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Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advice

A place to post daily news of Kurdistan from valid sources .

Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:56 am

90% of Americans who died of
COVID-19 had other diseases


    The CDC's latest fatality data shows that COVID-19 was listed as the sole cause of death for just 6% of those killed by the virus

    94% of fatalities were in people who also suffered at least one chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or heart disease

    On average, people who died of coronavirus had 2.6 additional underlying health conditions

Nearly every American who has died of coronavirus also suffered from other underlying diseases, recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data reveal.

According to the CDC's latest update on COVID-19 fatalities, 94 percent of people who have died of the infection in the US had at least one pre-existing condition, such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart disease.

Coronavirus was the sole cause of death for just six percent of fatalities as of data published August 26.

In total, 180,221 Americans have been killed by coronavirus as of Monday, August 31.

But among death certificates submitted to the CDC, just 9,683 listed COVID-19 alone as the cause of death.

The latest CDC data reveals that just 6% of people who have died of COVID-19 in the US died of coronavirus alone, while 94% of death certificates listed other diseases as well. Pictured: a Houston health care worker tends to a patient at United Medical Center's COVID-19 ward (file)

It became clear early on in the pandemic that elderly people and those with underlying chronic health conditions were most vulnerable to catching and getting severely ill from coronavirus - as the case with most infectious diseases.

People in these vulnerable populations tend to have weaker immune systems, which makes it harder for their bodies to fight off infection.

Many - especially those who are obese or have high blood pressure - also have higher levels of baseline inflammation.

Because COVID-19 often triggers an inflammatory immune response that can quickly grow out of control, the bodies of people who already have higher-than-normal levels of inflammation are more likely to become overwhelmed, and start to fail.

But then reports began to emerge of younger, otherwise healthy people falling seriously ill, too.

Some people in their 20s and 30s even died in the US and abroad.

Their families were left stunned and puzzled by how a virus so quickly killed their loved ones.

Others the world round were left terrified and acutely aware that there was no predicting who might die of the new virus.

It's still possible, but the latest CDC data suggest that these unexpected premature deaths might be a rarer incidence than previously thought.

'For 6 percent of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned,' the CDC wrote in its latest update last week.

'For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.'

Among the most common comorbidities were kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Notably, conditions listed as causes of death alongside coronavirus were flu and pneumonia (categorized together by the CDC) and forms or respiratory failure and distress that may themselves have been complications of coronavirus.

Still, the latest data highlights just how vulnerable chronic health conditions leave people to the new virus.

And that should be taken to heart by 45 percent of the US population - more than 133 million people - who suffer from at least one chronic health condition.

However, it may be some small comfort to other Americans as schools and offices continue to reopen ahead of the approval of a vaccine against COVID-19.

US tops six million confirmed COVID cases as Midwest numbers rise

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/arti ... tions.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:19 pm

The Lancet study

Russia's potential coronavirus vaccine shows 'no serious adverse' effects and creates antibody response

Early results from trials of Russia’s potential coronavirus vaccine show no major negative side effects, a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet revealed Friday.

Doctors involved in the trials conducted “two open, non-randomised phase 1/2 studies at two hospitals in Russia,” on 76 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 60, the Lancet article said. It added that the vaccine formulations tested were “safe and well tolerated.”

“The two 42-day trials – including 38 healthy adults each – did not find any serious adverse effects among participants, and confirmed that the vaccine candidates elicit an antibody response,” the study’s authors wrote.

It added: “Large, long-term trials including a placebo comparison, and further monitoring are needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing COVID-19 infection.”

The Lancet is one of the world’s oldest medical journals, with editorial offices in New York, London and Beijing.

‘Sputnik V’

The vaccine, dubbed “Sputnik V” in Russia, became the first in the world to be registered after it was approved by the country’s health regulators last month. Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the time that full-scale production was due to start in September.

The news led to criticism from around the world amid questions over its safety and efficacy. At the time, the vaccine had undergone rapid Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on a small number of people but no data from them had been published.

The Lancet study marks the first time trial results have been published in a well-respected international publication.

Kirill Dmitriev, the chief of Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF which is backing the vaccine, hailed The Lancet’s report as validation of his country’s efforts in an interview with CNBC.

“We had lots of interest in the Russian vaccine (with) publication in the Lancet, which is one of key Western magazines on medicine,” Dmitriev told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum. “It is very important to share information with the world ... the results have been very good but basically the study showed there is very strong both antibodies and cell immune response.”

He added that Russia was “on track” to provide exports of the vaccine by November, and aimed to release data from more robust Phase 3 human trials at the end of October.

“Right now we have 40,000 clinical trials going on in Russia, we started it at the end of August, and there will also be clinical trials in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and many other markets,” Dmitriev said. “So basically we’re on track to have registration not only available in Russia ... but also available to key other countries already around November.”

First identified in China, the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, has infected more than 26 million people and killed more than 865,000 worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/04/russian ... -says.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:26 pm

Moscow was right to approve vaccine

West accepts Moscow was right to approve COVID vaccine

Comments by a senior U.S. official and moves by Britain towards the possible fast-tracking of COVID-19 vaccines show the West now accepts Russia was right to approve a vaccine as early as August, a Russian official said on Monday.

Russia granted regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine this month after less than two months of human testing, prompting some Western experts to question its safety and efficacy.

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has since said he would be willing to bypass the normal approval process to authorise a COVID-19 vaccine as long as officials were convinced the benefits outweigh the risks.

The British government last week set out plans that would allow Britain’s medical regulator to grant temporary authorisation for any coronavirus vaccine before it has received a full licence if it meets safety and quality standards.

The United States and London were now “exactly following the example of Russia,” said Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which has been heavily involved in Russia’s vaccine programme.

“The Western world was shocked by Russia’s success (in producing a potential vaccine) and had to go through four stages of accepting the inevitable: denial, anger, depression, and ultimately acceptance,” he said in a statement.

“Recent statements show that some of our western partners have already passed the stage of depression and it has now been accepted that Russia’s approach is the correct one.”

Russia has now begun Phase III trials of the “Sputnik V” vaccine that will test its efficacy on a bigger group of volunteers. It is also preparing to approve a second vaccine against COVID-19 in late September or early October.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has said mass vaccination of high-risk groups will begin in November-December.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-healt ... KKBN25R27Y
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:24 pm

Social gatherings over 6 banned in England

Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday - with some exemptions - amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases

A new legal limit will ban larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors, No 10 said.

But it will not apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.

It will be enforced through a £100 fine if people fail to comply with police, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200.

Several exemptions apply to the new rules - which come into force on 14 September - with households and support bubbles bigger than six people are unaffected.

A full list of exemptions will be published by the government later.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to deliver further details at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday.

In a preview of his address, the PM said: "We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact - making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.

"It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics - washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms."

No 10 said any group of seven or more people gathering anywhere "risks being dispersed by police or fined for non-compliance".

At-a-glance: What are the new rules?

    Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be allowed in law from Monday 14 September

    The new rule applies to private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as bars and cafes

    The rule does not apply to schools and workplaces, or weddings, funerals and organised team sports

    A full list of exemptions is due to be published before the law changes

    People who ignore police could be fined £100 - doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200
The change applies to England only, to people of all ages, and to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private homes, public outdoor spaces, and venues such as pubs and restaurants.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are able to set their own coronavirus restrictions and, while largely implementing similar rules, have moved at their own pace during the pandemic.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson held a virtual roundtable with police forces which heard officers wanted clearer rules and enforcement on social contact.

Previously, guidance in England allowed gatherings of up to six people from different households - or up to 30 people from two households.

Number of new cases is still on an upward trend, seven-day average is 2199

Ministers and government advisers earlier expressed concern over a "sharp rise" in cases and a "heartfelt" apology was issued following shortages in England's testing system.

Overall, there have been 8,396 new cases reported since Sunday - with 2,460 reported on Tuesday alone.

There were also 32 deaths reported, but these will not have been related to the most recent rise in cases.

Large gatherings 'greatest risk'
Analysis box by Nick Triggle, health correspondent

The rise in cases seen in recent days has caused alarm among ministers and their health advisers.

They believe the UK is at a critical point ahead of the onset of autumn and winter when respiratory viruses tend to thrive.

Close contact within homes remains the most common risk of transmission identified by contact tracers.

Clearly people living with an infected person are most at risk.

But, after that, the most common contact infected individuals have is with visitors to their household, according to data gathered by England's NHS Test and Trace service.

It is ahead of leisure venues, shops, workplaces and health and care settings.

Clearly large gatherings in homes - especially indoors which is more likely to happen when the weather turns - present the greatest risk.

Ministers will also make it clear on Wednesday further restrictions will follow if the rise in infections is not curbed.

The UK government's chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, who No 10 said backed urgent action in England, has said Covid-19 rates were now rising, especially among people between the ages of 17 and 29.

He warned that if people stopped social distancing then "Covid comes back".

'Relaxed too much'

England's deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van Tam added: "People have relaxed too much. Now is the time for us to re-engage, and to realise that this is a continuing threat to us."

In Bolton, Greater Manchester, a local rise in cases led Health Secretary Matt Hancock to announce the immediate return of some lockdown measures on Tuesday.

Among the restrictions imposed on the town was a requirement for hospitality venues to only offer takeaway service and close to customers completely between 22:00 BST and 05:00.

It also became illegal for people in Bolton to socialise with those outside their own household in any setting, even outdoors.

Schools in Bolton will continue to teach pupils as usual, Bolton Council said, as its leader described how Covid-19 was "moving round the borough uncontrolled".

Meanwhile, a new public information campaign will be launched reminding people of the "basics" - washing their hands, covering their face and giving others space.

How will you be affected by the new restrictions? Do you have questions relating to the changes? Get in touch by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54081131
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:47 am

UK could have 10pm curfew

A nationwide curfew is reportedly under consideration to try and prevent a second wave

Ministers are thought to be considering banning people going out after 10pm or 11pm to try and keep a lid on the recent surge in cases which has been attributed to younger people socialising.

Venues in Bolton will be required to close between 10pm and 5am to try and halt the transmission of coronavirus there, with a similar curfew also understood to be under consideration in Bradford.

A senior Government source told The Daily Telegraph that ministers are thinking of extending the curfew nationwide in a bid to keep infections under control. It follows the apparent success of similar measures in Belgium.

Jeremy Hunt, chair of the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock if ministers will look to South Korea and Hong Kong as examples of good practice for stemming an increase in cases and avoiding a second lockdown.

Mr Hancock replied: ‘In some countries, not only in the Far East but also closer to home, they have seen a rise in cases especially among younger people, taken action and that has turned the curve.

‘That’s particularly true, for instance, in Belgium which we were very worried about a month ago but the case rate has come right down when they put a curfew in place.’

Whole of UK could be hit by 10pm curfew in bid to avoid second wave

Image

This graph shows how the number of daily infections has increased

Belgium had the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe back at the beginning of the summer, but has since managed to bring it under control without seeing the same surge in deaths or people requiring hospital treatment as neighbouring countries.

Ministers see Belgium as a case study in how tough early restrictions – such as only allowing people to leave home late at night for work or to seek medical care – can prevent cases surging, The Times reports.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty alluded to Belgium’s success in bringing infections back under control following an initial second spike at Wednesday’s Downing Street press conference announcing the Government’s new ‘rule of six’.

He presented a graph showing the UK’s case rate relative to selected European countries, saying it illustrates ‘what happens if we do nothing in this situation’ as opposed to ‘if we intervene effectively’.

The UK’s line appears to follow a similar path to that of France before theirs continues to rise, as does Spain’s.

Both countries are a few weeks ahead of Britain on the chart.

However, pointing to Belgium’s line, Prof Whitty said: ‘The same sort of graph is happening – initially a rate went up quite sharply in the way that it has in the UK.

‘But then they took decisive action and at that point the rate stabilised and in fact subsequently began to come gradually down.

‘So, this is a clear indication that if you act rapidly and decisively when these changes are happening there is a reasonable chance, or a good chance, of bringing the rates back down and under control.’

Bolton was placed on ‘red alert’ yesterday along with six other boroughs in Greater Manchester after infections soared past the Government’s threshold to become the worst in England.

The town has 120 cases per 100,000 people, with those aged 18 to 49 accounting for 90% of infections.

Under the new restrictions bars and restaurants in Bolton will only be able to serve takeaway drinks and will have to close between 10pm and 5am.

People walk past a closed pub in Covent Garden on the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all pubs and restaurants to close in response to the growing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), cases in London, Britain, March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The health secretary said local guidance against socialising with other households will be made legally binding.

Anouncing the changes in the Commons, he said: ‘Unfortunately after improving for several weeks, we’ve seen a very significant rise in cases in Bolton. Bolton is up to 120 cases per 100,000 of population, the highest case rate in the country, and I’m publishing the data behind the decisions that we’ve taken.

‘I must therefore tell that House that, working with the local council, we’re taking further local action. The rise in cases in Bolton is partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s, we know this from contact tracing.

‘And through our contacting tracing system we’ve identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly.

Matt Hancock warns of second wave and says young people are still at risk

‘We’re therefore taking the following action in Bolton starting immediately. We will restrict all hospitality to takeaways-only and we’ll introduce a late-night restriction of operating hours which will mean all venues will be required to close from 10pm to 5am.

‘We’ll introduce urgently further measures that put the current guidance that people cannot socialise outside their household into law.’

New rules banning social gatherings of more than six people will also take effect on Monday.

It will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/09/09/whole-of ... -13243578/
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:49 pm

Copper and Coronavirus

Research has shown that copper has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which make it a potential tool in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19). In this post, we comprehensively discuss all available research and studies.

We also explain why copper is an ideal material for reusable water bottles and preferable to water bottles made from plastic or other materials


General Research and Studies

The effect of copper on bacteria and viruses has recently been the subject of a number of articles, including in Fast Company, Dwell, Vice, Cleveland, Smithsonian, and The New York Times. These articles are all in reaction to a number of recent studies which have explored the capability of copper to kill the coronavirus. The Washington Examiner also recently published an opinion piece from a well-known professor of economics who persuasively made the case for greater use of copper to help slow the spread of future pandemics.

The anti-bacteria and anti-viral nature of copper was discovered long before the outbreak of the coronavirus. It was discovered [b]centuries ago [/b]by ancient civilizations which led to the use of copper in various health applications, including in water vessels to purify drinking water. In modern times, copper has been the subject of numerous studies by the scientific community as well as attention from the World Health Organization.

In one recent study, which was published in the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, scientists studied the effect of storing water in a copper pot on microbially-contaminated drinking water, including harmful bacteria such as e. coli, salmonella typhi and vibrio cholerae. In particular, scientists stored water contaminated with this bacteria in copper pots for 16 hours at room temperature.

The bacteria was no longer recoverable when the researchers examined it, which was an incredible result compared to water stored in control glass bottles under the same environment (in which the bacteria continued to grow and flourish). The bacterial situation was even worse in reusable plastic bottles.

In another recent study, scientists again studied the effect of storing water in a copper pot on water contaminated with bacteria. In this study, the scientists incubated water with a colony of harmful bacteria and then stored the water overnight at room temperature in both copper pots and glass bottles. In the morning, the bacteria was no longer recoverable from the water that had been stored in the copper pots, although it was recovered from the water stored in the glass bottles.

In yet another recent study, researchers stored water contaminated with bacteria in a variety of different water containers, including copper and silver containers, in order to determine their efficacy at removing biological contamination from drinking water. The study revealed that the copper vessels had a significant inhibitory effect on the bacteria in the water after only a few hours of exposure.

In addition, in 2008 the United States Environmental Protection Agency published a study showing that copper surfaces are proven to continuously reduce bacterial contamination and provide continuous antimicrobial action even with repeated exposures. The study also found that copper surfaces continuously kill over 90% of bacteria after repeated exposures during a day, prevent the buildup of disease-causing bacteria, and deliver continuous, long-lasting antibacterial activity.

These and other similar studies confirm long-standing anecdotal evidence linking exposure to copper with resistance to infection. The first recorded medical use of copper appears in the Smith Papyrus, written between 2600 and 2200 B.C. This ancient text said that copper could be used to sterilize wounds and drinking water.

In addition, it has been said that ancient civilizations in Egypt and Babylon observed that soldiers found scraping their bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) swords into wounds would tend to be more resistant to infection. In addition, storing water in copper vessels has long been utilized as a practice in India to eliminate microbes from drinking water.

More recently, in the 19th century, during an epidemic of cholera (a bacterial disease) which was spreading through France, a French doctor noticed that laborers at a copper smelter in Paris were not becoming infected with cholera. He observed that the same was true of other people in the city that worked with copper, including jewelers, goldsmiths and boiler makers.

That epidemic ended up killing more than 6,000 people out of a population of approximately 1.6 million, reflecting a ratio of approximately 0.4 percent. However, only 45 of the people that worked closely with copper died, representing a ratio of only 0.05 percent.

Research and Studies Specific to the Coronavirus

In addition to the above-noted research, there have also been studies on the effect of copper specifically in respect of the coronavirus.

