How Covid affected England, Wales and Scotland: People in London were twice as likely to have had the disease as those North of the Border or the South West of England
Just 7 per cent of people in the UK have been infected with coronavirus, according to early results from the biggest study of its kind in Britain.
Researchers tested the blood of 20,000 Britons from up and down the country for antibodies of the disease, which signal if they have had Covid-19 and fought it off.
About one in 14 (7.1 per cent) participants tested positive for the virus-fighting proteins produced by the immune system in response to infection.
The findings reveal the country was miles away from achieving so-called ‘herd immunity’, a policy pondered by politicians at the very beginning of the crisis.
Boris Johnson is thought to have thrown his weight behind the controversial strategy in March, which would require letting 40 per cent of people get infected on purpose
Herd immunity happens when so many people in a population become immune to an infectious disease that it prevents it from spreading.
The study also suggests the virus kills around 1 per cent of the people it infects, which is far higher than seasonal flu, for example, which has a death rate of 0.1 per cent.
Covid-19’s true death rate of the virus has been a mystery for months due official numbers varying wildly between nations due to inconsistent testing methods.
Researchers also found a huge disparity in infection rates in different parts of the country, with people in London twice as likely to have had the disease as those in Scotland or the South West of England.
The study, by the UK Biobank, reinforced the theory that black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) people were disproportionately affected by the virus compared to whites.
Black people (11.3 per cent) were almost twice as likely as white people (6.9 per cent) to have been infected, while the disease infected around one in 10 with South Asian heritage (9 per cent).
The study, by the UK Biobank, reinforced the theory that black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) people were disproportionately more likely to catch the virus than whites
Participants living in the poorest parts of the country had a 45 per cent higher chance of contracting Covid compared to those in the wealthiest neighbourhoods. For people in deprived areas 8.9 per cent tested positive for antibodies compared to 6.1 per cent in wealthy regions
For those under 30, 10.8 per cent had previously been infected, compared to 5.4 per cent in those over 70. Young people are more likely to socialise in multiple groups and interact with strangers. Whereas the elderly, who are most at risk of Covid-19 complications, were told to shield during the height of the crisis to avoid contracting the disease
The UK Biobank study will monitor 20,000 Britons for six months. Participants will take an antibody test every four weeks, along with a survey about their symptoms.
The antibody test requires a finger-prick sample of blood using a kit sent to their homes. Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the disease that causes Covid-19, in these samples are being measured in a central laboratory at Oxford University.
Researchers then extrapolate the findings to the nationwide population to paint a clearer picture of how the virus has behaved in the UK.
The first results provide a snapshot of the epidemic in the UK during May and June, when the nation-wide lockdown brought the crisis under control.
There was no difference in the rates of previous infection between men and women, the study found
London was the worst-hit region, followed by the West Midland and South East of England
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN THE UK?
Department of Health: 45,878
Department of Health’s latest death count for all settings (as of 9am, July 28) stands at 45,878.
The daily data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
It also only takes into account patients who tested positive for the virus, as opposed to deaths suspected to be down to the coronavirus.
National statistical bodies: 56,483
Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 56,483 people died of either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 across the UK by the end of May.
The Office for National Statistics yesterday confirmed that 51,366 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by July 17.
The number of coronavirus deaths was 824 by the same day in Northern Ireland, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
National Records Scotland — which collects statistics north of the border — said 4,193 people had died across the country by July 19.
Their tallies are always 10 days behind the Department of Health (DH) because they wait until as many fatalities as possible for each date have been counted, to avoid having to revise their statistics.
Excess deaths: 65,249
The total number of excess deaths has now passed 65,000.
Excess deaths are considered to be an accurate measure of the number of people killed by the pandemic because they include a broader spectrum of victims.
As well as including people who may have died with Covid-19 without ever being tested, the data also shows how many more people died because their medical treatment was postponed, for example, or who didn’t or couldn’t get to hospital when they were seriously ill.
