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Headline USA New York Politics

The COVID-19 vaccination plan in New York halted because all the first available doses were exhausted | The State

The COVID-19 vaccination process in New York entered a great abyss this Friday, when Governor Andrew Cuomo recognized that “today we run out of supplies. All doses from week one to week will be used up at the end of the day. They may already be sold out ”, specified the president during a briefing at noon.

The Governor reported that “for now” there is no news about a “short-term” increase in doses for New York, it is expected to receive 250,000 doses next week, of which 109,000 will be destined for the Big Apple. At the current rate of distribution this lot it would last only about three days.

With 300,000 injections waiting in refrigerators for second injections in New York City, it has been raised in recent hours as ‘plan B’ give them as first doses, this would imply delay the second injection for a few weeks for those who have already received the initial dose. This idea is subject to authorization by the Federal Administration.

Both the Governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that this week the inoculation plan was accelerated, but vaccines fell short for the broad demand of people over 65 years of age, teachers, police officers, rescuers and health personnel and nursing homes that apply for the stages 1A and 1B.

In the middle of next week

In New York City, more than half a million people have been vaccinated by City programs, but there is only hope that many vaccination centers will reactivate in the middle of next week when the federal government sends more doses.

“We are looking for clear answers and I want to be fair to Joe Biden’s new team. They are just walking through the door. I think i know they will need a few days to have a clear idea of ​​the vaccines available for each region ”, de Blasio said.

Journalistic sources assure that Governor Cuomo, trying to speed up the pace, did some paperwork to buy the doses directly from the pharmaceutical companiesBut that requires authorization from Washington.

Only in the Big Apple 22,000 appointments scheduled for this weekend had to be canceled and 15 immunization centers were provisionally closed, because as the Health authorities had calculated, they are finishing doses of the new drug from Pfizer and Moderna.

With the water up to the neck

The New York Health authorities report that until this Friday, the 93% of immunizations Targeted first doses had been injected.

“We have the operational capacity to do even more, but we need more supplies because the real problem is that the demand exceeds supply ”, Cuomo specified.

During the second week of the vaccine launch, after December 15, New York received 392,000 doses. Since then that number has dropped to around 250,000 every seven days. Even as the number of people eligible for inoculation has expanded.

The goal of opening campuses in the fall after teacher vaccinations becomes an illusion (Photo: NYC Mayoral Office)

The appointment that does not arrive

Only the group of adults over 65 years eligible to be injected in the entire state amounts to 1.8 million.

To that segment belongs the Dominican Asia Pichardo, 70, who lives a few blocks from the only vaccination center available in the Upper Manhattan in ‘The Armory Track and Field”. This immigrant since last week is trying to get an appointment, because as she herself warns: he wants to live many more years.

“I even came personally to see if they would help me. Dating in itself is very complicated. We have no choice but be patient and keep taking care of us, while the vaccine arrives ”, the islander commented resignedly.

The experience of Puerto Rican teacher from Queens Vicente Salazar, 45, perhaps it graphs the experience of thousands of people, since he relates that he has remained for hours since last Monday, January 11, in the virtual appointment system of the City. To the date, could not program anything.

“This is complicated. If this is the formula to open schools in September, it seems to me that we will be a long way from achieving it ”, he stressed.

Indeed, with this “slowdown” that the vaccination strategy receives, it is mathematically impossible for the Health authorities of New York City to achieve their goal of reaching the arm of 1,000,000 eligible individuals prior to January 31.

The delays in the strategy for the distribution of the “antidote” that would win the war against the pandemic and allow the economy to normalize in a few months, continues to be the center of debate in many sectors.

Spokesmen for the Single Federation of Teachers (FUT) warn that the reduced availability of new drugs could delay the opening of schools of New York City posed for the fall.

“Greater vaccine availability is the key to fully reopening everything from schools to businesses,” said Michael Mulgrew, leader of the FUT in a statement.

