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Headline USA

Tower Records returns to the market through an online music store | The State


Tower Records was founded in Sacramento in 1969.

Photo:
Tim Boyle / Getty Images

14 years after Tower records declared bankruptcy and closed about 200 stores, music lovers will be able to choose their favorite songs again at the iconic music store.

Tower records it’s back. Executives had planned to relaunch the company during the South by Southwest Music Festival But the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.

Danny Zeijdel, the new CEO of Tower Records, said that due to the pandemic the company is reborn as an online store offering vinyl records, cassettes and compact discs.

“The idea has been met with tremendous success,” Zeijdel wrote. “Many people are so happy when they receive an order for Tower records and they are taking a selfie and posting it on Instagram. “

Related: Beyonce partners with Peloton for training classes with the singer’s music

The company founded in Sacramento in 1969, is also presenting a series of interviews through the platform of Instagram Live and he plans to collaborate with various singers and musicians.

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Headline USA

Helen Ochoa records ‘Víveme’ in tribute to the song that helped her in depression | The State


Helen Ochoa.

Photo:
Helen Ochoa / Courtesy

After having battled depression several times and while enjoying the happiness of being a newly married woman with the man of her life, Helen Ochoa decided to make a gift, as if it were graduation: record ‘Live me’, the theme of Laura Pausini that became that hymn that she sings to herself.

In the music video, Helen can be seen exposing all her beauty, barefoot and surrounded by glass. Some of what she lived in her life, as she herself told us a few months ago in an exclusive interview, when she had to go through depression twice.

Helen Ochoa
Helen Ochoa. Photo: Helen Ochoa

Today she is whole, strong in body and soul, and happy to have married, civilly, with Juan Pablo Santos, the man who for 12 years has been her support, and for a little over a year her manager. And because of all this transit that Helen is going through, she decided to record this song that meant so much in her life since she heard it, years ago, for the first time.

“In these times of COVID, my personal times that I had difficult, it is a song that I feel is very out of the common sense of the song, it is about talking to a person about how much the most. For me it is more like a meaningful thing to love yourself, to say all those beautiful words to yourself, to look in the mirror and say to yourself: ‘Oh, how beautiful you woke up today! How smart you are! How capable you are! ‘”, the brand new wife of Santos tells us exclusively.

That is why this song, which she heard many times, today needed to have her identity and her voice, as a way to sing to herself and whoever needs it.

“It is a representation of that, of loving you, live me, live … It is like a dialogue towards oneself, it is to love yourself or fall in love with yourself again. It is something that is very real to what I experienced in these times. Although there was darkness, in turn there was also a lot of light, because blessed God he enlightened me and I am here, I am alive, with that desire to get ahead and I have not fallen again “Helen says very confidently.

But the singer, who had to go through the tunnel of depression twice, knows that she cannot lower her arms, and that is something she learned from relapses:

“Sometimes I have difficult moments, but I try to remember why I am alive, why I am here, and who loves me and who surrounds me and who wants to see me happy and always succeeding … Nothing would give me more pleasure than if someone Listen, if you are also having a bad time identify yourself, at least for those 3 minutes forget about your problems and love each other a little more, enough to say: ‘Ok, it was only a moment, not my whole life’ … That is my message with the song, and I hope with all my heart that people catch it that way too, and whoever is having a bad time, watch the video, and know that they are not alone. I did it with my heart in my hand “, concludes.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE AND LISTEN TO HELEN OCHOA’S VERSION:

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Canada

More records to end the Indian summer


The exceptional Indian summer that marked the last week in the province ended on Wednesday with new records being broken in Montreal and Quebec.

In the metropolis, mercury climbed to 19.4 ° C at Montreal-Trudeau airport, breaking the record of 18.4 ° C previously set in 2002.

The day before, the metropolis had smashed a record dating back more than 70 years when the thermometer had passed the 22 ° C mark.

Quebec City did not remain outdone by shattering, too, a record dating from 2002. The temperature rose to 18.4 ° C at Jean-Lesage airport on Wednesday, or 4.1 ° C higher than the previous mark.

The Indian summer that Quebecers have known since last Thursday will remain in the annals not only because of the mild weather worthy of a sunny June, but also because of its unequaled duration.

According to what meteorologist Alexandre Parent of Environment Canada explained to the QMI Agency last week, it was necessary to go back to 1938 to find a series of more than 5 days above the 15 ° C mark in November.

The exceptional weather has allowed many records to be broken in recent days.

All good things having an end, Quebecers will however have to take out their coats on Thursday, when the mercury will drop to 10 ° C in Montreal and 9 ° C in Quebec, values ​​that remain above the seasonal average.

Fall should gradually regain its rights as greyness and a few scattered showers will hit Quebec over the weekend. The temperature will decrease little by little, to plunge below the freezing point next Tuesday, both in the metropolis and in the capital, indicates the forecasts of Environment Canada.



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Coronavirus COVID-19 The Buzz

Punjab records 703 fresh COVID-19 cases, 31 more deaths


Chandigarh, November 11

As many as 703 fresh COVID-19 infections took Punjab’s case count to 1,39,184 on Wednesday, while 31 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 4,389, according to a health department bulletin.

The fresh cases were reported from Mohali (119), Ludhiana (103) and Jalandhar (100), among other districts, the bulletin said.

Four deaths each were reported from Patiala and Mohali; three each from Kapurthala, Ludhiana and Moga; two each from Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Sangrur; and one each from Amritsar, Faridkot, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Rupnagar and Tarn Taran, it stated.

A total of 460 coronavirus patients were discharged after recovering from the infection, taking the number of cured persons to 1,29,549, the bulletin said.

There are 5,246 active COVID-19 cases in the state, it said.

Fifteen critical patients are on ventilator support, while 156 are on oxygen support, it added.

So far, a total of 28,01,305 samples have been collected for testing in the state, according to the bulletin. — PTI





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Glasgow Headlines UK Liverpool London Manchester

Britain records 532 Covid-19 deaths in highest daily total since MAY


Britain recorded another 532 more deaths today, the highest daily total since May.  

It brings the UK total to 49,770 and is the highest figure reported in a single day since May 12.

However, cases are just two per cent higher than they were last week, with 20,412 cases confirmed today. 

Last Tuesday, 20,018 positive cases of the virus were recorded.  

It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,233,775. 

It comes as new data emerged suggesting that Tier Three restrictions were helping to beat the virus in the North West. 

Figures shows that coronavirus hospital admissions in the North West peaked ten days before lockdown was imposed.

Numbers from the Department of Health’s own coronavirus dashboard reveal daily average Covid-19 admissions hit 308.4 on October 26 but have been dropping every day since.

They had fallen 13 per cent to 268.4 by November 4, the day before England’s second lockdown was introduced. No fresher data has yet been released.

And in Tier Two London hospitalisations appeared to peak seven days before lockdown, dropping eight per cent from 127.4 to 117.7 in the seven-day spell up to November 4. 

The figures are the latest suggestion Boris Johnson may have pressed the panic button too quickly, without giving Tier Three restrictions — and the other brackets — time to work. 

A raft of figures last week backed up suggestions the outbreak was shrinking before lockdown, and Tory MPs have already called for the tightest restrictions to be relaxed in light of real-world data implying the worst was already behind the nation. 

Experts had called on ministers to give the measures more time to take effect, but their calls went unheeded after SAGE estimated the UK could face up to 4,000 deaths a day from the virus by early December.

Their chilling projection was eventually revised downwards, however, after officials admitted they had found an ‘error’ in the data. 

Average Covid-19 hospitalisations per day peaked in the North West on October 26, and in London on October 29

Average Covid-19 hospitalisations per day peaked in the North West on October 26, and in London on October 29

Bristol is the only place in England's top 50 coronavirus hotspots in the South. The southwest city, home to 463,400 people, diagnosed 410 cases per 100,000 in the week to November 6, almost half that of Oldham, which takes the top spot with 779 cases per 100,000

Bristol is the only place in England’s top 50 coronavirus hotspots in the South. The southwest city, home to 463,400 people, diagnosed 410 cases per 100,000 in the week to November 6, almost half that of Oldham, which takes the top spot with 779 cases per 100,000

Mass coronavirus testing being used in Liverpool will be rolled out across 66 local authorities, the Health Secretary has said

Mass coronavirus testing being used in Liverpool will be rolled out across 66 local authorities, the Health Secretary has said

The graph, alongside several other doomsday predictions, reportedly led the Prime Minister to feel bounced into the decision of imposing another lockdown, according to a cabinet ally. 

Tier Three restrictions were imposed in Liverpool on October 14, in Lancashire on October 17, and in Greater Manchester on October 23. 

FALLING NUMBERS OF HOSPITALISATIONS ACROSS ENGLAND 

NHS region of England data is from

North West

London

North East

East of England

Midlands

South West

South East 

% change in hospitalisations by November 9*

-12%

-8%

+9%

+10%

+14%

+26%

+31% 

% change in hospitalisations by October 28*

+19%

+22%

+27%

+37%

+33%

+81%

+49% 

* The percentage fall is based on the difference between the seven-day average number of Covid-19 hospitalisations on October 28 and November 4, the latest day for which data is availabl, in the second column. In the third column it is based on the difference between the seven-day average number of Covid-19 hospitalisations between October 21 and 28. 

Other areas, such as Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire later followed, as local authorities aimed to force down infections to stop hospitals being overwhelmed. 

The then-harshest measures, which around 10million people were living under, saw pubs and bars shuttered in all their local authorities, and bans in place on mixing between households.

The reduction in social contact saw infections starting to fall across all local authorities in Liverpool two weeks after they came into force, and in most areas of Lancashire a few days later.

A drop in hospitalisations would lag behind cases, officials said, because it takes longer for someone who is infected to develop symptoms severe enough for them to be hospitalised.

This meant they began to fall a week after infections, which experts said was due to the longer period of time taken for someone to become hospitalised.  

The figures also reveal daily admissions never reached the same level as in the first wave in the North West, when they got up to 412.9 a day on April 4.

But the total number of Covid-19 patients in hospital across the region rose above the numbers in the second wave on November 4, when it reached 2,793 a day.

Experts said a lot of these patients will have just been tested and added to these numbers, as opposed to being admitted to wards after catching the disease in the community.

