Patients dying waiting for ambulances as crews overwhelmed by Covid, study reveals – Mirror Online

Paramedics have reached “breaking point” as patients are dying before they can respond to 999 calls due to overwhelming numbers of Covid cases in hospital, a study suggests.

Three out of four emergency service workers are struggling to cope and have asked for improved PPE, with many turning up for shifts terrified, according to the GMB union.

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said the “system is collapsing” in straits far worse than the first lockdown last March.

The troubling study comes after the head of the NHS revealed today that hospitals across England are taking on a new Covid patient every 30 seconds.

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said he could not “sugar-coat” the scale of the crisis on wards and in intensive care.

Responses from paramedics and other emergency workers to the GMB survey include:

  • “People are dying waiting for ambulances whilst crews are stuck at hospital with Covid-confirmed patients.”
  •  “We had a taxi pull up in an ambulance bay with a dead male while his wife was shouting for help.
  •  “It’s very scary for us all.”
  •  “In 24 years in the ambulance service I’ve never ever seen staff sat on station at the start of the shift so frightened (almost to tears) to go out on an ambulance.”

  • “Staff overwhelmed – calls waiting are in their hundreds for hours on end with little or no resources to send.”

The GMB union says the NHS is under far greater strain that it was last March

Ms Harrison said: “This cannot go on – something has got to give.

“Ambulance staff are going off sick in droves while the service collapses around them, despite their heroic efforts.

“A massive 93% are crying out for better protection, the PPE they are given just isn’t fit for purpose, and is a massive factor in why the situation is so desperate.

“Ambulance PPE needs addressing urgently or more people will die unnecessarily, including our ambulance workers.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The safety of NHS and social care staff including paramedics has always been our top priority and we continue to work round the clock to deliver PPE that helps protect those on the front line.

“Guidance on the safest levels and standards of PPE is written by experts and agreed by all four UK chief medical officers.

“Our guidance is kept under constant review based on the latest evidence.”


Kent infection rate tumbles to lowest level in weeks – Kent Online

The Covid-19 infection rate in Kent has hit its lowest level for almost a month.

Latest figures published today reveal weekly cases have fallen by 29% as people across the county continue to observe a third national lockdown.

Reassuringly, rates are dropping in all of Kent’s 12 districts and boroughs, as well as in Medway, where public health statistics are recorded separately.

The biggest decrease has been seen in Swale, which at one point was seen as the Covid capital of the UK.

Cases there have dropped 44% in a week.

The county’s highest rates are now in Gravesham and Dartford, but even those are 30% and 34% lower than the week before.

It leaves Kent with a rate of 561 cases per 100,000 people – 29% down on the week and against a pandemic high of 869 on January 4.

Not since December 13 has it been as low.

The rate for England has also fallen to 538, bolstering hopes the national lockdown will not be extended beyond its widely-predicted March end date.

Infection rates are falling in every area of KentInfection rates are falling in every area of Kent
Infection rates are falling in every area of Kent

Earlier today, NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said people in the country are being vaccinated four times faster than new cases of the virus are being detected.

He told the Andrew Marr Show some hospitals would open for vaccinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a trial basis in the next 10 days.

But he also warned of the current “extreme pressure” on the NHS, describing the pandemic as “unique event” in its 72-year history.

He said patient numbers nationally had risen by 15,000 since Christmas.

In Kent, there were 1,247 hospital beds occupied by a Covid-19 patient on January 12 – 10% down on the week before.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


Luxury jet flies into North Wales airport from Caribbean hours before new travel rules kick in – North Wales Live

A luxury private jet has flown into Hawarden Airport from the Caribbean hours before tight new rules come into force.

The Dassault Falcon 2000 jet landed at the Flintshire airport just after 5.30pm on Sunday following a journey from the island of Antigua.

It makes the flight one of the last to arrive in Wales before tough new restrictions on international travel come into force in Wales.

From 4am on Monday, inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train from countries outside the Common Travel Area will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in.

