high consequence infectious diseases (HCID), COVID-19, coronavirus

Every day it seems the news is filled with new horrifying headlines about the latest unfortunate developments of the coronavirus. 

So why has the UK government downgraded the status of COVID-19, but yet strengthened lockdowns? 

As of March 19th, the UK government website Gov.UK, announced: “COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK”.

The stated reasons for this were given as follows: “Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.

“The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.”

A HCID is defined according to the following criteria:

  • acute infectious disease
  • typically has a high case-fatality rate
  • may not have effective prophylaxis or treatment
  • often difficult to recognise and detect rapidly
  • ability to spread in the community and within healthcare settings
  • requires an enhanced individual, population and system response to ensure it is managed effectively, efficiently and safely

HCIDs are further divided into contact and airborne groups:

  • contact HCIDs are usually spread by direct contact with an infected patient or infected fluids, tissues and other materials, or by indirect contact with contaminated materials and fomites
    airborne HCIDs are spread by respiratory droplets or aerosol transmission, in addition to contact routes of transmission

More information can be found here on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid?fbclid=IwAR0L-6Eng-EkjeY_DVnMlPg-dazTlUo-hEF0mjqVWw-pW8DSjLikuiPBHyU

Meanwhile, it has recently been reported that the NHS has pressed ahead with plans to turn London’s ExCel centre into a 4000-bed hospital for coronavirus patients. 

The conference centre will be turned into a massive critical care unit far bigger than any such facility already in existence in any NHS hospital. Staff will help those who are struggling to breathe, many of whom will be anaesthetised, intubated and put on a ventilator because their lungs have failed.

It will be staffed by a combination of military medical personnel and NHS staff.

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