Tag Archives: Stay

GB News’ Wootton highlights inconsistency in Meghan & Harry’s royal exit ‘Why not stay?’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have come under fire from GB News host Dan Wootton for their recent appearances in New York. The couple have embarked on a three-day post royal excursion, where they have conducted a number of engagements, including visiting a primary school in Harlem and attending a photocall at One World Trade Centre. Dan Wootton  questioned why the Sussexes did not remain in the Royal Family if they wished to be “treated like royals”. 

Speaking to royal expert Robert Jobson on GB News, Mr Wootton said: “They’re acting as if this was a royal tour, but they’re not royal.

“They’ve wanted to go to the US to live a normal life as private citizens.

“I just don’t understand this, if they wanted to do tours internationally and be treated like royals, then why did they not stay in the Royal Family?”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived in New York on Wednesday, and have spent the last three days undertaking a number of official engagements, similar to those carried out by working members of the Royal Family. 

READ MORE: Meghan and Harry’s vaccine campaign questioned: ‘Who would be influenced?’

Prince Harry and Meghan began their tour with a visit to the One World Trade Centre on Thursday morning, where they were joined by Bill de Blasio, the New York City Mayor, and Kathy Hochul, the New York State Governor.

Dozens of security guards and NYPD officers with sniffer dogs accompanied the couple, with members of the press invited for the photocall. 

One World Trade Centre was built on the site of the original Twin Towers, which were destroyed after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. 

Meghan and Harry’s visit to the site comes two weeks after New York commemorated the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. 

In a statement released afterwards, the Sussexes said: “In this room, we had a number of the foremost leaders on public health, pandemic preparedness, scientific progress, and community building. Today’s meeting was a much-appreciated opportunity to learn from some of the most respected experts who are working tirelessly to end this pandemic.

“Building on ongoing conversations we’ve had with global leaders over the past 18 months, today further reinforced our commitment to vaccine equity.”

On Friday, the couple joined primary school children at PS 123, Mahalia Jackson, in Harlem, where Meghan recited her children’s book, The Bench. 

The event was designed to promote literacy amongst economically disadvantaged children. 

Prince Harry and Meghan are also due to take part in the Global Citizen Live, an event organised to encourage world leaders to develop a vaccine equity policy to help end the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their New York visit marks the couple’s first official outing since leaving the Royal Family in 2020. 

Read more here Daily Express :: Royal Feed

‘Huge discount: How to get a four-week Airbnb stay for price of two and other expert ti[s

TRAVEL experts Alex and Emma, the couple behind the travel platform Travel Beans, are experts in exploring, travelling around the world and across the British Isles. They have a number of expert tips to save money, including how to get four weeks in an Airbnb for the price of two.

Read more here Daily Express :: Travel News Feed

Thornbury Castle: See inside King Henry VIII’s honeymoon getaway where you can now stay

Thornbury Castle was originally built by Edward Stafford, the only man to rival King Henry’s wealth and status at that time.

It was a display of wealth and ambition that Henry did not take kindly to, and after Stafford was found guilty of treason, His Majesty took control of the castle.

Visiting guests can also enjoy a variety of traditional and modern medieval activities to make them feel they have travelled back in time.

Choose from bespoke historical tours, axe throwing, sword skills, archery, falconry, croquet on the lawn and even the opportunity to ‘Become a Tudor Queen’ for the day.

READ MORE: George, Charlotte, Louis: How Kate keeping them busy on holiday

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

Kirstie Allsopp sparks backlash as she claims Covid ‘may kill us’ but ‘is here to stay’

Kirstie Allsopp, 49, has shared how she believes coronavirus will not be disappearing anytime soon as case numbers continue to rise in the UK. The Location, Location, Location host sparked backlash after saying Covid is “low down” on the list of things that might kill us, but added, “something has to after all”.

Kirstie typed: “Covid is here to stay, it is one of the many things that may kill us, though quite low down that list, something has to after all.  

“Luckily in the last 150 years we have taken many things off that list, and we’ve added a few.

“Life is like that, but thank God for life,” she added.

Fans were divided by her comments as some claimed other countries had managed to stamp out the spread of the disease.

READ MORE: Prince Harry’s relaxed nature ‘not appealing anymore’, claims Lady C

The figure is a rise on Friday’s 51,870 cases, which was the highest since mid-January. Some 49 deaths were reported on Friday.

