"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 19th Jan 2021

Isolation Tips
Make your kitchen more 'working from home' friendly during lockdown
With more of us working from home, the kitchen can double up as a home office and cooking space with a little planning and preparation. Here are some top tips to make your kitchen working from home (WFH) friendly. The amount of people working remotely has skyrocketed in 2020, with 47 per cent of the UK workforce mostly WFH in April 2020 compared to 5 per cent of the population mainly working from home in 2019 according to an ONS Government survey].
Get smart: the best online courses to become an even better you this lockdown
This year hasn’t started the way we’d hoped, but there are silver linings to finding ourselves at home again. This time round, we know what we’re doing (more running at lunch, fewer Zoom quizzes), which frees up space for new activities. If we have to be cooped up for the first few months of the year, we may as well do something useful with it. That guitar gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe? A chance to dig it out. That children’s book you told yourself you’d start in lockdown 1.0? Third time lucky. From (finally) learning to fix a puncture, to perfecting your handstand, this is your ultimate self-improvement guide.
Wristband that tracks the wearer's emotional state could let bosses monitor employees' wellbeing while working from home in lockdown
A £50 wristband created by a British health technology firm is helping people track the wellbeing of their friends, family and employees in lockdown. Moodbeam features two buttons that the wearer simply has to press throughout the day depending on their mood – yellow for happy and blue for unhappy. This is logged alongside both sleep and activity and is available for other people to view on an associated app. It means users can view the moods of their loved ones during lockdown on their smartphone and know when to check in with them with a quick message. Companies could also buy the wristbands in bulk for their employees while they're working from home and may feel isolated.
Covid-19 having 'devastating effect' on children
Northern Ireland's mental health champion is among child health experts warning of the "devastating effect" of the coronavirus pandemic on children. Professor Siobhan O'Neill was among more than 50 signatories to a letter calling children's welfare "a national emergency". It was published in the Observer newspaper on Sunday. Professor O'Neill was appointed Northern Ireland's interim mental health champion in June 2020. She is also professor of mental health sciences at Ulster University (UU).
Hygiene Helpers
Germany plans more tests, sequencing to deal with new coronavirus strains
Top German politicians on Monday called for new measures to slow the spread of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus, including more health checks for cross-border commuters and intensified gene sequencing of virus samples. In future, health labs will have to sequence 5% of the samples they collect when screening for the coronavirus to check if they match more virulent variants first identified in Britain and South Africa, or if new mutations were emerging in Germany. National and regional leaders are due to meet on Tuesday to decide on new measures. “We still have a big risk ... that is the risk of mutation,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, calling for a joint European response. An outbreak of a mutated variant of the coronavirus at a clinic in the southern German alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which appeared not to be one of the known variants, fanned the concerns.
COVID-19: 24-hour vaccination sites to be piloted in London before end of January
Twenty-four hour vaccination sites will be piloted in London before the end of January, the vaccines minister has said. Speaking to Sky News, Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS will be "targeting forensically who we want to protect" to ensure the most vulnerable people can be vaccinated first. He said that as there is "limited supply" of the vaccine, "it needs to get into the arms of the most vulnerable" such as those who are elderly or clinically extremely vulnerable. Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director for England, told Sky News the 24/7 pilot would be starting "within the next week or two". The current 8am to 8pm vaccination times have been working for the over-80s, and some areas of the UK have managed to give out first jabs to the majority of this age group.
Community Activities
Healthy Kids: Program seeks volunteer families to help teach empathy to local students
In Oregon, a unique program that teaches emotional literacy to first and second graders in Lane County is looking for families with young babies to volunteer in its revamped, virtual program. “Roots of Empathy supports emotional health and mental health and well-being by creating a safe space for children to process and talk about their emotions,” says Sara Loveless, the program implementation coordinator for Roots of Empathy in Lane County. “Students observe behaviors in babies and then are able to flip it back on themselves and recognize those behaviors around them.”
Wildlife Trust launches My Wild Winter pack to keep children entertained
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is hoping to keep young people connected to nature during lockdown by launching its My Wild Winter pack. The My Wild Winter pack is full of ideas of how to explore nature and wild places locally, as part of the permitted daily exercise during lockdown 3. The pack is completely free to sign up to and gives lots of tips and inspiration on how best to enjoy and support the natural world during winter.
