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It’s 250 years since Beethoven’s birth… and his home city is tuning up

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its 250 years since beethovens birth and his home city is tuning up

Ludwig van Beethoven was arguably better at what he did than anybody else who has ever lived.

Bach, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, plus a handful of scientists and writers might give him a run for his money. But only the most churlish would disagree that the German composer knew a thing or two about music.

Today, almost 250 years after Beethoven’s birth, his work remains the mainstay of the classical repertoire.

German classic: Munsterplatz in Bonn, Germany, with its Beethoven statue

German classic: Munsterplatz in Bonn, Germany, with its Beethoven statue

German classic: Munsterplatz in Bonn, Germany, with its Beethoven statue

This year marks the composer's 250th birthday

This year marks the composer's 250th birthday

This year marks the composer’s 250th birthday 

This being his sestercentennial year, concert seasons, gala performances and mega celebrations were planned across Europe. But the pandemic intervened, and most events have been postponed until 2021.

Beethoven was born in the Rhineland city of Bonn. Now, between you, me and the Berlin Wall, Bonn represents as good a city break as any of its more vaunted neighbouring Teutonic cities. OK, it might not be the city that never sleeps — but it has much to offer.

You’ll be struck by Beethoven sonatas hanging on every breeze. It’s charming. You’ll also be struck by the sight of the Romanesque spires that adorn one of Germany’s oldest cathedrals. Named after two martyred saints, the 13th-century Basilica of St Cassius and Florentius was badly damaged during World War II.

But it rose from the ashes to become a noble building once again, and a significant example of medieval Rhenish church architecture.

Just across the cathedral square, within view of the Rhine, runs Bonngasse. We’re looking for number 20, where in December 1770 Beethoven was born.

The vine-covered house, looking out on a cobbled inner-courtyard, is now home to the Beethoven-Haus Museum. Inside it’s stuffed with portraits, scores, notes, instruments, batons and manuscripts.

Refurbished for the anniversary, the building houses the console of an organ the young Ludwig played, the viola he used in a court orchestra, and his last grand piano.

The museum poignantly describes Beethoven’s worsening deafness and the despair that went with it. And in an exhibit that might be filed under Too Much Information (TMI), a medical checklist reveals that he also suffered from chronic diarrhoea.

A short stroll from Bonngasse stands the 14th-century gothic church of St. Remigius. This is where baby Ludwig was baptised — the marble-bottomed baptismal font survives.

Nearby is Palace Church, where, as a child, he was assistant court organist. Ludwig gave his first performance when he was seven, although the promotional material said he was six — the same age as Mozart when he gave his first recital the previous decade.

For authentic Beethoven nosh, stroll down to The Em Hottche at Markt 4, one of Bonn’s oldest restaurants dating back to 1389.

It’s believed Beethoven wined and dined here, ‘entertaining a lady friend’, according to the cafe literature.

The two epicentres of Beethoven’s life were Bonn and Vienna. The composer wrote many of his most famous works in the Austrian city. Both will be hoping that 2021 will see a return to normal life.

Until then, it’s something of an unfinished symphony. 

TRAVEL FACTS 

BA (ba.com) London to Bonn from £89 return. Doubles at the Ameron Bonn Hotel Konigshof (ameronhotels.com) from £85. Visit germany.travel.

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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NIH scientists discover rare genetic inflammatory condition in men

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nih scientists discover rare genetic inflammatory condition in men

Hundreds of men may be living with a potentially deadly condition just discovered by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists. 

The new disease, dubbed VEXAS, causes recurring blood clots, fevers, inflammation and lung damage – in men, specifically. 

NIH researchers began seeing a trickle  of men with the strange network of symptoms (which, oddly, but unrelatedly mirror those of COVID-19), coming into their clinics. 

Three of these men shared a gene mutation, and the scientists later discovered dozens more who had the mutation – and the same life-threatening set of symptoms. 

Now, they suspect that hundreds or more men in the US may have VEXAS – and if the men the NIH have studied so far are representative, 40 percent of them may die, of a disease that didn’t have a name before now.  

NIH scientists have discovered a rare genetic inflammatory disease that may affect hundreds of American men - and could be fatal for up to 40% of them (file)

NIH scientists have discovered a rare genetic inflammatory disease that may affect hundreds of American men - and could be fatal for up to 40% of them (file)

NIH scientists have discovered a rare genetic inflammatory disease that may affect hundreds of American men – and could be fatal for up to 40% of them (file)

Inflammation, in small doses, is an essential part of the immune system’s ability to fight infection. 

But when it becomes chronic, for any number of reasons, it can prove fatal. 

And it’s a particularly American disease. Nearly 125 million people in the US suffer some form of chronic inflammatory condition.  

Often caused or exacerbated by obesity, there are many such diseases, and distinguishing one from another is challenging because they may have multiple overlapping causes and symptoms. 

After exhausting their own doctors’ potential explanations for symptoms of chronic inflammation, some patients wind up at the NIH’s research hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. 

‘We had many patients with undiagnosed inflammatory conditions who were coming to the NIH Clinical Center, and we were just unable to diagnose them,’ said Dr David Beck, clinical fellow at NHGRI and lead author of the paper on VEXAS. 

Typically, a diagnosis is made based on a group of symptoms and lab findings. 

But that wasn’t working, so the NIH team decided to try a different approach. 

‘That’s when we had the idea of doing it the opposite way. Instead of starting with symptoms, start with a list of genes. Then, study the genomes of undiagnosed individuals and see where it takes us.’ 

They sequenced the entire genomes of 2,560 patients who had undiagnosed inflammatory conditions. 