The Welsh Government introduced the new rules in a bid to protect the country from new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Brazil, Denmark and South Africa.

They said pre-departure testing will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day quarantine for arrivals.

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From Monday, travel corridors will also be suspended until at least February 15.

The changes will mean most people travelling abroad will need to complete a pre-departure test and quarantine for 10 days on their return home to Wales.

13th Century Caernarfon Castle on the banks of the River Seiont is illuminated to thank NHS staff. Photo by Ian Cooper

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First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Unfortunately, we have seen some worrying new strains of coronavirus appear around the world and need to take extra steps to protect people in Wales and the rest of the UK from these new forms of the virus.

“Suspending travel corridors means that most people who are travelling overseas will now have to complete a pre-departure test and quarantine when they return to Wales to make sure they are not bringing coronavirus home with them.”

When asked on Friday why a decision to bring in such rules had not been made sooner, Mr Drakeford said: “I think the first thing to say is we are doing it because we are part of a UK-wide move to do this.

“We don’t have responsibility in the Welsh Government for foreign affairs and for border security.

“It wouldn’t be possible for us easily to do this entirely on our own.

“All four nations of the UK have acted always together on this matter because so much of what you need to make it effective is in the hands of the UK Government with their responsibilities.”

He added: “We have announced it now rather than a week or so ago because there are actually no flights into Wales at the moment that would be affected by this decision and nobody who comes into our ports from Ireland are effected by it in any case because this doesn’t apply to people in what is called the Common Travel Area.

“The first flights we’re expecting into Cardiff Airport will be at the start of next month so we are putting everything in its place so when that happens then everybody coming into Wales will have had to have a pre-departure test.

“But there’s no delay, because we haven’t had anybody coming in in that way in recent weeks.”

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Latest coronavirus death toll at Herefordshires hospitals – Hereford Times

THE coronavirus death toll at Herefordshire’s hospitals has risen again, with another patient confirmed to have died.

The latest figures from NHS England show 130 people had died in hospital at Wye Valley NHS Trust as of 4pm on Saturday (January 16).

That was an increase of one compared the figures from the previous day, when there were 129.

The death reported on Sunday happened on January 13, with a slight lag possible in the reporting of deaths by NHS England.

It means there have been 11 deaths in the seven days to January 16, but there can be a delay in deaths being reported.

That figure was slightly down on the week before, when 14 patients died after a positive coronavirus test result.


Across all hospitals in England, 631 more deaths were confirmed on Sunday, taking the total since the start of the pandemic to 60,921

Daily death counts are revised each day, with each case backdated to the actual date of death.

This means some of the deaths that were first recorded in the latest period may actually have taken place days earlier.

NHS England guidance states: “Confirmation of Covid-19 diagnosis, death notification and reporting in central figures can take up to several days and the hospitals providing the data are under significant operational pressure.”

Only deaths that occur in hospitals where the patient has tested positive for Covid-19 are recorded, with deaths in the community excluded, such as those in care homes.

It comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said coronavirus restrictions will not disappear in one “big bang” but England could instead return to a tiered system.

He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The aim is by the middle of February to have 88% of those most at risk of dying of coronavirus with their first jab, and by the early spring to have 99% – so that is the milestone if you like.

“I think it is true to say that when we get to a situation in the early spring, perhaps March, if we succeed in hitting those targets – we have made good process so far – we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown.

“I think it is fair to say it won’t be a big bang, if you like, it will be done phased, possibly back through the tiered approach that we had before.”

He also said he was “not aware” of a delay to vaccine deliveries “beyond the flexibility” built into the rollout programme.


Valneva says UK rollout of COVID-19 vaccine could start in July-Sept – report – Yahoo News UK


Brazilian coronavirus variant likely to be in UK already, top scientist warns – My London

A number of new coronavirus variants have been found across the globe, including in the UK, South Africa and now Brazil.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said he would find it “unusual” if the second of two new variants from Brazil were not already present.

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The variant has been detected in Manaus, Brazil, and travellers arriving in Japan.

