Sage member warns it could be weeks before Covid death rates fall
Daily deaths from coronavirus in the UK will continue to rise towards the end of the month, scientists have warned after yesterday saw the highest toll since the pandemic began.
People who caught the virus in early January will be admitted to hospital approximately this week, and deaths from those cases will lead to further “record-breaking” days before peaking, warned Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, echoing remarks from Sage member Professor Andrew Hayward.
Lockdown measures are however starting to have some impact on new infections, Dr Head added, as the UK’s vaccine rollout plan was questioned by an expert in Israel, the country leading the innoculation race.
The decision to delay administering a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to patients was “very optimistic”, said Ronni Gamzu, who runs Tel Aviv’s Sourasky hospital, considering the UK’s expected 89 per cent drop in infections after the first dose was not reflected in Israel’s “real-world findings”.
Priti Patel says no lockdown easing until priority groups vaccinated
Priti Patel has said the easing of lockdown restrictions will not come until priority groups have been vaccinated.
“We are at a pivotal stage. Our vaccine rollout is under way but we have a long way to go with vaccination,” the home secretary told Sky News.
“We cannot talk about easing restrictions and measures until we are absolutely clear we have vaccinated priority groups.”
Later on BBC Breakfast, Ms Patel said: “We have a long way to go. The vaccine rollout is a positive step forward but we’ve obviously got to vaccinate a very significant number of the population, and that work is taking place.”
Liam James20 January 2021 08:46
Israeli vaccination expert calls UK second-jab delay plan ‘very optimistic’
A hospital director in Israel, the country to have innoculated the highest proportion of its population so far, has questioned the UK’s decision to delay administering a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to patients by up to 12 weeks.
Ronni Gamzu, who runs Tel Aviv’s Sourasky hospital, said that British scientists’ claim that the jab was 89 per cent effective even after only one dose was “very optimistic” and not matched in Israel’s “real-world findings”.
UK figures, including chief medical officer Chris Whitty, have backed a delay in second vaccine doses, claiming it allows more people to be given some level of protection more quickly.
Read the full story from Sam Hancock here:
Liam James20 January 2021 08:34
Covid deaths will continue to rise after daily record, scientists warn
Daily deaths from coronavirus will continue to rise towards the end of the month, scientists warned after the UK recorded its highest daily toll since the pandemic began.
The lag between people becoming infected and being admitted to hospital means deaths will yet rise due to infections from early January, warned Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton.
“The lockdown is starting to show an effect on new cases per day,” said Dr Head.
“However, a proportion of the cases from early January will be admitted to hospital approximately this week, and deaths from those cases will likely peak around the end of this month,” he continued, echoing a warning from Sage member Professor Andrew Hayward.
“Therefore, we will alas see several more ‘record-breaking’ days in terms of newly-reported deaths.
Liam James20 January 2021 08:20
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of developments in the pandemic today.
Liam James20 January 2021 08:15