The UK's coronavirus growth rate is slowing as the country records an additional 168 Covid deaths and 24,962 new cases, according to the head of the Bureau of National Statistics.
Today's death toll is a mere 7.7 percent increase from the 156 deaths reported last Sunday. This is a hopeful sign that the death toll could fall.
The total number of cases reported today is 21 percent higher than last Sunday.
However, today's case load is one of the lower numbers this week after the government recorded 26,860 positive tests yesterday, 27,301 on Friday and a massive 33,470 on Thursday.
In addition, the ONS numbers published this week showed that the daily case numbers have increased lately, but at a slower pace than in previous weeks.
The numbers are typically lower on Sunday and Monday as delays are reported on the weekend.
The head of the ONS said earlier today that the growth of infections is also "slowing down".
Professor Sir Ian Diamond says that while the number of Covid cases continues to rise, the data shows a "slowdown in the rate of growth," which is a glimmer of hope for an end to tough nationwide restrictions.
He told Skys Sophy Ridge on Sunday that the UK is being hit by a second wave triggered by teenagers and young adults – who are also seeing a decline in the rate of infection.
Sir Ian said, “The good news is – yes – we are seeing a slowdown in the rate of growth.
& # 39; That means we're still gaining weight and now we're in England at 1.25 per 1,000. That means that one in 85 people in England we believe has the virus.
"A little less than one in 100 in Wales, one in 135 in Scotland and one in 105 in Northern Ireland. So yes, we keep increasing the numbers, but the rate of growth is slowing down."
People gather outside St George & # 39; s Hall in Liverpool during an anti-lockdown rally protesting against state restrictions during the second lockdown
Anti-lockdown protesters march through downtown Bristol today. The second lockdown comes despite Priti Patel's ban on the duration of the demonstration
England recorded 21,998 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours while Wales reported 1,333. Scotland recorded 1,159 and Northern Ireland reported 472 new cases.
A weekly report from the Office of National Statistics found that the England outbreak had remained relatively flat for the first week of November, with daily infections increasing by only four percent, suggesting a possible slowdown in the spread of the virus.
NUMBER OF PATIENTS IN LIVERPOOL HOSPITALS FALLED 15% BEFORE LOCKING
The number of coronavirus patients treated at hospitals in Liverpool fell by 15 percent in the week leading up to the second national lockdown. This emerges from official NHS data, which further questions whether the fall shutdown was justified.
The ministers abandoned the three tier system, which only came into effect on October 14th last month, and went along with the gross national intervention, claiming that beds would soon be overcrowded.
However, numbers from NHS England show that on November 5th, the day the country went into the second lockdown, 413 people with Covid-19 were living at Liverpool University Hospitals, the city's largest trust. That was a 13 percent decrease from the 475 treated the week before October 30.
Liverpool – the country's former Covid hotspot – was one of the areas in England that lived under the strictest Tier 3 restrictions, prohibiting residents from meeting people they did not live with and closing pubs.
Numbers from NHS England show there were 413 people with Covid-19 in Liverpool University Hospitals on November 5th, up from 475 treated on October 30th
It offers more evidence that the tiered system has begun to control the epidemic – experts say interventions take about three weeks to have a statistically discernible effect – and casts doubt on whether the economically crippling lockdown was necessary.
It is true, however, that the Trust is treating more Covid-19 patients than at the height of the first wave – for comparison, on April 12, 346 people were infected with the virus in Liverpool's hospitals. However, it is believed that the Trust has at least 1,600 total beds, and as of November 5, 1,268 were occupied by patients of all diseases. It suggests that the trust, which has broken off numerous non-urgent surgeries to make room, is currently 80 percent busy – making it quieter than it was last December.
Large trusts in other Tier 3 areas also saw the number of Covid-19 patients in their hospitals decreasing before the second lockdown, suggesting that the strictest local measures were not being given enough time to work.
For example, the NHS Trust in Merseyside, St. Helens and Knowsley treated 105 people for the disease on Nov. 5, compared with 118 the week before. A similar story is playing out at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where Covid-19-occupied beds fell from 188 to 142 over the same period.