On vaccinations, 67,956 people had their first dose on Friday, while 188,976 completed their course.

It brings the total number of people who have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine across the UK to 35,732,297 – 67.8% of adults.

The numbers come amid disruption on some parts of the UK’s transport network, with the NHS COVID-19 app alerts leaving some services suspended due to a lack of staff available.

London’s Metropolitan Tube Line has been fully suspended, while the Piccadilly and District Lines face severe delays.

Elsewhere, Sajid Javid revealed he has tested positive for COVID-19, and is now awaiting the results of his confirmatory PCR test.

Mr Javid’s symptoms emerged just three days after he visited a care home in Streatham, south London.

He was there on Tuesday, having earlier been in parliament. He returned to the Commons on Wednesday and spoke about the Health and Care Bill in the afternoon.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Celebrity News

Camping, caravan & holidays: Scotland & north east beat south for last-minute summer stay

Although July and August promise the warmest temperatures in the North East and Scotland, with the average highs hitting 18 and 17 degrees Celsius respectively, the later months can offer decent weather too.

“September usually delivers some lovely weather, and a lot of our customers enjoy breaks well into Autumn,” he said.

“And with local indoor tourist attractions opening there are lots of things to do even on rainy days.”

However, while he acknowledges this isn’t an option for everyone, Mr Hodgson insists there are still ways to save during the busy summer months.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

While they agree that the virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, they have radically different approaches to dealing with it

But while they may agree that the virus is here to stay, in some form, for the foreseeable future, these countries have radically different approaches to dealing with it.
Singapore, an island state of 5.69 million, and the UK, home to an estimated 66 million people, have had very different pandemic experiences — and outcomes — so far.
While the UK has one of the highest numbers of Covid-19 related deaths in the world — nearly 129,000 since the pandemic started — only 36 people have died of Covid-19 in Singapore. For every 100,000 of the population in the UK, there have been 192.64 Covid-19 deaths in the UK. This goes down to 0.63 in Singapore, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The UK government was widely condemned for being slow to implement pandemic control measures, such as mask mandates and lockdowns, as the virus began to spread in spring 2020.
By contrast, Singapore was quick to shut its borders, implemented a comprehensive contact tracing and testing program, and imposed quarantine requirements early on.
Now the two countries are charting different paths out of the pandemic; their plans are likely to be seen as test cases for other nations as they ramp up their vaccination programs.

The roadmaps

In June, Singaporean lawmakers unveiled the country’s roadmap to a “new normal” in a letter published in the Straits Times, outlining a radical departure from Singapore’s previous “zero transmission” model.
So-called “zero-Covid” approaches have been adopted by several countries and territories across the Asia-Pacific region.
But the letter revealed that Singapore’s authorities were looking to change tack, moving away from daily monitoring of cases to a focus on medical outcomes such as “how many fall very sick, how many in the intensive care unit, how many need to be intubated for oxygen, and so on,” they wrote.
Countries like Singapore are preparing to "live with Covid."
Eventually, they hope, Covid-19 will be treated as a less severe disease, like influenza or chicken pox.
Weeks later, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a similar note, predicting that Covid-19 would “become a virus that we learn to live with as we already do with flu.” Johnson announced plans to lift almost all coronavirus restrictions, including the mask mandate and social distancing rules, in England on July 19.
He said the country’s successful vaccine rollout — under which 66% of the adult population has now received two doses of the jab — has broken the link between infections and severe illness.
But Covid-19 case numbers have surpassed 50,000 a day in the UK at the same time that “normal life” resumes — nearly 52,000 new cases, and 49 deaths, were recorded on Friday.
England’s reopening is the latest pandemic measure to divide opinion in the country. While many in Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party support his approach, scientists have issued dire warnings that the health of millions of people is at stake, since herd immunity has not been reached and around 17 million people — some classed as extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 — remain unvaccinated.
After modelling suggested that thousands of people may die if the UK reopened in June, Johnson kicked back the UK’s “Freedom Day.”
Dr. Oliver Watson, a researcher modelling Covid-19 transmission at Imperial College London, told CNN there appeared to be little political will to delay the reopening further, despite the numbers, and the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain of Covid-19 in the UK.
Watson contrasted the UK’s loosening of restrictions in the face of all the data, with the situation in Singapore, where — despite a determination to return to normal life — the authorities still appear keen to clamp down on cases of the virus.
“The ease with which Singapore will tighten their restrictions in response to local outbreaks is just completely worlds apart to how they [the UK government] handles things,” he said.

