Royal Free infectious diseases specialist warns of ‘inevitable’ second Covid-19 surge, but said medics had learned lots about virus

Dr Sanjay Bhagani addressed the Royal Free's Annual Member Meeting about the future risk of Covid-19

Dr Sanjay Bhagani addressed the Royal Free's Annual Member Meeting about the future risk of Covid-19. Picture: Royal Free/ Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

A senior consultant at the Royal Free Hospital warned a second wave of Covid-19 was “inevitable”, while the NHS trust’s chief nurse discussed safety protocols in place at hospitals to protect visitors and patients from the coronavirus.

Dr Sanjay Bhagani. Picture: Royal Free

Dr Sanjay Bhagani. Picture: Royal Free - Credit: Archant

Speaking at a Royal Free London’s (RFL) annual member meeting held virtually on September 16, Sanjay Bhagani said: “As we move to the next phase, and I’m afraid it’s inevitable that we are going to see an upsurge in [Covid-19] infections over the next few weeks to few months, we have a better handle on how we best offer supportive treatments to our patients.”

Days before the government’s chief medical and scientific officers warned a vaccine was unlikely this year, Dr Bhagani said one was unlikely to be ready “before the end of the winter”.

READ MORE: Whittington Hospital designated as ‘coronavirus-free’ – reportsDr Bhagani explained that while clinicians had learned a great deal during the first wave of coronavirus cases in March, “the quest” for the best ways to treat the virus was not yet over.

“We haven’t got the panacnea of treatments,” he said.

The infectious diseases specialist also discussed what the hospital had learned. He said: “What was important to us was to try and work out what predisposed people to these risks. We learned very quickly that the older you were, the more likely you were to have progressive infection. And that if you had certain co-morbidities – if you were overweight or had diabetes or high blood pressure and as we have discussed already if you were BAME, you had a higher risk.”

At the annual member meeting, the RFL’s group chief nurse Julie Hamilton told those attending how security guards were enforcing face-mask use by members of the public. She said: “Those attending will notice that there is increased vigilance at the front door, offering masks to people coming in. We’ve introduced extra cleaning in all areas of the hospital and we are using social distancing measures.”

dmitted since the start of the pandemic.

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The RFL’s chief exec Caroline Clarke, chair Dominic Dodd and chair of governors Judy Dewinter all took the opportunity to pay tribute to staff who “stepped up to the plate” during the initial stages of the pandemic.