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Furious Cineworld staff slam firm after finding out online about closure of its 128 UK cinemas



furious cineworld staff slam firm after finding out online about closure of its 128 uk cinemas

Cineworld staff have today slammed the company amid claims employees first found out online about the firm’s plans to shut all 128 of its UK and Ireland cinemas.

One member took to social media site Twitter to describe the situation as ‘appalling’.

It comes after reports in The Sunday Times today revealed how the company, the world’s second largest cinema firm, was planning to temporary shut all of its 128 cinemas in the UK and Ireland – putting 5,500 jobs at risk.

Cineworld today confirmed it was considering the temporary closure of its UK cinemas, as well as its US cinemas, but that ‘a final decision has not yet been reached.’

A spokesperson added: ‘Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.’

But staff took to Twitter overnight to slam the company for not telling employees about the plans before they were reported in the Sunday Times – which said in its report that it had approached Cineworld for a comment prior to publication.

One Twitter user said: ‘This is going out to all my fellow Cineworld colleagues up and down the country, wishing you the best in these early hours with the news of the closures.

‘Been with Cineworld for 12 years, to find out I’ve not got a job via Twitter; once again; is damn appalling.’

Cineworld today confirmed it was considering the temporary closure of its UK cinemas, as well as its US cinemas, but that 'a final decision has not yet been reached'

Cineworld today confirmed it was considering the temporary closure of its UK cinemas, as well as its US cinemas, but that ‘a final decision has not yet been reached’

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Another, whose husband works for Cineworld, said: ‘Just checking Twitter before bed … oh looks like we just found out via Twitter that my husbands place of work is closing, thanks for telling your employees Cineworld, finding out on Twitter as usual.

‘I guess we’ll wait to hear from them at some point in the future.’  

A group on Twitter named the Cineworld Action Group also took to the social media site to comment on the reports.

The group, which was set up in March and describes itself as an action group formed of and ran by Cineworld employees around the UK, tweeted last night: ‘The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is planning to close all of its cinemas across the country as soon as this week putting all of our jobs at immediate risk.

‘There has been no consultation with staff whatsoever.

In a follow-up tweet, the group, which has around 1,200 followers, said: ‘We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic.

‘Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices.

‘However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful.’

Meanwhile, a Cineworld staff member, who did not want to be named, said they feel ‘betrayed’.

The employee said: ‘None of us have been told a single thing yet, so me and my work colleagues are sort of in panic mode right now, wondering what’s going to happen to our jobs, especially this close to Christmas.’  

Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’.

Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to culture minister Oliver Dowden (pictured)

Cineworld chiefs will also reportedly write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to say the industry has become 'unviable'

Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’

Fast & Furious sequel F9 is pushed back AGAIN to May 2021 

The Fast And The Furious series will not be seeing the checkered flag anytime soon.

The release of the highly-anticipated sequel F9 has been delayed again as it is now set for release on May 28, 2021 during Memorial Day weekend it was announced by Universal on Friday.

Back in March it was reported that the film was delayed to April 3 2021 according to The Hollywood Reporter.

However the most recent change was made hours after James Bond film No Time to Die delayed its release from November to April 2, 2021.

Universal is distributing the film internationally.

The Fast and Furious movies are always big earners at the domestic and international box office and the absence of F9 will impact the 2020 box office in a major way. The past two films have made over $1 billion.

Just a month earlier the full trailer had been unveiled.

The clip showed Vin Diesel’s character Dominic Toretto facing off again his brother, Jakob, played by John Cena, with epic car chases and fights across London – and appearances by Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.


Cineworld chiefs have reportedly blamed the decision, which is expected to be a temporary measure until next year, on the postponement of big budget films in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the reports say.

On Friday it was announced that the release of the new James Bond movie No Time to Die would be delayed until April 2021.

The announcement was made just weeks before it was about to be released.

The highly-anticipated film had already been postponement from its original release date in April due to coronavirus.

Last week, the release of the highly-anticipated Fast and Furious sequel F9 was also delayed again, while Disney announced last month that its live-action version of Mulan instead debut on its streaming service Disney Plus instead of a theatrical release.

The new Fast and Furious meanwhile is set for release on May 28, 2021, it was announced by Universal yesterday. 

Cineworld will look to reopen next year in line with the big blockbuster releases, according to the reports, which suggest many of the company’s staff will be offered redundancy, with possible incentives to rejoin when cinemas reopen.

Union Bectu, which represents staff in the cinema sector, urged filmmakers to think ‘carefully’ about the impact delayed releases could have on the industry.

A spokesperson said: ‘The delay in the release of the Bond film, along with the other delayed releases, has plunged cinema into crisis.’

Boss Philippa Childs said: ‘If these reports are true, then the first people Cineworld should be informing are their staff who will suffer as a result – not the Sunday newspapers.

‘Whilst cinemas have been able to open since July, and the experience of those who have visited since then has been an overwhelmingly positive one, the stark reality is that without new releases it is unlikely that footfall will increase to a level that makes opening financially viable.’ 

