The Pentagon said Friday fully vaccinated personnel no longer need to wear masks at Defense Department facilities.
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment
The Pentagon said Friday fully vaccinated personnel no longer need to wear masks at Defense Department facilities.
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment
Scientists are reported to be on board with the proposal to scrap the rules, suggested by the National Economy Recovery Taskforce.
They have discussed a “maximalist” approach to lifting “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like masks and staying apart everywhere except for a small list of confined places.
The Prime Minister is also said to be eyeing up a return to the office, looking to end the work-from-home order.
Prof Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London and member of the Independent Sage group of experts, said a spike in B.1.617.2 cases means the May 17 reopening should be delayed.
The COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, which tracks and identifies new variants, has reportedly recorded 1,723 cases of the variant. Cases appear to double every week.
Prof Pagel told the Guardian: “We’ve done this so many times – waited until things got really bad before we realised we should have acted several weeks ago.
“So why don’t we actually act several weeks ago – which is now!”
So far, the UK has administered 35,722,461 first doses and 18,438,532 second doses of coronavirus vaccine.
That equals 67.8 percent of the UK’s adult population having received their first dose, and 35 percent receiving their second.
Yesterday saw another 2,284 cases and 11 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
In total, the UK has seen 4,441,975 cases and 127,640 deaths.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed
Author: Claudia Aoraha
This post originally appeared on Breaking UK news and exclusives | The Sun
BORIS Johnson will be told that social distancing at big events can be scrapped after a pilot scheme showed no spike in Covid cases.
Crowds should be able to return without social distancing from June 21, while experts have said older vaccinated people should “get out there and socialise”.
🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates
It comes as people are being “terrified” by messages that things may not ever go back to normal – despite the success of the vaccine rollout.
And after initial results from pilot schemes, the Prime Minister will be told next week that there were no spikes in Covid cases among attendees.
With precautions like staggering entries and good ventilation, crowds can return to large events without distancing – following the monitoring of sports games that have already taken place.
A source familiar with the report, according to the Telegraph, said ministers will be told that the pilots have shown “there are some effective ways to manage risk that could remove the need to have social distancing at events”.
The conclusions will be framed as an “initial view” from scientists – with more pilot events coming next month.
With infections dropping to below 50 per 100,000 people in more than 95 per cent of the UK, ministers say that the lifting of all restrictions is in sight.
Prof Tim Spector OBE, who leads the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, told the Mirror: “Rates are low, we’re not out of it yet but we can be optimistic.
“We shouldn’t be too worried about meeting people outside. I think we can start to increasingly enjoy life as long as we’re sensible.
“This is reassuring for elderly people who have been isolating for a year and have been double vaccinated, to say: ‘Look guys, your risk is so small, you should get out there and socialise.
“Two elderly vaccinated people should be able to go out and give each other a hug.
“We’re just not being honest in that for people who are double vaccinated the risks are tiny.
“A lot of people are still being terrified by Government messages and may never go back to normal.”
Current coronavirus rules state that you must keep two metres from people outside of your household or support bubble.
But Brits can meet outdoors with six people, as well as drink and dine at al fresco hospitality venues.
But social distancing is set to be in place until June 21 at the earliest, according to Boris Johnson’s roadmap.
Current infection levels are among the lowest to have been recorded by experts at the ZOE Symptom Tracker app, with just 757 infections being logged each day in England.
There are currently 1,046 new symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average compared to 1,165 daily cases a week ago.
This is a decrease of 10 per cent from last week and study lead, Prof Spector said that rates are beginning to plateau, moving the UK into a new era of the pandemic.
Three regions also recorded no new infections, these are the East of England, the North East and Northern Ireland.
This comes after Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said meetings between fully vaccinated people are “incredibly safe”.
He added that England was “extremely close” to allowing people to meet indoors – but that we needed to “hold the line for just a teeny bit longer”.
Professor Van-Tam warned that there would be “bumps in the road” as Covid lockdown restrictions were rolled back.
He said: “I would be highly confident, scientifically, that if those were reputable vaccines, then indeed it would be incredibly safe for those two people to meet.”