More than 1,000 of them shared symptoms of recurring fevers and inflammation throughout their bodies, not just affecting specific parts or systems.  

They found one anomaly, shared by three men in the group.

Each had two copies – instead of one – of a gene called UBA1, which is found on the X chromosome. 

Because men have just one X chromosome, and one Y (as opposed to women, who have two X chromosomes), genetic abnormalities on this chromosome can have particularly profound effect on men’s health. 

But two copies of a gene on the X chromosome is next to impossible in men, because they should have just one of each gene on that chromosome, and have just one X chromosome. 

‘We were amazed to see this and wondered what it could mean. And that’s when it clicked–this was only possible if there was mosaicism in these men,’ said Dr Beck.  

Normally, all cells have the exact same set of DNA. But people with genetic mosaicism have more than one set of genes. Some groups of cells have one set of genes with a mutation, while other groups of cells have a set of DNA that does not contain that mutation. 

The UAB1 mutations were present in myeloid cells, which are largely responsible for mounting the  innate (or inborn) immune system’s first defense against infection – including inflammation. 

After scouring the genomes of other patients stored in NIH databases, the study authors found 22 other men with the mutation, and most had a similar pattern of symptoms: fevers, clots, lung abnormalities and cavities, known as vacuoles, in their myeloid cells. 

The researchers named the disease after its symptoms and genetic origin: VEXAS, a much simpler acronym for vacuoles, E1 enzyme, X-linked, autoinflammatory and somatic syndrome.   

Discovering the  disease and its cause was a revelation – but it came too late for some of the men it affected. So far, 40 percent have died. 

Given the prevalence of the VEXAS mutation in their databases, the NIH researchers think that hundreds more men may be suffering from the disease  – and their lives may be in danger. 

The team’s next steps will be to try to what they’ve learned about the condition to develop therapeutics.   

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Raccoon runs wild through high school in Dallas, Texas: Video

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raccoon runs wild through high school in dallas texas video

A raccoon has been caught on camera causing chaos inside a high school west of Dallas, Texas.  

The furry critter managed to enter the main building of Euless Trinity High on Thursday where it ran riot through the halls.  

Principal Mike Harris released surveillance video showing seven teachers trying in vain to catch the creature. 

Trying out for the track team! A raccoon has been caught on camera causing chaos inside a high school west of Dallas, Texas

Trying out for the track team! A raccoon has been caught on camera causing chaos inside a high school west of Dallas, Texas

Trying out for the track team! A raccoon has been caught on camera causing chaos inside a high school west of Dallas, Texas

The raccoon outran the educators, who eventually called in animal control for help. 

However, the specialist was also unable to detain the creature, even after deploying a lasso. 

The critter’s caper continued, with a teacher seen on surveillance camera trying to trip up the raccoon with her foot. 

While faculty members may be adept at wrangling rowdy teenagers, they were outmaneuvered by the fast-moving animal. 

An animal control specialist was unable to detain the creature, even after deploying a lasso

An animal control specialist was unable to detain the creature, even after deploying a lasso

An animal control specialist was unable to detain the creature, even after deploying a lasso

The escapade only came to an end when one staffer opened an exit door and the raccoon ran free.  

The video has delighted social media users, with many on Twitter making hilarious comments about the caper. 

‘Why wasn’t he wearing a mask indoors?!’ one quipped.  

‘This is classic. I think we need a little more agility from the animal control officer though,’ another remarked.  

The hallways of Euless Trinity High were relatively empty, meaning the raccoon was able to run free

The hallways of Euless Trinity High were relatively empty, meaning the raccoon was able to run free

The hallways of Euless Trinity High were relatively empty, meaning the raccoon was able to run free 

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Coronavirus UK: Hull, Bath and Derby outbreaks growing quickest

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coronavirus uk hull bath and derby outbreaks growing quickest

Covid-19 outbreaks are growing fastest in Hull, Derby, and Bath, according to official data that MailOnline has converted into an interactive tool to show how quickly cases are rising in your town. 

Hull and Derby saw their coronavirus epidemics almost double in the seven-day spell ending October 25, with seven-day infection rates jumping to 279 and 329 cases per 100,000 people, respectively. 

Both cities, along with the rest of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, will be moved from Tier One into Tier Two from Saturday to try and stem the rise in infections, it was announced yesterday as England crept another step closer towards a full national lockdown.

But most of the authorities where epidemics have grown the most remain in Tier One, where only the rule of six and 10pm curfew apply. Scientists have argued these rules are not stringent enough to shrink the outbreak, with top Government advisers warning the current growth is ‘very bleak’.  

For example, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset, where cases jumped up 83 per cent and 70 per cent in one week, have yet to be hit by any tougher virus-controlling restrictions. It comes despite warnings that the coronavirus crisis is ‘speeding up’ in the south of the country. 

Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report revealed only 20 of all 150 authorities in England saw a drop in infections last week, including Nottingham where cases dropped by 30 per cent. Despite the city’s outbreak shrinking, it will be thrown under the toughest Tier Three restrictions from tomorrow, along with the rest of the county.

And the data offered more proof that the tightest lockdown measures do work, with Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton and St Helens all seeing their weekly coronavirus infection rates drop. All of the Merseyside area has been under Tier Three lockdown since October 14. 

It suggests the brutal restrictions — which ban people from socialising with anyone outside their own household and mean many pubs, bars, and in some cases gyms, have to close — are beginning to work. However, scientists say the true effect of measure won’t be clear until a few weeks have passed. 