An “unethical experiment?”

Singapore is currently averaging 26 new Covid-19 cases a day; no firm date has yet been set for its reopening.
Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told Bloomberg on July 9 that Singapore’s roadmap diverged considerably from the UK’s “big bang approach” to reopening. “I think what we want is to take a more middle path,” he said, explaining that it was critical to achieve high vaccination rates and “maintain both containment and mitigation measures.”
Around 40% of the Singaporean population have received their second dose of the vaccine, and the government says the country is on track to vaccinate three quarters of its entire population by August 9. Unlike the UK, adolescents over the age of 12 are included in the vaccination figures. The UK has yet to approve giving the jab to that age group.
Mask mandates in England will end on July 19.
Ong told Bloomberg that “the balance will shift,” but mitigation and containment measures would not be abandoned. Instead, he said, Singapore’s reopening would be gradual, “package by package — nothing ‘big bang’ — and each step of the way, make sure we keep populations safe.”
Back in England many are watching Boris Johnson’s reopening gamble with alarm.
More than 100 doctors and scientists last week warned that not only was the move premature, but that “unmitigated transmission will disproportionately affect unvaccinated children and young people who have already suffered greatly.”
The strategy will create “fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants,” endangering the UK and the wider world, they added. “We believe the government is embarking on a dangerous and unethical experiment, and we call on it to pause plans to abandon mitigations on July 19,” they wrote.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Johnson defended the reopening plans, saying that the upcoming school holidays would act as a “natural firebreak” to help limit the spread of the virus among children.
Johnson also called for people to take personal responsibility, and recommended they wear face coverings in crowded or enclosed spaces, despite his decision to lift the mask mandate.
This reliance on personal responsibility has raised eyebrows. “It is very easy to [shift] that onus on personal responsibility and push the blame on the population” if deaths rise, Watson said.
On top of the 17 million people without protection, an uptick of cases could also cause some partially or fully vaccinated individuals to die, he said, adding that it was “horrid” to watch the UK — one of the few countries in the world to have widescale access to vaccines — squander this vital tool against Covid-19 with an early reopening.

Vaccines and testing

In contrast to the UK, Singapore’s roadmap out of the Covid-19 crisis has faced little public opposition, partly thanks to high levels of trust in the government, which is credited with having helped keep a lid on the virus for the past 18 months.
In its fight against coronavirus, the island state has advantages many larger countries do not: It has a small population that is accustomed to somewhat draconian, top-down rule-making. Additionally, its experience of the 2003 SARS outbreak gave it a 17-year head-start on creating quarantine facilities, building labs and a workforce for the next viral disease.
That meant that, in the months after the first reported case in China, “we were right on top of this,” Dale Fisher, a professor in infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore (NUS), told CNN.
A big part of Singapore’s success in containing the coronavirus lies in its extensive and aggressive contact tracing system. Using Bluetooth wireless technology, its Trace Together app tracks close encounters between people, allowing close contacts of confirmed cases to isolate swiftly. Use of the app is mandatory to enter shops and venues.
But it is not without its controversies. The government admitted this year that data from the Trace Together app can be handed to police for criminal investigations, sparking criticism from the public.
High levels of vaccine coverage are central to the government’s reopening plan. But lawmakers are unsure if they will reach the 90 or 95% coverage needed for herd immunity, Health Minister Ong told Bloomberg. “We may get 80%, if we are lucky,” he said.
Singapore’s authorities are working on the basis that Covid-19 will go from being a pandemic to being endemic among its population — it will still circulate, but at a very low rate.
Singapore’s reopening will be gradual, and levers will not be lifted overnight. Despite its lower threshold of cases than the UK, Singapore’s current social distancing rules limits social mixing to five people. When 40% of the UK’s adult population was double jabbed in June — which is the current vaccination figure in Singapore — up to 30 people could legally meet in an indoor setting.
And unlike the UK, entry into Singapore is largely limited to Singapore citizens and permanent residents — but they are required to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel or at home. At the end of July, fully-vaccinated people will be allowed to meet in groups of eight. Starting this week, staff in “higher-risk” settings — gyms, restaurants and beauty salons — will be required to take Covid tests every fortnight, according to a government website. Meanwhile, workplace testing is not mandatory in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not ruled out reimposing restrictions if a new variant emerges that evades vaccinations.
As more people are vaccinated in Singapore, the number of infections will be less of a concern, said infectious diseases expert Fisher. Instead of reporting daily infections, the focus should be on how many of those infections translate into hospitalizations and deaths, he added.
“It does change the game, because what a case meant a year ago when there was no vaccine, is quite different from what a case means now,” Fisher said.
Still, Singapore’s reopening “won’t be the UK-style ‘take off your masks and let’s party,'” he said.
The finer details of Singapore’s roadmap are still being drawn up by its health agencies, but Fisher reckons the reopening may see Singaporeans allowed to travel more freely, and to quarantine at home if they are vaccinated, rather than at dedicated facilities.
People infected with Covid-19, and occasionally some of their close contacts, are isolated at dedicated Covid-19 facilities. But as Singapore gradually reopens, infected people will instead recover at home “because with vaccination the symptoms will be mostly mild. With others around the infected person also vaccinated, the risk of transmission will be low,” the Straits Times letter said.
“The point is, we don’t want to keep it so tight, but we also don’t want overnight 5,000 cases,” Fisher said. “I think it’ll be about keeping a lid on it, but heading towards more lenient restrictions.”