The latest film in the James Bond series 'No Time To Die', which had been scheduled to debut in theatres on November 11, has now been postponed until April 2021

The latest film in the James Bond series ‘No Time To Die’, which had been scheduled to debut in theatres on November 11, has now been postponed until April 2021

British Film Institute (BFI) chief executive Ben Roberts raised similar concerns about the prospects of the industry as a whole, but emphasised ‘great reasons to visit your local cinema – as distributors continue to offer new independent films to audiences’.

Harry Styles DENIES claims he is in the running to play James Bond… despite odds for his 007 chances being SLASHED from 100/1 to just 25/1 

Harry Styles has hit back at claims that he’s told pals he’s in the running to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Sources had told The Sun that the British singer, 26, met with film bosses about taking over the iconic role, with odds on him landing the role being slashed from 100/1 to 25/1.

But a representative for Harry has since told MailOnline that the reports ‘aren’t even remotely true.’

A source previously said: ‘Harry is deadly serious. He has had a series of high-level meetings about becoming 007. Harry believes he is the final two.

‘Harry is a new age British man… he’s confident in his own skin and making him Bond would signal the franchise changing with the times.’

MailOnline has also contacted representatives for EON Productions for comment.

Harry had remained as one of the favourites to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, and according to Ladbrokes, odds on him landing the part have been slashed to just 25/1, from 100/1 previously.  

It comes following reports last month that Tom Hardy is set to land the iconic role.

The Vulcan Reporter reported they heard in June that Hardy had been offered the iconic part after a successful audition, while bookies odds on the star have now been slashed in half.

The publication also reported producers had planned to unveil Tom as James Bond in November- the same month No Time To Die was due to be released.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the Vulcan Reporter state the announcement will now be made later this year or early 2021.

Since the speculation began the likes of James Norton, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and even retired footballer David Beckham have been mentioned as possible replacements.


His call to get customers back into seats was echoed by the Government, which promised a package of more than £1.5billion to help the arts and culture industries recover from the pandemic in July.

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: ‘The Government is supporting cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, business rates holiday and bounce-back loans.

‘Independent cinemas are also eligible for a share of £30 million from our unprecedented £1.5 billion culture recovery fund, and funding has started to be allocated already.

‘Cinemas up and down the country are open for business and Covid secure.

‘We urge the British public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film in accordance with the guidance.’

The reports are another knock-back for the UK cinema industry, which took a profit hit when the country was plunged into lockdown in March following the outbreak of coronavirus.

After months of forced closures, Cineworld was due to reopen its theatres on July 10, after lockdown measures were eased by the government, allowing the reopening of cinemas from July 4.

But it delayed the reopening of its cinemas in the UK by more than two weeks until July 31 to coincide with ‘recent adjustments to the schedule of upcoming movie releases’.

Social distancing measures were also introduced, including such as one-way systems, perspex screens for staff, mandatory contactless payment and no more pick and mix.

However, despite reopening, Cineworld raised doubts over its ability to survive a second lockdown as it reported a £1.3bn loss for the first half of the year because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The cinema chain, which is the largest in the UK and second largest in the world behind Chinese firm Wanda Cinemas, posted pre-tax loss for the six months to June compares with profits of £110m a year earlier.

Issues were further compounded by a short supply of big blockbusters throughout the summer.

Christopher Nolan’s spy-thriller Tenet set to be one of the highlights.

However industry experts have reportedly been ‘spooked’ by the film’s lacklustre performance on the big screen, causing other major studios to postpone their major releases.

This includes the latest in the James Bond series ‘No Time To Die’, which had been scheduled to debut in theatres on November 11.

But it will now be delayed ‘in order for it to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience’, the film’s producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced this week. 

A statement on Twitter read: ‘MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of NO TIME TO DIE, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April 2021 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.

‘We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing NO TIME TO DIE next year.’

The 25th film in the franchise finds Bond after he has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica when his old friend Felix Leiter, played by Jeffrey Wright, from the CIA turns up asking for help.

Leaving his seemingly happy live with Madeleine, played by actress Lea Seydoux, Bond returns to the field to face Safin who is armed with a new dangerous technology that could impact the world.

The film, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was pushed back to November in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

No Time To Die, which also stars Rami Malek as villain Safin and Ana de Armas as CIA agent Paloma, will deliver a satisfying ending for Daniel Craig’s Bond, according to producer Barbara Broccoli.

Speaking on the first episode of the official James Bond podcast, Ms Broccoli said: ‘It’s a culmination of everything that his portrayal of the character has been through and it ties up all the storylines. It’s a pretty epic film, I have to say.’

The British actor Craig, 52, whose first appearance as Bond was in Casino Royale in 2006, has also previously spoken about leaving the franchise after the next instalment.

However, in March this year a movie source said: ‘I don’t think Daniel is finished with James Bond, despite his previous claims.

