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Coronavirus pandemic fueled by ‘perfect storm’ of rising obesity rates and air pollution since 1990s

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coronavirus pandemic fueled by perfect storm of rising obesity rates and air pollution since 1990s

The coronavirus pandemic was fueled by a ‘perfect storm’ of increasing rates of chronic diseases and air pollution, a new study suggests.

Researchers say the global rise of underlying conditions such as obesity and high blood sugar and the growing proportion of regions that have become smog-filled over the last 30 years drove up death rates from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The rates of conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure were on the rise before the coronavirus pandemic hit, as were heart disease deaths in many countries, including the US. 

Coupled with the pandemic’s crushing death toll, life expectancy gains made worldwide over the past several years may be halted, the study University of Washington researchers warned.   

The team, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), says the findings show how urgent action is needed to address chronic diseases to ensure healthier people that will make countries more resilient against any future pandemics.   

Global healthy life expectancy, the number of years a person can expect to have good health, has risen by 6.5 years since 1990 and in US to 65.2 years old. Pictured: Countries and how many years of 'healthy' life were lost in 1990

Global healthy life expectancy, the number of years a person can expect to have good health, has risen by 6.5 years since 1990 and in US to 65.2 years old. Pictured: Countries and how many years of 'healthy' life were lost in 1990

Global healthy life expectancy, the number of years a person can expect to have good health, has risen by 6.5 years since 1990 and in US to 65.2 years old. Pictured: Countries and how many years of ‘healthy’ life were lost in 1990

However, it has increased more slowly than life expectancy, suggesting more people are living more years of their lives in poor health. Pictured: Countries and how many years of 'healthy' life were lost in 2019, an increase from 1990

However, it has increased more slowly than life expectancy, suggesting more people are living more years of their lives in poor health. Pictured: Countries and how many years of 'healthy' life were lost in 2019, an increase from 1990

However, it has increased more slowly than life expectancy, suggesting more people are living more years of their lives in poor health. Pictured: Countries and how many years of ‘healthy’ life were lost in 2019, an increase from 1990

‘Most of these risk factors are preventable and treatable, and tackling them will bring huge social and economic benefits,’ said lead author Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the IHME at the University of Washington  

‘We are failing to change unhealthy behaviors, particularly those related to diet quality, caloric intake, and physical activity, in part due to inadequate policy attention and funding for public health and behavioral research.’

For The Global Burden of Disease Study, published in The Lancet, the team looked at 204 countries and territories.

They analyzed 87 risk factors, 286 causes of death and 369 diseases and injuries, to determine how well countries were prepared for the impact of the pandemic.

The team says the global crisis of chronic diseases and failure of public health system to stem them left populations across the world vulnerable to COVID-19.

Results showed that global healthy life expectancy, which is the number of years a person can expect to have good health, has increased by more than 6.5 years between 1990 and 2019.

In the US, health life expectancy has risen to 65.2 years, but it is below the average for high-income countries at 67.4 years.

Additionally, it has also increased more slowly than life expectancy, which currently sits at 78.9 years. 

This suggests that Americans are living more years of their lives in poor health than they were in 1990.  

Results showed that this is due in part to increasing numbers of cardiovascular deaths – in fact, a 16.7 percent increase from 2010 to 2019, which reversed a 50-year decline in mortality rates from cardiovascular disease.  

In addition, improvements for other health issues have reversed,with overall rates of health loss increasing partly because of rising rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. 

This is also true around the world, with metabolic risks rising by 1.5 percent a year since 2010.

Additionally, one of the largest increases in risk factors for disease from 2010 to 2019 was air pollution. Pictured: A map shows the years of 'healthy' life lost due to air pollution in 2019

Additionally, one of the largest increases in risk factors for disease from 2010 to 2019 was air pollution. Pictured: A map shows the years of 'healthy' life lost due to air pollution in 2019

Additionally, one of the largest increases in risk factors for disease from 2010 to 2019 was air pollution. Pictured: A map shows the years of ‘healthy’ life lost due to air pollution in 2019

Researchers say this combination of chronic heath diseases and air pollution helped fuel deaths from COVID-19. Pictured: Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital near Miami, on July 30

Researchers say this combination of chronic heath diseases and air pollution helped fuel deaths from COVID-19. Pictured: Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital near Miami, on July 30

Researchers say this combination of chronic heath diseases and air pollution helped fuel deaths from COVID-19. Pictured: Medics transfer a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance outside of Emergency at Coral Gables Hospital near Miami, on July 30

Collectively, metabolic risks (namely high BMI, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol) accounted for nearly 20% of total health loss worldwide in 2019— 50% higher than in 1990 (10.4%).  

In the US, researchers found that 86 percent of all health loss measures in DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Year) in 2019 was due to non-communicable diseases. 

Low- and middle-income countries also don’t have health systems robust enough to address the growing threat of diseases such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Nations such as Uzbekistan and the Philippines are now death rates from diabetes and heart disease rise, and become leading causes of death compared to 1990. 

Efforts to tackle infectious diseases and address prenatal care have not been very successful in the US.

The mortality rate of children under age five in the US  is 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, almost 75 percent higher than that of other high-income countries, which is 4.9 per 1,000 live births.

It is almost double Australia’s rare of 3.6 per 1,000 live births and about 60 percent higher than the UK’s rate of 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. 

The team also found that the largest declines in risk factors for disease from 2010 to 2019 were seen in household air pollution, such as from open fires or stoves.

