Top scientists today called on the Government to stop publicising its daily Covid figures because they are becoming 'misleading'. Yesterday, the dashboard said there were 1,905 admissions to hospitals and 330 deaths with a total of 19,000 patients in hospital with Covid. But the majority of inpatients are not primarily being treated for the virus in parts of the country (left), a symptom of the extreme infectiousness but mildness of Omicron. And despite deaths creeping up in recent weeks a rising proportion are now 'coincidental' with the virus not the underlying cause (top right). And almost a quarter of Covid deaths are now people dying from other causes (bottom right).
Is UK's Omicron wave already flattening off? Daily Covid cases drop just 4% in a week with infections rising in primary school pupils - but hospital admissions fall by fifth as NHS pressure recedes and London declares 'emergency' status over
Government dashboard data shows another 95,787 positive tests were logged in the last 24 hours, down only slightly on the 99,652 recorded last Friday. It marks the 16th day in a row that cases have fallen week-on-week but the downward curve has slowed in the past two days, dropping by just 1.6 per cent yesterday. Latest hospital data shows there were 1,974 Covid hospital admissions on January 17, marking a 18.5 per cent fall on the previous week.
The Office for National Statistics' monthly report found there were 2,856 Covid deaths registered in England and Wales last month, down 18.1 per cent from the 3,487 the previous month. But the share of people dying primarily because of the virus dropped slightly from 85 per cent to 84 per cent over the month - a symptom of the extremely infectious but mild variant. And Covid was the third biggest killer the month before but fell in December despite sky-high infection rates.
University of Bristol researchers investigated the effects of ancestral smoking on bodyweight in descendants. In previous research they boys whose fathers smoked regularly before the age of 13 are more likely to have excess bodyfat. They did not find the same effect in girls. But the new study suggests their maternal great-grandfathers' smoking at that age could cause them to carry at least 11.8lb (5.35kg) more fat when they are 17 and 13.4lb (6.1kg) more when they turn 24.
Black-Caribbean Britons are ethnic group least likely to be triple-jabbed against Covid while just 40 per cent of Muslims have had their booster in England, latest figures show
Just a third of adults in the group (33.9 per cent) had received a third dose by New Year's Eve, according to the Office for National Statistics. White people were the most likely, with two-thirds (68.4 per cent) triple-jabbed by the same date. Meanwhile, Muslims had the lowest rate of any religious group (40 per cent) and Jews had the highest (70.5 per cent). Experts fear low uptake of the jabs in black and ethnic minority groups will continue to see those communities disproportionately affected by the virus. The data also looked at the vaccine status of people aged 40 to 65 based on their occupation. It showed health professionals in this age group had the highest uptake of any job (80.3 per cent). All NHS staff in England are required to get their first dose by February 3 or they will be sacked or redeployed as part of the controversial move. A booster will not be required.
Obese women struggling to conceive are NOT more likely to get pregnant through fertility treatment if they lose weight, study suggests
Very overweight women struggling to conceive are told to slim down because carrying extra body-fat is linked with decreased fertility. But now experts say it might not make a difference, according to the first randomised control trial of its kind. Scientists from the Penn State College of Medicine compared success rates of the treatment among 300 obese women who were struggling to get pregnant. There was no significant difference in the rates of pregnancy between the two groups after three rounds of fertility treatment, even though the restricted calorie group lost 1stone 1lb (7kg).
Fauci says Pfizer vaccine could receive authorization for kids UNDER FIVE as early as next month - placing U.S. among countries with lowest age for the shots
Dr Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, said Wednesday that he believes children under the age of five will soon be eligible for the Pfizer Covid jab. The company is currently trialing its shot in kids as young as six months old. The vaccine regimen for younger children will included three very small doses of the jab.
UK Covid cases are down by a fifth in a week and falling in every age group except under-18s, symptom-tracking survey claims - but top expert urges nation to be 'sensible' because 144,000 still catching virus every day
King's College London scientists estimated 144,527 people were catching the virus on any given day last week, equivalent to one in 27 now having the virus. This was down from 183,364 in the previous seven-day spell. Every region was now seeing its outbreak shrink, they suggested (bottom right), with cases only rising among the under-18s because of the 'back to school' effect (top right).
