Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who contracted COVID-19, said the Trump administration has ‘not treated Americans as adults’ amid the pandemic as he admitted he was ‘wrong’ for not wearing a face mask at the White House ‘super-spreader’ event.
Earlier this month, Christie revealed that he was one of more than a dozen people, including several members of Trump’s inner circle, who tested positive for the virus.
Christie has long championed the opinions of Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, but broke ranks on Thursday in an interview with The New York Times.
In his statement, Christie criticized the Trump administration for not treating Americans like ‘adults.’
Chris Christie (center) hugs Maureen Ferguson (left), senior fellow at the Catholic Association, after President Donald J. Trump spoke with Judge Amy Coney Barrett during a ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House
‘I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be,’ he said in the statement.
‘I have also concluded that like much else in 2020, that the virus is governed by our two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the American people. Both are wrong.’
Regarding the Rose Garden event on September 26, Christie told the publication that he falsely believed he was in a ‘safe zone.’
‘I believed when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day,’ Christie said in a statement.
‘I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team.
He then urged Americans to take the virus seriously as officials continue to record cases and deaths at concerning levels. Eight million Americans have been infected and 217,000 have died.
‘I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.’
Chris Christie (center) is pictured at the Rose Garden event at the White House last month when he flouted CDC guidelines and did not wear a proper face mask
Christie was among a crowd of mask-flouting Trump administration constituents who gathered in the Rose Garden to honor Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
White House officials have investigated the event as a COVID ‘super-spreader’ that may have contributed to several attendees positive diagnoses.
After the event, Trump administration confidants like Kellyanne Conway, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Hope Hicks announced their infections.
Melania Trump, who also tested positive, revealed that the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, contracted the virus as well.
THE TOLL OF COVID FROM SCOTUS NOMINEE EVENT
1. President Donald Trump, 74; 2. First Lady Melania Trump, 50; 3. Fr. John Jenkins, 66. President of the University of Notre Dame; 4. Mike Lee, 49. Republican Utah Senator; 5. Thom Tillis, 60. Republican North Carolina Senator; 6. Kellyanne Conway, 53, Former White House Counselor to the President; 7. Chris Christie, 58. Former New Jersey Governor; 8. Kayleigh McEnany, 32. White House Press Secretary; 9. Chad Gilmartin. Assistant Press Secretary, 22. 10. Karoline Leavitt, 23. Assistant Press Secretary. 11. Pastor Greg Laurie, 67. Harvest Crusades televangelist.
* Bill Barr, 70: self-isolating out of caution.
AT EVENT AND STOOD AT BACK OF ROSE GARDEN
12. Hope Hicks, 31. Counselor to the President; 13. Bill Stepien, 42. Trump Campaign Manager; 14. Nicholas Luna, 29. Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’; 15. Unnamed White House reporter
And previous reports noted that Christie was part of the President’s debate preparation team ahead of the disastrous against Joe Biden last month.
He later confessed on Good Morning America that the preparation team congregated around Trump without any of them wearing face masks.
‘No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president during that period of time,’ he said on October 2. ‘And the group was about five or six people, in total.
Trump revealed that day he contracted the virus, and Christie announced his infection the next day.
Trump was transported via Marine One to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and spent three days receiving medical treatment.
Throughout his stay, he and doctors presented an optimistic prognosis that was derailed when Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff, who told reporters that his ‘vitals were concerning.’
Donald Trump, whose infection with COVID-19 was confirmed at 1am on Friday, removed his face mask on Monday night
Trump has since returned to the White House, where he immediately removed his face mask to reportedly film a promotional video on the balcony of the South Portico.
The Commander-in-Chief has attempted to level his COVID-19 recovery as justification for previously flouting CDC guidelines and minimizing the pandemic. He called catching the virus a ‘blessing from God.’
Twitter flagged two of Trump’s Twitter posts in the last seven days.
One post was labeled ‘misleading’ for suggesting Trump was completely immune from the virus now, while the other spread misinformation by claiming the flu was more lethal that COVID-19
While speaking with the Times, Christie added that COVID-19 was ‘something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly.’
Christie admitted himself to Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey and was placed in the intensive care unit for seven days. He was released on October 10 and has been cleared to have contact with others.
Christie (left) has urged Americans to take COVID-19 more seriously after his hospitalization, while Trump (right) has continued downplaying the virus
Christie told the publication that he was treated with a combination of blood thinners, the drug remdesivir and an experimental cocktail created by Eli Lilly, which recently halted drug trials over safety concerns.