The other side of the crisis: vaccination points are still far from the poorest neighborhoods. (Photo: F. Martínez)

“Alarming signs”

The president of the Health Commission of the Muncipapal Council Mark Levine assured that there are “alarming signs” that vaccination against COVID-19 “is leaving people of color aside “, for which he demanded a numerical breakdown by the City Department of Health (DOHMH) of where and what racial group the doses are being administered to.

“We must act now to fix another dire situation of inequality and racial inequity, in the management of the pandemic ”, he asserted on his twitter account.

The councilor denounced that very few immunization centers have been installed in the poorest neighborhoods. In addition, he criticized that the digital system to obtain appointments is extremely complex and slow.

“We are behind in the effort to establish confidence in the vaccine among New Yorkers blacks and immigrants. We should partner with community organizations on the ground, raising the voices of local leaders. We spent more than 40 million dollars on the dissemination of the 2020 Census. We need even more to reach the majority ”, he concluded.

Will post details

Mayor De Blasio reacted to the request of the local legislator, promising that in a matter of days the DOHMH will publish more details of the immunization process.

“Everything will be transparent. I agree with Mark Levine on the most important point. We have to understand that there is mistrust, particularly in communities of color about the vaccine, after the horrible history in this country with scientific experimentation with minorities, “he said.

The municipal president assured that they have already begun to work with community groups, so that they speak the same language of their neighborhoods, and then expand the inoculation route in localities such as Washington Heights and Inwood.

The ups and downs of the vaccine

  • 1,017,350 vaccines have been shipped to NYC
  • 572,910 They had been administered until this Friday at noon by the immunization strategy of the Department of Health of the City of New York (DOHMH).
  • 77,623 second doses have been applied so far in the city.
  • 80,000 Daily doses have been applied on average over the past five days throughout NY.
  • 250,000 vaccines to receive NY next week at the current rate of distribution it would only last three days. That means the refrigerators will be empty again next weekend.
  • 2.1 million of people in group 1A (health sector workers) is the State’s vaccination goal.
  • 3.2 million are eligible for group 1B in NY (education personnel, police, rescuers, firefighters and seniors).

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Technology US

Cyberpunk 2077’s first big patch is out now, and it’s packed with bug fixes

Cyberpunk 2077’s first big update is available now, and it’s packed with bug fixes for the notoriously buggy game. In a tweet, developer CD Projekt Red also said that the update “lays the groundwork” for future patches.

The 1.1 patch arrives more than a month after Cyberpunk 2077’s rocky launch. The game has been plagued with bugs and issues, particularly on older consoles, though CD Projekt Red has released three hotfixes to try to shore up some of the problems. Sony yanked the game from the PlayStation Store and began offering full refunds on December 17th, but the game still hasn’t returned to the store.

CD Projekt Red has already announced another major patch would follow this one, and the studio described it as a “larger, more significant update” that will arrive “in the weeks after” patch 1.1. The studio is also aiming to release a free update to optimize the game for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in the second half of 2021.

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Entertainment USA

John Krasinski, Dan Levy and Regina King announced as the first three hosts of SNL in 2021

John Krasinski, Dan Levy and Regina King announced as the first three hosts of SNL in 2021 … with Machine Gun Kelly slated to perform

SNL is ready to kick off the new year with an all-new slate of hosts.

John Krasinski, Dan Levy and Regina King will serve as the first three hosts of the long-running sketch show in 2021, beginning the last Sunday in January.

In their usual style, SNL made the big reveal on index cards which were mocked up with the names of the hosts, the musical acts and the dates and then shared to Twitter. 

Live from New York: John Krasinski (pictured), Dan Levy and Regina King will serve as the first three SNL hosts of 2021, beginning the last Sunday in January, the show announced on Friday

‘Hello, 2021,’ the official SNL account tweeted on Friday.

The Office and Jack Ryan star John Krasinski, 41, will host the first show of the year on January 30th. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly will perform.