It comes as Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays. Dominic Raab today hinted No10 could introduce a new Tier Four set of even stricter restrictions and refused to rule out a national lockdown. 

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across London in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across London in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

 Percentage change in coronavirus cases across London in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

Yesterday it was announced another 16 authorities would be dragged into Tier Two from Saturday. A number of them were among the 20 places where outbreaks have significantly worsened, according to Public Health England (PHE) data. 

PHE’s data is based on the number of positive swabs within the week October 19 to 25. The new infections can be divided by the population size for each given area to give a case rate per 100,000 people. This allows for figures between different areas to be compared accurately. 

For example in Kingston upon Hull, 279 new cases were diagnosed per 100,000 people in that seven-day period. The week prior, the figure was 145, showing an increase of 93 per cent.

Similarly Derby city’s infection rate rose by 92 per cent, from 171 to 328 cases per 100,000. It suggests that the outbreak is doubling every seven days in those locations. 

But both areas may have asked for more testing to help them contain the virus, meaning just looking at the growth may not paint the entire picture. Department of Health statistics that breakdown tests processed by local authority only go up until October 21, meaning it is not possible to tell exactly how much swabbing skewed the figures over that fortnight.

Earlier this week, Derby’s director of public health, Dr Robyn Dewis, called for all the city’s 259,000 residents to start adhering to Tier Two restrictions.

The advice came in anticipation of being moved into the higher level, which ministers confirmed last night would be happening. Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, and the whole of High Peak will be moved into Tier Two as of Saturday. 

Dr Dewis told MailOnline: ‘I can never feel pleased to be asking our residents to make restrictions in their daily lives, however I do feel that it is urgent that we take action to reduce the spread of the virus. 

‘We have seen a rapid growth across the city with all wards affected. Importantly we are now seeing a significant increase in the over 60s who are infected.’

Meanwhile, North Somerset (83 per cent increase) and Bath and North East Somerset (70 per cent increase) also saw major growths in their outbreaks. 

But their infection rates of 130.2 and 191 are currently well below the average for the UK (230 per 100,000). This may explain why they remain in the ‘medium’ alert level, Tier One. 

Matt Lenny, director of public health at North Somerset Council said in a statement: ‘Analysis of the latest case data also shows that there’s no clear pattern of infection in local communities. 

‘The case data tells us that the virus is circulating generally in our community and we are no longer seeing greater rates of infection just in younger people.

‘I urge every resident in North Somerset to make the right choices when going about their daily lives.

‘We are at a critical point as cases rise and people mix and spend more time indoors. We should all be acting as if we already have the virus and modifying our behaviours to reduce the spread.’  

While places in Somerset are not considered Covid-19 hotspots in England, they may become so if measures are not adopted sooner, rather than later, to slow the spread of growth. 

WHERE DID THE INFECTION RATE GROW THE MOST? 

Kingston upon Hull, City of 92.81%

Derby 91.84%

North Somerset 82.99%

Medway 77.17%

Bath and North East Somerset 69.72%

South Gloucestershire 62.13%

Herefordshire, County of 58.10%

Derbyshire 57.98%

Stoke-on-Trent 56.79%

Lincolnshire 55.26%

Staffordshire 55.21%

Leicestershire 54.29%

Southampton 54.02%

Brighton and Hove 52.57%

Milton Keynes 50.88%

Swindon 49.99%

East Riding of Yorkshire 49.32%

Dudley 49.07%

West Sussex 46.89%

Leicester 46.57%

 

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WHERE DID THE INFECTION RATE GROW THE LEAST? 

Nottingham -30.00%

Liverpool -20.98%

York -20.25%

Windsor and Maidenhead -20.09%

Knowsley -18.18%

County Durham -15.51%

Sefton -12.54%

Rutland -11.63%

Devon -11.12%

Camden -10.03%

Halton -7.95%

South Tyneside -5.35%

Hackney and City of London -4.60%

Richmond upon Thames -3.96%

St. Helens -3.80%

Hartlepool -3.68%

Slough -3.02%

Sheffield -2.46%

Leeds -1.22%

Newcastle upon Tyne -0.42%

 

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Experts have previously said it’s the speed at which an outbreak is growing — and not its current size — that is the most important factor when considering the severity of the situation in any given area. 

Ministers are understood to analyse a ‘basket’ of indicators to make decisions on Covid-19 restrictions, including the infection rate, hospital admissions and speed of growth. 

Dominic Raab says Government is ‘ready’ for TIER FOUR COVID restrictions 

Dominic Raab today hinted the Government could introduce a new Tier Four set of even stricter coronavirus restrictions as he refused to rule out a national lockdown. 

The Government’s current local lockdown system is based on three tiers but there are fears that even the most draconian rules in Tier Three are not enough to stop the spread of the disease. 

A new Tier Four could see non-essential shops told to close and travel limited to getting to work and school. 

Mr Raab said the Government is ‘always ready for further measures’ as he insisted ministers intend to stick to their localised approach of cracking down on infections. 

But the Foreign Secretary admitted that both Germany and France had also used a strategy of local crackdowns before ultimately being forced into new nation shutdowns. 

He would only go so far as saying the Government is ‘striving to avoid’ following the UK’s European neighbours as he resisted imposing a ‘blanket approach or a blunt approach’. 

Mr Raab told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We are always ready for further measures that we can take but I think the most important thing about further measures is we continue on the track that we are on of targeting the virus.

‘The difference between now and the first lockdown is we are in a much better place to really focus on where the virus is the greatest and I think that is right, not only in scientific and virus management terms, I think in terms of the way people feel about tackling the virus it is fair, it fits the natural justice that we are focusing on the areas where the uptick is the greatest and we are not taking a one-size-fits-all approach or a blanket approach or a blunt approach.’

