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Natia Mikiashvili
Motkiari · 3 months ago

😞 If predictions about the spread of Covid-19 are correct, the new NHS Nightingale hospital at the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands could soon see a “tsunami” of coronavirus patients.


‘Nurses fell like ninepins’: death and bravery in the 1918 flu pandemic
www.theguardian.com
Natia Mikiashvili
Motkiari · 3 months ago
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The Week UK
London · 15 hours ago
Instant Opinion: why was Britain last to ‘do the right thing’ on face masks?
Description Masked commuter in a near-deserted London Underground carriage Credits Getty Images Alt Text Tube, Underground, coronavirus Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 14 July Reaction The Week Staff Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 3:47pm The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each. 1. Sean O’Grady in The Independent on Britain being behind its neighbours... again Face masks make us all safer. So why was Britain, once again, the last to do the right thing? See related Do face masks protect against coronavirus? “There are downsides to this latest ruling from Boris Johnson that masks must be worn in shops, which are obvious. It makes social interaction weird, and it can feel a bit uncomfortable. But this is trivial compared with the role they play in reducing Covid-19 transmission rates, saving lives and boosting the economy. Like so much in this pandemic, it’s about individuals’ liberties being balanced against the impact on others. You can make your own mind up about the risks you take, but you should not make such judgements on behalf of others. Confidence is the key to restoring economic life: consumer confidence to spend, and business confidence to invest. If people feel safer (and indeed are safer) by wearing masks in shops, on public transport and in other indoor spaces, then the ruling will benefit us all.” 2. Hugo Rifkind in The Times on stomaching the risk of a commute What if we don’t want to go back to the office? “Masks, at any rate, aren’t going to get us back into offices. The question is, will anything? ‘Cultures are formed through shared working, which is in turn the basis of shared values,’ wrote Salma Shah for The Times yesterday, highlighting the eventual cost of us all staying at home. She was right. My trips to the office are to do with my new radio gig... but on a daily, newspaper basis I now work with formerly close colleagues whom I haven’t seen for four months. Our shared values, I hope, linger on but I do wonder whether, had we all always worked like this, they’d have been so easily forged in the first place. A bigger problem is the way that, as soon as vast numbers of people stop leaving the house, going to work and coming back again, often having bought at least a sandwich along the way, huge swathes of our cities simply cease to make any sense. Forgive my Londoncentricism, but parts of the capital paint the problem most starkly. Without tens of thousands of civil servants coming and going en route to Whitehall, Victoria looks like it has been hit by, well, a plague.” 3. Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times on Donald Trump’s pandemic incompetence In Some Countries, Normal Life Is Back. Not Here. “If you’re lucky enough to live in New Zealand, the coronavirus nightmare has been mostly over since June. After more than two weeks with no new cases, the government lifted almost all restrictions that month. The borders are still shut, but inside the country, normal life returned... And America? We had 68,241. As of last week, the worst per capita outbreak on the planet was in Arizona, followed by Florida. The world is closed to us; American passports were once coveted, but now only a few dozen nations will let us in. Lawrence O. Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown, told me he doesn’t expect American life to feel truly normal before summer 2022. Two years of our lives, stolen by Donald Trump.” 4. Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, in The Daily Telegraph on a human tragedy more brutal than Covid’s health impacts The developing world faces a health, economic and security crisis that will dwarf the impact of Covid “Economic downturn, rising unemployment and reduced school attendance one year significantly increases the likelihood of civil war the next. Violent conflict drives famine and mass displacement. Based on current forecasts for food insecurity, refugee outflows could increase significantly. These problems might not be immediately apparent the way virus deaths are, but it is not hard to see that they are coming down the track. When they do materialise, it will be hard to explain why we did not act now. We can claim to have been taken by surprise by Covid-19, but we won’t be able to say the same of the development and security crises it is set to trigger. A call for money right now can be a difficult ask. But spending a little money now is a wise investment. It will save lives, protect decades of investment in development, and reduce the scale of the problems in the future.” 