A balancing act

While much has been made of the need to balance public health measures and the economy, the two are not mutually exclusive, experts say.
“It may seem like it’s a good thing economically to open up the country right away, but if the end result is another wave of infections, which I think is reasonably possible in the UK, then in the long run it may have been bad economically,” David Matchar, Professor at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, told CNN.
Matchar said Singapore was attempting to lift restrictions slowly and steadily in order to prevent hospitals from getting overcrowded, and in turn prevent the economic shocks brought about by drastic lockdowns.
Events in Israel — one of the most vaccinated countries in the world — foreshadow the risks ahead. After lifting most Covid-19 regulations in June, Israeli lawmakers reinstated the indoor mask mandate weeks late on June 25 after a spike in cases caused by the Delta variant.
Despite his earlier claims that the UK’s lockdown lifting was “irreversible,” this week Prime Minister Johnson would not rule out reimposing restrictions if a new variant emerges that evades vaccinations.
“It seems a shame” that the UK can’t wait a little bit longer like Singapore, and instead is opting to gamble on the gains of its “brilliant and effective” vaccine rollout, Imperial College’s Watson said.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Iowa, New Hampshire fight to stay atop the 2024 GOP nomination

DES MOINES –  Iowa’s caucuses have led off the presidential nominating calendar for half a century, and if Iowa GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann has his way, the race for the White House in the 2024 election cycle will once again “start right here in the Hawkeye State.”

“We are the first-in-the-nation caucus state – period. End of story,” Kaufmann emphasized in an interview with Fox News.


As the 2020 presidential election fades into the rearview mirror and the very early moves are already underway in the 2024 White House race, the quadrennial battle by the four states that lead off the primaries and caucuses – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina , and Nevada – has already begun.

A display in a conference room at the Iowa GOP's headquarters, in Des Moines, Iowa on July 15. 2021.

A display in a conference room at the Iowa GOP’s headquarters, in Des Moines, Iowa on July 15. 2021.

So far, the early 2024 nominating calendar drama is coming from the Democrats, with former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a longtime senator from Nevada, late last year igniting a push to move his state to the lead-off position. A bill passed by the state’s Democratic legislature and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak last month would change the state’s caucus to a primary and move it to the first Tuesday in February in presidential nominating years. 


Nevada is currently third in the Democrats’ nominating calendar, trailing Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary. It’s fourth in the Republican schedule, trailing Iowa, New Hampshire, as well as South Carolina’s primary.

But Nevada’s new law needs the backing of the national parties – the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) – to come to fruition. If Nevada moved up the date of their contest without the national parties signing off on the move, it could face sanctions and the loss of convention delegates. 

FILE - The Iowa Caucuses exhibit in Des Moines, Iowa

FILE – The Iowa Caucuses exhibit in Des Moines, Iowa

For years, the knock against Iowa and New Hampshire – among some Democrats – has been that the states are too White, lack any major urban areas and aren’t representative of a Democratic Party which has become increasingly diverse over the past several decades. Nevada and South Carolina are much more diverse and have larger metropolitan areas than either Iowa or New Hampshire. 