The news comes after the Government banned flights from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde on Thursday in response to the emergence of the new variant, having previously banned travel from South Africa because of another Covid strain.

All quarantine-free travel into the UK will be suspended on Monday in a bid to keep out other potential variants.

The new policy means arrivals from every destination will need to self-isolate for 10 days or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after entering the UK.

Professor Edmunds told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In terms of the South African one, we had imported cases already by the time we put in additional restrictions for South African travellers.

“For the Brazilian one… I don’t think there is evidence that we’ve imported the Manaus strain cases, as far as I’m aware at least, but it is likely that we probably have quite honestly.

“We are one of the most connected countries in the world so I would find it unusual if we hadn’t imported some cases into the UK.”

Labour responded by accusing the Government of “closing the door after the horse has bolted”, saying the announcement was too late to have stopped the arrival of “worrying” strains.

Will the vaccine protect against the new strains of the virus?

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said there would be lots of new coronavirus variants this year but stressed the current vaccines should protect against the strains circulating in the UK.

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He said that new variants were being detected early, and emphasised: “If indeed we do need to make new vaccines, we will be able to stand those up really quickly.”

More than 3.5 million people have now received the first dose of a Covid vaccine in the UK.

The Government has set a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable people in the UK by mid-February.

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Lancashires 830 new Covid cases as further spike in Blackburn and pressure mounts on local NHS – Lancs Live

A further 830 new Covid cases have been recorded in Lancashire in the past 24 hours.

In the most recent figures released by Public Health England, each of Lancashire’s districts has recorded an increase in coronavirus cases.

The highest rise was once again seen in Blackburn with Darwen, which recorded 108 new cases.

Lancaster and Preston, which recorded more than 100 cases each yesterday (Saturday January 16), have both seen decreases, reporting 85 and 81 new positive tests respectively.

Again, the lowest jump was in Fylde, which has seen an increase of 25 new positive tests in the 24-hour period. This is lower than its increase of 41 cases yesterday.

Here are the new figures for each district:

Number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus by Lancashire borough as of Sunday, January 17

The data below includes the total number of cases and overall infection rate for each area since the pandemic began. Many of these cases will no longer be active.

  • Blackburn with Darwen: 14,309 (+108), 9,558.7per 100,000
  • Blackpool: 7,335 (+45), 5,260.1 per 100,000
  • Burnley: 8,198 (+78), 9,219.5 per 100,000
  • Chorley: 5,895 (+57), 4,986.6 per 100,000
  • Fylde: 3,548 (+25), 4,392.2per 100,000
  • Hyndburn: 6,108 (+56), 7,536.7 per 100,000
  • Lancaster: 7,007 (+85), 4,798.1 per 100,000
  • Pendle: 7,909 (+65), 8,586.3 per 100,000
  • Preston: 10,228 (+81), 7,145.7 per 100,000
  • Ribble Valley: 3,590 (+27), 5,896.1 per 100,000
  • Rossendale: 4,928 (+43), 6,894 per 100,000
  • South Ribble: 5,799 (+55), 5,234.3 per 100,000
  • West Lancashire: 6,932 (+70) 6,064.4 per 100,000
  • Wyre: 5,231 (+35), 4,666.7 per 100,000

The cases come as a further 631 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England on Sunday.

Patients were aged between 29 and 103. All except 31, aged between 46 and 93, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between November 5 and January 16.

There were 36 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

In Lancashire, there were eight further Covid deaths reported across three trusts.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals reported four further deaths. East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust saw a further death and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust recorded three further deaths.

Also today, Accrington Victoria Hospital was closed temporarily amid ‘high demand’ on local NHS services.

Hyndburn Council released a statement this afternoon (January 17), stating that the community hospital closure will be reviewed on a ‘monthly basis’.

The facility will be closed as hospital admissions ‘continue to rise’ in East Lancashire and people are being urged to call 111 before attending any minor injuries unit or emergency department.

Staff will be redeployed to other services.