However, the largest increases were seen in ambient particulate matter pollution, which comes from tiny particles produced by power plants, exhaust systems, airplanes, forest fires and dust storms.

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Ambient pollution accounted for 11.3 percent of all female deaths and 12.2 percent of all male deaths in 2019.

Recently, new research has found a disproportionate rate of deaths fro the coronavirus in polluted areas.

This is likely because the virus affects the respiratory system, already weakened by particles that bury themselves deep into the lungs and potentially enter the circulatory system. 

Among the major risks of non-communicable diseases, only smoking had declined substantially despite  tobacco remaining the leading cause of death in countries such as the US, Canada, the UK and Japan. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that being a current or former cigarette smoker increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.. 

‘COVID-19 is an acute-on-chronic health emergency and the chronicity of the present crisis is being ignored at our future peril,’  said Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.

‘Non-communicable diseases have played a critical role in driving the more than 1 million deaths caused by COVID-19 to date, and will continue to shape health in every country after the pandemic subsides.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Where’s REALLY had the most Covid-19 deaths? Study says Belgium but data reveals SAN MARINO

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wheres really had the most covid 19 deaths study says belgium but data reveals san marino
A US study of 19 countries found Belgium has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people. It was followed by Spain, the UK and US

A US study of 19 countries found Belgium has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people. It was followed by Spain, the UK and US

A US study of 19 countries found Belgium has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people. It was followed by Spain, the UK and US

Belgium has suffered the most coronavirus deaths for the size of its population – while the UK and US are third and fourth, according to a study.

Researchers analysed data from 19 countries with more than five million citizens and compared how many Covid-19 victims there has been for every 100,000 people living there up until September 19.

It revealed Belgium had the worst mortality rate (86.8), followed by Spain (65), the UK (62.6) and the US (60.3). For comparison, South Korea’s stood at just 0.7 – 85 times smaller than that of Britain or America. 

But when statistics for every country in the world is taken into account, Belgium falls to being the third worst-hit nation. The tiny European state of San Marino claims the grim accolade, followed by Peru and then Belgium. 

San Marino, a mountainous state surrounded by Italy, has only seen 42 Covid-19 deaths since February. But this equates to a rate of 123 per 100,000 residents when its tiny population of 33,800 is taken into account. Peru – which is home to 32million people – actually has a rate of 101 deaths per 100,000. 

Our World in Data, a website that publishes figures on large global problems using official sources, reveals the UK is 11th and the US 12th, with Andorra, Ecuador, and Mexico higher. 

India, on the other hand, has had the third highest cumulative deaths in the world, with 112,161. But due to its huge population, it places 87th in deaths per population. 

The US study, published in a medical journal, was designed to work out how many excess deaths there had been in America compared with 18 other countries.

All countries analysed were chosen because they had more than five million citizens and a GDP of at least $25,000 (£19,300) per capita, the researchers explain in their paper published in JAMA.

It showed the pandemic has directly or indirectly led to 225,000 deaths in the US, whether those people died of Covid-19 itself or an issue linked to the pandemic, such as delayed medical care over fears of going to hospitals amid outbreaks of the disease.

Looking at all the countries in the world, Belgium is actually not the worst-hit nation. San Marino is followed by Peru and then Belgium

Looking at all the countries in the world, Belgium is actually not the worst-hit nation. San Marino is followed by Peru and then Belgium

Looking at all the countries in the world, Belgium is actually not the worst-hit nation. San Marino is followed by Peru and then Belgium

Researchers at University of Pennsylvania showed 150,000 people died of Covid-19 between March and August 1. But an additional 75,000 deaths had occurred beyond what would be expected for that time period. 

The team said as of September 19, the US reported a total of 198,589 Covid-19 deaths – 60.3 deaths per 100 000.

Had it had a death toll comparable to Australia (3.3 deaths per 100 000), the US could have avoided 94 per cent of its deaths (187,661 fewer), the researchers revealed, as they blamed ‘weak public health infrastructure and a decentralised, inconsistent US response to the pandemic’.

But the US did not have the highest death toll from March to September, according to the small analysis. It was fourth, following Belgium (86.8), Spain (65) and the UK (62.6).

At the bottom of the table, South Korea and Japan have had less than one death (0.7) per 100,000 people, despite being two of the first countries to report coronavirus cases.

But the study does not paint a full picture because it’s only a small analysis of 19 countries.

PICTURED: Of the countries with the largest cumulative death tolls, these are their death rates per million people

PICTURED: Of the countries with the largest cumulative death tolls, these are their death rates per million people

PICTURED: Of the countries with the largest cumulative death tolls, these are their death rates per million people  

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison

20 COUNTRIES WITH THE WORST DEATHS

The data shows the countries with the highest death toll per 100,000 people, and their cumulative death toll in brackets.

San Marino: 123.7 (42)

Peru: 101.8 (33,577)

Belgium: 88.7 (10,327)

Andorra: 76.3 (59)

Bolivia: 72 (8,407)

Spain: 71.7 (33,553)

Brazil: 71.7 (152,513)

Chile: 70.2 (13,434)

Ecuador: 69.7 (12,306)

Mexico: 66.1 (85,285)

United States: 65.7 (220,889)

United Kingdom: 63.7 (43,293)

Italy: 60.1 (36,372)

Panama: 58.6 (2,529)

Sweden: 58.5 (5,918)

Argentina: 56 (25,342)

Colombia: 55.9 (28,457)

Sint Maarten (Dutch part): 51.3 (22)

France: 50.7 (33,125)

Macedonia: 39.1 (815)

Source: Our World in Data 

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Our World in Data shows that of all the 198 countries in the world, San Marino has had the highest death toll per 100,000 people by far (123.7).