The first notable study in that regard, published by the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, focused on coronavirus 229E (HuCoV-229E). The study found that the virus persisted in an infectious state on common surface materials for several days. However, when the surface material contained copper, the scientists observed rapid inaction of the coronarvirus.

In particular, scientists found that the coronavirus was rapidly inactivated on copper surfaces, with the inactivation rate being roughly proportional to the percentage of copper in the metal surface. In particular, metal alloys containing 90% copper were found to inactivate the virus in 30 minutes or less. The researchers provided the following chart to summarize the impact on the coronavirus by reference to the percentage of copper in the metal surface ("Cu" refers to copper content). The vertical axis represents the amount of virus left on the copper surface:

The researchers concluded that copper surfaces could be employed in communal areas and at any mass gatherings to help reduce transmission of respiratory viruses from contaminated surfaces and protect the public health.

More recently, on March 17, 2020, a new study was released concerning COVID-19 by the National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists examined the length of time for which specifically COVID-19 could survive on various materials, including aerosols (air), cardboard, plastic, stainless steel and copper.

The study concluded that while the coronavirus could survive for up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel and up to 24 hours on cardboard, it could only survive for up to four hours on copper. This study further confirms the anti-viral nature of copper.

The results of this study can be simplified as follows:

This study has also received attention from The Economist, which published the following helpful summary chart comparing (in a more complex manner) the longevity of the coronavirus on copper as compared to the other materials:

In another study, it was determined that copper can help prevent respiratory viruses, such as the coronavirus, from spreading. In that study, scientists found that the coronavirus was rapidly inactivated within a few minutes by copper surfaces.

Given this research, one may wonder why copper is not more actively used for surfaces in public places, including hospitals. In fact, in one study, scientists concluded that the use of copper surfaces could reduce bacterial and viral infection rates in hospitals by 58 percent. Although most hospitals have not yet adopted this approach, it appears to have significant potential.

This body of research has recently inspired health sciences researchers at the University of Arizona to study whether or not certain copper-based chemical compounds could potentially stop the virus that causes COVID-19.

How Does Copper Kill Bacteria and Viruses?

The special effects of copper can best be analyzed through the lens of both chemistry and biology. When bacteria or viruses come into contact with copper, they absorb copper ions, which are essentially electrically charged particles.

These copper ions, through a process known as the oligodynamic effect, essentially punch holes into the membranes (walls) of the bacteria and viruses. Once the membrane is damaged, the copper ions move inside and destroy the DNA and RNA, preventing the bacteria and viruses from further multiplying. Interestingly, bacteria have both DNA and RNA while viruses have only RNA. However, notwithstanding that difference, the effect of the copper ions is essentially the same.

In one leading study, cells of e. coli were exposed for 1 minute to a copper surface, a normal non-copper surface, and a stainless steel surface. The study showed that cells exposed to the copper surface suffered membrane damage and quickly became immobilized. The following microscopic images from the study show the result. Live bacteria with intact membranes are green, while those with damaged membranes are red:

Business and Government Start Considering Greater Use of Copper

As discussed in Forbes, this compelling research on the anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of copper has led the medical industry to rush to create and manufacture specialized face masks made with copper. Because of the presence of copper in these masks, they are naturally anti-viral and self-sterilizing, which will hopefully help medical professionals re-use the masks for multiple patients. This may help address shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, engineers have developed a process which is capable of spraying a thin layer of copper on door-handles and doorknobs.

Other recent investigations prompted by COVID-19 have also demonstrated that the speed of copper's anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects can be accelerated if the copper is shaped in a way that maximizes the surface area of copper which makes contact with the bacteria or virus. It is for this reason that some businesses have started producing copper designed with a hammered or otherwise uneven texture to maximum surface area.

In addition, some governments have begun to consider the possibility of using copper in public areas in order to minimize the spread of infections. For example, a New York State Assemblywoman recently introduced a bill that would require publicly funded construction projects to use copper.

The bill would require all new construction projects receiving state funding to use copper alloy touch surfaces – including door handles, bathroom fixtures, bed rails and handrails. It has been said that the legislation would reduce the spread of infection and help boost the local economy by investing in locally made materials.

The Problem with Normal Reusable Water Bottles

As research studies have shown, ordinary reusable water bottles can become environments that are prone to cultivating harmful bacteria and viruses.

As we use our water bottles throughout the day, they repeatedly come into contact with our hands, and thereby become covered in bacteria and potentially viruses. While the same is true of many other things (such as our smartphones), water bottles are more problematic because we put them to our mouths and drink from them. While it may be difficult to think about, the reality is that we put something covered in germs to our lips multiple times each day.

This problem is aggravated by the way that most reusable water bottles are designed. Often, we carry our water bottles by holding them by their caps or lids. This means that our hands come into contact with the lip of the bottle, which ends up touching our mouths when we drink from it.

Even if our water bottles are designed differently and we wash our hands multiple times per day, droplets floating in the air containing bacteria and viruses (from other people that may have coughed or sneezed) can land on our water bottles. We can then become infected by those same bacteria and viruses when we drink from our water bottles.

In addition, there is plenty happening inside most reusable water bottles which is concerning. As studies have shown, there is a significant link between reusable water bottles and the growth of bacteria colonies. In short, since the nature and function of reusable water bottles involves moisture, they become breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses.

This problem can be further aggravated by the way that we refill our water bottles. For example, if we use a water dispenser or water fountain at the workplace, gym or in an airport, there is a very good chance that bacteria or viruses left by someone else who used that water dispenser or water fountain before us will find their way into our water bottle, contaminating the bottle and the water in it.

The Solution: Anti-Bacterial Copper Water Bottles

Mother nature has fortunately provided a solution in the form of copper. As demonstrated by various research studies, copper naturally and safely kills bacteria and viruses through a natural process. As mentioned above, copper has been used for thousands of years to sterilize contaminated water naturally and safely.

What does this all mean for the coronavirus outbreak? It means that anytime you touch your copper water bottle, you can have confidence that any bacteria or viruses on the copper surface have already been destroyed or are currently under attack by copper ions.

It also means that any bacteria or viruses present in your water bottle will be destroyed by virtue of the copper material from which the water bottle is made. It also means that your water bottle is naturally self-sterilizing, meaning you can put your mind at ease and not worry that your water bottle is becoming a risky bacteria and virus trap.

Of course, as the The New York Times quite properly observes, copper is not a complete solution. Drinking from a copper water vessel doesn't replace healthy hygiene practices, self-isolating and social distancing in the prevention of coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water for 20 seconds and self-isolate where possible.

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit of all available scientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers include experienced health researchers including a qualified medical professional. Please note that information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

https://www.copperh2o.com/blogs/blog/co ... oronavirus
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:20 pm

UK has second wave of Covid

The UK is "now seeing a second wave" of Covid-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, adding: "It's been inevitable we'd see it in this country."

Mr Johnson said he did not "want to go into bigger lockdown measures" but that tighter social distancing rules might be necessary.

It is understood a new three-tiered set of restrictions is being considered

The plan would aim to avoid a national lockdown but could stop household-to-household contact.

    The first tier would be the level of measures currently in place in most parts of England now - with social distancing the key aspect.

    The second tier would involve what is currently being imposed in north-east of England - curfews on hospitality venues and a ban on meetings between households.

    The final third tier would involve stricter lockdown measures.
If this plan is put into action, "Tier two" restrictions are expected to be imposed on a region-by-region basis, but it is thought likely that they could eventually cover almost all of the UK.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was "increasingly likely" that the nine million people in the capital will need to follow areas such as the north-east of England and come under additional measures.

An account of a meeting at which the three-tier measures were discussed has been shared with the BBC. It explained the government's shielding policy was also "being actively reviewed" and a decision could come soon on further measures to protect the vulnerable.

Any further shielding decisions are expected to take a much more tailored approach than before.

With the virus expected to be more severe over the winter, officials are looking at bringing in measures that could last until the spring.

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It comes as the UK has recorded another 4,322 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Public Health England's medical director Yvonne Doyle warned of "far worse things to come" as the UK recorded widespread growth of the virus across the country.

"Clearly when you look at what is happening, you've got to wonder whether we need to go further than the rule of six that we brought in," the prime minister said, referring to measures introduced on Monday.

He added that "the British people have done an amazing job - they've brought that peak down by discipline" but that "people find it difficult to keep this up, it's difficult to maintain that discipline for a long time".

Speaking in Oxfordshire, Mr Johnson said the government would keep "everything under review" but a second national lockdown was "the last thing anybody wants".

"We want to keep schools open," he said. "We want to keep the economy open as far as we possibly can, we want to keep businesses going."

Mr Johnson added: "The only way we can do that is, obviously, if people follow the guidance."
2px presentational grey line

'UK's trajectory is not written in stone'
Analysis box by James Gallagher

The question is no longer where we are, but where we are heading.

Yes, the number of people infected, in hospital with Covid or dying from the disease are all at far lower levels than at the peak.

Scientists will quibble about the exact definition of a "second wave", but all data points to rising numbers of infections.

The government's science advisers say the number is now doubling every week.

If those trends continue then infections could go from the estimated 6,000-a-day to more than 100,000 by mid-October.

It is that trajectory, which is not written in stone, the government is trying to change.

There are questions for politicians, from whether it should do a "circuit-break" to improving

Test and Trace.

But, with evidence suggesting only one in five people are following the self-isolation rules when they get sick, there are also questions for all of us.

The government has also been considering what it called a "circuit-break" approach, which could involve re-introducing restrictions in public spaces for a period of a few weeks to suppress the spread of the virus. Schools and workplaces would stay open.

Ideas suggested by the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) included closing some parts of the hospitality sector.

Millions of Britons are now living under stricter coronavirus measures, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying the capital should not wait "for this virus to again spiral out of control before taking action".

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New measures to curb the spread of the virus have been introduced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire.

This includes Lancashire (excluding Blackpool), Merseyside and the Cheshire boroughs of Warrington and Halton.

Additional restrictions are also being put in place in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston in Leicestershire, and all parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

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Some areas of West Yorkshire had already been subject to restrictions implemented at the start of August but they were eased. They are now subject to these new rules.

In total, nearly 4.7 million people will be affected by the new restrictions, which ban separate households from meeting each other at home or in private gardens.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54212654
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:43 pm

Face masks could be giving
people Covid-19 immunity


Face masks may be inadvertently giving people Covid-19 immunity and making them get less sick from the virus, academics have suggested in one of the most respected medical journals in the world

The commentary, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, advances the unproven but promising theory that universal face mask wearing might be helping to reduce the severity of the virus and ensuring that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic.

If this hypothesis is borne out, the academics argue, then universal mask-wearing could become a form of variolation (inoculation) that would generate immunity and “thereby slow the spread of the virus in the United States and elsewhere” as the world awaits a vaccine.

It comes as increasing evidence suggests that the amount of virus someone is exposed to at the start of infection - the “infectious dose” - may determine the severity of their illness. Indeed, a large study published in the Lancet last month found that “viral load at diagnosis” was an “independent predictor of mortality” in hospital patients.

Wearing masks could therefore reduce the infectious dose that the wearer is exposed to and, subsequently, the impact of the disease, as masks filter out some virus-containing droplets.

If this theory bears out, researchers argue, then population-wide mask wearing might ensure that a higher proportion of Covid-19 infections are asymptomatic.

Better still, as data has emerged in recent weeks suggesting that there can be strong immune responses from even mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infection, researchers say that any public health strategy that helps reduce the severity of the virus - such as mask wearing - should increase population-wide immunity as well.

This is because even a low viral load can be enough to induce an immune response, which is effectively what a typical vaccine does.

While this hypothesis needs to be backed up with more clinical study, experiments in hamsters have hinted at a connection between dose and disease. Earlier this year, a team of researchers in China found that hamsters housed behind a barrier made of surgical masks were less likely to get infected by the coronavirus. And those who did contract the virus became less sick than other animals without masks to protect them.

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Some observations found in humans seem to support this as well. In a coronavirus outbreak on a closed Argentinian cruise ship, for example, where passengers were provided with surgical masks and staff with N95 masks, the rate of asymptomatic infection was 81 per cent. This is compared with 20 per cent in earlier cruise ship outbreaks without universal masking.

Still, Dr Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the paper’s authors, has stressed that the commentary has its limitations and should not be construed as anything other than a theory.

“To test the variolation hypothesis, we will need more studies comparing the strength and durability of SARS-CoV-2–specific T-cell immunity between people with asymptomatic infection and those with symptomatic infection, as well as a demonstration of the natural slowing of SARS-CoV-2 spread in areas with a high proportion of asymptomatic infections,” she told the Sunday Telegraph.

“However, it is true that the proportion of asymptomatic infection being increased by masking might increase the proportion of the population who achieve at least short-term immunity to the virus while we await a vaccine.”

Dr Julian Tang, Honorary Associate Professor of Respiratory Sciences at the University of Leicester, has shared Dr Gandhi’s cautious optimism.

“This idea of 'variolation' - a term originally derived from the smallpox pre-vaccine era - is quite feasible and may add to the protective physical effects of universal masking - by low level stimulation of the wearer's immune system as it is exposed to low levels of airborne SARS-CoV-2, which can induce an immune response but without any overt infection and disease,” she said.

She added: “This is after all the response to a typical vaccine - where the recipient's immune systems are stimulated, subclinically, to produce protective immune responses to combat the infection if exposed at a future date.

“Of course, more formal studies are required to confirm this effect, and there are likely natural experiments ongoing around the world at the moment.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-heal ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:29 pm

This is what happens when rules are relaxed and thousands of people crowd onto beaches, countryside beauty spots, pubs and assorted marches:

UK virus alert level moving to 4

The UK's coronavirus alert level should be raised from level 3 to 4, meaning transmission is "high or rising exponentially", its chief medical officers have said

It comes after the government's scientific adviser warned there could be 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without further action.

The PM will make a statement in the Commons on Tuesday.

On Monday, a further 4,368 daily cases were reported in the UK, up from 3,899.

A further 11 people have also died within 28 days of a positive test, although these figures tend to be lower over the weekend and on Mondays due to reporting delays.

Speaking at Downing Street alongside chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Vallance said: "At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.

"If, and that's quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days... if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.

"Fifty-thousand cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.

"The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.

"That requires speed, it requires action and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down."

It comes as the PM prepares to chair a Cobra emergency meeting on Tuesday morning.

Coronavirus alert levels from 5-1

    5 is risk of overwhelming healthcare services

    4 is transmission high

    3 is virus in general circulation

    2 is number of cases and transmission low

    1 virus no longer present in UK
The move to level 4 should not come as a surprise given the warning from the UK's two most senior pandemic advisers this morning.

Infections are rising - although some experts question whether the situation is as dire as Prof Chris Witty and Sir Patrick Vallance set out when they raised the prospect of 50,000 cases a day by mid-October.

Cases were always expected to increase at this time of year when respiratory viruses tend to circulate more coupled with the continued re-opening of society.

Certainly the trajectory of countries like France and Spain is not as sharp as the worst-case scenario put forward.

But it is clear the government wants to act early this time - one of the big criticisms is that they were slow to introduce lockdown in March, which resulted in more deaths.

Level 4 paves the way for extra restrictions to be introduced with an announcement expected on Tuesday.

Officials are very aware a fine balance needs to be navigated, which is why a full lockdown is not on the cards.

Schools will certainly be protected.

But any restrictions have a cost to society. Go too far and the risk is the cure becomes worse than the disease.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54241580
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:33 am

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:40 am

Britain's Covid-19 outbreak growing
Cases are up 48% in a week


Covid-19 infections clearly started to rise after 'Super Saturday', according to an analysis of official data that has revealed the number of Britons being diagnosed each day is now 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago as the outbreak continues to grow

Hundreds of thousands flocked to pubs, restaurants and hairdressers after they were finally allowed to re-open on July 4, after months of being closed to help contain the UK's coronavirus crisis. Leading scientists warned it would cause a spike in infections - while others insisted it was time the nation 'learns to live with the virus'.

MailOnline's crunching of government statistics shows Covid-19 infections started to rise within days of Brits being given freedom to enjoy the summer without being cooped up at home. Doctors say it can take patients up to two weeks to develop a cough or other tell-tale symptoms of the disease.

Department of Health figures reveal the rolling seven-day average of daily cases on July 9 was 556, down 32 per cent on the week before. But the growth rate had dropped from the -39 per cent the previous day, showing that the outbreak wasn't shrinking as quickly.

But it was not just a one-off. Statistics show the rate quickly started to spiral upwards, with July 13 (624) being a 6 per cent jump on the previous week (590). This was the first time the rate was positive - showing the outbreak had grown - since the start of May, when testing was massively ramped up to help officials get on top of the pandemic.

Infections began to dip off in the middle of August but it is not clear why. They soon started to pick up towards the end of the month, and spiralled after the Bank Holiday and over the start of September, when millions of children went back to school and workers dashed back to the offices.

Growth rates plunged around mid-September, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the 'Rule of Six' in a desperate attempt to curb spiralling rates of coronavirus. The average number of daily infections compared to the week hit a high of 84 per cent on September 12 but fell every day until September 19, government statistics show.