‘He was in this same position after Spectre came out, where he said publicly and loudly that he was done and then, as time passed, he just wasn’t.

‘There is something about this part that scratches an itch and he’s not prepared to see it go to another actor yet.’

Meanwhile, reports of Cineworld closure plans comes amid a bloodbath of jobs on the high street, with 193,731 job losses now announced by major British employers since the start of the lockdown in March. 

Earlier this week, TSB has said it will cut around 900 jobs as part of plans to close 164 of its high street bank branches.

The Edinburgh-based bank said it expects most of the redundancies to be voluntary but did not rule out forcing staff out.

The bank is the latest big name to announce job losses since the start of lockdown.

Major high street chains including Boots, WH Smith and Marks and Spencer has already announced job cuts.

Lunch chain Pret a Manger announced 2,800 job cuts earlier this year, while coffee giant Costa announced plans to cut 1,650 jobs.

Nearly 200,000 job losses revealed by UK firms since lockdown began 

Some 192,831 job losses have been announced by major British employers since the start of the lockdown in March as follows:

  • September 22 – Wetherspoon – 400 to 450
  • September 22 – Whitbread – 6,000
  • September 18 – Investec – 210
  • September 15 – Waitrose – 124
  • September 14 – London City Airport – 239
  • September 9 – Lloyds Bank – 865
  • September 9 – Pizza Hut – 450
  • September 4 – Virgin Atlantic – 1,150
  • September 3 – Costa – 1,650
  • August 27 – Pret a Manger – 2,800 (includes 1,000 announced on July 6)
  • August 26 – Gatwick Airport – 600
  • August 25 – Co-operative Bank – 350
  • August 20 – Alexander Dennis – 650
  • August 18 – Bombardier – 95
  • August 18 – Marks & Spencer – 7,000
  • August 14 – Yo! Sushi – 250
  • August 14 – River Island – 350
  • August 12 – NatWest – 550
  • August 11 – InterContinental Hotels – 650 worldwide
  • August 11 – Debenhams – 2,500
  • August 7 – Evening Standard – 115
  • August 6 – Travelex – 1,300
  • August 6 – Wetherspoons – 110 to 130
  • August 5 – M&Co – 380
  • August 5 – Arsenal FC – 55
  • August 5 – WH Smith – 1,500
  • August 4 – Dixons Carphone – 800
  • August 4 – Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk
  • August 3 – Hays Travel – up to 878
  • August 3 – DW Sports – 1,700 at risk
  • July 31 – Byron – 651
  • July 30 – Pendragon – 1,800
  • July 29 – Waterstones – unknown number of head office roles
  • July 28 – Selfridges – 450
  • July 27 – Oak Furnitureland – 163 at risk
  • July 23 – Dyson – 600 in UK, 300 overseas
  • July 22 – Mears – fewer than 200
  • July 20 – Marks & Spencer – 950 at risk
  • July 17 – Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200
  • July 16 – Genting – 1,642 at risk
  • July 16 – Burberry – 150 in UK, 350 overseas
  • July 15 – Banks Mining – 250 at risk
  • July 15 – Buzz Bingo – 573 at risk
  • July 14 – Vertu – 345 July 14 – DFS – up to 200 at risk
  • July 9 – General Electric – 369
  • July 9 – Eurostar – unknown number
  • July 9 – Boots – 4,000
  • July 9 – John Lewis – 1,300 at risk
  • July 9 – Burger King – 1,600 at risk
  • July 7 – Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550
  • July 6 – Pret a Manger – 1,000 at risk
  • July 2 – Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909
  • July 1 – SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk
  • July 1 – Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
  • July 1 – Harrods – 700
  • July 1 – Virgin Money – 300
  • June 30 – Airbus – 1,700
  • June 30 – TM Lewin – 600
  • June 30 – Smiths Group – “some job losses”
  • June 25 – Royal Mail – 2,000
  • June 24 – Jet2 – 102
  • June 24 – Swissport – 4,556
  • June 24 – Crest Nicholson – 130
  • June 23 – Shoe Zone – unknown number of jobs in head office
  • June 19 – Aer Lingus – 500
  • June 17 – HSBC – unknown number of jobs in UK, 35,000 worldwide
  • June 15 – Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
  • June 15 – Travis Perkins – 2,500
  • June 12 – Le Pain Quotidien – 200
  • June 11 – Heathrow – at least 500
  • June 11 – Bombardier – 600
  • June 11 – Johnson Matthey – 2,500
  • June 11 – Centrica – 5,000
  • June 10 – Quiz – 93
  • June 10 – The Restaurant Group (owns Frankie and Benny’s) – 3,000
  • June 10 – Monsoon Accessorise – 545
  • June 10 – Everest Windows – 188
  • June 8 – BP – 10,000 worldwide
  • June 8 – Mulberry – 375
  • June 5 – Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk
  • June 5 – Bentley – 1,000
  • June 4 – Aston Martin – 500
  • June 4 – Lookers – 1,500
  • May 29 – Belfast International Airport – 45
  • May 28 – Debenhams (in second announcement) – “hundreds” of jobs
  • May 28 – EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide
  • May 26 – McLaren – 1,200
  • May 22 – Carluccio’s – 1,000
  • May 21 – Clarks – 900
  • May 20 – Rolls-Royce – 9,000
  • May 20 – Bovis Homes – unknown number
  • May 19 – Ovo Energy – 2,600
  • May 19 – Antler – 164
  • May 15 – JCB – 950 at risk
  • May 13 – Tui – 8,000 worldwide
  • May 12 – Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450
  • May 11 – P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide
  • May 5 – Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
  • May 1 – Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide
  • April 30 – Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
  • April 29 – WPP – unknown number
  • April 28 – British Airways – 12,000
  • April 23 – Safran Seats – 400
  • April 23 – Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide
  • April 21 – Cath Kidston – 900
  • April 17 – Debenhams – 422
  • March 31 – Laura Ashley – 268
  • March 30 – BrightHouse – 2,400 at risk
  • March 27 – Chiquito – 1,500 at risk

