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Christmas saved because Michael Gove has made it his business to blow "up to four households" into the air over Christmas


Up to four families could create a coronavirus bubble for five days during the festive period next month to save Christmas.

Ministers from all four British nations met yesterday and agreed to work towards "some limited additional budget bubbles for a small number of days," the cabinet said today.

According to The Sun, the yet-to-be-confirmed plan is for up to four families to be allowed to form a bubble, which can meet indoors from Christmas Eve through December 28, a bank holiday, as Boxing Day lands on a weekend.

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove had talks with Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts yesterday, the Cabinet Office announced this afternoon. It is believed that the details of the plan would be ironed out and would require the approval of the decentralized administrations.

Because different home countries have different rules, an arrangement is needed that allows families to meet and travel to see loved ones, including crossing the border.

Boris Johnson is also planning to relax the much-criticized 10pm curfew to ease restrictions so Drinking Holes can check past 10pm orders and give customers an hour to drink and finish meals. He's holding a remote meeting with his cabinet this afternoon.

The prime minister will plan to revert to the three-tier shutdown system tomorrow after December 2, but it may move more areas to the top tier 3 than before the November lockdown. The ministers will detail the level to which each area will be moved on Thursday.

Mr Johnson's plans, which must be approved in a Commons vote to become law, are met with fierce opposition from a hardcore bloc in his own party, who argue that the restrictions are doing more harm than they are preventing.

The Covid Recovery Group MPs wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday evening requesting that he submit a full "cost-benefit analysis" of the new system to Parliament, amid concerns about the continuing impact on the economy and also on people with existing long-term effects Health problems exist.

In the letter to the Prime Minister, the group, led by former chief whip Mark Harper and High Wycombe Rep. Steve Baker, said: “There is no doubt that Covid is a fatal disease for many and it is important that we do theirs Effectively control spread. But we need to consider other deadly killers like cancer, dementia and heart disease, people's mental health, and all the health effects of poverty and falling GDP alike.

"The tiered restriction approach seeks, in principle, to link the spread of viruses with measures to control them, but it is important that we always remember that even the tiered system of restrictions puts people's lives at enormous health and economic levels Costs deeply hurt …

"We can only continue to support this approach if the government demonstrates that the restrictions proposed after December 3 will have an impact on slowing the transmission of Covid and will save more lives than it costs."

The developments came as follows:

  • The number of cases decreased by 25% compared to last Sunday. Another 18,662 cases were recorded while 398 deaths were recorded, up 137% from the previous week
  • US drug company Novavax hoped a vaccine it is developing could prevent people from infecting each other after successful attempts on monkeys.
  • At least 22 people were arrested when anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police at rallies in Bournemouth, London and Liverpool.
  • Mr Johnson saw an increase in public opinion polls, with the Tories falling to 41 percent and Labor to 38 percent, according to Optimum. It has been reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will come up with a £ 3 billion plan this week to clean up the backlog of operations canceled as a result of the pandemic, as part of a spending review that also aims to provide support for the mental health sector Promote health and revitalize the high street.
  • Church leaders appealed to the government to reopen the places of worship for Christmas services.

The Prime Minister will be planning a return to the three-tier system tomorrow, although it may move more areas into the top tier 3 than before the November lockdown before easing is planned for Christmas

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove had talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (above) and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts yesterday, the Cabinet Office announced this afternoon

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove had talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (above) and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts yesterday, the Cabinet Office announced this afternoon

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove (pictured last week) had talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts yesterday

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove (pictured last week) had talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts yesterday

The number of cases decreased by 25% compared to last Sunday, and another 18,662 cases were registered

The number of cases decreased by 25% compared to last Sunday, and another 18,662 cases were registered

Another 398 deaths were recorded on Sunday, a whopping 137% increase from the previous week

Another 398 deaths were recorded on Sunday, a whopping 137% increase from the previous week

Mark Harper

Steve Baker

In the letter to the Prime Minister, the group, led by former chief whip Mark Harper and High Wycombe MP Steve Baker, said: “There is no doubt that Covid is a fatal disease for many and it is important that we be his Effectively control spread. However, we need to take into account other deadly causes of death such as cancer, dementia and heart disease, people's mental health, and all the health effects of poverty and falling GDP alike. "

According to SAGE scientists, the Covid rules could be relaxed over Christmas if the new animal system is successful

Trying to ban Christmas is causing people to break coronavirus restrictions so the rules could be relaxed if the new animal system proves effective, a SAGE scientific advisor has warned.

Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, says some restrictions may be required after the holiday season, but they may not have to be "draconian".

Prof. Semple added that regulations could be relaxed over Christmas if the new tier system proves successful after the current lockdown.

Lecture on Skys Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Prof. Semple, member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), said, “The reality is we cannot ban Christmas and that would just lead to violations, and what are you going to do? & # 39;

When asked if each day of relaxation would require five days of stricter restrictions, he said, “Yes, I think the Round is correct, but it shouldn't be seen that it will be draconian restrictions, it will just work itself out extend restrictions and overriding restrictions for some areas. "

Prof. Semple said there is now "really good evidence" of which sectors are responsible for transmitting the virus, including the construction industry.

He said, “You would have thought working outside wouldn't be a risk, but a lot of construction workers actually work inside before buildings are made Covid-proof.

"The construction industry turned out to be a risk that surprised me."

And he warned that despite masks and social distancing, industries like pubs and hairdressers are still "high-risk activities."

He said, “It's not just about hitting a mask and visor, it's about not touching the face mask, it's about washing your hands.

"It's difficult, it takes nurses and doctors years to learn how to do it right."

When asked if changing pub closing times would make a difference, he added, “Playing around the edges of drinking times or pub closing times is just not an effective mechanism.

“In pubs and clubs you have to look at all of human behavior and consider human behavior, and I think that was missing when this first happened.

"I think every iteration you see next will be better informed if you understand human behavior and don't drive us into unintended consequences that can increase transmission, such as pubs closing early and concurrently Enter all streets. "

Meanwhile, a wise scientist said today that trying to ban Christmas will result in people breaking coronavirus restrictions. Hence, the rules could be relaxed if the new tier system proves effective.

Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University, says some restrictions may be required after the holiday season, but they may not have to be "draconian".

Prof. Semple added that regulations could be relaxed over Christmas if the new tier system proves successful after the current lockdown.

Lecture on Skys Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Prof. Semple, member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), said, “The reality is we cannot ban Christmas and that would just lead to violations, and what are you going to do? & # 39;

When asked if each day of relaxation would require five days of stricter restrictions, he said, “Yes, I think the Round is correct, but it shouldn't be seen that it will be draconian restrictions, it will just work itself out extend restrictions and overriding restrictions for some areas. "

It came when sources in No. 10 said they believed a wave of vaccines to be introduced inside moths will allow the country to be "something near normal" by Easter.

However, Mr Johnson could face a struggle to get the new levels past MPs.

If all 70 rebels voted against the new levels, it would wipe out the labor majority in the government if Labor opposed them too. However, Sir Keir Starmer's party has so far supported Covid's legislation.

The Christmas news is likely to bring joy to many beleaguered families, although critics have warned it comes at a heavy price, with a possible lockdown in January to make up for the extra festive freedom

In a statement, the cabinet said that "good progress" had been made in a Christmas shopping season across the UK over the past few days.

"Ministers endorsed the common goal of allowing limited extra bubbling in households for a small number of days, but also stressed that the public is advised to remain cautious and that people avoid travel and social contact whenever possible should minimize ", it said.

"With regard to Northern Ireland, Ministers have also recognized that people want to see family and friends across the island of Ireland and this is the subject of discussions with the Irish Government."

In response to the rebels, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said this morning it was important to study the impact of the coronavirus on the round including the economy. He disagreed with the CRG's demands, saying, “It is very difficult to accurately assess the specific effects of a one-week restriction.

"What you will see next week when we have the spending review will include a number of budgetary responsibility projections … that will reveal the tremendous strain and stress on our economy and the job losses you mentioned." , the predictions of what will happen, and it is correct that we consider this in the round as the best way to fight the virus. & # 39;

Mr. Sunak added, “It is a tragedy that three quarters of a million people have already lost their jobs. These are the millions of families and people who have been affected and it is a difficult time for everyone. & # 39;

Mr Johnson will make a televised address to the House of Commons and the nation on Monday that the lockdown will end on December 2nd as promised.

He will also set out details of a new winter plan to fight Covid, including a revised three-tier structure for restrictions.

The new framework will run through spring to add confidence and clarity to businesses and the general public as work continues on vaccine approval and a mass vaccination project.