They have risen for six consecutive days since then, MailOnline can reveal. Health chiefs announced another 6,874 cases yesterday, meaning the seven-day rolling average (5,329) is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago (3,466). By contrast, the rate yesterday was 48 per cent higher than it was last Thursday.

Some top scientists had insisted there was not a true rise in cases because the test positivity rate - how many cases are found for every swab completed - had not changed wildly, suggesting any spike is down to swabbing capacity being ramped up. However, this appears to no longer be the case, with Government data showing around 20 out of every 1,000 people are testing positive now, up from the 15 on September 12.

Yesterday saw another 6,874 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the seven-day rolling average is 54 per cent higher than it was a week ago. MailOnline analysis shows this is the sixth consecutive day the average compared to the week before has risen

Some top scientists had insisted there was not a true rise in cases because the test positivity rate - how many cases are found for every swab completed - had not changed wildly. However, this appears to no longer be the case. NHS Test and Trace data shows almost 3.3 per cent of people tested get a positive result compared to lows of 1.1 in July

Yesterday saw another 6,634 Covid-19 cases recorded, meaning the average number of daily infections is 48 per cent higher than it was a week ago

The chief scientific advisors to the Government, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, gave a stark warning this week of coronavirus cases 'doubling every week', with fears cases could reach 50,000 per day by mid-October if nothing is done
Timeline of lockdown easing

Around this time ministers were torn over whether to lift the lockdown at the start of May or wait until the summer.

Frustration was growing in the Cabinet over a lack of debate on the issue as the damage to the economy mounted.

Ministers were considering two possible strategies. The first involved extending the full lockdown well into early summer to 'push the numbers right down' – although this was expected to risk further damaging the economy.

The second would see restrictions lifted earlier, potentially after the three-week extension expired on May 8 – even though it was expected to risk a second virus 'peak'.

May 10: Government unveils 'stay alert' message

The Prime Minister unveiled the new 'stay alert' message, which replaced the 'stay home' one.

But the devolved powers decided to stick with the old one over fears 'stay alert' was ambiguous.

May 13: People are allowed out for unlimited exercise and to meet one other person outdoors

Boris Johnson called for people who could not work from home to return to their jobs.

But he called for social distancing to remain in workplaces such as building sites.

Britons were allowed out of their houses for exercise without limits.

They were also allowed to meet up with another person outdoors but had to stay 2m away.

June 1: Groups of six people can meet

Six people were allowed to meet in parks and other's gardens for the first time since lockdown.

The government also reopened schools for reception, year one and year six students despite protest from teaching unions.

June 15: Non-essential shops re-open

Non-essential shops re-opened as well as zoos, safari parks and religious centres. But people were ordered to have to wear face coverings on public transport in England.

July 4: Pubs, bars and restaurants allowed to reopen

Pubs, bars and restaurants reopened in England, with millions of people descending on their locals for a fresh pint.

July 25: Gyms, pools and sports centres allowed to reopen

Gyms, pools and sports centres were allowed to reopen for the first time since the lockdown amid social distancing rules.

Also, Mr Johnson announced that holidaymakers on their way to England from Spain would have to quarantine for two weeks due to a spike in cases in the Meditterranean country.

August 3: 'Eat Out To Help Out scheme is launched

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's scheme saw millions return to restaurants as they helped bolster the stricken hospitality industry.

August 15: Wedding receptions allowed

In a boost for younger couples, wedding receptions were allowed again, but with limited capacity and maintaining social distancing rules.

August 31: August Bank Holiday

Crowds headed out into the hot sun and many defied government rules and threw parties over the weekend.

September 1: Schools re-open

Students in Northern Ireland returned to the classroom for the first time since lockdown was brought in. England and Wales headed back during the week.

Oxford University started human trials for their coronavirus vaccine in the US.

September 14: Rule of six is introduced

It comes as chief scientific advisors to the Government, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, terrified the nation by their gloomy prediction that cases may reach 50,000 per day by mid-October, if nothing is done. They claimed infections were doubling every week, in line with growing outbreaks in Spain and France.

But scientists shot down the claims, warning it was based on old data that relied on just a few hundred positive cases. Even Boris Johnson distanced himself from the claims, saying the outbreak could be doubling up to every 20 days.

Other figures from NHS Test and Trace also suggest cases had dwindled last week. But the newest statistics - released yesterday - only go up until September 16, meaning any spike in the past week has yet to be confirmed in another government dataset.

Department of Health figures show the doubling rate of cases is around two weeks. Almost 5,000 people are being diagnosed with Covid-19 every day at the moment, up from 2,500 on September 10. But this is based on lab-confirmed infections, and thousands of patients won't ever develop any symptoms.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which tracks the size of the outbreak by carrying out thousands of random swab tests, estimates cases have risen 60 per cent in a week to 9,600 a day. While King's College London researchers, who are behind a symptom-tracking app, say it has doubled over the same time-frame to around 16,000.

Matt Hancock yesterday suggested the true number of cases occurring each day was in the region of 10,000. And the Health Secretary pointed out that the spike now is nowhere near levels seen during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when 100,000 people were getting infected every 24 hours.

Yesterday a record-high daily cases of 6,874 cases were diagnosed, a huge rise compared to last Friday, when 4,322 people were diagnosed with the disease.

But millions of Brits went undiagnosed during the first wave of the pandemic due the government's lacklustre testing regime, so it is impossible to accurately compare numbers now to those in March and April. Top experts say more than 100,000 people were actually catching the virus every day during the darkest days of the first wave. Now, estimates range between 9,600 (ONS) and even 18,000.

The latter estimate was suggested by Dr Julian Tang, a respiratory disease expert at the University of Leicester, who claimed the actual number of cases occurring each day in England now may be three times greater than what official figures show because of how common asymptomatic patients are.

Since reporting of cases varies greatly from the start of the pandemic, and even now, day to day, it is helpful to look at a wider time span for signs of change in the outbreak.

This provides a clearer picture of where the pandemic is accelerating, staying the same, or reducing because it less affected by daily variations in reporting.

Data shows the rolling seven-day average currently stands at 5,329. That means, over the past seven days, that many people have been diagnosed in the UK every 24 hours, on average.

The figure is 54 per cent higher than that recorded last Friday (3,466). And it has been increasing every day for the past six days.

Cases have not been shrinking since the end of August, when the seven-day average was in minus figures for four days running. And from around April 17 to July 12, the average consistently fell because of lockdown.
BETWEEN 9,000 AND 16,000 BRITONS ARE CATCHING COVID-19 EVERY DAY, DATA SHOWS

Between 9,000 and 16,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to researchers monitoring the UK's outbreak.

King's College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate that there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week.

The Office for National Statistics, a Government-run agency, has made a more modest estimate yesterday, saying it thinks around 9,600 people are contracting the virus every day, a 60 per cent rise from the 6,000 a week prior.

Both surveillance projects are picking up far more than the Government's official testing programme, which recorded 6,000-plus cases on Thursday and Wednesday.

KCL collects its data by sending tests to people who report tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19 into the mobile app, while the ONS study sends tests to random households regardless of their health status.

Data from the symptom-tracking app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up and report their symptoms, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms.

This figure has more than doubled since last week, when there were about 70,000 symptomatic patients. The chief scientist behind the app said it was fresh evidence the crisis was 'rising at an alarming rate'.

The ONS, on the other hand, estimates that about 113,000 people are currently carrying the virus, although the number-crunching body only looks at England and Wales.

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The ONS, on the other hand, estimates that about 113,000 people are currently carrying the virus, although the number-crunching body only looks at England and Wales

On Monday, Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty made a stark forecast of 50,000 coronavirus infections per day by mid-October, which could lead to some 200 deaths a day by November.

But it has since been revealed this scenario - claimed not to be a 'prediction' - was based on studies involving just hundreds of positive cases.

A spokesman for Sir Vallance confirmed on Tuesday that the seven-day estimate was 'heavily' based on findings of the weekly survey of the Office for National Statistics, and the React-1 survey by Imperial College London.

The studies test a random sample of 100,000 people but, as the virus is circulating at low levels, they have to base their predictions off only a few hundred positive cases.

In the last React-1 study on September 7, they spotted 136 coronavirus cases out of 153,000 people sampled. The low number led them to predict that infections could double every seven days.

This 'doubling every seven days' was used by the Government's top scientists to reach a scenario in which 50,000 cases a day were being diagnosed in October.

The Government admitted it used these surveys as opposed to actual testing data because it was worried that the figures lagged behind the spread of the disease.

Even the Prime Minister appeared to undermine the pair on Tuesday, when he admitted cases in the UK could be taking as long as 20 days to double in number.

The same day the terrifying predictions were lambasted as 'implausible' by scientists, Mr Johnson stood in front of the House of Commons to unveil a wave of new measures designed to stop the spread of the disease, including making the Army available to help police enforce stringent new coronavirus rules such as a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.

Figures based on diagnosed cases alone suggest the outbreak is doubling every 14 days, rising from an average of 2,527 infections a day on September 10 to 4,964 yesterday.

Meanwhile, the growth rate suggests cases are doubling 'between every 10 to 20 days'. The size of the growth rate indicates the speed of change.

Yesterday the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) reported the growth rate was growing by between four and eight per cent each day, up from the two to seven per cent they reported last week.

The range they gave on September 11, two weeks ago, was from -1 to 3 per cent, meaning there was some possibility that the number of new cases might still be falling slowly.

Professor Kevin McConway, a statistician at The Open University, said: 'A four per cent daily growth rate corresponds to a 32 per cent weekly growth rate. And it corresponds to a time of about 18 days for the number of infections to double.

'An eight per cent daily growth rate corresponds to a weekly growth rate of about 71 per cent, and a doubling time of about 9 days, just a bit over a week.

'So, in very broad terms, these growth rates do match the conclusions on the growth of new cases in yesterday's update on the ONS infection survey. And they are certainly big enough to be worrying.'

Scientists say the more testing, the more cases are found in the community and reported by the Government. This can give the impression there are more infections in the population when there are not.

Testing has been ramped up over the summer, doubling from a daily average of 112,000 on July 16 to 227,000 a day now. During this period, Government-reported cases have increased eight-fold.

A useful measurement of whether cases are on the up due to testing or a genuine increase in spread is the 'test positivity rate' - the number of people who test positive out of the total number swabbed.

Department of Health data shows 19.83 of every 1,000 people are testing positive for the virus under the current testing scheme, up from five in July and 13 two weeks ago.

It's been rising steadily over July, August and September as a number of coronavirus restrictions were eased and people were encouraged to go back to work, Eat Out to Help Out, and children went back to school.

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The Office for National Statistics, a Government-run agency, has made a more modest estimate yesterday, saying it thinks around 9,600 people are contracting the virus every day, a 60 per cent rise from the 6,000 a week prior

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The ONS has spotted a rise in infections among all age groups in England - although the steepest increase was observed in 17 to 24-year-olds

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The North West is still bearing most of the brunt of the second wave, but Yorkshire, London and the North East are seeing significant outbreaks

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Data from the King College London's app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up and report their symptoms, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms

Figures from NHS Test and Trace, which was launched in May, show the same pattern; test positivity rate lulled in July before picking back up again, but very slowly.

In the week ending July 17, around 1.12 per cent of tests came back as positive (4,041 of 359,406). It is now at 3.28 per cent (19,278 of 587,173), according to data published yesterday.

Calculations show 'positive tests' have increased by 377 per cent, or almost five-fold, in that time period, which would naturally cause alarm.

But the 'test positivity' rate has increased by 187 per cent, or almost three-fold. This suggests at least some of the increase in cases is due to testing, while there is a genuine increase in how much coronavirus is spreading.

Professor Anthony Brookes, an expert in genomics at the University of Leicester, said 'no one is questioning whether the positivity rate is increasing', but he says it is not clear if it is something to worry about and therefore worthy of a potentially damaging second lockdown.

It's also unclear if it will level off or keep rising, as suggested by the Government's chief advisors, and if it will translate to more deaths.

Professor Brookes told MailOnline: 'No-one without a functioning crystal ball can answer those questions with certainty. My own best guess, informed by empirical data and comparisons to many other countries and time periods, is that this is not something to panic about.

'The prevalence will probably rise to about five per cent, 10 per cent at the very most, before fading away, as it has done or is doing in many other EU countries. It will mainly be the young that are infected, with little to no health consequences. Consequently, there will be no dramatic stress on the NHS.

'Critically though, people must be helped to understand that this recent increase is NOT happening everywhere. The government are not making this known. Places that had a large outbreak in the spring/summer are in general now undergoing only a small or even trivial secondary wave.'

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The test positivity rate is increasing, according to Our World In Data. But it is no where near the rates seen in the peak of the pandemic. However, testing was focused on people who were seriously ill at that time, whereas now anyone with symptoms can apply for a test, so it is not comparable
HOW COULD TESTING AFFECT CASE NUMBERS?

If more people are being tested for Covid-19, this will show up in cases data, experts say. On the surface, it may look like a spike in infections. But it is more complicated than that, because it depends on who is being tested, and how many of those people are actually getting a positive rate back.

Professor Kevin McConway, an emeritus professor of applied statistics, The Open University, said: 'In the early stages of the pandemic, there was far less availability of testing in most countries than there now is. So one reason there are more cases is just that people have got better at looking for and finding them.'

And Dr Andrew Preston, a reader in microbial pathogenesis at University of Bath, said: 'Test more people, you will find more positives.

'Initially, testing was restricted to those reporting symptoms, but this has eased and it's now possible for a wider range of people to request tests.'

Testing capacity has rapidly increased over the course of the pandemic in order to reach more people. A significantly higher number of people are being tested since July - when diagnosed cases were at their lowest, NHS Test and Trace data shows.

There has also been an increase in the number of people getting a positive result, suggesting that the virus is, indeed, circulating at higher levels than before.

Department of Health data shows 19.83 of every 1,000 people are testing positive for the virus under the current testing scheme, up from five in July and 13 two weeks ago.

It's been rising steadily over July, August and September as a number of coronavirus restrictions were eased and people were encouraged to go back to work, Eat Out to Help Out, and children went back to school.

Figures from NHS Test and Trace, which was launched in May, show the same pattern; test positivity rate lulled in July before picking back up again, but very slowly.

In the week ending July 17, around 1.12 per cent of tests came back as positive (4,041 of 359,406). It is now at 3.28 per cent (19,278 of 587,173), according to data published yesterday.

Calculations show 'positive tests' have increased by 377 per cent, or almost five-fold, in that time period, which would naturally cause alarm.

But the 'test positivity' rate has increased by 187 per cent, or almost three-fold. This suggests at least some of the increase in cases is due to testing, while there is a genuine increase in how much coronavirus is spreading.

But the test positivity rate also depends on who is actually tested. The NHS Test and Trace data is based on people with symptoms or who believe they have Covid-19 coming forward for a test.

On the other hand, the Office for National Statistics data is based on random swabbing of thousands of households in England. It seeks out Covid-19 cases both symptomatic and asymptomatic.

This data, released yesterday, suggests 0.19 per cent of the population in England, or around one in 500 people, currently have the coronavirus.

Professor McConway told MailOnline: 'The estimated number of new infections per day is a bit under 10,000 – and 10,000 is a tiny proportion of the English population of over 56million. So you don't get that many cases.

'Also remember than in the latest week's Test and Trace data, only about three per cent of the people tested were positive – bigger than the ONS figure but that's because people are tested in T&T only if they have symptoms or have some other reason that makes it relatively likely that they are infected.

'The people tested are not representative of the whole population – they are tested because they have symptoms, or they are in a specific outbreak area, or they work in certain jobs, or something like that.

'I still prefer the ONS infection survey as a reliable data source on the number of infected people. There are caveats – it's true that its estimates are based on rather small numbers of people being infected, but that's because the percentage of people infected in the population, at any one time, is not large – and actually it never was very large even at the peak of the pandemic back in April.'

There are now a number of different data-sets which confirm the coronavirus outbreak is growing once more. But depending on the data analysed, it shows a different picture.

Some scientists argued that the 'doubling every seven days' theory spouted by Sir Patrick and Professor Whitty is unjustified - and should not have been used to 'scare' the public.

Neither Spain nor France, whose outbreaks the UK is thought to be on a par with, have got anywhere near the dreaded 50,000 cases a day mark.

Those nations have recorded a significant rise in daily infections in recent weeks, and hospitalisations and deaths have gone up alongside them. But cases are an average 11,100 per day in Spain and 10,100 in France.

If the UK were to follow the trends in these two countries, then cases would be at 10,000 a day by next month. But if cases were to jump to 50,000 a day by next month, as suggested, then they would be off the scale compared with France and Spain — six and three times higher, respectively.

Only three countries in the world – India, the US and Brazil – have ever reported more than 50,000 new cases per day.

One expert, Professor David Paton, said data had been presented unfairly to the public and demanded: 'If they've got an explanation [for why the data was presented like that], then let's hear it.'

The University of Buckingham's Professor Karol Sikora, who has regularly been critical of the Government's coronavirus response, said: 'They're so negative. The graph for the worst case scenario, for 50,000 cases a day by next month, it's just scaring people.'