It has only reported 742 confirmed Covid-19 cases since its first on February 27. But due to its small population, it means the coronavirus is highly prevalent, relative to the rest of the world. 

It has had more than 22,000 cases per million people in total – the equivalent of two people in every 100 (two per cent). It’s twice the official rate of the UK – which has recorded 9,600 cases per million people, the equivalent of 0.9 people in every 100. 

But experts insist at least 10 per cent of Britain has actually been infected since the virus first landed on UK soil in January. Millions of infected patients were never spotted because of the Government’s lacklustre testing regime.

San Marino’s estimate of prevalence is also likely to be an underestimate because a huge proportion of infected people are thought to never show any symptoms, meaning they never get swabbed. 

San Marino was declared ‘Covid-free’ on 26 June although has had several small outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers. 

The seven-day average has hovered between one and four cases in the past week, according to Our World in Data. But no new fatalities have been recorded since June.

However, San Marino has just been added to the UK’s quarantine travel list, meaning anyone that travels there has to self isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also announced that Italy and Vatican City State have lost their exemptions from the UK’s quarantine requirements as of Sunday at 4am.

It came after Italy recorded its biggest single-day jump in infections since the start of the outbreak, adding another 8,804 cases on Thursday. 

Looking at cumulative deaths per million people, San Marino is followed by Peru (101.8), with a number of other South American countries – Bolivia (72), Brazil (71.7), Chile (70.2) and Ecuador (69.7) – in the top 10 worst-hit nations.

Belgium (88.7), Andorra (76.3), Spain (71.7), the UK (63.7) and Italy (60.1) have had the highest death tolls per capita in Europe, after San Marino. 

They come above countries that on the surface look like they have had the highest death toll when looking only at cumulative figures.

San Marino was declared 'Covid-free' on 26 June although has had several outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers

San Marino was declared 'Covid-free' on 26 June although has had several outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers

San Marino was declared ‘Covid-free’ on 26 June although has had several outbreaks since, and is now recording cases every day once more, albeit it in low numbers

WHO URGES EUROPE TO STEP UP COVID-19 CONTROL 

Imposing tighter controls to curb COVID-19 contagion could save hundreds of thousands of lives across Europe before February as the continent battles an exponential surge in infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. 

The WHO’s European director Dr Hans Kluge cited projections from what he described as ‘reliable epidemiological models’ and said they were ‘not optimistic’ for the European region.

‘These models indicate that prolonged relaxing policies could propel – by January 2021 – daily mortality at levels 4 to 5 times higher than what we recorded in April,’ he said.

But taking simple, swift tightening measures now – such as enforcing widespread mask-wearing and controlling social gatherings in public or private spaces – could save up to 281,000 lives by February across the 53 countries that make up the WHO European region, he said.

Urging governments to ‘step up’ swiftly to contain in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Kluge said the current situation was, ‘more than ever, pandemic times for Europe’.

New infections are hitting 100,000 daily in Europe, and the region has just registered the highest weekly incidence of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with almost 700,000 cases reported.

‘The fall (autumn) and winter surge continues to unfold in Europe, with exponential increases in daily cases and matching percentage increases in daily deaths,’ Kluge told an online media briefing.

‘It’s time To step up. The message to governments is: don’t hold back with relatively small actions to avoid the painful damaging actions we saw in the first round (in March and April).’  

‘Under proportionately more stringent scenarios, the models are reliably much more optimistic, he said, adding: ‘Pandemic times do not necessarily mean “dark times”.’

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India, for example, has suffered exponentially as a result of Covid-19, with 112,161 deaths. But home to 1.3billion people, it means it comes 87th in the league table of deaths per population.

Similarly Iran is 28th, despite having the 9th highest cumulative death toll (29,605).

China, where the coronavirus first emerged in December 2019, has a staggeringly low figure of three deaths per million people, putting it at 183rd place.

Singapore (0.4), South Korea (0.8) and Japan (1.3) also appear to have escaped lightly relative to the rest of the world. Thailand (0.85) and Vietnam (0.36) are within the ten countries with the lowest death per capita despite being among the first to report coronavirus cases in January this year.

It is not clear why deaths rates per capita are slightly different for the countries included in both the list given by Our World in Data, and by the US researchers. For example Spain’s is 71 per 100,000 in the former and 65 in the latter. But it’s likely because they use different data sources and collected their figures roughly one month apart.

The findings lay bare how the crisis has led to more destruction in Western countries than in Asia.

Our World in Data shows South America has had the highest deaths per million people to date (640), followed by North America (550) and Europe (313). Asia has had just 47 deaths per million people in comparison.

Experts often put down to the fact Asia is more familiar with epidemic control, and was therefore prepared to fight against a highly contagious virus.

The south-east region has been stung with a history of emerging infectious diseases going back more than two decades, the most recent being SARS – a coronavirus similar to that which has caused the current pandemic – in 2004.

Dealing with outbreaks allowed the governments there to establish robust contact tracing systems and an action plan for when things escalate.

Behaviours such as wearing face masks were also widespread before the virus hit, making it easier to control the outbreak.

European countries, on the other hand, have not had to use contact tracing systems on a nation scale and face-mask wearing is an alien concept.

For example, it took months for the UK to set one up with potential to control the outbreak. Even now it is failing to track down a third of close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases.