Coronavirus in Scotland: CMO Dr Gregor Smith ‘really concerned’ by Covid-19 vaccine misinformation on social media
Scotland’s most senior health chief has revealed that he is “really concerned” by coronavirus vaccine misinformation, as he warned Scots to avoid spurious claims on social media. Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith, called bogus claims about vaccines “one of the biggest dangers that we face”, and called on the public to seek out trusted sources of information. Speaking at the First Minister’s daily press briefing, Dr Smith said misinformation “makes me really concerned because it preys on people's anxiety and fear. “My plea to everyone is to read trusted sources of information in relation to the vaccination.”
Covid: New Zealanders attend largest ever concert since pandemic began
Thousands of New Zealanders flocked to a music concert on Saturday, in stark contrast to the UK which remains under lockdown. Huge crowds gathered to watch the nation’s most famous band, Six60, perform at a sports grounds in Waitangi – the largest outdoor show allowed to go ahead in the country since the pandemic began. People were pictured brushing against each other and coming into close contact without wearing masks. Guitarist Chris Mac even interacted with the crowd, which did not have to abide by social distancing rules. As of January 15, New Zealand had 76 active cases of the virus, raising its overall total to 2,246 infections since the start of the outbreak. Residents are no longer required to social distance due to low rates of transmission and are only encouraged to wear face masks on public transport except for in Auckland, where it is a legal requirement.
Staying safe in the time of coronavirus: pay attention to ‘the guy you know’
"For the last nine months, my team of anthropologists and I have been asking people across the United States to tell us their experiences of living during a global pandemic. We have seen a dangerous theme emerge: the belief that dangers of the virus come from strangers and that friendship and family ties can cancel contagion. Though logical, these interpretations of biology are wrong — sometimes dead wrong. Stories help people make sense of a world in crisis. They can also lead to potentially harmful behaviors that can interfere with the ability to stay healthy or protect loved ones from Covid-19. When we asked dozens of interviewees across a spectrum of demographics, “What is Covid-19?” they consistently responded with answers like, “It’s a guy we don’t know,” or “It’s dangerous because we know the cold and the flu, but we don’t know this one.”
Thousands protest in Amsterdam against Dutch coronavirus lockdown
Several thousand people held an unauthorised protest in Amsterdam on Sunday against a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, before being dispersed by riot police. The protesters gathered on a square in front of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum art galleries, carrying signs reading “Freedom: stop this siege” and chanting “What do we want? Freedom!”. None wore masks, which are not mandatory, and few respected social distancing rules. Authorities had declined an application for the protest to be held on Museum Square. The demonstrators refused to leave when police told them to do so, and some threw fireworks.
Working Remotely
Remote working jobs in UK triple amid pandemic
The number of roles that allowed for remote working tripled in 2020 in the UK and companies were more open to the idea of letting employees work from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, new data revealed. In November last year, about 80,700 jobs allowing remote working were advertised, a big jump from 26,600 in November 2019, recruiters New Street Consulting Group said. It remains unclear if these jobs will continue to offer remote working once restrictions ease and offices open up.
Minister steps up pressure on UK firms over home working
In England, the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has said companies must redouble efforts to ensure employees work from home unless their work is critical and cannot be done offsite, as the TUC urged the government to step up enforcement. Calls are growing for the government to rethink allowing construction sites to continue as normal and to permit only those whose operations are vital, with several industry employees telling the Guardian that safe practice has become impossible on sites. The government is preparing to ramp up warnings to employers that they must ensure they are making every effort to keep employees at home.
Remote working strategy sets out ambitious targets
In Ireland, the unprecedented transition to remote working has taken place on an ad hoc basis, with no set rules or procedures setting out the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, but the National Remote Working Strategy launched yesterday aims to remedy that. Under the strategy, new legislation will give employees a legal right to request remote working. There will also be a Code of Practice on the "Right to Disconnect" from handling calls and emails outside normal hours, "significant" investment in remote working hubs around the country, a review of tax breaks before the next Budget, and a "possible" acceleration of the National Broadband Plan.