Krasinksi had been set to host SNL in March of last year right as the pandemic first hit and shuttered productions, thereby canceling his gig. 

‘Aaaaaand cue the pinching myself. #SNL,’ the actor said on social media about getting a second chance at hosting the series. 

2021 slate: In their usual style, SNL made the big reveal on index cards which were mocked up with the names of the hosts, the musical acts and the dates and then shared to Twitter

2021 slate: In their usual style, SNL made the big reveal on index cards which were mocked up with the names of the hosts, the musical acts and the dates and then shared to Twitter

An honor: The Office and Jack Ryan star John Krasinski, 41, will host the first show of the year on January 30th. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly (pictured) will perform

An honor: The Office and Jack Ryan star John Krasinski, 41, will host the first show of the year on January 30th. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly (pictured) will perform 

While Machine Gun Kelly – who dates Megan Fox – called the honor a ‘bucket list’ moment.  

2020’s star of the year, Schitt’s Creek actor/co-creator/writer Dan Levy, 37, will then make his SNL hosting debut the following weekend. 

‘OMFG,’ he tweeted, expressing his excitement.

The honor follows an epic year for Levy and his inclusive sitcom which swept awards season. Dan became the first person ever to win a Prime Time Emmy in all four major categories in one year. 

Top notch talent: Schitt's Creek's Dan Levy and Watchmen's Regina King will also make their SNL hosting debuts on February 6 and 13th respectively

Let then entertain you: Musical guest Nathaniel Rateliff will perform when Oscar-winner Regina King hosts on Valentine's Day weekend

Top notch talent: Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy and Watchmen’s Regina King will also make their SNL hosting debuts on February 6 and 13th respectively 

Regina King, 50, is the third host that was announced this week. The Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner will make her debut at the helm of the live comedy show on Valentine’s Day weekend. 

Musical guests Phoebe Bridgers and Nathaniel Rateliff were also announced. 

SNL will air five back-to-back weeks of new episodes and the remaining two sets of hosts and musical guests are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The series, executive produced by Lorne Michaels, is currently in its 46th season having debuted in 1975. 

Hysterical: The series, executive produced by Lorne Michaels, is currently in its 46th season having debuted in 1975; stars Pete Davidson and Colin Jost pictured

Hysterical: The series, executive produced by Lorne Michaels, is currently in its 46th season having debuted in 1975; stars Pete Davidson and Colin Jost pictured

Categories
Health

FDA Approves First Once-a-Month HIV Therapy


FRIDAY, Jan. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The first monthly shots to treat adults with HIV were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.

“Currently, the standard of care for patients with HIV includes patients taking daily pills to adequately manage their condition. This approval will allow some patients the option of receiving once-monthly injections in lieu of a daily oral treatment regimen,” said Dr. John Farley, director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“Having this treatment available for some patients provides an alternative for managing this chronic condition,” he added in an agency news release.

One expert said the shots will likely be welcomed by HIV patients.

The shots “will enhance quality of life” to need treatment just once a month, Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, told CBS News. “People don’t want those daily reminders that they’re HIV-infected.”

Another expert agreed.

“Even people who are taking one pill once a day … reported improvement in their quality of life to switch to an injection,” Dr. Judith Currier, an HIV specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told CBS News. She consults for ViiV Healthcare, the company behind the long-acting treatment, and wrote a commentary accompanying one study of the drug published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Not only that, but Deeks added that “there’s a great unmet need” that the shots may fill, since some patients, including people with mental illness or substance abuse problems, can struggle with daily drug regimens.


Cabenuva (cabotegravir and rilpivirine), which is given as two separate shots, was approved for patients who are HIV-suppressed on a stable antiretroviral regimen, have no history of treatment failure, and don’t have known or suspected resistance to either cabotegravir or rilpivirine, the FDA said.

The FDA also approved Vocabria (cabotegravir, tablet formulation), which should be taken in combination with oral Edurant (rilpivirine) for one month before starting treatment with Cabenuva, to ensure the medications are well-tolerated by patients before they switch to the extended-release monthly injection.