He added that he’s still fatigued, but his symptoms are not nearly as severe or debilitating as they were when he was first infected.
Christie did not directly blame Trump for catching COVID-19, but admitted he mistakenly believed he was safe because everyone around the president was required to undergo daily tests.
‘I don’t know who infected me and I don’t know how frequently he was tested,’ Christie told the Times, referring to Trump.
Regarding the September 26 event, Christie echoed that sentiment.
Christie (pictured): ‘I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be’
‘I was put in the third row, and what they told us was that everybody in the first three rows had been tested that day and tested negative,’ he told the Times. ‘I shouldn’t have relied on that.’
While New Jersey health officials have contacted Christie for regarding contact-tracing, he said the White House has not.
So far, more than two dozen Trump administration officials, White House staff, senators, reporters, the marine general and their families have tested positive for COVID-19.
The outbreak appeared to mainly affect Trump’s circle, but the virus has since spread to the Biden-Harris campaign.
The two individuals tested positive on Wednesday. They were a non-staff flight crew member and Liz Allen, Harris’ communications director, said Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillion in a statement.
‘Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,’ Dillon said.
Chris Christie’s Full Statement
I am happy and fortunate to inform you that I have recovered from COVID-19. Before this good news, however, I spent 7 days in the Intensive Care Unit of Morristown. Medical Center to get treatment and insure this good result for me and my family.
I want to thank the doctors and nurses for their skillful and compassionate care. I want to thank the manufacturers of Remdesivir and the Eli Lilly monoclonal anti-body cocktail for giving me access to their extraordinary treatments. I am confident that all of those factors contributed to my good health today.
When you have seven days in isolation in an ICU though, you have time to do a lot of thinking. I did and have come to the following conclusions:
- I believed that when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that and I and many others underwent every day. I was wrong. I was wrong to not wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team. I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
- Having had this virus, I can also assure those who have not had it of a few things. It is something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly. No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others.
- But as a former public official, I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be. I have also concluded that like much else in 2020, that the virus is governed by our two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the American people. Both are wrong. This is not an either/or proposition. The public health consequences of ignoring the virus and the responsible safeguards that we need to take will be additional illness and death caused by COVID-19. The public policy consequences of continuing to shut down or re-shut down our country will be further economic devastation to families, even more loss of education by our students and the continuing loss of life through the drug abuse, suicide and depression caused by taking away people’s ability to support their families. There is another way.
- Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day. At the same time, we should be reopening in every corner of this nation under these guidelines. Reopen all those places which have taken the brunt of these shutdowns and allow our country to get back to a life where citizens can support their families using common sense. Even during a contentious election year, we must trust the American people with the truth. I believe that these two steps can bring our country together while our pharmaceutical companies invent the therapeutics and vaccines which will rid us of this virus.
While we may seem very divided today, I do believe we can use this public health tragedy to bring us together. It is never too late to start. It will take leadership that both challenges and trusts the American people. After all, we are America, the world’s greatest hope.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
YouTube ‘kidfluencers’ are being paid millions to promote junk food, study shows
Kids with popular YouTube channels, known as ‘kid influencers’ or ‘kidfluencers’, are being paid to promote junk food and sugary drinks in their videos, a study reveals.
US researchers analysed the five most-watched YouTube kidfluencers, their most popular videos and the presence of branded food in the videos.
Kidfluencer videos featuring food and drinks were viewed 1 billion times – and the overwhelming majority of these (90 per cent) featured junk food from unhealthy brands, such as McDonald’s.
‘Kidfluencers’ are often filmed by their parents conducting science experiments, reviewing toys, celebrating birthdays or trying food and get paid whopping amounts by advertisers.
The highest-paid YouTube kidfluencer of the past two years is Ryan Kaji – a nine-year-old from Texas who appears in his own YouTube series, called Ryan’s World.
Ryan Kaji (pictured) is a nine-year-old from Texas who appears in his own YouTube channel, Ryan’s World. He’s the highest-paid YouTube influencer of the past two years, earning $26 million last year
The series, which features basic science experiments, challenges, arts and crafts and unboxing toys, earned $26 million (£20 million) last year, researchers say.
But fast food companies are increasingly interested in inserting their products into these videos, which are hugely popular with children.
It’s thought that watching unhealthy food advertising increases the calories children eat by triggering cravings and subconsciously directing them to the larder.
