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Coronavirus: Hospitals defy authorities to protect staff as 35,000 patients are infected with Covid on wards

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NHS hospitals are defying official rules to give nurses and doctors masks with greater protection amid fears over the spread of coronavirus within hospital wards.

An analysis of the latest NHS data by The Independent shows more than 35,000 patients were likely to have been infected with coronavirus while already in hospital between 1 August and 31 January.

NHS England has estimated as many as 20% of infections could be due to spread within hospitals. Outbreaks at some hospitals have seen whole teams of doctors or nurses affected, in some cases leading to wards having to be closed.

The Independent has learnt several hospitals are now supplying higher grade masks to staff working in general wards, despite Public Health England saying only surgical masks are needed. Research this week suggested staff exposed to coughing were at greatest risk of infection from the virus.

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Source: The Independent, 7 February 2021

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