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News

Israel is now the world’s Covid hotspot: Cases soar despite country’s trail-blazing vaccine roll-out – sparking fears other highly-vaccinated countries will be hit by another wave due to jabs’ waning immunity – Daily Mail

Israel has become the Covid capital of the world just months after leading the charge on vaccines, according to data that shows jab protection is waning. Stats compiled by an Oxford University-based research platform show Israel recorded 1,892 cases per million people on Wednesday — nearly 0.2 per cent of the entire population in a single day. That was significantly higher than second worst-hit Mongolia where the rate was 1,119 per million and double the figures for Kosovo (980), Georgia (976) and Montenegro (909), which rounded out the top five

http://archive.today/2021.09.02-232457/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9951117/Israel-worlds-Covid-hotspot-0-2-population-catching-yesterday.html

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Publications

Deaths in Children and Young People in England following SARS-CoV-2 infection during the first pandemic year: a national study using linked mandatory child death reporting data – Research Square

25 CYP died of SARS-CoV-2 during the first pandemic year in England, equivalent to an infection fatality rate of 5 per 100,000 and a mortality rate of 2 per million. Most had an underlying comorbidity, particularly neurodisability and life-limiting conditions. The CYP who died were mainly >10 years and of Asian and Black ethnicity, compared to other causes of the death, but their absolute risk of death was still extremely low. 

https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-689684/v1

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News

Hospital admissions per year in England 2006-2021 – The Blogmire

Hospital admissions [in England] were down by 6.7 million (39%) on the year before, when we didn’t have a deadly pandemic.

Source: The Blogmore, 15 June 2021
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Opinion

The ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ horror shows we need to get out of lockdown to get back our humanity – The Telegraph

How many more patients were left to die as a result of this hidden prejudice? Office for National Statistics figures from last year show nearly six in 10 who died with coronavirus in England were disabled. These vulnerable people’s families have a right to know whether their beloved relatives were sacrificed on the altar of NHS capacity and so do we.

For if they were effectively regarded as “collateral damage” during a national emergency, what does it say about the treatment of patients with learning disabilities or mental illness, in general?

The pressure of the pandemic has clearly been used as an excuse to explain away some of these decisions – but there can surely be no justification for refusing to resuscitate otherwise physically healthy patients, regardless of the state of their mental faculties. And in a world when everyone seems to be banging on about discrimination of one kind or another, where is the clarion call for equality for disabled people seemingly being treated like second class citizens in a health service that is supposed to care unequivocally for all?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/06/11/do-not-resuscitate-horror-shows-need-get-lockdown-get-back-humanity/

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News

People with mental illness and learning disabilities given ‘do not resuscitate’ orders during pandemic – The Telegraph

Patients with mental illness and learning disabilities were given “do not resuscitate” orders during the pandemic, The Telegraph can disclose.

Families, carers and doctors have said that medics decided that patients with these conditions should not be resuscitated if their heart stopped – a decision which in one case appears to have led to the patient’s death.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/06/09/patients-mental-illness-learning-disabilities-given-do-not-resuscitate/

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News

Death rate in England is lowest since records began – The Telegraph

Just 851.2 people per 100,000 died last month – the lowest figure since the ONS started recording mortality rates in 2001. At the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic last April, death rates were 1,859 per 100,000.

The latest figures show that 38,899 people died in April – 6.1 per cent fewer than the five-year average.

Just 2.4 per cent of all deaths mentioned Covid on the death certificate, a 77.6 per cent decrease from March and the largest month-on-month decline since the pandemic began.

The new data provide more evidence that the NHS is in little danger of being overwhelmed in the near future, with deaths from most causes lower than normal. Covid is now the ninth most common cause of death in England and Wales, behind conditions including heart disease, dementia, several cancers and influenza.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/20/death-rate-england-lowest-since-records-began/

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News

Wales to launch pilot universal basic income scheme – The Guardian

A pilot universal basic income (UBI) scheme is to be launched in Wales, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, has revealed.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/may/14/wales-to-launch-universal-basic-income-pilot-scheme

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News

SAGE admits risk of catching Covid in a pub or restaurant is ‘relatively low’ with just 226 outbreaks in them since pandemic began – despite England’s hospitality sector being shut for another three weeks – Dail Mail

The risk of catching coronavirus in a pub or restaurant is ‘relatively low’, the Government’s scientific advisers have admitted.

