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Less than 20,000 virus dead would be a win: UK Head Doctor

FILE PHOTO: London, England

REUTERS, March 28, 2020

The UK has 17,000 cases of COVID19, and 1,021 deaths. Its head doctor says that having no more than 20 times that number would be a good outcome.

LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom will have done well if it comes through the coronavirus crisis with fewer than 20,000 deaths, Stephen Powis, the national medical director of the National Health Service, said on Saturday.

When asked if he hoped that the United Kingdom was not on the same trajectory as countries such as Italy, Powis said: “If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.”

“If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.”

Stephen Powis, the national medical director of the National Health Service

“If it is less than 20,000… that would be a good result though every death is a tragedy, but we should not be complacent about that,” said Powis, speaking at a news conference in Downing Street alongside Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

He said the NHS had been working incredibly hard to increase the intensive care capacity beyond the 4,000 beds it typically had.

He said the NHS was preparing operating theatres and recovery areas to take critically ill patients. He said that was going on in London hospitals and almost doubling capacity though it had not yet been used to treat patients.

“At the moment, I am confident the capacity is there,” Powis said. “We have not reached capacity.”

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