RAPID decisions about life and death are having to be made in the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) as the coronavirus crisis intensifies.

Professor John Wright, public health doctor and Director of the Bradford Institute of Health Research at the BRI, is one of those at the heart of the hospital's response. 

In a diary for the BBC, alongside the 'NHS Front Line' Radio 4 programme, he talks of how the virus has quickly taken a hold. 

While not long ago there was just a few Covid-positive patients, inside isolated rooms, by the start of this week that had risen to two full 'red' or infectious zones. Two more turned red one day later.

By Wednesday, 14 patients had died. 

He explains: "This is one of the big issues around Covid-19 - its high death rate. So while less than one in a 100 of those who get it will die of it, when you get into hospital that goes up to one in five, or one in six patients.

"We are used to people dying in hospital, because it's often a place where people die. But normally we are reflective in our practice, we give time, and time is a great instrument for us in health care.

"But in the hospital today we are making rapid decisions about life and death - decisions about ventilation, about escalation care and when to make the decision about end of-life-care."

Palliative care consultant Dr Clare Rayment says there is worry over making "rationing decisions".

She explains:"I think in other countries it's something they might be more used to having conversations about.

"We are used to people dying in hospital but we aren't used to saying, 'You're going to die because I can't give you this ventilator because someone needs it more.'"

And while age is one factor, Dr Alex Brown, a consultant in elderly care, says it should be recognised that many 80-year-olds are in better physical and mental shape than those who are younger.

"That 80-year-old shouldn't be written off," he says. 

Heartbreakingly, the restrictions around visiting the hospital mean people are dying alone. 

The hospital is looking at how to ensure family members can still say goodbye and be with their loved ones in their final moments.

Emma Barnes, senior sister for the respiratory wards, says even though family members cannot enter the hospital some are still driving in to be near their loved ones, and sitting in their cars in the car park.

In Bradford, like many other places, mourners and services are now banned at cremations.

The unprecedented situation understandably has taken a huge emotional toll on staff.

Dr Brown told Prof Wright: "I had to console a junior doctor who had to ring someone up and say 'I'm sorry but your father has died' when normally in those circumstances, for most deaths in hospital, family members are at the bedside.

"Because of the current situation, that's not possible."