WHAT IS THE UK’S BAN ON JUNK FOOD ADS?
The government will be banning junk food ads on TV between 5:30am and 9pm every day.
The measure, which has not yet come into force, was announced in July.
The government also launched a consultation over a total ban on junk food advertising online.
The measures will help cut child obesity and overweight figures.
Children carrying extra weight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer or have a stroke in adulthood.
Junk food adverts during children’s TV programmes have been banned since 2007.
In the UK, the government is cracking down on junk food ads on TV by implementing a 9pm watershed.
But companies have dramatically increased online advertising in response to consumers’ growing social media use.
Authorities will need to do more to limit children’s exposure to junk food ads online, the experts claim.
‘Kids already see several thousand food commercials on television every year, and adding these YouTube videos on top of it may make it even more difficult for parents and children to maintain a healthy diet,’ said Marie Bragg at New York University School of Global Public Health.
‘The allure of YouTube may be especially strong in 2020 as many parents are working remotely and have to juggle the challenging task of having young kids at home because of Covid-19.
‘We need a digital media environment that supports healthy eating instead of discouraging it.’
YouTube, which is the second most visited website in the world after Google, is a popular destination for kids seeking entertainment.
More than 80 percent of parents with a child younger than 12 years old allow their child to watch YouTube and 35 percent of parents said that their kid watches YouTube regularly, the experts report.
Food and beverage companies also spend $1.8 billion (£1.4 billion) a year marketing their products to young people globally.
Kidfluencer videos have caught the attention of some of these companies, who advertise or sponsor posts to promote their products during videos.
Kid influencers’ YouTube videos were collectively viewed more than 48 billion times, and videos featuring food and/or drinks were viewed 1 billion times. Most were unhealthy branded items, such as those from McDonald’s
‘Parents may not realise that kid influencers are often paid by food companies to promote unhealthy food and beverages in their videos,’ said Bragg.
Researchers used data from AI marketing firm Socialbakers to identify the five most-watched kid influencers on YouTube in 2019, whose ages ranged from 3 to 14 years old, and analysed their most-watched videos.
The team searched for 50 of their most-watched videos and 50 of their videos that featured food and drinks on the thumbnail image of the video.
Focusing on a sample of 418 YouTube videos, they assessed whether kid influencers consumed or played with food or toys, quantified the number of minutes food and drink appeared and recorded names of branded food and drinks.
The team then assessed the nutritional quality of foods using the World Health Organisation’s Nutrient Profile Model and identified the number of drinks with added sugar.
The researchers found 42.8 per cent of the most-popular videos from kid influencers promoted food and drinks and more than 90 per cent of these products were unhealthy branded food, drinks, or fast food toys.
Fast food was the most frequently featured junk food, followed by sweets and fizzy drinks.
Only a few videos featured unhealthy unbranded items like hot dogs (4 per cent), healthy unbranded items like fruit (3 per cent), and healthy branded items like yogurt (2 per cent).
The fact videos featuring junk food product placements were viewed more than 1 billion times is a ‘staggering level of exposure’ for food and beverage companies, the team say.
‘Our study is the first to quantify the extent to which junk food product placements appear in YouTube videos from kid influencers,’ said Bragg.
‘It was concerning to see that kid influencers are promoting a high volume of junk food in their YouTube videos, and that those videos are generating enormous amounts of screen time for these unhealthy products.’
Researchers do not know which food and drink product placements were paid endorsements.
But these videos are problematic for public health because they let food companies subtly promote unhealthy foods to young children and their parents.
The UK is moving to ban junk food ads on TV before 9pm in the evening. The government also launched a consultation over a total ban on junk food advertising online
‘It’s a perfect storm for encouraging poor nutrition – research shows that people trust influencers because they appear to be “everyday people” and when you see these kid influencers eating certain foods, it doesn’t necessarily look like advertising,’ said Bragg.
‘But it is advertising, and numerous studies have shown that children who see food ads consume more calories than children who see non-food ads.’
The National Academy of Medicine and World Health Organisation identify food marketing as a major driver of childhood obesity.
The researchers encourage federal and state regulators to strengthen and enforce regulations of junk food advertising by kid influencers.
‘We hope that the results of this study encourage the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to focus on this issue and identify strategies to protect children and public health,’ said study author Jennifer Pomeranz at New York University.
MailOnline has contacted Google, which owns YouTube, about the findings of the study, which has been published in the journal Pediatrics.