Around 18 per cent of hospital patients with Covid-19 caught it while they were in hospital during October, NHS figures show. This is up from nine per cent a month ago. 

Across England, hospitalisations had also begun to slow down in the week before the second national lockdown, suggesting the patchwork of extra measures put into place was helping to drive down infections.

Average daily hospitalisations rose by 30 per cent between October 21 and 28, from 946.7 to 1,226.9 a day, the Government’s own data shows.

But in the following week to November 4 they only rose by six per cent, to 1,298, in a sign hospitalisations were slowing.

The biggest rises were seen in the South East and South West, by 31 per cent to 112.9 a day and by 26 per cent to 96.1 a day, respectively, in the most recent week of data. 

A priority list of who should get the vaccine first was drawn up earlier this year by the influential Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

A priority list of who should get the vaccine first was drawn up earlier this year by the influential Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

But experts pointed out that these numbers were below the levels in the north, which suggested stricter measures to curb the spread of coronavirus were needed — rather than a second lockdown.

Boris Johnson has said England will return to the Three-Tier system after lockdown.

Meanwhile, more than 1,200 GP surgeries are being geared up to dish out 1.2million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine every week as soon as health chiefs approve a jab, in a major army-backed operation to get life back to normal.

Matt Hancock has promised the health service will work around the clock to get the UK vaccinated, with practices open between 8am and 8pm every day of the week and on Bank Holidays. He admitted deploying the vaccine was going to be a ‘colossal challenge’ and revealed the military were on standby to help.

NHS bosses have told all of England’s 1,250 GP networks to designate a single practice capable of administering at least 975 doses of the vaccine in their area each week — the equivalent of at least 1.22million nationwide. Surgeries will need to have fridge space available by December 1, according to documents.

Pharmacists and dedicated clinics set up in places such as sports halls are also likely to be used. Patients will need to be observed for 15 minutes after the vaccination is administered and appointments can be managed through a national booking system, it was also revealed today. 

Number 10 has been urged ‘not to screw up’ the rollout of any coronavirus jab, in a stark warning from one of the government’s most prominent scientists on the back of Pfizer’s breakthrough. 

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of Number 10's vaccine taskforce, said he expects Brits to get their hands on up to three jabs - including shots made by Pfizer and Oxford University - 'before New Year'.

Mr Hancock said he had asked the NHS to 'be ready from the start of December' for the deployment of Pfizer's jab

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of Number 10’s vaccine taskforce, said he expects Brits to get their hands on up to three jabs – including shots made by Pfizer and Oxford University – ‘before New Year’. Mr Hancock said he had asked the NHS to ‘be ready from the start of December’ for the deployment of Pfizer’s jab

The preliminary findings were better than researchers anticipated and, if confirmed to be true, would make the vaccine far more effective than jabs for flu, TB and HPV

The preliminary findings were better than researchers anticipated and, if confirmed to be true, would make the vaccine far more effective than jabs for flu, TB and HPV

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of Downing St’s vaccine taskforce, said scientists had delivered their end of the bargain by creating a Covid-19 vaccine that exceeded expectations — early data on Pfizer’s jab showed it can prevent nine in 10 people from catching the virus.

But he warned it was now on ministers to hold up their end of the deal by ensuring any approved vaccine is rolled out smoothly to vulnerable groups who are most at risk of falling victim to Covid-19. Care home staff and residents are at the front of the queue. 

Pfizer’s jab — considered the front-runner alongside Oxford’s experimental jab — has to be stored at -70C which rules out keeping it at most GP surgeries or pharmacies. And it needs to be transported in refrigerated lorries and special suitcase-sized boxes filled with dry ice to prevent it from spoiling.  

The Government’s track record in handling logistical issues through the pandemic will not instill confidence that the mass-rollout of the new vaccine will run without any hiccups. For example, the centralised testing programme has been hit by a catalogue of failures since the pandemic began and the contact tracing mobile app was delayed by four months. 

One senior Tory warned that the government faces catastrophic public backlash if it makes a mess of the vaccine rollout. ‘If we get this wrong, we’re toast,’ they told MailOnline. The MP said the Prime Minister should hand the reins to a senior military figure, who should also be the public face of the distribution effort.

Hopes of an end to the months of Covid-enforced disruption were raised yesterday when the New York based medical firm Pfizer (pictured) announced their vaccine revealed its jab is 90 per cent effective

Hopes of an end to the months of Covid-enforced disruption were raised yesterday when the New York based medical firm Pfizer (pictured) announced their vaccine revealed its jab is 90 per cent effective

They said: ‘If we hadn’t had the military involved someone would still be drawing up outline planning for the Nightingale hospitals. They can set up wards in theatres of war. The military are trusted. They have no axe to grind and they have authority. They are impartial servants of Crown and country.’ 

Sir John told MPs today he expects Brits to get their hands on up to three jabs ‘before New Year’ when data from studies of other promising candidates start to pour in over the coming weeks. 

MailOnline understands Oxford University’s vaccine, which is being manufactured and distributed by Cambridge-based pharma giant AstraZeneca, will publish its preliminary results next week, which will kick-start the rollout process of its candidate. 

PFIZER’S VACCINE: WHAT WE STILL NEED TO KNOW

By Luke Andrews for MailOnline

The announcement that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine could be up to 90 per cent effective has sparked claims society could go back to normal by spring next year.

But with most data from the trials still unpublished, several scientists have sounded a note of caution over whether the vaccine will work.

Does the vaccine actually prevent infection? 

Preliminary results from the trial say that out of the 94 people that have tested positive for the virus no more than eight received the vaccine.

But scant information has been released on how these infections were identified. 

If tests were only carried out after someone developed symptoms, it may be that asymptomatic infections were missed – meaning the vaccine does not prevent infection.

On the other hand, if all the trials 43,500 volunteers were tested repeatedly this would reveal the vaccine conferred immunity against the virus.

Additionally, it is unclear what sort of infections the eight that tested positive suffered – and, hence, whether the vaccine curtailed some of the worst impacts. 

Professor Eleanor Riley, an immunologist at the University of Edinburgh, said that without further information it remained unclear whether the vaccine reduced symptoms or stopped infection. 

How long will immunity last?

This remains tantalisingly unclear, and can only be revealed by continuing to monitor those that have received the jab.

Pfizer launched its trial in July and has so far not recorded any candidates in which immunity relapsed in the first few months, according to reports.

Several vaccines require top-up shots every couple of years, due to waning immunity. The jab against diptheria, polio and tetanus, for example, needs to be given every ten years to ensure immunity.

Will the vaccine help the elderly?

The early release from Pfizer still has not revealed whether the vaccine will help the elderly.

Details on the ages of the 43,500 candidates in the early trial are not known, and neither are the ages of those who tested positive for the virus.

If the virus was only trialled in a middle or young age group however, this could mean that further tests will be required before it can be administered to older members of society.

Professor Tracy Hussell, an immunologist from the University of Manchester, previously warned that as people get older their immune systems become less responsive – meaning a vaccine may not trigger the required response to provide immunity.

Who are the volunteers that tested positive for the virus?

Pfizer is yet to release information on the characteristics of the 94 people that tested positive for the virus, and the at least eight people that got the infection despite receiving the jab.

This is important because it will reveal whether the jab has managed to protect more vulnerable individuals to the virus, or if they are still susceptible to it.

It will also reveal whether there is a significant difference between those that caught the virus without receiving the vaccine and those that did. 

The third vaccine most likely to be ready by the year’s end is being made by by US firm Moderna. The MHRA last month put it under a rolling review, which signals it is being earmarked as one of the most promising candidates. 

In more good news Sir John claimed there was an ’80 per cent chance’ life in the UK will be back to normal by spring, provided the Government ‘doesn’t screw up the distribution of the vaccines’. 

In other news, England’s Test & Trace chief Dido Harding today claimed it is not her job to know when there might be surges in demand for coronavirus tests.

She said nobody in the organisation predicted that demand for coronavirus tests would surge when schools went back, and refused to say when it might happen again.

Lady Harding, who is the chair of the testing and tracing system and has faced calls to stand down, blamed the start of the new school year for demand ‘significantly outstripping’ test capacity.

September saw huge backlogs in the testing system across the UK, with hundreds complaining they were unable to book tests anywhere near their own home and availability having to be throttled so labs could process the tests that were being done.

In a meeting with MPs this morning, Lady Harding admitted the ‘balance between supply and the demand forecast wasn’t right’.

And when pressed on when the next peak in demand for tests might be, the testing chief repeatedly refused to answer the question and said it wasn’t her job to predict it.

Angry MPs insisted it was and that it was her job to plan for how the system would cope when it came — but she gave no answer and deflected the question to her medical adviser.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser to Test & Trace, said that there would be sustained pressure on the test system over winter and that the system would need to be capable of more than the 500,000 per day that officials currently claim it can do. 

The Test & Trace system has come under repeated fire from MPs, experts and the public and the Government’s own SAGE committee said it was only having a ‘marginal impact on transmission’ in a scathing report last month.

The multi-billion-pound system – which is largely privatised and run by companies including Serco and Deloitte – has never hit Boris Johnson’s target of turning all tests around within 24 hours and, in the last week of October, failed to reach 40 per cent of potentially infected contacts who had met with people carrying coronavirus.

Carol Monaghan, the SNP MP for Glasgow North West, asked Lady Harding when she anticipated the next large demand for testing would be.

Lady Harding said: ‘You might want to ask Dr Susan Hopkins for her view because in the end, this is about a view on where we think the disease will progress.’

Chair of the meeting, Greg Clark, interrupted, asking for Lady Harding’s view, and Ms Monaghan also pushed back, saying: ‘It’s about planning – it’s about planning how we’re going to tackle it, as well.’

When pressed by Mr Clark, the testing chief tried to deflect the question again, saying: ‘My view is that we need to keep expanding testing capacity significantly and substantially.’

The meeting’s chair pushed again and Lady Harding said: ‘Honestly, I defer to the clinical experts on that, rather than think of it as my job to know the answer to that question.’

Lady Harding is the interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, which runs Test and Trace despite its NHS name, meaning she is ultimately accountable for the entire system. She reports to Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.

