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Priti Patel is in denial over rising anti-social behaviour, Dame Vera Baird says

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priti patel is in denial over rising anti social behaviour dame vera baird says

The Victims Commissioner has accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of being in denial over the rising problem of anti-social behaviour in communities.

Dame Vera Baird QC has issued a hard-hitting rebuke to the Home Secretary after she failed to offer extra funding to tackle the issue or acknowledge the surge in cases such as rowdy neighbours and drinking in the street.

And she has warned that another six months of covid-19 restrictions could see the problem worsen while victims are left to fend for themselves.

It comes after The Mail on Sunday reported last month how some areas are experiencing rises of up to 140 per cent in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour.

Undated handout file photo issued by Northumbria PCC of Dame Vera Baird QC. Dame Baird has accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of being in denial over the rising problem of anti-social behaviour in communities

Undated handout file photo issued by Northumbria PCC of Dame Vera Baird QC. Dame Baird has accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of being in denial over the rising problem of anti-social behaviour in communities

Local authorities and charities have recorded a surge in cases since the easing of lockdown which is attributed in large part to people spending more time at home.

Dame Vera had appealed to Ms Patel to get a handle on the problem by setting up ‘Nightingale Taskforces’ to clear the backlog of cases and support victims.

Instead the Home Secretary wrote that cases of anti-social behaviour were falling based on older March figures and said any rise during lockdown was ‘often’ related to concerns over breaches of covid-19 regulations.

But the victims’ tsar has hit back to say that she is ‘dismayed’ by Ms Patel’s response and that it suggests her department does not ‘understand the problem’.

‘Persistent anti-social behaviour causes untold misery, stress and despair at the best of times, but we must understand that the impact is so much greater under lockdown conditions’, she said.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘The Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and recognises the devastating impact it can have on victims'

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘The Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and recognises the devastating impact it can have on victims’

‘ASB can have a corrosive effect on public morale and community cohesion at a time when it is so important that we all come together.

‘This is why I am so dismayed by the Home Secretary’s response.

‘There is no recognition of the problem and the fact that with another six months of social restrictions, it is only going to get worse.

‘I fear that unless it acts, the government is sleep-walking to disaster, with anti-social behaviour being allowed to escalate and the victims being left to fend for themselves.’

Last week police revealed they had recorded a 12 per cent increase in complaints unconnected with covid-19 regulations though Dame Vera said this is likely an understatement.

The charity Victim Support, which provides frontline services for victims in more than 30 areas of England and Wales, has seen a 27 per cent increase in those suffering from anti-social behaviour accessing their services since March.

And in August they reported a 161 per cent increase in ‘hits’ about anti-social behaviour on their website.

In London police reportedly logged a rise of 56 per cent in cases referred by members of the public in August.

While in the North-East one local authority stopped accepting new cases due to the huge backlog which had built up during lockdown.

It comes after The Mail on Sunday reported last month how some areas are experiencing rises of up to 140 per cent in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour (file photo)

It comes after The Mail on Sunday reported last month how some areas are experiencing rises of up to 140 per cent in the number of reports of anti-social behaviour (file photo)

Dame Vera also called on the Home Secretary not to ‘simply ignore’ Baroness Helen Newlove’s 2019 report, Living a Nightmare, which has only seen one of 12 recommendations enacted by the government.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘The Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and recognises the devastating impact it can have on victims.

‘We have given the police, local authorities and other agencies a range of powers to quickly and effectively respond to anti-social behaviour and continue to keep them under review.

‘We are carefully considering the Victims Commissioner’s recommendations. Over half of them are covered by the legislation or the statutory guidance on the Community Trigger, which is an important safety net in ensuring that the voices of victims of persistent anti-social behaviour are heard.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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If lockdown was a drug it wouldn’t be approved… writes Professor ANGUS DALGLEISH

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if lockdown was a drug it wouldnt be approved 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.

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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

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

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.

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.

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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

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus Germany: New four-week ‘lockdown lite’ announced

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coronavirus germany new four week lockdown lite announced

Angela Merkel has plunged Germany back into ‘lockdown lite’, ordering all bars and restaurants to close across the country starting on Monday. 

The move will also see theatres, cinemas and leisure facilities close throughout November, though unlike the first lockdown, schools and shops will be allowed to stay open. Takeaway services are also allowed.

Merkel, who announced the move Wednesday evening after agreeing it with regional governors, said it was necessary ‘to act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency’.

President Emmanuel Macron was set to announce harsher restrictions in France on Wednesday evening, effectively plunging the nation back into full lockdown throughout November – though schools will stay open.

