As COVID-19 spreads globally, many people wonder if we are in danger of a new wave of infections putting the National Health Service (NHS) under strain. This issue is worrying since the NHS was already stretched to capacity during the first wave of the pandemic. However, UK businesses may also adapt and adjust to this new reality of living with COVID-19, potentially reducing the burden on the NHS.
Reasons for Concern in the Future
One reason there may be a new wave of infections is the emergence of new, more transmissible virus variants. The UK has already experienced outbreaks of the Delta and Gamma variants, which are more infectious than the original strain. These variants may lead to more people becoming infected and requiring hospitalisation, potentially putting the NHS under additional strain.
Easing lockdown restrictions could also contribute to a new wave of infections. As people start to return to their normal activities, there is a risk that the virus will spread more easily. Given that only some people in the UK have been vaccinated, this is very worrying. Some people may not be able to receive the vaccine due to underlying health conditions.
Many people are still using government guidelines to deal with COVID-19, which means there will be issues when new strains affect them. For instance, people already know that symptoms begin with fever and loss of smell. Sore throats often accompany emerging strains. Therefore, people ignore the symptoms and assume it to be another disease.
In a research initiative, scientists point out the importance of macroeconomic factors when considering the effects and aftermath of pandemics. The economic situation is also a consideration when looking at concerns for future COVID-19 waves. Dwindling numbers of free tests mean that people will not bother coming out to test when they feel symptoms. Besides, when people feel poor, they will most likely not sit at home or take some time off.
Reducing the Burden on the NHS
The vaccine rollout has been successful in the UK, with over 50% of the population receiving at least one dose. The continued vaccination drives mean that a significant portion of the population is now protected from severe illness, potentially reducing the burden on the NHS.
There are also ongoing efforts to increase testing and contact tracing capacity, which can help to identify and isolate cases of COVID-19 before they spread widely. Additional health sector efforts can help prevent outbreaks and reduce the strain on the NHS.
Businesses and COVID-19
UK businesses may adapt and adjust to this new reality of living with COVID-19. Many companies have already implemented measures such as remote working and increased hygiene measures to reduce the risk of transmission. Scientists observe that the pandemic significantly affects market dynamics and volatility, so businesses need to adjust accordingly. These measures may continue to be in place even as lockdown restrictions are lifted, potentially reducing the spread of the virus.
In their efforts to survive the virus, businesses have found a significant outlet in the digital world. Particularly in the era of lightning-quick internet connections, excellent digital cameras, and cloud computing, not all services need to be rendered in person. 3D virtual tours have mostly supplanted in-person visits at real estate firms, museums, and tourism businesses. Telemedicine is becoming more widely used by physicians. Similar to personal trainers, beauty consultants, home-organising businesses, violin instructors, and others have switched from in-person meetings to video conferences.
Stage performances, musicals, operas and symphony concerts are streamed online by creative performing arts enterprises. Of course, physical retailers have raced to expand their internet presence and offer products online. Some organisations will emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever thanks to their COVID-induced digital transformations because digital tools help cut time and resource needs while boosting reach.
Overall, it is difficult to predict whether we will experience a new wave of COVID-19 infections putting the NHS under strain. There are valid concerns about the emergence of novel, more transmissible variants and the easing of lockdown restrictions. However, it is also possible that UK businesses will continue to adapt and adjust to this changing reality so that it can help reduce the spread of the virus and the burden on the NHS. The successful vaccine rollout and increased testing and contact tracing capacity may also help prevent outbreaks and reduce the strain on the healthcare system.
Written by Stephen Taylor, Propaganda CEO