That’s less of an issue for Republicans. Kaufmann and the other early voting state GOP chairs – Steve Stepanek of New Hampshire, Drew McKissick of South Carolina, and Michael McDonald of Nevada – last month jointly issued a statement that made crystal clear their opposition to drive by Nevada Democrats.


The four GOP chairs have been teaming up all year to protect their cherished status. They held a hospitality session at the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) spring meeting in Dallas, Texas to drum up support among fellow national committee members and state party officials for keeping the existing nominating calendar.

Stepanek, who called the session at spring meeting “a last minute quick reception,” told Fox News that “we’re doing a much more in-depth reception at the RNC summer meeting (next month in Nashville, Tennessee) that is being put on by all four states. We’re all in unison working together to preserve the calendar and the order within the calendar exactly as it is.”

Stepanek shared that at next month’s meeting, the RNC will announce who will sit on the committee being put together on the presidential nomination process.

And he said the mission of the four chairs “is to make sure that all of the other members of the RNC recognize the importance of the primary calendar as it exists right now and that they endorse the primary calendar as it exists right now.”

A sign outside the New Hampshire state capital building that marks the state's century long tradition of holding the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, in Concord, New Hampshire.

A sign outside the New Hampshire state capital building that marks the state’s century long tradition of holding the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, in Concord, New Hampshire.

Kaufmann and Stepanek are also talking with their Democratic counterparts in their states, as the fight to protect the current calendar crosses party lines in Iowa and New Hampshire.


“Iowa Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much, but we do agree in keeping Iowa first in the nation. I have had conversations with Jeff Kaufmann and will continue to be in communication with him going forward,” Iowa Democrats chair Ross Wilburn said in a statement. 

Wilburn highlighted that the Hawkeye State kickoff caucus “adds an important voice to the conversation.”

Longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley emphasized that “anytime anyone comes after New Hampshire, we take it seriously and we prepare and we will do so again,”

“We will, I think, successfully save the primary again,” Buckley predicted. But he acknowledged that “it takes a lot of time, work, and relationships.”

When it comes to the GOP nominating calendar, Stepanek was equally confident, saying “I believe that the RNC, in my opinion, will not change the calendar.”

But he added that “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

Early traffic by the potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination contenders to Iowa and New Hampshire has been picking up in recent months. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem – who are considered potential White House hopefuls – are in Iowa on Friday, as they speak at the annual summit of an influential social conservative group. And another possible contender – Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas – is in New Hampshire on Saturday to help fundraise for Granite State Republicans.


Kaufmann spotlighted that he’s asked every potential 2024 contender who’s visited Iowa so far this year “whether the carve out system and specifically from our perspective the first-in-the-nation caucus” should remain untouched. 

He touted that “every one of them have not only been a yes, they’ve been absolutely enthusiastic.”

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This post originally posted here usnews

Alpaca holiday: Stay overnight with llamas at this Cumbria cottage

Coachmans Country Cottage, just outside Penrith, offers a range of interactive animal encounters, including trekking with the four-legged animals around Melmerby village. Guests will learn about the lives and habitats of the alpacas, and meet the resident badger and the local family of hedgehogs.

Having been open for two years, the six-star, one-bedroom cottage sleeps two guests and has its own private parking and hot tub in the garden.

Located in the Eden Valley countryside on the edge of the Lake District National Park, the cottage is surrounded by acres of greenspace.

A Coachmans Country Cottage spokesperson said: “Llama trekking is like nothing else you’ve ever done before.”

“Llamas are classed as the dolphins of the animal world and bond to people to provide a unique and amazing experience that you will never forget.”

“The local wildlife is so interesting that guests say they don’t even bother putting the TV on. Instead, they sit and watch the llamas interact outside their backdoor.”

READ MORE: Where to find this incredible Cold War secret nuclear bunker

Prices start from £750. Prices at Coachmans Country Cottage start from £750 to book your stay directly, book here.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

Covid vaccine update: The 21 symptoms of Covid vaccinated people should ‘stay alert to’

The UK is days away from what has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’. On July 19 the Government will lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England. Although the Delta variant is still raging across the country, many people will have received two shots of a coronavirus vaccine by now, which should help allay some of the fears. However, the viral disease can still breach the immune system’s defences.