Data from England and Wales shows there has been an extra 59,324 deaths between March 15 and June 12, as well as 4,924 in Scotland between March 10 and June 22 and 1,001 in Northern Ireland between March 28 and June 26.
They showed that there was no difference in the rates of previous infection between men and women, but the rates were higher in younger people.
Young people are more likely to socialise in multiple groups and interact with strangers.
Whereas the elderly, who are most at risk of Covid-19 complications, were told to be extra vigilant and shield from others during the height of the crisis to avoid contracting the disease.
For those under 30, 10.8 per cent had previously been infected, compared to 5.4 per cent in those over 70.
Previous infection was most common among participants who live in London (10.4 per cent), which was the former epicentre of the UK’s epidemic.
Infections wer least common among those who live in the South West of England and Scotland (4.4 per cent in both).
Participants living in the poorest parts of the country had a 45 per cent higher chance of contracting Covid compared to those in the wealthiest neighbourhoods.
For people in deprived areas, 8.9 per cent tested positive for antibodies compared to 6.1 per cent in affluent regions.
Reasons for this are not totally clear but scientists suggest poorer general health, living in overcrowded households and relying on public transport – which puts them at greater risk of getting infected – are what increase people’s death risk.
The most deprived areas in the country are also home to high proportions of people from BAME backgrounds, who have been disproportionately affected by the illness.
The study found the rate of infections among black (11.3 per cent) and South Asian (9 per cent) ethnicity was far higher than white people (6.9 per cent).
The findings suggest the coronavirus’ death rate is about 1 per cent, although this could be an underestimate.
There have so far been 51,000 deaths from the virus in England and Wales, according to Office for National Statistics estimates.
But when Scotland and Northern Ireland’s deaths are included it takes the total to around 56,000.
Official Government figures put the death toll at around 46,000, far less than the ONS because they only include people who have tested positive for the disease.
When the 7.1 per cent infection rate is applied to the UK’s population of 66.65million, it suggests around 4.73million people have had the virus.
The mortality rate is therefore around 1 per cent – far higher than the seasonal flu, which kills 0.1 per cent of its victims.
The true fatality rate of Covid-19 has been a mystery because a lack of testing worldwide means scientists have no idea how many people have tested positive.
Despite the UK Biobank study providing the most in-depth look at how the virus has spread through the country, there are question marks about how reliable antibody testing is, with some studies suggesting immunity can diminish very quickly.
This would mean some people who tested negative in the study may have actually been infected, which skews the results downwards.
Professor Naomi Allen, UK Biobank chief scientist, said: ‘These initial results show that the rates of past infection with the coronavirus vary substantially within the UK population.
‘It is not yet possible to explain why these differences exist and how they are interrelated. More detailed analyses of the characteristics of different individuals are ongoing to help understand the causes of the varying rates of infection.’
Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said: ‘UK Biobank participants have already created a unique resource for health research and I am very grateful to them.
‘Understanding the rates of infection and the persistence of antibody levels will be helpful for managing the ongoing process of coming out of lockdown safely, as well as supporting the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.’
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Was James Cracknell’s 100-mile run over five days with no food the daftest stunt ever?
He has trekked 370 miles of Arabian desert, rowed naked across 2,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, survived a traumatic brain injury during a 2010 cycling accident, and was part of Cambridge University’s triumphant team in last year’s Boat Race.
It would be fair to say that Olympic champion James Cracknell enjoys a challenge. But was his latest stunt, which he completed last week, his riskiest yet?
Last Saturday, the 48-year-old father-of-three embarked on what would seem, at first glance, a relatively harmless, if impressive, endeavour: running 100 miles over five days. Only, as he revealed to his 90,000 Twitter followers, he had decided to do so without eating anything for the duration.