WFH linked to better mental health but worse relationship with colleagues
As India begins its covid vaccination drive, the big question facing individuals and companies concerns the work-from-home (WFH) routine that most urban Indians have accepted during the pandemic. As the ranks of the vaccinated swell and immunity levels build up, will it mark an end to WFH? Or will WFH still remain a widely-used option, even in the post-pandemic world? Data from the latest round of the YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey suggests that WFH fatigue is for real. But for a sizeable section, the WFH routine has meant more time for sleep and exercise, improved relations with family members, and better mental health than before.
Virtual Classrooms
Poland's youngest return to school as depression rates grow
Poland’s youngest children returned to school on Monday for the first time in over two months but most pupils will remain in virtual classrooms as experts warned of a growing psychological toll. Poland has seen some of the longest school closures in Europe due to Covid-19 but many parents are concerned that children may be returning too soon. Psychologist Beata Trzesniewska said long periods away from the classroom were having a negative effect. “Cases of depression among pupils and students are going up,” she said.
Free fast broadband offered in UK to support home schooling
Thousands of families struggling with home learning are being offered free high-speed broadband following a partnership between internet provider Hyperoptic and dozens of local authorities across the UK. Families in 37 local authority areas, from Tower Hamlets in London to Newcastle and Leeds that are struggling with remote learning due to poor or no internet will be offered the chance to have a high speed connection installed with no usage charges until the end of the summer term. At that point there is no obligation to stick with the service. Telecoms regulator Ofcom has estimated that more than 880,000 children live in a household with internet access only via mobile phone.
Public Policies
World on the brink of 'catastrophic moral failure' due to unfair vaccine rollouts, WHO chief says
The head of the World Health Organization said the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines is at “serious risk.” WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world was on the brink of a “catastrophic moral failure.”
Covid: Brazil approves and rolls out AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines
A nurse has received Brazil's first Covid-19 vaccine dose after regulators gave emergency approval to two jabs. Regulator Anvisa gave the green light to vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca and China's Sinovac, doses of which will be distributed among all 27 states. Brazil has the world's second-highest death toll from Covid-19 and cases are rising again across the country. President Jair Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for his handling of the pandemic. The far-right leader has played down the pandemic from the beginning, promoted an unproven treatment for the disease and gone against measures including mask-wearing and social distancing.
Israel trades Pfizer doses for medical data in vaccine blitz
After sprinting ahead in the race to inoculate its population against the coronavirus, Israel has struck a deal with Pfizer promising to share vast troves of medical data with the international drug giant in exchange for the continued flow of its hard-to-get vaccine. Proponents say the deal could allow Israel to become the first country to vaccinate most of its population, while providing valuable research that could help the rest of the world. But critics say the deal raises major ethical concerns, including possible privacy violations and a deepening of the global divide that enables wealthy countries to stockpile vaccines as poorer populations, including Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, have to wait longer to be inoculated.
England extends Covid vaccines to over-70s
People aged over 70 will start receiving invitations for their first Covid-19 vaccination from Monday, along with the clinically extremely vulnerable, as the programme enters a new phase. The NHS has concentrated over the past month on giving jabs to its highest priority categories — the over-80s, frontline health staff and care home residents and workers. But with 3.8m vaccinations administered, ministers have given sites approval to offer injections to the next two “cohorts” of over-70s and “clinically extremely vulnerable” people with conditions such as cancer, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis or severe asthma.
Almost All Of Italy Goes Into Lockdown
Italy is heading into a tough period of restrictions on Sunday, January 17, as coronavirus cases in the country continue to skyrocket. There is currently an average of 500 deaths per day in Italy, with 16,310 new Covid infections registered on Saturday according to the Ministry of Health. The death toll in the country stands at 81,800. As of Sunday, twelve Italian regions will be in the ‘orange zone’, meaning that all bars and restaurants will be closed and people won’t be allowed to leave the municipality. Lombardy, Sicily and Alto Adige are in the ‘red zone’ and will be plunged into total confinement for three weeks
Spain’s central, regional officials clash over coronavirus curfew times
Spain’s central government will appeal a decision by regional authorities in Castilla y León to impose an 8pm curfew in their territory in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The regional government announced the new starting time on Friday, but central authorities say that the curfew may begin at 10pm at the earliest, based on the terms of the state of alarm approved by parliament in late October and due to expire in May. This legal framework underpins the restrictions used to contain the coronavirus, including limits on freedom of movement.