She was grilled today by MPs on Parliament’s Health and Social Care and Science and Technology committees this morning, in a session titled ‘Coronavirus: lessons learnt’. 

In September hundreds of people reported being unable to get tested for coronavirus near their homes even though they were ill.

Matt Hancock and Lady Harding at the time blamed a surge in ‘ineligible’ people trying to get tests even though they didn’t have any of the officially recognised symptoms.

Tests were being rationed in areas with only low numbers of cases, they admitted, so that they didn’t run out in areas with rising infection rates. As a result, hundreds of people found the test booking website offering them journeys to test sites dozens or even hundreds of miles from home at a time when they thought they had Covid-19. 

Explaining what happened in September, Lady Harding said today: ‘What happened, not so much in August as in September – the first couple of weeks in September, as schools came back – we saw demand significantly outstrip that planned capacity delivery.

‘With the benefit of hindsight, could we have built testing capacity faster? Well I’m not actually sure that anyone could.

‘The reality is that in Scotland you saw the same peak of demand for testing in Scotland as schools came back – none of us were able to predict that in advance.

Baroness Dido Harding, chief of NHS Test & Trace, appeared in front of MPs on the Health and Social Care and Science and Technology committees this morning

Baroness Dido Harding, chief of NHS Test & Trace, appeared in front of MPs on the Health and Social Care and Science and Technology committees this morning

‘We were moving as fast as a team was capable of doing through the summer to expand that testing capacity…

‘The good news is that, as we stand now, testing is completely unconstrained across all four nations.’

Ms Monaghan replied: ‘You said you were not able to anticipate that when millions of schoolchildren and students went back into schools and university settings that there was going to be an increase in demand.

‘I think many of us would find that difficult to understand.

‘But, I’m going to ask you again, when do anticipate the next major demand for testing is going to be?’ 

Lady Harding, referencing a similar comment she had made earlier, said: ‘I said that we did not anticipate the exact amount, correct, but we were expecting demand to grow and we were growing capacity faster than any other European country to meet it.  

‘With the benefit of hindsight, the balance between supply and the demand forecast wasn’t right, clearly that’s true.

‘But what you’ve also seen in the last six weeks is that we’ve met our commitments to get that supply and demand into balance.’

Asked when demand could increase again, Baroness Harding said: ‘Armed only with my crystal ball, all of us are working so hard with experts in science, in medicine, in behavioural science to understand what may happen as we go forward.’

TEST & TRACE FAILS TO REACH 40% OF AT-RISK CONTACTS 

England’s Test & Trace system reached a smaller proportion of at-risk people than at any point since it started, official data revealed last week.

The contact tracing programme, which phones, texts and emails people who have been close to someone who later tested positive for Covid-19, failed to get hold of 40 per cent of those potentially infected cases in the week from October 22 to 28.

The 59.9 per cent of contacts who were successfully reached and told to self-isolate was the lowest percentage since the system started in May. 

It dropped from 61 per cent the week before and 60 per cent the week before that, and has plummeted from a high of 91 per cent when the programme began. 

The system, headed up by call centres operated by private contractor Serco, had to try and get hold of 327,203 contacts in the most recent week when 139,781 people were referred after testing positive. This was more than in any other week.

Its lacklustre performance means that 131,136 people who might have been carrying Covid-19 without knowing it were never told by officials. 

One statistics expert from Oxford University, Professor James Naismith, said he wasn’t convinced Test and Trace was having a ‘meaningful impact on the disease’. Labour said it was ‘absolutely vital’ Number 10 uses the next 28 days of lockdown to fix the scheme. 

In a glimmer of good news for the well-paid bosses at the helm of the system – some of whom earn £7,000 per day – the time it takes to get people their test results back improved in the most recent week across all parts of the programme. The total number of tests completed, however, was down on the previous week, despite positive cases being higher. 



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Headlines UK

UK records 151 new Covid deaths in hospitals


UK records 151 new Covid deaths in hospitals – just 14 more than last Sunday – taking the total death toll to 49,039

  • Health bosses announce 151 have died in hospital from Covid-19 in daily figures 
  • England reported 122 deaths at the end of its first weekend of second lockdown
  • Wales has 744 new infections, while Scotland has declared more than 1,100 
  • Conservative MPs warn Boris Johnson he faces a revolt if he extends lockdown  

The UK has recorded 151 new deaths from Covid-19 in its daily figures – a rise of 14 compared to last Sunday – as the total death toll now sits at 49,039.

England recorded 122 deaths today, while Scotland announced three, while also reporting 1,115 new cases.

In Wales, 19 new deaths were reported, along with 744 new cases, as it prepares to leave its ‘firebreak’ lockdown tomorrow. Seven deaths were recorded in Northern Ireland.

Today’s figure come on the fourth day of England’s national lockdown, with Tory MPs warning Boris Johnson he will face a ‘massive revolt’ if he tries to extend it beyond December 2.

Measures were brought in following grim predictions that deaths could rise to 1,000 a day by December, but weekly figures have seen a rise of just 14 compared to last Sunday, when 137 deaths were recorded.

Mr Johnson has insisted it is the ‘plan’ for the England-wide curbs to come to an end at the start of next month. 

Boris Johnson is facing a growing Tory revolt over the Government's national coronavirus lockdown

Boris Johnson is facing a growing Tory revolt over the Government’s national coronavirus lockdown

But his failure to give a cast iron guarantee has spooked many Conservative MPs who believe the ‘public will not accept’ an extension of the draconian measures. 

It came as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab denied the Government had used the ‘scariest’ data possible to try to justify the national shutdown.

A slide used at Mr Johnson’s lockdown press conference last Saturday suggested there could be up to 4,000 daily deaths by next month without further action but that number and other projections were subsequently revised down. 

Mr Raab insisted this morning the Government is trying to be ‘as transparent as possible’ and that when ‘mistakes’ are made or facts change then ministers respond accordingly. 

Mr Raab also said ministers ‘want to get through to December 2’ and then ‘transition back to a localised approach’. 

The Prime Minister’s latest lockdown, which came into effect from Thursday, sailed through the House of Commons last week by 516 votes to 38 as some 34 Tories rebelled. 

Conservative backbenchers now believe that more than 80 Tories are likely to revolt if Mr Johnson does try to keep the restrictions in place. 

The regulations which underpin the new lockdown will expire on December 2 and MPs will be given a vote on what happens next. 

There are fears that if infection rates are still high then the PM could be forced into trying to extend the lockdown. 

The Government is facing a growing Tory backlash over its handling of the coronavirus response with MPs particularly angry at the data used by Downing Street to justify the shutdown. 

One key slide projected daily deaths could hit 1,500 by December but that was subsequently revised down to a peak of 1,000 daily deaths. 

Mr Raab was asked this morning by Sophy Ridge on Sky News whether the Government was showing the nation the ‘scariest’ data possible so that people would accept there is a need for the restrictions. 

He replied: ‘No, look, we show models which show what could happen if certain scenarios play out.

‘We have corrected the slide you referred to and the wealth of scientific information that comes forward, we are trying to be as transparent as possible.’



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Headlines UK Liverpool London Manchester Newcastle

Britain records 24,957 new coronavirus cases and 413 new deaths bringing total to 48,888


The UK has today confirmed a further 24,957 positive Covid tests, up just 13.9 per cent on last week’s total as top scientists suggest the UK’s second wave of coronavirus has already peaked.

Today’s total – which is a rise of just 3,045 on last Saturday’s total of 21,915 – comes on the first weekend of the country’s controversial second lockdown.

A further 413 people have died after testing positive for the virus, official figures released today have revealed, bringing the UK’s total death toll during the pandemic to 48,888.

Today’s all-settings death toll is a rise of 26.7 per cent on last Saturday’s 326 figure. Today’s death 

Of the deaths reported on Saturday, 32 were in Wales, 15 in Northern Ireland and 39 in Scotland. 

The UK’s second wave of coronavirus has already peaked, top scientists have suggested after Downing Street rejected calls to end or cut short England’s national lockdown insisting it will run for 26 more days. 

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Covid Symptom Study app aiming to track the spread of Covid-19 in the UK, confirmed that there were ‘positive signs’ the country has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’.

The King’s College London epidemiologist said: ‘Although the number of new symptomatic cases are still high at over 40,000 daily, over the past week cases are heading in the right direction. The worst affected areas have shown the most improvement, but large differences between regions remain. 

The UK has today confirmed a further 24,957 positive Covid tests, up just 13.9 per cent on last week’s total as top scientists suggest the UK’s second wave of coronavirus has already peaked

A further 413 people have died after testing positive for the virus, official figures released today have revealed, bringing the UK's total death toll during the pandemic to 48,888

A further 413 people have died after testing positive for the virus, official figures released today have revealed, bringing the UK’s total death toll during the pandemic to 48,888

‘Our data is an early indicator of the future NHS situation as we are two weeks ahead of hospital data and four weeks ahead of most deaths.’

He added: ‘We urge everyone to respect the restrictions and help get the number of cases down as soon as possible to help the NHS, end the lockdown and get us in good shape for December.’

Other scientists praised the Tier system today, saying it had driven the virus ‘down’ in hotspot areas like Liverpool, and said the latest coronavirus infections suggested the second wave had, at the least, stabilised.

A swathe of data published yesterday revealed Covid-19 infection rates were already falling across the country before ministers lost their nerve and ordered the shutters to be pulled down again.

Estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – which runs a massive government surveillance scheme that randomly swabs tens of thousands of people to track the size of the outbreak – found there had been a 12 per cent drop in infections in a week from 51,900 to 45,700 in the seven-day spell ending October 31. This is the same day Boris Johnson declared England faced a second shutdown.

MailOnline’s analysis of Public Health England (PHE) statistics yesterday also showed more than half of local authorities saw their infection rates fall at the end of October. And rates even fell in areas that weren’t in Tier Two or Three lockdowns, suggesting national rules such as the 10pm curfew and rule of six were helping.

Even SAGE – Number 10’s advisory panel which spooked ministers into adopting tougher action based on ‘inaccurate’ models – today admitted there is evidence outbreaks are slowing in ‘some parts’ of England.

And the group of top scientists revealed the UK’s R rate has remained at between 1.1 and 1.3 for the second week in a row. It has fallen in five out of seven regions in England, including the North West, North East and the Midlands, where 10million people were already living under the toughest Tier Three curbs. 