5. Dorothy Byrne, editor-at-large at Channel 4, in The Guardian on showing the truth about our past We can’t erase outdated TV shows, but we can hold their views to account “If much-loved characters in the past made homophobic comments or dressed up as people from other ethnic groups or pretended to be people who used wheelchairs, should we destroy that evidence of the social attitudes of the times? Cleaning up our past erases evidence of how views that we would now consider reprehensible were once normalised. Channel 4 is an anti-racist organisation with a particular remit to reach and reflect the lives of people from diverse backgrounds. But we are also committed to freedom of expression and being deliberately daring and controversial. There are bound to be moments when those principles come into conflict. There may be elements in our programmes which are so offensive that a public service broadcaster should not leave them on any platform.” UK News Europe US Middle East Africa South and Central Asia Media Science & Health Politics Society Coronavirus Covid-19 Lockdown Donald Trump poverty Child Poverty#world_news
The Week UK
London · 1 day ago
Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 14 Jul 2020
Second wave ‘could kill up to 120,000 Britons’ Britain must start “intense preparations” for a second wave of coronavirus that has the potential to kill as many as 120,000 people, according to health chiefs at the Academy of Medical Sciences. The experts warned that a resurgence of cases this winter could overwhelm the NHS. “The risk of this happening could be reduced if we take action immediately,” said Stephen Holgate, professor of immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton. Military chiefs to send aircraft carrier to Far East Military chiefs will base one of Britain’s new aircraft carriers in the Far East as tensions rise with China. HMS Queen Elizabeth will set sail on its maiden grand voyage as the centrepiece of a carrier strike group early next year, according to The Times. The £3.1bn vessel is expected to conduct military exercises with allies including the US and Japan. Masks to become mandatory in shops from 24 July Masks will become mandatory in shops from 24 July, with a fine of up to £100 for those who refuse to comply. The announcement from Health Secretary Matt Hancock comes amid confusion about the government’s position, with Michael Gove suggesting on Sunday that people should just use their “common sense”. Labour said ministers’ response had been “slow and muddled”. Border checks after Brexit to cost companies £13 billion Post-Brexit border checks will cost businesses £13bn, reports The Times. The government has confirmed that companies trading between the UK and the EU would have to fill in approximately 400 extra customs declarations a year, meaning an estimated 215m will have to be completed by businesses trading with the EU. The cost of completing a customs declaration ranges between £15 and £56. California locks down again as Covid-19 cases spike California has re-imposed restrictions on businesses and public spaces as coronavirus infections rise in America’s most populous state. Authorities have ordered an immediate pause on all indoor activities at restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, zoos and museums. In some counties, churches, gyms and hairdressers will also close. California has more than 330,000 coronavirus cases, with more than 7,000 deaths. Victims’ commissioner says rape has been effectively decriminalised The victims’ commissioner for England and Wales says rape has effectively been decriminalised due to a collapse in prosecutions that has allowed many offenders to escape justice. Dame Vera Baird QC says there has been a “catastrophic” decline in rape prosecutions, with no measures put in place to reverse it. She said: “In effect, what we are witnessing is the decriminalisation of rape.” FBI says Ghislaine Maxwell wrapped phone in tin foil Ghislaine Maxwell is “extremely skilled at living in hiding” and could “flee abroad and live comfortably for the rest of her life” if granted bail by the courts, according to prosecutors in the US. FBI officers discovered that the British socialite and friend of Jeffrey Epstein had wrapped her mobile phone in tin foil in a “seemingly misguided effort to evade detection” before her arrest. The Queen was not told of dismissal of Australian PM The Queen was not informed in advance about the 1975 dismissal of Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, newly released letters have revealed. In an event widely considered the most controversial in Australian political history, Whitlam’s government was removed by the Queen’s representative at the time, governor-general John Kerr. However, correspondence from the period shows Kerr wrote it was “better for Her Majesty not to know”. White House bites back at Dr Anthony Fauci The White House is targeting US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci, says the BBC. As Donald Trump’s administration becomes increasingly critical of Dr Fauci, it has shared an official list of allegedly erroneous comments. Meawhile, the US continues to see surges in coronavirus - there are more than 3.3 million cases confirmed and more than 135,000 deaths nationwide. Naya Rivera used her last strength to save her son A body discovered yesterday morning at Lake Piru has been identified as the former Glee actress Naya Rivera, says the Ventura county sheriff. Rivera used the last of her strength to save her four-year-old son before she died, he revealed. “She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” said the sheriff.