Coun Miles Parkinson OBE, Leader of Hyndburn Borough Council said: “To help our local NHS services during this difficult time people are being asked to call 111 for advice before going in person to any minor injuries unit or emergency department.

“This will mean you can be directed to the best service for your concern. People should still seek medical advice and of course call 999 if there is an emergency.

“As hospital admissions continue to rise in East Lancashire it is vital we all stay at home unless it is absolutely essential to leave.

“Following the basic rules is key in preventing spread. Wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering when in public spaces if you can and keep your distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. The more we do this the more deaths we can prevent.”


Can you take paracetamol after having the Covid vaccine? – Express

According to the latest Government figures, 3,857,266 people in the UK have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine leading up to January 16, 2021. A further 449,736 people have also already received their second dose of the vaccine. Vaccine rollout continues in the UK with the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna coronavirus vaccines all approved for use in the UK.

When will everyone be vaccinated in the UK?

In the UK, Covid vaccinations are currently being offered based on the priority list set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

At the top of the priority list are residents in care homes and their carers, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

Currently, the Covid vaccine is being distributed to people in these groups at some hospitals and pharmacies.

READ MORE: All adults to be given Covid vaccine by September

Mr Raab told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The plan is to get the first 15 million most vulnerable people vaccinated with the first dose by the middle of February.

“We then want to get, by early spring, another 17 million.

“At that point we’ll have 99 percent of those most at risk of dying of coronavirus administered their first jab, and then the entire adult population we want being offered a first jab by September. That’s the roadmap.”

He added: “Obviously if it can be done more swiftly than that, then that’s a bonus.”

Can you take paracetamol after having the Covid vaccine?

The NHS website states most of the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week.

Side effects include a sore arm where the needle went in, tiredness, headache, feeling achy, and feeling or being sick.

The NHS website states: “You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.”

Further guidance on the Covid-19 vaccine can be found on the NHS website HERE.


Negative Covid test needed for international travellers, Department announces – Belfast Live

International travellers will need a negative Covid-19 test before coming to Northern Ireland, the Department of Health announced on Sunday.

The ‘Pre-departure testing for all International arrivals’ rules come into place from Thursday, January 21.

The Department says passengers “from all international destinations must produce a negative result to help protect against rising infection rates and new variants of coronavirus circulating internationally”.

Health Minister Robin Swann added: “This additional measure will provide another layer of protection to help reduce the risk of imported infections, while national lockdown and vaccination take effect.

“The move is in addition to other robust existing measures such as the removal of travel corridors and the self-isolation requirement regardless of pre-departure test result.”

Questions have been raised at Stormont about a travel ban between England and Northern Ireland to slow the arrival of the more infectious ‘UK’ variant of the virus. However, under questioning during a recent Health Committee hearing, Chief Scientific Adviser Ian Young insisted such a measure’s benefit would be “relatively minor”.

At a recent briefing with Prof. Young and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride Prof. Young said the UK variant is already in Northern Ireland, and that there is “no evidence of any cases” of the South Africa variant in the region.

This evening, the Department said international travellers “will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, taken within the 72 hour period before departure, to their transport operator”.

They added: “Travel operators will be committing an offence if they permit travel without the necessary proof a negative test, with fines up to £10,000.

“The test should take place in the departure country. If a traveller arrives in Northern Ireland without the necessary proof of a negative test, and without a reasonable excuse, they will be fined. Fines starting at £500 will be levied on non-compliant passengers.

“Minimum testing and certification, along with the information that you will be required to present, will be set out in the legislation. It is the responsibility of travellers to find a test provider and to ensure that tests meet the standards for pre-departure testing.

“There will be some very limited exemptions from the need for testing which will be set out in the legislation.”


Covid UK: One-in-eight recovered Covid patients DIE within 140 days – Daily Mail

Almost a third of recovered Covid patients are readmitted to hospital within five months and up to one in eight die of Covid-related complications.

Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that out of 47,780 people discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent returned to hospital within 140 days and 12.3 per cent died.