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Technology US

Razer’s DeathAdder V2 Pro wireless gaming mouse just got its first big price cut

Razer’s DeathAdder V2 wired gaming mouse is one of the best wired gaming mice you can buy right now, according to my colleague Cameron Faulkner. But if you are trying to minimize the number of cables on your desk, the DeathAdder V2 Pro is a nice wireless alternative — and it’s down to $100 at Amazon and Best Buy.

The DeathAdder V2 Pro is a lightweight mouse weighing in at 88 grams, six grams heavier than its wired variant. It has the same support for five onboard profiles and the same 20K optical sensor.


| Image: Razer

Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Razer’s DeathAdder V2 Pro is a lightweight gaming mouse that’s comfortable to use and is a good wireless alternative to its wired counterpart, with five onboard profiles and a 20K DPI optical sensor.

If you don’t mind wired gaming mice and you are on a budget, Amazon and Best Buy have also discounted the Razer Viper Mini, bringing it down to just $20. It’s a miniature rehash of Razer’s Viper gaming mouse. It can last for up to 50 million clicks, can handle up to 8,500 DPI sensitivity, and has six programmable buttons.


Razer Viper Mini

Prices taken at time of publishing.

A smaller version of the Razer Viper that can last for up to 50 million clicks, can handle up to 8,500 DPI sensitivity, and has six programmable buttons.

Apple’s flagship wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro, are considered worthy of their $249 price tag. However, there are a few deals going on right now. First, you can get a Geek Squad Certified refurbished pair for $199 at Best Buy. On the other hand, if you prefer buying a new pair, Woot currently has the AirPods Pro for $205, while supplies last. It’s not the lowest price we have seen a new pair of these earbuds go for, but it is the best price currently available.


Apple AirPods Pro

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Apple’s flagship earbuds with better sound quality, noise cancellation, and spatial audio.

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone that has a superb camera, but you don’t want to spend a ton of money, B&H still has an incredible deal on a 64GB unlocked Google Pixel 3 XL. Although this phone is almost three years old, it does come equipped with Android 11 OS and it will also receive Android 12, which is coming later this year.


Google Pixel 3 XL

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Released in 2018 alongside the Google Pixel 3, the Pixel 3 XL is a solid contender for smartphones that include great cameras at a competitive price.

Categories
Headline USA Politics

First week of February is key period for approval of third stimulus check of $ 1,400 | The State

The first week of February would be key in terms of third stimulus check for $ 1,400 announced by the president Joe biden.

As he told reporters this Thursday the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy PelosiIn those days, Democrats will be “completely ready” to pass legislation to that end with only 51 votes.

However, passing a new stimulus bill is not just in the hands of Democrats. The majority delegation also needs Republican votes to be able to give way to any measure promoted by the Executive.

In the federal Senate, the measure would need 60 votes; at least 10 Republicans apart from all Democratic votes.

Possible Republican Rejection of Third Stimulus Check

Some Republicans might stifle their rejection of Biden’s so-called “American Bailout Plan” valued at $ 900 billion. Last year, several legislators from that community rejected the $ 2 billion measure.

The legislation that was finally passed last December for the $ 600 checks involves an investment of $ 1.4 trillion.

If the differences are corrected soon, the measure could be approved between mid-February and mid-March depending on the length of the debate.

The foregoing does not mean immediate disbursement of funds. The distribution of the first payments would take at least a week after the law is signed. In the case of the most recent bailout bill passed in Congress and signed by outgoing President Donald Trump, the first direct deposits were made on December 29. However, many recipients were unable to dispose of the money until January 4.

Currently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continue to mail stimulus checks on paper or in debit card form.

Many of these payments will take 3-4 weeks to reach their destination, according to the IRS on its website.