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Coronavirus England: 17 victims of second wave of infection under 40




coronavirus england 17 victims of second wave of infection under 40

Fewer than 20 people aged under 40 have died with coronavirus since the second wave began.

Official figures reveal the disease is now 100 times as deadly for the oldest in society as for the young, and that increased infections among children and young adults has not led to their hospitalisations or deaths.

And including deaths in private homes as well as hospitals, only 17 people under 40 died with Covid between the end of August and the middle of this month.

The latest NHS update published yesterday showed that just one person under the age of 20, and another 13 under 40, have died with coronavirus in English hospitals since the start of September.

Official government figures show a much higher death rate among the elderly than in young people who have contracted coronavirus

Official government figures show a much higher death rate among the elderly than in young people who have contracted coronavirus

By contrast, 1,425 patients over 80 have died over the same period, along with another 1,093 aged between 60 and 79. 

It means the elderly account for a staggering 94 per cent of hospital deaths this time round.

Wider figures from the Office for National Statistics covering all deaths across the UK tell the same story, with just 247 deaths among working-age people since the end of summer compared with 2,026 among pensioners. 

They cover a slightly shorter period than the NHS figures.

It will put fresh pressure on ministers to avoid a new nationwide lockdown that could lead to other deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease going untreated, and further damage young people’s mental health and job prospects.

Last night cancer consultant Prof Karol Sikora said: ‘On the whole, it is not a young person’s illness, healthy young people especially.

‘But they are playing the societal price in terms of education, university and social activities, and they will be paying the bill one day because the old people won’t be there. 

It’s a matter of balance and we’ve not got it right. It’s really important we don’t throw all the resources at Covid.’

The Government's chief scientific advisers Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty (right) and Sir Patrick Valance (left) leave a weekly cabinet meeting at Downing Street in late September

The Government’s chief scientific advisers Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty (right) and Sir Patrick Valance (left) leave a weekly cabinet meeting at Downing Street in late September

And Conservative backbencher Steve Baker – who led a rebellion against the Government’s imposition of Covid restrictions – said: ‘These data show vividly that we need a Plan B to rescue our economy and our family lives before we run out of road.   

In my experience, people want to do their duty but they are going to be wondering why so much of their future is going to be sacrificed in the circumstances.’

Data from researchers and official bodies showed that Covid-19 death rates among the young were low when the pandemic first hit in the spring, and that they are lower still despite concern over pub-goers, holidaymakers and protesters spreading infection over the summer.

The latest daily NHS figures show that of the 2,677 patients who have died with the virus in English hospitals between September 1 and this Tuesday, only 14 – half of 1 per cent – were aged under 40. 

By contrast, 52 per cent were over 80. More detailed ONS figures tell the same story. 

Including deaths in private homes as well as hospitals, only 17 people under 40 died with Covid between the weeks ending August 28 and October 16, just 0.8 per cent of the 2,061 total across England and Wales. The over-70s accounted for 1,701 deaths – 82 per cent of the total.

Those aged between 80 and 84 had the highest death numbers – 404 since the second wave began – in line with this newspaper revealing earlier this month that the average age of a Covid victim is 82.4.

Statistician Professor David Spiegelhalter, of Cambridge University, said: ‘Age is the overwhelmingly most important factor when it comes to the risk of dying from Covid.

‘Young people have always got the virus more than older people, but that hasn’t translated into hospitalisations and death.’  

 If lockdown were a drug it wouldn’t be approved…it does more harm than good, writes PROFESSOR ANGUS DALGLEISH 

We are at a pivotal moment in this pandemic and for our Prime Minister – and indeed the country – the stakes could not be higher.

With rumours rampant about a new national lockdown and talk about the so-called ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 infections being deadlier than the first, there has never been a more important time for Boris Johnson to go with his instincts and stand firm against the doom-mongers at Sage.