Professor Tim Spector, from King's College London, said there were 'positive signs' the peak of the second wave of coronavirus had already passed.

Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician from the University of Cambridge, said data showed the second wave had 'stabilised' and was dropping in Tier Three areas

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, said there were ‘positive signs’ the peak of the second wave of coronavirus had already passed. Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician from the University of Cambridge, said data showed the second wave had ‘stabilised’ and was dropping in Tier Three areas

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 

BRITON’S MAY BE TOLD TO QUARANTINE FOR TWO WEEKS IF THEY SEE FAMILY AT CHRISTMAS

Anyone spending time with family members from outside their own household at Christmas may be required to self-isolate for two weeks afterwards, newly released official documents suggest.

The advice to ‘self-quarantine’ could be issued if festive gatherings of the wider family are allowed, a paper from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) warns.

The experts advising the Government caution that contact with multiple people raises the risk of getting and spreading Covid for up to a fortnight.

The paper says: ‘After a period of high exposure to multiple contacts or different networks (eg a social gathering), the risk of spreading infection to other people can be reduced by avoiding contact as far as possible for two weeks (for example, by physical distancing within the home and self-quarantining to the extent that is feasible).’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the festive period as an incentive for people to follow the rules during England’s four-week lockdown.

At the Government press conference this week, he said: ‘If we follow this package of measures in the way that we can and we have done before, I have no doubt people will be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible, and that we will be able to get things open before Christmas as well.’

But various experts have warned that if people can get together, more infections and deaths will follow. 

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the second wave has become ‘stable’ and is ‘actually going down in some of the higher risk Tier Three areas like Liverpool’.

But he warned infections were also ‘going up’ in other areas.

‘It looks like the Tiers have been working but slowly,’ he said. ‘It looks like (they didn’t work enough) to bring the R down well below one and crucially to bring down the number of people who have actually got it.’

He added that although it appeared Britain crossed the peak of the first wave before the lockdown came into force it was clear infections if they were ‘going to go down, it is going down very slowly unless some dramatic action is taken’.

‘The point is we’re getting about 20,000 to 25,000 positive tests a day that feeds through to about 1,500 hospitalisations a day, about 350 deaths a day and these are broadly stable going up a bit but going up slowly – and we’re coming into winter ,’ he said. 

‘Those sorts of levels, even if they stay very stable, below the peak of the first virus, unless they start dropping then we’re stuck with those for months. 

‘And it seems to me and others that that is not going to be sustainable in terms of what the health service can deal with so that the health service can keep open as a health service for everybody else and that seems the absolutely vital issue.’

Weighing in on arguments over the Government’s use of data, Sir Spiegelhalter criticised their suggestion of 4,000 deaths a day due to the outbreak as ‘ghastly’.

The non-executive board member of the UK Statistics Authority, which oversees the statistics watchdog, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It has been a mess, it really has.

‘All those graphs that got put up at the press conference last Saturday, the projections were out of date at the time, they’re definitely out of date now.

‘That one (the slide about 4,000 deaths) was really ghastly – that was out of date when shown, it was never meant to be part of any formal document, it was leaked early and then it was part of the briefing to MPs.’ 

Sir David added the projections did have some ‘validity’ but need to be ‘taken with extreme caution’, as they could often be out of date by the time they are shown.

The Government and its scientific advisers were lambasted yesterday for using ‘dodgy data’ to justify a devastating second lockdown, with Tory MPs warning SAGE’s doomsday predictions had echoes of the controversial dossier that sent Britain to war with Iraq.

It emerged a graph brandished at a press conference by Professors Doom and Gloom that claimed England could see up to 1,500 deaths a day by December had been secretly toned down ‘after an error was found’ with the data.

The prediction caused widespread alarm because, if true, it would dwarf the 1,000 daily deaths recorded during the peak of the first wave in April.

SAGE’s forecast for hospital admissions was also quietly revised from 9,000 by early December to 6,190.

The Government faced a stern rebuke from the UK Statistics Authority this week over its use of data. 

The R rate of the coronavirus dropped in five regions of England this week - except London and the South East, where it did not change - and stayed stable at between 1.1 and 1.3 in England and the UK as a whole. Last week marked a drop from 1.2 to 1.4 the week before

The R rate of the coronavirus dropped in five regions of England this week – except London and the South East, where it did not change – and stayed stable at between 1.1 and 1.3 in England and the UK as a whole. Last week marked a drop from 1.2 to 1.4 the week before

R RATE DECLINES IN FIVE OUT OF SEVEN REGIONS OF ENGLAND 

SAGE’s official estimate of the coronavirus reproduction rate was published today and saw it decline in five out of England’s seven regions.

The overall rates for the UK and England stayed the same as last week at a range of between 1.1 and 1.3, after dropping from 1.2-1.4 two weeks ago.

This week saw rates decline in the East of England, Midlands, North East, North West and South West, while the rates were unchanged in London and the South East. They did not rise in any part of the country.

The highest rates are a possible 1.2-1.4 in the South West and South East, while the lowest is 1.0-1.1 in the North West.

SAGE said: ‘SAGE is confident that the epidemic has continued to grow in England over recent weeks.

‘Although there is some evidence that the rate of growth in some parts of the country may be slowing, levels of disease are very high in these areas and significant levels of healthcare demand and mortality will persist until R is reduced to and remains well below 1 for an extended period of time.’ 

Region

England

UK

East England

London

Midlands

NE & Yorkshire

North West

South East

South West 

R rate this week

1.1 – 1.3 (=)

1.1 – 1.3 (=)

1.1 – 1.4 (down)

1.1 – 1.3 (=)

1.1 – 1.3  (down)

1.1 – 1.2 (down)

1.0 -1.1 (down)

1.2 – 1.4 (=)

1.2 – 1.4 (down)

R rate last week

1.1 – 1.3 

1.1 – 1.3

1.2 – 1.4

1.1 – 1.3 

1.2 – 1.4

1.1 – 1.3

1.0 – 1.2

1.2 – 1.4

1.2 – 1.5 

Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford, said yesterday the latest data suggested that the second wave had become ‘stable’.

‘Should next week’s data show a similar stabilisation or reduction, then we can be confident that the second wave has for now stabilised,’ he said. 

‘The national lockdown will not begin to show up in ONS figures for another two weeks, but we would expect it to bring a rapid decrease in the number of new infections.’

But despite the apparent peak in the second wave, a Number 10 spokesman rejected calls for the nation to be pulled out of the toughest rules since the spring, saying: ‘The lockdown is for four weeks to the 2nd December. As we have said the trend of hospital admissions are going up.’

It can take coronavirus patients several weeks to fall severely ill, meaning admissions and deaths will continue to spike because cases are still high. But eminent doctors and scientists argue wards are no busier than usual for this time of year and that there is still plenty of space across the nation to treat the infected. 

Graphs used by SAGE to make the case for the November lockdown have been torn apart by experts, who showed that one flawed projection that predicted up to 4,000 deaths a day, in particular, was several weeks out of date and unnecessarily frightened the public.

MPs have told MailOnline the use of the data has echoes of the ‘dodgy dossier’ used to take the country to war with Iraq in 2003 and described it as ‘propaganda’ in favour of lockdown. Critics of the blanket intervention even called for experts behind the ‘flawed modelling’ to be held ‘accountable for the economic disaster that will follow’.

Experts yesterday said the ONS’s figures, which are considered the most accurate at estimating the true size of the UK’s outbreak, were ‘welcome’ and promising.

Professor James Naismith, who runs the scientific Rosalind Franklin Institute at Oxford University, said: ‘Today’s ONS data release for the week ending 31st October brings welcome news. 

‘Although the virus is still growing, it does appear to have stabilised… Importantly, these data present a picture consistent with the [Covid Symptom Study] data, that the virus is spreading at a constant rather than an increasing rate. This is evidence that the social restrictions prior to lockdown have had a real impact.’

He said that, if this is the peak of the second wave, he would not expect the death count to rise above 1,000 per day ‘for any prolonged period’, but that it was ‘very likely’ that it would be above 500 a day for a while.

Professor Naismith added: ‘Should next week’s data show a similar stabilisation or reduction, then we can be confident that the second wave has for now stabilised.’    

Scientists cautioned that although the infection numbers appeared to move in the right direction, one week’s data was not enough to be sure of a trend. And the number of cases is still very high and will pile pressure on hospitals. 

The University of East Anglia’s Dr Paul Hunter added: ‘Whether this turns out to be a temporary decline or a longer term trend, possibly as a result of the imposition of the three tier system, it is too early to say. 

‘Nevertheless, these observations are very welcome and hopefully when the current lockdown ends we will continue to see a continuing decline throughout the rest of the year and into 2021.’

The ONS’s estimates are based on tests done over a two-week period, and then compared with those taken over another month before that. 

For this reason it still describes positive test rates as increasing – because the most recent two-week period has increased on the two-week period before that – even though there was a decline in the last seven days. 

‘The infection rate has increased in recent weeks, but the rate of increase is less steep compared with previous weeks,’ yesterday’s report said.

It added: ‘There have been increases in positivity rates in all age groups, except among older teenagers and young adults where rates now appear to be levelling off; however, the highest rates continue to be seen in this group.

‘There have been increases in positivity rates in all but one region (the North East) in England over the last two weeks; the highest Covid-19 infection rates remain in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber. 

Paul McNamee of the Verdant Seafood Bar serves takeaway food to a customer visiting the former restaurant's delivery window on November 6 in Falmouth

Paul McNamee of the Verdant Seafood Bar serves takeaway food to a customer visiting the former restaurant’s delivery window on November 6 in Falmouth

Paul McNamee takes an order for collection at his restaurant in Falmouth. England is now in its second national coronavirus lockdown, including Cornwall. The Chief Executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust reported just three patients in intensive care linked to Covid-19

Paul McNamee takes an order for collection at his restaurant in Falmouth. England is now in its second national coronavirus lockdown, including Cornwall. The Chief Executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust reported just three patients in intensive care linked to Covid-19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pictured taking a coronavirus test during a visit to a testing centre at De Montfort University in Leicester

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pictured taking a coronavirus test during a visit to a testing centre at De Montfort University in Leicester

 

TORY MPs WARN ‘DODGY COVID DATA’ ECHOES DOSSIER THAT TOOK UK TO WAR WITH IRAQ

The Government and its scientific advisers were lambasted today for using ‘dodgy coronavirus data’ to justify a devastating second lockdown.