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Categories
Headline USA Politics

Biden Expands Food Aid and Takes First Steps Toward $ 15 an Hour Minimum Wage | The State

The hard work to undo the legacy of Donald Trump and the great rush to mitigate the effects of the pandemic is leading Joe Biden to include a new day of signing Executive Orders on his third day in office. Today, Friday, the president is expected to extend federal nutrition aid to low-income people with this method through programs that already exist for which the distribution and calculation guidelines are changed.

In addition, Biden will begin to take steps to ensure that more people earn a minimum wage of at least $ 15 an hour.

The White House insists that the most important thing is to accelerate the measures already in place and approve the rescue package for the economy worth $ 1.9 trillion that will begin to negotiate with Congress, but the president believes that there are things like hunger that cannot wait.

In the White House it is estimated at 29 million Americans and 12 million of them children, – one in five Latino families – the number of people who go hungry, which is why the president wants, on the one hand, to increase access to food that normally children They have thanks to the school and they have been transferred to a benefit called P-EBT.

This benefit is about $ 5.70 per child per day. Some households have access problems to this aid, which is also scarce. Biden will order the department to increase those benefits by 15% to better reflect the cost of food and make it easier to apply for this aid.

The department is also changing the guidelines to expedite the increased emergency SNAP benefits already approved to reach the households of lower-income people.

Although the general policy of SNAP has to be established through Congress – the Farm Bill – the guidelines that are issued can change the way of administration and that is what the president can change. And Biden wants to make the Department of Agriculture update the bases to establish these benefits and better accommodate the economic realities of families.

Delivery of checks

The president is going to ask the Treasury to expedite the procedures to send the check for $ 1,200, the first Economic Impact Payment, which has not yet reached eight million people. To improve the efficiency of the social network due to the pandemic, the Administration will create coordination teams between federal programs administered by the states so that there is greater coordination to reduce waiting time and support in issues such as access to loans by of minority entrepreneurs and there is more efficiency in the payment of unemployment insurance, among other tasks.

Regarding employment, the new president is going to order the Department of Labor to clarify that workers with pre-existing medical conditions and who are at greater risk in the event of falling ill with COVID have the right to refuse a job that could harm their health and qualify for unemployment insurance.

While waiting for Congress to approve an increase in the minimum wage, which has been $ 7.25 since 2009, Biden has instructed the Department of Labor to prepare an Executive Order in less than 100 days that specifies that the federal government will only contract with companies pay at least $ 15 an hour and provide paid leave to their workers.

The latest Orders of the Day are labor-related and rescind three signed by Trump that eliminated the right to collective bargaining and worker protections for federal employees and will study which federal workers earn less than $ 15 an hour to promote increases.

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Technology US

Honor announces its first post-Huawei phone

Honor has announced the new V40 5G flagship phone, its first since Huawei sold the company off to a Shenzhen-based consortium of Chinese partners. The phone is exclusive to China for now, but Honor’s V-series usually makes its way to the rest of the world under “View” branding.

The V40 has a 6.72-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ processor. The primary camera has a 1/1.56-inch 50-megapixel sensor. The 4,000mAh battery can be charged wirelessly at 50W or at 66W with a cable.

Huawei announced that it was selling off Honor in November due to “tremendous pressure” and a difficulty in securing an adequate supply chain. While Honor was operated independently from Huawei, it relied on the parent company for much of its technology, such as HiSense’s Kirin processors. That meant it was hit just as hard by US sanctions banning US companies from doing business with Huawei.

The V40 phones will of course have been in development since earlier than November, but now that Huawei has divested itself of Honor, the international “View 40” version of the V40 may be able to ship with Google services on board. That would allow Honor to sell phones in Western markets and beyond without the huge disadvantage of having to rely on Huawei’s AppGallery, which still can’t compete with Google’s Play Store outside of China, where Google has no presence.

At the same time, Honor no longer has the advantage of relying on Huawei’s supply chain, so it’s going to have work to do in order to establish itself as a strong brand in its own right once the phones launch elsewhere. For now, it’s available in China with prices starting at 3,599 yuan (~$550) for a model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. 3,999 yuan (~$620) doubles the storage to 256GB.