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Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday said he believed the epidemic was doubling every seven days, which would lead to 200 deaths a day by mid-November. But figures throw into doubt some of his calculations

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Some scientists argued that the 'doubling every seven days' theory spouted by Sir Patrick (left) and Professor Whitty (right) is unjustified - and should not have been used to 'scare' the public

Hugh Pennington, an emeritus microbiologist at Aberdeen University said their prediction 'wasn't scientifically accurate'.

'It was almost designed to scare us,' he said. 'It didn't take into account we are doing a lot. I was annoyed because they were naughty doing that.'

Professor Paul Hunter, a medical expert at the University of East Anglia, said the figures they presented were 'implausible' for mid-October.

'It's important to bear in mind that they were not making a prediction, they were presenting an illustration of what would happen if cases continued to double, which they almost certainly will not,' he said.

Professor Brookes said they had presented a 'distorted, unbalanced view of reality', telling MailOnline this week: 'Nothing they said was a lie. But they selectively presented things, and did not show the full picture.

'They said it wasn't a prediction. But look up a 'prediction' – if you say cases are 'doubling, doubling, doubling, and this is what you get' - it is a prediction.

'I think it was and distorted unbalanced view of reality. I can't say anything was technically wrong – cases have been increasing, and if you have doubling you will get those numbers. But it is selective view of things.'

'Modelling is using guesstimates and trying to predict the future. They want to prepare for what is coming down the road. But models are not data. They should be a way to try and replicate what was happened in the past and try and go forward.

'The alternative is to try and go away form models and use real life, empirical data patterns – the real, factual unquestionable data. What's happened in the past six months in the UK? And what has happened in other countries? I can't see any empirical data that suggests 50,000 cases by mid-October.'

Professor Brookes said using daily diagnosed case numbers, you can argue that cases have grown. But he believes the increase in the 'positivity rate' will not continue.

He said: 'There was a couple weeks it shot up, and then it's gone flat. They haven't spoken about this in their data.'

'There is an increase in percentage of [proportion of positive] tests. But it seems to have been a two-week event that has flattened now.

'Twice over the summer we have seen exactly this. You ease up on lockdown. The rate goes up and then plateaus again. This is what it looks like to me. Given all of that – this recent concern about a second wave, it's just unfounded.'

For example, Government data shows 14 of every 1,000 people were testing positive in mid-June. This went up to 15 per 1,000 for one week, before dipping back down and continuing to fall further.

The figure no-one wants to see increase is hospitalisations, because this gives a clear signal that more people are getting seriously sick with the disease and it is not just spreading in the younger, healthier and fitter groups.

The seven-day rolling average for new hospital admissions is at 224 - 46 per cent higher than a week ago. Similarly the number of people in hospital (1,257) is 50 per cent higher than a week ago.

MORE towns go into lockdown - so is London next? Capital is put on watch list as Wigan, Stockport, and Blackpool are banned from mixing from MIDNIGHT and experts warn UK's Covid-19 R rate could now be as high as 1.5 with 6,874 new cases and 34 deaths

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Britain's coronavirus R rate could now be as high as 1.5, government scientific advisers warned yesterday after rises in all regions of the country

Around 17million Britons are now living under tougher coronavirus restrictions than the rest of nation after health chiefs yesterday confirmed extra measures were to be imposed on all residents living in Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool, Leeds and parts of Wales.

London was also placed on the national lockdown watchlist because of a spike in cases and hospital admissions as government advisors warned the capital's R rate may now be as high as 1.5 - the same level seen in the North West, North East and the Midlands, which have all been stung by additional Covid-19 measures.

Number 10's expert panel SAGE yesterday also warned the reproductive rate of the virus may be as high as that for the UK overall. It's the advisory body's highest projection since it began tracking how quickly the disease was growing back in June and is slightly up on last week's estimate of 1.1 - 1.4.

If the R rate - the number of people each infected patient passes the disease on to - remains above one, then the outbreak will continue to grow and cases will keep surging, running the risk that local Covid-19 outbreaks spiral out of control into regional and even national problems.

Health chiefs yesterday announced 6,874 more Covid-19 infections and 34 more deaths. The daily case toll is a record-high and takes the total number of cases to 423,237, although millions of Brits went undiagnosed during the first wave of the pandemic due the government's lacklustre testing regime.

Government figures show the number of victims succumbing to the life-threatening infection now stands at 29 - 73 per cent higher than the average of 17 last Friday. But they are still a far-cry from the 1,000 being recorded each day during the darkest weeks of the crisis in March and April. But SAGE warned that the low numbers of deaths do not reflect how quickly the outbreak is growing.

Hospital admissions - another measure of how severe an outbreak is - have also risen again, with 314 newly-infected patients requiring NHS care in England on Wednesday - up from 183 the week before.

Council bosses in London met yesterday to confirm that the response to the capital's crisis would be escalated. No tougher measures will be imposed yet but health chiefs have pledged to boost testing capacity to control any flare-ups. Formal confirmation is expected to be announced later by Public Health England.

Official government figures show London recorded 620 more cases of Covid-19 yesterday - twice as high as the rate last week. But the capital's outbreak appears to have plateaued since spiking at the start of September, when taking into account separate data that analyses when positive samples were actually taken, not recorded. It can take suspected patients several days to get their test results back.

Hospital admissions in the capital have tripled in a fortnight, with the rolling average rising from 11 on September 2 to 34.7 by September 19. But the number is still a far cry from the 700-plus at the height of the pandemic in spring and only slightly higher than they were the start of July (around 25). For comparison, 13 times as many admissions were being recorded in March (425 on March 22) — before the national lockdown was imposed.

Meanwhile, swathes of towns in the North of England and parts of Wales will be hit with local lockdowns tonight in a bid to curb spiralling infections. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed Wigan and Stockport are to have local restrictions that apply to the rest of Greater Manchester reintroduced.

The Manchester towns were previously removed from restrictions on meeting with people in homes and private gardens after the infection rate fell in the boroughs. The case rate in Wigan currently stands at over 106 cases per 100,000, whilst Stockport has 71 cases per 100,000. From midnight tonight, residents will be banned from mixing indoors or in gardens with people outside their immediate household.

The same raft of measures have also been announced in Leeds and Blackpool - which now follows Lancashire in being placed under local lockdown restrictions, having escaped the measures last Friday. Welsh officials yesterday confirmed Cardiff and Swansea will be hit by the same measures from 6pm on Sunday, while the town of Llanelli will see the new rules come in on Saturday at 6pm. The addition of these areas would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 17million across the UK.

Dozens of areas across England which have seen Covid-19 infection rates spiral over the past month are currently on the watchlist, which is updated every Friday. Authorities are separated into three different categories based on how quickly outbreaks are growing. Local restrictions are imposed in areas carrying the 'intervention' tag, while more testing is made available for boroughs listed as being of 'concern' and more detailed plans to control cases are made for areas under 'enhanced support'.

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London is thought to be on the brink of a localised lockdown. Official government data shows the capital recorded 620 more cases of Covid-19 yesterday - twice as high as the rate last week

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Covid-19 hospital admissions in the capital have tripled in a fortnight, with the seven-day average rising from 11 on September 2 to 33.4 by September 18. But the number of hospitalisations in the city is still a far cry from the 700-plus at the height of the pandemic in spring and only slightly higher than they were the start of July (around 25), when the country was deemed safe to reopen again

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Public Health England data shows only a handful of London's 32 boroughs are now seeing a sustained rise in infections - including Redbridge, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham and Enfield. The data is set to be updated yesterday, but gives an indication of which boroughs are struggling the most

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King's College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) believes it has risen 60 per cent over the same time frame and that there are now 9,600 infections a day

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressed for more measures to be imposed to stop cases rising any more before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nation-wide 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and encouraged working from home again. Pictured: Soho

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Leeds is also expected to be hit with new restrictions from midnight, including 'more household restrictions' along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts, because of a rise in cases
WHAT AREAS ARE ON THE MOST RECENT WATCHLIST?

The most recent watchlist, published last Friday, included:

INTERVENTION (number of infections recorded up to September 15 for every 100,000 people living there)

BOLTON - 212.7

BLACKBURN WITH DARWEN - 122.9

OADBY AND WIGSTON - 119.2

HYNDBURN - 117.6

PRESTON - 105.1

WARRINGTON - 105.0

TAMESIDE - 103.5

SUNDERLAND - 103.1

OLDHAM - 98.9

BIRMINGHAM - 98.0

BRADFORD - 97.5

LIVERPOOL - 95.8

WIRRAL - 95.6

BURNLEY - 93.8

KNOWSLEY - 92.9

ST HELENS - 91.6

BURY - 90.5

SALFORD - 88.8

LEICESTER - 86.7

SOUTH TYNESIDE - 86.5

ROCHDALE - 84.1

MANCHESTER - 83.6

GATESHEAD - 77.5

SOLIHULL - 77.2

SANDWELL - 72.1

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE - 69.6

PENDLE - 61.3

HALTON - 60.7

KIRKLEES - 60.4

WOLVERHAMPTON - 60.3

CALDERDALE - 59.5

ROSSENDALE - 57.8

SOUTH RIBBLE - 52.5

SEFTON - 49.0

NORTH TYNESIDE - 48.5

WEST LANCASHIRE - 47.4

COUNTY DURHAM - 46.7

TRAFFORD - 45.7

CHORLEY - 35.1

WYRE - 34.2

FYLDE - 28.8

NORTHUMBERLAND - 24.7

LANCASTER - 22.9

RIBBLE VALLEY - 18.3

ENHANCED SUPPORT

LEEDS - 75.5

BLABY - 65.7

STOCKPORT - 48.7

CONCERN

SELBY - 65.1

HARTLEPOOL - 55.8

SHEFFIELD - 53.7

SPELTHORNE - 53.4

CORBY - 50.8

MIDDLESBROUGH - 47.0

NORTHAMPTON - 42.6

SCARBOROUGH - 42.3

HERTSMERE - 37.4

PETERBOROUGH - 30.3

STOKE-ON-TRENT - 27.4

In other coronavirus developments:

National debt hit another record high of more than £2trillion at the end of August as Tory MPs demand the Government urgently set out how the UK will pay for the coronavirus crisis after Rishi Sunak's latest bailout;
Row over Rishi's £3bn jobs rescue: Bosses say scheme won't save jobs because there's 'little incentive' to pay wages of staff not in work while Next boss Lord Wolfson warns UK economy risks 'becoming HOOKED' on handouts;
Scottish students face 'red and yellow cards' for breaking Covid rules after freshers were caught throwing illegal parties at university halls;
Furious Tories nickname Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance 'Witless and Unbalanced' as 40 MPs urge Boris Johnson to be 'smart' and give Parliament a vote on all new lockdown rules;
A long-served female worker at Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire pudding plant dies while another is seriously ill in hospital - two weeks after Covid outbreak.

A weekly report by SAGE yesterday said that the R rate for the UK appears to be between 1.2 and 1.5, and is the same in England. These are the highest estimates the chief scientists have given since their regular updates began.

The R appears to be highest in London, the Midlands, North West and the North East, where it is thought to be at the same rate as the UK. This means each infected case passes it on to 1.2 to 1.5 others, or every 10 infect 12 or 15 more.

SAGE cautions, however, that its estimates of R are around three weeks out of date each time they are published, because they are calculated by watching how the numbers of positive tests and hospital cases change over time.

The advisory panel also says the growth rate has increased, and the outbreak may now be increasing in size by between four and eight per cent each day. Last week it said it was slightly lower at between three and seven per cent.

But it admitted outbreaks could be growing by as much as nine per cent each day in the South West.

The decision to put London on the national watchlist comes as a striking MailOnline map yesterday suggested that London's Covid-19 hotspots may be linked by the city's bustling underground network. Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, and Sutton — none of which have a Tube station — have the lowest infection rates across the entire city.

London Councils, a cross-party organisation which represents all 32 boroughs and the City of London, said the English capital was being placed on the national Covid-19 watchlist.

The list is divided between 'areas of intervention' which usually have local lockdown restrictions, areas of 'enhanced support', given more testing for example, and' areas of concern' that are closely monitored.

London Councils said no additional measures were being taken in the city but that 'the city's testing capacity is boosted so that Londoners have timely access to Covid-19 tests and the government must ensure that this is sustained from now on'.

The organisation said London's Its entry on the list should serve as a 'stark reminder that now is time for all Londoners to pull together and take action'.

The watchlist is determined by Health Secretary Matt Hancock after studying epidemiological advice from the chief medical officer, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England.

Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader and London Mayor candidate, said: 'We have lacked test information in London for weeks, which has caused huge worry for all of us in local and regional government,' according to The Evening Standard.

'The news that Public Health England has added London to its list of areas of concern, using estimates from other data, shows what a crucial time this is, and how all our actions can make a difference.

'The 10pm closing time for bars and restaurants has already led to crowded scenes on public transport that worry me greatly. My strong advice to Londoners is to avoid going out in the next few days unless you have to, and find other ways to see friends and family.

'Like you, I am sad, tired and weary after six months of a gruelling national crisis, but we're in a dangerous moment, lacking data and tests, and we must work together as a city amid rising signs of infection.'

Meanwhile, Blackpool will have extra Covid-19 restrictions imposed for the first time from Saturday along with two other North West towns facing further clampdowns.

Wigan and Stockport, which had been exempt from wider restrictions imposed on Greater Manchester, will now face the same restrictions as the rest of the region.

Blackpool, which had been exempt from restrictions in the rest of Lancashire, will join the rest of the county in having to follow the same rules.

The resort was controversially left out of Lancashire restrictions imposed recently but then saw a huge surge in visitors during the sunny weather last weekend.

Scott Benton, Conservative MP for Blackpool South writing on his Facebook page, said the town's council and the Government had now decided to impose additional restrictions on the resort, which will bring it into line with the rest of Lancashire which had extra restrictions imposed last week.

Mr Benton said when the decision was made to impose additional restrictions on the rest of Lancashire at the beginning of last week, the Blackpool infection rate was 23 cases per 100,000 people at that time and significantly below the average for the rest of Lancashire.

But by Wednesday the town's infection rate had increased to 63 cases per 100,000, still below the average for the whole of Lancashire but a significant rise in cases over the last week.

Mr Benton's post on Facebook said: 'The rise in cases is particularly high in areas of north Blackpool and the evidence is that this is due to transmission within the community rather than as a result of tourism (this explains why our local infection rate has remained low in comparison to other areas in the North West despite visitors coming here all summer).
HOW HAS THE R RATE CHANGED FROM LAST WEEK?

AREA

UK

England

--

East

London

Midlands

NE and Yorks

North West

South East

South West

THIS WEEK

1.2 - 1.5

1.2 - 1.5

1.1 - 1.3

1.2 - 1.5

1.2 - 1.5

1.2 - 1.5

1.2 - 1.5

1.0 - 1.3

1.1 - 1.4

LAST WEEK

1.1 - 1.4

1.2 - 1.4

1.0 - 1.3

1.1 - 1.4

1.2 - 1.5

1.2 - 1.4

1.2 - 1.5

1.1 - 1.4

0.9 - 1.6
HOW HAS THE GROWTH RATE CHANGED FROM LAST WEEK?

AREA

UK

England

--

East

London

Midlands

NE and Yorks

North West

South East

South West

THIS WEEK

4% to 8%

4% to 8%

1% to 4%

4% to 9%

3% to 7%

4% to 8%

3% to 9%

1% to 5%

1% to 6%

LAST WEEK

3% to 7%

2% to 7%

0% to 5%

3% to 7%

4% to 8%

3% to 8%

3% to 8%

3% to 7%

0% to 9%

'It is vital that we take sensible steps now to reduce the rate of transmission which is why these new restrictions are being applied.

'Nobody wants a second full lockdown and that idea behind these new rules is to slow the spread of Covid-19 so that we do not end up in a position where a full lockdown has to be considered.'

Lisa Nandy, Labour MP for Wigan, said that additional restrictions on mixing between households are to be reimposed on the borough in line with most of Greater Manchester.

She tweeted: 'The Health Minister confirmed in a call that a rise in infections in Wigan means we're subject to wider Greater Manchester restrictions again.'

Restrictions were previously eased in Wigan on August 26 as infection rates were low but latest seven-day rolling figures show 106.2 positive cases per 100,000 population.

Stockport is facing the same additional restrictions being re-imposed in Wigan which bans mixing between households which had been allowed since September 2. The restrictions are expected to come in from midnight.

Matt Hancock said in a statement yesterday: 'The latest data shows a sharp increase in incidence rates per 100,000 population in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport, which are significantly above the national average.

'As a result, we are making regulations which take effect from Saturday 26 September and will impose restrictions on inter-household mixing in private dwellings and gardens in Leeds, Stockport, Wigan and Blackpool.

'This is in line with measures seen elsewhere in the country, such as Leicester and the West Midlands. People who live in these areas will not be allowed to gather in a private dwelling or garden with any other household unless in a support bubble. People from anywhere else will also not be allowed to gather with another household in a private dwelling or garden in these areas.

'We have also reviewed the position in Leicester, the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Bolton, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and the remaining local authorities in Greater Manchester and have decided to maintain their position on the watchlist as areas of intervention, as well as the current restrictions in these areas.'