The devastating long-term effects of coronavirus can cause many survivors to develop heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions.

Study author Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at Leicester University, told the Telegraph this was the ‘largest study of people discharged from hospital after being admitted with Covid’.

Professor Khunti said: ‘People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying. We see nearly 30 per cent have been readmitted, and that’s a lot of people. The numbers are so large.’

The study has yet to be peer-reviewed and the alarming statistics are based on initial data. In other developments: 

  • NHS figures revealed one in six Covid-19 patients in English NHS hospitals arrived without the virus but were infected there since September; 
  • Another 671 deaths were recorded, the highest number for any Sunday of the pandemic so far, along with 38,598 new cases; 
  • NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said a patient is being admitted to hospital with coronavirus every 30 seconds; 
  • Ex-Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption sparked a row after telling stage 4 bowel cancer sufferer Deborah James on TV that her life was ‘less valuable’ than other people’s; 
  • All travellers arriving in Britain face being forced to quarantine in hotels under plans to further lock down the country’s borders; 
  • England rugby star Maro Itoje called for every schoolchild to have a laptop as he vowed to tackle the ‘digital divide’; 
  • Parks remained packed despite the Prime Minister warning people to ‘think twice’ before leaving the house; 
  • Dominic Raab warned the public it is ‘too early’ for them to book summer holidays for this year.

Paramedics transport a patient from the ambulance to the emergency department at the the Royal London Hospital

Paramedics transport a patient from the ambulance to the emergency department at the the Royal London Hospital

Paramedics transport a patient from the ambulance to the emergency department at the the Royal London Hospital

It comes as a further 671 people have died from Covid-19

But Professor Khunti said he was surprised to find that patients were returning to hospital with a different diagnosis and that many had developed further complications.

He added: ‘We don’t know if it’s because Covid destroyed the beta cells which make insulin and you get Type 1 diabetes, or whether it causes insulin resistance, and you develop Type 2, but we are seeing these surprising new diagnoses of diabetes.’

Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at Leicester University

Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at Leicester University

Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at Leicester University

The Government currently register a death as Covid-related if the patient dies up to 28 days after a positive test.

But the real death toll may be much higher if thousands of Covid survivors return to hospital with serious health problems months after first contracting the disease.

In December, the ONS estimated one in 10 people who caught Covid went on to suffer long Covid with symptoms lasting three months or more.

Common symptoms of long Covid include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath and problems with memory and concentration.

Responding to the study, Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London, tweeted: ‘This is such important work. Covid is about so much more than death. A significant burden of long-term illness after hospitalisation for Covid.’  

It comes as NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said that someone is being admitted to hospital with Covid ‘every 30 seconds’.  

The NHS boss, who was appearing on the Andrew Marr show, said that hospitals had seen a huge increase in patients since Christmas and added that there are enough new cases to fill a whole hospital every morning. He also revealed that a quarter of the admissions are people under the age of 55.  

Sir Simon said: ‘The facts are very clear and I’m not going to sugar-coat them, hospitals are under extreme pressure and staff are under extreme pressure.

‘Since Christmas Day we’ve seen another 15,000 increase in the in-patients in hospitals across England, that’s the equivalent of filling 30 hospitals full of coronavirus patients.

‘Staggeringly, every thirty seconds across England another patient is being admitted to hospital with coronavirus.’

It comes as a further 671 people have died from Covid-19 today, representing the highest Sunday increase. 

The surging death rate comes despite hopes infections might finally be tailing off. A raft of official data and scientific estimates published this week offered the strongest evidence yet that the tough lockdown restrictions have worked.

Cambridge University researchers believe the R rate – the average number of people each infected person passes the disease onto – may have dipped to as low as 0.6 in London and the South East. The figure must be below one for an outbreak to shrink.

Public Health England revealed weekly Covid cases have fallen in every age group except the over-80s, despite the spread of the highly infectious variant first spotted in Kent which officials feared couldn’t be contained.

In more positive news, he also revealed that a trial for 24-hour Covid vaccines within the next 10 days.