Tory MPs warned SAGE’s doomsday predictions – wheeled out by Boris Johnson on Saturday night to announce the draconian measures – had echoes of the controversial dossier that sent Britain to war with Iraq.   

It emerged last night a graph that claimed England could see up to 1,500 deaths a day by December had been secretly toned down ‘after an error was found’ in the data.

The prediction caused widespread alarm because, if true, it would dwarf the 1,000 daily deaths recorded during the peak of the first wave in April.

SAGE’s forecast for hospital admissions was also quietly revised from 9,000 by early December to 6,190.

Tory MPs Marcus Fysh and Peter Bone warned public confidence was being eroded because data of ‘such bad quality’ was being used to usher in such detrimental policies.

The compared it to the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which were used to take the country to war in the Middle East. All of the allegations included in the 2003 document have been since proven to be false. 

Mr Fysh told MailOnline: ‘I have been concerned a while about the quality of the data and the quality of the analysis by the medical advisory team. 

‘Obviously the trends are serious, particularly in some areas in the North West and north East, London and the Midlands and we need to respect that. 

‘Confidence is everything in this… we need to build the confidence in the system. That is why we also need to not have dodgy charts produced like the Iraq war. A dodgy dossier is not something that builds public confidence. The opposite is true.’ 

Tory MP Peter Bone also complained that the lockdown decision appeared to have been justified with a ‘dodgy dossier of Covid graphs’.

‘It feels to me like we were getting propaganda,’ he said. ‘We were only getting things that proved the Government’s case.

‘Those figures now seem to have been based on false assumptions or been incorrectly calculated.

‘Other ones that point in a different direction haven’t been disclosed. So it is a bit of a dodgy dossier really.

‘I wasn’t there when Iraq decision was made but obviously there was this dossier produced to support the policy, rather than being neutral information for people to make their mind up. Maybe all the information that we have been seeing is being done to support a decision that had already been made.’

‘During the most recent week (25 to 31 October 2020), we estimate there were around 8.38 new Covid-19 infections for every 10,000 people per day in the community population in England, equating to around 45,700 new cases per day; incidence appears to have stabilised at around 50,000 new infections per day.’

The figures were based on 209,554 tests done in the past fortnight, of which 2,173 were positive. The positives came from 1,900 people in 1,494 homes.  

Top scientists have insisted England’s outbreak could ‘look a lot worse’ and praised the tiered system, which banned socialising under the toughest measures. But they conceded stricter curbs were probably needed in the South and argued health chiefs were too slow to drag areas into higher brackets.

More than three quarters of London’s 32 boroughs — including two of the worst-affected boroughs in Ealing, as well as Hammersmith and Fulham — also saw their infection rates start to drop, the data suggested.

At the other end of the scale, however, a handful of authorities saw rises above 40 per cent, including in a corner of Kent, part of East Yorkshire, Swindon in the South West and Dudley in the West Midlands.

It comes after Boris Johnson this weekunveiled a chart claiming to show how NHS England’s hospitals could be overwhelmed with Covid-19 in weeks. At a Downing Street press conference officially welcoming the nation into second national lockdown misery, the Prime Minister and NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens pointed to the graph as evidence to justify the month-long intervention.

But top experts fumed that No10 has only hit the lockdown panic button because it was backed into a corner by its ‘gloomster’ scientific advisers who don’t want to deal with the same scrutiny that was hurled their way during the first wave. 

And yesterday it emerged an official prediction that coronavirus deaths would soon surpass those registered in the first wave was quietly corrected by the Government because it was too high. The projections were used to push the UK nation into a second lockdown.

Conservative MPs decried the data as an Iraq-style ‘dodgy dossier of Covid graphs’, marking its similarity to Tony Blair’s controversial document which was used to take the country to war in the Middle East. Furious economists said people responsible for the ‘flawed modelling should be held accountable for the economic disaster that will follow’.

As many as 82 out of England’s 149 local authorities recorded drops in their infection rates in the week up to November 1, the most recent snapshot from Public Health England suggests.

The largest decline was recorded in Rutland, in the East Midlands, where infections dived by almost 40 per cent from 107.7 to 65.12 cases per 100,000 people. 

In Tier Three Liverpool and Lancashire infections declined across all local authorities by more than ten per cent, in the biggest sign yet that the harshest restrictions – forcing restaurants to offer takeaway only, banning mixing between households and closing pubs – were driving down infections.

Both had been under the restrictions for about two weeks, which experts say is about the length of time it takes for interventions to start taking effect.

This is because anyone who is infected at the time measures come in will normally clear the virus in a week or two. 

Across Tier Three Greater Manchester seven out of ten local authorities saw infections slip downwards, while no area saw its infections rise at a level above seven per cent.

Data on the city’s infection rates is only available for the first ten days Tier Three measures were in place, meaning the impact of the restrictions is not yet clear. But the declines signal that the highest tier was achieving its aim of pushing down escalating infections.

LABOUR TAKES POLL LEAD OVER TORIES

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has surged to a five point lead over Boris Johnson and the Tories in a new general election poll.

A YouGov survey published today put Labour on 40 per cent of the vote while the Conservative Party trailed on 35 per cent.

It means Labour has gained two points on last week while the Tories have gone backwards, dropping three points, after the two parties were deadlocked on 38 per cent each. The survey also revealed Sir Keir continues to be seen by more voters as a better option to be prime minister than Mr Johnson.

A new YouGov survey gives the Labour Party a five point lead over the Tories with the Lib Dems trailing far behind in third place

A new YouGov survey gives the Labour Party a five point lead over the Tories with the Lib Dems trailing far behind in third place 

The YouGov survey shows that national UK politics continues to be dominated by Labour and the Tories.

The Liberal Democrats came in a distant third in the poll on seven per cent after people were asked how they would vote if there was a general election tomorrow.

The Brexit Party came in fourth place with six per cent, closely followed by the SNP on five per cent and the Green Party on four per cent. 

At the other end of the scale, the data revealed some areas were still seeing rises in infections: And the biggest rise in infections was registered in Medway, Kent, where infections surged by 55 per cent from 88.31 to 136.42 per 100,000.

It was followed by Hull, where infections surged 52 per cent from 300.3 to 457.3 per 100,000.

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, told MailOnline the data suggested the tiered system, particularly in the North, was working.

‘(That decline) is good, and a lot of the ones where have gone up, a lot of them are in the south of England, where rates are particularly low,’ he said. ‘Things could look a lot worse, but it’s reasonably positive.’

He added the rises in the south suggested further action was needed: ‘You can imagine the country in two bits; in the north, before this new lockdown started today, there were these pretty severe measures in a lot of places.   

‘But when you go into the south, the rates were lower, but then they are tending to go up quicker. So maybe something more was needed in the south, as well as continuing in the north because infection rates haven’t come down far enough yet.’

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert from the University of the East Anglia, told MailOnline the data suggested infections across England had ‘slowed’ over the last week.

‘Tier Three seems to be reducing numbers on average whereas cases may have been continuing to increase on average in tier 1 on average,’ he said. ‘Tier Two has a small decline but far too early to be sure.’

‘I think that the tier system may indeed have been having a good impact but perhaps not as much as it could due to delays in moving local authorities into higher tiers even when needed. However, still too early for me to be confident.’ 

In London, 26 out of 32 boroughs saw their infection rates fall, showing that Tier Two restrictions – banning people from visiting pubs and restaurants with other households – were also putting the plug on transmission.

The largest drop was in the Kensington and Chelsea, where the infection rate tumbled by almost 30 per cent from 157.56 to 112.73 per 100,000. The capital’s hotspot Ealing also recorded a 26 per cent decline in infections, from 231.71 to 171.15 per 100,000.

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

WHICH AREAS HAD THE LARGEST DROPS IN INFECTION RATES?

Place

Rutland

Knowsley

Blackpool

Liverpool

Sefton

Kensington

York

Barnet

Southwark

Kingston 

% change

-39.5%

-35.2%

-33.2%

-32%

-31.5%

-28.5%

-28.2%

-27.1%

-27.1%

-26.7% 

Infection rate

65.1

360.6

338.5

324.1

276

112.7

185.2

114.4

103.2

144.2 

* This data is for the week ending November 1, over the period of half term

But Havering registered the largest rise in infections, where they went upwards by 16.7 per cent from 171 to 199.6 per 100,000.

No local authority in the capital has an infection rate below 100 per 100,000, and no authority in England has an infection rate below 20 per 100,000 – the level at which the Government considers quarantine measures on travel to a foreign country.

Associate professor in cellular biology at the University of Reading, Dr Simon Clarke, told MailOnline it wasn’t surprising that Tier Three areas have big dips.

‘I think it’s fair to say that if you look at the most high-ranking drops, they’re either in places like Merseyside, Lancashire or Manchester,’ he said.

‘There appears to be some kind of correlation depending on when places went under tighter restrictions’

He added that the second lockdown was imposed because ‘events overtook us’.

‘I think places were not pushed up in the tiers as aggressively perhaps as they should have been in some places.

‘I think there is the suggestion that some places could have gone up quicker.’

Professor Anthony Brookes, from the University of Leicester, told MailOnline it appeared the coronavirus outbreak is ‘plateauing’.

Responding to the data, he said the fall in infections is ‘no surprise’.

‘It is fully consistent with the trend that has become apparent across various data-sets these last several weeks, making it even more surprising that the Government claims it did not know of or allow for this when planning for the current lockdown and marketing it to the public.

‘A similar plateauing and dispersed fall in Covid-19 death rates is equally or even more apparent than the Government’s own data.

‘None of this can be due to the current lockdown (which has only just started), but whether or to what degree it is due to the Tier system is unclear.

Covid-19 cases are dropping in under-40s in England but still rising for older people 

Coronavirus infection rates fell among the under-40s last week but continued to rise in older people, Public Health England figures showed today.