Mr. Sunak warned today that "Christmas will not be normal". He said the localized tiered system was a "far better way" to fight Covid-19 as he confirmed the prime minister's plans, which are expected to be approved by the cabinet on Sunday.

"I think as frustrating as it is for all of us, Christmas is not going to be normal this year," he told Ridge on Sunday.

“But that means the Prime Minister and everyone else, we are looking for ways that families can spend some quality time together during the Christmas season.

"Of course we'd like to do that, and it's been a difficult year for all of us, but as I said, this year won't be a normal Christmas."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said this morning it was important to study the impact of the coronavirus on the round including the economy. But she stopped to agree to the CRG's demands

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said this morning it was important to study the impact of the coronavirus on the round including the economy. But she stopped to agree to the CRG's demands

In a pre-Christmas upturn for the UK, the Mail on Sunday suggests the prime minister intends to extend pubs, bars and restaurants opening hours to 11 p.m. when the second national lockdown ends on December 2nd. While the last orders are still coming in at 10 p.m., people are given an extra hour to finish drinks and meals.

In addition to helping the hospitality sector, the plan is also expected to be adopted in a crunch cabinet meeting that evening and will prevent crowds from gathering on the streets at the time of departure.

Mr Sunak said today to Andrew Marr on the BBC: "It's definitely something we are thinking about."

Rishi Sunak warns that taxes will rise in the spring to balance the books after the Covid crisis

Rishi Sunak has hinted that taxes could rise in the spring as the UK tries to balance the books after the coronavirus crisis.

The Chancellor will come up with a £ 100 billion long-term infrastructure investment plan and a £ 3 billion package of new spending to help the NHS recover from the pandemic.

However, in an interview prior to his spending review on Wednesday, he warned that Britain was experiencing an "economic shock" that would have to be paid for somehow.

Mr. Sunak said a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes is expected after the crisis, but added that while the economy is in trouble it is a "matter of timing".

In the meantime, the chancellor has ruled out running for prime minister.

& # 39; You're kidding! I've seen what the prime ministers have to do and I have more than enough to keep going, ”he said.

It comes as Downing Street rose to a record high of £ 22.3 billion last month, with the UK expected to hit £ 350 billion for the year given the pandemic.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies previously warned that it would take £ 40 billion in taxes and spending cuts to repay the money.

However, the Treasury Department said the NHS will be given £ 1 billion to clean up arrears by catching up on checks, scans and surgeries delayed by Covid-19.

Around £ 1.5 billion will be used to relieve existing pressures in the health sector and £ 500 million will help support mental health services.

But Mr. Sunak had a warning on the nation's finances, telling the Sunday Times, “People will see the magnitude of the economic shock openly.

"We can see the data every month and obviously the shock our economy is currently in is substantial."

The 10pm curfew has received widespread criticism after its inception in September, and # 10 is determined to show that it can both listen to its back benches and learn lessons when measures are unsuccessful.

The proposal has broad support. One minister said: "10 p.m. final orders and being able to stay longer sounds extremely sensible."

There is growing confidence that positive results from a study of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca are "imminent".

Vaccines made by Pfizer and the US company Moderna have already been shown to be almost 95 percent effective.

A government insider said: "There is a possibility that one day we will wake up soon and Brexit will be over and we will have the Oxford vaccine."

However, it is expected that the revised tier system introduced by Mr. Johnson will bring more areas to the top third level. The final decision as to which areas go to which levels will be made on Thursday.

While almost all stores are allowed to reopen, bookmakers and so-called "wet pubs" that do not sell food may have to remain closed in places with the highest infection rate.

There may also be tighter controls on households that mix indoors. "The new Tier 3 will look a lot tighter than the old one," admitted a government source.

However, restrictions on sport will be relaxed while ministers have extensive discussions on how to allow crowds in open-air stadiums. The main sticking point, however, is how to get fans to and from the events without risking public transport infection.

To build confidence, Mr Johnson said in a speech yesterday, "My first message is 'thank you' for what you have done over the past very difficult eight months, my second is that hope is on the horizon."

Ministers yesterday continued talks on whether and how the restrictions could be lifted for Christmas. It is understood that with a four nation truce, all families across the UK will have the same number of days to celebrate with loved ones.

The government is also debating how some pantomimes could be allowed, although the theaters are unlikely to open any larger before next year.