That organisation’s full name – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies – suggests a reassuringly well-informed and authoritative body whose guidance can be followed unquestioningly.

Yet their recommendations are often based on flawed evidence which is far from scientific, and that makes it all the more alarming to learn that they are attempting to bully the Prime Minister into imposing a second national lockdown.

This pressure is apparently based on projections showing that, while the number of Covid deaths will peak at a lower level than in the spring, they will remain at that level for weeks or even months, resulting in more deaths overall. 

But I would urge the PM and his most senior advisers to take a closer look at the evidence on which their arguments are based – and the potentially disastrous consequences.

The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid is undoubtedly on the rise again. But we are at nowhere near the levels we saw during the first wave – 9,520 were in hospital at the beginning of this week compared to almost 20,000 at the peak in April.

On Monday, there were 852 patients taking up mechanical ventilation beds, whereas there were more than 3,300 at the height of the pandemic in April.

And, yes, Covid deaths are rising, but they continue to comprise only a fraction of the total number of deaths across England and Wales.

In the week ending October 16 there were 10,534 fatalities, of which only 670 were from Covid. 

Every death is a tragedy for the individual and the families concerned but we must not lose sight of the fact that this is a virus fatal mainly to the elderly or those with underlying conditions.

Indeed, of the total number of Covid deaths in the UK, a tiny 0.01 per cent involved people under 45, according to the Office for National Statistics, while 89 per cent were over 65.

So we know who is vulnerable and we can and must work harder to protect them. Let’s remember too that the whole point of the lockdown was to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed – flattening the curve by ‘squashing the sombrero’ as Boris Johnson so memorably described it.

Now we are facing a ‘lampshade’ distribution – a sharp rise in cases, followed by a plateauing, before a steep drop. 

While the ‘flat top’ stage entails cases possibly rumbling on for months, is that really as big a crisis as Sage scientists are making out as long as the NHS can cope?

Given that the health system was not overwhelmed first time around, there is no reason to think that it will be this time.

That’s certainly the impression I gain at my own hospital in London.

Empty streets in the Welsh city of Bridgend. Wales entered a national lockdown on Friday which will remain in place until November 9

Empty streets in the Welsh city of Bridgend. Wales entered a national lockdown on Friday which will remain in place until November 9

At the height of the pandemic, more than half our admissions were Covid-related, but since the capital was upgraded to Tier Two only two to three dozen inpatients have tested positive for Covid.

The clinicians I speak to here would tell you that the vast majority of people dying from the infection are in their eighties.

Interestingly, an undertaker of my acquaintance has noticed no upswing in the elderly deceased recently. He has, however, observed a disturbing rise in the number of young people committing suicide.

As I have written on these pages previously, the despair of lockdown drove two of my colleagues to take their own lives. And in the last week alone, I have read newspaper reports of three such suicides among university students –one said to have resulted from the dreadful anxiety felt by the young person in question as a result of being cooped up all the time.

Since it takes some nine months for suicides to appear in national statistics, I fear that these deaths may be only the tip of a tragic iceberg. 

It will take time for us calculate the appalling scale of the toll that anti-Covid measures have taken on the nation’s mental health, not least because of the trashing of the economy and the livelihoods devastated by lockdowns.

Then, of course, there are the many tens of thousands of people denied essential non-Covid medical care, with the National Health Service in danger of becoming the National Covid Service. Sage scientists think only about managing the R rate – the average number of secondary coronavirus infections produced by a single infectious person. 

While my fellow clinicians and I are the ones who must explain to our patients with cancer, as they deteriorate in front of us, why the operation or treatments that might save or prolong their lives are once again being deferred because of the backlog caused by the lockdown.

This is all the harder for us knowing that so much of the Government’s hysterical reaction to the pandemic is based on flawed data which is presented to them by Sage.

Take the R rate as an example. That has now officially risen above one again but that statistic is based in part on the number of people tested using the widely-used PCR test which has been shown to produce many false positives.

Not that you would know that from the confident pronouncements made by Sage. The Spectator magazine has recently analysed the ‘ten worst Covid data failures’ to date. 

Among these was the graph produced by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, on September 21. Based on a scenario under which cases doubled every seven days, this warned that infections could hit 50,000 cases a day by October 13.

But even though his graph did not lead to any change in policy, the average on that date was almost exactly a third of that – at 16,228.

Besides questioning exhaustively the very basis on which Sage’s recommendations are being made, Boris Johnson should ask himself this salient question.

If lockdown were a drug, would it be approved by NICE – the body that balances the cost of a proposed treatment against the benefits it would bring? By the Government’s own admission, it would not. 

In July, a study quietly published by the Department of Health and Social Care showed that the health impact of a lockdown was greater than that of Covid itself – something for the Prime Minister to bear in mind before giving in to the deranged modellers at Sage.