Mr Raab said the Government wanted to avoid the ‘arbitrariness of a blanket approach’ as he claimed the public favour targeted restrictions. 

However, he did not rule out eventually having to impose a national lockdown after France and Germany made the move earlier this week. 

He said: ‘You mention France. France of course tried a localised approach and then fell back on the national approach.

‘What I think that shows you, Germany is the same, is how important it is that we all rally together at local level through to national level, communities, local leaders, national leaders, and really lean in to the localised focused approach.

‘That is the most effective way to tackle the virus and avoid the blanket approach which I don’t think would be in the best interests of this country and which we are striving to avoid.’

Mr Raab said it is ‘crucially important’ to ‘carry the public with us’ and that he believed the Government’s tiered approach is the best way to do that. 

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South Gloucestershire, in the south west, and Herefordshire in the West Midlands, also saw their outbreaks rapidly grow in the space of one week, by around 60 per cent. However, their infection rates are also lower than the national average and currently stand at 192 and 86, respectively.

The figures indicate the ‘second wave’ is now affecting all corners of England, and not just the north.   

Scientists warned this week infections are ‘speeding up’ in the south.

A worrying Government-funded study by Imperial College London found that the outbreak appears to be growing fastest in London and the South West, where rules are comparatively lax, and slowest in the northern regions with the toughest restrictions. 

They predicted the R rate — the average number of people each carrier infects — is also higher than two in the South East, East and South West, which have mostly escaped any tough local lockdowns.  

But the R rate in the capital is higher than anywhere else in England, at three. For comparison, the experts claimed the national R rate is around 1.6. Cases are doubling every three days compared to every nine days in the rest of England, the study claimed.  

The PHE data shows just 20 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 25. For comparison, 23 saw a dip the week before. 

A  number of large cities saw their infection rates drop in the week to October 25. This includes Nottingham (down 30 per cent), Liverpool (down 21 per cent), Sheffield (down 2.46 per cent) and Leeds (down 1.22 per cent).

But despite this, Nottingham and Leeds will be plunged into Tier Three restrictions this weekend. And there are no clear path for Liverpool and Sheffield to move out of their local ‘lockdowns’.

Liverpool, and the rest of Merseyside including Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, went straight into Tier Three when the tiered system came into force on October 14. All those places saw infection rates drop in the most recent week, other than Wirral, where cases only rose by 6 per cent. 

A number of places under Tier Two also saw drops in infection rates, including York (20 per cent), South Tyneside (5 per cent) and Newcastle upon Tyne (down a slight 0.42 per cent).

Parts of London — Camden (down 10 per cent), Hackney and City of London (down 4.60 per cent) and Richmond upon Thames (down 3.96 per cent) — also saw improvements in infection rates. These areas have some of the highest infection rates in London, suggesting that residents have acted to control the coronavirus.

But it’s understood London could be thrown into Tier Three lockdown within two weeks unless infection rates drop significantly across the whole capital. 

Londoners are currently banned from meeting indoors with anyone they don’t live with. 

However London Mayor Sadiq Khan is piling on pressure on No10 to drag the city into Tier Three, despite infection rates varying across the 32 different boroughs – from 223 positive tests per 100,000 people in Ealing over the most recent week, to 103 per 100,000 in Lewisham. 

It comes after the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reportedly said this week all of England could be in Tier Three lockdown by mid-December if a national lockdown is not adopted before.

They said virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas already put into the ‘very high’ category by the festive season, The Sun reported, with ‘a government source’ saying: ‘The latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’

SAGE has piled fresh pressure on Boris Johnson to impose tougher restrictions as it warned up to 85,000 people could die in a second wave. A ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ put forward by SAGE suggested daily deaths could remain above 500 for three months or more until March next year.

Almost 60 per cent of the population – around 32.6 million – will be under stricter rules by Monday

Almost 60 per cent of the population – around 32.6 million – will be under stricter rules by Monday

Almost 60 per cent of the population – around 32.6 million – will be under stricter rules by Monday

London ‘will go into Tier 3 lockdown in two weeks’ as Britain faces a super-spreader Christmas

London could be plunged into Tier 3 lockdown within two weeks as England creeped closer towards full national lockdown by the back door last night, with millions told they will face extra curbs.    

Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays, and sources close so Sadiq Khan expect the capital to be locked down imminently.

Senior figures are warning that the UK’s three-tier system is not enough to ‘get on top of the numbers’, with deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly beginning to change his mind over whether regional lockdowns will suppress the virus . He backed the move at a No 10 press conference last week

Presenting what one source called ‘very, very bleak’ data to a meeting of Covid-O, the the Cabinet subcommittee on coronavirus, he said that daily hospital admissions had reached the highest level since April at 1,404.  

There are fears that the whole country will be at Tier 3 by Christmas, and unable to meet extended family members unless the Government takes harsh, draconian action before the season.

Allowing people to visit family at Christmas will be a ‘spreader event’ that could cause a spike in infections many times worse than that caused by the return of university students, experts believe. 

But introducing national restrictions before and after Christmas, while lifting them for the big day could help minimise the impact. 

One senior health official told the Telegraph that anti-Covid measures were most likely to be successful if they were taken on a national basis rather than toughening up the rules for Tier 3. 

They added that a post-Christmas ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown could also help reverse numbers and curb rising numbers of hospitalisations as fears spread that Britain’s ICUs could be overrun.