The Week UK
London · 20 hours ago
Coronavirus: how llama blood could save seriously ill Covid patients
Credits Joe Maher/Getty Images Alt Text Llama Tests show that antibodies from the South American camelids can prevent the virus from entering human cells One-Minute Read Joe Evans Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 10:50am Antibodies taken from the blood of llamas can be engineered to target the Covid-19 coronavirus to create a treatment that could save countless lives, new research suggests. Scientists led by a team from Oxford University have tested the virus-fighting potential of antibodies from Fifi, a llama living in Reading, in laboratory trials. Transfusions of antibody-rich blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients are already being trialled in hospitals across the UK, “but the new findings herald the prospect of a more potent and easily available treatment”, The Telegraph reports. See related UK hospital to trial blood plasma Covid-19 treatment What is convalescent plasma therapy and could it treat coronavirus? Immunity to Covid-19 lost within three months of infection, study suggests Llamas, camels and alpacas “naturally produce quantities of small antibodies with a simple structure, meaning they can be turned into nanobodies”, the newspaper explains. The researchers found that these nanobodies bind tightly to the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, which blocks and prevents the viral invader from entering human cells. The team behind the study - outlined in a newly published paper in the journal Nature - hope that “llama-derived nanobodies could eventually be developed as a treatment for humans struck down with a severe case of Covid-19”, says the Daily Mail. However, the research is still in a very early stage, with “academics at the Rosalind Franklin Institute at Oxford University condensing a process which would normally take almost a year into just 12 weeks”, the newspaper adds. Study leader James Naismith, a professor of structural biology and director of the institute, said that the “nanobodies have the potential to be used in a similar way to convalescent serum, effectively stopping progression of the virus in patients who are ill”. UK News World News Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccines Oxford University#science_&_health
The Week UK
London · 1 day ago
Debate: can big countries eliminate coronavirus without a vaccine?
Description Four experts on whether immunity without a vaccine is a realistic goal Credits Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Alt Text A coronavirus vaccine research lab in Russia Four experts on whether immunity without a vaccine is a realistic goal In Depth The Week Staff Monday, July 13, 2020 - 10:14am Angharad Davies, Swansea University; Andrew Lee, University of Sheffield; Jimmy Whitworth, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Lakshmi Manoharan, University of Oxford The UK should change its Covid-19 strategy to try to eliminate Covid-19 even without a vaccine rather than simply managing the disease, according to Independent SAGE, a group of scientists set up as an alternative to the government’s advisory body. New Zealand has effectively managed to eliminate the virus, but can states with much larger, denser populations that have experienced much bigger outbreaks hope to do the same? Or is it more realistic to accept that the disease is likely to continue to circulate at some level and plan for that? We asked four experts for their views. Angharad Davies, clinical associate professor in microbiology at Swansea University Elimination or near-elimination in the UK would require ambition and huge effort, organisation and resource but I believe it is possible. The effort would mean accepting fewer freedoms in the medium term. Crucially, it would rely on trust in authority and willingness to comply with restrictions. The incentive would be that, if we achieved elimination, we could go back to a state closer to normal, and a healthier local economy even without a vaccine. The effort would have to be sustained until then, and if no effective vaccine transpires – which is possible – then the question is how long this approach could justifiably continue in the face of a virus endemic globally. Lakshmi Manoharan, medical epidemiologist at the University of Oxford Suppressing the virus to a low level before allowing economic and social activity to resume as normal is important. Doing otherwise will risk the possibility of the UK having to go in and out of lockdown numerous times. That would be more harmful for society and the economy, compared to implementing more stringent measures in the short term. Recent studies have shown that the number of people with Covid-19 antibodies in coronavirus hotspots such as Wuhan and Spain is still low. This means that despite high numbers of cases and extensive community transmission, the majority of the population is still susceptible to the virus. Allowing economic and social life to resume while this is the case and in the absence of a vaccine may lead to a larger second wave of infection. The emphasis should be on strong measures such as border quarantines and a robust test, trace and isolate system to reduce infection rates before relaxing economic measures, opening schools and allowing “air bridges”. We need to focus on reducing the amount of community transmission first, which allows for spread of infection into our most vulnerable populations. Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine See related Coronavirus: the vaccines on trial - and when they may be ready Coronavirus: why antibody rates vary so widely from place to place Herd immunity doubts as Spanish study finds just 5% of population have Covid antibodies We need a sense of proportion in countries that have reduced the total mortality rate to normal levels, as the UK has now done, showing that the first peak of the epidemic has passed. Once the number of new cases is under good control (one new case a day for every million of population is reasonable) we can allow social and economic life to resume. We can also shift more attention to general physical and mental health. We need to continue to maintain some physical distancing measures, combined with effective testing and contract tracing to prevent the inevitable clusters expanding into a second wave. But to try to eliminate all cases, and to sustain a zero-Covid state, would take enormous resources. This would produce diminishing returns as the number of cases goes down – and other aspects of life would suffer. We have seen this with countries attempting polio elimination, where routine health services may suffer, and with malaria elimination where the cost of averting each case rapidly increases as the number of cases goes down. Getting the number of cases down to manageable levels might eventually lead to zero cases temporarily, but we do not currently have effective measures to keep it at zero. In particular, border quarantines are not likely to be effective unless rigorously and universally applied with consequent disruption of all business travel, tourism and international trade. Border quarantine won’t be effective unless it is universal. Nick Ansell/PA Wire/PA Images Andrew Lee, reader in global public health at the University of Sheffield Elimination of Covid-19 in high-income countries is both possible and realistic. Ebola elimination was achieved in parts of Africa through disease control measures rather than a vaccine, including disease surveillance, infection control, changing social norms (for example around physical contact) and public communications. This demonstrates elimination is possible even in low and middle-income countries with fewer resources. The key determinants, as with all infectious disease control programmes, are the political and societal will to achieve this. Because it requires a multi-pronged approach, it needs resourcing, leadership and commitment to deliver. So the question becomes: “What are we prepared to pay or sacrifice to achieve this?” But in our interconnected globalised world it is not enough to eliminate the virus in just a few countries. Countries where the disease is endemic act as reservoirs of infection and can reinfect others. This is a global health threat that requires global leadership and coordinated action if we are to eliminate it. Angharad Davies, clinical associate professor at the Swansea University; Andrew Lee, reader in global public health at the University of Sheffield; Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Lakshmi Manoharan, medical epidemiologist at the University of Oxford This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. UK News World News Politics Society Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccines Lockdown vaccine #science_&_health
The Guardian UK
London · 1 day ago
The cultural rescue package will set artists against institutions | Charlotte Higgins
The government’s Covid-19 response is opening up deep divisions. Theatres and museums get help but creatives are being cut looseThe pandemic has deepened many fissures in British society. The lack of capacity in our health service, and the life-and-death consequences of inequality: so much has been exposed in glaring relief. The fragility of the way the arts are run in Britain has likewise become crashingly obvious.Last week the government announced a £1.57bn rescue package for UK theatres, heritage sites, museums, arts centres, independent cinemas, galleries and concert halls. This is probably just about sufficient, if spread carefully, to keep a national infrastructure alive. But the package of aid, which the government – in its reflexively and unattractively boosterish way – calls “world-leading”, is no magic bullet. There will be a long and difficult route ahead for arts companies, as they navigate an uncertain future of reduced audience capacity, potential second waves and further lockdowns, and a shaky sense of how soon the public will be willing to partake once more in mass gatherings in confined spaces. Continue reading...#arts_funding#theatre#heritage #stage#culture#museums#coronavirus_outbreak#public_finance#society#uk_news
The Week UK
London · 1 day ago
Vote Leave’s AI firm handed government contracts worth £3m - but for what?