Categories
Headline USA Politics

What happened to oil prices on the first day of Joe Biden’s administration and why is that important? | The State

Joe Biden announced that he will take steps to curb the supply of oil.

Photo:
PAUL RATJE / AFP / Getty Images

The prices of the Petroleum have risen due to the expectations that the new administration of the president is generating Joe biden who intends to spend $ 1.9 trillion to stimulate the economy and aim to adjust the supply of crude.

Janet Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve and nominated by Biden to be Secretary of the Treasury Department The US government told the Senate Finance Committee that the government should “go big” on fiscal spending aimed at boosting the economy as it tries to recover from the US pandemic. COVID-19.

Analysts mention that the fall in dollar price, after Yellen’s comments, helped the oil price rally.

Biden is also expected to take steps to curb the crude industry including a pause in Arctic drilling for oil, entry into the Paris Agreement, and cancellation of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was authorized during the Trump administration.

“A ban on fracking on federal lands would have a negative impact on US production but is positive for the price of oil,” James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics told MarketWatch.

The price of WTI for February delivery increased 0.5 percent to settle at $ 53.24 dollars per barrel and the North Sea Brent price for March increased by 0.3 percent to settle at $ 56.08 dollars per barrel.

Related: How to Double the Next $ 1,400 Stimulus Check.

This Thursday the government of Biden suspended new leases for the production of fossil fuels in federal lands and watersas well as the issuance of new drilling permits for 60 days, Reuters reported, which could deal a major blow to the Texas oil industry.

The move to cut oil and gas production as well as coal mining comes at a time when President Biden has vowed to move quickly in the fight against climate change and getting the United States on the greenhouse gas emissions path by the middle of this century.

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Headlines UK London

Coronavirus cases dropped 15% to 330,000 in first week of lockdown – England

Coronavirus infections fell in every region and age group except toddlers in England last week, Public Health England data shows, after a mass study claimed cases rose over the first ten days of lockdown.

Covid-19 hotspot London saw the sharpest drop in its infection rate by a quarter, the report suggests, followed by the East of England and the South East. The regions were the first into Tier Four measures days before Christmas.

And in another promising sign those aged over 60 – who are most at risk of hospitalisation and death if they catch the virus – were suggested to have a 20 per cent drop in their infection rate, the third largest drop in England.

The surveillance report statistics are yet more evidence that the country’s coronavirus outbreak has been shrinking since the beginning of the new year.

NHS Test and Trace data also published today showed a 15 per cent decline in the number of people testing positive for the virus across the UK in the week ending January 13.

There were 330,871 people who tested positive for coronavirus across the country during the week ending January 13. For comparison, the figure stood at 389,191 in the first week of 2021. 

It is the first week-on-week fall since the beginning of December, when cases dipped as England emerged from its second national lockdown. It can take up to a week for the effect of any restrictions to be reflected in the data, meaning the drop in cases may have also been fuelled by the original tiered measures.

It has been suggested that falls could be due to fewer tests being carried out. But the latest figures show this is not the case – an extra 400,000 swabs were analysed in the most recent seven-day spell and the number of positives still dropped. It is another promising sign that the third lockdown, which began on January 5, is bringing England’s outbreak under control.

Although cases are high with tens of thousands more cases every day, infections have stopped rising at the rate they were in December when the virus was out of control.

The figures come after a shocking study today sparked fears England’s third lockdown was failing to curb cases, after Imperial College London’s REACT-1 mass-testing project estimated 1.58 per cent of England’s population had coronavirus in the first 10 days of lockdown – up from 0.91 per cent in early December. 

But scientists dismissed concerns that even tighter measures were needed, saying the Imperial study does not prove infections are rising because it missed out a drop from the second wave’s likely peak in late December.

Researchers behind the study did not carry out the survey over this period, which is when official data suggests coronavirus cases reached their high point before beginning to drop.