The team behind the ZOE COVID Study app have been hammering this message home over the last couple of weeks.

It’s app, which has been accumulating data on the pandemic from millions of users, clearly shows you can still catch COVID-19 after being vaccinated.

A curious development to spring out of its data is that people who had been vaccinated and then tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to report sneezing as a symptom compared with those without a jab.

This suggests that sneezing a lot with no explanation after you’ve been vaccinated could be a sign of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Delta variant symptoms: The key DIFFERENT symptoms to look out for

However, “it’s important to remember that the link between sneezing and COVID-19 isn’t very strong,” the team behind the app noted.

What’s more, sneezing is just one possible symptom out of many that even those vaccinated should be on the lookout for.

“You should stay alert to the 20 symptoms of the disease, whether or not you’ve been vaccinated,” advises the Symptom Study app experts.

What are the 20 symptoms?

The full list of reported coronavirus symptoms include:

  • High temperature (fever)
  • Chills or shivers
  • Persistent cough
  • Loss or change in smell (anosmia)
  • Loss or change in taste (dysgeusia)
  • Headache
  • Unusual tiredness (fatigue)
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden confusion (delirium), especially in older people
  • Skin rash
  • Changes in the mouth or tongue (COVID tongue)
  • Red and sore fingers or toes (COVID fingers/toes)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Hoarse voice
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skipping meals
  • Abdominal pains
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing.

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It is important to note that, while the vaccines will not stop you from catching COVID-19, they will render the viral disease far less deadly.

In fact, those used in the UK are as effective at preventing symptomatic disease in the majority of people with underlying health conditions as the rest of the population, Public Health England (PHE) recently reported.

The verdict is based on a study from PHE that included more than one million people in at-risk groups.

“Within these clinical risk groups, there will be people with more severe forms of illness – particularly in the immunosuppressed group – who may not respond as well to the vaccines, and we recommend they seek advice from their specialists,” Advises PHE.

The study found:

  • Overall vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease in risk groups is approximately 60 percent after one dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech, with little variation by age
  • After two doses, vaccine effectiveness is 81 percent with AstraZeneca in people in risk groups aged 16 to 64. No data is available for Pfizer-BioNTech
  • In people in risk groups aged 65 and over, vaccine effectiveness with Pfizer-BioNTech is 89 percent and 80 percent with AstraZeneca
  • For those who are immunosuppressed, vaccine effectiveness after a second dose is 74 percent, with similar protection to those who are not in a risk group. This rises from four percent after a first dose.

Although age is the greatest risk factor for adverse outcomes following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, certain health conditions also increase the risk of severe disease, they study noted.

Diabetes, severe asthma, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, neurological disease, and diseases or therapies that weaken the immune system – such as blood cancer, HIV or chemotherapy – have all been linked to an increased risk of hospitalisation or death with COVID-19.

People with these conditions who are at highest risk were initially advised to shield during the peak of the pandemic and all risk groups were then prioritised for vaccination.

“The government announced the dose interval would be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the clinically vulnerable on 14 May, and everyone in these groups should now have been offered a second dose,” reported PHE.

Data on vaccine effectiveness among people in clinical risk groups was previously limited.

Though more data is needed, protection against hospitalisation and death in risk groups is expected to be greater than protection against symptomatic disease, as has been seen in studies of the general population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “This real-world data shows for the first time that most people who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 still receive high levels of protection after two doses of vaccine.

“It is vital that anyone with an underlying condition gets both doses, especially people with weakened immune systems as they gain so much more benefit from the second dose.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Resident Pay, Relationships Stay Steady Amid Uncertainty of COVID

Medical residents faced a challenging year in 2021; they were called upon to navigate the front lines of a pandemic while working to complete their medical education, with little increase in compensation.

The average salary for all residents was $ 64,000, up from $ 55,400 in 2015, according to the Medscape Residents Salary & Debt Report 2021. Resident salaries saw a slow and steady increase in the past seven years, with 3% annual growth from 2017 to 2020. However, salaries generally remained the same as in 2020. Regardless of residency year, men ($ 64,200) and women ($ 63,700) are making about the same salary.

