Coronavirus news – live: 12% of patients die after leaving hospital as unions call return to school ‘reckless’ – The Independent

UK Covid-19 vaccinations: Latest figures

More than one in 10 Covid patients died within five months of being discharged from hospital, while almost a third of those who survived the virus had to be readmitted, new research has warned.

Papers released by the governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) also revealed half of patients in hospital with the virus suffered complications, with one in four struggling once they got back home.

One study looking at 47,780 coronavirus patients who were discharged alive by the end of August last year found 30 per cent of patients, 14,000, were readmitted to hospital within 140 days while 12 per cent, 5,875, died.

A group of education unions have warned it would be “reckless” to allow all pupils back to school on 8 March.

They said they were “increasingly concerned” by this option, suggesting it could risk a spike in Covid-19 infections and cause longer-term disruption for students.

Their warning came as the government admitted there was no guarantee England’s third national lockdown will be the last. 

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Africa passes 100,000 Covid deaths

Africa has passed the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, as the continent struggles with a resurgence of the virus.

Clea Skopeliti has more details in this report:

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 21:05

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Coronavirus crisis ‘is chance to end rough sleeping in England’

The Covid pandemic has created an opportunity to end all rough sleeping in England, a think tank has said.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) urged ministers and local councils to build on the Everyone In project of last March which saw 30,000 homeless people given a roof over their heads as the first wave of the coronavirus crisis struck.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid said it was time to “finish the job” as he backed a report by the centre-right think tank, founded by former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.

It recommended expanding the Housing First programme, which works to break the cycle of homelessness for the most disadvantaged rough sleepers who have other challenges such as serious mental health issues or a history of trauma and drug or alcohol dependency.

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 20:46

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One in 10 Covid patients die within months of leaving hospital, study reveals

More than one in 10 Covid patients died within five months of being discharged from hospital, while almost a third of those who survived the virus had to be readmitted, new research has warned.

Papers released by the governments Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) also revealed half of patients in hospital with the virus suffered complications, with one in four struggling when they got back home.

Our health correspondent Shaun Lintern has more details:

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 20:17

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Drop in dementia diagnosis rate ‘extremely concerning’

A leading charity has warned of an “extremely concerning” drop in the number of people who have had a diagnosis for dementia in England since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The dementia diagnosis rate dropped by more than 40,000 between February 2020 and January 2021, from 471,252 to 429,858, according to figures from NHS Digital.

It dropped by 8,503 between December 2020 and January this year.

Susan Mitchell, policy head at Alzheimer’s Research UK, claimed the pandemic had led to the “dramatic decline in the number of diagnoses, eroding the progress made in this area in recent years”.

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 19:55

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Ferret badgers and rabbits could have spread Covid to humans, says WHO

The World Health Organisation team investigating the origins of the coronavirus has identified rabbits and ferret badgers sold in a Chinese market as potential animal vectors in the virus’s jump to humans.

Both animals were reportedly sold in the Wuhan market connected to the first reported outbreak of the coronavirus in December 2019.

Clea Skopeliti has more details:

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 19:40

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Pfizer seeks to store vaccine at higher temperatures

Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the US health regulator to relax requirements for their Covid vaccine to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, potentially allowing it to be kept in pharmacy freezers.

Approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could send a strong signal to other regulators around the world that may ease distribution of the shot in lower-income countries.

The companies have submitted new temperature data to the FDA to support an update to the current label that would allow vials to be stored at -25 to -15 degrees Celsius for a total of two weeks.

The current label requires the vaccine to be stored at temperatures between -80C and -60C, meaning it has to be shipped in specially-designed containers.

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 19:25

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Pupils with disabilities could face unfair grades this year, charities warn

Disability charities have warned hundreds of thousands of pupils who would usually qualify for extra support in exams could be disadvantaged in grading this year.

It comes after GCSE, AS and A-level exams have been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, with marks to come from teacher assessments instead.

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 19:10

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Wales must move ‘slowly and vigilantly’ as it lifts restrictions, say medics

Medical professionals have warned the Welsh government must move slowly and be vigilant as it moves to lift lockdown restrictions.

First minister Mark Drakeford today announced children aged between three and seven will return to schools from Monday, with further pupils joining by mid-March if conditions allow.

Lockdown restrictions, which have been in place in Wales since 20 December, will also be slightly eased to allow four people from two different households to exercise together.

Mr Drakeford said he hoped stay-at-home rules would be lifted in three weeks’ time, when the Welsh government formally reviews the regulations.

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 18:55

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When is Boris Johnson announcing his road map out of lockdown?

My colleague Matt Mathers has put together this guide to what the public can expect when the prime minister sets out his plan for easing England’s national lockdown on Monday:

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 18:40

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UK retail sales plunge in latest national lockdown

Official figures showed UK retail sales dropped 8.2 per cent in January as non-essential shops closed their doors, with clothing taking the biggest hit.

This is a far greater decline than the 2.5 per cent predicted by analysts.

Our business correspondent Ben Chapman explains:

Chiara Giordano19 February 2021 18:25