Boris Johnson faces ‘mother of all arguments’ over Covid restrictions next month

Boris Johnson faces the “mother of all arguments” next month when he comes under pressure to loosen the lockdown while the NHS remains seriously stretched, a government adviser has predicted.Professor David Spiegelhalter, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned that intensive care units will still be strained even as deaths drop significantly.A large number of Tory backbenchers are likely to be among those heaping pressure on the Prime Minister at that point to ease England’s third national lockdown.(PA Graphics) Spiegelhalter said “the benefits of the vaccine” will begin being seen next month, as he welcomed the “very encouraging news” that the R is estimated…

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As Death Toll Tops 410,000, Biden Pushes “Wartime Effort” to Fight COVID. But Could More Be Done?

On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden unveiled a 198-page national plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as the U.S. death toll tops 410,000. He signed 10 executive orders to create a new national COVID-19 testing board, to help schools reopen, to mandate international travelers to quarantine upon arrival, and to require masks on many forms of interstate transportation. Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act to increase COVID-19 testing and the production of vaccine supplies, saying a wartime effort is needed to combat the virus. “It just feels like the federal government is back, the federal government is going to play a constructive and…

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Dr. Ali Khan: U.S. Needs to Quickly Ramp Up Vaccinations as COVID Kills Over 4,000 in Single Day

As the United States breaks all records for coronavirus cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns another 92,000 could die in the next three weeks as complaints grow over the slow distribution of COVID vaccines. Across the country, hospitals are overflowing, and ICU beds are in short supply. In Los Angeles County, an epicenter of the outbreak, a staggering one in three residents has gotten the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to new data. For more on the pandemic, we speak with epidemiologist Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health and the former director of…

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As COVID Surges in L.A., Hard-Hit Indigenous Communities Fight to Preserve Life, Culture & Language

As Los Angeles County reports record COVID-19 infections, overflowing hospitals and record death tolls, we look at how Indigenous communities there are among the hardest hit in working-class neighborhoods, where many are essential workers. “Indigenous people, we don’t have the privilege to stay home and not go to work,” says Odilia Romero, co-founder and executive director of Indigenous Communities in Leadership, or CIELO, an Indigenous women-led nonprofit organization in Los Angeles. Romero also laments “the loss of knowledge” that comes with the devastation of COVID-19. “Some of the elders have passed away, and there goes a whole worldview,” she says. CIELO recently published a book documenting the stories…

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The mainstream media shows its usual racial bias around Covid policing

You will have probably seen the recent news headlines about two women, Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, who were surrounded by Derbyshire police when going for a walk just ten minutes’ drive from their homes. The pair were told that they were breaching coronavirus lockdown rules, and were each fined £200: Derbyshire police sent seven officers to confront two women on a walk at a reservoir. Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore were read their rights and fined £200 each for driving five miles from home for socially distanced exercise https://t.co/5AmXabIJG9 — The Times (@thetimes) January 8, 2021 After media outcry, an appearance by the two women on This…

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Biggest rises in Covid cases now happening outside southern and eastern England

The biggest increases in Covid-19 case rates are now happening outside the south and east of England, latest figures show.The Liverpool City Region and parts of the West Midlands have seen particularly sharp rises.In Knowsley on Merseyside the rate has soared from 455.4 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to December 30 to 1,263.4 per 100,000 in the seven days to January 6 – the biggest week-on-week rise for any local authority area in England.Halton in Cheshire, which is also part of the Liverpool City Region, saw the second biggest jump, from 533.2 to 1,220.2.And Liverpool itself recorded the third largest increase, from 387.5 to 958.6. (PA…

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COVID Scientist Rebekah Jones Condemns Armed Police Raid on Her Home & Florida’s Pandemic Response

As Florida sets new records for daily coronavirus cases, we speak with a whistleblower who was fired in May from the Florida Department of Health after she refused to censor information about the state’s COVID-19 outbreak. Rebekah Jones is a data scientist who helped build Florida’s coronavirus tracking dashboard, and she says her termination came after she refused to manipulate data to support the state’s reopening. In December, police raided Jones’s home in Tallahassee, seizing her computer and phone and holding her family at gunpoint, as part of an alleged investigation into a hacking of the Florida Health Department’s website. Jones says she had not had access to…

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“This Is How Black People Get Killed”: Dr. Susan Moore Dies of COVID After Decrying Racist Care

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: As the United States reports world record deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the final days of 2020, we look at how the pandemic that’s ravaged the country this year has shone stark new light on racism in medical care. We begin with a now-viral video recorded by Black physician Dr. Susan Moore and posted to her Facebook earlier this month, in which she describes racist treatment by medical staff at a hospital in Indianapolis who did not respond to her pleas for care despite being in intense pain and being a doctor herself.…

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Take it one day at a time to tackle lonely Covid Christmas, charities say

Charities are urging people anticipating a lonely festive period to “take it one day at a time”, in an effort to protect their mental health. Last-minute restrictions on social freedoms mean many of us will be facing the Christmas period without loved ones. London and parts of southern and eastern England were rushed into the new Tier 4 lockdown regime at the weekend. This effectively cancelled most Christmas plans, and imposed measures similar to the previous national lockdowns amid the rise of a new coronavirus mutant strain. Scotland and Northern Ireland have already announced new lockdowns from Boxing Day, while Wales’s tough restrictions will only be eased for…

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Black Critical Care Dr. Taison Bell of UVA on Fighting COVID, Racism & Securing Fair Vaccine Access

More than 40 countries have temporarily suspended some or all travel from the United Kingdom after British health officials announced a highly infectious variant of the novel coronavirus has been spreading in the country. South Africa has detected a similar variant. The new variant is believed to be 70% more contagious, but health experts say existing vaccines will still be effective against it. “What’s important to remember is that mutations will naturally happen in the course of a virus that’s in the community and circulating,” says Dr. Taison Bell, critical care and infectious disease physician at the University of Virginia. “It’s not unexpected to have these changes.” Bell…

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