And wearing a face mask in public places was not made compulsory until at least June, despite the worst of the coronavirus crisis being over.

There have now been more than one million deaths in the world from Covid-19 and 38million cases. While some countries are seeing a lull in deaths, they are accelerating in others.

EUROPE CASES AND DEATHS: Infections have been on a different path to fatalities for some time, with cases surging thanks to mass testing while hospital cases and deaths grow more slowly in much of Europe

EUROPE CASES AND DEATHS: Infections have been on a different path to fatalities for some time, with cases surging thanks to mass testing while hospital cases and deaths grow more slowly in much of Europe

EUROPE CASES AND DEATHS: Infections have been on a different path to fatalities for some time, with cases surging thanks to mass testing while hospital cases and deaths grow more slowly in much of Europe 

EUROPE 7-DAY AVERAGE DAILY NEW CASES PER MILLION PEOPLE: The Czech Republic, in purple, has the highest infection rate in Europe - ahead of hard-hit Western European countries such as the Netherlands (in red), France (in blue) and Spain (in orange)

EUROPE 7-DAY AVERAGE DAILY NEW CASES PER MILLION PEOPLE: The Czech Republic, in purple, has the highest infection rate in Europe - ahead of hard-hit Western European countries such as the Netherlands (in red), France (in blue) and Spain (in orange)

EUROPE 7-DAY AVERAGE DAILY NEW CASES PER MILLION PEOPLE: The Czech Republic, in purple, has the highest infection rate in Europe – ahead of hard-hit Western European countries such as the Netherlands (in red), France (in blue) and Spain (in orange)

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs

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physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and covid 19 jabs

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter.

Currently, only doctors, pharmacists and some nurses are legally allowed to administer vaccines in the UK.

But new laws passed today grant more health workers – including midwives and even medical students – to be able to inoculate members of the public.

They will be put through ‘robust training’ according to the Government, which it says will ‘save thousands of lives by increasing access to vaccines against killer diseases’.

Health chiefs plan to vaccinate a record number of people against the flu this year so hospitals can focus primarily on Covid-19 patients.

And there’s a slim chance a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready by Christmas – although it’s looking more like early next year – which will mean vaccinating millions more people at the same time. 

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter (file)

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter (file)

Physios and paramedics will be trained to deliver flu and Covid-19 jabs to help the NHS carry out its mass vaccination programme through the winter (file) 

A Government spokesperson said: ‘We will be able to increase the number of fully trained and experienced healthcare professionals to administer Covid-19 and flu vaccines under NHS and local authority occupational health schemes, as well as enable an expanded workforce that can administer these vaccinations to the public. 

‘This will make it easier and quicker for patients and healthcare workers to access the vaccines they need, protecting them against fatal diseases.

‘Our planning will ensure this does not affect other services in hospitals and in GP and community services, by drawing on a pool of experienced NHS professionals through the NHS Bring Back Scheme.

‘This will ensure we can provide a safe and effective vaccination programme while continuing to offer timely access to other NHS services.’ 

This year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the flu jab will be offered to the over-50s for the first time. In Scotland, it’s being given to the over-55s.

But these groups will only be given access after the vulnerable groups – which include over-65s, pregnant women, and people with conditions like lung disease or diabetes.

Last winter 25million people in England were offered the flu jab, with officials expanding the annual vaccination programme to include all Year Six children for the first time.

All over-65s, pregnant women, NHS workers and people with serious long-term illnesses such as heart disease and Parkinson’s are also eligible for the free jab.

More Covid-19 vaccine hopes as scientists say experimental Chinese jab is safe and produces an immune response 

Hopes of getting a Covid-19 vaccine were boosted again today after an experimental Chinese jab was found to be safe and produce an immune response. 

Every volunteer given a double-dose of state-owned firm Sinopharm’s vaccine made antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. 

In theory, this would protect them from catching the virus again in the future, or at least protect them from developing a severe bout of the disease. But this has not been proven by the scientists yet — they only injected fewer than 1,000 participants.

Ministers repeatedly insisted Britain could start to use a Covid-19 jab by September — but the Government has still yet to approve any vaccine because of a lack of data that they work.

 The results of the first two phases of clinical trials of Sinopharm’s vaccine, published in The Lancet, come after experts released promising results of another candidate jab made by Pfizer and its German partner.

A vaccine is considered key to ending the Covid-19 pandemic because it ensures a person will not catch the coronavirus. 

All hopes are being pinned on finding one proven to work, but until then, measures such as social distancing have to be used to prevent the virus spreading. 

More than 600 healthy adults were given Sinopharm’s jab, dubbed BBIBP, and none suffered an adverse reaction. 

The most common side effect, reported by a quarter of volunteers, was pain at the point the needle was injected — which is common for any jab.

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Figures show there are around 10million people aged between 50 and 65 in the UK, meaning the vaccination scheme has had to increase dramatically in size to catch all of them.   

There have already been some logistical hiccups in trying to roll-out the huge flu vaccination programme, with high street pharmacist Boots having to limit its stocks for the most vulnerable already.

The arrival of a Covid-19 vaccine this winter could put even more strain on the supply chain. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The NHS has vast experience in vaccinating millions of people against diseases every year.

‘These legal changes will help us in doing everything we can to make sure we are ready to roll out a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it has passed clinical trials and undergone rigorous checks by the regulator.’

It comes after  the government’s vaccine tsar admitted there is only a ‘slim’ chance Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine will be ready to go before Christmas.