Cracknell and his seven team-mates – including bloggers and healthcare professionals – fuelled themselves on water and the occasional black coffee. Two of the group have type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce insulin – the hormone needed to metabolise food for fuel – meaning they are at an increased risk of a potentially fatal seizure if they go for too long without food.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the stunt has been branded ‘dangerous’, ‘irresponsible’ and, in the words of Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University obesity expert, ‘a really, really stupid idea’.
Cracknell, however, has a point to prove. He has claimed the body can fuel itself on its fat stores alone, and that the daily 260g of carbohydrates recommended by UK health guidelines has no scientific basis.
James Cracknell’s 100-mile run over five days has been branded ‘dangerous’, ‘irresponsible’ and, in the words of Dr Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University obesity expert, ‘a really, really stupid idea’
The theory, popular with many low-carb converts, is that once the body runs out of carbohydrates – rapidly converted to sugar and utilised for energy – it burns fat, prompting speedier weight loss.
His second goal is to show that a low-carb diet is an effective therapeutic treatment for diabetes and beneficial for pre-diabetics.
Despite the criticism from some medics, others were supportive. Four healthcare professionals, including an NHS GP and a specialist in child eating disorders, were involved in the challenge, with some participating themselves. And former Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson, who claims he lost 8st as a result of cutting carbs, wrote: ‘I wish I was with you!’
So, is it really as stupid an idea as it might seem? According to daily YouTube videos posted by Cracknell’s fellow runner Steve Bennett, founder of supplement company Primal Living, the challenge was a ‘science-breaking’ success, with participants finishing on ‘high energy’ and with no health complications.
But according to Renee McGregor, a specialist dietician who works with Team GB athletes, they had a lucky escape.
What’s the difference…between gallstones and kidney stones?
Gallstones result from a chemical imbalance in bile, a substance involved in fat digestion.
When symptoms occur, it’s often after eating fatty foods. If the stones become trapped or cause inflammation, they may be removed by keyhole surgery.
Kidney stones, which are made of crystallised chemicals, can result in agonising pain and kidney damage.
Extreme dehydration, certain drugs and high-protein diets can increase the risk of them developing. The pain they cause may lead to hospitalisation.
Small stones may be passed in urine. Larger ones can require surgery.
Cracknell’s health claims about the benefits of fasted exercise – especially for type 1 diabetics – is ‘scarily incorrect’, says McGregor.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, which studies have shown can, in some cases, be put into remission via a weight-loss diet, type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system and cannot be treated with lifestyle changes alone. Type 1 diabetics need regular injections of the vital hormone insulin, which helps the body absorb sugar, used for energy, from food. And for them, eating nothing at all can be fatal, especially while exercising, says Dr Yeo.
‘First there’s a chance of hypoglycaemia, when the blood sugar levels drop drastically, risking brain damage, coma, or even sudden death,’ he adds. ‘Even if you’ve eating lots previously and you’re not injecting insulin – keeping blood sugar high – exercising for long periods while starving yourself makes hypoglycaemia more likely. The dangerous drops in blood sugar can happen at a moment’s notice in type 1 diabetics.’
Then there’s the risk that the blood could become dangerously acidic, a state known as ketoacidosis, which Dr Yeo says could also become fatal ‘within hours’. ‘Acidic compounds called ketones build up when the body burns its own fat,’ he explains. ‘But this can quickly become uncontrolled in people with type 1 diabetes. Even a slight increase in the acidity of the blood could put you in a coma within hours, if left untreated.’
According to NHS guidance, a blood ketone level above 0.6mmol is a cause for concern. On day four of the challenge, participant Jon Furniss, an engineer who has type 1 diabetes, wrote on his Twitter feed that his ketones measured 5.8mmol – more than eight times the NHS’s safe limit.
Furniss added: ‘Ketones alone do not signal ketoacidosis, that happens after VERY high blood glucose. My BG [blood glucose, or blood sugar level] has been normal throughout.’
Yet a wealth of medical studies contradict this.
