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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

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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Publications

Assessment of Maternal and Neonatal SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load, Transplacental Antibody Transfer, and Placental Pathology in Pregnancies During the COVID-19 Pandemic – JAMA

Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study, there was no evidence of placental infection or definitive vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Transplacental transfer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was inefficient. Lack of viremia and reduced coexpression and colocalization of placental angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 may serve as protective mechanisms against vertical transmission.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201222162005/https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2774428

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Publications

Hospital acquired covid infections hit record high – HSJ

The number of covid-19 infections likely to have been acquired in hospital are rising again for the first time in three weeks and their proportion of all cases has reached record levels for the second wave, HSJ can reveal.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201211180106/https://www.hsj.co.uk/patient-safety/hospital-acquired-covid-infections-hit-record-high/7029149.article

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Publications

What the data say about asymptomatic COVID infections – Nature

Now, evidence suggests that about one in five infected people will experience no symptoms, and they will transmit the virus to significantly fewer people than someone with symptoms. But researchers are divided about whether asymptomatic infections are acting as a ‘silent driver’ of the pandemic.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201118211843/https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03141-3

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News

UK coronavirus infections may be ‘stabilising’ – BBC

The increase in coronavirus infections appears to be slowing around the UK, latest data from the Office for National Statistics show.

Although the number of people with Covid continues to rise, the growth is levelling off.

In the week to 30 October, ONS says new daily infections in England stabilised at around 50,000.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54841375

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Publications

Masks, false safety and real dangers, Part 2: Microbial challenges from masks – ResearchGate

Masks have been shown consistently over time and throughout the world to have no significant preventative impact against any known pathogenic microbes. Specifically, regarding COVID-19, we have shown in this paper that mask use is not correlated with lower death rates nor with lower positive PCR tests.

Masks have also been demonstrated historically to contribute to increased infections within the respiratory tract. We have examined the common occurrence of oral and nasal pathogens accessing deeper tissues and blood, and potential consequences of such events. We have demonstrated from the clinical and historical data cited herein, we conclude the use of face masks will contribute to far more morbidity and mortality than has occurred due to COVID-19.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344661022_Masks_false_safety_and_real_dangers_Part_2_Microbial_challenges_from_masks

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News

Rise in Britons being treated with Covid in hospital is partly driven by them catching it on wards, figures show – The Mail On Sunday

  • Hospital cases rose from 2,396 to 3,660 between September 30 and October 7.
  • Almost one in five in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission.
  • This implies that they caught coronavirus whilst a patient there.
  • The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8827131/Rise-Britons-treated-Covid-hospital-partly-driven-catching-wards.html

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Opinion

Too many children are being tested for coronavirus, top paediatrician claims as he demands schools stay fully open in face of future waves of Covid-19 – Daily Mail

Professor Russell Viner, from University College London, demanded schools should instead remain fully open in the face of a second wave and cease their ‘flip-flopping’ between closures and openings which are ‘harming’ the education of youngsters.

He was speaking after his recently published study revealed those under 20 are 44 per cent less likely to be infected with the virus than adults.

…’We need to be thinking: “Are we testing too many children?” because of our understandable but probably unscientific and misplaced concerns about children being infected in schools.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8780333/Too-children-tested-coronavirus-paediatrician-claims.html

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Publications

Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection – PLOS ONE

…it is recommended that improving vitamin D status in the general population and in particular hospitalized patients has a potential benefit in reducing the severity of morbidities and mortality associated with acquiring COVID-19.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0239799

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News

CDC removes guidance saying coronavirus spreads through air – Washington Examiner

The CDC has long maintained that the coronavirus is transmitted through droplets spread among people in close proximity to one another. On Friday, it updated its guidelines, adding that the virus also spreads through “respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes,” adding that this is the main vector of infection.

The guidance no longer says COVID-19 can be spread through the air, and the agency said it will update the language once its review process “has been completed.”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/cdc-removes-guidance-saying-coronavirus-spreads-through-air

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Opinion

This second wave of coronavirus is simply not as deadly… if we panic, so many more lives will be lost, says PROFESSOR KAROL SIKORA – Daily Mail

Britain is now in grave danger of sleepwalking into a second national lockdown. The consequences of doing so would be disastrous.

We find ourselves in this wretched position partly because the Government’s main achievement since the pandemic first emerged in China has not been suppressing the virus or saving lives or the economy, but in spreading irrational fear.

  • A blanket lockdown is the last thing we should be contemplating if we are serious about the nation’s mental and physical well-being.
  • This second wave will not trigger the explosion in deaths we saw in the spring.
  • Not a single young child has died in the UK from Covid without some other serious pre-existing condition.
  • According to Cambridge statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, anyone under 50 is more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8748883/This-second-wave-coronavirus-simply-not-deadly-says-PROFESSOR-KAROL-SIKORA.html

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Publications

Did COVID-19 infections decline before UK lockdown? – Prof Simon Wood, arXiv

The number of new infections per day is a key quantity for effective epidemic management. It can be estimated by testing of random population samples. Without such direct epidemiological measurement, other approaches are required to infer whether the number of new cases is likely to be increasing or decreasing: for example, estimating the pathogen reproductive rate, R, using data gathered from the clinical response to the disease. For COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) such R estimation is heavily dependent on modelling assumptions, because the available clinical case data are opportunistic observational data subject to severe temporal confounding. Given this difficulty it is useful to reconstruct the time course of infections from the least compromised available data, using minimal prior assumptions. A Bayesian inverse problem approach applied to UK data on COVID-19 deaths and the disease duration distribution suggests that infections were in decline before full UK lockdown (24 March 2020), and that infections in Sweden started to decline only a day or two later. An analysis of UK data using the model of Flaxman et al. (2020, Nature 584) gives the same result under relaxation of its prior assumptions on R.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2005.02090

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News Opinion

Top Belgian scientist calls for herd immunity coronavirus strategy – The Times

The resurgence of coronavirus is nothing to be feared and lockdown measures are doing more harm than the pandemic itself, a leading Belgian medical scientist has said.