COVID deaths cross 4000 as ministers set to debate extending lockdown
Israel on Monday crossed a grim milestone, as Health Ministry confirmed the death toll from the coronavirus stood at 4,005. Israel has recorded 551,689 coronavirus cases since the pandemic erupted in March 2020. There are currently 1,130 patients in serious condition, while 467,790 Israelis have recovered from the disease. Some 2,116,257 Israelis have vaccinanted against COVID-19 over the past month, and 309,065 have already received the second dose. Coinciding with the launch of the vaccination campaign has been a surge in coronavirus cases, with some 9,000 daily new infections diagnosed in recent days. The cabinet is set to decide on Wednesday whether to extend the lockdown – Israel's third – by at least another week. The Health Ministry is pushing to extend it until the end of January, but Blue and White and the ultra-Orthodox parties vehemently oppose the move.
China's economy expands at faster rate than before coronavirus
China’s gross domestic product expanded 6.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, beating forecasts and making the country one of the few in the world to register positive growth for the year. Year-on-year GDP growth for the final quarter beat expectations, according to official data released on Monday, with the Chinese economy expanding 2.3 per cent over the course of the full year as industrial production continued to drive the country’s recovery. The new data underlined a rapid turnround in the world’s second-largest economy, which declined in early 2020 for the first time in more than four decades after authorities imposed an extensive lockdown to stem the pandemic’s initial outbreak.
Virus resurgence expands lockdown in China
Amid a rise in locally transmitted coronavirus infections in China, at least 11 regions in three provinces have been put under lockdown to stem the spread of the virus as of Monday, according to local reports. According to a statement by China’s National Health Commission (NHC), 109 infections were reported on Sunday which included 93 indigenous cases -- 54 in the Hebei province, 30 in Jilin, seven in Heilongjiang, and two in Beijing. China, where the first cases of the virus were reported in December 2019, is witnessing a resurgence of the virus since early this month, mostly in Hebei. The country has reported 88,336 coronavirus cases, including 4,635 deaths, so far
Malaysia to roll out additional $3.7 billion stimulus measures - PM
Malaysia will introduce 15 billion ringgit ($3.71 billion) worth of additional stimulus measures to support its pandemic-hit economy and fight COVID-19, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Monday. Last week, Malaysia declared a state of emergency and imposed a nationwide travel ban and lockdowns in the capital and five states to help curb the spread of the outbreak, which has been worsening in recent days in the Southeast Asian country.
New York governor asks Pfizer to directly sell COVID-19 vaccine doses
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked Pfizer Inc Chief Executive Albert Bourla on Monday if the state could buy COVID-19 vaccine doses directly from the U.S. drugmaker. Pfizer, however, told Reuters that such a proposal would first require approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “With hospitalizations and deaths increasing across the country this winter, we are in a footrace with the virus, and we will lose unless we dramatically increase the number of doses getting to New Yorkers”, Cuomo said in a letter to Pfizer’s CEO.
Independent pandemic review panel critical of China, WHO delays
An independent panel said on Monday that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until Jan. 30. The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week “very soon”. “What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.
WHO: just 25 Covid vaccine doses administered in low-income countries
The world is on the edge of a “catastrophic moral failure” in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, with just 25 doses administered across all poor countries compared with 39m in wealthier ones, the head of the World Health Organization has said. It was the sharpest warning so far from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the dangers of vaccine hoarding since inoculations started being administered in 49 mostly high-income countries. Guinea is the sole low-income country to have delivered any shots so far, last week providing doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine to a mere 25 people, including its president. Tedros told an annual meeting of the WHO’s executive board on Monday that it was wrong to see people at low risk in wealthy countries being vaccinated while most of the world still did not have access to the jabs.