Other studies tracking the Covid outbreak suggest more optimistic trends. Even Department of Health statistics show daily infections have plunged since the start of the lockdown, from an average of almost 60,000 to 40,000.

Cambridge University estimates show that the R rate of the virus is likely below one, while Public Health England last week claimed cases dropped in all age groups. King’s College researchers also say cases have fallen ‘steadily’ since the New Year.

Official statistics from Public Health England show coronavirus infections dropped in every region of England in the week to January 17. Above is the graph showing the sharpest drop in London

And infections are also thought to have declined in every group except toddlers, the latest PHE data suggests

And infections are also thought to have declined in every group except toddlers, the latest PHE data suggests

Random swabbing of 142,000 people between January 6 to 15 found 'no evidence' of a decline in infection levels — despite an array of promising data showing exactly the opposite. The graph shows the test positivity rate for every day of the study

Random swabbing of 142,000 people between January 6 to 15 found ‘no evidence’ of a decline in infection levels — despite an array of promising data showing exactly the opposite. The graph shows the test positivity rate for every day of the study

Public Health England data shows that the numbers of people getting positive coronavirus test results through the official swab-testing scheme has clearly been coming down since the start of January

Public Health England data shows that the numbers of people getting positive coronavirus test results through the official swab-testing scheme has clearly been coming down since the start of January 

Mass-testing study that claims lockdown 3.0 isn’t working ‘does NOT prove coronavirus infections are rising’

A shocking study that suggested England’s third lockdown isn’t working does not prove that infections are rising because it missed out a drop from the second wave’s likely peak in December, scientists say.

Imperial College London’s REACT-1 mass-testing study, which estimated 1.58 per cent of England’s population had coronavirus in the first 10 days of lockdown, triggered fears that the current restrictions aren’t tough enough.

But the team didn’t test anyone between December 3 and January 6, leaving a month-long gap in their picture of how the epidemic changed during what is widely considered the worst period since March 2020, perhaps ever.

During that time a new fast-spreading variant took hold in the south, Tier 4 was introduced for millions of people, household mixing was allowed for the first time in months for millions of others on Christmas Day, hospital patient numbers surged to record high levels, and the third lockdown was triggered.

The REACT study then re-emerged on January 6, finding that the proportion of people infected with the virus had doubled since it last checked at the start of December, and wasn’t showing sure signs of decline.

The researchers behind it admit they missed the peak and so did not record a downturn in the infection rate, and say they hoped further testing in January would show infection numbers come down as the effects of lockdown properly set in. Experts have suggested the third lockdown may be slower to act because the virus has become able to spread faster and people are becoming weary of rules and not following them as strictly. 

Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report shows Covid-19 infections dipped in the capital from 864 to 629 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending January 17, a 27 per cent decline.

But the capital still had the highest proportion of its population infected in England. 

The second highest drop was in the East of England, where the infection rate per 100,000 fell to 489 after declining by 24 per cent.

And the third highest was in the South East, where the infection rate fell by 22 per cent to 456 per 100,000.

Experts behind the Imperial surveillance study said the numbers appeared to plateau between January 5 and 16. One of the researchers said it ‘doesn’t support the conclusion that lockdown is working’.

However, other scientists today insisted the findings do not prove that infections are rising because it missed out a drop from the second wave’s likely peak in December.

Imperial’s team didn’t test anyone between December 3 and January 6, leaving a huge gap in their picture of how England’s outbreak changed during the worst of the second wave.

During that time a new fast-spreading variant took hold in the south, Tier 4 was introduced for millions of people, household mixing was allowed for the first time in months for millions of others on Christmas Day, hospital patient numbers surged to record high levels, and the third lockdown was triggered.

The REACT study then re-emerged on January 6, finding that the proportion of people infected with the virus had doubled since it last checked at the start of December, and wasn’t showing sure signs of decline.