Only 43% of residents reported that they felt fairly compensated with their salaries and benefits, similar to 2020. These numbers are down significantly from 2015, when 62% of residents reported an average sense of fair compensation. For the fifth straight year, residents’ chief reasons for dissatisfaction with their salary are that it did not meet the number of hours worked (87%) and it was not comparable to that of other medical staff such as nurses and physician assistants (81%). About three quarters (74%) reported that their compensation did not reflect the required skill level, and 42% reported that it did not meet the cost of living.

COVID Further Strained Pay Disparity

Two thirds (66%) of residents reported that they spend over 50 hours in a hospital during the work week. More than half of residents report spending 1-10 hours per week on scut work (defined as unskilled tasks), and another one quarter spend 11-20 hours on these duties.

Amelia Breyre, who finished her emergency medicine residency in July 2020, said the pandemic further highlighted pay disparity. “For residents, there is no overtime pay or hazard pay,” said Breyre, now an EM fellow. “Residents cannot simply ‘quit’ when faced with adverse working conditions because then they are foregoing years of educational investment and a career in medicine. This past year in particular, residents have not been fairly compensated when considering the demands made of them.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) residents have been directly caring for COVID-19 patients in person, a sizable increase from last year’s report (54%). Twenty-one percent of them have done so via telemedicine, another increase (11%) from our 2020 data. Nearly 6 in 10 residents (59%) believe that they should be caring for COVID-19 patients, a percentage that has more than doubled since 2020. Among the 41% who felt that medical students should not care for COVID-19 patients, many cited not risking infection for a learning experience. “They are paying to learn, not get sick,” wrote one respondent.

Cherie Fathy, a fourth-year ophthalmology resident, ended up contracting COVID-19 in December 2020, probably during a patient encounter. “I was fine, thankfully, but knowing that I may have exposed those around me was incredibly anxiety-provoking and I was rife with guilt,” she said. In 2021, 91% of residents caring for COVID-19 patients said they feel safer treating COVID patients in recent months, pointing to the vaccine effect.

Half of residents thought their training prepared them for a pandemic of COVID-19’s magnitude, a 10% increase from 2020. Men (56%) were more likely to feel their training prepared them to handle a pandemic than women (42%).

Medical Debt Drives Future Decision-Making

About one quarter (24%) of residents reported having over $ 300,000 of medical school debt, with 28% saying they have between $ 200,000 and $ 300,000 in debt, and 15% reporting between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000 in debt. About one fifth of respondents (22%) reported having no debt at all. Just 11% of residents reported having less than $ 100,000 of medical school debt, distinct from those who had none. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 73% of students graduate with debt , with a median of $ 200,000 in 2019, similar to our findings.

Heavy medical school debts are driving more students to higher-paying specialties. When asked how influential potential earnings were on their choice of specialty, the most popular answer was “somewhat influential” (36% of all residents). About 4 in 10 (41%) reported that it was either “very” or “extremely” influential. Men were more likely than women to report that potential earnings influenced their choice of specialty. Women were almost twice as likely as men to report that potential earning was “not at all” or “slightly” important to their choice of specialty (32%-women; 18%­­-men). Whereas 14% of women residents reported that potential earnings did not influence their choice at all, only 6% of men answered the same.

Around one fifth of residents (22%) say they anticipate becoming a partner or practice owner, while 27% say they anticipate employment. One in five residents (20%) report wanting to do both, and 31% say they are unsure. Male residents (26%) are more likely to anticipate they will become a partner/practice owner than female residents (17%).

Professional Relationships Remain Good

More than four fifths (84%) of residents rated their overall relationships with their attendings as “good” or “very good.” Only 2% say the relationship is poor or very poor, similar to the 2020 report findings. Responses ranged from “it’s a pleasant working relationship” to “[they] use us to do greater than 90% of the work they are being paid to do.”

About three quarters (77%) of residents gave those same “good” or “very good” ratings to their overall relationships with PAs and nurses, with 20% choosing to say “fair.” Responses ranged from “they are professional and cordial” to “nurses don’t understand that resident medical education has been far greater and more in depth than theirs.” “We are taught in medical school to respect nurses and recognize their expertise and experience,” one respondent wrote. “Nurses, on the other hand, are taught none of this in nursing school.”

This report summarizes how more than 1500 residents in more than 29 specialties feel about this past year with regard to salary, debt, COVID-19, and overall work environment.

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