However, in other Tier 3 areas such as Manchester and Lancashire, Covid-19 hospital admissions have not yet decreased. Although the measures in these areas were only enforced in late October, it could take another week for the benefits to be transferred to the hospital data. This is because of the time lag it takes Covid-19 patients to get seriously ill enough to need treatment.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline, “I have no doubt that Tier Three worked. Personally, I think the data is very clear that tier three was enough to clear cases, and I think most of the local authorities in tier 2 worked as well. & # 39;
A graph from the Office for National Statistics shows that although the number of infections in England has increased in recent weeks, the rate of increase is slower than in previous weeks.
Another graph shows that positive cases increase the most in the southeast, southwest, east of the Midlands and northeast of the country.
SAGE scientists have warned that Christmas is still in jeopardy unless social distancing rules are tightened after England's second lockdown.
Professor Susan Michie, member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), urged the public to stand up against the violation of the rules and be able to spend the festive time with loved ones.
She also suggested that the announcement of a potential Covid-19 vaccine could lead to complacency with the measures, adding that the sting would "make no difference" to the current wave.
In other coronavirus news this weekend:
- One of the scientists behind the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is confident that normal life will return next winter.
- Tens of millions of UK-made Covid-19 vaccines could be launched by December.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock has vowed to cordon off supplies of coronavirus swabs for family visitors in the run-up to the holiday season.
- Police wrestled with anti-lockdown and antivaxxer protesters yesterday and made dozens of arrests in the city centers of Bristol and Liverpool.
- Healthcare providers will be able to source products from manufacturers to sell to customers, but such orders will be at the bottom of the queue, according to government sources.
It comes after documents released by Sage on Friday warned that a return to the tiered system of coronavirus restrictions will pick up infections again.
When asked what will replace the current restrictions when the lockdown ends, Prof. Michie told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “It's too early to know. I think the next two weeks will be absolutely crucial.
“They are going to be very challenging for two weeks, partly because of the weather, partly because the promise of a vaccine can make people complacent.
“However, it is very unlikely that the vaccine will be used by the end of this year or early next year, and that won't make any difference to the current second wave.
"I think everyone really has to put all their determination together for the next two weeks."
Prof. Michie, a behavioral scientist at University College London, advised the public to "really take care to defy any urge to break the rules" when it comes to social distancing and visiting other households.
"Because this maximizes the chance that in two weeks' time, on December 2nd, we'll be in a position where we actually don't need to continue the lockdown," she added.
"And even better, everyone wants them to be able to spend the Christmas and winter holidays with their loved ones."
When asked if this meant profits would be lost during the lockdown, Prof. Michie said she was "pretty hopeful" after tough measures in Wales and Northern Ireland lowered transfer rates.
Newly released documents, written the day before the introduction of the second national lockdown, show a consensus statement produced by a modeling subgroup at Sage that raises concerns about the return to the Tier system.
Modeling found that if the lockdown is "well respected", the reproductive number is likely to be reduced to less than 1, with hospital admissions and deaths expected to decrease by at least the second week of December.
However, the November 4th document added, "If England returns to the same tiering application before November 5th, transmission will return to the same rate of increase as it is today."
Other documents from late October state that any hopes of families who gather for Christmas also depend on the R-value staying below 1 for “some time”.
Meanwhile, confusion emerges over how well the three tier system worked when a senior government adviser admitted yesterday that Tier 3 worked and "had the effect it had to have" before England's second lockdown began.
However, SAGE insisted that it is still not clear whether the tier three rules are strong enough to keep the R-rate below one in the longer term. R, which measures how many people each person infected with Covid passes the virus on, must stay lower than one for an outbreak to shrink.
Promising figures released Friday by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) – behind a surveillance system that happens to be wiping tens of thousands of people down to track the size of the outbreak – indicated that the country's coronavirus outbreak had slowed . While the number of infections in England has increased in recent weeks, the rate of increase is slower than in the past few weeks
A graph from the Office of National Statistics shows that positive cases are increasing most in the southeast, southwest, east of the Midlands and northeast of the country
Boris Johnson and his aides have already confirmed that England will return to a tiered local lockdown system in December, but what exactly it will look like is not yet clear – SAGE advisors say it must be able to screw the screw even stronger than to tighten in the past.
