Sunday, September 20, 2020

Coronavirus is soaring again in the UK, but the number of deaths is low. Here are the main theories why

This article seems to miss the obvious. It is known that the virus kills very few people in general so once the virus has swept through a population and killed off those susceptible, there will be very few left for it to kill. Hence the reduced numbers of deaths at the current time

That explains the Swedish experience as well. Sweden had a lot of opportunities for the virus to spread so they had a relatively high death rate. But the death rate there is now down to almost nothing. All those susceptible to it are now dead so there are few new deaths. Sweden has now got the problem all over with

After suffering one of the world’s most brutal outbreaks of COVID-19 earlier this year, the United Kingdom is bracing itself for what could be a second wave of the disease.

The UK managed to flatten its curve slightly from late June, just in time to allow people to enjoy the northern hemisphere’s summer.

The loosening of restrictions across Europe, which allowed people to enjoy rounds at the pub and beach holidays, is widely blamed for the region’s second spike.

But while the number of infections has climbed steadily for two months, something strange is happening with the UK’s COVID-19 death toll.

The number of death certificates issued which mention COVID-19 has been falling for 20 straight weeks, according to UK Government statistics.

It’s a huge achievement for Britain, which was experiencing Europe’s worst surge in deaths in June.

While experts aren’t sure exactly what’s behind the fall in COVID-19 deaths, there are a few theories.

This spike is a young spike

The UK’s first wave of COVID-19 cases was predominantly driven by people in care homes and hospitals.

It’s estimated that about 20,000 British care residents died from COVID-19 as the virus ripped through facilities for the elderly and disabled across the kingdom.

But it appears that younger Britons are behind this renewed surge of the disease.

Pubs in the UK are still open, and the city of Leeds says it’s started issuing fines after an increase in music events, house parties and illegal raves.

In the first week of September, a third of all cases in England were people aged between 20 and 29.(Reuters: Simon Dawson)
People aged 20 to 29 have the highest infection rate in England, with 46 cases per 100,000 people. That’s followed by people in their 30s, with nearly 30 cases per 100,000.

“What we think is happening is that it’s mostly infecting younger people in particular parts of the country, and it’s not so much yet moving into the older and more vulnerable population,” Peter Openshaw, who is a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London and scientific advisor to the UK Government, told the ABC.

“So many of the people who would be very severely affected are keeping themselves in isolation still and are not behaving in a way that might put them at risk of catching it, so it hasn’t moved up the generations in the way that it would need to in order to cause deaths.”

But the UK Government fears the disease could soon spread to older generations. “Don’t kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on,” UK Health Minister Matt Hancock warned.

While younger people can die from COVID-19 complications, older patients still have a much higher risk of death from the disease.

Doctors are getting better at treating the virus

While the UK’s second surge of infections could still spread to older people, the doctors on the front lines of the crisis appear to be better equipped to cope.

At the beginning of the pandemic, health workers around the world were grappling with a novel virus.

They had never encountered COVID-19 before, and so every symptom and complication was new, every treatment something of an experiment.

Now, doctors have approval from the National Health Service (NHS) to use two drugs on critically-ill COVID-19 patients: the Ebola treatment remdesivir, and the low-cost steroid dexamethasone.

The medications are not a cure, but may be helping patients recover quicker.

The UK is testing more people

At the beginning of the pandemic, it could be quite difficult to get a COVID-19 test in the UK.

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Tests were mostly limited to older people and those who had been checked into hospital with respiratory problems.

Anyone else with symptoms was urged to isolate at home for seven days, and call an NHS hotline if they took a turn for the worse.

Those restrictions meant that by early April, only 7,500 people in England had been tested for COVID-19. At the same point, Germany was already testing 5,000 people a day.

The rules have since been changed by the NHS so that anyone with symptoms can get a free swab.

That meant that in the first week of September, 436,884 people were tested in England, according to UK Government statistics.

“It’s a general trend, but it’s really important to understand a large part of the graph going up is more tests, and in particular more test in areas with a high rate,” Danny Dorling, the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, told the ABC.

The UK’s testing system is still being criticised. As demand for tests increases, the backlog of swabs at laboratories has reportedly grown to nearly 185,000.

Professor Dorling also pointed to a random sample survey by the Office of National Statistics, which tracks people who have first tested negative to coronavirus before repeatedly following up with tests to see how many people catch it.

“That ONS one shows the increase is only among young adults so far — that only comes out every couple of weeks but is such a higher quality (than NHS testing).

