tv Review 2021 BBC News December 22, 2021 8:30pm-9:01pm GMT
daily covid—19 cases in the uk have exceeded 100,000 for the first time, as the omicron variant continues to spread. it's the highest daily reported number since mass testing began in may and june last year. the wave of omicron appears to be milder according to preliminary studies published in the uk and south africa. early evidence suggests fewer people are needing hospital treatment than with other variants. the head of the world health organization has warned world leaders that no country can boost its way out of the pandemic — and they should divert supply to countries where there are vaccine shortages. more than 13 million people in the chinese city of shay—an have been ordered to stay at home as authorities attempt to tackle a covid outbreak there. china has a strict zero—covid strategy, using mass testing and lockdown to stop outbreaks.
that's it from me until tomorrow. now on bbc news — review 2021: the coronavirus pandemic. 0ur health editor, hugh pym, has the story of the coronavirus pandemic across the year and its impact on so many different aspects of people's lives. hospitals under pressure. loud and clear — covid is serious. some of the shifts that i have had are the toughtest i've ever had. and the race to vaccinate the public. i got the letter yesterday, and i'm booked in today. i three, two, one! welcome back, everyone!
cheering lockdown ends. i can literally not stress how much i missed being abel to go out. but there's the threat of a new variant. there is a tidal wave of omicron coming. the year began with intensifying pressure on the nhs. covid infections were rising, and there was a worrying increase in hospital admissions. the second wave of the virus was going to prove more deadly than the first. with covid cases rising, the new school term began with confusion. some teachers and children stayed at home. there's 21 members of staff that have opted not come into school, because they would consider it to be an unsafe environment. in my school, that's led to nursery, year 3—4 not coming to school. the empty classrooms were a warning of what was coming. another lockdown announced in the uk's nations.
the government is, once again, instructing you to stay at home. primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges across england must move to remote provision from tomorrow. as cases continued to rise, so did the number of sick patients admitted to hospital. in mid—january, i visited croydon university hospital in south london. this is a&e — but not as you know it. all staff are in full protective equipment. they know that most patients coming in have either tested positive or have symptoms. how are you feeling now? 0h...it's the breath that's the problem, and the cough. can i have a little listen, is that all right? shubra is the consultant here. sit forward for me a little, and take a nice, deep breath. and he's assessing hanifa, who's just arrived in an ambulance.
she's 42 — she tested positive a week before, and her condition steadily got worse. i felt i was dying. i've being healthy, have no illness, nothing. covid just struck me down, just like that. after aftertreatment, hanifa began to recover. she was discharged from hospital soon afterwards. the sickest patients need to be in intensive care, and staff have to be on constant alert because patients can take a rapid turn for the worse. it's a very, very sudden thing, and you just have to respond and reassess. and that patient looks like whatever the problem was, we have sorted. staff have noticed that, compared to the first wave, the age of covid patients in intensive care is lower. for example, right here now, there are two people in their 30s with no
underlying health conditions. the chances of someone under a0 needing intensive care for coronavirus are much smaller than for those who are older. the number of younger patients may be more noticeable because cases have risen across all age groups. doctors are clear no one is safe. and i think, you know, for someone who says it's a myth or, you know, it won't affect me can come and see the 30—40—year—olds in the intensive care — with no guarantee that we're going to be able to get them out. and that's the bottom line, that's how serious it is. you've seen some in that age group dying, have you? yes. as patient numbers in hospitals rose, so too did the numbers dying. on 26january, the uk reached 100,000 deaths — people who didn't survive within 28 days of getting covid. today, we're using candles to represent those who died. one light for every life lost.
something really precious has been taken away from me, and it's really hard. this is a life that's gone, and the impact is huge. i i'm left now with a young family, who've gotten older. my life is destroyed — everything is gone. by new year's eve, the death toll had reached 76,000. now it's taken just a few more weeks to get to 100,000. and this is not over yet. it's a loss that should never have happened. it should never have gotten to that scale. it's notjust 100,000 people. it's100,000 people whose families are going to miss them _ for the rest of their lives. as the second wave moved north... ..more hospitals were feeling the pressure. i visited kingsmill hospital, in mansfield.