Jean-Luc Gala, head of the prestigious Université Catholique de Louvain Saint-Luc clinic and a specialist in infectious diseases, has broken ranks with other scientists and tried to quell fears over the rise of the Belgian infection rate.

He said that it was not dangerous for the virus to circulate and the lack of a vaccine could help to bring about herd immunity in the population.

“Is the rise in infections worrying? No. It is completely normal. Is it dangerous for the virus to circulate? No, once again,” he told La Dernière Heure newspaper.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/top-belgian-scientist-calls-for-herd-immunity-coronavirus-strategy-gxwqj887m

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News

Hopes for normality grow as Covid shifts to the young: Two-thirds of new UK infections are in under-40s while rate in older people FALLS – raising hopes deaths will remain low without lockdowns – Dail Mail

The number of over-50s with Covid-19 represents a fifth of those nationwide

Just three per cent are aged over 80, down from 28 per cent six months ago

Peak age range for infections is now in the 20s but used to be in the 80s 

Sparked hope further restrictions could soon be reduced as older people shield 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8700399/Covid-shifts-young-Two-thirds-new-infections-UK-40s.html

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Publications

Diagnosing COVID-19 infection: the danger of over-reliance on positive test results – medRxiv

Unlike previous epidemics, in addressing COVID-19 nearly all international health organizations and national health ministries have treated a single positive result from a PCR-based test as confirmation of infection, even in asymptomatic persons without any history of exposure. This is based on a widespread belief that positive results in these tests are highly reliable. However, data on PCR-based tests for similar viruses show that PCR-based testing produces enough false positive results to make positive results highly unreliable over a broad range of real-world scenarios. This has clinical and case management implications, and affects an array of epidemiological statistics, including the asymptomatic ratio, prevalence, and hospitalization and death rates. Steps should be taken to raise awareness of false positives, reduce their frequency, and mitigate their effects. In the interim, positive results in asymptomatic individuals that haven’t been confirmed by a second test should be considered suspect.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.26.20080911v3

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Videos

Prof. Carl Heneghan On Masks

  • Masks and gloves have been shown in studies to help in the medical setting but not in the home setting.
  • Cloth masks are worse and may increase infection.
  • Masks in the UK were supposed to reduce infections by 40% but in fact, infections went up.
  • Study in Norway: 200,000 people would have to wear a mask in order to prevent one infection. Public health impact of mask wearing is negligible.
  • This advocating mask-wearing have cherry-picked low-quality observational evidence to suit the evidence.

Carl Heneghan is a clinical epidemiologist with expertise in evidence-based medicine, research methods, and evidence synthesis.
He is Director of the NIHR SPCR Evidence Synthesis Working Group a collaboration of nine primary care departments across UK universities. He set up and directs the Oxford COVID Evidence Service, has over 400 peer-reviewed publications (current H Index 67); published 95 systematic reviews. He is Editor in Chief of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, and Editor of the Catalogue of Bias.

Director of CEBM & Programs in EBHC
Editor in Chief, BMJ EBM
NHS Urgent Care GP
NIHR Senior Investigator

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News

No, Europe isn’t being engulfed by a deadly second wave – The Telegraph

An uptick in cases hasn’t been matched by an increase in deaths. It’s about time we had a more intelligent conversation about risk

Hard luck to those who switched their holidays to Greece when Spain was put back on the quarantine list. The Greek government has just officially declared a “second wave”. Once holidaymakers have explored the Aegean they face getting to know a lot more about the insides of their own homes upon their return, as Greece is now a favourite to be added to the ever-growing list of countries whose air bridges with Britain have collapsed.

But how real is this “second wave” apparently sweeping Europe? Look at the chart of new recorded infections in Greece and, sure enough, you can call it a second wave. Recorded cases began to inch upwards from mid-June onwards. The figure for Sunday – 202 – was markedly higher than the peak in new recorded infections in Greece’s first wave, which reached 156 on April 21. But then look at the chart for Greece’s Covid deaths and there is not the slightest trace of a second wave.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/11/no-europe-isnt-engulfed-deadly-second-wave/

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Publications

Association of contact to small children with mild course of COVID-19 – medRxiv

It is known that severe COVID-19 cases in small children are rare. If a childhood-related infection would be protective against severe course of COVID-19, it would be expected that adults with intensive and regular contact to small children also may have a mild course of COVID-19 more frequently. To test this hypothesis, a survey among 4,010 recovered COVID-19 patients was conducted in Germany. 1,186 complete answers were collected. 6.9% of these patients reported frequent and regular job-related contact to children below 10 years of age and 23.2% had own small children, which is higher than expected. In the relatively small subgroup with intensive care treatment (n=19), patients without contact to small children were overrepresented. These findings are not well explained by age, gender or BMI distribution of those patients and should be validated in other settings.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.20.20157149v1

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News

One in ten Brits may have had coronavirus – The Spectator

All through the Covid-19 pandemic we have been hampered by a lack of data on just how many people have had the disease. Given that several studies have indicated that as many as 80 per cent of people who are infected show no symptoms whatsoever, it is extremely difficult to estimate this crucial figure – which determines the mortality rate of Covid-19 and also how far away we might be from achieving a position of herd immunity.

Today, however, comes some very substantial data. The Medical Research Council’s Biostatistics Unit has published estimates of infections derived from serological studies on samples collected from the NHS Blood Transfusion Service. 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/one-in-ten-brits-may-have-had-coronavirus