Up to 60 PER CENT of all Covid 'patients' in London's hospitals are not primarily being treated for the virus - as data shows NHS staffing absences have plunged 40% since Omicron wave began receding
Just 1,200 of London's nearly 3,000 infected patients were in hospital on Tuesday because they were mainly unwell with the virus (40.7 per cent), NHS England data shows (left and bottom right graph). And 7,600 of the 14,600 Covid patients in England who tested positive are primarily being treated for something else, meaning 47.9 per cent are so-called incidental cases (top right graph). Statistics from health service also reveal NHS staff absences due to Covid have fallen 40 per cent in a week. Fewer than 30,000 medics were off sick because of the virus on January 16, compared to nearly 50,000 on January 5. Daily Covid hospitalisations across the UK - the number of patients who test positive regardless of why they were admitted to hospital - have been trending downwards for 11 days.
Surgeons successfully transplant two PIG KIDNEYS into a human, marking a 'significant step' in the decades-long quest to use animal organs for life-saving transplants
Jim Parsons of Huntsville, Alabama, had two kidneys, procured from a genetically modified pig, transplanted in his abdomen after his own kidneys were removed. Amazingly, the transplanted pig kidneys filtered blood, produced urine and, importantly, were not immediately rejected by Mr Parsons' body. Results demonstrate how xenotransplantation (the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another) could address the worldwide organ shortage crisis.
Antibiotic-resistant superbugs killed 1.2MILLION people in 2019 - more than HIV or malaria, major study finds
Superbugs, bacteria resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics caused 1.2million deaths could have been a factor in nearly 5million a study by experts Washington and Oxford has found. This would make superbugs a bigger global killer than either HIV/AIDS or malaria, which killed 860,000 and 640,000 that year, respectively. On top of direct deaths, researchers estimate superbugs were also a potential factor in another 5million deaths globally in 2019. Superbugs are bacteria which have developed a resistance to antibiotics meaning they are more dangerous if they infect somebody. Overprescribing of antibiotics for minor health problems as well as incorrectly using them is believed to have fuelled the rise of these bacteria. In what is believed to be the most comprehensive review of global deaths caused by superbugs, researchers from the University of Washington and University of Oxford warn unless more action is taken the death toll will increase in years to come. The 1.2million fatality figure is much greater than previous estimates which suggested the problem caused 700,000 deaths per year. People can be infected by bacteria in a number of ways, from a person coughing, contaminated food or drink, to an open wound, infecting organs such as the lungs, or even the bloodstream. They can be fatal, causing issues like inflammation, or sepsis, as the immune system tries to fight off the bacteria. Previously, medics could help a patient fight off the bacteria by prescribing antibiotics but some species have developed resistance to these medications making them far more dangerous.
Covid deaths start to steady with the US averaging 1,717 a day despite grim White House projections that at least 60,000 people will die by March: New cases fall 3% as Omicron surge slows
The Omicron variant is finally showing signs of receding in the U.S. New daily deaths, the most important metric in the pandemic that often lags behind cases, have steadied over the past week. On average, 1,717 Americans are dying from the virus every day, only a seven percent increase in the past seven days. This is despite a grim projection revealed by the White House this week that up to 300,000 people will die of the virus over the next two months.
Free lateral flow Covid tests to be scrapped by JULY under No10's 'Operation Rampdown' as even NHS consultants say the end of pandemic is 'now in sight' with Omicron fizzling out
Ministers urged Britons to take the rapid tests (top right) regularly in a bid to quell the spread of Omicron, but Government plans to 'ramp down of the Universal Testing Offer' will see only key workers able to access the free tests. Instead, officials say an online ordering system will be ready by the end of June to direct Britons to purchase the tests, which are said to cost the Government £30 per pack of seven. No10 has previously said it would stop offering the tests', which are free to order from the Government website or pick up at pharmacies but have cost the Government billions of pounds, 'at a later stage'. Amid record high cases at the start of the year, more than 8million tests were conducted over the space of one week. But cases have been in freefall for the last 13 days (bottom right graph), with 94,432 cases reported yesterday, a fall of 20 per cent on last week. The data led Boris Johnson (left) to announce today that he is lifting Plan B Covid curbs in England as he stepped up the fight for his political life with another 'Operation Red Meat' announcement.