Angus Dalgleish is an oncologist at a London teaching hospital 

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50,000 cancer cases MISSED: Staggering number of patients have gone undiagnosed during the crisis




50000 cancer cases missed staggering number of patients have gone undiagnosed during the crisis

Up to 50,000 cancer cases have gone undiagnosed during the pandemic, a leading charity warned yesterday.

It said NHS services could take almost two years to recover.

Macmillan Cancer Support added that the country was ‘at a crossroads’ and said shutting down cancer care this winter could cost thousands of lives.

Experts predict the number of patients with undiagnosed cases of the disease could double by this time next year – unless cancer services are protected.

They estimate it will take the NHS at least 20 months to tackle the backlog caused by coronavirus so far. 

A further 33,000 cancer sufferers are facing delays in starting treatment because of the pandemic, the report said.

NHS England said the grim forecast does not factor in the work of health staff in recent weeks to bring ‘cancer treatments back to pre-pandemic levels’. 

But yesterday, hospital bosses in Nottingham announced a number of cancer operations had to be postponed this week because of surging virus cases.

 It is one of a number of trusts scaling back routine operations to cope with the explosion in demand.

Scarlett Coleman, 5, was diagnosed with lymphoma this year after a heart transplant in 2015

Scarlett Coleman, 5, was diagnosed with lymphoma this year after a heart transplant in 2015

The new report – The Forgotten C? The Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer Care – details the devastating impact of the backlog on diagnosis and treatment.

It said lockdown led to a drastic fall in referrals as thousands avoided going to their GP with possible cancer symptoms.

Disruption to vital appointments, operations and treatments all contributed to the ‘worrying’ backlog.

Macmillan Cancer Support has called for Health Secretary Matt Hancock to ensure vital cancer services will not be downgraded because of winter pressures and amid rising virus cases.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive at the charity, said: ‘Cancer care is at a crossroads and services cannot be shut down this winter. 

‘Because of the pandemic, we estimate that an additional 50,000 people are missing a cancer diagnosis and others are having their appointments disrupted once again.

‘It is simply unacceptable if they face unbearable and unprecedented delays which could affect their chances of survival.’ 

She added: ‘Cancer doesn’t stop for Covid-19 and neither can our health services.’

The warning comes as hospitals in parts of the country, including Liverpool and Nottingham, are now treating more Covid patients than at the peak of the first wave in April.

A number of trusts have scaled back routine operations to cope with the surge in demand.

NHS England said cancer treatment remained a priority across hospitals, with latest figures for October showing nearly all patients referred for urgent treatment had started within the two-week target. 

But there are fears it is only a matter of time before stretched hospitals start to buckle under the rising demand from Covid patients.

Nottingham University Hospitals trust yesterday admitted some cancer operations had been cancelled this week.

Keith Girling, its medical director, said: ‘We’ve had to make the extremely difficult decision to postpone operations for four of our cancer/pre-cancer patients this week due to pressure on our intensive care units from both Covid-19 and non-Covid related emergencies.

‘This delay, however short, will be incredibly hard for the patients and their families, and I’m truly sorry for any distress this will have caused.’

Meanwhile the opening of a flagship cancer unit at University College London Hospitals Trust has been delayed until next summer ‘due to the complexity of the project and the impact of the pandemic’.

Macmillan found 650,000 cancer patients in the UK – more than a fifth of the total – have experienced disruption to their treatment or care because of Covid-19.

Of these, 57 per cent were worried that it could affect their chances of survival.

An NHS England spokesman said services were ‘back to pre-pandemic levels’ and that the findings failed to factor in the improvements to cancer services during the summer.

She added: ‘The majority of people who have not been diagnosed are people who have not come forward for checks and so our message is clear. 

If you have worrying symptoms, you must get this checked – the NHS is ready and able to treat you.’

 Transplant girl, five, still waiting for op  

A girl of five has been ‘passed from pillar to post’ while waiting for a cancer operation because of Covid delays.

Scarlett Coleman developed post-transplant lymphoma disorder after being given a new heart when she was a baby due to a congenital defect.

She began suffering stomach pain over the past year. Her parents, Ian Johnson and Melanie Coleman, were told she had cancer in mid-March. 

They say they are still waiting for an operation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after crucial appointments were delayed.

Scarlett Coleman on a hospital bed with her father Ian Johnson, mother Melanie, sister Leah, and brother Lucas

Scarlett Coleman on a hospital bed with her father Ian Johnson, mother Melanie, sister Leah, and brother Lucas

Mr Johnson, 38, from Middlesbrough, said he had considered taking Scarlett to A&E and refusing to leave.

‘It is all because the NHS is getting overwhelmed by coronavirus. I got angry with them,’ he said. 

‘It is not just my family that is suffering though, getting passed from pillar to post. 

[Scarlett] had numerous appointments with the gastroenterology team and we were supposed to go for an appointment in mid-September.

‘It was cancelled and now she needs an operation. 

‘We were told to “wait a while” because of Covid. The [hospital] said to give them six weeks to find out if the operation would go ahead. 