‘Releasing measures for two days is unlikely to cause a big upswing,’ a source said.’ But it won’t do nothing. Christmas brings people from all over the country to sit inside together, so its quite likely to be a spreading event.

‘But people want to see their loved ones and they want to make physical contact, and we have to recognise that.’ 

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Independent experts told MailOnline it’s likely most of the places in England that are in Tier One will move into Tier Two by Christmas because the Rule of Six and 10pm curfew are not enough to stamp out rising infections. 

Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and member of Independent Sage, said: ‘We unfortunately have allowed the infection to get out of control and as a consequence we are going to need to turn this around, otherwise it will just keep going up, more will get seriously ill and more people will die.

‘The sooner we impose tighter restrictions, the better. I see MPs saying “the rates are low in my area so we shouldn’t do anything”. It’s not about if case are low, it’s about if they are increasing rapidly. 

‘We saw very clearly in March that it’s better sooner than later. So we really should be doing this now, we really have no time to lose.’

But Professor McKee stressed that with tighter restrictions, three essential things are needed — a clampdown on indoor social mixing where the virus can spread easily, mental health support, and a working test and trace system. Currently the UK’s NHS Test and Trace is not performing to the ‘world beating’ status that was promised.

Professor McKee added: ‘As long as infections are going up, we have a major problem. Simply because of the nature of exponential growth. It’s a simple nature of mathematics. Even if the infections are going up even slightly, the rate of growth will go upwards faster. 

‘On the other hand, if we can put in really stringent measure to stop people mixing with each other, you can get a large drop in quite a short period of time.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘The Tier One restrictions are clearly not working in terms of suppressing the epidemic. I suspect the government would decide to increase, in most areas of the country, will at least move into Tier Two in the next month. And some of the current Tier Two will move into Tier Three. 

‘The interesting thing is it’s not going up quite as quickly in the northern cities as it was. And in some of those cities, such as Liverpool, it does seem to be declining a bit already.

‘I think it’s a little too early to say whether these Tier Two/Tier Three levels are not working. The bottom line is the higher restrictions may be working but it’s too early to be sure.

‘In the southern small town rural areas, that’s where a lot of the current increases are at the moment. It’s very obvious cases are increasing in the south now. Pretty much everywhere in between is on the up.

‘The issue is what time will they decide that is no longer acceptable or tolerable and then increase restrictions in those areas.’

Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at University of Reading, said: ‘Are local restriction enough? They should be, but the problem is not so much going from Tier Two to Three, but going from One to Two. We know in certain parts of the country that is not happening quickly enough.

‘My gut feeling is we are heading for tightening restrictions between now and into the new year. I think that it will be something like Tier Three or perhaps tighter. I think we will get a tier 4 added on top. But it’s just a guess.’ 

Britain is slowly creeping one step closer to a de facto lockdown every day, with the UK confirming another 23,065 positive test results and 280 deaths yesterday.

Cases are up 8.6 per cent on the 21,242 announced last Thursday, while deaths have increased by 48 per cent in the same time. 

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35007482 8893769 image a 6 1604074593156

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Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays

Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays

Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays

Boris Johnson is facing renewed pressure from his medical officers to impose a nation-wide shutdown before and after Christmas in a bid to allow families to gather over the holidays, and sources close so Sadiq Khan expect the capital to be locked down imminently.

Senior figures are warning that the UK’s three-tier system is not enough to ‘get on top of the numbers’, with deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly beginning to change his mind over whether regional lockdowns will suppress the virus . He backed the move at a No 10 press conference last week

Presenting what one source called ‘very, very bleak’ data to a meeting of Covid-O, the the Cabinet subcommittee on coronavirus, he said that daily hospital admissions had reached the highest level since April at 1,404. 

Allowing people to visit family at Christmas will be a spreader event that could cause a spike in infections many times worse than that caused by the return of university students, experts believe.

But introducing national restrictions before and after Christmas, while lifting them for the big day could help minimise the impact. 

Almost 60 per cent of the population – around 32.6 million – will be under stricter rules by Monday, and it is understood London could be moved into the top tier in two weeks unless infection rates drop significantly.

Sixteen areas will move into the ‘high risk’ Tier Two at midnight including Oxford, Luton, East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston Upon Hull, Derbyshire Dales, Derby and Staffordshire.

That means that more than 21.6 million face the restrictions that include a ban on socialising indoors with anyone from another household, whether at home or in bars, restaurants and cafes. 

A further 11 million will be in the ‘very high risk’ Tier Three from midnight on Sunday when Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire are added to the places where pubs are closed unless serving food.

This will leave only 23.7million without enhanced restrictions.

With tougher restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it means just over three-fifths of the UK population are living under extra lockdown restrictions.