THE LINK BETWEEN JUNK FOOD AND TV
A Cancer Research UK survey in 2018 of almost 2,500 children found those who used the internet or watched commercial television for more than half an hour a day were more likely to ask for, buy or eat junk food.
Experts found youngsters who watched more than three hours of commercial TV a day ate an average of ten extra snack items, such as crisps, biscuits or fizzy drinks, a week compared with those who watched very little TV.
However, when they watched TV without adverts, there was no link between screen time and the likelihood of eating more junk food.
Each additional hour children spent watching commercial TV was linked to more than a 20 per cent increased chance of children craving for food they’d seen advertised or buying the food they’d seen advertised.
The children who watched more than three hours of commercial TV a day were 59 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese than children who watched half an hour a day or less.
Researchers found the primary school-age children surveyed spent an average of 16 hours a week on the internet.
Every additional hour children spent online was linked to a 19 per cent increased chance of children asking for food they’d seen advertised and a 19 per cent increased chance of buying the food they’d seen advertised.
Those who used the internet more than 3 hours a day were 79 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese than children who used the internet half an hour a day or less.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
A VERY windswept Duchess of Cornwall visits The National Arboretum
The Duchess of Cornwall is well known for her polished appearance yet today, she proved even she can’t defy the elements.
Camilla, 73, looked rather windswept as she arrived at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, in Gloucestershire, to meet with staff at a community shelter.
The royal had clearly made her usual effort with her look, arriving at the woodland venue with her hair coiffed to perfection, while sporting fitting brown boots and a green coat.
However, she quickly fell victim to a huge gust of wind and her pristine locks appeared a little ruffled.
Camilla (pictured), 73, looked rather windswept as she arrived at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, in Gloucestershire
The royal (pictured) had clearly made her usual effort with her look, arriving at the woodland venue with her hair coiffed to perfection, while sporting fitting brown boots and a green coat
Camilla seemed the epitome of autumn in brown striped boots, green trousers and a matching jacket, while holding a cream scarf.
Putting safety first, the duchess teamed her outdoorsy ensemble with a bright lime-coloured face covering.
This isn’t the first time Camilla has visited the arboretum, with the royal touring the woodland venue, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, in June 2014.
It had opened a new visitor centre to help it deal with the increasing number of people attending its Forest Live concerts, with 90s rockers Suede, Little Mix and veterans Boyzone having appeared on the stage previously.
However, Camilla (pictured) quickly fell victim to a huge gust of wind and her pristine locks appeared a little ruffled
Camilla (pictured next to a statue at the woodland venue) seemed the epitome of autumn in brown striped boots, green trousers and a matching jacket, while holding a cream scarf
This isn’t the first time Camilla (pictured) has visited the arboretum, with the royal touring the woodland venue, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, in June 2014
The arboretum has 2,500 species of tree from all over the world and plays a ‘vital part in research and conservation’, according to its website.
Last Week, Camilla donned a statement leopard print face mask paired with a smart monochrome outfit as she delivered brownies baked at Clarence House to a west London charity.
She chatted with volunteers of The Pepper Pot centre in Ladbroke Grove, and delivered the sweet treats for food parcels to be given to members of the centre.
The arboretum has 2,500 species of tree from all over the world and plays a ‘vital part in research and conservation’, according to its website. Pictured, Camilla at the venue
Putting safety first, the duchess teamed her outdoorsy ensemble with a bright lime-coloured face covering (pictured)
The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to Westonbirt, the National Arboretum in Gloucestershire, where she met staff at a community shelter
The charity was set up to support African and Caribbean elderly people in west London, and Camilla heard about the support being offered to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Camilla visited the games room of the charity where she met and chatted with staff, and later did a Zoom call with members of the Pepper Pot Centre.
She wore a stylish white blouse with peplum sleeves underneath a chic black sleeveless blazer, paired with a diamond encrusted horse shoe brooch.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
NHS used HALF as many ICU beds during Covid-19 crisis in the spring as France
The NHS used half as many intensive care beds as France, Belgium and other badly-hit European nations during the Covid-19 crisis in the spring, according to figures that come amid shock claims the health service denied care to older patients to stop it becoming overwhelmed.
At most, there were the equivalent of 50 infected patients hooked up to ventilators for every million people in mid-April, the peak of the pandemic when Britons were told to stay at home to ‘protect the NHS’.