In its weekly report, PHE claimed per-person cases plummeted by a fifth (21 per cent) in teenagers during half term, while infections also declined among schoolchildren and people in their 20s.

Infections continued to rise in middle-aged and elderly adults, however, with the biggest increase among people in their 60s, whose cases grew by six per cent.

People over the age of 60 are the ones most at risk of dying if they catch Covid-19 so keeping rates down in that age group is critical for the Government. 

Public Health England data shows that infection rates declined in younger age groups in the most recent week - week 44 - although they remain significantly higher than in older demographics

Public Health England data shows that infection rates declined in younger age groups in the most recent week – week 44 – although they remain significantly higher than in older demographics

Although the second wave began with most infections happening among children and students, it has now penetrated older groups and led to surges in hospital admissions and fatalities.

PHE’s report also noted that test positivity – the proportion of tests that have positive results – rose last week to almost one in 10. 

But this may be because testing tailed off dipped during half term because people don’t come forward as often during school holidays, officials said, meaning that even if the outbreak stayed the same size or shrunk slightly the positivity would still have risen.

The number of people getting tested fell in the most recent week because it was half term, which PHE said was a normal effect of school holidays. As a result, positivity rose to around one in every 10 tests, which has concerned experts

The number of people getting tested fell in the most recent week because it was half term, which PHE said was a normal effect of school holidays. As a result, positivity rose to around one in every 10 tests, which has concerned experts

In the UK in the week ending November 1 there were 96,000 fewer tests than the week before, despite a trend of swabs increasing by 100,000 per week throughout October. As a result weekly positive cases dipped, too, from  153,000 to 150,000.

‘Other explanations, such as people voluntarily socially distancing more during October as they realised the virus was increasing across the UK, and the establishment of herd immunity, are at least as likely as explanations.’

The data is based on confirmed cases of coronavirus by specimen date, meaning the date the swab was taken rather than the date it was processed by laboratories.

There is a delay of around five days between swabs being taken and tested for the virus, leaving statisticians unable to calculate the infection rates until all swabs have been processed. 

Scientists have warned that the coronavirus infection rates may have been artificially suppressed by the half-term break, during which around 20,000 fewer swabs were completed every day across England when the number dropped from 172,000 to 150,000.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the number of tests completed dipped because fewer people asked for them over the half-term break.

They said this was down to a change in people’s routines, meaning fewer were booking swabs. 

The figure for the drop in tests completed is based on the first three days of half-term – 26 to 28 October – the latest dates for which data is available.

But the number completed varies by region.

In Greater Manchester slightly more tests are thought to have been completed over the time period, remaining at almost 13,000 swabs done a day.

In Lancashire the number completed dropped by 16 per cent, from 6,341 to 5,343-a-day, in Lancashire by 13 per cent, from 7,207 to 6,280-a-day, and in London by 18 per cent, from 19646 to 16126-a-day. 

Although there was a drop in the numbers, which impacts the infection rates, experts pointed out that in many areas where testing had been increased the number of infections identified had also decreased.

In Hounslow, the only borough of London where total swabs completed did not drop, the number of infections found declined by 18.5 per cent from 196 to 159.8 per 100,000.

This adds further weight to the suggestion that coronavirus cases were already in decline, and the UK’s first wave had peaked, before the second lockdown was imposed.

Economists and politicians lined up yesterday to slam the Government’s decision to impose a second lockdown in England, saying the data already clearly showed cases were declining in many areas.

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute for Economic Affairs, said: ‘Declining rates of infection in many parts of England were apparent before the Prime Minister made his announcement on Saturday and yet he seems to have been more persuaded by theoretical models passed around in secret. 

‘The experience of places such as Nottingham and Newcastle shows that the tide can be turned without resorting to the nuclear option of lockdown.’

He added: ‘No attempt was made to predict the ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ for people’s livelihoods, incomes and mental health. Nor have we been given any explanation for why people in Penzance have to lose their jobs to reduce infections in Salford. The people responsible for the flawed modelling should be held accountable for the economic disaster that will follow.’

Conservative MP Peter Bone told MailOnline that the PHE report ‘bore out’ what he was seeing in Northamptonshire and suggested the Tiers had been working before the blanket lockdown.

He also complained that the lockdown decision appeared to have been justified with an Iraq-style ‘dodgy dossier of Covid graphs’.

‘This is why I found it difficult to understand why we abandoned the Tier approach. And we now know by their own admission that the modelling was wrong,’ he said.

‘There are lies, damn lies and Covid statistics. Nobody has explained why we abandoned the Tier approach, unless it was they saw this dreadful model from scientists saying you’re going to get 4,000 people dying every day. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any evidence we’re moving in that direction.’ 

Mr Bone added: ‘It feels to me like we were getting propaganda. We were only getting things that proved the Government’s case.

‘Those figures now seem to have been based on false assumptions or been incorrectly calculated. Other ones that point in a different direction haven’t been disclosed. So it is a bit of a dodgy dossier really.’

Another Conservative MP, Marcus Fysh, told MailOnline: ‘I have been concerned a while about the quality of the data and the quality of the analysis by the medical advisory team. 

‘Obviously the trends are serious, particularly in some areas in the North West and north East, London and the Midlands and we need to respect that. 

‘Confidence is everything in this… we need to build the confidence in the system. That is why we also need to not have dodgy charts produced like the Iraq war. A dodgy dossier is not something that builds public confidence. The opposite is true.’  

REVEALED: CHILLING GOVERNMENT GRAPH SHOWING SECOND WAVE DEATHS SOARING ABOVE MAY’S PEAK IN WEEKS ‘WAS WRONG’ AND WAS SECRETLY TONED DOWN

An official prediction that coronavirus deaths would soon pass those registered in the first wave has been quietly corrected by the government, it emerged last night, because they were too high.

The projections led to the country being hit with a second national lockdown and were shown at a Downing Street press conference last Saturday.

They claimed that England would see up to 1,500 deaths a day by early December, far higher than the peaks of deaths recorded in the first wave.

But the figures, which caused alarm across the country, have now been amended ‘after an error was found’.

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8 – a similar figure to that seen in April.

Predictions for hospital admissions were also revised from 9,000 by early December to 6,190.

The UK Statistics Authority said the Government and devolved administrations must make clear the source of data used in public briefings and the full figures behind it. It added: ‘The use of data has not consistently been supported by transparent information being provided in a timely manner.

‘As a result, there is potential to confuse the public and undermine confidence in the statistics.

‘It is important that data are shared in a way that promotes transparency and clarity. It should be published in a clear and accessible form with appropriate explanations of context and sources. It should be made available to all at the time the information is referenced publicly.’

The watchdog added: ‘It is clear that those working on the pandemic face significant pressures. But full transparency is vital to public understanding and public confidence in statistics and those who use them.’

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The slides now contain a note which says: ‘Plots on slides four and five have been amended after an error was found’

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8

The revised figures now suggest the second peak is likely to be on par with the first with the worst-case scenario at 1,010 deaths a day by December 8



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U.S. records more than 129,000 COVID-19 infections – the highest-ever recorded in a single day


The U.S. has recorded more than 129,000 new coronvirus cases in a single day – the highest number of new infections reported in a single day since the pandemic began.   

According to a Reuters tally, coronavirus infections surged by at least 129,606 on Friday. The figure eclipses yesterday’s previous single-day record of 121,289 cases. 

Twenty of the 50 states reported record increases on Friday, with Texas and Illinois reporting the highest surges. 

For the third day in a row, more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded in a single day as daily records were once again broken across the country

It is now the third day in a row that new reported cases have soared past 100,000 in a single day.  

Before that, the previous record was set on October 30, with just over 99,000 new cases. 

There were also more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths for the fourth straight day, a first since August. 1,211 deaths were recorded on Friday.

The number of people being admitted to hospital along with the overall number of cases has surged across much of the country, with the Midwest and Southwest now being hit hardest based on daily new cases per capita. 

However, unlike previous surges of the virus in the US, the current increase is not concentrated in a single region.

Illinois, marked the highest total, reporting more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, while record increases were reported in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Also setting daily records were Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. 

Texas, which accounts for over 10% of U.S. cases, reported about 9,000 infections and is on the verge of becoming the first state to exceed a cumulative 1 million COVID-19 cases. 

Just two states, Tennessee and Alabama, have seen a drop in cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Some cities and states have imposed curfews or curbed gatherings to combat the spread of the virus, but the United States has taken no action at the federal level. Seventeen states do not require masks.

Doctors and officials are warning people that hospitals risk being quickly overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

As infection rates rise, hospitalizations and deaths have also slowly begun to increase. 

Around 54,500 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday. 

The number of fatalities across the country was over 1,000 for the third day in a row, with 1,210 deaths on Thursday. 

The numbers of people being admitted to hospital along with the overall number of cases have surged across much of the country, with the Midwest and Southwest now being hit hardest

The surge of new COVID-19 cases in the United States has escalated in the past week at a rate that’s alarming some experts

U.S. COVID-19-related deaths have now exceeded 236,000

U.S. COVID-19-related deaths have now exceeded 236,000

The number of cases appears to be rising exponentially as the weeks progress 

Public health experts had said there was likely to be a surge in cases as the weather begins to cool.  

The president has insisted the country is ‘absolutely rounding the turn’ with the virus, but the White House coronavirus taskforce states the opposite. 

A leaked internal White House memo written by the government’s task force warned: ‘There is a continued increase in cases, hospitalizations and fatalities nationally, spreading southward from the coldest climates as the population moves indoors and cases increase exponentially.’

The report, which was seen by CNN, stressed that people need to ‘act now’ and are encouraging people to wear masks and also limit gatherings with other people outside of their home. 

‘There must be clear messaging … to act now,’ the task force warned state and local officials. 

The recommendations come as the White House has continued to send mixed signals and has failed to model mask usage. 

‘Do not gather without a mask with individuals living outside of your household,’ ‘Always wear a mask in public places,’ and, ‘Stop gatherings beyond immediate household until cases and test positivity decrease significantly,’ the task force said.

‘We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,’ Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview with the Washington Post. ‘All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.’

Dr. Fauci has said there would been to be ‘abrupt changes’ to curb the spread. 

In Europe, fresh weeks-long lockdowns have begun but officials in the United States are reluctant to impose restrictions despite the current surge in cases.  