He also noted that following the rules would be “frustrating at times for people, particularly those who’ve had their two doses, but we need to make sure we don’t have to go backwards again”.
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“My sense is that probably we are at or close to the bottom at the moment in terms of this level of disease in the UK,” he said.
Professor Van-Tam said it was “inconceivable” that there would be a rise in cases as mixing returned.
However, he said he hoped vaccinations would stop the NHS from being overwhelmed as it was in the winter.
Author: Vanessa Chalmers
This post originally appeared on Health News – The Sun
PEOPLE who are fully vaccinated have been urged to carry on social distancing to be fair to the rest of Britain.
A senior health official suggested the UK should not allow “privileged” immunised people greater freedoms.
🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates
Instead, society should move forward together.
In the US, groups of fully vaccinated people can meet indoors without the need for social distancing or face masks.
This won’t be allowed for the UK until June 21 at the earliest, when all remaining social distancing rules will lift.
That’s despite experts saying the risk of two-fully vaccinated people catching Covid from meeting up inside is at “one in 400,000 chance”.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also says fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing face coverings outdoors, while there are no current plans to stop mask-wearing in the UK.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), said the UK is choosing an all-together approach.
She told MPs today the Government’s road map reflects “doing everything as a whole” but that in the future, “we may be able to pick out individuals”.
She said: “I think the other thing is we have a slightly different cultural perspective in this country in that we tend to do everything together.
“We are trying to say that this is about the population as a whole rather than the individuals, those privileged individuals who have had two doses, being somehow able to do things that other people cannot.”
Dr Ramsay told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that the US had given more second doses, which allowed them to be less cautious now.
Some 29 per cent of the US population has hd two doses compared to the UK’s 25 per cent.
The UK has a policy of leaving up to 12 weeks between vaccine doses in order to save more lives, whereas other countries have stuck to a standard three weeks.
A person does not have the optimal protection against Covid until at least three weeks after their vaccine.
However, around half the British population, all under 50 years old, have not had even their first dose of a jab.
And a small proportion of older and more vulnerable people would have refused it or cannot get it due to medical reasons.
Dr Ramsay said: “There is a risk that we get a resurgence as we release restrictions – hopefully that will mainly lead to mild disease and younger people.
“But there will still be the risk that those people can potentially pass this on to older individuals who are, for whatever reason, either unable to respond to vaccine, unvaccinated or maybe if the vaccine begins to lose protection over time.”
More than 47 million vaccine doses have been given in the UK so far, including more than 33.8 million first doses, and 12.2 million second doses.
In England, nearly 39.4 million doses have been given – 28.43
million first doses and 11 million second doses.
NHS England data between December 8 and April 27 gives a regional break down of jabs given:
It came after a PHE study revealed that Covid vaccines do stop people from passing the virus to other people, hailed by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock as “terrific”.
The key finding was that a single dose cuts the risk of catching the virus by two-thirds and onward transmission to household members by up to almost half.
But Dr Ramsay pointed out the figure was not 100 per cent.
In the committee hearing, Dr Ramsay also told MPs it was “very important” that as many people as possible are vaccinated before all restrictions are eased.
Another expert warned of a large coronavirus wave later on if “we all go completely wild”.
Hopes of ‘normal’ summer & hugs back by June as 70% of adults have antibodies
Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), warned of the risks of ignoring eerything that has been learned about social distancing in the last year.
“We need to celebrate our success with vaccines… but we also need to be cautious because we don’t want to see what’s happening in other parts of Europe and other parts of the world here in the UK.
“If we can carry on with the messaging that we carry on being cautious, even though we are unlocking slowly in terms of the social distancing, the mask wearing, etc, we may keep infection rates down.”
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
The open letter states that “a good society cannot be created by an obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health” and states all restrictions should be lifted in June on the final date in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. Masks should no longer be worn by schoolchildren after May 17, say the scientists – and they warn the damage to society will be too great if the current Covid control measures continue beyond the June roadmap date.