West Midlands Police asks public to report breaches of rule of six

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Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the city's virus rate was 98.5 per 100,000 people with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent. Pictured: Students and young people out drinking in the city this week

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Wednesday night out in Leeds: Revellers queue up to party on the last night before the new 10pm curfew announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson
SCOTLAND RECORDS 558 NEW CASES AS NICOLA STURGEON SAYS STUDENTS NOT TO BLAME FOR SPIKE

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted students are not to blame for a rise in coronavirus outbreaks, as she announced a record daily total of new Covid-19 cases.

Hundreds of students at universities across Scotland are self-isolating after outbreaks of the virus.

All students face disciplinary action if they break strict measures imposed on them by their universities, including bans on visiting pubs over this weekend and restrictions on socialising.

Speaking at the daily briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister said 558 people tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland in the past 24 hour, bringing the total to 26,518.

This is the highest daily total since the pandemic began - but it is impossible to compare numbers now to those recorded during the first wave because so few tests were carried out in March and April.

There has also been a rise in the positivity rates of tests to 9.5 per cent, but no new deaths have been recorded - meaning the total number of fatalities remains at 2,510.

Addressing students, Ms Sturgeon said: 'I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now - I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.

'This is an exciting time in your lives but I remember from my own experience... that it's also a time of adjustment and it's also a time of home sickness as well, and that's the case for students every year without Covid-19 but it is much more difficult given the circumstances you are all facing right now.'

She said some students feel they are being blamed for the spread of Covid-19 but 'that is not the case'. 'It's not your fault,' she added.

The statement continues: 'This will be difficult news for the people living in these areas, profoundly affecting their daily lives. These decisions are not taken lightly, and such measures will be kept under review and in place no longer than they are necessary.

'There are exemptions to these measures so people can still meet with those in their support bubble. There are other limited exemptions such as for work purposes or to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person.

'Through the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Protected Areas and Linked Childcare Households) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, people may create an exclusive childcare bubble for the purposes of informal childcare for children under 14, helping ease pressure on those living under local restrictions so they can get to work.'

Meanwhile the council leader of Leeds Judith Blake said she expected Leeds will be made an 'area of intervention' this Friday, up from enhanced support last week. It means 'more household restrictions along the lines of those already in force across three of the West Yorkshire districts in Bradford, Kirkless and Calderdale', she said. From Tuesday, people in those areas have been banned from socialising with anyone not part of their household or support bubble in private homes and gardens.

Ms Blake told reporters: 'We expect them to come in from midnight.' The addition of Leeds' 793,000 population would take the number of people living under local restrictions to more than 17million people across the UK.

Leeds director of public health Victoria Eaton said the city's virus rate was 98.5 per 100,000 people with a positive testing rate of 8.4 per cent. For comparison, Bolton's is 218.4 and the highest in England.

Mr Eaton said: 'The spread of the virus is very dynamic across the city. It's clear to see we have very widespread community transmissions right across the city.

'We have high rates in some of our student areas which we have increased more recently. It's clearly not just an issue for student areas.'

She said cases were rising in all age groups, not just young adults and that compliance with self-isolation rules was low in Leeds.

'We want to find ways to support local people to isolate,' she said. 'The expectation is the restrictions will be in place for a longer period of time, potentially right through the winter.' Both London and Leeds have been feared to be tinkering on the brink of a 'local lockdown' for at least a week.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressed for more measures to be imposed to stop cases rising any more before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nation-wide 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and encouraged working from home again.

Infections across the city has more than doubled since August, with the seven-day weekly average number of cases rising from 86 per 100,000 to 262 per 100,000.

Ministers are said to be mulling a decision to place more than 9million people in the city under even tighter restrictions, if the new suite of national social distancing measures announced by the Government this week fail to curb climbing numbers.

The most up-to-date statistics released by Public Health England (PHE), which cover the week ending September 18, reveal that just a single borough in the capital — Redbridge — ranks among the top 40 worst-hit regions of the country.

But infection rates in 20 London boroughs are higher than areas of England already hit by restrictions. PHE will publish its latest batch of figures on infections yesterday afternoon which will also confirm London's spot on the watchlist.

It comes as the Welsh Government announce Cardiff and Swansea will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Sunday, and the town of Llanelli on Saturday at 6pm.

Under the restrictions, people will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse. They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.

People must work from home when possible, health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference in Cardiff.

Over the past seven days, Cardiff reached a test positivity rate of 3.8 per cent, exceeding the Welsh Government's 'amber' threshold of 2.5 per cent – part of its 'traffic light roadmap' strategy for managing the pandemic.

On Thursday, Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas said the capital had seen 38.2 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over the past five days. Swansea's rate is 49.8.

From 6pm on Thursday, changes to coronavirus regulations mean Welsh hospitality businesses including pubs, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and casinos must not supply alcohol between 10pm and 6am the following day.

Licensed premises will only be able to provide table service for customers when consuming food or drink, and following a 20-minute period to allow customers to finish their drinks at 10pm, must close by 10.20pm.

During a behind-closed-doors briefing this week, Kevin Fenton, director of Public Health England in London, told Mayor Mr Khan and the leaders of all 32 boroughs that all signs indicated the disease was making a rapid resurgence in the city.

Professor Fenton argued testing infrastructure had been stripped out of the capital and reallocated to hotspots in the north, meaning many Londoners may have gone undiagnosed.

He warned cases could be being massively under-reported due to Londoners struggling to get access to tests, and that increased hospital admissions and a rising number of calls to 111 were better indicators that London was in the midst of an outbreak as serious as in the northeast.

Professor Fenton told The Times: 'We are seeing a rising tide of coronavirus cases in London across a broad range of ages. This is no longer limited to young people in their twenties.'

He said that 'whilst the number of cases by borough varies, the general trend across the city is one of steadily increasing transmission and if that continues then the situation may escalate'.

Professor Fenton revealed that about that about a fifth of testing capacity had been stripped from the capital and reallocated to hotspots in the north this month.

In the middle of August there were about 90,000 tests being done every week in London, but there were just 65,000 carried out last week, according to Professor Fenton.

But the latest Department of Health figures show testing in London has actually increased week-on-week.

There were 85,000 tests done across the capital in the week up to September 16, up from 75,000 the previous seven days. Even the capital's hotspots are enjoying more access to swabs - Barking carried out 2,669 tests in the week ending September 16, 25 per cent more than the week before, when 2,036 swabs were done. In Redbridge, 3,370 residents were checked for the virus in the latest reporting period, compared to 3,046 the week prior, a rise of nearly 10 per cent.
BETWEEN 9,000 AND 16,000 PEOPLE GETTING INFECTED EACH DAY, DATA SHOWS

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The North West is still bearing most of the brunt of the second wave, but Yorkshire, London and the North East are seeing significant outbreaks

Between 9,000 and 16,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to researchers monitoring the UK's outbreak.

King's College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week.

The Office for National Statistics, a Government-run agency, has made a more modest estimate yesterday, saying it thinks around 9,600 people are contracting the virus every day, a 60 per cent rise from the 6,000 a week prior.

Both surveillance projects are picking up far more than the Government's official testing programme, which recorded 6,000-plus cases on Thursday and Wednesday.

KCL collects its data by sending tests to people who report tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19 into the mobile app, while the ONS study sends tests to random households regardless of their health status.

Data from the symptom-tracking app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms. This figure has more than doubled since last week, when there were about 70,000 symptomatic patients. The chief scientist behind the app said it was fresh evidence the crisis was 'rising at an alarming rate'.

The ONS, on the other hand, estimates that about 113,000 people are currently carrying the virus - equating to around one in 500 people - although the number-crunching body only looks at England and Wales.

It comes as Matt Hancock yesterday suggested the true number of cases occurring each day was in the region of 10,000. And the Health Secretary pointed out that the spike now is nowhere near levels seen during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when 100,000 people were getting infected every 24 hours.

Official figures show the outbreak may finally be slowing down, despite hospital admissions for coronavirus having tripled in a fortnight and public health chiefs warning of a 'rising tide' of the virus in the capital.

Only a handful of boroughs now seeing a sustained rise in infections — including Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, two of the three worst-hit parts of the capital.

Redbridge, in east London, is suffering the highest number of infections of anywhere in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 34.2 per 100,000 people, according to PHE data up to September 18.

The borough of 300,000 people currently has just the 40th highest infection rate in the UK but it has suffered a sustained increase in diagnoses of Covid-19 over the past month and a half.

Figures show infections have tripled in Redbridge since September 4, when the rate was 11.2 per 100,000 per week, and have risen by tenfold since the start of August (3.3).

And Redbridge's actual number of new infections being diagnosed each day — figures which are provided by the Department of Health — is one of the only borough's to still be on the up. It went from a rolling seven-day average of three cases at the end of August to almost 23 at the end of last week.

The Department of Health data, published on the government's coronavirus dashboard, takes into account daily cases by specimen date, meaning they lag behind by a few days because it can take upwards of 72 hours to get a result back.

The west London borough of Hounslow has been the second worst-hit region in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 32.5 per 100,000 in the week ending September 18. Like Redbridge, Hounslow has seen cases triple in the past three weeks after rising from 5.9 new infections per 100,000 people at the start of August.

But Department of Health data shows cases in Hounslow, home to 290,000 people, have started to fall. Around 16 actual cases were being diagnosed each day on September 7, up from four at the end of August. But this dropped to below nine on the most recent full-day of data, September 16.

Hounslow has one of the largest South Asian populations in the country - about 20 per cent, compared to the 2 per cent national average - who have been disproportionately affected the virus throughout the crisis.

The weekly infection rates in both boroughs are still significantly lower than the UK average, which is about 47 per 100,000. Although this figure is being skewed upwards due to outbreaks in the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Oldham.

The east London borough of Barking and Dagenham is suffering 29.3 infections per 100,000, having more than doubled since the start of the month, when the case rate was 12.3 per 100,000, and quadrupling since August 1 (5.9 per 100,000).

Department of Health figures suggest its rolling seven-day average number of daily infections is also still on the up. The borough, home to around 210,000 people, recorded an average of four cases a day at the end of August. This jumped to around nine during the start of September before levelling off.

But figures for the past week, which are not yet deemed to be accurate because of the three-day lag it takes for coronavirus test samples to be analysed, suggest it may yet be hit by another spike.

Rounding out the top 10 worst-hit boroughs in London for infection rates are Enfield (27.3), Newham (27), Ealing (26.9), Hackney (25.7), Tower Hamlets (25.5), Hammersmith and Fulham (24.8), Harrow (24.4) and Havering (24.4), all of which were up on the week before except Newham.

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Figures show infections have tripled in Redbridge since September 4, when the rate was 11.2 per 100,000 per week, and have risen by tenfold since the start of August (3.3)

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The east London borough of Barking and Dagenham is suffering 29.3 infections per 100,000, having more than doubled since the start of the month, when the case rate was 12.3 per 100,000, and quadrupling since August 1 (5.9 per 100,000)

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The west London borough of Hounslow has been the second worst-hit region in the capital, with a weekly case rate of 32.5 per 100,000 in the week ending September 18

MailOnline revealed yesterday London's Covid-19 hotspots could be linked by the city's bustling underground network, according to a striking map based on government data.

The cluster of cases appear to be centered along the 11 Tube-lines — used by some 2million people every day before the pandemic struck.

It means areas in the north west and north east of London may be suffering from bigger outbreaks than the south, simply because they have more public transport links. Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, and Sutton — none of which have a Tube station — have the lowest infection rates across the entire city.

The connection has previously been discovered by experts looking at other contagious respiratory diseases that spread via droplets, such as the coronavirus. British scientists have previously linked busy Tube stations to worse flu outbreaks.

The more changes passengers needed to make on their journey, the more contact they were likely to have with other people. This would potentially be the case with London's three top hotspots — Redbridge, Hounslow, and Barking and Dagenham — all of which are only served by one Tube line.

Nine of 32 boroughs which were found to have higher cases of the flu, based solely on their London underground connections, now also have higher Covid-19 infection rates. Scientists say the Tube is the 'perfect environment' for a virus to spread because of crowding, poor ventilation and dirty surfaces touched by millions.

But experts say the pattern may be more complicated than that — it may be more key workers, who are vulnerable to picking up the virus because they come into close contact with lots of people, choose to live near a Tube line in order to get around easier, while those able to work from home live further out in the suburban commuter belt.

Infection rates may also be heavily influenced by the borough's deprivation, as Government studies have shown poorer areas have been shown to have more Covid-19 deaths, and ethnic diversity, as Black, Asian and ethnic minorities have been harder hit by the pandemic for a multitude of reasons.

Millions of travellers were put off the tube during the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus because the Government ruled against any travel other than essential.

But since restrictions have been lifted in response to the outbreak dwindling, hundreds of thousands more journeys are now being made. Tube capacity has risen to around 35 per cent, up from four per cent in April and May. Cases also appear to keep rising in London alongside the uptick in journeys.

MailOnline analysis last week revealed that 20 boroughs in total across London have infection rates higher than areas of England already hit by restrictions, including Kensington and Chelsea (23.7), Wandsworth (23), Brent 22.7.

Public Health England's most recent watchlist shows the authority in England with the lowest case rate considered an 'area of intervention' — the highest degree of concern — is Ribble Valley, with 18.3 cases per 100,000.

Meanwhile, several boroughs in the capital have managed to keep virus cases suppressed since August, despite the upwards trend seen across the nation.

The south London borough of Sutton ranks among the 25 least affected areas in England, with a current weekly case rate of 9.3 per 100,000, according to PHE data up to September 18.

This actually fell from the previous week (10.3) and has just by just 45 per cent from the start of August (6.4). Bromley (11.8), Bexley (12.1), Merton (13.6), Croydon (14) and Kingston upon Thames (14.3) have the five lowest weekly infection rates after Sutton.

All of those boroughs, excluding Merton, do not have an underground station, which may partly explain the low number of cases. British scientists have previously linked busy tube stations to worse flu outbreaks.

Testing bosses say they've had to prioritise resources at a time when the country is struggling to ramp up capacity fast enough to deal with the looming second wave.

Boris Johnson has pledged for the UK to be able to process 500,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of next month, more than double the current 242,000 capacity. But industry insiders say this target could be missed because of delays in machines and chemicals.

City workers give their verdict on a possible London lockdown

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Meanwhile, between 9,000 and 16,000 Britons are getting infected with coronavirus every day, according to researchers monitoring the UK's outbreak.

King's College London (KCL) scientists behind the COVID Symptom Tracker mobile app estimate there were at least 16,310 daily cases of the disease in the last week, more than double the 7,536 estimated last week.

The Office for National Statistics, a Government-run agency, has made a more modest estimate yesterday, saying it thinks around 9,600 people are contracting the virus every day, a 60 per cent rise from the 6,000 a week prior.

Both surveillance projects are picking up far more than the Government's official testing programme, which recorded 6,000-plus cases on Thursday and Wednesday.

KCL collects its data by sending tests to people who report tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19 into the mobile app, while the ONS study sends tests to random households regardless of their health status.

Data from the symptom-tracking app, which has seen millions of Brits sign up, suggests there are nearly 150,000 people currently suffering symptomatic Covid-19, although many more will have no symptoms. This figure has more than doubled since last week, when there were about 70,000 symptomatic patients. The chief scientist behind the app said it was fresh evidence the crisis was 'rising at an alarming rate'.

The ONS, on the other hand, estimates that about 113,000 people are currently carrying the virus - equating to around one in 500 people - although the number-crunching body only looks at England and Wales.

It comes as Matt Hancock yesterday suggested the true number of cases occurring each day was in the region of 10,000. And the Health Secretary pointed out that the spike now is nowhere near levels seen during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when 100,000 people were getting infected every 24 hours.

KCL has based its latest estimates on nearly 7,000 tests this week, of which 151 were positive - about three times more than the ONS.

More positive tests improves the accuracy of the data but the study may have a slight bias because it only swabs people who are already ill.

The ONS study sends tests to random groups of people, which may give a better indication of the true scale of the virus. But the real number of infections is likely to lie somewhere in the middle, and both data-sets are being fed into Government to help steer it through the crisis.

KCL's fresh batch of data was based on 6,847 swab tests done between September 7 and September 20 from people right across the UK, during which 151 people tested positive for the virus.

Researchers then extrapolate this data to the general population to make estimates about the virus's trajectory.

The app estimates 147,498 people have symptomatic Covid-19 in the UK right now, with 55,201 patients in England, 14,319 in Scotland and 9,075 in Wales. They did not make estimates for Northern Ireland.

Almost half of the new daily infections are occurring in the North of England (7,778) but London, Glasgow and Belfast are also seeing 'worrying' rises, according to the KCL team.

Broken down, the North West of England is being battered hardest by the latest surge in infections, with estimated cases tripling in the last seven days from 12,544 to 36,316.

In the North East and Yorkshire and London, infections have more than doubled from 12,916 to 27,731 and 9,291 to 18,200, respectively.

The researchers now predict the reproduction 'R' rate - the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects - is dangerously high across the UK - 1.4 in England and Wales and 1.3 in Scotland.