Credits Peter Summers/Getty Images Alt Text Dominic Cummings Artificial intelligence operation Faculty Private has also received payments from company owned by Dominic Cummings One-Minute Read Joe Evans Monday, July 13, 2020 - 3:14pm An artificial intelligence firm that has been awarded government contracts worth millions after working on the Vote Leave campaign has also been handed almost £260,000 by a private company owned by Dominic Cummings, it has emerged. The prime minister’s right-hand man and AI operation Faculty have both declined to explain the reason for the payments by Cummings’ consultancy operation Dynamic Maps, The Guardian reports. But the payments, made over two years, “are likely to raise further questions about the relationship between Cummings and the data analytics firm he hired in 2016 to conduct data modelling around the EU referendum for Vote Leave”, says the newspaper. What is the government paying for? See related What is cancel culture? The Guardian reported in May that Cummings’s arrival in Downing Street had seen Faculty “rapidly expanding its reach into various corners of Whitehall” after being “tasked with finding ways to apply artificial intelligence across government”. Last month, The Telegraph revealed that the company had been given a £400,000 contract to “tap data from places such as social media sites to help steer the government’s response to Covid-19”. Official government documents show that Faculty was hired “to provide data scientists who could set up ‘alternative data sources (e.g. social media, utility providers and telecom bills, credit rating agencies, etc)’”, as well as working with the Home Office to develop “terrorist blocking systems”, the newspaper said. The firm has now been handed a total of at least 13 contracts since early 2018, worth a total of about £3m, according to The Guardian. Lawyers for Faculty this week told the paper that the firm “rejected any suggestion it received preferential treatment from the prime minister’s chief adviser”. So is there any controversy? Faculty’s ties to government have been under increased scrutiny following reports in May that Cabinet Office minister owns a £90,000 shareholding in the firm. Theodore Agnew is responsible for “the government department that promotes the use of digital technology within public services”, raising questions about his involvement with the company, The Guardian reported. A government spokesperson said Agnew had no role in awarding any contracts to Faculty. In a separate row, openDemocracy reported in June that documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request suggested the government “misled the public about how it is protecting the privacy of millions of NHS users in its major Covid-19 data deals”. The investigative journalism site said the contracts relating to deals with tech firms including Faculty indicated that the companies “could profit from the intellectual property generated from the project (despite assurances to the contrary)” and that “NHS users could be re-identified from their health data”. The claims came weeks after journalist David Hencke alleged that the firms won the contracts without them “being put out to competitive tender”. The deals were “justified by NHS England as legitimate under an obscure statutory instrument laid before Parliament in February 2015 by the Coalition Government”, Hencke reported. Faculty’s lawyers had previously told The Guardian that “its NHS contract was the result of a tender process that was not influenced by Cummings”. Politics Dominic Cummings Artificial intelligence Brexit Vote Leave #uk_news
Daily Mail
London · 19 hours ago
Medics demand government releases plans for how the NHS should get ready for second Covid wave
The Royal College of GPs claimed UK medics have left in limbo without clear guidance about how they should get ready for a second influx of coronavirus patients.
The Guardian UK
London · 23 hours ago
This pandemic has strengthened bonds between doctors and patients | Zara Aziz
Our GP practice has been resilient but the government must listen to its health workforce if we are to cope with a second wave of Covid-19 Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAfter a shambolic start, last week’s announcement by the chancellor that the government has finally secured a steady supply of personal protective equipment for the NHS and has promised a further £10bn for a “test, track and enable” system is welcome: a winter second wave of Covid-19 is a distinct possibility and the NHS needs to be prepared.In our large practice we now run a complex rota with staff allocated to different roles and rooms or working from home. Earlier PPE shortages have thankfully been resolved and we are lucky to have a great management team who try and keep abreast of the daily changes and updates that we receive from various NHS bodies. I am cautiously hopeful that we are as prepared as we can be for now. Continue reading...#coronavirus_outbreak#society#gps#nhs#health#doctors#uk_news #mental_health#hospitals
The Guardian UK
London · 1 day ago
NHS data reveals 'huge variation' in Covid-19 death rates across England
Exclusive: hospital mortality rate varies from 12.5% to 80% in different trusts around country Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA wide disparity in coronavirus mortality rates has emerged in English hospitals, with data seen by the Guardian showing that one hospital trust in south-west England had a death rate from the disease of 80% while in one London trust it was just 12.5%.The figures, which NHS England has compiled but never published, show the age-standarised mortality rates that all of the country’s 135 acute hospital trusts have recorded during the pandemic. Doctors regard age as the single biggest predictor or risk factor for dying from Covid-19. Continue reading...#coronavirus_outbreak#nhs#hospitals#uk_news
The Guardian UK
London · 3 days ago
Rumours and threats: what happened when Covid-19 shut our pubs
When a customer in a Somerset town tested positive, two local venues found themselves in the eye of a stormCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMark Wilson’s first visit to the pub in months started perfectly. The 30-year-old met some of his closest friends in a vaping bar, Vape Escape, near the windswept seafront in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. “I was glad to be seeing people and getting a pint in a pub again,” he says. “We watched the Man United game and they won – so I was in a good mood.”As the Saturday evening wore on, the group moved on to another pub in the quiet seaside resort, about a 45-minute drive from Bristol. The six friends moved back and forth between the two pubs before calling it a night. “I was pretty merry,” says Wilson. “But it was all good.” Continue reading...#coronavirus_outbreak#infectious_diseases #science#pubs#nhs#uk_news