European markets tanked at the news, with the DAX falling almost 4.5 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40 and Italy’s FTSE MIB were also sharply down on Wednesday.

Protesters also took to the streets of Berlin to demand that the government do more to support them, while anti-lockdown activists also took to the streets of Spain and Italy overnight, sparking clashes with police.  

Protesters took to the streets of Berlin on Wednesday to demand more support for the government, even as Angela Merkel plunged the whole country back into a 'lockdown lite'

Protesters took to the streets of Berlin on Wednesday to demand more support for the government, even as Angela Merkel plunged the whole country back into a ‘lockdown lite’

Members of Berlin's entertainment industry protest against government shutdowns, demanding more support while they are unable to work because of the virus

Members of Berlin’s entertainment industry protest against government shutdowns, demanding more support while they are unable to work because of the virus

A coffin is driven past the Reichstag building, as entertainment workers demand more support for the 'dying' industry

A coffin is driven past the Reichstag building, as entertainment workers demand more support for the ‘dying’ industry

Angela Merkel announced that all bars, restaurants and other leisure facilities will have to close on Monday and stay shut through November, with schools and shops allowed to stay open

Angela Merkel announced that all bars, restaurants and other leisure facilities will have to close on Monday and stay shut through November, with schools and shops allowed to stay open

Merkel said the shutdown is necessary'to avoid an acute national health emergency' after the country reported some 15,000 new cases in a single day (file image, an abandoned street in Bavaria)

Merkel said the shutdown is necessary’to avoid an acute national health emergency’ after the country reported some 15,000 new cases in a single day (file image, an abandoned street in Bavaria)

Chairs and tables stand outside a restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany, which has been under curfew measures for a fortnight, but will now have to close throughout the whole of November

Chairs and tables stand outside a restaurant in Frankfurt, Germany, which has been under curfew measures for a fortnight, but will now have to close throughout the whole of November

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Coroanvirus cases are rising rapidly in most major European countries, prompting leaders to consider more lockdown measures. Curfews are now in place in Spain, Italy, and UK, with France and Germany considering circuit breaker shutdowns 

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Spain and Italy have both seen deaths increase in recent weeks, although they are lower than during the first wave – unlike in the Czech Republic and other countries in Eastern Europe where deaths have risen to record levels  

Germany cases

Germany deaths

Angela Merkel is also discussing a fresh lockdown with regional leaders today in an attempt to head off a sharp rise in cases (left) and as deaths begin to creep up (right)

British FTSE 100

French CAC 40

Reports of fresh lockdowns caused European markets to open sharply down on Wednesday, with the British FTSE 100 (left) and French CAC 40 both down around 3 per cent

German DAX

Italian FTSE MIB

Germany’s DAX index (left) and the Italian FTSE MIB (right) were both down around 3 per cent on open, compared to the previous day

While markets initially gained back a little of the loss, they went into the afternoon even lower than at the start of the day. Wall Street also opened around 2 per cent down, with the NASDAQ, S&P 500 and Dow Jones all falling. 

In Germany, Merkel added that shops and schools will remain open, unlike during the first lockdown, while restaurants will be able to provide take-out food.

But she also appealed to people not to make unnecessary journeys and said hotels won’t be able to accommodate people on tourist trips.

The decision came hours after Germany’s disease control agency said a record 14,964 new confirmed cases were recorded across the country in the past day, taking the national total in the pandemic to 449,275.

Germany, which has 83 million people, also record 27 more virus-related deaths, raising its overall death toll to 10,098, the Robert Koch Institute said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, health experts in Spain have warned that another full lockdown could be on the cards as intensive care units fill up – with eight at risk of ‘collapse’.

Hospitals in Aragon, Catalonia and Madrid, Castille and Leon, Navarra, Rioja, and Ceuta are all around 40 per cent full, according to La Vanguardia.

With cases still on the rise in those regions, experts estimate that all beds could be full within the next 20 days.

In Melilla, a Spanish enclave in northern Africa, the situation is dire – with two thirds of beds currently occupied.

That prompted Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez to call for a new state of emergency to be imposed on Monday, putting the framework in place for him to announce local or even national lockdowns at a moment’s notice. 