However, real-world data suggests that Tier 3 rules are already working well enough to bring the R to at least one, if not lower.
COVID TEST POSITIVE RATE DROPS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE MONTHS
The percentage of coronavirus tests that are positive has fallen for the first time in almost three months in England, according to official figures.
It raises further hopes that the country will get a better grip on its second wave and may already be in the middle of it.
Experts say one of the most accurate and fairest ways to track the progress of the virus is to look at the positivity rates of the tests – the percentage of swabs that come back positive.
When a country has a high positivity rate, it means the centralized system is struggling to keep up with the outbreak. However, a low rate means that only a small proportion of the population actually has the disease.
A weekly report published yesterday by Public Health England found that 9.7 percent of the second pillar tests performed in the week ended November 8th showed positive results. That was a decrease of 10.2 percent over the seven days before.
It is the first time since the week leading up to August 2 that the positivity rate for Pillar 2 tests has decreased. Pillar 2 is performed in test centers, drive-through clinics, and in private homes – which makes up the vast majority of all tests.
The first pillar tests – which were done in hospitals – also fell from the week, falling from 4.8 percent to 4.5 percent. It was the first time since the week leading up to August 23 that that number had fallen.
It comes as the UK announced another 33,470 positive cases on Thursday – 39 percent more than last Thursday – despite indicators showing the outbreak is slowing.
The number of cases is the highest since the Covid-19 outbreak began and comes a week after the second national lockdown began in England. It's an increase from 22,950 on Thursday.
However, unofficial statistics suggest that the country's outbreak slowed and diminished even before the November 5 lockdown began, and is expected to continue to shrink during November's strict regulations.
According to SAGE's official estimate, the R-rate in the northwest, based on data prior to the national lockdown and during Stage Three, was between 0.9 and 1.1. That was a 1.3-1.5 low in mid-October ahead of Tier Three.
Health Department test data also shows that infection rates in Liverpool have dropped from 681 cases per 100,000 people to just 274 per 100,000 in the past week, according to local lockdown rules.
Yesterday, the UK confirmed an additional 27,301 positive coronavirus tests and 376 deaths from Covid-19. Two other reports have added to the plethora of data showing England's second wave flattened out last week.
SAGE's own estimate of the R-rate, based on pre-national lockdown data, found it fell between 1.0 and 1.2 for the third time in a month in the UK, from 1.1 to 1.3 in the last week. This is the first time since early September that advisors believe R could go down to one.
In a weekly update from the Office of National Statistics, mass tests found that there were 47,700 new infections a day in England as of November 6, just slightly more than 45,700 the week before. It is said that infections "stay in around 50,000 new cases per day".
In a Nov. 4 article, SPI-M, a group of scientists working on numbers for SAGE, warned that there is still no clear evidence that third-level locks are tough enough to keep R below one.
The rules, which included pubs closing and household mixing bans, were put in place across much of the north of England before a national shutdown was called.
SPI-M said: "If England returns to the same tiering application before November 5th, transmission will return to the same rate of increase as today."
The experts added, "It is not yet clear whether Tier 3 measures alone are enough to bring the reproductive number below one."
The paper released by SAGE today comes – confusingly – when a senior government adviser admitted this afternoon that Tier Three worked well. The source added that Tier 2 also had the desired effect in some areas, although not as much as in Tier 3 areas.
In the toughest phase, residents were forbidden from meeting people they did not live with and saw pubs need to close – but gyms, non-essential shops and restaurants could stay open.
In Tier 2, people were prohibited from mingling with anyone outside their own homes, but pubs were allowed to stay open. All three levels had to adhere to the then applicable national rules, including the 10 p.m. curfew and the rule of six.
However, the expert, who wanted to remain anonymous, suggested that the program did not fight infections quickly enough because they came too late. SAGE has been warning for weeks that a "breaker" would be needed to reset the epidemic and bring it under control after cases spike in early fall.
Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca-sponsored study, says the team is "optimistic" about clearing the "miracle" vaccine by Christmas
They said the ministers wanted the families to meet during the holiday season and not cancel Christmas – and under the tiered strategy that would not be possible.