Covid plunged by a fifth in England last week: ONS survey finds infections dropped for first time since Omicron took off but 2.9million (one in 20) were still carrying virus
It marks the first week that the ONS has recorded a fall in infections in England since Omicron first took off in late November and the trend now matches the Government's daily stats. The ONS survey is regarded as the most reliable indicator of the UK's outbreak because it uses random sampling of around 100,000 people, rather than relying on people coming forward to be tested. Despite the fall, Covid was still more prevalent last week than at any point in the pandemic before the ultra-transmissible Omicron variant emerged, with one in 20 carrying the virus.
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Covid lateral flow tests don't work as well on children: Rapid swabbing kits only spot 64% of infected youngsters - BELOW minimum standards of top health agencies
A new study from UK and German experts found commonly used lateral flow devices only find 64 per cent of Covid cases in children casting doubt on the ability of testing to curb Covid in schools. A team of British and German scientists pooled together results from 17 different studies, involving over 6,000 children, on the effectiveness of lateral flow devices (LFD) in detecting Covid in young people. All secondary school students in the UK are currently encouraged to do LFD tests at least twice a week in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in schools. But writing in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine experts have cast doubt on just how effective these tests are. In their analysis the team found that overall, the tests only detected 64 per cent of Covid positive children. Detection rates increased to 72 per cent when children had symptoms of Covid, like a new continuous cough or a change in the sense of taste and smell. However, detection rate declined to just 56 per cent for Covid positive children without symptoms, also known as asymptomatic cases. Regular LFD tests are one of the cornerstones of the UK Governments attempt to curb the spread of the virus amongst children, and potentially, their families. And the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) insists LFDs remain the best way to detect Covid among the wider population.
'The modelling has manipulated fear... it is pretty despicable': Furious Tory MPs say No10's use of SAGE projections is a 'national scandal' as they accuse 'Professor Lockdown' of seeking publicity for 'hysterical forecasts'
Conservative Bob Seely (top) called for a debate on scientific modelling during the pandemic in which he accused forecasters of wildly inaccurate predictions. Echoing Winston Churchill, Mr Seely said of the modelling: 'Never before has so much harm been done to so many by so few.' He slammed SAGE epidemiologist Professor Ferguson (bottom right) for producing 'doomsday scenarios' that were proven wrong time and time again. He was joined by the Covid Recovery Group deputy chair Steve Baker (bottom left), who accused modellers of bouncing No10 into restrictions throughout the pandemic. Professor Ferguson's prediction of 510,000 people dying if nothing was done to curb the virus' spread is widely credited with spooking Boris Johnson into announcing the first lockdown in March 2020.
Waiting at least six hours in A&E before being admitted to hospital can raise your risk of dying in the next month by almost 10%, study warns
A&E delays of over six hours contribute to one extra patient death per 82 patients new research from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine suggests, and this is before the pandemic. NHS targets state that almost all Britons, 95 per cent, should be seen within four hours when they attend A&E. However, the health service has continually failed to meet this target and last month, recorded its lowest ever figure, with only 61 per cent of A&E patients in major emergency departments in England seen in four hours. Now, researchers from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) have calculated the potential cost in lives caused by treatment delays. In a study of 5million patients admitted to A&E prior to the Covid pandemic, they found those who waited over six hours to be admitted had an increased chance of dying within 30 days. This risk was then calculated as contributing to one extra death per 82 patients made to wait longer than six hours to be admitted in A&E. Researchers said this could be due to variety of factors, including vital treatment being delayed, extended hospital stays, and delayed patients more likely to be admitted at night when staffing numbers are lower. RCEM figures have commented that the research shows the NHS's four-hour A&E treatment target is key indicator of patient safety, despite Government plans to scrap it.
More than 80,000 unvaccinated NHS workers face the sack unless they have a Covid jab in TWO WEEKS time despite warnings rules could have 'catastrophic' impact on health service
NHS staff who have not had the Covid vaccine will be sacked after formal meetings in just over two weeks. According to new NHS guidance to employers, all frontline staff who have not received a vaccine will be called into formal meetings from February 4 and given a warning that they face dismissal. Notices will be issued from that day with March 31 marking the end of the notice period, it was reported. All frontline staff are required to have both doses of the Covid jab by April 1 meaning that by February 3 the first must have been given. Managers within the NHS have been advised that they can move unvaccinated staff from the front line into backroom roles which do not involve direct patient contact.
