effects of this we wait to see what happens.”
Many hospitals have also been forced to postpone non-urgent operations after having to turn wards into dealing with Covid.
The number of deaths within 28 days of people testing positive for coronavirus has risen to 89,860 in the UK, and 11,209 in London.