UK Vaccine Taskforce Kate Bingham said she is hopeful that trials will show signs of success by the end of the year but warned there is no guarantee.

Oxford’s jab, which works by transporting a fragment of the coronavirus into the body on-board another virus, is the global front-runner in the bid to stop the disease. 

Early data from clinical trials suggest the vaccine is safe for people to receive and appears to trigger the correct type of immune response.

Hopes for ending the pandemic currently hinge on finding a jab that works as soon as possible. Without a vaccine or a cure – neither of which yet exist – there is no way to stop Covid-19.

Ms Bingham’s comments come after England’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, suggested last month the most vulnerable people in England could start receiving the vaccine before the end of 2020, with a wider public roll-out next year.

Ms Bingham, who was a biotech investor before being drafted in to help develop a vaccine for coronavirus, said: ‘I think it’s a slim chance, but there is a chance, that we could have the Oxford vaccine before Christmas.’

The Oxford jab is currently in phase three trials, which are the final stage experiments done on a huge group of people to prove whether it works.

It has already proven to be safe in earlier tests on small groups and has now been given to more than 30,000 people in the UK, US, Brazil and South Africa.

Scientists will be looking at whether people who have had the jab have lower rates of positive tests than the general public, and whether they have significant levels of antibodies – immune substances equipped to fight the virus – in their blood in the weeks and months after receiving the vaccine.

If antibodies stay high, positive cases appear lower than in the non-vaccinated population, and participants have lower hospitalisation and death rates, the jab may be considered a success.

If this were to happen, the UK has already ordered 100million doses of the jab and Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the country is first in line to get it.

Ms Bingham said that she felt ‘optimistic’ from the positive data seen so far.

She is also hoping to see late-stage data from another vaccine made by Pfizer and NBioTech, which is in similar stages of tests.

Others from the companies Valneva, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline have also been bought by Britain and could be successful.

‘If everything works, yes it’s possible we could get a vaccine this year but it’s most likely that it’ll be next year,’ Ms Bingham said.

She said the vaccines the UK had placed orders for were ‘spread across the ones that are most advanced through to the ones that we think are most likely to work and be safest.’

She added: ‘I am optimistic that we will see something – four of our six vaccines are now in phase three studies, and in each of them we’ve seen very positive data in the phase one and two clinical studies.

‘[This] shows that people who have received the vaccine do elicit a strong immune response, and that, and if you take the neutralising antibodies that are triggered those antibodies are able to kill live Covid virus.

‘So that is very positive and it’s as good as it can be at the moment.

‘And we now need to see whether or not those immune responses that we see translate into into protection.’

The vaccine expert said that it is unlikely that the first jab proven to work will be a silver bullet.

More likely is that it will offer a low level of protection which is able to stop people becoming seriously ill or dying, potentially reducing Covid-19 to something more like a flu or mild chest infection.

Any vaccine will likely require more than one dose, she said.

‘The ideal is that you get vaccinated and then you’re protected from infection for life,’ Ms Bingham said.

‘Then the other extreme, the other bookend as it were, would be it doesn’t stop infection, but just reduces the severity of symptoms.

‘And frankly, I think anything that that falls in that spectrum, would be a plus.’

She continued: ‘The vaccines we have for flu are about 50 per cent effective, and they are annual shots, based on the strain that emerges each summer which we then get vaccinated for the winter.

‘So, I think it would be fair to say, we shouldn’t assume it’s going to be for the moment, better than a flu vaccine.

‘Because that’s an equivalent – it’s a mutating virus and it’s a respiratory virus that gets in through the nose and eyes and respiratory tract.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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England’s Covid-19 outbreak grows 64% in a week

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englands covid 19 outbreak grows 64 in a week
The R rate remains stable for the UK as a whole but it has dropped for the second week in a row in England, falling from a possible range of 1.3 to 1.6 on October 2 to 1.2 to 1.4 today. But SAGE warned today it is 'confident transmission is not slowing' and that cases will continue to grow exponentially for as long as R remains above one

The R rate remains stable for the UK as a whole but it has dropped for the second week in a row in England, falling from a possible range of 1.3 to 1.6 on October 2 to 1.2 to 1.4 today. But SAGE warned today it is 'confident transmission is not slowing' and that cases will continue to grow exponentially for as long as R remains above one

The R rate remains stable for the UK as a whole but it has dropped for the second week in a row in England, falling from a possible range of 1.3 to 1.6 on October 2 to 1.2 to 1.4 today. But SAGE warned today it is ‘confident transmission is not slowing’ and that cases will continue to grow exponentially for as long as R remains above one

The R rate of the coronavirus in England has dropped for two weeks in a row according to SAGE, which now estimates it is somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 but warns the epidemic is still growing ‘exponentially’ across the UK.

Britain’s R rate as a whole rose slightly this week to between 1.3 and 1.5, up from a possible low of 1.2 last week, and a regional split saw the speed of the outbreak increase in three parts of England, fall in two and stay the same in two.

No 10’s scientific advisers shot down hopes that the outbreak was starting to slow down, saying there was ‘no evidence’ that it had changed pace in the past month and adding: ‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing.’

Their ‘gloomy’ warning came as Britain recorded another 15,650 cases – 13 per cent higher than the 13,864 recorded last Friday. Health chiefs also announced 136 more deaths, up from the 87 declared a week ago. 

Separate weekly ONS statistics showed that the number of people catching coronavirus in England is still growing and there were almost 28,000 new infections per day in the first week of October.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) warned cases have ‘continued to increase rapidly in recent weeks’. It now believes at least 336,000 people in England were infected with Covid-19 at any one time in the seven-day spell ending October 8 – the equivalent of around one in 160 people.