every day in intensive care is a daunting challenge for staff, as they strive to keep patients alive. some of the shifts i have had, are the toughtest i've ever had. in particular, one night shift i had last week was the worst i've ever had in 21 years of nursing. from experience, i can tell you that i'm seeing more sicker patients this time than i saw in the first wave. doctors are trained to deal with death, but nothing like this. ouma has had to cope with the savage impact of covid both in hisjob and at home. my parents have got covid, my mother—in—law's icu at the moment. i have just lost my very dear family, relatives of covid. so when you see these patients in the hospital, it just gives you that flashback, as well. but you've got to shut that down, and you've got to continue looking after your patients as best as you can. it'sjust so sad, you know? because for every person that dies,
|we know there's a family that's not| being able to do the normal things that we'd do for that _ loved one who's died. edith is a hospital chaplain. she has to face up to grief, most days — comforting the dying and their families, but also supporting staff who feel the losses intensely. whenever you've got lots of people dying on the ward, you know, - it comes at a huge cost to the staff, as well- as to the families. and, at london's royal free hospital, staff spoke openly of the mental strain on the front line. families are upset. we shed tears for our patients, we do. when we met shirley, she'd only started her nursing career a few months earlier. but already, she'd seen more deaths and bereavement than some who'd been nursing for many years. to protect her parents, she's moved out of the family home and is living on her own.
we don't have time, you know — if a patient dies, i have seven other patients to take care of. i have to cry and wipe my tears and go to my next patient and say, "hi, are you ready for your evening meds?" and be happy — because they won't know. but when you go home and there's silence, and there's no family, that's when it hits. when people die and when we can't actually make them better, i think the feeling is so awful and so overwhelming, and so devastating. claire is head chaplain at royal free london. her role involves visiting patients in the wards and comforting their families. and she supports staff, and understands the immense emotional strain on them. when you're in the middle of that trauma and seeing patients dying — and also in very traumatic circumstances, often alone — i think for staff, that's just incredibly heartbreaking.
and things that might happen once a year, or once in a while, are happening every day. hello, good morning! i've got your lunches. a different kind of support is offered by debbie. we are testing people's resilience to the nth degree. she's a psychologist working with intensive care staff. here, she organises an informal listening session. when everyone's not having time to rest and recover because it's been nonstop for us in intensive care. and it's a lot of- nightmares about work. you wake up in a cold sweat. and you can't get much sleep, because you've got to be at work in the next four hours. _ it has been probably one of the most challenging experiences of my career. i think we are very concerned about the years ahead. i don't think it's just about now, and about staff retention. i think it's actually about, how are people, emotionally,
going to come back from this? in particular, as you can see from young people, this has really scarred them. the best defence against the virus was vaccination. the race was on to getjabs in as many arms as possible — and that was a huge logistical exercise. some sports stadiums opened their doors. second doses for some... thank you for coming in today. the jab will be the pfizerjab. ..while younger people were encouraged to get their firstjab. churches and cathedrals were also turned into vaccine hubs. but some concerns emerged about rare blood clots linked to the oxford—astrazeneca vaccine. fergus walsh: business as usual in northeast london. headlines about blood clots didn't put people off getting
the astrazeneca vaccine. the thought of catching covid is more severe than having a blood clot. taking any medicine, there's always a side effect. so i wasn't really unduly concerned about having the jab. 79 rare blood clots have been identified out of 20 million doses of the astrazeneca vaccine. the link isn't proven — but in future, the under—30s will be offered a different vaccine. the government says there'll be enough pfiizer and moderna doses for 8.5 million 18—29—year—olds yet to be vaccinated. the message from ministers, one of reassurance. we know the roll—out�*s working. we know the safety system's working, and we're on track to meet the goal of offering to all adults by the end ofjuly. and the speed of the roll—out won't be affected by these decisions. so, you know, when you get the call, get the jab. scientists tracking the epidemic
in england say vaccines are weakening the link between cases and deaths. there are now far fewer fatalities per infection because so many of us are protected — a reminder why all this really matters. hugh pym: by the spring, infections were falling steadily. some hospitality venues were opening with seating outside. restrictions could be eased in gradual, cautious stages — with each uk nation setting out its own road map. we're setting out on what i hope and believe is a one—way road to freedom. and this journey is made possible by the pace of the vaccination programme. talk of lifting the lockdown, as if it's a flick—of—a—switch moment is misguided. our steps, when we take them will need to be careful, gradual, incremental, and probably quite small to start with.
this is a significant i package of measures. | a series of steps forward in our| journey back towards normality. we will not be driven by our dates. we recognise that everyone will be looking for certainty, but we do not want to set set potentially unachievable dates that will only disappoint. but, as things were improving here in the uk, the situation in india was getting much worse. a new variant, which became known as delta, was taking hold — and it was spreading much more quickly than previous variants. the impact was deadly. the front line. an emergency room in a covid hospital, just about standing under the weight of an unfolding disaster. to get past the shortage of beds, they've packed in stretchers, wheelchairs — as many as they can. but the first line of treatment
against covid—19 is oxygen. and they've almost run out. at this point, there was just one hour of supply left. the staff knows how many lives hang in the balance. but in the uk, the mood was very different. the lifting of restrictions continued. by the summer, night clubs were allowed to open their doors once more. crowd: three, two, one! welcome back, everyone! for some, this is what freedom looks like — no social distancing, very few masks. # everybody�*s free to feel good... many nightclubs across england reopened at midnight, 16 months since they were shut in the first lockdown.