Scientists warned last week that it could take up to five days of hard lockdown to compensate for each day with fewer restrictions over Christmas.

But Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak have stressed the need to return to a "working economy". A source said, "We need to get back to normal."

The ministers are trying to identify measures to increase morale, e.g. B. the possibility of people watching live sports again, or the reopening of cinemas.

"This is an important element to consider," a government source said. "If you allow people to see the latest Bond movie in theaters, it is a big signal that things are back to normal."

The renewed optimism has to do with the “transformative” effect that the introduction of a vaccine or vaccines will have.

The 10 p.m. curfew was widely criticized when it was introduced in September when crowds gathered outside pubs

The 10 p.m. curfew was widely criticized when it was introduced in September when crowds gathered outside pubs

In Soho, night owls often gathered in large crowds after the pubs closed, and many hugged and sang in close proximity

In Soho, night owls often gathered in large crowds after the pubs closed, and many hugged and sang in close proximity

# 10 is determined to show that it can both listen to its back benches and learn lessons when actions are unsuccessful

# 10 is determined to show that it can both listen to its back benches and learn lessons when actions are unsuccessful

Brits who test negative for Covid twice a week receive the "Freedom Pass".

It is suggested that Brits get Covid Liberty Badges as long as they test negative for the virus twice a week.

The details of the program are still being ironed out by officials in Whitehall hoping the country will return to normal next year.

To get the Freedom Pass, people need to be tested regularly. If the results are negative, they will be given a letter, card, or document to show people when they move.

The certificate would be stored on a phone, according to sources, and would allow people to lead relatively normal lives until the government's vaccination program is updated.

It would even allow the British to get away without a mask and visit family and friends without having to distance themselves socially.

A source said Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific advisor, had "had a spring in his stride".

Ministers are currently working on plans to maintain restrictions until the end of March, when experts say most of the vaccines can be dispensed.

The limitations are checked as the data improves or deteriorates.

Ministers will consider the latest data before finalizing the new tiered arrangements later this week.

The measures are then voted on in parliament. While some Tory MPs have raised concerns that gyms and the beauty industry will be an "afterthought," the Treasury Department is pushing for them to reopen on December 2nd.

A source said: “Companies like gyms and beauty salons are desperate to open and have got Covid safe.

"People want to get their nails done before Christmas – it's a big season for these companies."

However, 70 Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister saying that they will not vote in favor of reintroducing the tiered system unless the government justifies any persistent restriction.

Organized by Steve Baker and former Whip Chief Mark Harper, the letter warns that ministers must "publish a full cost-benefit analysis of the proposed restrictions on a regional basis".

A # 10 spokesman said: "All efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slow its spread and ease pressure on the NHS.

"But the prime minister and his scientific advisors are certain the virus is still there – and without regional restrictions, it could quickly spiral out of control again before vaccines and mass tests show any effect."

Farewell (and have a good trip) to the government by quad

IT is the inner elite circle of senior ministers who have summed up the UK coronavirus response – to the exclusion of the rest of the cabinet.

But now The Quad's influence is being downgraded as Boris Johnson tries to get more coworkers involved in the decision-making process following the departure of chief assistant Dominic Cummings.

The Quad's "gang of four" – consisting of Prime Minister, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove – had also been the subject of a leak investigation after details of their talks with scientific advisers and aides found their way into the press, apparently around Get a reluctant Mr. Johnson to request a second ban.

Last night the next stage of British virus policy was discussed in a broader "Covid-O" committee that included Secretary of the Quad Clique, Economic Secretary Alok Sharma, Interior Minister Priti Patel and others. And today the broader cabinet will be discussing the new tier system, due to go into effect December 2nd, as well as plans to ease restrictions for Christmas. Your decision will then be presented to Parliament tomorrow.

It is a clear departure from the previous concentration of power that has alienated many excluded ministers.

A cabinet minister told the newspaper that the meetings had become more inclusive since Mr Cummings left Downing Street.

A government source said last night, "People want more participation and wider voices in decision-making."

TUC chief refuses to rule out a wave of union-backed strikes if Rishi Sunak freezes public sector wages to balance the books – as the chancellor defends his plans and says, "There will be no austerity next week."

Britain could be hit by a wave of strikes if Rishi Sunak introduces a public sector wage freeze, a senior union leader warned today.