Separate data from King’s College London academics agreed that daily infections are still rising – for the eighth week in a row, with 21,600 people catching the virus each day in England. 

Although the numbers are considerably higher than anything since the first wave in the spring and the highest of all the ONS’s data for the past five months, they still pale in comparison to March’s outbreak, when more than 100,000 people were catching the virus every day.

And both studies – which release data once a week to estimate the true scale of Britain’s ongoing outbreak – suggest that the speed at which the crisis is escalating has dropped. While the ONS’s estimate of daily infections more than doubled from 8,400 to 17,200 at the end of September – a 104 per cent increase – this week’s figures marked a rise of 64 per cent. 

The increase in King’s College’s project has slowed, too, with it projecting a rise of more than 116 per cent in mid-September but this has since dropped to 28 per cent to October 11. Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Covid Symptom Study, said: ‘The data is no longer showing the exponential increases that we were seeing a couple of weeks ago.’

Separate official data also revealed almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week, amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country. In contrast, only two saw a dip the week before.  

Today’s figures come as Lancashire will become only the second place to enter the toughest Tier Three restrictions and London and Essex will face Tier Two rules from midnight, joining swathes of the Midlands and the North meaning most people in three out of the country’s seven regions will be banned from meeting with friends and family indoors as England creeps back into lockdown piece by piece. 

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Test positivity data from Public Health England shows that the proportion of tests taken that have positive results has soared in September and early October, so that 7.1 per cent of all tests taken are now positive - one in every 14  swabs

Test positivity data from Public Health England shows that the proportion of tests taken that have positive results has soared in September and early October, so that 7.1 per cent of all tests taken are now positive - one in every 14  swabs

Test positivity data from Public Health England shows that the proportion of tests taken that have positive results has soared in September and early October, so that 7.1 per cent of all tests taken are now positive – one in every 14  swabs

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The proportions of people testing positive for coronavirus is now up in all regions of England but the data shows what Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway described as a 'spark of light amongst the gloom' in a hint that the increase may be slowing in the North East and Yorkshire & The Humber. It is too soon, however, to say whether it is a real trend or a quirk in the statistics

The proportions of people testing positive for coronavirus is now up in all regions of England but the data shows what Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway described as a 'spark of light amongst the gloom' in a hint that the increase may be slowing in the North East and Yorkshire & The Humber. It is too soon, however, to say whether it is a real trend or a quirk in the statistics

The proportions of people testing positive for coronavirus is now up in all regions of England but the data shows what Open University statistician Professor Kevin McConway described as a ‘spark of light amongst the gloom’ in a hint that the increase may be slowing in the North East and Yorkshire & The Humber. It is too soon, however, to say whether it is a real trend or a quirk in the statistics

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R RATE FALLS FOR SECOND WEEK IN ENGLAND BUT ‘NO EVIDENCE OF SLOWING’ 

Government scientists estimate that the R rate for all parts of the UK remains above one – between 1.3 and 1.5 – meaning the outbreak is continuing to grow, but it has fallen in England for two weeks in a row to around 1.2 to 1.4.

The UK’s rate has shifted upwards slightly with the lower bound of the estimate increasing from 1.2 to 1.3, but the upper limit has not changed in a week.

England’s R rate was estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.6 on October 2 but the range has since dropped to 1.2 to 1.4. 

In the past week the projected rate fell in London and the North East and Yorkshire, rose in the East, South East and North West, and was unchanged in the South West and Midlands.

But SAGE warned R rates do not need to increase for the outbreak to get worse, and any figure above one means the virus is spreading quickly.   

‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing,’ the group warned.

‘There is no clear evidence that the epidemic’s trajectory has changed in the past month.

‘While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate. This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country.’   

REGION

  • UK
  • ENGLAND
  • East
  • London
  • Midlands
  • North East & Yorkshire
  • North West
  • South East
  • South West 

R RATE ESTIMATE 

  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up in a week)
  • 1.2 – 1.4 (down)
  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up)
  • 1.1 – 1.4 (down)
  • 1.2 – 1.5 (no change)
  • 1.3 – 1.4 (down)
  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up)
  • 1.3 – 1.5 (up)
  • 1.3 – 1.6 (no change) 

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In other key developments today:

  • One of the Government’s SAGE advisers suggested that a series of ‘circuit breakers’ could be needed, planned around school holidays, to get the outbreak under control;
  • Wales is preparing to defy the PM by bringing in its own ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – as an ‘unenforceable’ travel ban on English people from coronavirus hotspots travelling to Wales comes takes effect tonight;
  • London is in its last day before Tier Two restrictions come into force, meaning around nine million people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors;
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he took ‘very seriously’ allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign against the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous. 

The ONS estimates that around 0.62 per cent of the population of England was infected with coronavirus during the week from October 2 to October 8. 

This is the highest estimate it has produced since data began in late April and a marked surge from 0.41 per cent a week earlier (ending October 1).

‘In recent weeks there has been clear evidence of an increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19,’ the report said. It added that the rates were currently highest in older teenagers and young adults. 

‘Smaller increases are also apparent across all of the other age groups, apart from individuals aged 70 and over,’ the ONS said.

‘There is clear evidence of variation in Covid-19 infection rates across the regions of England, with highest rates seen in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East, which have all seen steep increases in recent weeks.’