Experts say keeping the R squashed below 1.0 is essential to prevent the outbreak from growing exponentially and spiralling out of control.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London and the brains behind the app, said: 'The number of cases in the UK continues to rise at an alarming rate as we are seeing figures doubling weekly across the country, in particular we are worried about places like London and other major cities like Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow where cases are surging and the R value is around 1.4.'

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:46 pm

Tighter England Covid measures

The government is likely to tighten coronavirus restrictions for parts of England on Monday - including the possibility of closing pubs and restaurants

The changes could see three tiers introduced for local lockdowns

But ministers are now discussing how severe the top tier should be.

It comes as new rules were announced for central Scotland, which will see pubs and restaurants close in the area.

Meanwhile, the number of UK cases rose by 14,162 on Wednesday, with a further 70 deaths announced.

No final decision has been made on the extent of the potential closures in England, but schools are not expected to close.

There are already tighter restrictions in place in parts of the north-east and north-west of England, Birmingham and Leicester, where the rate of infection has been rising.

The Treasury is looking at providing financial support to the hospitality industry in the worst hit areas.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says this support could also be distributed across the country if there were widespread closures.

It's a complicated equation. The Department of Health is worried about the spread of the disease, as well as other patients losing out on other treatments because of the focus on Covid.

No 11 is fearful about the impact on the economy, which has already had a profound shock.

And it's No 10's job to worry about all of it, then reach a conclusion.

But Boris Johnson also knows that his own MPs and the opposition parties are more and more sceptical as each day passes about what the government proposes.

It's clear that shutting pubs and restaurants is a possibility - the "circuit breaker" that we have talked about on here lots of times.

But there are many questions still to be settled.

The changes would come as areas across the country are seeing their level of positive Covid cases rise.

A spike in Nottingham saw it become the area with the fourth-highest infection rate in England, with 496.8 per 100,000 of population.

Local authorities across the county of Nottinghamshire have asked residents to avoid mixing with other households, but official restrictions have yet to be put in place.

In Scotland, licensed premises across the central belt, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, will have to close from Friday evening until 25 October.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to open in other parts of Scotland - but can only serve alcohol outdoors.

Coronavirus in the UK on 7 October

Earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer clashed over the effectiveness and fairness of Covid restrictions at Prime Minister's Questions.

Sir Keir accused the PM of incompetence, saying: "The prime minister really needs to understand that local communities are angry and frustrated."

But the PM accused Labour of changing its stance, saying: "What kind of signal does this send to the people of the country about the robustness of the Labour Party and their willingness to enforce the restrictions?"

Three tiers

The government confirmed last month it was looking at introducing a new three-tier system for local lockdowns, as a way of simplifying the rules.

However, the BBC learned last week that the plan had got the final sign-off by government officials and politicians and was set to be rolled out in mid-October.

The memo seen by the BBC shows plans for additional money for local authorities placed into tiers two or three.

Local authorities would get £1 per head of population if placed into tier two and £2 per head for tier three.

Millions of people across the UK are already affected by extra local restrictions.

In several parts of north-east England, it is illegal to mix with another household in any indoor setting. People are also advised against all but essential travel.

In some areas in Wales, nobody is able to enter or leave without a "reasonable excuse".

In other developments:

    People arriving in the UK from abroad may soon be able to end their 14-day self-isolation early, with plans for a testing system being considered by a new taskforce

    NHS England has announced that people with "long Covid" symptoms will be offered specialist help at clinics

    National 5 exams are to be cancelled in Scotland in 2021 and replaced with teacher assessments and coursework
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54457377
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:30 am

Coronavirus in Africa:

Five reasons why Covid-19 has been less deadly than elsewhere

Many African countries have been praised for waging an effective campaign to combat the spread of coronavirus despite their reputation for having fragile state heath systems.

The continent, which has a population of more than one billion, has had about 1.5 million cases, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins University.

These figures are far lower than those in Europe, Asia or the Americas, with reported cases continuing to decline.

Africa has recorded about 37,000 deaths, compared with roughly 580,000 in the Americas, 230,000 in Europe, and 205,000 in Asia

"The case-fatality ratio (CFR) for Covid-19 in Africa is lower than the global CFR, suggesting the outcomes have been less severe among African populations," noted a recent continental study by Partnership for Evidence-based Response to Covid-19 (PERC), which brings together a number of private and public organisations.

Low testing rates continue to undermine the continental response however, there is no indication that a large number of Covid-19 deaths have been missed, said Dr John Nkengasong, the head of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

So what are some of the reasons for Africa's relatively low death rate?

1: Quick action

The first case on the continent was confirmed in Egypt on 14 February. There were fears that the new virus could quickly overwhelm largely fragile health systems on the continent.

So, right from the beginning, most African governments took drastic measures to try and slow the spread of the virus.

Public health measures - including avoiding handshakes, frequent hand-washing, social distancing and wearing of face masks - were swiftly introduced.

Click on chart to enlarge:
1265

Some countries - like Lesotho - acted even before a single case was reported.

It declared an emergency and closed schools on 18 March, and went into a three-week lockdown about 10 days later in unison with many other southern Africa states.

But only days after the lockdown was lifted - in early May - did Lesotho find its first confirmed cases. In a population of more than 2 million, it has so far recorded about 1,700 cases and 40 deaths.

2: Public support

In a survey conducted in 18 countries in August by PERC, public support for safety measures was high - 85% of respondents said they wore masks in the previous week.

"With strict public health and social measures implemented, African Union member states were able to contain the virus between March and May," the report said.

It added that "minor loosening [of restrictions] in June and July coincided with an increase in the reported cases across the continent".

Since then, there has been a notable drop in the number of confirmed cases and deaths in about half of the continent, possibly linked to the end of the southern hemisphere winter (see below).

Click on chart to enlarge:
1264

Adherence to Covid-19 measures. Survey in 18 African countries. Self-reported adherence to coronavirus measures in Africa. The report draws on findings from a telephone poll of more than 24,000 adults in 18 AU Member States (conducted between 4 and 17 August, 2020) as well as social, economic, epidemiological, population movement, media and security data. It draws on findings from a telephone poll of more than 24,000 adults between 4 -17 August 2020.

The implementation of the restrictions came at a huge cost. Livelihoods were lost on a large scale. South Africa - which had one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world - lost 2.2 million jobs during the first half of the year.

More and more countries have been forced to re-open their economies even though the number of cases is much higher than when they ordered the shutdowns.

According to the PERC report, public opinion about re-opening the economy was mixed - six in 10 respondents said economies needed to re-open, and believed that the risk of getting Covid-19 was minimal if social distancing rules were followed.

However, seven in 10 said that thinking about resuming normal activities made them feel anxious.

"The data suggests that people across the AU see Covid-19 as a serious threat, but for many, the economic and social burdens outweigh their personal risk perception of catching the virus," concluded the report.

3: Young population - and few old-age homes

The age of the population in most African countries is also likely to have played a role in containing the spread of Covid-19.

Globally, most of those who have died have been aged over 80, while Africa is home to the world's youngest population with a median age of 19 years, according to UN data.

"The pandemic has largely been in younger age groups... about 91% of Covid-19 infection in sub-Saharan Africa are among people below 60 years and over 80% are asymptomatic," said the World Health Organization (WHO).

Africa has a far younger population than Europe or the US

"We have [in Africa] about 3% of the population aged over 65 years," sad Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa head.

In comparison, Europe, North America and wealthier Asian countries have the oldest inhabitants.

"One of the big drivers in Western countries is that the elderly people were living in specialized homes and these became places where the transmission was very intense," Dr Moeti added.

These homes are rare in most African countries, where older people are more likely to be living in rural areas.

It is the norm in many African countries for people to return to their rural homes when they retire from employment in urban areas.

The population density in rural areas is lower and therefore maintaining social distance much easier.

Furthermore, an underdeveloped transport system within and between countries appears to have been a blessing in disguise. It means that Africans do not travel as much as people do in more developed economies, minimising contact.

4: Favourable climate

A study conducted by researchers in the University of Maryland in the US found a correlation between temperature, humidity and latitude, and the spread of Covid-19.

"We looked at the early spread [of the virus] in 50 cities around the world. The virus had an easier time spreading in lower temperatures and humidity," said Mohammad Sajadi, the lead researcher.

"Not that it doesn't spread in other conditions - it just spreads better when temperature and humidity drop."

The spread of the virus accelerated in South Africa as the southern hemisphere went into winter.

But as it became warmer, the number of cases dropped significantly, impacting the continental outlook, as South Africa accounts for almost half the total number of cases and deaths on the continent.

5: Good community health systems

The Covid-19 pandemic came at a time when the Democratic Republic of Congo was dealing with its biggest outbreak of Ebola yet. Neighbouring states were on high alert, and the health screening of travellers for Ebola was extended to include Covid-19.

Several West African states - which battled the world's worst ever outbreak of Ebola from 2013-16 - had also mastered the public health measures that have been used to prevent Covid-19, including isolating the infected, tracing their contacts and then getting them quarantined while they get tested.

Some of those helping with Nigeria's polio vaccination programme switched to targeting Covid-19

Furthermore, in Africa's most populous state, Nigeria, teams that had been going into villages to vaccinate children against polio were quickly re-purposed to educate communities about the new pandemic.

This is a point that Dr Rosemary Onyibe, who had been working on the polio eradication programme, made in April:

"Once I heard the news, I instantly thought: duty is calling. My expertise is needed to serve my community.

"We immediately mobilized the existing polio personnel, tracking contacts and conducting follow-up visits."

So, while hospital infrastructure in much of Africa is less developed than in other parts of the world, the continent's strength lay in its tried and tested community health systems.

But all this doesn't mean that people in Africa can afford to relax.

"The slower spread of infection in the region means we expect the pandemic to continue to smoulder for some time, with occasional flare-ups," Dr Moeti said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54418613
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 12, 2020 2:17 am

UK records highest Sunday Covid
hospital death toll since June


Today's not-so-drastic rise in cases could be a glimmer of light to the millions across the north of England who are bracing for a raft of draconian new lockdown measures amid fears that cases are doubling week-on-week

It also marks a 2,294-case drop from yesterday's daily total of 15,166. Saturday's death toll was 81 - 16 more deaths than the 65 recorded today.

But hopes should not be raised too high as while the number is just 9.3 per cent higher than last Sunday's figure of 11,776 - it is more than double the 5,693 daily cases recorded a fortnight ago on September 27.

Further adding to concerns is today's 65 new recorded deaths which is nearly double the 33 deaths seen last Sunday.

This week's figures have remained above the 10,000-mark for seven days straight - although Sunday numbers are notoriously difficult to use as comparisons due to delays in processing over the weekend.

The shocking figures come as a top scientist warned that a second lockdown could be a possibility.

Professor Peter Horby of the University of Oxford warned Britain faces a 'precarious position' as cases numbers, hospital admissions and deaths continue to rise.

As the number of Covid cases triple in a fortnight and millions face lockdown, it emerged:

    Researchers find Covid-19 can survive for a month on surfaces including banknotes, mobile phone screens and stainless steel;

    London could be shielded from the worst of a second wave of coronavirus because one in eight people in the capital have developed antibodies;

    Town hall bosses will be given powers to deploy an army of local volunteers to knock on doors and ask people to self-isolate;

    Labour leaders in the North demanded more cash handouts from the government to support lockdown and called the new furlough scheme 'insufficient';

    Doctors have warned face masks should be mandatory inside and outside to curb the spread of infections;

    BCG vaccine was given to 1,000 people in Exeter University trial to test claims that it helps fight Covid by stimulating the immune system;

    Schoolchildren have been banned from singing Happy Birthday over fears it could spread covid;

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a tasteless 'drinks on me' Covid test joke in Commons bar as he 'joined MPs flouting 10pm curfew';

    'Rule of Six' restriction may be lifted temporarily by Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the festive period.
A further 12,872 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK as the country's daily case total stays above the 10,000 mark for an entire week

Some 65 more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 - nearly double the 33 deaths recorded last week

Coronavirus can survive for a MONTH on surfaces including banknotes, mobile phone screens and stainless steel, researchers find

Coronavirus can survive for a month on surfaces including banknotes, mobile phone screens and stainless steel according to new research.

Researchers at CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, have found that Covid can survive for up to 28 days on surfaces.

The research, undertaken at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong, Victoria, found the virus survived better at colder temperatures.

It also found that the virus survived longer on smooth surfaces such as glass and stainless steel compared to surfaces like cotton according to EurekAlert.

Recent studies have shown that the virus is able to remain infectious in airborne particles for greater than three hours.

Over the course of a month, the virus was analysed and re-isolated to determine its survivability rate.

Further experiments were carried out at 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, with survival times decreasing as the temperature increased.

The study was also carried out in the dark, to remove the effect of UV light as research has demonstrated direct sunlight can rapidly inactivate the virus.

These findings show that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible.

The results, published in the Virology Journa, could be used to improve risk mitigation procedures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Last Sunday, a spreadsheet blunder saw an astronomical spike of 22,961 cases recorded in just one day.

The extraordinary meltdown was caused by an Excel spreadsheet containing lab results reaching its maximum size, and failing to update.

Some 15,841 cases between September 25 and October 2 were not uploaded to the government dashboard so dropped that weekend as the system played catch-up.

The actual number of people who tested positive on last Sunday alone was much lower - standing at 11,776, according to the Government's now-updated daily case data.

This means today's figure of 12,872 is 9.3 per cent higher than the figure recorded last week.

Earlier today, Professor Horby told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the country was in a 'precarious position' with rising coronavirus case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths.

Prof Horby, who is also chairman of the Government advisory group for new and emerging respiratory virus threats (Nervtag), said that hospitals in parts of northern England were already starting to come under pressure.

He said that stringent measures were needed to halt the spread of the virus and added: 'We are already seeing in some parts of the North that some hospitals are starting to see the pressure.

'We have a doubling time of about eight to 15 days so it is not long before those ICU (intensive care unit) beds could be full and we could be in a really difficult situation.

'So I am afraid we are going to have to make some very difficult choices and act very quickly.'

When asked if the country faced a second national lockdown, he said: 'I think that's a possibility and we have to do what we can to avoid that at all costs.'

His comments come as the Prime Minister is set to detail a new three-tier system of restrictions with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across the North of England and see millions of people banned from mixing indoors and outdoors.

When asked why case numbers were much higher in the North, Prof Horby said they had not been as low as the rest of the country and people were having more contact with others.

He added: 'There's two primary reasons. One is that in the North the numbers never really got down as low as they did in the rest of the country.

'Those parts of the country were at a higher starting point.

'Second, we saw that over the summer that the surveys were showing that the number of contacts that people were having with each other were not as low in those parts of the country as elsewhere.

'The underlying reasons for those two things are complex and may well be related to different labour markets, housing density, deprivation, et cetera.'

But Prof Horby said that the risk of death for Covid-19 patients in hospitals was falling and treatments were improving.

He added: 'It appears the risk of death in hospitalised patients is coming down.

Professor Peter Horby, of the University of Oxford, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the country was in a 'precarious position' with rising coronavirus case numbers

Prime Minister is set to detail a new three-tier system of restrictions with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across the North of England and see millions of people banned from mixing indoors and outdoors

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An empty looking Mathew Street in Liverpool, the latest area of the north of England to be hit by local restrictions preventing households from mixing

Shadow Chancellor says areas in north of England feels 'forgotten'

Government data shows that the North West and North East and Yorkshire are the only regions to have seen a sustained and sharp increase in people being admitted to hospital (line graphs show daily hospital admissions between April and October)

'It was pretty high at about 25 per cent to 30 per cent in the last wave. It looks like it's coming down to below 20 per cent.

Millions of people across the North are expected to face draconian new measures when Boris Johnson sets out the details of a new three-tier local lockdown system in a speech to MPs.

On Saturday, England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned the country had reached a 'tipping point' as 15,166 more infections and 81 deaths were recorded.
One in eight Londoners is immune to coronavirus: Up to 13% of capital's residents now have Covid antibodies - while other regions are as low as 1%

London could be shielded from the worst of a second wave of coronavirus because one in eight people in the capital have developed antibodies.

There is growing optimism that the UK's largest city is not seeing a rapid rise in case numbers because a higher percentage of residents have become immune to the virus than in any other region.

Recent data from Public Health England shows a prevalence of SARS-Cov-2 antibodies among blood donors as high as 13.4 per cent.

The figures from London stand in contrast to the rest of the country, with the North East and Yorkshire showing a 3.9 per cent prevalence, and the South West region at 3.5 per cent.

And in the north west, which has been largely placed under local lockdown for the past month, had a prevalence of 6.8 per cent in the latest figures, suggesting high infection rates in the region had meant more people produced antibodies.

The rate of antibodies in the population does vary over time, and government advisers are believed to have suggested up to 20 per cent of the capital's residents could be immune to the virus, according to the Sunday Times.

He said that while the epidemic 're-started' again among younger people over the past few weeks, there is 'clear evidence of a gradual spread into older age groups' in the worst-hit areas.

But he also said the UK has 'much improved testing capabilities' and 'better treatments' available, meaning that 'we know where it is and how to tackle it'.