it's felt like a dream, like, we've all waited for this moment for a long time. i can literally not stress how much i've missed being able _ to go out and just dance, and have a life. - however, the delta variant was quickly spreading. infections began to rise again, as well as hospitalisations. there's been no summer let—up. and now, another covid surge is developing. king's college hospital in london, like many others, is treating more covid patients — and they're younger. one of them is henry, who's 28. he became ill a few days before he was due to have a first vaccine dose. i felt like i was dying. you feel your heads full of glass, you've got horrendous headache. youi’ eyes are sore. so every time you're breathing in, you're expecting to be able to breathe in so much more. you just can't, and there's nothing there to get back to it. so before the ambulance arrived, it was terrifying because you didn't know when your last breath
was going to be. in this covid ward, there's a range of different ages. 80% of the patients here have not had a first dose of the vaccine. of the rest, some have immune conditions — which might make the vaccines less effective. doctors here say the pressure is different this time round. in general, the patients are younger and tend not to be as sick as they did in the first two waves. so on average, the number of days they're staying in hospital is fewer. also, there are fewer number of patients needing the admission to the intensive care unit. but for staff who've worked through the pandemic, another surge is the last thing they wanted. with the nhs understandably devoting so much time and resource to treating covid patients, there was an impact on other parts of the health service. waiting lists for non—urgent operations and procedures hit record levels. gail is struggling to walk a needs spinal surgery.
she has two collapsed discs in her neck. she's been waiting for an operation for nearly a year, and she doesn't know when it might happen. if i had a date for my surgery, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. with no date, there's no light at the end of the tunnel. it isjust a long, dark tunnel of pain medication and sofa—sitting, and... that's my life. as the autumn progressed, daily cases continued to be high. older people and clinically—vulnerable groups began to be invited for a third vaccine — the booster. it means that i'm at less risk of infecting others and spreading the disease, so it's really important to me. the third dose is very important. the booster programme i is there for the people that need the third dose, and need immunity. in the coming season.
so we've got no beds on trauma, no medical beds, no surgical beds. the pressure on hospitals continued. how many patients in the department currently waiting for beds? i visited the royal victoria infirmary, in newcastle. at the moment, we've got about eight patients waiting for admission. my concern is not only that we have high levels of bed—waits, waits to be seen — the risk of clinical incidents goes up by the day. but my bigger concern is that i'm not sure what we can do about it. and that's what worries me the most. the ambulances keep on coming — but beds are hard to find because patients in the hospital are staying longer. it really breaks my heart to see some elderly- people lying on trolleys, - because they're really vulnerable. and, you know, they might have been |waiting a long time for an ambulance| before they came in. this ward is where the uk's first covid patients were treated early last year. few would've imagined then that, nearly two years on, covid patients would still need
to be cared for in hospitals like this one. numbers aren't nearly as high as injanuary, but everyone needs a dedicated specialist. it was tough — very tough. tariq has been seriously ill with covid. now getting better, he praised the nurses. beautiful angels, beautiful. so kind. jade, who's the senior sister on this ward, says the stress of the pandemic is beginning to tell. i'd be lying if i said that it hadn't affected me mentally. i think everyone is tired, everyone's lethargic, and everyone... it's difficult because i don't think anybody can see an end to this. so it's difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. then, just as people were being told
christmas parties could go ahead, events took a sudden turn. a new variant, omicron, was detected in south africa. after months of opening up, a new coronavirus variant means travel restrictions are back. at heathrow, the last flights from south africa arrived this morning. i feel extremely relieved, because, yeah, who knows how long this is going to last? we've been told we have - to we have to isolate at home. so, that shouldn't be too bad. from sunday, only uk and irish residents will be allowed in from six southern african countries, and they'll have to pay to quarantine in a hotel. testing for the new omicron variant was increased, cases were spreading quickly, and the warnings got much more serious. i need to speak to you this evening because i'm afraid we're now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, omicron. and we must urgently
reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe. to be blunt, because of the much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant, we may be facing — indeed, we may be starting to experience a potential tsunami of infections. the sheer speed at which the variant moves means that it has— the potential to infect large numbers of people. - this variant is much more transmissible, around two—and—a—half times more so than delta. and you will have a larger number of people in our population contracting the virus. high—level concern about the new variant is increasing, and the rapid roll—out of booster jabs is seen as a vital part of the official response. there was no shortage of people queuing for boosters in bristol today — though finding staff to do them hasn't been easy. it is difficult to recruit enough staff, both vaccinators and admin people.