HOW HAVE INFECTION RATES CHANGED IN YOUR AREA? 
Local authority name Sept 21 to 27 Sept 28 to Oct 4 Change Oct 5 to 11 Change Oct 12 to 18 Change Oct 19 to 25 Change
Barking and Dagenham 62 63.41 39.18% 98.17 54.82% 119.3 21.52% 131.51 10.23%
Barnet 43.2 86.39 267.77% 110.64 28.07% 114.68 3.65% 140.7 22.69%
Barnsley 76.56 148.66 336.85% 279.91 88.29% 457.33 63.38% 499.06 9.12%
Bath and North East Somerset 37.25 67.78 367.77% 120.03 77.09% 112.79 -6.03% 191.43 69.72%
Bedford 47.9 74.44 138.90% 81.37 9.31% 87.14 7.09% 88.29 1.32%
Bexley 28.19 56.39 141.40% 66.05 17.13% 82.97 25.62% 113.58 36.89%
Birmingham 147.92 159.31 28.64% 190.92 19.84% 227.36 19.09% 257.75 13.37%
Blackburn with Darwen 182.37 257.86 30.41% 446.24 73.06% 576.5 29.19% 774.24 34.30%
Blackpool 91.79 197.21 169.60% 288.28 46.18% 424.54 47.27% 425.97 0.34%
Bolton 244.13 265 9.80% 335.25 26.51% 442.01 31.84% 546.34 23.60%
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 25.55 74.12 252.95% 134.57 81.56% 144.44 7.33% 184.91 28.02%
Bracknell Forest 25.3 40.8 212.40% 53.04 30.00% 81.6 53.85% 84.86 4.00%
Bradford 184.34 293.27 98.37% 335.14 14.28% 395.72 18.08% 481.13 21.58%
Brent 50.64 79.45 181.74% 99.16 24.81% 98.55 -0.62% 113.41 15.08%
Brighton and Hove 21.66 62.22 448.68% 82.51 32.61% 93.51 13.33% 142.67 52.57%
Bristol, City of 28.27 66.47 275.54% 156.46 135.38% 245.37 56.83% 333.64 35.97%
Bromley 27.68 55.67 242.58% 70.11 25.94% 89.97 28.33% 108.93 21.07%
Buckinghamshire 24.82 48.35 182.75% 88.98 84.03% 86.77 -2.48% 104.6 20.55%
Bury 216.24 290.59 52.89% 389.55 34.05% 430.39 10.48% 526.21 22.26%
Calderdale 97.42 173.56 135.27% 242.6 39.78% 311.65 28.46% 410.49 31.72%
Cambridgeshire 18.06 45.29 355.18% 65.34 44.27% 67.48 3.28% 82.17 21.77%
Camden 27.4 55.55 138.11% 111.84 101.33% 121.84 8.94% 109.62 -10.03%
Central Bedfordshire 23.56 37.76 67.67% 51.27 35.78% 61.67 20.28% 71.37 15.73%
Cheshire East 61.17 141.35 287.90% 168.68 19.33% 173.11 2.63% 215.8 24.66%
Cheshire West and Chester 78.12 143.7 220.12% 191.21 33.06% 199.08 4.12% 214.53 7.76%
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 40.4 26.58 32.17% 32 20.39% 30.78 -3.81% 44.95 46.04%
County Durham 110.55 201.29 209.30% 338.05 67.94% 329.56 -2.51% 278.44 -15.51%
Coventry 74.56 108.2 95.13% 166.34 53.73% 184.11 10.68% 199.99 8.63%
Croydon 32.58 66.46 307.98% 75.25 13.23% 79.39 5.50% 105.76 33.22%
Cumbria 51.2 86.6 252.03% 121.6 40.42% 152.4 25.33% 170.2 11.68%
Darlington 103.93 176.03 358.53% 206.92 17.55% 286.51 38.46% 296.81 3.59%
Derby 43.14 82.78 124.21% 134.08 61.97% 171.39 27.83% 328.8 91.84%
Derbyshire 44.35 93.44 201.23% 144.51 54.66% 186.5 29.06% 294.63 57.98%
Devon 18.82 84.37 957.27% 105.69 25.27% 78.52 -25.71% 69.79 -11.12%
Doncaster 62.84 147.81 177.73% 220.27 49.02% 350.76 59.24% 513.64 46.44%
Dorset 11.36 25.1 352.25% 60.76 142.07% 72.39 19.14% 103.3 42.70%
Dudley 56.28 79.29 90.28% 102.3 29.02% 150.81 47.42% 224.82 49.07%
Ealing 55.29 98.01 248.91% 139.85 42.69% 162.08 15.90% 212.4 31.05%
East Riding of Yorkshire 49.83 109.33 372.06% 133.36 21.98% 172.35 29.24% 257.35 49.32%
East Sussex 14.72 30.51 359.49% 44.86 47.03% 50.43 12.42% 58.32 15.65%
Enfield 42.54 72.8 158.52% 93.77 28.80% 137.21 46.33% 138.41 0.87%
Essex 26.66 48.35 176.92% 69.97 44.72% 90.25 28.98% 99.05 9.75%
Gateshead 162.33 241.02 83.08% 255.38 5.96% 259.34 1.55% 355.84 37.21%
Gloucestershire 19.62 40.5 200.00% 62 53.09% 62.63 1.02% 68.6 9.53%
Greenwich 36.47 50.7 217.27% 75.36 48.64% 85.43 13.36% 92.73 8.55%
Hackney and City of London 55.36 101.77 311.03% 132.37 30.07% 164.35 24.16% 156.79 -4.60%
Halton 265.82 343.1 80.49% 387.91 13.06% 340 -12.35% 312.96 -7.95%
Hammersmith and Fulham 45.91 75.08 238.96% 115.59 53.96% 163.12 41.12% 190.12 16.55%