Vaccine passports should also be scrapped along with mass community testing, they say.
Instead, the government should focus on targeted testing, creating better incentives for staying home if ill and basic hygiene measures, such as handwashing and surface cleaning.
The scientists, from a broad range of specialities and all sides of the political spectrum say the “theoretical risk” of vaccine-immune strains or a new Covid surge should not outweigh the harms caused by lockdown rules, including damage to children’s education and the nation’s mental health.
The letter, written by Robert Dingwall, professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University, Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University and Professor Anthony Brookes, Geneticist and Health Data Scientist, University of Leicester, states: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.
“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”
Citing official data, the letter states that the vaccine programme will almost totally eliminate deaths and hospitalisations from Covid-19 and become “demonstrably less fatal than seasonal influenza viruses.”
It states: “We can be very confident that they (the vaccines) will reduce Covid deaths by around 98 per cent and serious illness by 80-85 per cent,” once uptake of the vaccine among vulnerable groups is completed in the forthcoming weeks.
Face coverings, it states, should no longer be worn by schoolchildren after May 17th, and “all exceptional measures to control the virus should cease no later than June 21,” because unproven benefits are outweighed by “damage to mental health, education of children and young people, to people with disabilities, new entrants to the workforce and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”
And it states: “All consideration of immunity documentation should cease.”
It concludes: “In short, the level of population immunity we have now achieved by targeted vaccination and natural infection means that the SARS-Cov-2 virus in the UK has become demonstrably less fatal than seasonal influenza viruses.
“It is time to recognize that, in our substantially vaccinated population, Covid-19 will take its place among the 30 or so respiratory viral diseases with which humans have historically co-existed….For most vaccinated and other low-risk people, Covid-19 is now a mild endemic infection, likely to recur in seasonal waves which renew immunity without significantly stressing the NHS.”
Continued virus surveillance as well investments towards better vaccines should continue along with improved support people who need to stay at home with respiratory symptoms.
It concludes: “Just as before the pandemic, it will remain desirable to promote general standards of public hygiene, such as thorough handwashing and surface cleaning, although neither has been shown to be particularly important in reducing SARS-Cov-2 transmission. There would also be value in increasing the ability of the NHS to deal with surges of infection, although these are as likely to come from other respiratory infections as from Covid-19, and to ensure good care for long Covid.
“We have learned that a good society cannot be created by obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health. Having endured the ravages of 2020, things are very different as we enter the spring of 2021. It is more than time for citizens to take back control of their own lives.”
Robert Dingwall, a professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University and co-author of the letter, said: “This Open Letter is not the product of any organized group, alliance or coalition. The signatories do not share anything beyond their frustration that policy conclusions promoted from a limited set of scientific disciplines have constantly emphasised fear, anxiety and worst cases. Pandemics challenge the whole of society, not just medicine and public health.
“Proportionate responses require all the expertise available to citizens and governments, especially as we begin to live with Covid-19 as an endemic infection in a vaccinated population. The authors respect the same data but bring broader perspectives on risk and its management to question the policy implications drawn from it. Citizens’ lives do not have to be micromanaged by government restrictions on human contact and tracked morning, noon and night.”
Mike Hulme, professor of human geography, University of Cambridge who is one of the signatories said: “It is increasingly clear that pursuing a strategy of virus eradication is delivering an increasingly unfavourable risk-benefit ratio. Eradication is an unattainable goal. In the meantime, the damage to the country’s broader social, political and economic health caused by this misguided strategy deepens.
“It is time to commit to a prudent and balanced strategy for managing Covid-19 risk in society, a strategy which this Open Letter points towards. We assimilate a wide range of public health risks into everyday life, without straining to eradicate them at enormous and indefensible economic, social and political cost. As much as containing the virus itself, part of this strategy must be to arrest the contagion of pandemic fear.”
Letter to the Government
We are writing as scientists and scholars concerned about the confused and contradictory directions currently being promoted in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely.
Both propositions cannot be true. We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population. It is time to reassess where we are and where we go next.