and they've all been working in this programme since the beginning of the year. and, in swindon, a long queue as well, and a wait of several hours. i've been here since 9am, and i'm supposed to have work at 2pm. but they told me that the queue will be till 3.30pm. | not happy, i've got better things| to do than stand here in a queue. just under five hours. and, when we got in, there were only two people jabbing. long lines had built up after the acceleration of the booster offer to more adults. since the system in england was opened up to people aged 30 and over early on monday morning, around a million people have booked their boosters — and that doesn't include walk—ins. the question now, can that momentum be maintained? at some vaccine centres, deliveries fell behind, and there were temporary closures. all this as the chief medical officer, chris whitty, warned the cabinet of a likely
increase in covid hospital numbers — a view echoed by other senior officials. we are concerned with the large volume of individuals who are being infected every day in the population, that we are going to have a very difficult four weeks ahead with cases in the community. their key message is get yourjab, with military personnel helping in taunton and at other centres. they'll hope they can keep up with the spread of the virus. then, starting in scotland, appeals for people to reduce mixing indoors with other households, and to think carefully about who they socialise with. the warnings were stark. i am not asking you to cancel or change your plans for christmas day, boxing day, or whenever you have your main festive celebration. but, in the run—up to and in the aftermath of christmas, i am asking — i am appealing to everyone to cut down, as far as possible, our contacts with people
in other households. my key request to all of you today is, as far as you can, please minimise your indoor social interactions with other households at this time. this is a really serious| threat at the moment. how big a threat? there are several things we don't know — but all the things - that we do know are bad. and the principal one being - the speed of which this is moving — it is moving at an absolutely phenomenal pace. - the national covid memorial wall by the river thames, in london, where families have commemorated their loved ones, is a reminder of the terrible toll taken by the virus. the heartfelt tributes show how cruel covid—19 is. the optimism offered by the vaccines knocked back by the speed at which the virus changes. so the year ends as it began — with the nhs under intense pressure, and with more families losing
those they love. but the hope for the year ahead is that science offers a way out of the pandemic — with new drugs and therapies, and continued take—up of the boosters. good evening. as we head towards the christmas weekend the weather theme is on the change and we can see that with the feel of the weather. first thing on wednesday morning, the coldest start of the winter so far, with temperatures down as low as —10. quite widespread, the cold, in actual fact. and it was frosty with it. fast forward to thursday morning and what a difference. in some places a good 10 degrees milder and that is because of a southerly wind that is associated with this weather front that will drive some milder air across the country.
for a time as it bumps into the colder air during the early hours we could have some icy stretches across eastern scotland and north—east england. some heavy rain are pushing into northern ireland as well, as we go through the day. it will be a chilly start for some but nowhere near as cold as wednesday morning. double digits out to the west, 11—12. on thursday, then we will see some rain, some of it heavy through northern ireland, northern england, into the scottish borders, and to the south of that we keep the milder air, so temperatures 5—9, further south double digits quite widely expected, may be peaking at 13 degrees in the far south—west. slightly above where they should be really for this time of year. there could be a spell of snow in the far north of scotland for a time before that weather front eases awake by christmas eve on the whole will start with some light, patchy rain, some snow to higher ground into scotland. south of that we've got some drier but cloudier conditions
and the weather front starts to show its hand in the south—west of england and also into wales. in terms of the feel of the weather, we are still keeping double figures down into the south—west and we are still on the chilly side in the far north—east with just a maximum of 4—5. and it is where these two air masses meet that could potentially cause a bit of a headache for christmas day because that is the dividing line between the mixture of rain, sleet and snow, so there could be a wintry mix into northern ireland, northern england, north wales, maybe the midlands for a time, and the best of the sunshine on christmas day is likely to be across the far north—east of scotland. wetter but milder conditions continue into northern ireland, wales and south—west england. that weather front will continue to push its way steadily north and east, a bit of wintriness perhaps in scotland through the night but that eases away, and on the whole boxing day quieter.
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the uk records more covid cases in 2a hours than on any previous day in the pandemic. new studies are suggesting the omicron variant, although highly infectious, could be milder. the nhs is under huge strain because of the number of staff off sick. in london, more doctors and nurses are absent now than at any time before in this pandemic. nearly a week after a super typhoon struck the philippines, the number of the dead is 375. we report from what was a popular tourist island — it's now devastated. the sound of an elephant seal pup — and one mother seals recognisejust days after their babies are born. we'll find out why.
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