The random testing programme’s results were this week based on results from 211,851 swab tests. A total of 1,062 tests were positive from 926 people living in 723 households.

Using this data and applying it statistically to the entire population – taking into account where the people who tested positive were living and how old they were, for example – the researchers can estimate the true size of the outbreak in England.

The official Department of Health testing programme does not pick up all infections because a majority of people have no symptoms when they’re infected with Covid-19. 

In the week up to October 8, to match the ONS study’s time period, an average 12,781 people were diagnosed each day in England, suggesting fewer than half of people (46 per cent) who catch the virus actually get tested and have a positive result.

The ONS results are ‘gloomy’ once again, said one scientist, but pointed out there were tentative signs that increases in infections were starting to slow in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. 

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BORIS JOHNSON LASHES OUT AT ANDY BURNHAM’S LACK OF LEADERSHIP

Boris Johnson today demanded Greater Manchester leaders focus on ‘saving lives’ as he hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level.

The PM sent a stark message to mayor Andy Burnham and Tory ‘Red Wall’ MPs after a deal was announced to extend Tier Three curbs.

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace.

However, there was anger in Liverpool that it has been made to close down gyms and leisure centres, while they can stay open in Lancashire.

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million.

But the standoff over Greater Manchester looks to be deepening, with the government warning it will not be ‘held over a barrel’ by Mr Burnham.

Mr Burnham reiterated his demand for more financial support today, after saying the North was being treated like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ and a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions. He has claimed that if London – which enters Tier Two from tomorrow – was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown.

But speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Johnson warned that efforts to extract the maximum money from government will not work.

‘This is about saving lives,’ he said. ‘This is about us joining together locally and nationally to get the R down, to make these regional restrictions, this tiering system, work and to save lives.

‘Everybody in Greater Manchester and all the areas that are still finding it difficult should think about it.’ 

Mr Johnson is also facing mounting pressure from his own SAGE experts to trigger a ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze across the country over half-term – with one scientist even suggesting the process might need to be repeated again and again until a vaccine becomes available.

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‘The very broad message is much the same gloomy one as in last week’s ONS bulletin,’ said Professor Kevin McConway, a professor of statistics at the Open University.

‘The estimate of the number of people in the whole English community population that would test positive for the virus has continued to increase, with no clear sign that the rate of increase is slowing. 

‘The same is true for the estimate of the daily number of new infections.’

He added: ‘What’s new is that, in two of these regions [North East and Yorkshire & The Humber] there are signs that the increases are levelling off. 

‘ONS, rightly in my view, urge caution about interpreting these signs – there’s quite a lot of statistical uncertainty in the numbers, and a levelling off over just one week might not indicate a more permanent slowing, let alone a clear downturn. 

‘But at least it’s a spark of light amongst the gloom. In the North West there’s not yet any sign of such a slowing. Indeed, in the regions in the Midlands and South that’s also the case, though the infection rates there remain quite a lot smaller than in the three Northern regions.’

The King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Study has made similar findings to the ONS report.

Based on 13,361 swab tests done between 27 September and 11 October, the team said there were 27,762 people catching symptomatic coronavirus every day during that time across the whole UK. 21,642 of these daily infections were in England. 

They do not include people who don’t get any symptoms, nor hospital or care home patients.

The figures are up from last week but show a smaller rise than what was seen in September, increasing by 27 per cent in a week (UK) compared to a 114 per cent rise between September 17 and 24 but faster than the 11 per cent the week before last.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist in charge of the project, confirmed that his project suggests the rate of increase had slowed.

He said: ‘The data is no longer showing the exponential increases that we were seeing a couple of weeks ago, but is clearly showing new cases continuing to rise. 

‘The North West still has the most cases and the fastest acceleration of cases with doubling times of around 10 days. Slowing this rapid rise is a priority. 

‘Scotland, Wales, London and the Midlands are slowly increasing with a doubling time of 14 to 28 days and the South and East of England remaining relatively flat with five-fold fewer cases than the worst hit regions. 

‘Our data is roughly seven to 10 days ahead of other sources meaning that it acts like an early warning system, whilst we wait for the data from the confirmed cases.’ 

The weekly estimates of true cases provide the clearest indication of what Britain’s coronavirus situation really is.

Department of Health data shows wide variation in infection rates across the city of London which has led to MPs complaining it is unfair to tar the whole city with the same brush

Department of Health data shows wide variation in infection rates across the city of London which has led to MPs complaining it is unfair to tar the whole city with the same brush

Department of Health data shows wide variation in infection rates across the city of London which has led to MPs complaining it is unfair to tar the whole city with the same brush

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Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

ALMOST A THIRD OF ENGLAND’S COUNCILS SAW A DROP IN COVID-19 INFECTION RATES LAST WEEK

Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country.

As many as 41 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 11, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report. For comparison, only two saw a dip the week before. 

And only eight registered a surge in cases of more than 50 per cent – 13 times fewer than the week before, when 109 local authorities saw major spikes, suggesting the second wave may be slowing down.

The biggest dip was recorded in the city of Manchester – which the Government is threatening with a tier three lockdown – with a 22 per cent fall in infections from 557.8 to 433.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Southend-on-sea saw the second largest fall, with a 20.5 per cent dip from 42.6 to 33.9 cases per 100,000 people. Slough, outside London, came third with a 19 per cent drop in infections from 86.9 to 70.2 per 100,000.

But many areas still recorded rises in infections – although none saw rates double compared to the 52 areas that recorded this surge last week.