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A wave of anti-lockdown protests have swept Europe as governments impose harsher lockdowns to curb the resurgence of coronavirus

People gather during a demonstration on October 28, 2020 in Barcelona against the closure imposed by the regional government on bars, restaurants and clubs

People gather during a demonstration on October 28, 2020 in Barcelona against the closure imposed by the regional government on bars, restaurants and clubs

Protesters are seen at a demonstration on October 28 in Barcelona, Spain against the closure imposed by the regional government on bars, restaurants and clubs

Protesters are seen at a demonstration on October 28 in Barcelona, Spain against the closure imposed by the regional government on bars, restaurants and clubs

Hospitals in Aragon, Catalonia and Madrid, Castille and Leon, Navarra, Rioja, and Ceuta are all around 40 per cent full, according to La Vanguardia. Pictured: Barcelona)

Hospitals in Aragon, Catalonia and Madrid, Castille and Leon, Navarra, Rioja, and Ceuta are all around 40 per cent full, according to La Vanguardia. Pictured: Barcelona)

Protesters clashed with police on the streets of Rome overnight in the fifth straight night of unrest in Italy over new coronavirus curfews

Protesters clashed with police on the streets of Rome overnight in the fifth straight night of unrest in Italy over new coronavirus curfews

Italy introduced an overnight curfew in Rome to try and slow the spread of coronavirus, amid fears that tougher measures could follow

Italy introduced an overnight curfew in Rome to try and slow the spread of coronavirus, amid fears that tougher measures could follow

Protesters in Rome took over the Piazza del Popolo on Tuesday night until they were dispersed by police dressed in riot uniforms

Protesters in Rome took over the Piazza del Popolo on Tuesday night until they were dispersed by police dressed in riot uniforms

Police move in to clear protesters from the streets of Rome on Tuesday night, following similar demonstrations earlier in the week in Milan and Naples

Police move in to clear protesters from the streets of Rome on Tuesday night, following similar demonstrations earlier in the week in Milan and Naples

Protests in Seville

Protests in Seville

Protesters burned wheelie bins and set off fireworks in the Spanish city of Seville overnight to protest against coronavirus curfews

A man watches fireworks go off in Seville, to protest against new coronavirus curfews

A man watches fireworks go off in Seville, to protest against new coronavirus curfews

Spain cases

Spain deaths

Spain has also announced fresh curfews and raised the prospect of another nationwide lockdown after cases soared (left) and deaths continued to creep upwards (right)

Italy cases

Italy deaths

Italy announced coronavirus curfews for major cities including Rome, Naples and Milan this week, after coronavirus cases began rising sharply and deaths also began to mount

He also announced night-time curfews in an attempt to bring cases under control.

But Tomás Cobo, vice president of the Collegiate Medical Organization, told El Pais that full shutdown ‘is the only measure for which there is scientific evidence.’

Protests continued into Wednesday in Spain, as taxi drivers gathered in Barcelona, angry that lockdowns have led to a fall in demand.

Similar demonstrations took place in Italy after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced overnight curfews in Rome, Naples and Milan which he said were designed to avoid a second full lockdown.

Macron was due to speak in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday night, with fears of another full lockdown looming.

Two industry sources briefed on the restrictions said rules would be almost identical to the first lockdown, with non-essential business forced to close and people told to stay indoors.

However, under the second lockdown schools would be allowed to stay open, and people would be allowed to go to work if their jobs cannot be done remotely. 

New measures could come into effect from midnight on Thursday, and would last for four weeks.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel was meeting with regional leaders in Germany on Wednesday, with plans for another full lockdown on the table.

It is thought she could announce more restrictions to begin on November 4 which would see bars and restaurants closed, with a ban on public gatherings.

Unlike the first lockdown, schools would remain open. 

In Belgium, which has the most cases per capita in the world, the number of coronavirus hospital admissions all but matched the level in the first wave in the spring, public health institute showed.

The government will meet again on Friday, and Prime Minister Alexander de Croo could announce more stringent measures.

Medics in one hospital in Belgium are so overstretched that some staff who are themselves infected with Covid are continuing to treat patients. 

Virtually every major European country has reported a record one-day total of coronavirus cases either in the last 24 hours, or within the last seven days.

Italy hit a record 22,000 cases on Tuesday and Germany a record 15,000.

Spain and Russia both reported a record total earlier this week, while France and the UK hit new highs the week prior. 

France cases

France deaths

 Emmanuel Macron is thought to be on the verge of announcing another nationwide lockdown in France to try and curb cases which have been rising sharply for weeks (left), with deaths also starting to rise (right)

A restaurant-owner in Rome leaves a skeleton sitting outside his establishment, to protest the industry being 'killed off' by the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic

A restaurant-owner in Rome leaves a skeleton sitting outside his establishment, to protest the industry being ‘killed off’ by the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic

Top chefs and restaurant owners from Venice, Italy, gather around empty place settings in the Campo Santo Stefano after the government announced fresh hospitality curfews

Top chefs and restaurant owners from Venice, Italy, gather around empty place settings in the Campo Santo Stefano after the government announced fresh hospitality curfews

A man wears a protective face mask as taxi drivers in Barcelona protest falling demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns

A man wears a protective face mask as taxi drivers in Barcelona protest falling demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns

Even lockdown-free Sweden, whose approach had been praised for avoiding a severe economic downturn, reported a record 5,000 cases on Tuesday.