Phase One of the Covid-19 vaccination programme will shortly be completed, with every vulnerable adult in the UK having been offered two injections. It is clear that the vaccines are fully delivering on the promise of the clinical trials. We can be very confident that they will reduce Covid deaths by around 98 per cent and serious illness by 80-85 per cent.
This level of protection against serious illness seems not to be significantly affected by any of the variants that have been observed, because of the breadth of T-cell responses. There are sound evolutionary reasons why this is unlikely to change in the near future with new variants. In short, the level of population immunity we have now achieved by targeted vaccination and natural infection means that the SARS-Cov-2 virus in the UK has become demonstrably less fatal than seasonal influenza viruses.
Given this, it is time to recognize that, in our substantially vaccinated population, Covid-19 will take its place among the 30 or so respiratory viral diseases with which humans have historically co-existed. This has been explicitly accepted in a number of recent statements by the Chief Medical Officer. For most vaccinated and other low-risk people, Covid-19 is now a mild endemic infection, likely to recur in seasonal waves which renew immunity without significantly stressing the NHS.
Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit. Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.
The DfE recommendations on face covering and social distancing in schools should never have been extended beyond Easter and should cease no later than 17 May. Mandatory face coverings, physical distancing and mass community testing should cease no later than 21 June along with other controls and impositions. All consideration of immunity documentation should cease.
There will be continuing value in investments towards better vaccines with a broader spectrum of action against the virus; in establishing a genuinely voluntary, targeted surveillance programme with a genomic component to monitor the spread and evolution of the virus; and in improving social security provision to encourage people to stay at home if experiencing respiratory symptoms.
Just as before the pandemic, it will remain desirable to promote general standards of public hygiene, such as thorough handwashing and surface cleaning, although neither has been shown to be particularly important in reducing SARS-Cov-2 transmission. There would also be value in increasing the ability of the NHS to deal with surges of infection, although these are as likely to come from other respiratory infections as from Covid-19, and to ensure good care for long Covid.
We have learned that a good society cannot be created by obsessive focus on a single cause of ill-health. Having endured the ravages of 2020, things are very different as we enter the spring of 2021. It is more than time for citizens to take back control of their own lives.
Signatories (in alphabetical order)
Professor Ryan Anderson, Translational Science, Medicines Discovery Catapult
Dr Colin Axon, Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University
Professor Anthony Brookes, Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Leicester
Professor Jackie Cassell, FFPH, Deputy Dean, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Professor Angus Dalgleish, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci, Oncology, St George’s, University of London
Professor Robert Dingwall, FAcSS, HonMFPH, Sociology, Nottingham Trent University
Professor Sunetra Gupta, Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford
Professor Carl Heneghan, MRCGP, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, University of Oxford
Professor Mike Hulme, Human Geography, University of Cambridge.
Dr John Lee – formerly Pathology, Hull York Medical School
Professor David Livermore, Medical Microbiology, University of East Anglia.
Professor Paul McKeigue Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics, University of Edinburgh
Professor David Paton, Industrial Economics, University of Nottingham
Emeritus Professor Hugh Pennington, CBE, FRCPath, FRCP (Edin), FMedSci, FRSE, Bacteriology, University of Aberdeen
Dr Gerry Quinn, Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster
Dr Roland Salmon, MRCGP, FFPH, former Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Wales).
Emeritus Professor John Scott, CBE, FRSA, FBA, FAcSS, Sociology, University of Essex
Professor Karol Sikora, FRCR, FRCP, FFPM, Medicine, University of Buckingham
Professor Ellen Townsend, Psychology, University of Nottingham
Dr Chao Wang, Health & Social Care Statistics, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London,
Professor John Watkins, Epidemiology, Cardiff University
Professor Lisa White, Modelling and Epidemiology, University of Oxford.
He explained customers will be asked to wear face coverings while onboard, but social distancing will not be possible.
“People in families will be sitting together and everybody will still be wearing masks,” he continued.
“We will still require you to wear masks but there is no way you can separate people on board an aircraft.
“[This is because] you can’t get up to go to the toilet, you can’t board the aircraft at two metre separations.”