Former banker Richard Medding, 63, is Sajid Javid's preferred choice to take the role that will see him holding health chiefs to account for how they spend public money. But the ex-TSB boss revealed he chose to use private health care 'late last year' when being treated for deep vein thrombosis. In a grilling with MPs, Mr Medding admitted he had received private health care as part of the perks of his career in the city for nearly 40 years.
Even fourth Covid jab is NOT enough to prevent Omicron infection: Israeli study finds people given four doses only 'a bit less' likely to test positive than triple-vaccinated - as No10 scientists says only vulnerable may need future boosters
The study of more than 270 medical staff found that the fourth shot only raised antibodies 'a little' compared to those who were triple-jabbed. And those in the four jabs group were only 'a bit less' likely to test positive for the mutant strain than the control group. The findings were true for a fourth dose of both Pfizer and Moderna, and will reignite the debate about whether constant boosting is necessary. Researchers from the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, who ran the trial, said those infected in the study had very mild symptoms or none at all. Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay, the lead researcher of the trial, told a press conference: 'These are very preliminary results. This is before any publication. 'But we're giving it out since we understand the urgency of the public to get any information possible about the fourth dose.'
Pioneering operation using tiny beads turned off my hunger hormones! Woman says procedure helped her lose more than 6st in just ten months
NHS hospitals will soon start trials of a new procedure to treat obesity by turning off the 'hunger hormone'. Kirsten Kerfoot, 32, a nurse and mother of one, from Baltimore in the U.S., was one of the first in the world to benefit from it. Here, Kirsten and the doctor who treated her, as well as the British surgeon who will perform the first such procedure in the UK within the next few months, talk to Rachel Ellis.
Why do doctors know so little about natural HRT that can stop menopause wrecking your life? So much received wisdom about HRT is outdated, argues author who says there is a treatment that avoids risks - but barely anyone knows it's available on the NHS
KATE MUIR: It took me desperate years to get my hands on body-identical HRT, during which time my life collapsed. Stonewalled by my GP, and relying on the recommendations of friends, I tried to source my own HRT. Eventually, after considerable expense and risk (I had been taking compounded HRT from an unregulated pharmacy without realising the potential harms), in 2019 I found Dr Louise Newson, a GP who runs a specialist menopause clinic. She quickly prescribed oestrogen gel and micronised progesterone, explaining that they were manufactured under strict regulation for use on the NHS and that I could get them from my own GP. None of this need have happened. My GP could have given me this natural stuff, safely, three years before, when I went in with the heart palpitations. Kate Muir is pictured left while Davina McCall is seen right in the Channel 4 documentary Davina McCall: Sex, Myths And The Menopause.
Acne drug drove our daughter to suicide: Parents of tragic 15-year-old and leading expert beg for stricter rules on how treatment is prescribed to teenagers but fear drug watchdog will not take action
For Helen and Simon Wright, attending the inquest into the death of their 15-year-old daughter Annabel was always going to be an ordeal. They were, however, determined to see it through in the hope that the coroner would share their concerns about Roaccutane, the acne medication they believed had driven their child to suicide, and use his powers to order the medical watchdog to review its use in young people. Instead, at the inquest in Northallerton last month, they were dismayed when the assistant coroner for North Yorkshire declared there was 'no settled and agreed view' on a link between the drug's active ingredient, isotretinoin, and self-harm.
Parents of girl, 4, who is battling rare neuroblastoma cancer are raising £250,000 to fund trip to New York to receive a vaccine they hope will reduce the risk of recurrence
Florentina Burton (right), from Braintree, Essex, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a cancer that develops from specialised nerve cells - in May last year, after doctors found a tumour on her kidney. With parents Amelia and Kevin by her side (left), Florentina has undergone months of treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, and is now due to have radiotherapy and immunotherapy. It is hoped her treatment will end in September. However the cancer has a high relapse rate. To reduce this, the family are hoping to pay £250,000 to fly Florentina (inset with her sister) to New York for the bivalent vaccine, which is not available on the NHS.
