Covid infections in England fall by two-thirds but spreading fastest among young

Experts urge care over opening schools as children aged 5-12 now in one of most common groups for virus

Covid infections have fallen by two-thirds in a month in England but the virus is now spreading most among primary-age children and young people, research suggests.

The React 1 study from Imperial College London points to the third national lockdown having significantly curbed the spread of the coronavirus despite the emergence of new variants.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Covid crisis: 1.9m people in UK have not worked for more than six months

Report exposes lasting impact on employment caused by pandemic and multiple lockdowns

Almost 2 million people in Britain have not worked for more than six months during the coronavirus pandemic, amid growing risk to workers from long-term economic damage caused by the crisis.

The Resolution Foundation said up to 1.9 million people in January had either been out of a job or on full furlough for more than six months, revealing the lasting impact on employment caused by Covid and multiple lockdowns.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Covid hit UK hard because of years of Conservative rule, Keir Starmer to say

Labour leader to claim that poorer people have been disproportionately hit because Tories ‘weakened foundations of society’

Keir Starmer will use a major speech on Thursday to claim that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the UK disproportionately hard because 10 years of Conservative rule “weakened the foundations of our society”.

The Labour leader, who has faced internal criticism in recent weeks for failing to chart a clear political course, will say Rishi Sunak’s budget next month is “a fork in the road” and should be a moment to “diagnose the condition of Britain and to start the process of putting it right”.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Australian politics live: Facebook blocks news across the country; Victoria comes out of lockdown

Social media giant blames proposed media bargaining code for decision; some restrictions remain in place in Victoria as businesses reopen. Follow all the developments live

Rebekha Sharkie was asked about Facebook’s decision while speaking to ABC News Breakfast this morning:

I guess we’re a small market in Australia and I guess Facebook feels that they can flex their muscles. Ultimately, I think they would have to be very careful that they don’t become irrelevant. We can all only look at so many funny cat videos.

People mainly get their news content from Facebook or other services and I think people will perhaps look at other platforms if Facebook aren’t willing to share.

Anyone who has reported abuse knows just how hard it is to have the comments removed.

Blocking Australian news overnight, while allowing hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories run rampant.
Facebook has just confirmed it really is just FakeBook.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

US federal agents have seized roughly 10m fake N95 masks in recent weeks

  • Investigators notified of 6,000 potential victims in 12 states
  • Latest seized items were counterfeit 3M masks

Federal agents have seized roughly 10m fake 3M brand N95 masks in recent weeks, the result of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies.

The most recent seizures occurred on Wednesday when homeland security agents intercepted hundreds of thousands of counterfeit 3M masks in an east coast warehouse that were set to be distributed, officials said.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Mexico calls on rich countries not to hoard coronavirus vaccines

  • Foreign minister says 100 countries have yet to give out vaccine
  • Three-quarters of all doses administered in just 10 countries

Mexico has made a plea at the UN security council for countries to stop hoarding vaccines against Covid-19 as poorer ones fall behind in the race to vaccinate their citizens.

Three-quarters of the first doses have been administered to citizens in only 10 countries that account for 60% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said, while in more than 100 countries no vaccines have been applied at all.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Mindfulness, laughter and robot dogs can help relieve loneliness, study says

University of Cambridge researchers identify most effective interventions to help people living in lockdown

Robotic dogs, laughter therapy and mindfulness could help people cope with loneliness and social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers at the University of Cambridge have found.

The team at the university’s School of Medicine, led by Dr Christopher Williams, reviewed 58 already existing studies on loneliness and identified interventions that could be adapted for people living in lockdown or under pandemic-related social distancing measures.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Latino and Black Americans see lowest Covid vaccination rates, new data shows

Analysis reveals just 3% of Latinos and 4.5% of Black Americans have received shots despite facing disproportionate harm from virus

Latino and Black Americans are being vaccinated against Covid-19 at the lowest rates despite suffering disproportionately high levels of serious complications and deaths, new analysis reveals.

Only 3.5% of Latinos and 4.5% of Black Americans have so far received a vaccine shot compared with 9.1% of white Americans and 8.6% of Asian Americans, according to state figures analysed by APM Research Lab.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

English schools face tighter mask rules in government plan to reassure parents

Pupils will have to wear masks outside classroom bubbles amid plans for mass use of lateral flow tests

Rules governing the wearing of masks in schools will be tightened when pupils return to classrooms in England, as the government plans a PR campaign to build up parents’ confidence in school safety ahead of reopening next month.

Amid speculation about when and how schools would reopen to all pupils, it emerged that masks will be compulsory outside classroom bubbles in secondary schools where social distancing is not possible. Previously it has been left to the discretion of head teachers.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

UK charities urgently call on PM to set up emergency fund

Cancer Research UK and Comic Relief among charities who signed open letter to Boris Johnson

Hundreds of the UK’s biggest charity names, including Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief and Samaritans have signed a joint letter to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, calling on the government to set up an emergency support fund for the voluntary sector.

They are warning that hundreds of charities could close in the next few months – or be forced to make major cuts to services – unless ministers create a fund to help voluntary organisations maintain services.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

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