Low-carb diet club diabetes.co.uk says: ‘In most cases, ketoacidosis in people with diabetes will be accompanied by high sugar levels. However, ketoacidosis can also occur at low or normal blood glucose levels. This may occur if someone who is insulin dependent neither eats nor takes sufficient insulin for a prolonged period of time.’
And the risks of a fasting marathon don’t apply only to diabetics – it could harm healthy people, too.
‘Research shows that even two or three 60-minute sessions of exercise without eating before can dramatically suppress the immune system because of an increase in stress hormones, ‘ says McGregor.
Cracknell claims the body can fuel itself on its fat stores alone, and that the daily 260g of carbohydrates recommended by UK health guidelines has no scientific basis
‘Studies on marathon runners show that competitors are highly susceptible to bacterial and viral infections for a week afterwards, which isn’t ideal at this current time. Even after five days of fasting while exercising there’s likely to be a dramatic drop in sex hormones, affecting everything from cognitive function to bone health to fertility.’
Professor Mike Gleeson, an expert in exercise physiology at Loughborough University, has serious concerns. ‘It doesn’t take long to become deficient in minerals and vitamins we don’t store well, including Vitamins C and B – essential for healthy blood cells and providing organs and muscle with enough energy to function. You’ll quickly become deficient in protein, so you’re likely to lose quite a bit of muscle.’
And rather than improving athletic performance, as suggested by some of Cracknell’s supporters, running on empty will hinder it.
What to read, watch and do
The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion
Christie Watson, a former nurse who returned to work in critical care during the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, shares inspirational stories about those who work on hospital wards and the bravery of the patients and families they care for.
Vintage Publishing, £16.99
The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion
Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia
Former international cricket star Freddie Flintoff opens up about his eating disorder of 20 years. He meets other sufferers and specialists across the UK in an effort to find out more.
Tomorrow, 9pm, BBC1
The Oxford Science + Ideas Festival
A month-long series of live experiments, talks and virtual activities for children and adults, covering everything from vaccines and new drugs to climate science and quantum physics.
October 1 to 31
‘It’s hard for the body to use fat for energy, and when it can’t be broken down quickly enough, the body will begin to break down muscle, increasing the risk of strains,’ says McGregor. ‘Most people would eventually just hit a wall.’
And this, say the experts, is why carbohydrates are crucial. ‘When we consume carbs, they’re broken down into glucose and absorbed into cells where it’s used for energy. But this process also triggers the release of chemicals that help break down fat, which can then also be used as fuel,’ says Dr Yeo.
Tellingly, on day two, more than 20 miles into the challenge, Steve Bennett reported feeling ‘thoroughly miserable’ and ‘void of energy’. He said: ‘I feel lousy and miserable. My feet ache, my knees ache, my toes ache – and we still have three days to go.’
According to McGregor, carbohydrates are the body’s ‘preferred currency for energy’. ‘The body is very efficient at converting glucose to energy,’ she says. ‘And muscles will only get bigger and stronger if there are sufficient carb stores in the system.’
So if you wish to partake in an extreme physical challenge, such as a 100-mile run, what should you eat? At least two pasta bowls’ worth of carbohydrates daily, and roughly three chicken breasts’ worth of protein, say the experts.
Renee McGregor adds: ‘Beforehand, eat something slow-releasing, such as porridge or toast with a banana and peanut butter, and then stop every couple of hours to fuel again on something similar. Trying to eat less isn’t just pointless, it’s harmful.’
Did Cracknell prove what he set out to prove? On Thursday, Bennett reported that all the participants had completed the challenge, then had a ‘nice meal’. ‘All our markers were stable throughout, and all finished with high energy and spirits,’ he added.
It’s been hinted a documentary is planned that will give full details. Dr Yeo is sceptical anything could be gained from such an experiment, saying: ‘It doesn’t prove anything. It’s an entirely pointless exercise.’
And McGregor has a stark warning for anyone considering giving it a go: ‘I wouldn’t recommend anyone tries this, especially those with type 1 diabetes. It’s too dangerous.’