Back to normal now Omicron is on its way out? UK's Covid cases plunge by 40% in a week to 84,429 as workers head back to the office, London's roads are BUSIEST since curbs came in and Tubes and buses see rise in users
Another 84,429 tests came back positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, according to Government dashboard data, down around 41 per cent on last week. Daily cases have fallen week-on-week since January 6. There were also 85 coronavirus deaths registered today in a 10 per cent rise compared to last Monday. Latest hospital data shows there were 2,357 admissions on January 11, virtually unchanged in a week. In a sign of public confidence in the promising stats, London's roads were the busiest they have been during the morning rush-hour since the day Boris Johnson confirmed that England would enter Plan B restrictions.
COVID deaths increase 36% and hospitalizations are up 60% over past two weeks even as growth of cases slows: Omicron finally peaks in former hotspots New York and New Jersey
Deaths caused by Covid in the United States are continuing to rise, with the 1,839 Americans succumbing to the virus every day being a 36 percent increase over the past two weeks. The number of people in the hospital testing positive for Covid is rising as well, increasing 61 percent over the past two weeks to an average of 155,943 people per day according to the New York Times.
Jabs to reverse Love Island lip fillers could leave your daughter disfigured for LIFE: As craze for cosmetically enhanced pouts wanes, experts warn young women that getting rid of them is fraught with risk too
A recent survey of 18-to-24-year-olds suggested that as many as seven per cent of this age group had undergone a cosmetic lip enhancement, while a staggering 68 per cent said they knew someone who had. Yet experts have warned they are now having to tackle a 'tsunami' of unhappy patients with botched or abnormal-looking results who are desperate to have lip filler removed. One woman, Daniella Bolton (inset), 24, from Edinburgh, recently needed treatment with steroid medication after her lips ballooned to '20 times their normal size'. Ashley Stobart, 31, meanwhile booked in for a new kind of lip-filler procedure, dubbed 'Russian lips', in which extra filler is injected into the centre of the lips to accentuate the cupid's bow - giving a Russian-doll-like look, hence the name. She immediately regretted it. Ashley paid about £250 for her Russian lips procedure - but £3,000 for three appointments at the end of last year with Dr Acquilla to have them dissolved (Ashley is pictured before and after having her Russian lips procedure dissolved).
How to beat the insomnia epidemic caused by Covid anxiety, leading British neurologist PROFESSOR GUY LESCHZINER writes
PROFESSOR GUY LESCHZINER: Whether as a symptom of long Covid or as a side-effect of living through heightened stress, the pandemic has had a terrible effect on the world of sleep. A wide-ranging review, published in 2021 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, looked at 44 papers involving almost 55,000 patients across 13 countries, and showed that sleep problems during the pandemic affected approximately 40 per cent of the general population, and almost 75 per cent of patients with the virus. Of course, most of us will have experienced the odd sleepless night - before a big interview, or perhaps following a difficult time such as losing a loved one. I know I have. But in the time of Covid, the scale of this is something new.
Boosters for under-18s from Monday: 40,000 eligible 16 and 17-year-olds eligible for top-up jabs can apply from tomorrow - but rest of age group will have to wait for a few more weeks
Around 40,000 16 and 17-year-olds will be eligible for their boosters jabs when the national booking service opens on Monday. Previously, boosters were only recommended for clinically vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds but recent data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has shown that two doses of the vaccine are not enough to stop people becoming unwell from Omicron, but a booster significantly increases protection against the variant. It comes as fully vaccinated travellers were told they will be able to go on half-term holidays in February without the need to take a test on their return, as the Government prepares to drastically reduce Covid restrictions. Yesterday another 81,713 positive tests of Covid (top right) were logged, according to Government dashboard data, dropping by nearly half on the figure last week. Meanwhile data showed a total of 36,295, 768 people had received a booster dose (bottom right).
DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: Why vaccine immunity is better than natural immunity (and why unjabbed Novak Djokovic is so wrong to claim he's protected by antibodies after a recent bout of Covid)
DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: It's just over a year since the UK's coronavirus vaccine programme began, saving well over 100,000 lives, as well as preventing countless others from ending up in hospital and suffering long-term damage from Covid. I wrote in this column, before Christmas, that I had told an unvaccinated friend that I didn't want her to come to a social gathering because of the risk she posed. Since then, she and her husband became quite ill with Covid. And I am still suggesting, when she recovers, she might consider having a jab. That's because studies have shown that people who have a vaccine after they've been infected produce much higher levels of antibodies and T-cells than those who, like Novak Djokovic (pictured right) and Dr James, just rely on 'natural' immunity.
