Scientists warn transmission increase is likely as government sets out plans to return to schools

Education unions have warned reopening schools in full would be “reckless”, as scientists say it could lead to increased transmission. This evening, the prime minister is expected to announce the opening of all schools from 8 March. This is despite several education organisations and scientists calling for a phased reopening to prioritise safety of staff and students. The announcement follows research suggesting reopening schools will lead to the R number rising to above 1, increasing transmission. ‘Wider opening must be safe and sustainable’ Nine education organisations, including the National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), and GMB have implored the government to be cautious…

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How to Wear a Mask & When to Wear Two to Reduce COVID Transmission & Increase Vaccine Effectiveness

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. While COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations appear to be waning, the United States has a long way to go before it can safely return to a maskless normal. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control chief, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, has said it’s absolutely too soon to lift mask mandates, citing daily COVID-19 case numbers that remain at more than double the levels seen last summer. She urged people to wear a more tightly fitted surgical mask or layer a cloth mask…

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Lockdown loneliness led to an increase in anxiety and depression in people over 50

Older people’s mental health declined during the Covid-19 lockdowns as their loneliness contributed to a rise in anxiety and depression, according to a study. Researchers at the University of Exeter and King’s College London studied data from more than 3,000 people aged over 50. They said loneliness emerged as a key factor linked to worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety. And a decrease in physical activity since the start of the pandemic was also associated with worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety. Women were also more likely to be struggling with their mental health, as were retired people. ‘A huge issue in society’ Dr Byron Creese at the…

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Rich countries hoarding vaccines could increase the global death rate

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of “real danger” as it raises fears vaccines will not get to poorer countries. At a WHO board meeting, director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was worried about the ability of the WHO’s vaccine initiative to provide the doses it aimed for. Dr Tedros said: As the first vaccines begin to be deployed, the promise of equitable access is at serious risk. More than 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries. Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country. Not 25 million; not 25 thousand; just 25. I need to…

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Calls for Universal Basic Income increase as government support fails those most in need

Elected representatives across the UK have called on the government to prevent poverty by trialling Universal Basic Income (UBI). On 30 October, 520 MPs, councillors, peers, mayors and members of devolved assemblies, wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak. They emphasised how current government support is leaving many families in poverty. In the letter, organised by UBI Lab Network, the elected representatives said: Millions of people have fallen through the cracks of the government’s support packages. The pandemic has left countless families facing poverty and extreme hardship. They added: With unemployment set to increase amid a shrinking job market, we urge you not to underestimate the wider costs to society…

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SNP slams UK government for making ‘a deliberate choice’ to increase unemployment

The UK government has made a “deliberate choice” to allow unemployment to increase with their replacement for the furlough scheme, the SNP has claimed. Criticism With the job retention scheme due to end in October, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday 24 September a new scheme to top up the wages of workers whose employers can only bring them back on reduced hours. The scheme has drawn criticism from opposition parties along with the Resolution Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. They say it will not help to slow the tide of unemployment expected as the UK enters a second wave of coronavirus. Ian Blackford, leader of…

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Press release: New restrictions for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds as coronavirus cases increase

Update: local authority watchlist areas 25 SeptemberNew restrictions on household mixing brought in for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds London added as an area of concern as hospital admissions rise Teesside added as an area of enhanced supportIn close discussions with local leaders, the Health and Social Care Secretary, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), Public Health England (PHE) and the Chief Medical Officer for England have agreed to introduce local measures in parts of the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds have been escalated to areas of intervention and London has been added…

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Press release: New restrictions for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds as coronavirus cases increase

Update: local authority watchlist areas 25 SeptemberNew restrictions on household mixing brought in for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds London added as an area of concern as hospital admissions rise Teesside added as an area of enhanced supportIn close discussions with local leaders, the Health and Social Care Secretary, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), Public Health England (PHE) and the Chief Medical Officer for England have agreed to introduce local measures in parts of the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds have been escalated to areas of intervention and London has been added…

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Press release: New restrictions for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds as coronavirus cases increase

Update: local authority watchlist areas 25 SeptemberNew restrictions on household mixing brought in for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds London added as an area of concern as hospital admissions rise Teesside added as an area of enhanced supportIn close discussions with local leaders, the Health and Social Care Secretary, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), Public Health England (PHE) and the Chief Medical Officer for England have agreed to introduce local measures in parts of the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds have been escalated to areas of intervention and London has been added…

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