The UK today recorded the highest number of new coronavirus cases in seven weeks, with 1,148 infections and another 102 deaths across the country.
The total number of cases hit 312,789 today after the largest increase since June 21 when there were 1,221 new cases. The total number of deaths rose to 46,628 today.
The recent spike in cases is in breach of the ceiling that the government's Joint Biosecurity Center said was acceptable to avoid a “flare-up” of Covid-19, according to Sage documents.
In the past few days, thousands of Britons have come to beaches and parks to cool off during the stifling heat, making social distancing largely impossible.
Official figures show that the infection rate has increased in all age groups under 65 since the lockdown was eased earlier in the summer.
For 15- to 44-year-olds in England, the rate has risen by 35 percent since July 5th – one day after “Super Saturday” when bars, restaurants and cinemas reopened and a large part of the workforce went back to work .
The latest data from Public Health England also shows that weekly infections in infants rose 40 percent over the same period.
Meanwhile, officials have announced that they will post three separate daily deaths for Covid-19 amid confusion over statistics released by the government.
The Ministry of Health will now publish three measures, including its heavily criticized count, which records the deaths of everyone who have ever tested positive for the coronavirus – regardless of how they died.
This came after Health Secretary Matt Hancock instructed Public Health England to review the way deaths were counted due to a "statistical error" which meant officials "overdone" the daily toll.
The original method recorded people as Covid-19 fatalities, even when they tested positive in March and died in a car accident in August.
What will the three death stories be?
28 days cut off
This method should be preferred by the ministers. If someone died 28 days after testing positive for Covid-19, their death was recorded as being caused by the disease. But if they died 29 days later, it wouldn't be.
The shorter timeframe than the one now in use – which counts deaths after someone tests positive for Covid-19 – reduces the chance that a person will be registered as a Covid-19 death, even if they died from an entirely different, unrelated cause is.
60 days cut off
This method, favored by government statisticians, counts one Covid-19 death as anyone who died with a positive result within 60 days.
It leaves room for those who may have died several weeks after being infected, considering that some patients may be in the hospital long before they eventually die from the disease.
However, this also means that some people who tested positive for the virus, recovered and died a while later from various reasons, will be caught.
Public Health England said the 60-day cut-off is better than 28 days because some patients have long-term Covid-19 symptoms after seeming recovery and cannot be removed from the list if they are not immediately after their diagnosis to die .
The current level
The current method – which counts every death after a positive Covid-19 result, no matter how much later it occurs – is believed to continue to be published.
The method was scrutinized because someone who once suffered from Covid-19 and then recovered will be counted even if they were hit by a bus or had a car accident.
However, experts say it's still useful as it allows for instant inter-day compatibility to see if the deaths are subsiding.
Two new methods are used to create lists of people who died within 28 days of being tested for coronavirus and of people who died within 60 days of being tested.
The 28-day count is considered the medical standard, and deaths within this period are likely a direct result of the disease. But risk the longer-term ones, including people dying from other causes who happened to have Covid-19.
However, it is believed that officials are reluctant to stop long-term counting as so many people suffer from the coronavirus after-effects weeks or even months after being infected.
In addition, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) still publishes its own weekly report on Covid-19 deaths based on a death certificate.
PHE counts people as victims if they die of any reason after testing positive for Covid-19 – even if they were hit by a bus months after fighting the life-threatening infection, top scientists announced last month.
The method is likely why the daily death toll in England has not fallen as rapidly as elsewhere – because survivors are never considered to be truly recovered from the disease.
PHE is expected to release the results of a review in its own census in the next few days, The Times reported.
But, despite the shortcomings of the method of counting, it is not being scrapped.
Instead, after a compromise between ministers and scientists, there will be two more deaths after Covid-19.
Separate statistics released this morning show that the number of people dying from coronavirus each week in England and Wales has dropped to its lowest level in 19 weeks and there are now fewer than 200 victims a week.
Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificates of 193 deaths recorded in the week ended July 31. This emerges from the latest report from the Office for National Statistics.
It's the lowest number of virus-related deaths since the week leading up to March 20, four days before the lockdown, when the ONS reported 103 deaths. Deaths have now been at pre-lockdown levels for four straight weeks.
And the flu has now been a bigger killer than Covid-19 for seven straight weeks, as weekly coronavirus deaths fell below those caused by the common illness. Between June 19 and July 31, a total of 6,626 people died from the flu named on their death certificate, compared with 2,992 from coronavirus. Covid-19 was last higher in the week ending June 12, when 1,114 people were killed, compared to 996 for flu.
At the height of the UK crisis in mid-April, around a thousand people died from Covid-19 every day and the official death toll now stands at 46,595.
However, the government's death certificate only includes victims who have had a test done to confirm they had the virus. This differs from the ONS's calculations, which include all deaths where the virus was a suspected cause.
There were 51,779 deaths from Covid-19 in England and Wales as of July 31, according to the ONS, while official figures show there were 4,208 deaths in Scotland and 855 in Northern Ireland.