“If you want to know what is happening in the population you need to look at the ONS data, because it’s a proper random sample that is not affected by fewer or more people getting tested and so-on.

“And that one is a lot less worrying than the raw figures.”

There may simply be a lag in deaths

While deaths are not rising in lockstep with new coronavirus cases, it may only be a matter of time.

There is always a lag between a spike in cases and the number of people dying from the disease.

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients have hit their highest levels in two months, official UK data shows.

On September 13 alone, 153 people were admitted to English hospitals with COVID-19.

In a country of 56 million, that may not sound like much, but it’s a concern to UK actuary John Roberts, who analyses the UK’s infection rate for the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group.

If hospital admissions continue on this current trajectory, the UK could have as many people needing treatment for COVID-19 as they did in June.

“The last couple of weeks there’s been a bit of a spike, the number of deaths has gone up but it’s not a huge jump and it may be that we’re going to have to wait a bit to see the trends in infection, particularly in the vulnerable age groups, go up,” Professor Openshaw said.

“Then after a lag of two or three weeks we’ll expect to see the upwards trend in terms of the number of deaths.

“So there is an built-in delay of about three weeks between it spreading into a particular population and those infections being translated into death.”



If you’ve got a runny nose you DON’T have Covid-19: Top expert says fatigue is most common symptom for children as Matt Hancock urges parents not to confuse colds with coronavirus

Children only suffering from a runny nose ‘absolutely’ do not have coronavirus, a top expert has warned amid calls for Britons to stop getting tested unnecessarily as the government’s ongoing swabbing fiasco continues.

Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London, moved to reassure parents the symptom, alongside congestion and sneezing, is a ‘sure sign’ they have a cold and not Covid-19.

Matt Hancock has claimed parents seeking tests for children merely battling colds are contributing to the soaring demand on Britain’s creaking testing service, which has descended into chaos over the past week.

Fears are now high that schools and offices will have to shut because people with mild symptoms cannot prove they are negative. Officials say a quarter of Britons getting tested aren’t ‘eligible’.

It was claimed today that the testing fiasco has hit almost every school in the UK, with up to 25,000 teachers in England already forced to stay at home and self-isolate.

Professor Spector, who runs the Coronavirus Symptom Study app, is behind research showing the most common symptoms of Covid-19 for school-age children is fatigue (55 per cent), headaches (55 per cent) and a fever (49 per cent).

By comparison, the most common symptoms in adults are fatigue (87 per cent), headache (72 per cent) and a loss of smell (60 per cent). Neither children or adults frequently report a runny nose.




Up to nine additional nations could join peace deal with Israel, including Saudi Arabia, Trump says (The Daily Wire)

Clueless Joe refers to the “Harris-Biden administration” (Washington Examiner)

Biden votes in person, wrecks the Democrats’ mail-in voting narrative (PJ Media)

House GOP releases “Commitment to America” agenda (The Resurgent)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unpractically seeks to put pressure on GOP in COVID-19 relief battle (The Hill)

Senator Tom Cotton: The U.S. should eliminate China’s “most favored nation” trade status (The Washington Free Beacon)

Criminal probe opened into John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, which may contain classified information (Politico)

A former NRA insider paints an unflattering picture (National Review)

Three charged for harassing patrons at Pittsburgh restaurants during Labor Day BLM protest (National Review)

Judge throws the book at 13 alleged Lancaster rioters and sets $1 million bail for seven of them (Daily Mail)

Up to 95% riots are linked to Black Lives Matter (The Federalist)

Virginia police hunting for person who shot patrol car three times (Fox News)

“Evil is real”: North Carolina police officer pens heartfelt resignation letter to community amid “unprecedented” exodus from the force (The Daily Wire)

Breonna Taylor’s family reaches massive settlement with City of Louisville for $12 million (WAVE 3 News)

LA County sheriff calls out LeBron James, wants him to match reward for deputies’ shooter (The Truth About Guns)

Chinese organization with Communist Party ties funds Black Lives Matter ventures (The Federalist)

Chinese software firm that “provides intelligence to the government and military” collects data from 50,000 Americans (Daily Mail)

“Worst-case scenario”: Baltimore murder suspects protected by sanctuary laws (The Washington Times)

Trump says he favored plan to eliminate Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, but then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis opposed it (Disrn)

FTC prepares possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook (Bloomberg)

Oil demand has collapsed, and it won’t come back any time soon (NPR)

Alan Dershowitz files multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit against CNN (Washington Examiner)

Policy: The U.S. dollar collapse is greatly exaggerated (Mises Institute)


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