A separate paper dated Oct. 28 warned that Christmas social distancing could be eased for a "limited time" if transmission gets low enough for NHS Test and Trace to keep an eye on the outbreak.
The inventor of the Covid vaccine is confident that life will return to normal next winter
One of the scientists behind the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is confident that normal life will return next winter.
Professor Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said it was "absolutely necessary" to have a high vaccination rate before fall next year to ensure success.
He acknowledged the next few months will be "tough" and that the promising preliminary vaccine results, produced in partnership with Pfizer, will not affect the number of infections in the current wave.
Preliminary results from the sting have been shown to be more than 90% effective, the two companies announced last week, but safety and additional effectiveness data is still being collected.
"If everything continues to go well, we will begin delivering the vaccine at the end of this year, beginning next year," Prof. Sahin told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
& # 39; Our goal is to have dispensed more than 300 million vaccine doses by April next year so that we can already take effect.
"The bigger effects will be in by the summer, but the summer will still help us as the infection rate will decrease in the summer."
He added: “What is absolutely necessary is that we get a high vaccination rate before fall / winter next year, which means that all vaccination approaches must be done before next fall.
"I am confident that this will happen as a number of vaccine companies have been asked to increase supply so we can have a normal winter next year."
In order to achieve this, the interventions would have to push R well below one and "hold that for some time". However, the scientists noted that so far this has only happened during the March / April lockdown.
In another “high and controlled cases” scenario where experts are currently in the UK but which is at risk of falling, there is “little to no scope for relaxation of social distancing rules over Christmas ".
A third scenario predicts a much worse outcome, but when government intervention "is not enough to stop epidemic growth," said SPI-M.
According to SPI-M, stricter controls are then required than with the three-stage system that was set up before the lock.
It states: “The longer term outlook will depend on both the type of non-pharmaceutical interventions carried out in England after December 2nd and the politics during the festive period.
"If England returns to the same tiering application before November 5th, transmission will return to the same rate of increase as it is today."
Hopefully R will drop in more places next week and the following week as people continue to be under lockdown restrictions.
Professor Chris Whitty said in October that the tiered system on its own was "not enough to get the fall epidemic under control," adding to SPI-M's newly uncovered concern that suppressing the virus in the future may also not be enough.
The expert, who spoke yesterday, said some form of the tiered system would have to remain in place through December to further reduce infections once the country emerges from the shutdown.
“ At level three, evidence looks like level three brings the R to one or below in most places. That has the necessary effect, ”they said.
“Tier Two does the same thing in some places, depending on where and to what extent it's adhered to. Tier One doesn't look like it. This will give you an idea of what action to take in the future after locking to stay in control. & # 39;
When pressed, they did not comment on relaxing measures at Christmas so families could spend the holidays together, saying it was merely a "political decision, not a science decision".
SAGE fought vigorously for the second lockdown, presenting increasingly somber models to the government that predicted that thousands of daily deaths and hospitals would be overwhelmed by December.
The three-tier system's impact is difficult to gauge as it was only used properly for a fortnight before the national lockdown was announced.
However, there have been a number of signs that the darkest predictions would never have come true.
SAGE's estimate that the R-rate is falling is cause for optimism, as it is based on retrospective information that came before the national lockdown began.
A health care worker injected a syringe from the Phase 3 study of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine at Ankara University Medical Faculty in Turkey last month
This means that any changes seen in it have been made without the strictest nationwide measures – they may have been driven by the tiered system.
The group, led by UK Chief Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance, said yesterday: & # 39; SAGE is confident that the epidemic in England has continued to worsen in recent weeks.
“Although there is evidence that the rate of growth is slowing in some parts of the country, disease levels in these areas are very high. Significant health care and mortality needs will remain until R is lowered to 1 and stays well below 1 over an extended period of time. "
According to SAGE, the R-rate is highest in the southwest, where it's likely between 1.2 and 1.4, and in the east between 1.1 and 1.4. And it's lowest in the North West between 0.9 and 1.1, and in London and the North East and Yorkshire between 1.0 and 1.2.