Omicron cases are beginning to peak in 90% of the US: Covid surges in 44 states are now slowing and experts predict infections will top out in the coming weeks before a rapid fall
The Omicron variant is showing more signs that it is starting to burn out this week, as the rate of case growth is slowing in 44 U.S. states as of most recent reported data on Thursday, when compared to data Wednesday. National case growth is slowing as well, with the daily case average stagnating around 786,000 after rocketing in recent weeks.
Babies account for a bigger share of Covid hospitalisations during Omicron wave than in previous surges, figures show... but doctors say risk is still tiny and that infants spend LESS time on NHS wards
Infants are forming a larger share of child Covid hospital admissions than previous waves official SAGE figures show, but experts say babies are still at low risk from virus and are recovering quicker. The findings have promoted health chiefs to investigate further. But No10's own scientific advisers have stressed that the overall risk Covid poses to children remains tiny. Just one in 500,000 children who get Covid will end up in intensive care, studies have suggested. Experts say the recent rise is likely to be a reflection of general admissions, with a number of Covid cases in infants only being discovered when a child was admitted to hospital for another reason, also known as 'incidental' cases. Others have highlighted how with most adults and older children protected from severe Covid illness by either vaccination or prior infection, it was unsurprising younger children were forming a larger part of hospital admissions. Data on Covid hospitalisations among children emerged in a document released by SAGE today. Ninety-four admissions occurred among infants under the age of 12-months between December 14 and January 6. This accounted for 37.8 per cent of all Covid hospitalisations among children in that period, a marked proportional rise compared to previous stages of the pandemic.
How many people in YOUR area have Covid? Interactive map reveals Lancashire was UK's Omicron hotspot during week in which a record 4.3MILLION Brits had virus
Up to 10 per cent of people tested positive in the seven days to January 6 in worst-affected places, including the Wirral, West Lancashire, Burnley, Rochdale and Solihull. The map was published as part of the Office for National Statistics' weekly surveillance report, which found infections hit new highs in all four home nations. One in 15 people were estimated to have been infectious on any given day last week in England, while the rate was one in 20 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Britain's bird flu 'patient zero' is BANNED from keeping ducks for a year: 79-year-old reveals he's 'absolutely distraught'
Alan Gosling's flock of 160 pet ducks were culled earlier this month after some were found to be infected with a deadly strain of the virus. The grandfather, 79, also tested positive and is thought to have caught the disease from one of the 20 birds he kept inside his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon. Mr Gosling said this week he planned to adopt more ducks after finishing his self-isolation period after being left heartbroken by the death of his flock. But relatives revealed today that he has been told he can't have any pet birds for a whole year.
More proof Omicron has peaked: Number of people getting ill with virus each day 'fell 12% last week' as official stats suggest outbreaks are shrinking in 87% of England's boroughs... but NHS bosses say it's still too soon to pivot to 'living with Covid'
King's College London scientists estimated 183,364 people were catching the virus every day (left), down 12 per cent from the record high of 208,471 seven days earlier. Cases were ticking downwards in all age groups (bottom right), they said, although a rise in children due to the return of schools can't be ruled out. This could have a knock on effect on other age groups. Infections are also falling in every region except the North East, but even here they are slowing in a sign they could soon drop (top right).
Builders put final touches on NHS surge hubs in case health service gets overwhelmed by Omicron... but Covid hospital admissions are already flattening off and up to HALF of virus 'patients' are primarily sick with something else
The temporary site at St James's University Hospital in Leeds (left) is one of eight being assembled across England in the event that hospitals are overwhelmed by coronavirus this winter (all eight, bottom right). They can each house about 100 patients and will remain on standby to look after those who are not well enough to go home but need minimal supervision during their recovery. Trusts have been hit by a double-whammy of rising Covid admissions and staff absences in recent weeks caused by the highly infectious Omicron variant, with a number of trusts declaring 'critical incidents'. But there are already signs that the NHS is over the worst of the winter Covid wave and staff absence levels appear to be bouncing back. Meanwhile, more than half of Covid 'patients' in London are not primarily being treated for the virus and only tested positive after admission for something else (top right).
