Quarter of Covid hospital admissions in England aged under 55
A quarter of coronavirus admissions to hospital are people under the age of 55, the head of NHS England has said.
Sir Simon Stevens told MPs on Monday the virus was spreading out of control across much of the country, with worrying consequences for hospitals.
“In London perhaps one in 30 people has the coronavirus, in parts of London it may be twice that number. In Merseyside in just the last week there has been a further 50% increase in the number of Covid hospitalisations,” he said.
“It’s worth remembering that this affects all ages – a quarter of the Covid admissions to hospital right now are for people aged under 55.”
Officials later confirmed that for the week commencing 28 December, 3,326 under-55s were admitted to hospitals in England, out of 13,530 overall admissions.
Stevens’ comments came as data showed the youngest person with no known underlying conditions whose death from Covid-19 was reported in the last 24 hours was aged 26:
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In Australia, the state premier of New South Wales, home to Sydney, is “pleading” with people to come forward for testing after five cases of community transmission of coronavirus were identified in the state overnight, while in the state of Queensland a man was in the community with an infectious UK strain of the virus for two days before going into isolation.
“As we see, the disease is still bumbling along in the community and we need to be vigilant about that,” Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday. “And that’s why I’m pleading for people to come forward and get tested. We know that it takes some time to completely get to the target of zero community transmission after there has been an outbreak, but it’s so critical that we raise those testing levels.”
There were 14,700 tests reported in NSW on Monday to 8pm, which the premier said was “not really enough for where we’re up to in the pandemic”.
Of the five new cases included in Tuesday’s NSW numbers, two were announced on Monday: a man in his 40s who tested positive at Mount Druitt hospital emergency department, and his household contact. NSW Health are investigating the source of their infections. A further two cases were identified in the northern beaches and the source of their infections is also under investigation. The fifth case, a woman in her 40s, is linked to the Berala cluster and is a known close contact of someone already identified and in isolation:
Gorillas at San Diego Zoo test positive for Covid in apparent first
Several gorillas at the San Diego zoo safari park have tested positive for coronavirus, with some experiencing symptoms, in what is believed to be the first outbreak among such primates in captivity.
The park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson, told the Associated Press on Monday that eight gorillas who live together at the park are believed to have the virus and several have been coughing. Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, confirmed at his Monday news briefing that at least two gorillas had tested positive while three were symptomatic.
It appears the infection came from a member of the park’s wildlife care team who also tested positive for the virus but has been asymptomatic. The safari park confirmed the presence of Covid-19 through fecal samples from the gorillas, and the test results do not “definitively rule out the presence of the virus in other members of the troop”, the zoo said in a statement:
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UK retail sales suffered the biggest decline in 25 years last year as the closure of non-essential shops during lockdowns more than outweighed the online spending boom fuelled by Covid-19.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total sales fell by 0.3% last year from the level in 2019 – the worst performance since records began in 1995 – reflecting the impact of government lockdowns and shifting consumer spending trends.
However, the overall drop in spending masks an explosion in sales for some shops, and a dramatic collapse for others. Amid a decline in spending in pubs, restaurants and hotels during the crisis, sales of food bought from shops increased by 5.4% on the year. However, sales of all other products fell 5% from a year earlier:
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