Frances O & # 39; Grady, the president of the TUC, suggested reports that only doctors and nurses could avoid a wage cut if the government tried to balance the books.

She spoke amid reports that the Chancellor will prevent more than five million public sector workers from receiving inflation-related pay increases while many private sector colleagues face wage freezes or layoffs.

Only Britain's half a million frontline NHS nurses and doctors would be exempt from acknowledging their heroics during the pandemic.

Mr Sunak defended his plans today, saying they are not a "return to austerity" as seen among the Tories over the past decade.

When Ms O & # 39; Grady spoke on Sky & # 39; s Ridge this Sunday, she described them as "morally obscene".

When asked last week by PCS union leader Mark Serwotka that strike actions cannot be ruled out, she said: “At the moment, nobody can rule out anything.

Frances O & # 39; Grady, the president of the TUC, suggested reports that only doctors and nurses could avoid a wage cut if the government tried to balance the books.

Frances O & # 39; Grady, the president of the TUC, suggested reports that only doctors and nurses could avoid a wage cut if the government tried to balance the books.

The Chancellor will prevent more than five million public sector workers from receiving inflation-related wage increases, while many colleagues in the private sector face wage freezes or layoffs.

“But I say and ask that the government stand by the key workers, respect the contribution they continue to make, recognize that this is absolutely the wrong time to talk about wage cuts, and instead we need to start talking about it speak justice. & # 39;

Mr. Sunak is expected to set a cap on wage increases at or below inflation. It would hit workers such as teachers, police, officials, NHS managers and members of the armed forces.

The dramatic move is expected to save billions if public finances are deep in the red.

However, this is controversial as public sector workers have been commended for their efforts to fight the virus. Eight years of wage restraint did not end until 2018.

Mr. Sunak is working to fill the public finances gap and fund Boris Johnson's new defense, environment and infrastructure spending commitments.

He is also expected to cut at least £ 4 billion from the foreign aid budget, despite the manifesto promising to uphold it.

Mr. Sunaksaid this morning Voters "won't see any austerity measures next week" but suggested that a public sector wage freeze would be imposed.

He said to Ridge on Sunday, “You won't see any austerity next week. What you will see is an increase in government spending on day-to-day public services, a pretty significant increase from the increase we had last year.

"So there is absolutely no way anyone can say that these are austerity measures. We spend more money on public services than we do."

He said that he "cannot comment on future wage policy," but added: "When we started the spending review, I told the departments that when we think about public pay slips, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to refer to them to think." the broader business climate.

"I think it would be fair to also think about what is happening to wages, jobs, hours across the economy when we think about what is right in the public sector."

But Ms. O & # 39; Grady said, “Millions of key workers have taken care of us and continue to care, and I think it is time we took care of them.

"We have seen ministers join millions of us clapping firefighters, garbage collectors and social workers. I don't think this is the time to reward them with a real cut in wages."

Quoting the Prime Minister's pledge in June that there will be no return to austerity, Ms O & # 39; Grady said, “The government certainly doesn't think it can reintroduce austerity for the people who have their health and in unity Cases put their lives on the line to help the rest of us. & # 39;

She added, “If you want to motivate a workforce while we are facing a second wave of a pandemic and we are going to have a harsh winter – we all know this – the last thing you threaten to do is lower their wages. & # 39;

What they DO NOT tell you about Covid: Fewer beds than last year, deaths a fraction of the dire predictions, 95% of deaths had underlying causes … and how the facts can be twisted to stir fear in our hearts

Given the health of the nation, it was announced this week that GCHQ has embedded a team on Downing Street to provide Boris Johnson with real-time updates on addressing the "emerging and changing threat" posed by Covid-19.

The intelligence analysts will search huge amounts of data to make sure the Prime Minister has the most up-to-date information on the spread of the virus.

But what exactly was Mr. Johnson supposed to be looking for? Here ROSS CLARK reveals what to ask …

How accurate were the government's dire predictions?

The short answer is: not very much. In a July report commissioned by scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, scientists estimated that there could be 119,000 deaths if a second surge coincided with a peak of winter flu. Yesterday that number was 54,286 – less than half that.

In fact, the second peak seems to have passed – there were an average of 22,287 new infections per day for the past week, compared to 24,430 the week before.

In mid-September, Sir Patrick made the horrific claim that the UK could experience 50,000 new cases of coronavirus every day by mid-October unless more draconian restrictions were put in place. Still, we never got close to that number.