Hampshire 16.78 35.08 219.20% 55.48 58.15% 68.35 23.20% 94.32 38.00%
Haringey 40.95 89.34 192.73% 116.88 30.83% 126.93 8.60% 142.57 12.32%
Harrow 42.2 95.95 244.28% 116.26 21.17% 127.81 9.93% 133.78 4.67%
Hartlepool 153.74 250.9 213.35% 274.39 9.36% 348.06 26.85% 335.24 -3.68%
Havering 58.18 60.49 80.46% 100.56 66.24% 126.76 26.05% 148.72 17.32%
Herefordshire, County of 12.97 22.3 152.83% 37.86 69.78% 54.46 43.85% 86.1 58.10%
Hertfordshire 30.94 66.83 166.79% 87.35 30.70% 90.79 3.94% 106.68 17.50%
Hillingdon 57.35 75.28 117.95% 102.32 35.92% 135.24 32.17% 160 18.31%
Hounslow 57.82 81.39 166.24% 105.7 29.87% 139.21 31.70% 177.15 27.25%
Isle of Wight 11.29 12.7 259.77% 17.63 38.82% 24.69 40.05% 31.04 25.72%
Islington 42.89 76.3 198.40% 90.32 18.37% 121.25 34.24% 126.62 4.43%
Kensington and Chelsea 24.34 81.34 262.80% 94.15 15.75% 135.14 43.54% 138.99 2.85%
Kent 16.44 34.46 240.51% 50.46 46.43% 54.25 7.51% 75.24 38.69%
Kingston upon Hull, City of 35.41 95.85 555.16% 107.01 11.64% 144.74 35.26% 279.08 92.81%
Kingston upon Thames 33.24 72.11 255.57% 101.97 41.41% 144.78 41.98% 184.22 27.24%
Kirklees 118.92 192.37 106.85% 254.44 32.27% 300.37 18.05% 388.82 29.45%
Knowsley 335.41 602.54 182.30% 700.64 16.28% 663.52 -5.30% 542.88 -18.18%
Lambeth 41.71 77.6 272.00% 92.94 19.77% 122.38 31.68% 137.1 12.03%
Lancashire 160.6 246.02 139.88% 347.6 41.29% 387.44 11.46% 426.22 10.01%
Leeds 170.46 379.13 239.39% 394.63 4.09% 393.5 -0.29% 388.71 -1.22%
Leicester 111.51 140.31 23.94% 184.06 31.18% 222.46 20.86% 326.06 46.57%
Leicestershire 51.12 92.19 124.47% 161.58 75.27% 176.87 9.46% 272.89 54.29%
Lewisham 34 64.09 206.21% 77.16 20.39% 79.13 2.55% 90.57 14.46%
Lincolnshire 27.85 63.19 238.82% 92.61 46.56% 103.65 11.92% 160.93 55.26%
Liverpool 342.94 580.27 186.43% 681.47 17.44% 584.69 -14.20% 462.01 -20.98%
Luton 61.96 72.28 41.28% 89.65 24.03% 141.28 57.59% 150.2 6.31%
Manchester 307.67 558.19 215.22% 474.62 -14.97% 438.99 -7.51% 486.2 10.75%
Medway 17.59 30.87 177.36% 38.77 25.59% 45.59 17.59% 80.77 77.17%
Merton 26.63 47.93 266.72% 77.95 62.63% 95.38 22.36% 134.11 40.61%
Middlesbrough 136.19 259.61 375.30% 280.89 8.20% 351.82 25.25% 353.95 0.61%
Milton Keynes 24.86 45.28 139.20% 65.69 45.08% 63.46 -3.39% 95.75 50.88%
Newcastle upon Tyne 299.19 492.37 204.91% 466.94 -5.16% 313.39 -32.88% 312.07 -0.42%
Newham 66.26 75.04 100.75% 103.36 37.74% 129.41 25.20% 142.16 9.85%
Norfolk 17.3 38.01 228.52% 50.89 33.89% 63.89 25.55% 84.71 32.59%
North East Lincolnshire 35.1 76.46 481.00% 162.32 112.29% 237.52 46.33% 339.68 43.01%
North Lincolnshire 47.59 94.03 224.02% 151.49 61.11% 170.06 12.26% 191.54 12.63%
North Somerset 27.9 39.99 56.33% 54.87 37.21% 71.15 29.67% 130.2 82.99%
North Tyneside 156.32 232.31 137.93% 251.55 8.28% 210.67 -16.25% 279.44 32.64%
North Yorkshire 67.47 113.1 188.82% 134.29 18.74% 141.09 5.06% 164.39 16.51%
Northamptonshire 24.43 60.14 198.02% 96.25 60.04% 107.53 11.72% 127.31 18.39%
Northumberland 171.2 180.19 114.38% 175.54 -2.58% 176.47 0.53% 179.88 1.93%
Nottingham 94.32 609.79 1523.94% 927.91 52.17% 610.69 -34.19% 427.46 -30.00%
Nottinghamshire 49.74 137.04 387.17% 220.47 60.88% 272.27 23.50% 325.03 19.38%
Oldham 193.58 295.64 62.27% 382.52 29.39% 468.56 22.49% 661.72 41.22%
Oxfordshire 25.59 64.48 309.14% 86.31 33.86% 89.35 3.52% 111.9 25.24%
Peterborough 35.1 62.3 223.13% 81.58 30.95% 95.92 17.58% 125.09 30.41%
Plymouth 23.27 37.77 80.03% 68.68 81.84% 103.01 49.99% 141.55 37.41%
Portsmouth 32.11 50.72 194.54% 104.7 106.43% 144.25 37.77% 163.79 13.55%
Reading 29.67 43.89 343.78% 74.79 70.40% 95.81 28.11% 109.41 14.19%
Redbridge 73.06 110.74 78.84% 125.15 13.01% 136.95 9.43% 168.4 22.96%
Redcar and Cleveland 70.73 173.53 395.80% 210.72 21.43% 280.71 33.21% 323 15.07%
