Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Covid-19 patient numbers in Northern hospitals higher than at first wave peak
11 November 2020, 19:10
The number of patients being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals in the North of England has surpassed the number at the peak of the first wave, new data suggests.
In the North West almost 3,000 hospital patients with confirmed Covid-19 were reported on Monday - dozens more than at the peak on 13 April.
In Yorkshire and the North East, 2,999 patients were reported on the same day this week - over 400 above a report on 9 April.
Read more: UK Covid-19 deaths pass 50,000
Together, both regions currently account for 52% of Covid-19 hospital patients in England.
They are the only regions so far to have passed their first-wave peak, though other areas appear to be heading in the same direction.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said hospitals in the region were experiencing "quite a lot of pressure" and that was expected to increase in coming weeks, but made clear that most hospitals were coping and far from reaching their capacity.
He said: "Although there are the first signs perhaps that we may have seen the peak of the second wave with regard to the number of new infections in the community, I think it's important for me to say it doesn't yet appear we have reached the peak in terms of pressure on our hospitals and that is more likely to be felt towards the later part of this month."
Speaking at an online press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Burnham added that higher patients numbers could be due to "treatments that are available now" for Covid-19 - meaning people stay in hospitals for longer than before.
Meanwhile in the South West, the number of hospital patients has jumped sharply in the last two weeks, more than doubling from 300 on 26 October to 667 on 9 November.
If this trend continues, the region could pass its first-wave peak of 840 within in the next two weeks.
In the Midlands, the number of patients is also rising rapidly and has almost doubled in the past two weeks - from 1,203 on 26 October to 2,388 on 9 November - nearing the region's 3,101 patient peak in April.
In other regions of England the numbers are also rising but at a slower pace.
In London, 1,078 patients were reported on 9 November. This is still far below the first-wave peak of 4,813.
In South East England, 849 patients were reported on 9 November. The first-wave peak in this region was 2,073.
Almost 600 Covid-19 patients were reported in the East of England on Monday - far below the first-wave peak of 1,484.
It follows a study that suggests the North has been hit harder than the rest of England during the pandemic, increasing the levels of inequality in the country.
Even after factoring in deprivation, ethnicity and the age structure of the population, the mortality rate in the Northern Powerhouse region has been worse than elsewhere so far.
The report, compiled by the Northern Health Science Alliance and other organisations, included a list of 12 recommendations to "level-up" the country, including renewed efforts to tackle child poverty.