What about his prophecies of death?

The same goes for. Your warnings simply have no relation to reality.

During the Halloween Horror Show press conference that Sir Patrick and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty used to scare the government into implementing a second lockdown, one of their slides suggested that the daily Covid-19 deaths by December 4,000 a day.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, pictured on October 31, when the second national lockdown was announced, had shown a slide that predicted up to 4,000 deaths per day through December. But in ten days we'll still be less than 15 percent of that number

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, pictured on October 31, when the second national lockdown was announced, had shown a slide that predicted up to 4,000 deaths per day through December. But in ten days we'll still be less than 15 percent of that number

In ten days, we'll still be less than 15 percent of that number. As the graph above shows, the current mortality rate is well below almost any modeled winter scenario.

Are the hospitals almost full?

The answer is "no" – contrary to what you think government experts had after posting a table last month that gave the impression that hospitals were almost overcrowded when at least half weren't a single Covid-19 patient would have.

Currently, only 13 percent of NHS beds are occupied by patients with Covid-19.

As of Monday this week, 16,271 hospital beds across the UK were filled with patients who had tested positive for Covid-19.

As of Monday this week, 16,271 hospital beds across the UK were filled with patients who tested positive for Covid-19. This is a steady increase from last Monday when there were 14,279 Covid patients. Notably, the number of beds currently occupied by the NHS England is below the previous year's average

As of Monday this week, 16,271 hospital beds across the UK were filled with patients who tested positive for Covid-19. This is a steady increase from last Monday when there were 14,279 Covid patients. Remarkably, the number of beds currently occupied in the NHS England is below the previous year's average

This showed a steady increase from the previous Monday when there were 14,279 patients with Covid.

To put that number in perspective, the NHS had 101,255 general and acute beds in England as of March this year, as well as 15,392 in Scotland and 10,563 in Wales.

How is it compared to last year?

Remarkably, as the graph shows, the number of beds currently occupied by NHS England is lower than the average for the previous year.

On November 5th, the last available date, there were actually 1,293 fewer patients in hospital beds than in November of the previous year.

Are intensive care beds sure full?

Some hospitals are under pressure, but that's not the case everywhere, as the graph above shows. On Wednesday 1,430 people with Covid-19 occupied beds with mechanical ventilation.

Despite fanares surrounding the construction of the Nightingale Hospitals (like Sunderlands pictured on the opening day in May), they were never more than 1.23 percent full

Despite fanares surrounding the construction of the Nightingale Hospitals (like Sunderlands pictured on the opening day in May), they were never more than 1.23 percent full

Given that there were 4,119 ICU beds in England before the crisis, as well as 269 in Scotland and 153 in Wales, only around 31 percent of ICU beds are currently occupied by patients with Covid – excluding the beds that were recently converted from normal beds.

In fact, the number of critical beds occupied on November 8 was actually below the five-year average for 2015-19.

Even at the height of the first wave in spring, the proportion of mechanical ventilation beds used in existing NHS hospitals never exceeded 62 percent, according to a study by University College London.

But wasn't that because of the Nightingale hospitals?

Not at all. Despite all the fanfare surrounding the rapid construction of the Nightingale hospitals, they were never more than 1.23 percent full.

In addition, doctors are now much better prepared to treat Covid-19, for example when they know when and when patients do not need ventilation.

So who is killing Covid-19?

Put simply, the victims are predominantly elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Of the 37,470 Covid-19 deaths recorded by NHS England as of November 18, 53.7 percent were people over the age of 80.

In comparison, there were only 275 deaths in people under 40 (just 0.7 percent of the total).

And crucially, those who have died from Covid-19 are overwhelmingly likely to have suffered from a pre-existing illness.

Of those who died from coronavirus, 35,806 people (95.6 percent of the total) had at least one pre-existing serious illness.

In fact, there have only been 42 deaths in people under 40 without a pre-existing condition.

What counts as pre-existing conditions?

While there has been much debate about how a person's lifestyle – such as their weight or general respiratory disease – makes them more prone to Covid-19, the truth is that those who die from pre-existing conditions tend to have serious debilitating diseases .

27 percent of them had diabetes while 18 percent had dementia – both of which make a person extremely susceptible to any viral infection.

Are more dying now than in the first wave?