Analysis by SAGE found the chance of contracting the virus in hospitality settings appeared slightly higher than in gyms or shops, but concluded the risk was still small.

…SAGE found there had been just 226 outbreaks in pubs and restaurants in England since the pandemic began, despite the sector being heavily penalised throughout the Government’s Covid response.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9530225/SAGE-admits-risk-catching-Covid-pub-restaurant-relatively-low.html?ito=social-twitter_dailymailUK

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News Videos

Age standardised mortality: 2020 is only 9th worst year since 1971 – UK Column

Source: UK Column News, 18th January 2021
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News

25,000 Covid-19 victims were infected in hospital: One in six patients on wards caught coronavirus while being treated for other illnesses, figures show – Daily Mail

  • More than 25,000 patients caught coronavirus in hospital since second wave
  • One in six Covid-19 patients in NHS hospitals in England were infected while being treated for other conditions since September
  • So far this month, 5,684 Covid-positive in-patients out of 44,315 were infected after being admitted for other conditions

A specialist Covid nurse treating people at home said many of her patients had contracted the virus in hospital and were re-admitted when their conditions worsened.

The nurse said one elderly lady, originally admitted after breaking a rib in a fall, was now critically ill and had passed the virus on to two close relatives while at home.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210118024546/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9157627/One-six-hospital-patients-caught-Covid-19-treated-illnesses-figures-show.html

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News

COVID Lockdowns May Have No Clear Benefit vs Other Voluntary Measures, International Study Shows – Newsweek

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

https://www.newsweek.com/covid-lockdowns-have-no-clear-benefit-vs-other-voluntary-measures-international-study-shows-1561656

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News

One in five in England have had Covid, modelling suggests – The Guardian

One in five people in England may have had coronavirus, new modelling suggests, equivalent to 12.4 million people, rising to almost one in two in some areas.

It means that across the country as a whole the true number of people infected to date may be five times higher than the total number of known cases according to the government’s dashboard.

In some areas, however, the disparity may be even greater. Parts of London and the south are estimated to have had up to eight times as many cases as have been detected to date.

The analysis, by Edge Health, reveals that the true number of coronavirus infections in England could be as high as 12.4 million, equivalent to 22% of the population, as of 3 January.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210110190150/https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2021/jan/10/one-in-five-have-had-coronavirus-in-england-new-modelling-says

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News

Hospital Bed Occupancy in England 2020/2021 is lower than last year – UK Column

Source: UK Column News, 8th January 2021
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News

How busy are hospitals in England? – BBC News

When announcing the national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS risked being overwhelmed if the measures weren’t taken.

But statistics suggest that the proportion of beds currently occupied by patients is actually lower than usual.

So how can both things be true?

…To create that wiggle room, there has been a big decrease in patients coming in for non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments, to ensure that space is there and pressures are not increased.

Even in September 2020, when hospitals were beginning to increase the number of operations carried out, these were still 25% lower than in previous years.

This also helps explain why there are also fewer patients in hospitals this year, as well as fewer beds.

The impact of this is a large backlog and the potential for certain treatments – such as cancer care – being delayed.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210107152338/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/55536762

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Publications

Assessing Mandatory Stay‐at‐Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID‐19 – Wiley Online Library

Background and Aims
The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. Given the consequences of these policies, it is important to assess their effects. We evaluate the effects on epidemic case growth of more restrictive NPIs (mrNPIs), above and beyond those of less restrictive NPIs (lrNPIs).

Methods
We first estimate COVID‐19 case growth in relation to any NPI implementation in subnational regions of 10 countries: England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the US. Using first‐difference models with fixed effects, we isolate the effects of mrNPIs by subtracting the combined effects of lrNPIs and epidemic dynamics from all NPIs. We use case growth in Sweden and South Korea, two countries that did not implement mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures, as comparison countries for the other 8 countries (16 total comparisons).

