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Men are dying from coronavirus at twice the rate of women in England and Wales, figures have shown for the first time, while the government has ordered 15,000 new ventilators.
The latest figures show:
- As of Thursday, a further 870 coroanvirus-related deaths in UK hospitals have been reported in the last 24 hours – 740 in England, 80 in Scotland, 32 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland – over 24 hours.
- Nearly 16,000 coronavirus tests were carried out in England, Scotland and Wales on Tuesday.
- 98,476 people have tested positive for coronavirus in those three nations.
Here’s what you need to know today:
WHO dismisses health minister’s vaccine claims
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the world “can’t wait” for a Covid-19 vaccine to become available before lifting lockdown measures.
Catherine Smallwood, senior emergency officer at WHO Europe, warned that such immunisation is at least 18 months away, dismissing suggestions from health minister Nadine Dorries that the UK needed a vaccine before the nation could “exit full lockdown”
Dorries came under fire on Wednesday for claiming that a vaccine was the only way the UK could escape restrictive measures, stating: “Until then, we need to find ways we can adapt society and strike a balance between the health of the nation and our economy.”
Government approves first new adapted ventilator design
The government has ordered 15,000 new ventilators after the first newly-adapted design, created by a manufacturing consortium, was approved by regulators.
Hundreds of units of the ventilators, manufactured by Penlon as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK (VCUK) consortium – which includes Formula One racing teams Mercedes, McLaren and Williams – are expected to be produced in the next week.
The first 40 of the devices were sent to a military distribution site at MoD Donnington on Thursday for delivery to the NHS.
At the outbreak of the crisis, PM Boris Johnson said the NHS needed more 30,000 ventilators – a number that was later lowered by health secretary Matt Hancock to 18,000. The NHS had approximately 8,175 ventilators at the time of Johnson’s initial request.
Men dying from coronavirus at twice the rate of women in England and Wales
Coronavirus is killing men at double the rate of women in England and Wales, new figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show.
The data, published on Thursday morning, also revealed that 91% of deaths related to the virus recorded in March involved at least one pre-existing condition.
Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death in 3,372 deaths in March: the equivalent of 69 per 100,000 people – accounting for 7% of all deaths in England and Wales that month – 9% of all deaths for males and 6% for females.
The data also revealed that the largest number of deaths were in those aged between 85 and 89 years old, with heart disease the biggest underlying condition.
Health secretary confirms 27 NHS coronavirus deaths
The health secretary has confirmed that 27 NHS staff have now died after contracting coronavirus.
Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast there had “very sadly” been 27 verified deaths, referring explicitly to the death of 28-year-old Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, a heavily pregnant nurse who died after contracting the virus.
More than £65,000 has now been raised for Agyapong’s family, including her newborn daughter who was delivered via emergency caesarean.
Agyapong had worked as a nurse on a general ward at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital for five years, where she died on Sunday. She had tested positive on April 5 and was admitted to hospital on April 7.
A Gofundme page set up on Wednesday morning had raised more than £65,000 by early Thursday morning.
“Mary was a blessing to everyone she came across and her love, care and sincerity will be irreplaceable,” organiser Rhoda Asiedu wrote on the page.
“I am raising this funds for her immediate family; her husband, AJ and her baby girl little Mary, who was born at the time of her demise.”
Colleagues paid tribute to Agyapong, who also went by her married name Mary Boateng, on the GoFundMe page.
Renai Mcinerney wrote: “Sister Mary was my colleague, I worked alongside her for a few years. She deserves her family to be looked after, after she devoted her life to the NHS as a nurse.”
Caitlin Green posted: “So sorry to Mary’s family and friends for her loss. She will live on in her beautiful baby girl.”
99-year-old veteran continues walking laps of his garden after raising more than £14m for NHS
The 99-year-old veteran who has raised more than £14m for the NHS has completed the 100 laps of his garden - but will keep going as long as donations continue to be made in his name.
Captain Tom Moore, who lives with his family in Bedfordshire, finished the last of the planned 25-metre laps early on Thursday morning.