While increased testing means second wave totals are not comparable to the first wave, the rate at which cases are increasing – along with hospital admissions – is causing panic among European leaders. 

On Tuesday, a dozen restaurant owners protested in front of Milan’s city hall while as many stadium concession stand owners waved banners at the Lombardy regional headquarters.

‘No one has thought of us,’ said Giacomo Errico, the Lombardy president of FIVA Commercio representing 6,000 concession stand owners in the northern region, among 40,000 nationwide, that have been out of work since February.

Such peaceful protests have been staged up and down the Italian peninsula, while more violent protests erupting at night, increasingly culminating with vandalism, looting and clashes with police.

Italy’s national prosecutor for terrorism and organized crime, Federico Cafiero de Raho, on Tuesday said subversives had infiltrated peaceful protests in the country. He said they included proponents of the extreme right and anarchists on the extreme left.

Investigators have also looked into indications that organized crime groups in the Naples area provoked violence at a peaceful protest.

France has warned of possible new lockdowns, include extending existing curfews, fully keeping residents at home on weekends or all week and closing non-essential businesses. 

Since curfews were imposed a couple of weeks ago, French police have issued 14,000 fines, the interior minister said Tuesday. 

Doctors are seeing growing pressure on France’s emergency services and intensive care wards, where COVID patients now take up more than half of the beds.

In Spain, the Canary Islands was seeking to pass a law demanding that visitors arrive at the popular archipelago off northwest Africa with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Russia, which has world’s fourth highest tally of 1.5 million confirmed cases, is resisting a second lockdown. 

But with cases rising at over 15,000 a day, the health agency ordered all Russians to wear masks in crowded public spaces, including public transport, and in closed spaces like taxis and elevators.

Merchants, restaurateurs and workers hold a mock funeral for their industry which they say is being killed by shutdowns

Merchants, restaurateurs and workers hold a mock funeral for their industry which they say is being killed by shutdowns

Business owners organized a staged funeral to protest against the lockdown imposed by the Italian government in Como

Business owners organized a staged funeral to protest against the lockdown imposed by the Italian government in Como

The Czech government has further tightened its regulations, imposing a nationwide curfew between 9 p.m and 6 a.m. that started Wednesday. 

It previously limited free movement, closed stores, schools and restaurants, made it mandatory to wear face masks indoors and outdoors and banned sport competitions, but the number of infections has continued to rise.

Several demonstrations against the virus restrictions were planned for Wednesday in the capital of Prague.

Even Sweden, which avoided a national lockdown and generally imposed far lighter measures than other European countries, is now urging people to avoid shopping centers and shops and stay away from public transportation.

The World Health Organization said more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases were reported last week – the shortest time ever for such an exponential increase.

It said for the second consecutive week, the European region accounted for the biggest proportion of new cases, with more than 1.3 million cases or about 46% of the worldwide total. 

The U.N. health agency said deaths were also on the rise in Europe, with about a 35 per cent spike since the previous week. 

Overall, Europe has seen more than 250,000 virus-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The WHO noted hospitalizations and ICU occupancy due to Covid increased in 21 European countries. 

As European Union countries weigh tougher coronavirus restrictions, top EU officials on Wednesday urged the bloc’s 27 nations to introduce common rules to test for the disease and track its spread to help prevent further damage to their economies.

European Council President Charles Michel, who will chair an extraordinary summit of EU leaders on Thursday evening focused on the pandemic, also urged them to prepare for logistical challenges likely to plague the rollout of any vaccines. 

‘We are in a storm. We are all in the same boat. And in this storm, we must keep cool heads,’ Michel told French radio RTL.

Meanwhile European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels that Europe is confronted ‘with two enemies at this time. We’re dealing with the coronavirus; the virus itself and also corona fatigue. That is, people are becoming more and more fed up with the preventive measures.’ 

Michel also urged the leaders to prepare for prioritizing vaccinations.

‘Based on the information we have, at the end of the year or early next year, 3 or 4 vaccine candidates could be available,’ Michel said.

Von der Leyen said the commission will prolong its value added tax exemption on the purchase of vaccines and testing kits for a further six months.

‘I think that this year’s Christmas will be a different Christmas,’ von der Leyen added.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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

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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 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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