In Belgium, which at the time was seeing Covid-19 deaths at a similar rate to the UK, the figure stood at around 111 per million people. France was treating 104 people per million in intensive care during the same week. While in the Netherlands, which suffered a similar amount of coronavirus cases as the UK, the figure reached a high of 74.
The numbers come amid disputed claims the NHS was rationing beds and denying older coronavirus patients intensive care treatment during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, even though hospitals were nowhere near being overrun.
Those aged over 80, and some over 60s, were not given potentially life-saving treatment because health officials were concerned the NHS would be overwhelmed, according to reports. It is claimed documents called a ‘triage tool’, drawn up at the request of England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, were used in preventing elderly Covid-19 patients from receiving ventilation in intensive care.
As part of an investigation, the Sunday Times says the tool was used to create a ‘score’ for patients based on their age, frailty, and illness. Under the original system, over-80s were automatically excluded from ICU treatment due to their age. Even over-60s considered frail and with pre-existing health conditions, such as heart disease, could have been over the intensive care threshold.
The tool was never formally published, nor was it official NHS policy. But the newspaper, which carries claims by doctors who say the tool was used in their hospitals, said the documents were widely circulated among health care professionals.
NHS chiefs hit back at the accusations and said they were false, while ‘deeply offensive to NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics’. Officials say that while early work on an intensive care national ‘triage tool’ did take place, it was ‘not completed’ and never issued.
The NHS used half as many intensive care beds as France and Belgium during the Covid-19 crisis in the spring, according to figures. The graph shows how at most, there were the equivalent of 50 infected patients hooked up to ventilators for every million people in mid-April. In Belgium, which at the time was seeing Covid-19 deaths at a similar rate to the UK, the figure stood at around 111 per million people. France was treating 104 people per million in intensive care during the same week
The figures come amid claims the NHS was rationing beds and denying older coronavirus patients intensive care treatment during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, even though hospitals were not overrun. The Sunday Times investigation cites data which shows the over 70s and 80s groups made up the smallest percentage of ICU patients, despite having the highest number of deaths. Pictured: A graph showing the percentage of intensive care hospital admissions versus the the number of hospital deaths in different age categories
A graph showing the number of intensive care admissions of patients over the age of 60. The graph shows that while the admissions soared, the percentage of elderly admissions declined
HOW BUSY WERE ICUS IN THE UK, ITALY, FRANCE, BELGIUM AND THE NETHERLANDS DURING THE PEAK OF THE CRISIS?
Busiest day: April 12
How many patients were in ICU? 3,301 Covid-19 patients were hooked up to mechanical ventilators
What does that equate to per million people? 49.53
Busiest day: April 3
How many patients were in ICU? 4,068 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care
What does that equate to per million people? 67.40
Busiest day: April 8
How many patients were in ICU? 7,019 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care
What does that equate to per million people? 104.78
Busiest day: April 8
How many patients were in ICU? 1,285 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care
What does that equate to per million people? 112.13
Busiest day: April 7
How many patients were in ICU? 1,315 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care
What does that equate to per million people? 76.10
The figures on ICU bed occupancy comes from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and Public Health England.
Europe saw the coronavirus crisis peak in mid-April with cases and hospital admissions surging at similar rates. But the UK, Belgium, Italy, Spain and France led the way.
Britain’s outbreak was most comparable to epidemics in France and the Netherlands because both countries recorded case numbers within a similar rate per population during March and April.
Belgium and Italy had slightly higher infections, and their peaks occurred at different times.
However, data shows there were half as many people being treated in intensive care beds in the UK, compared to France and the Netherlands.
On April 12, there were 3,301 infected patients hooked up to ventilators in the NHS, the equivalent of around 50 people per million.
On the same day, France was treating double that, at 100.22 people per million (6,714), and the Netherlands 71 people per million (1,231).
A week earlier, on April 3, Italy had seen an intensive care occupancy rate of 67.4 per million, and days later, on April 8, Belgium recorded 112.13 per million — more than double the UK.
Although the data alone suggests the UK was treating less people than its European neighbours, the healthcare infrastructure of each nation has not been taken into consideration and therefore it is difficult to make direct international comparisons.
The UK has fewer hospital beds than other European countries with 2.7 hospital beds per 1,000 people, compared with an EU average of 5.2, according to 2018 figures.
The UK also has one of the lowest numbers of practising doctors per population, including hospital doctors, in the EU.