He stressed the importance of following public health guidance and minimising contact with others, adding: 'I know this is very hard, but it is an unfortunate scientific fact that the virus thrives on humans making social contact with one another.

On Monday, Mr Johnson is set to announce a new raft of measures intended to control a surge of infections across much of the North of England.

Pubs and restaurants could be closed and social interaction between households in Covid-hit areas severely curtailed.

Ministers are understood to be giving mayors powers to deploy an army of local volunteers to knock on doors and ask people to self-isolate in a bid to 'improve compliance', according to the Sunday Times.

But the Prime Minister is facing strong opposition from leaders in some northern areas, who insist their infection rates are falling.

The premier also faces concern from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has been urging him to show 'restraint' over the new lockdown.

On Friday, it was reported that the number of people catching the coronavirus every day in England more than doubled in the last week of September to 17,400, according to a government-run surveillance study.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) warns 224,400 people had the virus in the week leading up to October 1, up from 116,000 a week earlier. This week's figure is the highest since records started in May.

The report, made using data from the two weeks up until to October 1, warns 'the number of infections has increased rapidly in recent weeks', and official tests show cases continued to rise in the first week of October meaning next week's estimate will likely be higher again.

Cases remain far lower than they were in March and April, however - scientists predict that more than 100,000 people were catching Covid-19 every day at the peak of the outbreak. Today's estimate is less than 20 per cent as high.

There is now a 'clear variation' across different regions of the country, the ONS said, with the highest rates of infection in the North West, North East and Yorkshire. More than one per cent of the population in those regions - one in every 100 people - were likely infected at the start of this month.

Teenagers and young adults, between the ages of 11 and 25, continue to drive up the disturbing rates of infection.

If the estimate is accurate it suggests the Department of Health's testing programme is now picking up most of the true number of cases, with it managing to diagnose 11,000 people on October 1 - 63 per cent of the ONS's new cases prediction.

It follows a week of increasingly worrying data showing that hospital admissions are surging in the North, where they could surpass levels seen in April by the end of the month, and daily deaths are creeping back up again.

Mayors threaten legal action over ‘oppressive’ local lockdowns that could see MILLIONS confined to their home towns – as Boris Johnson is accused of betraying Red Wall voters over ‘grossly unfair’ financial support for workers

Boris Johnson has been threatened with legal action over his lockdown plans for the north of England as one of his own senior local Tories branded the scheme 'oppressive'.

Boris Johnson is holding a telephone conference with Cabinet members this afternoon as he finalises plans for a new three-tier coronavirus restrictions regime, to be announced on Monday.

It is expected to see millions of people ordered not to travel far and see pubs and restaurants ordered to shut in large parts of the North of England.

Social interaction between households in Covid-hit areas are also likely to be severely curtailed and people could face fines if they travel between high and lower risk areas.

Mr Johnson's decision to brief Cabinet ministers on a Sunday is a rare move and comes as Northern leaders have expressed anger at the economic impact of further Covid rules in their areas as talks with the Government appeared tense.

They accusing the Government of treating the region as 'second-class' and did not rule out possible legal action.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham this morning blasted a lack of communication, telling Times Radio: 'To be called to a meeting with 10 Downing Street on a Friday evening, to be effectively presented with proposals that needed to be agreed over the weekend, I mean that isn't adequate or acceptable consultation to me.

'That is being railroaded into a position. It's all come too late.'

Mr Johnson's plans were also savaged by the leader of Bolton Council, who warned they would destroy the economy of the north of England at a time when he was trying to 'build back better', including in former Red Wall Labour seats taken at the 2019 General Election.

And giving a brutal assessment of the plans on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme this morning, David Greenhalgh said: 'My immediate reaction is that it is oppressive.'

A further 32 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 30,471, NHS England said this afternoon.

David Greenhalgh, the head of Bolton Council, lashed out at reports that millions of people in areas worst affected by coronavirus would be hit with a ban on travelling outside their local area

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick insisted today that the Government is working closely with local leaders ahead of new coronavirus measures being brought in

Councillor David Greenhalgh calls Boris's lockdown plans 'oppressive'

BCG vaccine is given to 1,000 people in Exeter University trial to test claims that it helps fight Covid

A vaccine usually given to protect children from tuburcolosis could help adults fight against coronavirus, according to researchers at the University of Exeter.

The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine will be enrolled to 1,000 people after the shot was found to stimulate the immune system.

It would not be the ultimate solution, but would instead help people fight off coronavirus until more effective vaccines are discovered.

Prof John Campbell, at the University of Exeter Medical School, told the Guardian the vaccine could be a 'global game-changer'.

The University of Exeter will enroll 2,000 UK community healthcare workers for the international Brace trial - which is recruiting 10,000 volunteers worldwide.

Volunteers for the trial will either receive a shot of BCG or a placebo. They will then be monitored for a year to see if the vaccinated group pick up fewer Covid-19 infections or have fewer symptons.

Preliminary results are expected in six to nine months.

BCG usually causes an immune response against the bacterial disease TB - but it is now thought to help protect against viral infections.

Last month trial results published in the journal Cell suggested elderly people have fewer respiratory infections after having the vaccine, according to work by an international team of scientists'.

'If we see anything close to that sort of protection for coronavirus, this could be a global game changer,' Campbell said.

The vaccine is designed to stimulate the adaptive immune system which can then release antibodies to destroy invading pathogens in TB.

But it also offers a boost to the body's 'innate' immune system, meaning infections can be fended off before they get the chance to take hold. It is this effect that has given scientists hope it could work as a coronavirus vaccine.

If found to protect against viral infections the vaccine could be rolled out in future pandemics.

Mr Burnham, asked on Times Radio what he would say to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, said: 'Isn't it time for a major change here, a complete reversal of what we have seen so far?

'Localising the response to this crisis but critically, as Joe (Anderson, Liverpool mayor) said, putting in place a help package and an economic package to help the North of England through.

'I would say to him this, 'Are we levelling up here or are we levelling down? Which is it?

'If you go ahead with this financial package, in my view, that will be to break what the Government said it would do when they were elected.

'If they continue with this, jobs will be lost, businesses will collapse, the fragile economies of the North will be shattered.

'The Government has a real choice here, if it proceeds on the path it is on, in my view, the central so-called mission of this Government to level-up will be over.'

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told Marr: 'It’s really hard to explain how angry people are in the north of England about what has happened, not just over the last few months but over the last few days. I haven’t felt anger like this towards the government since I was growing up here in the 1980s.

'People feel that they haven’t just been abandoned by the government, they now feel that the government is actively working against us.'

Mr Jenrick insisted today that the Government is working closely with local leaders ahead of new coronavirus measures being brought in.

He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday: 'We have spent the weekend working with those local leaders.

'I have spent the whole weekend talking to leaders from Merseyside, from Greeter Manchester, from other parts of the country.

'We are trying to work very closely with mayors, with council leaders, with chief executives to design these measures with them. That does take time.

'We want to have good communication between national and local government before we announce how we are going to take this forwards.'

Mr Greenhalgh also took aim at the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) unveiled by Rishi Sunak on Friday, warning that anything less than support on the level of the original furlough programme would send firms 'to the wall'.

He added: 'We cannot ''build back better'' if we have lost some of these businesses.'

The Prime Minister is expected to introduce a three-tier system of lockdown measures in an attempt to make the existing patchwork of restrictions easier to understand.

Areas with relatively low infection levels will be placed in 'tier one', where only national restrictions such as the 'rule of six' and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will apply.

Tier two will also include bans on home visits and indoor socialising with other households. Options for tier three include total closure of the hospitality sector, a ban on overnight stays outside the home and the closure of venues such as cinemas.

Swathes of the North of England, including Manchester and Liverpool, could be placed immediately into the tier with the most severe restrictions, so pubs and restaurants would have to shut their doors.

Mr Greenhalgh added: 'We have put our proposals in as Greater Manchester leaders ... that we are against a lockdown as we understand it, at Tier 3, which is the complete lockdown of hospitality.

'Our position is very clear that we feel we need to move to extra restrictions, but ones that protect those most vulnerable and susceptible to the virus but ones that don't continue to have an adverse effect on our local businesses and economy.'

Real estate adviser Altus Group has said there are 7,171 pubs in areas with restrictions across the north of England at risk of temporary closure.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Friday workers in businesses which are forced to close under the new restrictions will have two-thirds of their wages paid by the Government under the JSS.

But it is less generous than the furlough scheme which comes to an end on October 31.

Asked about Mr Sunak's JSS revamp, unveiled on Friday, Mr Greenhalgh added that anything less generous than the original furlough was 'quite frankly unacceptable'.

'Many of these businesses will sadly go under,' he said.

'We cannot build back better if we have lost some of these businesses. These great independent businesses that people put their life savings into will be lost.
'Rule of Six' restriction may be lifted temporarily by Chancellor over festive period

The 'Rule of Six' restriction on social mixing could be lifted temporarily for Christmas to let family groups of up to 12 enjoy the festive period.

If approved, the limit on meetings of more than six people would be doubled during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to allow inter-generational celebrations.

The temporary total of 12 was chosen because it would allow two sets of grandparents and parents, three children and an aunt or uncle to meet without flouting the law.

Those two days were suggested because, typically, they are when families spend the most time indoors together – and by Boxing Day are keen to escape outside.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is understood to be the leading Cabinet advocate of the plan – assuming Covid infection rates have been broadly kept under control by mid-December.

The temporary lifting is regarded as a better option than the alternative plan, which would be for families to isolate for a fortnight before Christmas to allow them to gather on the day.

The rule of 12 plan is being hatched as Tory MPs grow increasingly restive about the rule of six and the 10pm pub curfew.

'The north feels like it is being treated differently. We know our (covid) rates are high, we are not underestimating that, but we have to find a way through this that ... looks at the economy.

'We cannot throw our local economy to the wall, to kill it in the north.

Britain has reached a coronavirus 'tipping point' one of the country's top scientists said as new figures reveal the nation's infections have trebled in two weeks with 15,166 more infections and 81 deaths recorded yesterday.

The figures come as millions of people across the North face draconian new measures when Boris Johnson sets out the details of a new three-tier local lockdown system in a speech to MPs.

On Saturday, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer said 'the seasons are against us' and the country is running into a 'headwind' ahead of the winter months.

In a statement, Prof Van-Tam said that while the epidemic 're-started' again among younger people over the past few weeks, there is 'clear evidence of a gradual spread into older age groups' in the worst-hit areas.

But he also said the UK has 'much improved testing capabilities' and 'better treatments' available, meaning that 'we know where it is and how to tackle it'.

He stressed the importance of following public health guidance and minimising contact with others, adding: 'I know this is very hard, but it is an unfortunate scientific fact that the virus thrives on humans making social contact with one another.'

On Saturday, in the daily update figures, the country recorded another 15,116 Covid cases and 81 more deaths, up from 13,864 infections on Friday, 12,827 seven days ago and 6,739 a fortnight ago.

The number of deaths dropped from the 87 recorded on Friday to 81 on Saturday. The figure has increased from this time last week, when there were 53 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, and 39 deaths recorded a fortnight ago.

The week-on-week infection figure rise comes despite last Saturday's data spiking following a 'technical issue' with the Government's reporting system - which saw cases almost double from the 6,968 recorded the day earlier.

The issue was later revealed to be a computer glitch, which meant 16,000 positive cases were left off between September 25 and October 2.
Rise in Britons being treated with Covid in hospital is partly driven by them catching it on wards, figures show

The rise in Britons being treated with coronavirus in hospital is being driven in part by them catching it on the wards, the latest available figures indicate.

The number of hospital cases rose from 2,396 to 3,660 – an increase of 52 per cent – between September 30 and October 7.

But separate statistics show almost one in five with the virus in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission – implying they caught it there.

The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear.

Rises in admissions have been greatest in North West England, say health officials.

But the total number of virus patients in UK hospitals is still a fraction of the peak figure of 19,849 in April.

Earlier, in separate data, NHS England reported that 60 people with COVID-19 had died in hospitals in the space of 24 hours - all aged between 41 and 93 years old. All but five of them had known underlying health conditions.

The figures were added in across the following few days, most notably on Sunday last week, when figures shot to a record high of 22,061 cases - more than at the peak of the pandemic in late April.

But many experts say the daily totals for testing are not comparable to the same totals at the peak of the pandemic when the country's testing programme was much smaller.

They believe as many as 100,000 people were catching the virus every day at the peak of the pandemic.

The latest figures mean there have been 590,844 cases across Britain since the start of the pandemic and 42,760 deaths - though separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 58,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The PM and the Chancellor held a meeting on Thursday in Downing Street, during which Mr Sunak is said to have 'forensically' picked apart the data provided by the Government's scientists to justify a hard lockdown.

During the exchange, which continued late into the evening, Mr Sunak – a 'hawk' who is increasingly concerned about the economic damage being wrought by Covid rules – pointed out that calls to shut down hospitality venues were based on flawed and patchy information from just 98 pubs and 67 cafes and restaurants.

Separate figures show there were 3,225 Covid-19 patients in hospital in England as of Saturday, up from 2,194 a week ago, while 396 Covid-19 hospital patients were in ventilation beds, up from 307 a week ago.

A total of 513 patients with confirmed Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals in England on Thursday, compared with 386 a week earlier.

In Scotland, 397 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Friday, up from 175 a week earlier, with 33 in ventilation beds, up from 19 a week earlier.

In Wales, 291 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Friday, up from 218 a week earlier, with 32 in ventilation beds, the same figure as a week earlier.
All out...before the curfew! Revellers play cricket in the street and Piccadilly Circus turns into a rave as drinkers are kicked out of bars in time for 10pm

Crowds of revellers were once again seen piling out into the streets and partying last night after being kicked out of bars at the 10pm curfew in London.

Shocking footage shows hundreds of bar-goers dancing to a loud sound system in Piccadilly Circus in the capital, days before millions in the north could see more stringent coronavirus measures taken, including the shutting of pubs.

In south London, separate footage showed large groups gather for a game of cricket in the street after bars closed.

In Piccadilly Circus, people packed together with few face masks in sight as music blared from a speaker.

Wales has also reported a further 627 cases and another 21 coronavirus-related deaths. Public Health Wales said that the sharp increase was the result of a delay in adding 17 fatalities from the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board between October 3-7.

In Northern Ireland, 132 Covid-19 patients were in hospital as of Thursday, up from 95 a week earlier, with 10 in ventilation beds as of Friday, up from seven a week earlier.

Data on patients with Covid-19 is not comparable across the UK due to differences in the way the figures are reported.

Separate statistics show almost one in five with the virus in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission – implying they caught it there.

The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear.

Rises in admissions have been greatest in North West England, say health officials.

But the total number of virus patients in UK hospitals is still a fraction of the peak figure of 19,849 in April.

This comes as millions of people in the Midlands and the North are facing travel bans and the shutting of pubs, with local communities tasked with enforcing the Test and Trace programme.

The deployment of the 'Covid vigilantes' is an effective admission from Downing Street that the national programme has failed.

The complications could also lead to the staggered implementation of different measures, possibly on a postcode-by-postcode basis.

The Prime Minister's adviser, Sir Eddie Lister, spent Saturday in discussions with local leaders in the areas concerned. One source said the negotiations centred on the severity of the measures.

It was suggested that in Merseyside, one of the worst-affected places – with 600 cases per 100,000, all pubs and bars would be closed as part of 'Tier 3' measures, but that restaurants would be allowed to remain open.

This led to strained exchanges about the definition of a restaurant, as opposed to a pub which serves food.

The leaders are being offered incentives by No 10 to co-operate with the plans, which could be enacted as early as Wednesday.

On Friday local leaders urged the Government not to punish the North East of England with draconian lockdown restrictions forcing the closure of pubs and bars, as it is claimed the number of daily new coronavirus infections in the region has begun to fall.

Stringent measures saw almost two million Britons barred from mixing with others from outside their household in private homes, gardens, pubs and restaurants on September 18.

But Gateshead council leader Martin Gannon claimed on Saturday that - when students are removed from the figures - the number of new cases in Newcastle and Gateshead is now starting to drop.

'We have evidence in the region - if you take the spike in students out - even in central Newcastle and central Gateshead we're beginning to see a reduction in the number of new cases,' he said. 'What we're saying is the measures are working at the moment.'

He bolstered calls from local chiefs across the region for ministers to dump their 'counter-productive' plans to pull the shutters down on local pubs and bars, arguing current restrictions are all that's needed.

Gateshead recorded a 72 per cent spike in its infection rate over the last seven days, according to Public Health England's weekly surveillance report, rising from 129.4 to 221.7 cases per 100,000 people. In Newcastle the rate rose by 90 per cent, from 250.5 to 475 per 100,000.

More than 1,800 students tested positive for the virus in the North East on Thursday, with 1,003 at Newcastle University, 619 at Northumbria University and 219 at Durham University. Northumbria University also said 770 students had tested positive on October 3. Students in affected halls of residence have been asked to quarantine.

Official Government data shows that the number of positive cases identified each day in the local areas appears to be declining. But experts have warned this may be due to delays in processing swabs, as labs continue to work through a backlog of samples.

