A senior doctor in Liverpool has urged people to follow the rules as he revealed his hospitals were treating more coronavirus patients now than they were during the peak of the first wave.
The medical director of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS said their staff were already under huge strain due to the increase in admissions.
Writing on Twitter, Dr Tristan Cope said: “So important that people in #liverpool and @LivCityRegion adhere to social distancing restrictions.
“Treating so many Covid patients in addition to usual acute and emergency care of patients with non-Covid conditions puts a huge strain on @LivHospitals staff.
“Thank you to all our staff for their incredible hard work and dedication in dealing with this very difficult situation.
Watch: Hospital staff tackling second wave of Covid-19 ‘disheartened’ by rule-breakers
“We can all help reduce that pressure by doing the right thing and taking some very simple measures: washing our hands frequently, keeping our distance from others from outside our household and wearing face coverings in indoor settings.”
The Liverpool City Region was the first area of the UK to be put under Tier 3 when the government announced its new system for local lockdowns last week.
The area had already been under tightened restrictions for some time and still has some of the highest rates of infection in the country.
The latest figures show the Liverpool area had a 596 cases per 100,000 in the seven days leading up to 17 October. This is down from 692 the week before.
Medics at Whiston Hospital in Knowsley, a Merseyside borough which has seen some of the highest infection rates in the country, said the virus had “come back and his us with a vengeance”.
Ward manager Nadine McStein said adrenaline had powered staff through the first wave of the virus but her staff were now “exhausted” and “run down”.
McStein said she felt the virus was now “unrelatable” for the general public.
She said: “I don’t think they appreciate the extent of what the NHS is going through and I think it’s disheartening to see people protesting and people going against the rules and regulations because we are definitely seeing the impact that’s having on people now.”
Clinical director of intensive care, Dr Ascanio Tridente, said there were more than 120 patients with coronavirus in the hospital, compared with fewer than 10 at the start of September.
The hospital’s medical director Rowan Pritchard Jones said there were concerns about whether communities were following advice.
He said: “It is so difficult for those of us who walk in every day to care for the most critically ill patients that we know someone sprayed ‘hoax’ on the side of a town hall. But they have.”
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said on Wednesday that pressure on hospitals was already high in Liverpool.
He said: “We’re already in Liverpool elective operations are already being cancelled, so we’re already at the stage where that’s under strain.
“Elsewhere in the North West in particular but also in the North and Yorkshire, it’s not very far behind.
He said the situation for the whole of England was “quite gloomy” and they could expect tens of thousands of deaths during the second wave.