Richmond upon Thames 39.39 108.58 593.36% 144.94 33.49% 153.02 5.57% 146.96 -3.96%
Rochdale 202.78 335.41 126.06% 429.83 28.15% 508.97 18.41% 574.16 12.81%
Rotherham 100.98 203.08 228.66% 279.57 37.66% 386.19 38.14% 493.2 27.71%
Rutland 42.58 85.16 580.19% 132.74 55.87% 107.7 -18.86% 95.17 -11.63%
Salford 195.49 317.19 114.36% 390.21 23.02% 495.3 26.93% 588.79 18.88%
Sandwell 113.26 114.78 19.67% 146.45 27.59% 216.17 47.61% 275.23 27.32%
Sefton 226.84 371.19 194.83% 477.19 28.56% 438.48 -8.11% 383.49 -12.54%
Sheffield 121.74 385.74 519.76% 455.16 18.00% 431.05 -5.30% 420.45 -2.46%
Shropshire 42.4 59.11 193.79% 86.34 46.07% 84.48 -2.15% 119.45 41.39%
Slough 82.92 86.93 217.03% 92.28 6.15% 155.14 68.12% 150.46 -3.02%
Solihull 90.12 119.7 61.87% 174.7 45.95% 209.36 19.84% 223.69 6.84%
Somerset 13.87 32.9 362.73% 39.13 18.94% 45.89 17.28% 61.36 33.71%
South Gloucestershire 24.2 58.58 255.25% 88.04 50.29% 118.56 34.67% 192.22 62.13%
South Tyneside 221.89 274.88 37.42% 245.07 -10.84% 235.14 -4.05% 222.55 -5.35%
Southampton 19.01 42.77 199.93% 60.19 40.73% 74.05 23.03% 114.05 54.02%
Southend-on-Sea 31.13 42.59 143.79% 48.05 12.82% 68.81 43.20% 82.46 19.84%
Southwark 47.99 60.53 114.42% 79.35 31.09% 95.66 20.55% 121.69 27.21%
St. Helens 254.17 347.76 167.24% 443.56 27.55% 437.47 -1.37% 420.85 -3.80%
Staffordshire 38.66 82.2 173.82% 121.2 47.45% 169.06 39.49% 262.4 55.21%
Stockport 110.42 227.32 162.62% 297.18 30.73% 299.91 0.92% 396.02 32.05%
Stockton-on-Tees 100.84 233.6 339.02% 342.54 46.64% 357.24 4.29% 447.43 25.25%
Stoke-on-Trent 49.54 60.46 54.99% 118.19 95.48% 192.3 62.70% 301.51 56.79%
Suffolk 8.41 33.49 298.22% 46.37 38.46% 55.03 18.68% 72.63 31.98%
Sunderland 215.7 296.72 108.61% 299.24 0.85% 321.92 7.58% 323.72 0.56%
Surrey 27.08 66.29 350.65% 83.01 25.22% 94.8 14.20% 106.58 12.43%
Sutton 23.75 36.83 162.14% 81.9 122.37% 90.14 10.06% 114.85 27.41%
Swindon 19.35 27.9 181.82% 45.46 62.94% 69.31 52.46% 103.96 49.99%
Tameside 174.4 245.48 74.84% 322.75 31.48% 371.31 15.05% 513.92 38.41%
Telford and Wrekin 43.92 56.16 173.02% 81.73 45.53% 154.01 88.44% 211.28 37.19%
Thurrock 24.09 43.02 226.16% 75.14 74.66% 122.17 62.59% 157.74 29.12%
Torbay 14.68 49.9 466.40% 82.19 64.71% 100.54 22.33% 126.23 25.55%
Tower Hamlets 62.51 85.61 164.80% 97.92 14.38% 133.64 36.48% 148.73 11.29%
Trafford 139.88 279.75 277.28% 336.63 20.33% 327.36 -2.75% 429.74 31.27%
Wakefield 86.13 163.93 243.96% 238.87 45.71% 310.64 30.05% 401.08 29.11%
Walsall 83.37 122.25 81.76% 168.84 38.11% 211.57 25.31% 305.8 44.54%
Waltham Forest 47.3 79.43 147.21% 94.95 19.54% 102.53 7.98% 135.75 32.40%
Wandsworth 37.92 71.89 243.48% 101.31 40.92% 114.35 12.87% 143.78 25.74%
Warrington 197.61 268.55 102.15% 337.6 25.71% 348.55 3.24% 406.64 16.67%
Warwickshire 40.49 70.94 98.05% 101.05 42.44% 126.14 24.83% 166.63 32.10%
West Berkshire 22.72 39.13 181.92% 49.23 25.81% 57.43 16.66% 83.94 46.16%
West Sussex 21.64 33.1 148.69% 43.06 30.09% 50.35 16.93% 73.96 46.89%
Westminster 29.08 71.18 220.63% 88.02 23.66% 108.3 23.04% 135.08 24.73%
Wigan 160.04 274.45 124.39% 407.71 48.56% 460.66 12.99% 655.99 42.40%
Wiltshire 15.2 32.8 221.57% 53.8 64.02% 68 26.39% 84.2 23.82%
Windsor and Maidenhead 31.7 80.57 335.75% 113.59 40.98% 141.33 24.42% 112.93 -20.09%
Wirral 193.82 252.77 61.86% 315.42 24.79% 267.27 -15.27% 282.71 5.78%
Wokingham 28.64 45 327.76% 61.36 36.36% 76.55 24.76% 95.26 24.44%
Wolverhampton 83.16 75.94 21.21% 133.66 76.01% 191 42.90% 246.43 29.02%
Worcestershire 43.47 70.83 232.22% 93.15 31.51% 105.24 12.98% 128.4 22.01%
York 72.64 195.14 341.89% 266.36 36.50% 307.19 15.33% 244.99 -20.25%

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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