The Government is expected to unveil its 'three-tier' lockdown system on Monday, with the North East, North West and Nottinghamshire all predicted to fall under the strictest category of measures - which will see bars and pubs forced to close but restaurants allowed to stay open until 10pm.

The Prime Minister's chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister wrote to northern MPs following a meeting with leaders from the North on Friday to warn it was 'very likely' the region would be hit with tougher coronavirus restrictions. But northern leaders have complained they have not been consulted and said that more restrictions will lead to further 'resistance and confusion'.

Raising the alarm over tougher lockdown restrictions, Gateshead leader Mr Gannon told the Today programme they are fighting against tightened rules because the evidence suggests current measures are stemming the rising tide of infections.

The above graph shows the number of patients in mechanical ventilator beds in the North East and Yorkshire

COUNTY DURHAM: Cases also appear to be falling in this local area. They are shown by date the test was taken

Landlords' fury at plans to 'order pubs to shut but allow restaurants to stay OPEN until 10pm'

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson's expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm.

The Government's new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew.

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Greater Manchester, the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions and North Tyne said: 'What has been announced by the chancellor today is a start but, on first look, it would not appear to have gone far enough to prevent genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter.'

Industry experts also denounced the package, with Greg Mulholland of the Campaign for Pubs saying: 'The level of support announced by the Chancellor is nowhere enough to compensate pubs being forced to close.

'Many publicans will be forced into even more debt just to survive. There is real anger when pubs have been working hard to operate safely.'

Meanwhile, Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told MailOnline any tightening of restrictions involving the closure of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be 'counter-productive'.

He pointed to the situation in Bolton, where cases have rocketed by 39 per cent over the past seven days to 250 per 100,000 despite heightened restrictions on hospitality.

'I suspect that a lot of the transmission in recent weeks is from private gatherings, many of which are technically illegal,' he said, referring to infections across the whole country.

'The 10pm closing time led to more house parties, less social distancing. I don't think pubs being closed is going to stop people meeting for a drink.'

'We're opposing further restrictions in the North East on the basis of the scientific evidence,' he said.

'We have evidence in the region - there is a spike in students but if you take the students out - even in central Newcastle and central Gateshead - we're beginning to see a reduction in the number of new cases.

'So our argument is that even with the mixed messaging, even with the confusion and frustration, the measures that are in at the moment are beginning to work.

He pleaded: 'Work with us, give us more time, help us to win confidence and persuade people - those really good people in Newcastle who want to do the right thing.'

The Labour leader also revealed he had a meeting with senior Government advisers and 40 other North East leaders this week to discuss the new restrictions, but no national politicians were present.

He said they made 'very clear arguments' to halt the closure of hospitality venues on the basis of evidence they had gathered.

'I think new measures would be counter-productive,' he said. 'We had three different sets of regulations in 10 days which caused huge resistance and confusion.

'Our argument is that even with the mixed messaging, even with the confusion and frustration, the measures that are in at the moment are beginning to work.'

It comes as the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham called on MPs to 'reject' Rishi Sunak's furlough scheme because it will lead to 'severe redundancies' across the North of England - and said hospitality employees should receive 100 per cent of their wages.

Under furlough mark two, workers can claim two-thirds of their wages up to £2,100 from the UK Government if coronavirus restrictions require their employers to pull down the shutters.

But Mr Burnham said the scheme would 'surrender our residents to hardship in the run-up to Christmas and our businesses to potential failure'.

Speaking at a press conference also attended by mayors from Liverpool and North Tyne, he said the new scheme and further restrictions combined would bring an economic blow that would 'level down' the North.

'It will level down the North of England and widen the North-South divide,' he said.

'We are today writing to all MPs who represent constituencies in the North of England. What we are asking our MP colleagues to do is to support what our MPs are saying and support constituents who are plunged into hardship by these measures.

'We are asking them to bring about a vote to allow MPs either to support or - what we hope - to reject this package and require the Government to return with a package that responds fully to all of the points I've just made.'

His words were echoed by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson on the Today programme this morning, who blasted the scheme as 'not generous' and accused the Government of showing 'disdain' for the North.

Speaking at a press conference also attended by mayors from Liverpool (pictured: Liverpool city centre) and North Tyne, Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham said the new scheme and further restrictions combined would bring an economic blow that would 'level down' the North

His words were echoed by Liverpool (pictured: Liverpool city centre) Mayor Joe Anderson on the Today programme this morning, who blasted the scheme as 'not generous' and accused the Government of showing 'disdain' for the North

More than 1,800 students tested positive for the virus in the North East on Thursday, with 1,003 at Newcastle (pictured left and right: Revellers out in Newcastle city centre) University, 619 at Northumbria University and 219 at Durham University. Northumbria University also said 770 students had tested positive on October 3. Students in affected halls of residence have been asked to quarantine

Hammering the Government for not going far enough, Labour party member Anderson told the Today programme: '(The new furlough scheme) is not generous at all, it is indeed lower than the previous furlough scheme that was introduced.

'I just wonder that if this was in Southern areas of the country, or in London, whether it would be at this level and not at a different level.

'We feel, I feel personally, that the North is being treated with disdain by this Government.

'But I guess, when you look at it, it's better than nothing and the pressure that we've put on the last few weeks demanded some local furlough scheme. At least it's now being heard'.

Mayor Anderson warned the city would likely be plunged into a 'tier-three' lockdown under plans to be announced by Boris Johnson on Monday.

This would see the closure of pubs and bars, he said, but restaurants would be allowed to stay open until 10pm.

Liverpool's infection rate spiked 116 per cent in the last week, according to figures compiled by Public Health England, rising from 239.3 to 517.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Mr Gannon also put forward his concerns on the furlough scheme, warning many people working in pubs, bars and restaurants - which are likely to be asked to close - will struggle to 'put food on the table' with just two-thirds of their wages.

He told the Today programme: 'I know people who work in the hospitality sector and even on full pay they struggle to put food on the table for their families.

'For Rishi Sunak, I mean he may be able to live on two-thirds of his salary, you and I, we would be able to live on two-thirds of our salary, but for many of those people who work in the hospitality sector they can't comply with requirements.

'They're not going to obey the law on the basis of two-thirds of their salary.'

The Imperial College London-led REACT study (left) estimates that more than 0.6 per cent of the population of England had coronavirus in the week up to October 5, while the ONS (right) puts the figure at around 0.41 per cent for the week ending October 1

Data shows in Fallowfield in Manchester - a thriving student suburb of the city - five per cent of people tested positive for the disease in the week ending October 2

Britain's coronavirus reproduction rate has fallen slightly, according to the Government's scientific advisers. They say the current R value - the number of people each Covid-19 patient infects - is between 1.2 and 1.5. This is down slightly on last week's range of 1.3 and 1.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson slammed the Government for bringing forward a furlough scheme that was 'not generous' enough
Doctors say masks should be mandatory inside AND outside

Face masks should be made mandatory outdoors as well as indoors and in workplaces where social distancing cannot be practiced, top doctors have warned.

The British Medical Association suggests that those older than 60, or who are obese or have other health conditions making them vulnerable to coronavirus should be supplied with 'medical grade' masks, in line with WHO guidance.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, its chairman, said the Government's measures to suppress Covid-19 are not working and called for further measures including a restriction of alcohol sales in England and a tightening of the Rule of Six to limit the number of households which can mingle to two

He also warned the public is in danger of losing faith in existing restrictions, and urged for face masks to be worn outdoors where people cannot keep two metres apart — including in offices and other workplaces.

Face masks are already compulsory on public transport, railways stations and airports, shops, and cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants before being seated.

The BMA boss told The Times: 'It cannot be easy for the public to understand what will make a difference if they're told to wear a mask in one setting, but then it's not required in another.

'It's clear that most workplaces were never designed for people to work two metres apart. The rules should be absolutely that where you are likely to interact with one another within two metres, you wear a mask indoors.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Greater Manchester, the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions and North Tyne said: 'What has been announced by the chancellor today is a start but, on first look, it would not appear to have gone far enough to prevent genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter.'

Industry experts also denounced the package, with Greg Mulholland of the Campaign for Pubs saying: 'The level of support announced by the Chancellor is nowhere enough to compensate pubs being forced to close.

'Many publicans will be forced into even more debt just to survive. There is real anger when pubs have been working hard to operate safely.'

Meanwhile, the leaders of West Yorkshire councils warned another lockdown will have a 'devastating' effect on the town and city centres and regional economy.

In a joint letter to the Chancellor and health and housing secretaries on Friday, the leaders said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement that workers in businesses which are forced to close under the new restrictions will have two-thirds of their wages paid by the Government was 'not enough'.

They added: 'Government must, for both levels two and three, provide a substantial economic package including grants and furlough - not just where businesses are mandated to close.

'In a three-level approach, there must be significantly more support available to businesses in areas that are in either level two or level three to avoid an even deeper economic catastrophe.'

Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told MailOnline any tightening of restrictions involving the closure of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be 'counter-productive'.

He pointed to the situation in Bolton, where cases have rocketed by 39 per cent over the past seven days to 250 per 100,000 despite heightened restrictions on hospitality.

'I suspect that a lot of the transmission in recent weeks is from private gatherings, many of which are technically illegal,' he said, referring to infections across the whole country.

'The 10pm closing time led to more house parties, less social distancing. I don't think pubs being closed is going to stop people meeting for a drink.'
Deputy chief medical officer warns UK hospitals are seeing similar number of Covid patients to those at outbreak

The Government's deputy chief medical officer has claimed the UK is nearly back to where it was in March as hospital admissions for coronavirus surged by 50 per cent in a week in England.

Jonathan Van-Tam told MPs that intensive care units in the North West could be full within three weeks as the latest figures show there are now 3,090 Covid-19 patients being treated in English hospitals. This is just seven fewer than on March 23, when the national lockdown was imposed.

On Wednesday, 491 new patients were admitted to hospitals, close to the 586 on March 19 — the week before Boris Johnson gave his 'stay at home' order.

During that time the average number of daily admissions has surged from 285 to 441, showing that hospitalisations are picking up now that the number of cases is hitting high levels.

Hospital admissions could be doubling every week in the North West as Professor Van-Tam said the region's intensive care beds were 'two to three doubling times' away from capacity.

Yesterday Britain recorded 13,864 cases and 87 deaths, compared with just 74 deaths on March 19. At the time, the coronavirus epidemic was doubling every three or four days.

Official figures released yesterday indicate that the true figure of infections doubled in a week to 45,000 a day amid fears the outbreak is 'getting out of control'.

The North is being hit disproportionately hard and accounted for 60 per cent of hospitalisations on that day, which is the most recent data available.

With the Midlands included, areas outside of the South account for around three quarters of admissions, again drawing a line through the North-South divide.

He added: 'It's interesting that local leaders are opposed to these measures. We've also seen this in Spain where the Madrid Government is fighting the Spanish Government.

'We don't know what the (UK Government) announcement is going to be yet, but you're always going to get cases where you have badly affected regions or towns where infections are going up sharply but have places where infections are low.

'When you take a broad brush you are going to negatively affect people who are not enjoying any of the benefits. But the Government has decided it wants to simplify the equation.'

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has said that the North of England feels 'forgotten' due to the incoming new restrictions.

'We've currently got one in four people living under localised restrictions and yet coming from the Government's side, for example what the Chancellor's being setting out, often it's as if those restrictions are not in place anywhere.

'The Chancellor didn't mention the situation in the North and the Midlands at all in his conference speech. I had to track him, in fact one of his ministers came to talk in parliament. But some of those areas have been under restrictions for a really long time.'

A think-tank has warned the scheme could cost the Treasury £2.4billion in six months, on top of the billions spent during the national lockdown. The Resolution Foundation made the prediction after predicting more than 444,000 hospitality employees would qualify for the scheme. The second round of furlough will be reviewed in January.

In the scheme, employers will still be required to meet the cost of national insurance payments and pension contributions. There will also be more grants available up to £3,000 a month, payable in two-week installations.

It comes after slides from a Government presentation to Northern MPs - which were published after they were leaked - revealed its assertion that 30 per cent of all coronavirus transmissions may be happening in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Furious MPs blasted the claim saying it was an example of ministers 'cobbling together' numbers to 'justify' their point of view - ahead of expected sweeping restrictions.

Experts from the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) also rubbished the official claim, reminding ministers that data shows less than five per cent of those contacted by NHS Test and Trace had been in close contact with another person in a hospitality venue.

They also pointed to the enforced closure of hospitality venues in Bolton and Leicester, saying it had failed to curb the spread of the disease. The latest Public Health England data reveals cases surged by 39 per cent in Bolton this week, with the rate rising to 250.6 per 100,000 people, and in Leicester they rose by 35 per cent to 120.2.

A business minister yesterday defended the Government's 'flimsy' data based on fewer than 100 pubs, saying he would have used the 'quite representative' sample size while working in the business sector.

The Government claimed in a private press briefing yesterday that up to 30 per cent of coronavirus transmission is linked to pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. The slides were leaked - and ministers then decided to publish them in full. Above is one of the 13 slides from the press briefing

This slide, revealed on Friday, was also shown at the briefing. It reveals how infection rates are highest among young people

Schoolchildren are banned from singing Happy Birthday in the classroom over fears it could spread coronavirus

Schoolchildren have been banned from singing Happy Birthday in classrooms over fears it could spread coronavirus.

Children have been told to listen to the song on YouTube or hum the tune rather than sing it at some schools.

Birthday cakes from home have also been banned by some schools to prevent transmission of the virus.

Singing can leave droplets in the surrounding air, meaning infectious individuals risk spreading the virus when they open their mouths.

It has not been banned in all schools yet but people have been banned from singing in pubs and churches.

Nadhim Zahawi MP told LBC: 'I used to work in the serving industry and I can tell you when you do business surveys, 98 businesses, or 100 businesses, is actually quite a representative sample. If you're doing public opinions, 1,000 interviews is a representative sample. It's actually a pretty robust sampling.'

And the Prime Minister's deputy spokesman dug his heels in claiming hospitality venues account for the 'highest rates of common exposure to Covid-19, especially for those under 30 years old'.

His claim comes after enraged MPs slammed the Government for presenting the 'early analysis' figures to them, and criticised officials' decision to include a three-month-old American study from which they cherry-picked the figures to bolster their claims.

The slides - marked 'Cabinet Office' - also claimed claimed food outlets and bars made up as much as 41 per cent of transmission among the under 30s. But this was in stark contrast to Public Health England's own data, which suggested only four per cent of Covid-19 outbreaks can be traced back to the venues.

The NHS coronavirus app was revealed yesterday to have sent only one alert related to one venue since its launch two weeks ago, despite millions of check-ins and more than 16million downloads.

Shadow digital minister Chi Onwurah told Sky News this was a 'plain contradiction' of the Government's claim hospitality venues were a major source, and said ministers 'need to get a grip'.

After ministers confirmed they will not shut schools, experts have argued they have few options left in terms of where to close to reduce social interaction, which is where the virus spreads - meaning the axe may fall on the hospitality sector. Many scientists have, however, argued against tightening the measures - and urged ministers to instead try to learn how to live with the virus.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty briefed 149 MPs from the North and the Midlands yesterday to tell them that a 'significant proportion' of exposure to coronavirus was happening in the hospitality sector.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -June.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:11 pm

KRG earmarks 3 billion for
winter coronavirus response


The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has allotted an additional three billion dinars ($2.5 million) to the coronavirus response in the Kurdistan Region as it braces itself for a rise in cases in the cold of autumn and winter, the KRG health minister announced on Monday

Health minister Saman Barzanji announced the new injection of funds while in Duhok for the opening of a 20-bed hospital for the treatment of serious coronavirus cases.

"We thank the KRG and the prime minister for making some significant decisions over the past few days to respond to the health ministry's needs, including the allocation of a budget of three billion dinars," Barzanji said. "The money is to provide for medical needs in autumn and winter."

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani also agreed to fund "a grant to [the families of] those health workers who have died due to coronavirus complications, numbering 48 so far," Barzanji added.

The prime minister has also agreed on establishing new oxygen plants and improved provision of medical essentials across the Kurdistan Region, the health minister added.

The KRG had previously earmarked 28 billion dinars to combat the coronavirus, premier Barzani said on October 5.

"The government carries out 5,000 tests on a daily basis. So far, nearly half a million tests have been conducted across 28 various labs," Barzani said.

More than 40 government-run facilities are taking in coronavirus patients across the Region, he added.

The Kurdistan Region has seen a total of 55,745 coronavirus cases and 1,992 related deaths since recording its first infection in March, according to the latest health ministry data published on Sunday evening.

Though case numbers have shown no signs of slowing, the KRG has lifted virtually all movement restrictions in the Kurdistan Region. However, the health ministry said last week that it would be tightening some measures designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Duhok, the Kurdistan Region province currently worst hit by the outbreak.

"There is not yet a plan to impose a nationwide curfew, but we will be tightening health regulations in Duhok province as infections and deaths in the province have gone up," spokesperson Dr. Aso Hawezi told Rudaw.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/12102020
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