Some polls have suggested that people are now getting ‘pandemic fatigue’ and are tiring of following strict Covid-19 guidelines, despite the virus worsening.

A Gallup poll compiled in October suggested fewer Americans are avoiding contact with people outside their homes and a greater proportion are no longer working from home.

Cases of COVID-19 this past week 

Illinois saw 11,790 new cases on Friday. An increase of 13.9% in 7 days

Texas saw 7,545 new cases on Friday. An increase of 5.5% in 7 days

Nebraska saw 2,124new cases on Friday. An increase of 14.5% in 7 days

Indiana saw 4,647 new cases on Friday. An increase of 14.2% in 7 days

Iowa saw 2,778 new cases on Friday. An increase of 13.9% in 7 days

Michigan saw 4,246 new cases on Friday. An increase of 15.1% in 7 days

Minnesota saw 5,442 new cases on Friday. An increase of 17.1% in 7 days

Missouri saw 3,931 new cases on Friday. An increase of 11.3% in 7 days

North Dakota saw 1,765 new cases on Friday. An increase of 21.5% in 7 days

Ohio saw 5,008 new cases on Friday. An increase of 12.9% in 7 days

Wisconsin saw 6,411 new cases on Friday. An increase of 16.3% in 7 days

Arkansas saw 1,870 new cases on Friday. An increase of 7.5% in 7 days

Colorado saw 3,369 new cases on Friday. An increase of 18.6% in 7 days

Maine saw 184 new cases on Friday. An increase of 13.3% in 7 days

Kentucky saw 2,228 new cases on Friday. An increase of 11.7% in 7 days

Oregon saw 769 new cases on Friday. An increase of 9.5% in 7 days

New Hampshire saw 204 new cases on Friday. An increase of 10.4% in 7 days

Oklahoma saw 1,878 new cases on Friday. An increase of 8.4% in 7 days

Rhode Island saw 630 new cases on Friday. An increase of 10.7% in 7 days

Utah and saw 2,987 new cases on Friday. An increase of 12.7% in 7 days

West Virginia saw 540 new cases on Friday. An increase of 12.9% in 7 days

                                                                                                    Source: COVID Tracking Project 



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U.S. Sets Another COVID Record; Hospitals Scramble


Nov. 6, 2020 — Governors are toughening face mask rules and other restrictions as the still-surging coronavirus pandemic continues to topple records for case numbers across the nation.

On Thursday, the country recorded 121,888 new COVID cases — a 1-day record and the second day in a row the count has topped 100,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project. It was only a week ago that the U.S. hit 90,000 cases in 1 day.

The United States is nearing the 10 million mark for total cases, with almost 235,000 total coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cases are rising in almost all parts of the country, with Missouri, Alaska, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico hitting record highs for 7-day averages for hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

An average of just under 50,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 during the last week, and just over 53,000 people were hospitalized Thursday.

Maine hit a record Thursday with 183 new cases in a 24-hour period. In response, Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order requiring people to wear face masks in public in almost all circumstances. The older mandate said masks should be worn when physical distancing was not possible.

“We have recorded yet another day of record high case numbers. This deadly and dangerous virus is spreading all across our state,” Mills said in a news release announcing the new rule. “Protect your family. Protect a health care worker. Protect the elderly. Wear your face covering. Save lives. It is that simple.”

In Rhode Island, new rules going into effect Sunday require bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A stay-at-home advisory is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 p.m.-5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Indoor venues like movie theaters and houses of worship are limited to 50% capacity and outdoor venues to 66% capacity.


Masks are required any time you’re near people who don’t live with you, including at the gym,” the state website says.





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Britain records 492 Covid-19 deaths in highest daily toll since May


Britain today recorded another 492 Covid-19 victims in the highest daily death toll since May — but infections are no longer spiralling.

Department of Health figures show the number of laboratory-confirmed victims today is the most since 500 were announced on May 19. More than 1,000 infected Brits were succumbing to the disease each day during the peak of the first wave in the spring.

But infections have risen just 1.9 per cent in a week, with government officials today declaring another 25,177 new positive tests. Government advisers say the true number of daily cases occurring during the worst parts of March and April was around 100,000 — but Number 10’s lacklustre testing system meant millions went undetected.

Some top scientists believe the flare-up of Covid-19, which kicked off when schools and universities reopened in September, has already died down. One expert yesterday argued cases were ‘flatlining’.

Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, today sparked hope by claiming data from his team’s symptom-tracking study shows the country has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s medical director, said: ‘Sadly we know that the trend in deaths will continue to rise over the next few weeks. As the new measures come into place it will take some time for the impact to be seen.

‘We have all made sacrifices and they have helped to save many lives. Let’s stick with it to keep our loved ones safe. The fewer people you see, the more you’ll help stop the spread.’

It comes as MPs tonight signed off the brutal national lockdown despite Boris Johnson suffering a major Tory revolt – with Theresa May accusing the government of mangling figures to force the policy through. The extreme measures were approved by a margin of 516 to 38 in the Commons, and will now come into force at midnight.

Revellers packed out pubs this afternoon as they get the last rounds in before England nosedives into a second lockdown. Britons today also stocked up on clothes and homeware, getting ready for their last night out and squeezing in a final gym session for what is the ‘last hurrah’ for millions.

Professor Tim Spector, from King's College London, today tweeted graphs showing that estimated cases of people with symptomatic Covid-19 appear to be coming down now in England and the UK as a whole

King’s College London’s Professor Tim Spector shared projections that suggest new daily cases are now falling after peaking in October

MPS APPROVE NATIONAL LOCKDOWN BY 516 VOTES TO 38

MPs tonight signed off the brutal national lockdown despite Boris Johnson suffering a major Tory revolt – with Theresa May accusing the government of mangling figures to force the policy through.

The extreme measures were approved by a margin of 516 to 38 in the Commons, and will now come into force at midnight. 

However, Mr Johnson has been left reeling after a stormy three-hour debate that saw a slew of senior Conservatives condemn the move – and many either vote against it or abstain. 

Labour’s backing for the lockdown meant the PM was assured the squeeze would be rubber-stamped. But government whips had limited success in cutting the scale of the mutiny. 

Some 32 of those who voted against were Tory MPs, with a further two rebels acting as tellers – meaning 34 in total. Julian Lewis, who was stripped of the whip earlier this year, and DUP MPs were also opposed. 

Former PM Mrs May delivered a damning assessment of Mr Johnson’s handling of the situation, saying a controversial claim that deaths could hit 4,000 a day by next month was ‘wrong before it was even used’.

She said Mr Johnson – who scuttled out of the Commons as she started speaking – must open up to more scrutiny, warning that the extraordinary national restrictions coming into force at midnight will ‘shatter livelihoods’. In the end, Mrs May abstained rather than vote against the government. 

On another chaotic day of wrestling over how to respond to the coronavirus crisis:  

  • The NHS is being thrust back into its highest alert level, in anticipation of a wave of coronavirus hospital admissions in the coming weeks; 
  • New shielding guidance says the most vulnerable group of people should stay at home except for exercise and medical appointments; 
  • John Lewis has announced it is to cut 1,500 head office jobs in an effort to bolster the business in the devastating pandemic;
  • Supermarkets reminded Britons that couples and families should not shop together in a bid to aid social distancing measures ahead of England’s new winter lockdown;
  • Nicola Sturgeon threatened to criminalise Scots who travel far from home as she warned of a toughening up of Scottish Covid laws;
  • There is only a ‘small chance’ that Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine will be ready by Christmas, one of the top scientists behind the experimental jab warned;
  • Boris Johnson apologised to business leaders for the introduction of new Government ‘diktats’ during the second coronavirus lockdown today and vowed not to extend the enforced closure of UK plc.

There is a time lag between a spike in Covid-19 cases and then hospitalisations and deaths due to the fact it can take several days for someone to get seriously unwell with the disease, and even weeks for death.

It may explain why cases have appeared to have flattened in the past few days following a surge in September and early October, while deaths soar to record levels since the spring.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 22,398 – only 1.9 per cent higher than last Wednesday. For the past two days it has dropped, suggesting the spread of the virus is slowing ahead of the second national lockdown.

Britain yesterday recorded its lowest number of daily coronavirus cases in a fortnight, leaving scientists questioning whether the second national lockdown had been ordered too early. 

COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN 

Pictured, drinkers in Borough Market today

Pictured, drinkers in Borough Market today

Revellers have packed out pubs this afternoon as they get the last rounds in before England nosedives into a second lockdown.

Britons today are stocking up clothes and homeware, getting ready for their last night out and squeezing in a final gym session for what is the ‘last hurrah’ for millions of Brits who, from midnight, will find their freedoms curtailed as they are told to remain indoors under draconian measures for the next four weeks.

The shutters will come down on pubs, restaurants and non-essential stores by the end of the day, signalling the start of yet more swingeing restrictions.

Punters have been savouring their last pint before bars close at 10pm – as many landlords warn this could be last orders for their pubs which may not reopen with the hospitality industry at breaking point.

Hordes of shoppers have been seen queuing outside retail stores including Primark and Ikea up and down the high streets, while eager revellers are already getting the rounds in at Wetherspoons.

And gym bunnies are hitting the treadmills and weights rack for one last session before they are forced back into home workouts for the next month. 

People have flocked to shopping centres to buy Christmas presents ahead of the second lockdown, the boss of a major mall operator has said.

Some top scientists believe the current flare-up of Covid-19, which kicked off when schools and universities reopened in September, has already died down. 

Oxford University’s Professor Carl Heneghan claimed infections, hospital admissions and ‘in effect’ deaths were already flatlining before Saturday’s announcement. 

Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, today sparked hope by claiming data from his team’s symptom-tracking study shows the country has ‘passed the peak of the second wave’.

It came after he revealed yesterday that a ‘plateauing and slight fall in new cases in England, Wales and Scotland’ meant the R rate was now 1. 

R, which stands for reproduction number, represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect. When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but if it goes below 1, it means the outbreak is shrinking.

But Professor Spector has said it’s not time to relax, and argued the plateau would not be seen for at least a week in hospitals because of the lag it takes between patients catching the disease and getting severely ill. He warned it could take a month before deaths start to drop. 