The researchers behind it admit they missed the peak and so did not record a downturn in the infection rate, and say they hoped further testing in January would show infection numbers come down as the effects of lockdown properly set in. 

Experts have suggested the third lockdown may be slower to act because the virus has become able to spread faster and people are becoming weary of rules and not following them as strictly.

Other scientists say the study — which is considered one of the most accurate measures of the spread of Covid because it tests asymptomatic people — doesn’t have enough data to draw firm conclusions about whether lockdown was working in the first 10 days.

And Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today said other statistics given to the Government show lockdown ‘has been having an impact in terms of relieving some of that pressure on the NHS’. 

Professor Tim Spector, a King’s College London epidemiologist who is running his own Covid Symptom Study using constantly updating data from a mobile app, told MailOnline the Imperial researchers ‘can’t really judge the effects of lockdown with their survey’.

Professor Kevin McConway, a statistician at the Open University, added that there is ‘certainly quite a strong possibility that the REACT-1 estimates are not very accurate’.

Other studies looking at the effects of Covid-19 across the country suggest more optimistic trends. 

The Imperial College London study missed out a long period of testing during December. By the start of the lockdown in January it found that 1.58 per cent of people in England were infected with coronavirus — the equivalent of almost 900,000 people. The graph shows the general trend across each time period the study has been carried out for, with the red line pointing upwards in the most recent week. The large area of red shading around the line, which peaks on both sides, shows that scientists are very uncertain about what the data means and it could actually be going down, flat, or going up

The Imperial College London study missed out a long period of testing during December. By the start of the lockdown in January it found that 1.58 per cent of people in England were infected with coronavirus — the equivalent of almost 900,000 people. The graph shows the general trend across each time period the study has been carried out for, with the red line pointing upwards in the most recent week. The large area of red shading around the line, which peaks on both sides, shows that scientists are very uncertain about what the data means and it could actually be going down, flat, or going up

It found that mobility data suggested people were moving around more since the start of January, meaning even tougher restrictions may be necessary

It found that mobility data suggested people were moving around more since the start of January, meaning even tougher restrictions may be necessary

The Imperial College London team also revealed how test positivity rates varied across each region of England over the study period, with rates falling in the East and South West and plateauing in London

The Imperial College London team also revealed how test positivity rates varied across each region of England over the study period, with rates falling in the East and South West and plateauing in London

And the team also offered a heat map showing where outbreaks have grown or shrunk between the last two recent rounds of testing

And the team also offered a heat map showing where outbreaks have grown or shrunk between the last two recent rounds of testing

Experts behind the REACT-1 study also revealed how test positivity rates varied between age groups for each region, over the last three rounds of testing

Experts behind the REACT-1 study also revealed how test positivity rates varied between age groups for each region, over the last three rounds of testing

Above is the case rates by age groups in the UK. The highest levels are in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups, data from the ZOE Covid-19 study shows

Above is the case rates by age groups in the UK. The highest levels are in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups, data from the ZOE Covid-19 study shows

Cambridge University estimates last week showed that the R rate of the virus is likely below one and could be as low as 0.6 in London.

Public Health England revealed weekly coronavirus cases had fallen in all age groups except the over-80s.

And Department of Health figures showed that dozens of boroughs had experienced a drop in infection rates.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock seized on the Imperial findings to hammer home the lockdown message and said they show ‘why we must not let down our guard over the weeks to come’. 

He added: ‘Infections across England are at very high levels and this will keep having a knock-on effect on the already significant pressures faced by our NHS and hospitals.

‘It is absolutely paramount that everyone plays their part to bring down infections.’

But experts aren’t sure that the data is comprehensive enough to give any accurate idea of trends in how the virus is spreading.

Professor Tim Spector, who has been monitoring the coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began, said there were ‘problems’ with REACT’s figures because it ‘did not collect any data for a month from December 5 to January 6’.

‘So, it’s very hard for them to tell what the trends are,’ Professor Spector told MailOnline.