Western states including Oregon, Alaska and Utah now lead the US in Covid case growth - each jumping around 500% in two weeks - as virus surge heads west after Omicron nears peak on east coast
As the Omicron variant-fueled Covid surge appears to near its peak in many eastern states, the virus has begun to head west, striking elsewhere in the country. Oregon, Utah and Alaska now lead the nation in growth of Covid cases over the past two weeks, ending a long period of states along the east coast like New York, New Jersey, South Carolina and Vermont leading the nation.
One in NINE people in England now on NHS waiting list: Health service crisis deepens during Omicron wave with record 6million in queue for routine ops and 13,000 waiting 12 or more hours in A&E
Experts warned the 'shocking data' laid bare the wider impact of Omicron on the health service and highlighted that many patients were being 'let down' by the deepening crisis in the NHS. Data published by NHS England today showed a record 6million people were stuck on NHS waiting lists for elective care by the end of November (shown left), just as the ultra-transmissible variant began to take off. More than 300,000 patients had waited over a year - often in pain - for ops such as hip and knee replacements or cataracts surgery. Of them, 18,500 had queued for two or more years. Meanwhile, a total of 12,986 spent 12 or more hours in emergency departments before being treated in December (top right( - the most since records began in 2010 and up by a fifth from November. At the same time, just 73 per cent of A&E patients were seen within the NHS' four-hour target, the lowest percentage ever (bottom right). Separate data shows heart attack patients waited 53 minutes on average for an ambulance to respond to their 999 call. Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the latest data revealed an 'increasingly serious situation.'
Dying handyman who got second chance at life with genetically-modified PIG heart transplant stabbed man in 1988 leaving him wheelchair-bound: Sentenced to ten years for attack on 22-year-old man who was flirting with his wife
David Bennett (left), the world's first-ever pig heart transplant recipient, stabbed Edward Shumaker (right) seven times in a Maryland bar in April 1988. Bennett allegedly attacked Shumaker after he caught his then-wife sitting in the man's lap while they were talking and drinking. Shumaker was left paralyzed and wheelchair-bound until he died at age 40. Bennett was convicted of battery and carrying a concealed weapon, and was sentenced to ten years in prison; He did not serve the entire sentence. Last week, the former convict underwent a groundbreaking, life-saving procedure, leaving Shumaker's family hurt and upset. Shumaker's sister, Leslie Downey (inset), said she 'wishes the heart had gone to a deserving recipient'.'
We've fought Covid... now we need a national effort to beat cancer: PROF KAROL SIKORA warns 'time is running out' to stop thousands unnecessarily dying from disease and pandemic has 'devastated' UK's progress
PROFESSOR KAROL SIKORA: Before Covid, the UK had a very poor record on cancer outcomes. Now the pandemic has devastated all recent efforts to improve cancer recovery and survival. Appointments cancelled, diagnostics delayed and treatment derailed. With cancer, delay costs lives. The well-documented statistics are horrendous and anyone who thinks they will never be affected should remembers that cancer will affect 1 in every 2 of us at some stage in our lives. Throughout the pandemic I have always tried to be as positive as possible but as someone who has spent 50 years treating cancer patients, I see the current situation in the gravest of terms.
Has Omicron peaked? COVID cases flatten in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and LA - but deaths have climbed by 20% in last fortnight, with officials blaming Delta for the spike in fatalities
The end of the Omicron fueled Covid variant could be right around the corner. Data from New York and New Jersey, who suffered the worst of the surge last month, shows that case growth has slowed in recent weeks. Data from Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles shows the same. Data from the UK also shows that the virus is receding in the once Covid-plagued nation, with cases having declined for seven straight days now.
Omicron variant is half as likely to cause hospitalization and 91% LESS likely to cause death in infected patients when compared to Delta, CDC report finds
The Omicron variant is significantly more mild than its predecessor, the Delta variant, a CDC report finds. The agency reported Wednesday that the new strain is 91 percent less likely to cause death. It is also half as likely to cause hospitalizations, and those hospitalized are 75 percent less likely to require intensive care than those infected with Delta.
Top SAGE adviser admitted lab leak theory was 'most likely' origin of Covid in February 2020 but debate was shut down because it could 'cause harm to China', bombshell emails reveal
Sir Jeremy Farrar (top right), who publicly denounced the theory as a 'conspiracy', admitted in a private email in February 2020 that a 'likely explanation' was that the virus was man-made. The then-UK Government adviser said at the time he was '70:30 or 60:40' in favour of an accidental release versus natural origin. In the email, sent to US health chiefs Dr Anthony Fauci (bottom right) and Dr Francis Collins, Sir Jeremy said it was possible Covid had been evolved from a Sars-like virus in the lab. Left: The Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some believe the virus may have been accidentally leaked from.
