- Francis Crick Institute says almost half of healthcare workers had covid-19 during height of pandemic
- Whitty: More staff-to-staff transmission than staff-to-patient
- Deputy CMO “cautiously optimistic” of vaccine before Christmas
Almost half of healthcare workers at some hospitals were infected with covid-19 during the height of the first wave, the director of a biomedical research centre has told MPs.
Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, told MPs today that covid-19 had infected up to 45 per cent of healthcare workers during ”the height of the pandemic” at some hospitals, according to the centre’s research.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty also told the Health and Social Care Committee that there was more evidence that covid-19 was transmitted between staff, rather than from patients to staff, and there was “just as much risk as people being in their break rooms than on wards”.
Sir Paul told MPs the Francis Crick Institute contacted Downing Street in March and wrote to health secretary Matt Hancock in April to emphasise the importance of regular systematic testing for all healthcare workers as it was “quite clear” that those without symptoms were likely to be transmitting the disease.
He said hospital staff “were infecting their colleagues, they were infecting their patients, yet they were not being tested systematically.”
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Date: 21 July 2020