In a statement, James Cracknell said that all eight participants completed the challenge, with ‘no issues whatsoever’ – and insisted it was ‘thoroughly researched’ and carried out after consultation with experts. He said: ‘The project was set up to explore the potential of fat-burning metabolism in diabetes and sport by taking it to extremes.
‘Renee McGregor is quite right, this should not be repeated by people with type 1 diabetes – it was never the point of this project to be a recommendation. No type 1 diabetics should undertake changes to their management without medical consultation. and they should never stop taking insulin as this can be fatal.’
He added: ‘The project was not reckless or stupid but a serious scientific endeavour.’
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
BARNEY CALMAN investigates the appalling tragedy of the elderly kept apart from their loved ones
The woman on the phone is in pieces. ‘I’ve been in lockdown in my care home since March, and they won’t release me,’ she sobs. ‘My husband lives here, too, but they won’t let me see him. He’s in another room, on a different floor. He is 100 and he has dementia. He needs me. It’s wicked. Just wicked.’
Her name is Margaret and she is almost 92 years old. She has lived through a world war. She can remember times when scarlet fever, typhoid and polio killed thousands every year.
‘But this is so much worse, because of what they’re doing to us,’ she continues.
Before the pandemic struck and residents were confined to the home, she’d visit the local gym twice a week – and even made the local news for doing so.
After we speak, I find the interview. In it, she’s quoted saying: ‘My advice to you all, whatever age you are, is to keep active. Avoid getting bored and fill your lives with things that can keep your mind and body healthy. You are never too old.’
A nurse in PPE speaks to a resident at the Wren Hall care home in Nottingham
The Margaret I spoke to couldn’t have been more different. Crushed. Angry. Afraid.
Staying fit also helped her control the symptoms of chronic lung disease. Having been cooped up since March, her condition has now worsened considerably.
She told me: ‘They say I’m being shielded for my health but no one has asked us, and they don’t think about how what they’re doing is making us suffer.
‘I’m not scared of this virus. Not a bit. And I understand the risk. But my husband and I are in our last years and I am frightened I won’t see him again if this goes on for much longer.’
Over the past three weeks, The Mail on Sunday has reported on a new crisis engulfing Britain’s care homes: thousands of residents who have been kept in almost complete lockdown since March.
Visits are barred, or drastically limited. Families have been torn apart – blocked from seeing loved ones. Residents held captive in their rooms.
We’ve now received hundreds of emails, letters and calls like Margaret’s, each telling a similarly harrowing story.
A husband who once spent hours every evening with his wife, reduced to gazing at her through a locked glass window once a week for 15 minutes. Children, forced to watch as their once-happy parents wither and waste away, starved of any contact, comfort or love.
Parents seeing their young disabled children forcibly held down by care home staff, simply for trying to give their mum or dad a hug.
George had a visit from a loved one through a window at Digby Manor Residential Care Home, Birmingham
It goes on and on. A sea of misery. This newspaper raised the alarm earlier this month, as dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal bid to try to force the Department of Health and Social Care to revise guidance that it says has led to this situation.
The instructions, published by the Government in July, make limiting infections a priority above all else. But the lack of any other clear directive has led to many care homes implementing blanket bans. And these are, arguably, in breach of human rights.
Last week, the Government responded. Or rather, they emailed the John’s Campaign legal team, Leigh Day, to say they couldn’t respond yet because they were ‘extremely busy dealing with the pandemic’. But this is the pandemic.
Now the Joint Committee on Human Rights has warned that it, too, believes emergency corona legislation – passed without the scrutiny of Parliament – risks infringing human rights.
In its report, published last week, chairman Harriet Harman singled out the blanket bans on care home visits for being ‘unjustifiable’. Another word that came up a lot was ‘disproportionate’.