French firm 'days away' from producing fourth Covid vaccine in UK
A French-Austrian drug company is gearing up to start work in Britain next week on a new Covid-19 vaccine, it has been claimed. The UK is set to receive 60 million doses of drugmaker Valneva’s candidate – making it the country’s second largest coronavirus vaccine supply after Britain’s own Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. In September, Valneva confirmed its partnership with the UK Government, which invests in the firm’s major manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland, to support the scale up and development of the jab. Valneva is now said to be ‘days away’ from starting manufacturing efforts in the UK of its two-dose jab, called VLA2001, according to the company’s boss.
Maintaining Services
Five Countries, Five Experiences of the Coronavirus Pandemic
Adam Oliver, a professor at the London School of Economics, is one of many researchers who have tracked how different countries have responded to the pandemic. Oliver thinks that our usual back-of-the-envelope way of comparing countries, using a snapshot of covid cases and deaths, is of limited value. “We have to think about the non-health implications of pandemic response, too,” he told me. “Those are much more difficult to gauge at the moment. When you lock down businesses and citizens, there are many downstream consequences. There’s an economic impact. There’s social damage. There’s loss of freedom—which, especially in countries already bordering on authoritarianism, could be hard to roll back. If you consider these broader implications, I don’t think we’ll know the best path for years, if ever.” Oliver classifies pandemic responses into three broad, sometimes overlapping categories: the quick approach, the soft approach, and the hard approach.
These Over-90s Are Still Waiting For The Vaccine. Here's Why
On Monday, the British government announced people aged over 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable will begin receiving invitations for coronavirus vaccinations from this week. It came as officials announced more than 4m people in the UK have received the first dose of a vaccine. But HuffPost UK spoke to several people who said their elderly parents, all of whom were over the age of 90, had received no news regarding their vaccine appointments. One said hearing the latest announcement had only made things “even more frustrating” for their Lincolnshire-based mother, who is 94 and diabetic.
More than 4 million Britons receive first COVID-19 vaccine dose
More than 4 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, according to official data on Monday which showed there had been a further 37,535 cases reported and 599 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. A total of 4,062,501 people have received their first shot Public Health England said as the government ramps up the vaccination programme.
Covid-19: Critical care wards full in hospitals across England
Ten hospital trusts across England consistently reported having no spare adult critical care beds in the most recent figures. It comes as hospital waiting times, coronavirus admissions and patients requiring intensive care are rising. England's 140 acute trusts had 5,503 adult critical care beds on 10 January, with 4,632 in use. NHS bosses have warned hospitals could "hit the limit" of their capacity this week. "I think, this next week, we will be at the limit of what we probably have the physical space and the people to safely do," Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said.
Indian companies prepare to buy vaccines for employees
Several Indian companies are considering buying COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, once they become available commercially, just days after the government began a huge vaccination drive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched what his government has described as the “world’s largest vaccination programme”. It aims to inoculate around 300 million people to curb the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of coronavirus cases after the United States. India vaccinated 148,266 people on Monday, taking the total to 381,305, the health ministry said.
S Korea leader urges businesses thriving in pandemic to share profits
South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in has called on companies prospering during the coronavirus pandemic to share their profits with struggling people and businesses, as fears rise over worsening economic inequality. The call from the leader of Asia’s fourth-biggest economy highlights the pressure on many world leaders amid surging stock and property prices coupled with rising unemployment and slow wage growth. “Whether it is called profit sharing, or whatever . . . I think it is the right way to go,” Mr Moon said at a rare press conference on Monday.
China reports more than 100 new COVID cases as New Year holiday exodus looms
China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day, with rising infections in the northeast fuelling concern of another wave when hundreds of millions of people travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. Tough new controls in the city of Gongzhuling in Jilin province, which has a population of about 1 million people, brings the total number of people under lockdown to more than 29 million. According to the Global Times newspaper, at least 11 regions in the provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang and Jilin have imposed lockdowns and introduced extensive testing programmes. The National Health Commission reported 109 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday, unchanged from the day earlier. Of the 93 local infections, 54 were in Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.