Will YOU live until you're 100? Online calculator works out your average life expectancy and your chances of becoming a centenarian
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures predicted the chance of becoming a centenarian for men and women at all ages in the UK. One in five girls born in 2020 are expected to live to 100, while boys born in the same year have a slightly lower chance - 13.6 per cent (one in eight). On average, two-year-old boys can expect to reach the age of 87 and girls of the same are likely to breach 90, the ONS said. Separate figures from the United Nations (UN) Population Division suggests Britain's overall life expectancy across ages and sexes is 81-and-a-half.
Anti-vax father, 45, who ignored wife's pleas to get vaccine dies of Covid after three weeks in hospital
Gligor Kedioski, who lived in Liverpool with his wife Bolyana and their five-year-old daughter (all pictured in main image), died of Covid-19 aged 45 on January 2 after being admitted to hospital in December. Friends and family are not sure how he contracted the virus, but Gligor had not been vaccinated, despite his wife Bilyana's attempts to persuade him. Now, they are battling to repatriate Gligor's body to his native country of Macedonia, in line with his wishes. Born in Prilep, Gligor (inset, with his wife and daughter) worked in a factory and as a delivery driver during the pandemic. Paying tribute to the father-of-one, his friends described him a generous man who was full of life and always talking about life's next adventure.
FDA warns against using throat swabs with at-home antigen tests, because there's no data suggesting throat swabs are more accurate than nasal swabs with Omicron
The FDA has warned against swabbing one's throat - instead of or in addition to the nose - when taking an at-home rapid antigen test. This recommendation follows anecdotal reports and preprint studies suggesting throat swabs may be more accurate than nose swabs for Omicron. However, the FDA said there's currently no comprehensive data indicating throat swabs are 'accurate or appropriate'. Experts recommend that people stick to nose swabs while scientists and test manufacturers collect more data on different testing methods.
Covid cases are now falling in EVERY region except the North East, official data shows as hospitalisation rates flatten out across the country
EXCLUSIVE: UK Health Security Agency statistics show rates in London - which was first to be hit by the variant - started to tick downwards just before Christmas, sparking hopes that the rest of the nation would soon follow suit. Now Government Covid data shows cases are on their way down in seven out of England's eight regions, suggesting the wave may have peaked across much of the country. Experts are hopeful that the Omicron crisis is starting to naturally fizzle out amid rising immunity levels after spiralling to 'unbelievable' levels last month. But there are concerns that the promising trend could still reverse in the coming days because of schools returning from the Christmas holidays, with infections then spreading back up the age groups.
Proportion of Covid patients who may have caught virus in hospital has DOUBLED since Omicron took off, NHS data shows... and HALF of all 'admissions' could be down to infection spreading on wards in worst-hit trusts
EXCLUSIVE: Data shows there were 2,158 new positive tests in English hospitals on January 3, the latest date data is available. But of those, just 1,635 were infections occurring 'in the community', according to NHS England - meaning 523 are likely to have caught the virus in hospital (24 per cent). This figure is more than double the amount being infected on wards back at the start of December, when fewer than 10 per cent were catching Covid in hospital each day. Some hospitals saw more than half their Covid cases likely occurring in wards, with St George's University Hospital in Omicron hotspot London having the highest proportion at 50.6 per cent.
REVEALED: Dying Maryland handyman, 57, who became first in world to get a heart transplant from genetically-modified PIG was ineligible for a human organ because he didn't follow doctors' orders, missed appointments and stopped taking his meds
Terminal heart failure sufferer David Bennett underwent the nine-hour experimental procedure at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore on Saturday. Surgeons used a heart taken from a pig that had undergone gene-editing to make it less likely that his body's immune system would reject the organ. Mr Bennett, 57, who is breathing on his own while still connected to a machine that helps his new heart pump blood around his body, was ineligible for a human heart transplant. His condition - heart failure and an irregular heartbeat - made him ineligible for a human heart transplant or a heart pump. He also did not follow doctors' orders, missed appointments and stopped taking drugs he was prescribed, it was reported.