Having spoken to scores of families, I’m simply left wondering how, in a supposedly civilised society, is this happening at all. John’s Campaign lawyers Leigh Day say that if the Government doesn’t stop fobbing them off, and respond fully, at end of the month they will go to the High Court regardless. Because, make no mistake, this kind of treatment is also lethal.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia already kill hundreds of people each day – but numbers have risen by a disturbing 52 per cent since these measures began. And no one should be surprised when numbers continue to climb, as the detrimental effect of sensory deprivation, seclusion and long-term solitary confinement are well known.
Government decision-making is, they say, being led by the science. But clearly they missed the decades of research in to how such torturous conditions can cause rapid mental and physical deterioration even in young, fit people.
Dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal bid to try to force the Department of Health and Social Care to revise guidance that it says has led to this situation
Interestingly, many of these studies were done in high-security prisons. And that’s just how the current care home situation is described, over and over, in the emails and letters and calls: it’s like being in prison. Worse, in fact – as there is no end in sight. How can this be allowed to go on?
The situation for those in care, if anything, has worsened over the past weeks. With Covid cases rising across the country, local lockdowns mean further tightening of rules.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has banned people from going into each other’s homes, plunging elderly people still living at home into further isolation. And this is intended to go on for six months.
Of course, those most vulnerable to corona shouldn’t be exposed unnecessarily. But many will die as a direct result of these measures.
And it will be a horrible, drawn-out and lonely death.
One that leaves only lingering guilt for those left behind, who have told us time and time again that they will never forgive themselves for not fighting harder.
Of course they feel like that. But really, there was nothing they could have done.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has often spoken about the ‘protective ring’ he promised to throw around the elderly in care. Is this really what he meant?
It’s a complex situation, without doubt. But the risk posed by a handful of consistent visitors is low, so there must be another way.
Mr Hancock, who was too busy with the pandemic to respond to the care homes crisis did, last week, seem to have time to do an interview with Sky News on the sex lives of students.
But soon, with a looming judicial review, ever more angry MPs, and as calls for a full public inquiry continue to grow, he will have nowhere to hide.
Meanwhile, Margaret lives in terror of her eye check-up at the local hospital – because, when she gets back, she will be put into the ‘solitary confinement’ of quarantine for two weeks.
Locked in her room. Alone.
‘I don’t know how much longer I can go on,’ she says. ‘I just want my life back.’
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
Pets can get Covid… but do you really need a virus mask for your dog?
When the Great Plague hit London in 1665, many believed it was the end of days. But for some it was an opportunity. Doctors ‘prescribed’ lucky charms, such as dead toads, to ward off the disease if worn around the neck. ‘Plague water’, apparently made from powdered unicorn horn, fetched a high price, while victims were directed to rub dead pigeons on their sores.
Today, with a global Covid death toll of about one million, it seems that once again there are those ready to cash in, with everything from vitamin supplements to face masks for pets, all said to protect us from the pandemic.
So are they brilliant breakthroughs… or useless junk? We asked experts for their verdict on six of the most eye-catching Covid-proofing products on the market.
FACEMASKS FOR DOGS
Yudote Dogs Face Mask, £8.99
Masks for dogs exploded in popularity in China at the start of the pandemic, due to fears the virus could be spread to pets. Amazon sells a host of designs, and Yudote’s version supposedly protects against ‘smog, smoke, chemicals, mould, allergies and more’.
Masks for dogs exploded in popularity in China at the start of the pandemic, due to fears the virus could be spread to pets
Can pets even catch coronavirus? The answer, according to Dorothee Bienzle, professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, is yes. ‘Our research has shown that cats can get infected and exhibit symptoms,’ she says. But cats are more likely to get sick than dogs, which have been less likely to show symptoms in studies.
Crucially, Prof Bienzle says it is still unknown whether pets can pass Covid to their owners – but it seems unlikely.
Even so, doggy face masks are not the solution. Prof Bienzle says: ‘The risk of a dog choking on the mask is a greater risk than the small chance it would protect them from Covid.’