‘We have not even got to the point of arranging it. We should get a phone call in mid-November.’

Miss Coleman, 37, added: ‘Scarlett was supposed to have a CT scan every 12 weeks since her diagnosis and she has been to just one appointment.’

Mr Johnson said the public should help stop the NHS getting overwhelmed by sticking to social distancing rules.

He added: ‘Scarlett is suffering because of other people’s stupidity around Covid.

‘I am angry with the NHS – it is wrong of them to treat her in this way.’

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was contacted for comment.

  Sorry, no beds left for chemo

 Ella Wolff believes the pandemic has wasted precious time she has left to live.

In January, the 25-year-old recruitment consultant – pictured left – was told the rare eye cancer she had beaten in 2018 had returned to her liver and, without treatment, she could have as little as six months left.

Despite being in a race for survival, she was denied the chance to start a specialist targeted chemotherapy trial in May because all the intensive care beds had been earmarked for Covid patients.

Ella Wolff, 25, had her eye removed to stop the spread of the cancer but was told it spread to her liver

Ella Wolff, 25, had her eye removed to stop the spread of the cancer but was told it spread to her liver

Instead, doctors decided to try another immunotherapy treatment, which they admitted was less likely to work. 

Now she is having to crowdfund to pay for the £40,000-a-time chemotherapy treatment, known as Delcath, herself – because the immunotherapy failed and the trial is no longer available on the NHS.

Miss Wolff, from Ispwich, said: ‘I feel like I have wasted four months on a treatment nobody had much hope for. It was wasted time, all because there wasn’t an intensive care bed.

‘It’s so wrong. Cancer patients have been so neglected, it’s very scary times.’

 Brother who can’t donate his kidney  

A student waiting for a kidney transplant from her brother told yesterday how it had been cancelled for a second time because of the virus.

Mali Elwy, 19, had her left kidney removed after being diagnosed with cancer aged three. 

She went on to develop chronic renal failure in her right, leaving her facing the prospect of regular dialysis sessions.  

Her brother Morgan, 24, agreed to donate one of his kidneys. 

But surgery at a hospital in Covid hotspot Liverpool was delayed back in August, and last week the rearranged operation was postponed again.

Mali Elwy, 19, was due to receive a kidney from her brother Morgan, 24 last week

Mali Elwy, 19, was due to receive a kidney from her brother Morgan, 24 last week

The teenager, pictured left with her brother, is taking a year out from her studies at Bangor University to give herself time to recover and now fears she will not be able to return next September.

‘They thought it would be too much of a risk for us to go in [to hospital],’ Miss Elwy said. 

‘It was cancelled three days before because of the situation with the coronavirus. We were both absolutely gutted.’

Dr Tristan Cope, medical director of Liverpool University Hospitals, said: ‘Undergoing a transplant during a period of pandemic can present more risks than benefits, which is why clinicians, patients and their relatives have to take difficult decisions.’

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Why looking on the bright side can be BAD for you




why looking on the bright side can be bad for you

Don’t worry, you’ll find something else,’ I reassured my friend. ‘This is the best thing that could have happened, you hated that job.’

My friend opened her mouth to say something and then closed it again. I kept going: ‘At least John still has work, you still have a roof over your head.’

She nodded but there were tears in her eyes as she said she had to go.

As soon as we hung up our video call I knew I’d done the worst thing: instead of listening to how scared and sad she was, I had made my friend feel she was not allowed to feel bad about being made redundant from her job of eight years.

I had showered her in something that’s recently been dubbed ‘toxic positivity’.

Marianne Power explores the dangers of suppressing our feelings, as Dr Dean Burnett writes about ‘toxic positivity’ (file image)

Marianne Power explores the dangers of suppressing our feelings, as Dr Dean Burnett writes about ‘toxic positivity’ (file image)

Dr Dean Burnett, author of best- selling book The Happy Brain, wrote about it after his otherwise healthy 58-year-old father contracted Covid-19 in March.

‘When he became ill and ended up on a ventilator, I had a surprising number of people assure me, promise me, that “he’ll be fine”, or “he’ll get through this”. He didn’t, though. He died.

‘Not one of them rang to say they were wrong. Yes, I’m sad and angry about it. And I have every right to be.’

‘Toxic positivity,’ wrote Dr Burnett, ‘is when positivity ignores reality. It’s when people insist on themselves and others being happy, when the situation fully justifies the opposite.

‘There’s a modern idea that happiness should be our default state, and if we aren’t happy then something is wrong. It’s nonsense . . . the brain doesn’t work like that.’

I agree — and, as the country heads into a new round of Covid restrictions, I think it’s crucial we fight back against this spreading syndrome.

In lockdown the first time around, we were told it was the perfect time to write a book! Bake bread! Get fit! Learn a language! To treat what was happening as an opportunity.

But the message is a dangerous one. David Kessler, one of the world’s foremost experts on grief, says the world is going through a collective bereavement. Even if you have not lost a loved one, we are grieving our normal lives and sense of safety.