Despite the number of nurses being around the EU average, it is lower than comparable countries like France, Germany and the Netherlands.
But statistics show despite fears the NHS would be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, it never reached full capacity.
Less than two-thirds of critical care beds were taken up by Covid-19 patients even at the worst part of the crisis, Government data shows.
In the second week of April, England was recording occupancy levels of 55 per cent, the highest of any of the four nations in the whole pandemic.
At the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all hospital beds were occupied by virus patients, data shows.
On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England’s hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record.
At the moment, although hospital admissions have been rising, Covid-19 cases are occupying seven per cent of all of NHS England’s beds — thought to be around 110,000 in total.
At the peak of the pandemic, this figure was around a quarter – although capacity was freed up when the NHS told hospitals to scrap as many operations as possible and turf out patients on their wards to make way for an influx of Covid-19 patients.
The UK’s outbreak was most comparative to France and the Netherlands because each country recorded case numbers within a similar region over March and April. Belgium and Italy had slightly higher cases and an their peaks occurred at different times. However data shows there were half as many people being treated in intensive care beds in the UK, which was measured as how many people were on a ventilator, compared to France and the Netherlands.
A graph from a report by the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR), showing the percentage of critical care beds being taken up by Covid-19 patients in the UK between March and May
At the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients. On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England’s hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record
What NHS chiefs say to the Sunday Times article
• The NHS hospitals did not run out of intensive care beds, so there was never a need to refuse anyone treatment on the basis of NHS capacity.
• Clinicians make decisions about the best course of treatment for their individual patient, based on that person’s specific needs, and wherever possible with relatives, carers or next of kin. That is what happened throughout this pandemic; there was categorically NO blanket national decision to refuse care to any group of people, including on the basis of their age.
• The optimal therapy for most hospitalised Covid-19 patients has turned out to be oxygen therapy, which can be given in a general ward, rather than the patient being sedated on a mechanical ventilator in intensive care, and latest data show that of all Covid-19 patients receiving any form of oxygen therapy, the majority of them were indeed aged 65 or older.
• Older people were not denied admission to ICU during the first wave; actually they comprised the majority of patients admitted to ICU with Covid-19, throughout. This has remained true irrespective of the overall number of patients of any age in England’s ICUs being treated for Covid-19.
The move was successful and 33,000 beds were made available, meaning hospitals were not overwhelmed by the effects of the virus. But it left hospitals with thousands of extra empty beds than normal for months, meaning that millions of people missed out on treatment for cancer and other diseases.
Meanwhile the temporary Nightingale hospitals — rapidly set up across the UK to cope with the predicted wave of seriously sick Covid-19 patients — sat almost entirely empty.
ExCeL London was the first field hospital to open, with 500 beds and the capacity of 4,000 to cope with Covid-19 patients from the capital. It opened on April 3 and was in use for only a month, treating a total of 54 patients.
The NHS has now come under fire for reportedly limiting its intensive care beds for those who were most likely to survive the coronavirus — claims the health service vehemently denies.
A three-month investigation by the Sunday Times, which spoke to more than 50 witnesses, including doctors, bereaved families, care home workers, politicians and government advisers, concluded that the NHS was denying elderly and frail patients a bed in ICU based on the assumption they would be less likely to beat the virus.
It cited data which shows the over 70s and 80s groups made up the smallest percentage of ICU patients, despite having the highest number of deaths in hospital.
As part of the investigation, the paper claims some GPs were asked to identify frail and elderly patients who would be left at home, even if they needed hospital treatment due to complications from Covid-19.
It also claims NHS England issued guidance about groups of patients who should not ordinarily be taken to hospital without the green light from a senior doctor. These groups include all care home residents.
Meanwhile, paramedics were told to be more selective about who they take into hospital, the paper added.
The paper also claims the controversial triage tool, which was first discussed by the UK’s Moral and Ethical Advisory Group (MEAG) at the start of the pandemic in March, was used in hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, London, the Midlands and the southeast.
The tool was to be used to give a score to patients using their age, frailty and pre-existing health conditions. That score would then be used work out if a patient should be selected for critical care, should they need it, with ‘eight’ being the cut-off point.
Under the tool, those over the age of 80 would score nine on their age alone, meaning they would automatically be excluded, while over 75s were marked close to eight to begin with. Even those aged over 60 could be at risk of missing out on treatment on the triage tool, if they had an underlying health condition and were considered frail.