Deaths – of which today there were 492 across all settings including care homes and hospitals – are continuing to rise. Yesterday the UK recorded another 136 coronavirus deaths — a rise of 33.3 per cent on the 102 lab-confirmed fatalities posted last week.

An average of 295 people are dying per day, which is 58.7 per cent higher than last Wednesday.  At the height of the pandemic, more than 1,000 people were dying per day.

Data from the Office for National statistics yesterday revealed Covid-19 fatalities, as recorded on a death certificate, had risen for the seventh week in a row after dropping below 100 for a brief period in the summer.

To curb a surge of Covid-19 hospital admissions ministers were told would overwhelm the NHS, from Thursday, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors.   

MPs have backed the new four-week coronavirus lockdown for England in the Commons today with a Government majority of 478, after Boris Johnson warned of an ‘existential threat’ to the NHS without action to curb the spread of the disease.

The PM even warned the sick ‘would be turned away’ for non-Covid illnesses, if the NHS became overwhelmed. 

Opening the debate, Mr Johnson said that without action now, the chances of the NHS being in ‘extraordinary trouble’ by December were ‘very, very high’.

ONLY A ‘SMALL CHANCE’ OF A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE BY CHRISTMAS  

Oxford University's Professor Andrew Pollard

Kate Bingham, the UK's vaccine tsar

Oxford University’s Professor Andrew Pollard (left) and Kate Bingham, the UK’s vaccine tsar, have warned a vaccine will most likely not be ready this year

There is only a ‘small chance’ that Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine will be ready by Christmas, one of the top scientists behind the experimental jab warned today.  

Professor Andrew Pollard said he was optimistic data showing his team’s vaccine works and is safe will be available by the end of the year.

But he poured cold water on the idea it could be rolled out to the most vulnerable groups by then because of the time it takes time for regulators to scrutinise the trials and their findings.  

Earlier today NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said the health service was ready and on standby to deliver a mass Covid vaccination programme by Christmas. He claimed GP surgeries, pharmacies and testing centres — including at the mothballed Nightingale hospitals — were preparing to ‘fire the starting gun’.

But Kate Bingham, the UK’s vaccine tsar, claimed it was ‘more realistic’ to expect the first Brits to get their hands on a jab by early next year.  

The Government announced over summer a deal had been struck with AstraZeneca — the pharmaceutical firm which owns the rights to Oxford’s vaccine — to dish out 30million doses by September if it was proven to be effective.  

But Ms Bingham — chair of the Vaccine Taskforce — said problems with ramping up manufacturing capacity meant the UK fell well short of this target. She predicted only 4million doses will be available before 2021.

Both Professor Pollard and Ms Bingham warned the first wave of vaccines would not be good enough to allow society to immediately return to normal, scuppering Boris Johnson’s promise that ‘life will return to normal next summer’. 

‘Let me be clear that this existential threat to our NHS comes not from focusing too much on coronavirus, as is sometimes asserted, but from not focusing enough,’ he said.

‘We simply cannot reach the point where our National Health Service is no longer there for everyone.’

With Labour supporting the new lockdown restrictions – which were also expected to be approved by the House of Lords later on Wednesday – the Government’s majority was never in doubt.

However Mr Johnson faced an angry backlash from some Tory MPs – led by former prime minister Theresa May – alarmed at the economic impact of the controls as well as the curtailment of civil liberties.

Mrs May said pointedly that Parliament would make better decisions if it was ‘fully and properly informed’ about the facts.

‘For many people it looks as if the figures are chosen to support the policy rather than the policy being based on the figures,’ she said.

Sir Graham Brady, influential chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, questioned whether the Government had any right to take some of the measures it wanted.

‘The thing that troubles me most is that the Government is reaching too far in to the private and family lives of our constituents. I think there is an, unintended perhaps, arrogance in assuming the Government has the right to do so,’ he said

It came after Mr Johnson faced the wrath of Conservative MPs in the wake of his Downing Street briefing on Saturday night, enraged by the ‘evil’ new rules that will cripple the economy. They have been branded ‘unimaginable’ and compared to the actions of a ‘totalitarian regime’.

In the Commons today, the Prime Minister sought to reassure MPs that the measures – which are due to expire on December 2 – should enable shops and businesses to reopen in time for the run-up to Christmas, after speculation they could be extended if the crisis is not controlled.

The PM acknowledged however that opening the country back up would depend on getting the R number – the reproduction rate of the virus – back down below 1.

He has this week insisted cases were now surging so high there was ‘no alternative’ to the month-long blanket restrictions across England, and warned that otherwise the death toll could be double that in the previous peak. 

The government’s scientific advisers urged Mr Johnson to act quickly to avoid second wave of coronavirus that has a lower daily death toll but which lasts for a longer period of time – making it more deadly overall.  

It comes as NHS in England will tonight be thrust into its highest alert level – level 4 – from midnight amid a continuing rise in coronavirus patients needing hospital care. 

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, claimed the move to level four was in response to the ‘serious situation ahead’. He warned non-Covid treatment would be disrupted again if the outbreak ‘takes off’. 

A move to level four means health bosses believe there is a real threat that an expected influx of Covid-19 patients could start to force the closure of other vital services across the nation.   

NHS in England will tonight be thrust into its highest alert level – level 4 – from midnight amid a continuing rise in coronavirus patients needing hospital care

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England's chief executive, pictured today, claimed the move to level four was in response to the 'serious situation ahead'

A move to level four means health bosses believe there is a real threat that the influx of Covid-19 patients could start to disrupt other vital services on a national scale

TIER 3 SYSTEM IS WORKING, DATA SHOWS AHEAD OF NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN 

The average number of people getting diagnosed with coronavirus each day has clearly declined in Liverpool since the Tier Three restrictions began there on October 14. The same is true of numerous local authorities across the North of the country

The average number of people getting diagnosed with coronavirus each day has clearly declined in Liverpool since the Tier Three restrictions began there on October 14. The same is true of numerous local authorities across the North of the country

England’s three-tier lockdown strategy is bringing down coronavirus cases in badly affected areas, according to official data that raises questions about whether the national intervention is really needed. 

On the eve of the country’s second national shutdown, on which MPs will vote later today, government statistics show that tough measures already in place appear to be working and thwarting the spread of the disease, calling into question the need for the new rules.

Numbers of people testing positive in hotspot areas such as Liverpool, Merseyside, Manchester, Lancaster and Blackpool have levelled off or even started falling in the weeks since the areas entered local lockdowns.

Almost 10million people living in the North of England are now under Tier Three restrictions, which effectively ban socialising in person.

Government dashboard data shows that cases have dropped in multiple places subjected to local lockdowns.

Liverpool and Manchester and the areas around them have been the ones to face the toughest rules since the three-layer system was introduced.

In Liverpool, which was the first city to enter Tier Three, on October 14, the average number of people testing positive each day almost halved from 3,447 on October 7 to 1,828 on October 29.

Nearby Knowsley saw the same trend, with average daily cases dropping from 1,102 on October 9 to 637 per day by the 29th.

Other areas in Merseyside saw the same effect, with a shift in the outbreak’s trajectory from sharp increase to definite decline in the middle of October.

In nearby Manchester, which followed suit into Tier Three not long after, delayed by Government wrangling over financial compensation, cases also appear to have turned.

Cases plummeted at the start of the month from a high of 3,226 per day on October 3, to 2,363 on the 16th, but have since risen again but started to fall once more. The up-and-down figures suggest at least a stabilising of the outbreak there and the most recent numbers are trending downwards. 

 

Sir Simon urged people without Covid-19 not to stop using the NHS. He said: ‘The facts are clear, we are once again facing a serious situation. This is not a situation anybody wanted to find themselves in, the worst pandemic in a century, but the fact is that the NHS is here.’ 

In a press conference from University College Hospital, Sir Simon said the health service has prepared ‘very carefully’ for the ‘next phase of coronavirus’.

He said that, for some patients, mortality in hospital and intensive care has ‘halved since Covid was first known to humanity’. But he added: ‘However well-prepared hospitals, the NHS, GP surgeries are, it is going to be a difficult period.’

He said: ‘We want to try and ensure that the health service is there for everybody, minimising the disruption to the full range of care that we provide, not just Covid but cancer services, routine operations and mental health services.

‘And the truth, unfortunately, is that, if coronavirus takes off again, that will disrupt services.’

Echoing the gloomy warnings of No10’s top scientific advisers, Sir Simon said there were already some hospitals with more Covid patients than during the first peak in April. 

But Sir Simon’s comments come after leaked documents today revealed intensive care units are no busier than normal for this time of year for most trusts, pouring extra cold water on claims the NHS is close to being overrun.  

Eighteen per cent of critical care beds available across the health service nationally, which is normal for the autumn.

Data from the NHS Secondary Uses Services, seen by The Telegraph, claims to show that even in the worst hit region, the North West, seven per cent of critical care beds are still free. 

It raises questions have been asked about whether hospital data justifies the second lockdown, because it suggests neither hospitals nor intensive care units are actually busier than normal for this time of year. 

Before announcing that NHS England would once again move to level four today, Sir Simon claimed the health service is currently treating the equivalent of 22 hospitals’ worth of Covid-19 patients. But around three quarters of these are in the North East, North West or the Midlands, which have been hit harder by the second wave.

And he repeated claims that the numbers of infected patients in hospital will surpass levels seen during the first wave by the end of November. Fewer than 500 Covid-19 patients were in England’s hospitals at the start of September, compared to 10,000 now. 

The figure in April — during the darkest days of the first wave — stood at 17,000. At the height of the crisis, officials took the drastic decision to cancel operations and treatment for thousands of patients, including cancer victims, amid fears a swarm of coronavirus-infected patients would overwhelm hospitals across England.

But tens of thousands of beds were never used, including wards in private facilities commandeered by No10 and make-shift Nightingales purposely created to help ease the burden of Covid-19.

As a consequence, millions of people are feared to have missed out on cancer scans, consultations or treatments while hospitals ran reduced services. A&E attendances plummeted to fewer than half the usual numbers. 

Sir Simon today admitted that the NHS never ran out of room during the first wave and claimed that the national lockdown will mean the health service continues to have space throughout the winter to keep up normal services and tackle backlog created from cancelling thousands of operations in the first wave. 



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