David Kessler who is one of the world’s foremost experts on grief, said we tell ourselves that we're not allowed to feel sad because other people have it much worse (file image)

David Kessler who is one of the world’s foremost experts on grief, said we tell ourselves that we’re not allowed to feel sad because other people have it much worse (file image)

Yet, he adds: ‘One unfortunate by-product of the self-help movement is that we try to squash our negative feelings. We tell ourselves we are not allowed to feel sad because other people have it much worse.’

When Covid first emerged, I felt scared. Would we have enough food in the supermarkets? How many people would die? And while I usually love living alone, the pandemic made me feel a new loneliness.

I felt at times like I didn’t exist. But then I read articles about people sleeping on the streets and nurses dying, and told myself I had no right to be scared or lonely. I felt ashamed of feeling down.

As a result, I stopped myself from calling friends in case I seemed too miserable. I didn’t want to take up their time. The result was that I compounded my feelings.

Denying our emotions has been linked to heart disease 

I suspect my attitude is a hangover from years spent reading self-help books, well-meaning tomes that have taught me the only secret to happiness is to think more ‘positively’.

Following their suggestions, I have tried all sorts of positive thinking tricks, like walking around my local park repeating affirmations such as ‘I am a money magnet’ — when really I was in debt — or pinging an elastic band on my wrist every time I had a negative thought in order to try to be happy.

I cringe when I remember once telling a friend that ‘it was all happening perfectly!’ after she told me her marriage of 20 years was over, because that was a slogan repeated in the book I was reading that month.

At first, she looked as if I had slapped her — and then she looked as if she wanted to slap me.

As well as making me a bad friend, this tyranny of positive thinking made me unhappy.

Research claims that bereaved people who try not to feel their grief take longer to recover (file image)

Research claims that bereaved people who try not to feel their grief take longer to recover (file image)

I felt like I was failing, because I didn’t feel like a cross between Buddha and Beyonce every day. The happier I tried to be, the less happy I was.

Research has shown that suppressing our real feelings is not good for our mental or physical wellbeing. Denying our emotions has been linked to heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.

What’s more, studies demonstrate that when people who have low self-esteem are forced to repeat positive ‘affirmations’ they feel worse.

It causes more stress and even lower self-esteem.

Research has also shown that bereaved people who try not to feel their grief take longer to recover.

Toxic positivity ignores the fact that all emotions have a purpose. Fear, for example, is there to make us alert to danger.

A person who is the victim of domestic abuse does not need to think positively, she needs to get out. And if your house is burning down, focusing on how lovely and warm it is can kill you. Loneliness is not something to be numbed with Netflix, it’s a sign we need to reach out to somebody. Positive thinking can stop us from taking the action we need to take.

In one experiment, when a group of dehydrated people were asked to visualise a glass of water they experienced a decline in energy levels.

David Kessler said many of us worry about being overwhelmed by our negative feelings, however they move on quite quickly if we allow ourselves to feel them (file image)

David Kessler said many of us worry about being overwhelmed by our negative feelings, however they move on quite quickly if we allow ourselves to feel them (file image)

Imagining their goal seemed to deprive them of their get-up-and-go. In other words, positive thinking can actually make us less effective.

Of course, there’s a balance to be found. While being a Pollyanna might do us harm, nobody wants to be the misery guts moaning that the end is nigh.

The challenge is to find a balance between toxic positivity and helpful positivity.

How to do it? First of all, we really need to acknowledge our more difficult feelings. Are you sad? Frustrated? ‘When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you,’ says Kessler.

He says many of us worry that if we admit to negative feelings, we’ll be overwhelmed by them. In fact, however, allowing ourselves to actually feel them will mean they move on quite quickly.

If you have the kind of brain that wants to imagine doom and gloom, that’s fine, too.

Imagine the very worst case scenario (your parents getting sick, losing your home) and figure out what you’d do if that happened. Now, to balance it, imagine the best case scenario (everyone is fine and your work flourishes).

The Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece believed doing this robs the future of its anxiety-producing power — once you’ve figured out what you’d do in a disaster, what is there to worry about?

When things do get tough, Kessler adds that it can help to let go of what you can’t control. ‘What your neighbour is doing is out of your control. What is in your control is staying six feet from them and washing your hands. Focus on that.’

Finally, be compassionate to yourself and others. We are all struggling right now, so try to forgive less-than-charming behaviours in yourself and in others, too.

Instead of trying to get someone to snap out of it, you will then be able to listen and empathise, which is all we really want when we are down.

I called my friend back, by the way. I apologised for trying to cheer her up when she’d been made redundant, and told her it was normal to feel scared and angry.

She cried and ranted. ‘That’s OK,’ I said. ‘You’ve lost your job, you’re allowed to feel bad.’

She actually laughed. ‘It’s weird, but hearing that makes me feel better,’ she said. 

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