According to the Sunday Times, a second version was later produced, lowering the score for age, but still advising those over 80 who were not in peak physical health should be denied treatment.
This graph shows the number of UK hospital admissions in different parts of the UK as the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold, from March to the beginning of April
This graph shows the number of Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals in critical care as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, between March and the start of April
NHS chiefs hit back at the reports, denying older patients were refused treatment. Officials say that while early work on an intensive care national ‘triage tool’ did take place, it was ‘not completed’ and never issued.
They also denied critical care units were ever at capacity – backed up by ministers spending £220million on seven Nightingale field hospitals that were barely used in the first wave. Meanwhile, NHS chiefs say that even at the height of the pandemic, only 42 per cent of NHS’s ventilator beds were being used.
An NHS spokesperson added that two thirds of the 110,000 treated Covid-19 hospital patients so far were aged over 65.
NHS chiefs say the service has never adopted, published or relied on any such tool and its logo has not been authorised for use on any such tool.
However, the Sunday Times claims that it was distributed to the some doctors during the consultation period, while NHS Highland in Scotland also is said to have posted a version on its website – before later saying it was published ‘in error’.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association, told the Sunday Times ‘large numbers of patients’ did ‘not receive the care they needed’ and this was down to the health service’ not having the resources’.
Meanwhile, Conservative MP David Davis told the paper: ‘The policy appears to have given the least care to those who needed it most.
‘It is profoundly wrong that the government did not come clean to the public about this tragedy.’
However, the decision to review a triage tool has been defended by health chiefs, who said the process was talked about at the start of the pandemic, when it was estimated around two-million people could be put in hospital by Covid-19.
An NHS spokesperson said: ‘No intensive care national triage tool was issued by the NHS.
‘Early work on a triage tool was commissioned when modelling suggested two million people here could require hospital treatment and hospitals in northern Italy and Spain were being overwhelmed.
‘This was not completed let alone issued because it became clear that, thanks to the efforts of the public in following Government guidance, the number of patients would be kept within NHS capacity.’
Co-chair of MEAG, Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, said: ‘We were asked to look at the issue of a Covid-19 triage tool, however, it wasn’t needed.
‘Clinicians have been focused throughout the pandemic on assessing the individual needs of their patients and then providing the care that will benefit them best.
‘The rapid expansion of critical care capacity ensured that our initial concern that the NHS might be unable to meet all its patients’ needs proved unfounded.’
Meanwhile, Dr Alison Pittard, Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, said: ‘Throughout the first wave of Covid-19 the NHS did not run out of critical care capacity, which remained available to everybody who would benefit from it.
‘As we learned more about Covid-19 treatment changed as it became clear that oxygen therapy, that can be delivered on general wards, is often more beneficial than being on a ventilator.
‘The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine has been clear throughout that doctors should make decisions about patients’ treatment just as they normally would.’
The NHS has denied critical care units were ever at capacity, saying that even at the height of the pandemic, only 42 per cent of NHS’s ventilator beds were being used. Pictured: A Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland
Conservative MP David Davis (left) told the Sunday Times: ‘The policy appears to have given the least care to those who needed it most.’ Dr Chaand Nagpaul (right), chairman of the British Medical Association, told the paper: ‘It is manifestly the case that large numbers of patients did not receive the care that they needed
It comes as other reports suggest that the largest Nightingale Hospital, at London’s ExCel centre, will need to undergo work before it can be used once more.
The field hospital, one of seven built across the UK to deal with an influx of Covid patients during the first wave, contained 500 intensive care beds, but cared for 51 patients.
It was put into ‘standby’ in May after hospital admissions began to drop. But the government has stated the field hospitals will now start to reopen, with Manchester already reopened, as case numbers begin to rise again.
However, according to the Telegraph, the NHS has admitted no work has been done on London’s Nightingale Hospital since it was put on standby.
Dr Rinesh Parmar, a specialist registrar in anaesthetics who chairs the Doctors’ Association, accused the government of ‘sitting on their hands’.
He said: ‘You tend to have more patients that are not intubated and ventilated than are using other therapies. From a staffing point of view, it would also make sense to have it as a step down facility so you’re not then required to staff it with intensive care doctors and nurses who are already in short supply.’
Some 19,790 people tested positive for coronavirus in the UK yesterday, marking a rise of just 16.5 per cent on the 16,982 cases reported last Sunday
Britain has recorded a further 151 Covid-19 deaths yesterday – more than double last Sunday’s total
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
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