Taken together, these numbers suggest that 56,842 deaths have been recorded in the UK to date, with Covid-19 listed on the death certificate.
Today's report also found that almost 700 more than average people died in their homes in the last week of July as the British are still not ready to use the NHS.
A total of 2,915 deaths were recorded in private homes in England and Wales – 676 more than the five-year average.
Experts fear that people are still reluctant to seek healthcare, either because they are afraid of contracting the virus in hospitals and general practitioners' offices, or because they don't want to burden the healthcare system.
The number of deaths from Covid fell for the 15th straight week, and the number of deaths from all reasons also remained below the five-year average for the seventh week. The flu has consistently been a major killer since mid-June
The number of people dying from coronavirus each week in England and Wales has dropped to its lowest level in 19 weeks. Covid-19 was mentioned on death certificates of 193 deaths recorded in the week ending July 31, compared to 103 in the week ending March 20
In the last week of July, almost 700 more than average people died in their homes. The British are still reluctant to use the NHS. However, deaths in hospitals and nursing homes are below the five-year average
The hospital in England and Wales saw 600 fewer deaths than would normally be expected at this time of year, the report showed.
In early March, the NHS urged hospitals to cancel as many surgeries as possible and exterminate patients on their wards to make way for an influx of Covid-19 patients.
The move was successful and the hospitals were not overwhelmed by the effects of the virus. However, it appears to have led to a decrease in hospital deaths and an increase in the number of people passing home.
Overall, the number of deaths from all reasons in all situations was 1 percent below the five-year average. This is the seventh straight week that deaths have been below expected levels.
In the last reporting period, 8,946 deaths were recorded in England and Wales, 90 fewer than expected according to the ONS.
According to statisticians for the government-led agency, the coronavirus is likely to have caused some deaths among elderly and vulnerable people that could result in below-average deaths.
Broken down, five out of nine regions in England had deaths that were below the five-year average at the last count. It was most dramatic in London, where deaths were 7.8 percent below normal, and in the East Midlands, where deaths were 5.3 percent below average
WHAT ELSE IS PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND ON FIRE?
Public Health England was in the line of fire over a number of dubious decisions made during the coronavirus pandemic.
DEATH COUNT BLUNDER
In July, scientists found that Public Health England's methods led ministers to count victims as those who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 – even if they were hit by a bus months later after they had conquered the disease.
It would have meant that technically no one could ever recover from the virus and all of England's 265,000 patients confirmed would have at some point attributed their deaths to the disease.
The error reportedly reduced up to 4,000 deaths from the official figure of 41,749 in England.
The statistical error was reported by Professor Carl Heneghan of Oxford University and Dr. Yoon Loke from the University of East Anglia revealed.
END TEST & TRACE
When the UK's first cases of coronavirus emerged, the government's policy was to test anyone who had symptoms after returning from abroad and track down anyone they had come into contact with.
However, on March 12, testing and contact tracing ceased entirely. PHE was no longer able to test the number of people who came to the country infected with the virus at mid-term after traveling to Italy and France.
The decision has since been deemed disastrous and has contributed to the UK's devastating outbreak.
& # 39;THEY WERE OVER CONTROLLED & # 39;
Conservative MP David Davis told MailOnline this month that Public Health England had overridden and messed up control of coronavirus testing.
The Tory MP said, "You have messed up testing arrangements. They were over-centralized, over-controlled and severely restricted our testing ability. & # 39;
He warned of the decision, which was heavily criticized by top scientists at the time, and then hampered later decisions and was "exactly the wrong thing".
"Before the winter crisis, the government will have to reorganize this, be it abolishing or taking some powers and giving it to others," he added.
OVERVIEW OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Public Health England had too much power over testing and contact tracing and should have delegated that to local authorities, an expert said.
Professor John Ashton, a former public health director, said the UK should have followed Cuba's lead, where local teams went door-to-door to screen people for coronavirus.
He said: “The local level of health has been neglected. I think we missed an opportunity because we should have made better use of basic services, local government and volunteers …
"Instead, we took a very top-down, London-centric approach."
Broken down, five out of nine regions in England recorded deaths that were below the five-year average in the last census.
It was most dramatic in London, where deaths were 7.8 percent below normal, and in the East Midlands, where deaths were 5.3 percent below average.
Yorkshire and Humber (4.2 percent below), the West Midlands (4 percent below) and the east of England (3.2 percent below) suffered fewer deaths.
The four regions where deaths were above normal were in the southeast (8.1 percent above), the northeast (4.1 percent), the northwest (3.2 percent), and the southwest (1.2 percent) ).
A separate ONS report found that the number of employees fell by another 114,000 last month as the coronavirus weighed on the labor market.
There are currently around 730,000 fewer people on corporate payrolls than in March, before the country was under lockdown for fighting the deadly disease.
In the meantime, the number of applicants – which also includes some workers – rose again to 2.7 million in July 2020.