CANNABIS OIL TO FIX YOUR COVID ANXIETY
Love Hemp 3% CBD Oil, £19.99, pictured below
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 100 chemicals in the cannabis plant. It has no narcotic effect, but advocates say it has medicinal benefits, from relieving pain and anxiety to halting epileptic fits. Love Hemp boss Tony Calamita suggests customers are using such products to treat Covid-related stresses.
Studies that have found psychological benefits of CBD involve medical-grade products with far higher concentrations of the substance than you’ll find on the high street, according to psychiatrist Amir Englund, from King’s College London.
A reduction in paranoid symptoms has been found in psychosis and schizophrenia patients – but only with substances made up of at least 98 per cent CBD. Love Hemp’s oil contains just three per cent. Also, there’s no good evidence that CBD oil eases anxiety or improves sleep.
Advocates of CBD say it has medicinal benefits, from relieving pain and anxiety to halting epileptic fits
AN IMMUNITY DRIP
Gallery Aesthetics Immunity IV, from £40
Vitamin drips – intravenous (IV) doses of Vitamins C, D, B12 and others – have soared in popularity over the past few years, with some online companies offering treatments at your office and even in shopping malls.
Facebook advertisements for Gallery Aesthetics’ Immunity IV drip say ‘With our current health crisis, you NEED to boost your immune system’, claiming the treatments are ‘a great way to help keep your immune system strong – IV vitamins are absorbed at 100 per cent’.
Vitamin drips have been widely criticised, with NHS England Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis warning that they risk ‘significant damage to health’.
Doctors say the needles risk skin infections, bruising, pain and inflammation of the vein, if not delivered by a medical professional. And Marcela Fiuza, of the British Dietetic Association, says that while there’s some evidence that doses of Vitamin C and D can help ward off infections in those who are deficient, ‘there is no evidence to suggest high doses of either will protect against coronavirus’.
SKIN PRODUCTS TO CURE MASK ACNE
Dr Jart+ Cryo Rubber So Cool Duo, £19.68
Korean skincare giant Dr Jart+ say ‘wearing protective face masks can lead to breakouts’. To combat this, it has launched a range of products, including cleansers, designed to combat what it calls ‘maskne’ – acne caused by masks.
Wearing a mask could increase spots in some people, says dermatologist Dr Alia Ahmed. She says that hormones, genetics and bacteria that gets on to the skin are the main factors for acne, but adds: ‘Anything that generates friction, such as a mask, could cause more dirt and sweat to collect, increasing the risk of spots.’
So will Dr Jart+’s treatment tackle this? Perhaps, says Dr Ahmed. ‘It contains hyaluronic acid, which is highly moisturising, so it’ll prevent dry and flaky dead skin cells getting trapped – which can cause spots. Their mask is also very cold. This could destroy bacteria on the skin too.’
The 21-Day Immunity Plan, £8.42, pictured above
There’s growing evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, and this book, by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims to ‘rapidly improve your metabolic health… and likely reduce the risk of severe effects from Covid-19’.
There’s growing evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, and this book, by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims to ‘rapidly improve your metabolic health… and likely reduce the risk of severe effects from Covid-19’
The book contains healthy eating advice that may bring weight loss. But dietician Alexia Dempsey says the link between weight and Covid illness isn’t clear-cut, and adds: ‘There’s no proof that changing your diet for a short period will stop you getting seriously ill or make any difference to the immune system.’
THE VIRUS-FIGHTING DOOR HANDLE
Green Facilities Purehold Pull Handle Cover, £29.99
Makers say this plastic and silver cover for door handles kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria on contact. While Covid-19 is a virus, not bacteria, the firm’s website implies the product can tackle it.
Dr Tina Joshi, lecturer in molecular microbiology at Plymouth University, says that silver is antibacterial but is not known to be effective against viruses. She also says the handle would get less effective over time. ‘It might also lure people into a false sense of security, making them think there’s no need to wash their hands, which would be even more risky,’ she adds.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
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