Dorset recorded the biggest spike in infections as its case rate jumped 89 per cent from 25.1 to 47.6 per 100,000. It was followed by Barnsley where cases jumped 66.6 per cent from 149.1 to 248.3 per 100,000, and Sutton where cases leapt 61.9 per cent from 36.8 to 59.6 per 100,000. 

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Daily cases are useful but only reveal numbers of people who are getting symptoms of Covid-19. Scientists know that a majority of people who get the illness don’t get noticeably ill with it and many don’t even notice.

Hospitalisations and death counts are the more worrying indicators but these lag weeks or even months behind fast-rising outbreaks, meaning they do not change fast enough to be a basis for action.

By the time deaths get to noticeably higher levels it is generally considered too late to act. 

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, explained this week that case rises now are ‘baking in’ hospital admissions and deaths that will inevitably come in the following weeks as a consequence of infections that have already happened. How many will result remains to be seen. 

Government advisers on SAGE were less optimistic about the data and said in their R rate projection today: ‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and is confident that the transmission is not slowing. 

‘There is no clear evidence that the epidemic’s trajectory has changed in the past month.

‘While the R value remains above 1.0, infections will continue to grow at an exponential rate. 

‘This is currently the case for every region of England and all have positive growth rates, reflecting increases in the number of new infections across the country.’ 

It comes as some researchers have predicted England may start to record more than 500 daily Covid-19 deaths before the end of the month.

Cambridge University academics, whose estimates feed into No 10’s advisory panel SAGE, believe 47,000 people were getting infected every day in their most recent projection on October 9.

They believe cases are doubling in under seven days, with a ‘substantial proportion’ of those being asymptomatic.

Despite figures showing cases are still much lower than they were at the time of the peak of the spring pandemic, the academics have projected 500 people could die each day by October 29.

This is darker than the bold claims of Number 10’s top two advisers, who warned the figure could reach 200 by the end of the month.

Data from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England on Covid-19 confirmed deaths and antibody prevalence is used, alongside information from Google and the ONS on mixing between different age groups, to predict the figures. 

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Boris Johnson (pictured today) is preparing to put Greater Manchester on the Government's Tier Three list with or without Andy Burnham's go-ahead

Boris Johnson (pictured today) is preparing to put Greater Manchester on the Government's Tier Three list with or without Andy Burnham's go-ahead

Mr Burnham said the Government was making Manchester a 'sacrificial lamb' by slapping on the toughest lockdown measures - so far only imposed on Liverpool

Mr Burnham said the Government was making Manchester a 'sacrificial lamb' by slapping on the toughest lockdown measures - so far only imposed on Liverpool

Boris Johnson (pictured left in No10 today) is preparing to put Greater Manchester on the Government’s Tier Three list with or without Andy Burnham’s go-ahead

DEATHS ‘COULD HIT 500 PER DAY BY NOVEMBER’

Some researchers predict England may start to record more than 500 daily Covid-19 deaths before the end of the month.

Cambridge University academics, whose estimates feed into No 10’s advisory panel SAGE, believe 47,000 people were getting infected every day in their most recent projection on October 9.

They believe cases are doubling in under seven days, with a ‘substantial proportion’ of those being asymptomatic.

Estimates from Cambridge University and PHE researchers project that the current trajectory of England's outbreak could lead to 500 deaths per day by November. But the Government is already in the process of locking down the country to avoid this

Estimates from Cambridge University and PHE researchers project that the current trajectory of England's outbreak could lead to 500 deaths per day by November. But the Government is already in the process of locking down the country to avoid this

Estimates from Cambridge University and PHE researchers project that the current trajectory of England’s outbreak could lead to 500 deaths per day by November. But the Government is already in the process of locking down the country to avoid this

Despite figures showing cases are still much lower than they were at the time of the peak of the spring pandemic, the academics have projected 500 people could die each day by October 29.

This is darker than the bold claims of Number 10’s top two advisers, who warned the figure could reach 200 by the end of the month. 

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It comes as Boris Johnson today demanded Greater Manchester leaders focus on ‘saving lives’ as he hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level.

The PM – who will address the country again at a 4pm press conference – sent a stark message to mayor Andy Burnham and Tory ‘Red Wall’ MPs after a deal was announced to extend Tier Three curbs.

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace.

However, there was anger in Liverpool that it has been made to close down gyms and leisure centres, while they can stay open in Lancashire.

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million.

But the standoff over Greater Manchester looks to be deepening, with the government warning it will not be ‘held over a barrel’ by Mr Burnham.

Mr Burnham reiterated his demand for more financial support today, after saying the North was being treated like a ‘sacrificial lamb’ and a ‘canary in the coalmine’ with experimental restrictions. He has claimed that if London – which enters Tier Two from tomorrow – was in the same position there would be a nationwide clampdown.

But speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Johnson warned that efforts to extract the maximum money from government will not work.

‘This is about saving lives,’ he said. ‘This is about us joining together locally and nationally to get the R down, to make these regional restrictions, this tiering system, work and to save lives.

‘Everybody in Greater Manchester and all the areas that are still finding it difficult should think about it.’

He added: ‘I’d much rather not impose things, I’d much rather that we were able to work out something together with local authorities, with the mayor in Manchester.

‘But it is up to local leaders to show the kind of leadership that we have seen in Liverpool, in Lancashire and in London.’

Mr Johnson is also facing mounting pressure from his own SAGE experts to trigger a ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze across the country over half-term – with one scientist even suggesting the process might need to be repeated again and again until a vaccine becomes available.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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