No. The number of Covid-19 deaths is significantly lower than the April peak, as the graph above shows. For example, on April 21 there were 1,224 Covid-19 deaths and a daily average for the week of 838. 511 new deaths were reported yesterday.

Are you dying more than last year?

Regardless of what the scare mongers want you to do, deaths this time of year are not far above average, as the graph above shows.

Yes, for the week ending November 6, total deaths in England and Wales were 11,812 – 14.3 percent or 1,481 more than the five-year average.

However, this hides the fact that unlike the spring when deaths from non-Covid-19 causes were above average, non-Covid-19 deaths in recent weeks have actually been significantly below average.

Surely more elderly people die than normal?

It doesn't look like it. According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – for October 2020 – the average death rate among those over 75, despite all deaths from Covid-19 this year, was significantly lower than last October – 6,901.7 per 100,000 people , compared to 7141.7 for the last year.

But isn't the infection rate increasing now?

The latest ONS estimate shows that new infections have flattened out by the week leading up to November 14: one in 80 people in England had the disease this week, compared to one in 85 the week before.

And it could go down now: According to a study published this week by Cambridge University scientists – whose data is used by the Sage government advisory group – infection rates of Covid-19 have actually stopped rising across England.

The Government's Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) said the reproductive rate "R" - the average number of people to whom each Covid-19 patient passes the disease - from a maximum of 1.2 in the last week to a slight maximum 1.1 has decreased. and could be just 1.0 or less in any region of the UK

The Government's Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) said the reproductive rate "R" – the average number of people to whom each Covid-19 patient passes the disease – from a maximum of 1.2 in the last week to a slight maximum 1.1 has decreased. and could be just 1.0 or less in any region of the UK

In fact, they claim the R-rate – the average number of people infected with the virus by someone – has dropped to one.

If the number is below one, the epidemic subsides; over one and it grows; and if it is one, the infection rates stay the same.

Couldn't that just be an anomaly?

In fact, for the R-rate, this figure is consistent with a number of other studies.

The latest government estimate – derived from Imperial College London's REACT study which wiped tens of thousands of people each week – suggests that the R-number for England as a whole is currently between 1 and 1.2.

In the Covid-19 symptom study by King & # 39; s College London, the R number is even 0.9 – the lowest level since August.

Whatever the truth, data released yesterday by the ONS confirmed that infection rates are flattening out in England and Scotland.

Does it matter if older people are more likely to be infected?

Such is the claim made by critics of the Great Barrington Declaration, which in October called on governments to abandon uniform lockdowns in favor of targeted shielding who believe the current wave of infections will break through to the elderly.

The latest ONS estimate shows that new infections have flattened out in the week leading up to November 14th. Cambridge University scientists believe the national R-number has fallen to one, meaning the country's infection rate will remain the same

The latest ONS estimate shows that new infections have flattened out in the week leading up to November 14th. Cambridge University scientists believe the national R-number has fallen to one, meaning the country's infection rate will remain the same

However, the rate of infection is highest among school-age children and students – the least at risk of the population – and lowest among those over 70.

In the week leading up to November 14th, the infection rate among secondary school students was 2.03 percent, while it was only 0.48 percent and declined among those over 70.

What about the areas that have a spike?

There are certainly regional differences in infection rates – the values ​​are generally higher in the north than in the south.

One of the reasons the numbers may seem particularly noticeable is because the government is embarrassed that the same numbers were based on a data error in the fall that caused infections among students at their parents' address – mostly in the south.

At the height of the problem, one in eight cases was reported to the wrong local authority in September and October.

Isn't that fixed by mass testing??

Don't bet on it. The government has put great faith in Operation Moonshot – their plan to test the entire population once a week using "lateral flow tests," a type of Covid-19 test that gives results in just an hour.

However, their speed comes at a cost: they are not very reliable.

According to a recent study by Oxford University and Public Health England's Porton Down Laboratory, the LFT used in the pilot across Liverpool managed to detect Covid-19 in only 79.2 percent of cases, even when performed by laboratory staff.

Is it really that bad?

Just wait When used by trained community health professionals, the detection rate dropped to 73 percent, and when used by self-trained members of the public, the detection rate dropped to only 58 percent.

In a way, the false positives were worse.

Overall, 0.32 percent of people who took the tests were falsely told they had the virus.

If the entire population were required to do the tests, it could mean 200,000 – a city the size of Portsmouth – being instructed to self-isolate if they don't actually have the disease.

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