Results
Implementing any NPIs was associated with significant reductions in case growth in 9 out of 10 study countries, including South Korea and Sweden that implemented only lrNPIs (Spain had a non‐significant effect). After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country. In France, e.g., the effect of mrNPIs was +7% (95CI ‐5%‐19%) when compared with Sweden, and +13% (‐12%‐38%) when compared with South Korea (positive means pro‐contagion). The 95% confidence intervals excluded 30% declines in all 16 comparisons and 15% declines in 11/16 comparisons.

Conclusions
While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13484

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News

Only 388 people under 60 without underlying health conditions have died of coronavirus in hospitals across England – The Sun

ONLY 388 people aged under 60 without underlying health conditions have died of coronavirus in hospitals across England, NHS data shows.

The figure is just 0.8 per cent of all Covid fatalities recorded in English hospitals between April 2 and December 23.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201227205622/https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13584329/377-covid-deaths-under-60-underlying-health-conditions/

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News

Why ARE the Nightingale hospitals lying empty? London unit still only ‘on standby’ despite capital being thrown into Tier 4 measures and Christmas cancelled over rising cases – Daily Mail

Nightingale hospitals built during the first Covid-19 lockdown still remain ‘on standby’ despite parts of England being plunged under draconian Tier 4 measures.

It has been suggested the hospitals are largely deserted, despite Boris Johnson’s dramatic decision to plunge a third of those in England under tough Tier 4 measures from Sunday. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20201220150458/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9071593/Nightingale-hospital-lies-standby.html

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Publications

COVID-19 in children: analysis of the first pandemic peak in England – BMJ

Children represented 1.1% (1,408/129,704) of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases between 16 January 2020 and 3 May 2020. In total, 540 305 people were tested for SARS-COV-2 and 129,704 (24.0%) were positive. In children aged <16 years, 35,200 tests were performed and 1408 (4.0%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to 19.1%–34.9% adults. Childhood cases increased from mid-March and peaked on 11 April before declining. Among 2,961 individuals presenting with ARI in primary care, 351 were children and 10 (2.8%) were positive compared with 9.3%–45.5% in adults. Eight children died and four (case-fatality rate, 0.3%; 95% CI 0.07% to 0.7%) were due to COVID-19. We found no evidence of excess mortality in children.

Children accounted for a very small proportion of confirmed cases despite the large numbers of children tested. SARS-CoV-2 positivity was low even in children with ARI. Our findings provide further evidence against the role of children in infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201124224223if_/https://adc.bmj.com/content/105/12/1180

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News

Regulator criticises data used to justify lockdown – BBC

The government has been criticised by the official statistics watchdog for the way it presented data to justify England’s second lockdown.

The UK Statistics Authority highlighted the use of modelling at Saturday’s TV briefing showing the possible death toll from Covid this winter.

It said there needed to be more transparency about data and how predictions were being made.

The projections were out of date and over-estimated deaths, it has emerged…

It is understood the graph was used by the two senior advisers in meetings last week where the decision to impose a nationwide lockdown in England was made.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54831334

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Publications

Harms of public health interventions against covid-19 must not be ignored – BMJ

The harmful consequences of public health choices should be explicitly considered and transparently reported to limit their damage, say Itai Bavli and colleagues

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge for governments. Questions regarding the most effective interventions to reduce the spread of the virus—for example, more testing, requirements to wear face masks, and stricter and longer lockdowns—become widely discussed in the popular and scientific press, informed largely by models that aimed to predict the health benefits of proposed interventions. Central to all these studies is recognition that inaction, or delayed action, will put millions of people unnecessarily at risk of serious illness or death.

However, interventions to limit the spread of the coronavirus also carry negative health effects, which have yet to be considered systematically. Despite increasing evidence on the unintended, adverse effects of public health interventions such as social distancing and lockdown measures, there are few signs that policy decisions are being informed by a serious assessment and weighing of their harms on health. Instead, much of the discussion has become politicised, especially in the US, where President Trump’s provocative statements sparked debates along party lines about the necessity for policies to control covid-19. This politicisation, often fuelled by misinformation, has distracted from a much needed dispassionate discussion on the harms and benefits of potential public health measures against covid-19.

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4074