Hours later, Downing Street suggested that Moore’s efforts could be rewarded with an honour.
A spokesperson for No.10 said: “Tom has captured the heart of the nation with his heroic efforts and has raised an incredible amount of money for hardworking NHS staff.
“He has embodied the spirit of the whole country in doing their bit for the battle against coronavirus to support the NHS and save lives. From his military contributions to his support for NHS staff, Tom has demonstrated a lifetime of bravery and compassion.
“The prime minister will certainly be looking at ways to recognise Tom for his heroic efforts.”
His achievements – which started at a modest target of £1,000 last week, ahead of his 100th birthday on April 30 – were singled out by Matt Hancock during the Wednesday evening press conference at Downing Street.
In his opening address, the health secretary said: “I want to pay a special tribute today to Captain Tom Moore.
“Captain Tom, you’re an inspiration to us all, and we thank you.”
Speaking on ITV, Moore said: “I’ve always been one for having a future, I always think things will be good. We’ve fought so many battles and we’ve always won and we’re going to win again.”
His daughter Hannah said her father had become “a beacon of hope for people” during challenging times and that the donations were “beyond words”.
She added that the local postmaster had already been “inundated” with messages ahead of Moore’s 100th birthday, which is on April 30.
At least 16 people killed in suspected domestic abuse attacks since the start of lockdown
At least sixteen people have been killed in suspected domestic abuse incidents since the start of lockdown three weeks ago, campaigners have said.
The figure of five deaths a week is more than double the UK average for the time of year, Sky News reported.
Counting Dead Women, a campaign group which account for domestic abuse deaths nationwide, have identified the deaths of sixteen people – including children – in the period between March 23 and April 12.
Support charity Refuge has also recently revealed a 25% rise in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline within a five day period shortly after the PM announced the lock down.
Home secretary Priti Patel announced a new awareness campaign to tackle the issue during a press briefing on Saturday.
She said: “I want to emphasise that anybody who is a victim of these crimes can still get help. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999 and press 55 on a mobile if you are unable to talk.”
Medics warn of increase in home deaths due to reluctance to call for an ambulance
Dozens more people are dying at home each day after suffering cardiac arrests – potentially related to coronavirus – before ambulance crews can reach them, medics have warned.
Minutes of an online meeting held by London’s senior A&E staff, obtained by the Guardian, reveal the sharp rise in at-home deaths due to a reluctance to call for an ambulance.
The notes contained details of concerns shared by medics that seriously ill people are opting to avoid A&E or dialling 999 in order to avoid placing a strain on the service.
“People don’t want to go near hospital,” the document said. “As a result salvageable conditions are not being treated.”
Fears have also been raised that many of thee deaths are as a result of untreated Covid-19, which can place an extreme strain on the heart. The head of one A&E department told the Guardian: “Of these 85 extra cardiac arrest deaths a day in London, they must be mainly Covid.”
Homeless charity faces ‘deeply troubling’ times amid crisis
A homeless charity has warned of “deeply troubling” times amid the coronavirus crisis, as donations plummet amid a soaring demand for help.
Turning Tides, which supports 200 homeless people in West Sussex, says it is urgently asking for help as it faces a 50% drop in fundraising income due to lockdown.
The charity has supported homeless people across the county for the last 28 years, but chief executive John Holmstrom says: “We have never seen anything like the situation we are facing now and urgently need to ask for help.
“The picture we are facing as an organisation is deeply troubling.”
The charity is asking the public to join a “campaign to keep homeless people in our community alive”, and vital emergency donations are requested via the Turning Tides website.
Holmstrom added: “We have 21 properties across the county supporting some 200 homeless people.
“Additionally, we are providing vital practical and emotional support to growing numbers of rough sleepers being housed in temporary accommodation to limit the spread of the virus.
“There is an unprecedented demand on our services and this will only increase in the weeks and months to come.
“Many of our courageous frontline staff are designated keyworkers and, like our colleagues in the NHS, they are under huge pressure and putting their own health on the line as they support some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Even without the threat of a deadly virus, homeless people die on average 30 years sooner than the general population, the charity says.