Brazil vaccinations start as country faces vaccine ingredient shortfall
Brazil kicked off a nationwide COVID-19 immunization program on Monday by distributing doses of a vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech following an emergency use authorization, although the pace of vaccination will depend on delayed imports. After weeks of setbacks, many Brazilians cheered the first wave of inoculations, from bustling clinics in Sao Paulo to a spectacular shot planned at the foot of the Christ Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro. The Health Ministry gave states the green light to start immunizing at 5 p.m. (2000 GMT). Although some began administering shots before that, the majority of Brazil’s 26 states had yet to receive vaccine shipments as of Monday evening, delaying the start of vaccinations for the elderly and frontline health workers.
Portugal's health system on brink of collapse as COVID-19 cases surge
Portugal’s public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients. “Our health system is under a situation of extreme pressure,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters on Sunday afternoon after a visit to a struggling hospital. “There is a limit and we are very close to it.”
72 Australian Open tennis players in lockdown; reports of Novak Djokovic ideas for changes
The number of players in hard quarantine swelled to 72 ahead of the Australian Open after a fifth positive coronavirus test was returned from the charter flights bringing players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for the season-opening tennis major. That means they won’t be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Other players in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily. Australian Open organizers confirmed late Sunday that the latest case involved a passenger on the flight from Doha, Qatar to Melbourne who was not a member of the playing contingent, But all 58 passengers, including the 25 players, now cannot leave their hotel rooms for 14 days.
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus: the race between vaccines and new variants
Anna Gross lays out the threat new variants of the disease pose to the UK's vaccination programme. The hopes of the rest of the world could rest upon whether Britain succeeds in its target of 15m vaccinations by mid-February
Second Covid vaccine doses in doubt amid call for study into single jab
In England, the foreign secretary cast doubt on whether all people would be given a second dose of coronavirus vaccine as leading academics said the government had a duty to run trials into giving it as a single injection. Dominic Raab repeatedly declined to guarantee that all people who had received a first dose would get a second within 12 weeks. He instead said that the government was “aiming for” everyone to get a second jab. Sheila Bird, former programme leader at the Medical Research Council’s biostatistics unit, has written to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, calling for a study to begin immediately to investigate the effect of extending the gap between the first and second doses of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine.
Covid-19: Norway investigates 23 deaths in frail elderly patients after vaccination
Doctors in Norway have been told to conduct more thorough evaluations of very frail elderly patients in line to receive the Pfizer BioNTec vaccine against covid-19, following the deaths of 23 patients shortly after receiving the vaccine. “It may be a coincidence, but we aren’t sure,” Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told The BMJ. “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.” The agency has investigated 13 of the deaths so far and concluded that common adverse reactions of mRNA vaccines, such as fever, nausea, and diarrhoea, may have contributed to fatal outcomes in some of the frail patients. “There is a possibility that these common adverse reactions, that are not dangerous in fitter, younger patients and are not unusual with vaccines, may aggravate underlying disease in the elderly,” Madsen said. “We are not alarmed or worried about this, because these are very rare occurrences and they occurred in very frail patients with very serious disease,” he emphasised. “We are now asking for doctors to continue with the vaccination, but to carry out extra evaluation of very sick people whose underlying condition might be aggravated by it.” This evaluation includes discussing the risks and benefits of vaccination with the patient and their families to decide whether or not vaccination is the best course.
One-in-eight 'recovered' Covid patients 'DIE within 140 days': Study finds devastating toll on people who were hospitalised - with a THIRD readmitted within weeks
A third of recovered Covid patients are readmitted to hospital within five months Leicester University found one-in-eight of the Covid patients then died The long-term effects of Covid can cause many to develop heart problems
Patients dying waiting for ambulances as crews 'overwhelmed' by Covid, study reveals
Paramedics have reached "breaking point" as patients are dying before they can respond to 999 calls due to overwhelming numbers of Covid cases in hospital, a study suggests. Three out of four emergency service workers are struggling to cope and have asked for improved PPE, with many turning up for shifts terrified, according to the GMB union. GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said the "system is collapsing" in straits far worse than the first lockdown last March. The troubling study comes after the head of the NHS revealed today that hospitals across England are taking on a new Covid patient every 30 seconds. NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said he could not "sugar-coat" the scale of the crisis on wards and in intensive care.