The scientist who leads Oxford University's AstraZeneca-backed study says tens of millions of doses will be ready to roll out by the end of the year
Tens of millions of UK-made Covid-19 vaccines could be launched by December.
Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca-sponsored study, says the team is "optimistic" about getting approval for the "miracle" vaccine by Christmas.
The scientist says their antivirus would be ten times cheaper than Pfizer's product – which requires two injections several weeks apart and must be stored at -78 ° C.
He told the Sun that their vaccine is stored at "refrigerator temperature" and comes very close to demonstrating "effectiveness" – which Pfizer proved in its own version on Monday.
Professor Pollard said, “We have worked tirelessly all year and can't wait to see the results in the months ahead.
& # 39; We're a small academic team based in Oxford. It is a miracle that we were able to conduct large-scale experiments at record speed.
"Our partner AZ will not deliver the vaccine for profit."
It comes after the government said an additional 462 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.
There were an additional 26,860 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, up from 27,301 on Friday.
And British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has raised hopes that another Covid vaccine will be available early next year after it was revealed that it has already made "millions of doses."
Roger Connor, its president for global vaccines, told The Mail on Sunday that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had started mass production and is now entering the final stages of trials.
"We're already getting to the millions of cans made," he added. “We are fully equipped and are moving – in fact, the week before last we celebrated the commissioning of our Belgian plant.
British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has raised hopes that another Covid vaccine will be available early next year after it became known that it has already made “millions of doses”. Pictured: headquarters in West London
People wearing face covers stand in line for a coronavirus test at a center in Liverpool
“You can imagine how proud the people are who are working on it. They are so excited because they know they are going to make a difference. & # 39;
It comes after American giant Pfizer announced last week that its Covid vaccine is 90 percent effective and could be available before Christmas.
GSK has pledged to produce a billion cans of its sting over the next year and previously announced it would seek safety clearance in the first half of 2021.
However, news of manufacturing ramp-up and studies progressing will raise hopes that the company can get approval even earlier, opening the possibility that its vaccine could be available by spring.
Healthcare providers can source products from manufacturers such as BioNTech / Pfizer and Astrazeneca / Oxford to sell to customers. However, such orders will be at the bottom of the queue, according to government sources
GSK has pledged to produce a billion cans of its sting in the next year (picture in stock) and had previously announced that it would seek safety approval in the first half of 2021.
The results of studies by the British giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University, who are working together on a vaccine, could be available this week or next week. In the meantime, American companies Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are also likely to get closer to the announcements.
GSK is working in three international collaborations on the development of an effective injection, all of which should go into the final test phases.
GSK makes what is known as an adjuvant – an ingredient used to create a strong immune response – that is combined with antigens made by French drug maker Sanofi, Canada's Medicago and China's Clover Biopharmaceuticals to create a vaccine. The vaccine is manufactured in locations in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA.
The GSK-Medicago study of a plant-based vaccine is nearing its final stage. 30,000 volunteers in North America, Latin America and possibly Europe will be included in the tests.
The vaccine, which is manufactured by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (picture, plant in Puurs, Belgium) and BioNTech in Germany, is based on newer technologies than GSK
Mr. Connor said trials for the GSK-Clover compound will begin "in a few weeks" and the GSK-Sanofi partnership could move into mass human testing "in the next few weeks" after receiving encouraging results. He added, "We are seeking approval for our vaccines in the first half of 2021 – the world will need them."
The vaccine, which is manufactured by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German company BioNTech, is based on newer technologies than GSK.
As a result, Pfizer's vaccine must be stored below minus 70 ° C. The vaccines developed by GSK, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson can all be stored at normal refrigerator temperature.
The news of the possible breakthrough, however, comes when a leading expert warned that a limited supply of raw materials needed for Covid vaccines, like Pfizer's risks, leaves much of the world's population unprotected.
Andrey Zarur, Managing Director of GreenLight Biosciences, said that the suppliers of the materials needed to make them are not yet able to produce the large quantities required because the shocks are based on new technology.
& # 39; The supply chain just isn't mature enough. They exist for laboratory-scale processes that require nanograms, but they have to move from nanograms to kilograms, ”he added.
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