In the three months to June, the number of employees fell by 220,000 – the largest quarterly decline since 2009. And total hours worked in the quarter fell by a fifth to its lowest level since 1994.
However, the full effects of the lockdown have so far been masked by the government's massive support programs. Today's latest figures show that 9.6 million jobs have been cut and the Treasury has disbursed £ 33.8 billion in subsidies.
Many people seem to have chosen to remain economically "inactive" rather than looking for work – which means that they stay outside the top unemployment figures.
ONS economist Jonathan Athow said: “The labor market continues recent trends, with employment falling and working hours significantly reduced as many people are on vacation.
& # 39; Figures from our main survey show that the number of people who don't have a job and aren't looking for one has increased even though they want to work.
“Furthermore, there are still large numbers of people who say they don't work hours and don't get paid.
“The decline in employment is greatest among the youngest and oldest workers, as well as among those in low-skilled occupations.
"The number of job vacancies began to recover in July, particularly in small businesses and sectors like hospitality, but labor demand remains depressed."
According to the ONS, around 7.5 million people were temporarily unemployed as of June this year, most of them under the government's vacation program.
Around three million of them had been gone for three months or more.
In the UK, around 300,000 people were unemployed because of the pandemic but received no pay last month. However, in April and May it was more than half a million.
The redundancies increased compared to the previous quarter by 27,000 to 134,000, another sign of the future.
The number of applicants, which includes those receiving employment benefits, rose 94,400 last month to 2.7 million. It's up 117 percent, or 1.4 million, since March.
Total weekly hours worked in the UK fell a record 191.3 million, or 18.4 percent, in the quarter through June compared to the three months.
It was the largest quarterly decline since estimates began in 1971, with the total number of hours reaching its lowest level since 1994.
Commenting on the latest figures, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said, “Today's labor market statistics show that our unprecedented support measures, including vacation and self-employment programs, are helping to secure millions of jobs and livelihoods that otherwise could have been lost.
"I've always realized that we can't protect every job, but through our plan for jobs we have a clear plan to protect, support and create jobs to ensure that no one is left without hope."
In the face of warnings that a third of companies are planning to lay off employees in the fall, fears of a “workplaces campfire” are growing.
Many of the cuts are said to come from hospitality businesses such as hotels, restaurants and cafes, as well as stores that were on the verge of the pandemic.
The Bank of England last week predicted that unemployment would rise by a million by the end of the year.
Labor demanded plans from the government to completely abolish the vacation program from October, forcing employers to reimburse the full cost of employee wages.
About 730,000 fewer people are now on the payroll than in March, before the country was under lockdown for fighting the deadly disease
The latest ONS figures show that the average number of hours worked per week has remained unchanged overall – although there was a slight impairment for the self-employed
The vacancies showed slight signs of recovery in July – but are still much lower than they were during the credit crunch
Yael Selfin, Chief Economist at KPMG UK said: & # 39; With the termination of the job retention program, we expect unemployment to rise rapidly in the fourth quarter. This means that unemployment this year could average over 6 percent, compared to just 3.9 percent at present.
“The government needs to step in and help those who are likely to lose their jobs to retrain for new jobs in different sectors. This is an opportunity to improve a large part of the UK job market and create better prospects for the future. & # 39;
Figures released this week aim to confirm the UK has officially entered a recession – with GDP falling in the second quarter.
The latest forecast from the Bank of England is that the economy will contract 9.5 percent this year, the worst downturn in a century.
NHS can't stop normal care if a second wave of Covid-19 hits – or tens of thousands of patients die, leading doctors warn
Tens of thousands of patients could die if the NHS shuts down normal care during a second wave of coronavirus, medical leaders warned today.
Health care leaders are urged not to leave non-virus patients "stranded and in pain" again after canceling millions of appointments during the first epidemic.
In early March, the NHS urged hospitals to cancel as many surgeries as possible and exterminate patients on their wards to make way for an influx of Covid-19 patients.
The move was successful and the hospitals were not overwhelmed by the effects of the virus. But cancer charities fear that tens of thousands more patients will die over the next year because their tumors were diagnosed too late or were completely missed.
Official figures show that in England, 12,000 more than average people died while suffering from illnesses unrelated to Covid, including heart attacks and strokes.
Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, said the NHS must "never again be a pure Covid service".
He told the Guardian, "Thousands of patients waiting in distress and in pain need to make sure they can be treated."
Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, council chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), warned patients in need of urgent care that they should never be "stranded" again.
According to reports, NHS England has cut its £ 400 million monthly contract with private hospitals to keep their beds in reserve in case the virus recurs.
The move will fuel fears that the healthcare system is not adequately prepared for a second epidemic, something many experts have been concerned about in recent months.
Dr. Nagpaul told the newspaper, “We cannot have a situation where patients do not have access to diagnostic tests, clinic appointments and treatments that they urgently need and are simply stranded.
“If someone needs care – for example because of cancer, heart problems, respiratory diseases or neurological problems – they have to get it when they need it.
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