When dealing with the inevitable frustrations of social distancing measures, it is easy to lose sight of how well the epidemic has been managed in our densely populated city. COVID-19 is a mild disease in the majority of circumstances, but it has the potential to overwhelm health systems because of a potentially rapid increase in the numbers of infected patients. Avoiding excessive strain on the hospital system is one of the main goals of the public health controls. In this episode, OT&P talks to a Hong Kong doctor who has spent the last year working as a front line emergency doctor in London. He discusses his personal experience of the first wave, an intensive care unit working at triple its normal capacity and the impact of being called upon to ventilate fellow healthcare workers including colleagues and friends. More recently ambulances take up to 6 hours to offload patients as the hospital strains under the stress of the epidemic surge. Ultimately though, he remains positive, both about the arrival of vaccines and that, although under strain, the system is, and will continue, to cope.
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