The growth in cases of coronavirus may be slowing down, the largest study of the infection in England suggests.
A team at Imperial College London analysed samples from 84,000 people chosen at random from across the country.
They said the R number, the virus's reproduction number, appears to have fallen since measures including the "rule of six" were introduced.
However, they warn cases are high, with one in every 200 people infected.
The React study is highly influential, both due to its size and because it gives an up-to-date picture of how the virus is spreading. The last samples used in the analysis were collected as recently as Saturday.
It was the previous React report that found infections were doubling every seven to eight days in late August and early September.
This, in turn, led to warnings that there could be 50,000 cases a day by mid-October if that pattern continued.
Then the research group estimated the R number – the average number of people each infected person is passing the virus on to – was 1.7.
The latest analysis, of swab samples collected between 19 and 26 September, suggests the R number has fallen to about 1.1 – although the precise figure is uncertain.
The researchers said it was the first hint that measures such as the "rule of six", and heightened public concern about coronavirus, "may be having an impact on transmission".
Prof Paul Elliott from Imperial College London said: "This is a very critical period, we know in an exponential phase you very quickly get to a very large number of cases.
"There does appear to be a downturn in the rate of increase, the R number appears to have come down.
"Clearly nobody wants a full lockdown, but if we pay attention to public health messages on social distance, hand washing, face covering and testing and isolating, then I think we can turn the virus down."
However, Prof Oliver Johnson, from the University of Bristol, said the conclusion that cases were slowing down was "wrong and dangerous".
And he doubts both the old and the new estimates of the R value.
He said: "I suspect they were both wrong, and it was actually more like R=1.4 each time."
That period when cases were doubling every week means there is now far more of the virus around.
"What we found is the prevalence has gone up markedly, one in 200 people walking the streets on any one day has measurable virus," Prof Elliott added.
As the study tests people at random, not everyone who tests positive will go on to develop symptoms.
However, the increase was noted in all regions of the country and in all age groups.
Infection rates were highest among 18 to 24-year-olds, with one in every 100 testing positive for the virus.
Infection rates were much lower among the over-65s, but have increased seven-fold since the last report (from 0.04% to 0.29%).
"The idea that it's all younger people and 'that's fine' just isn't the case," said Prof Elliott.
This is only one of many sources of information – alongside the Office for National Statistics, disease modelling groups, hospital data and NHS Test and Trace – that the government relies on to assess the situation.
On Wednesday, the government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: "We don't have this under control at the moment. There's no cause for complacency here at all."
The latest UK coronavirus figures showed there have been a further 7,108 cases and another 71 deaths.
Last week, Mr Johnson introduced restrictions including a 22:00 closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants in England, with similar announcements in Scotland and Wales, and a 15-person limit on weddings.
Since then, further local lockdowns have come into force, including in north-east England, where households are banned from mixing indoors.
MPs are now expecting additional restrictions to be introduced in Liverpool, after some MPs met Care Minister Helen Whately.
The city has had a spike in cases, with a 16% positivity rate.
BBC Newsnight was told the measures would be harsher than those in place in the North East, and could include a ban on pubs serving drinks without food.
The Health and Social Care Committee said it should be introduced as soon as possible before winter.
The government and NHS England told the committee they wanted to bring in routine teRead More – Source
How does overeating affect the immune system?
Overeating is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. While it is widely understood that excessive eating leads to obesity and other health problems, many people are unaware of the impact that overeating has on the immune system. In this article, we will explore how overeating affects the immune system and what can be done to prevent or mitigate the damage.
The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against harmful substances and infections. It is responsible for identifying and eliminating harmful pathogens and other invaders that may cause harm to the body. When the body is functioning normally, the immune system works efficiently to keep us healthy. However, when the body is subjected to chronic stress, such as from overeating, it can become weakened, making it less effective at protecting the body against illness and disease.
One of the ways in which overeating affects the immune system is by increasing inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can have a negative impact on the immune system. Chronic inflammation is associated with a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose and other harmful substances as a result of overeating, it can lead to chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.
Another way in which overeating affects the immune system is by altering the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and play a crucial role in maintaining good health. When the body is exposed to a high-fat diet, the balance of gut bacteria can become disrupted, leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and the suppression of beneficial bacteria. This can result in decreased gut function and reduced immune function, making it more difficult for the body to protect itself against harmful pathogens.
In addition, overeating can also lead to obesity, which is a major risk factor for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Obesity is associated with a range of physiological changes, including insulin resistance and the release of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that play a crucial role in the immune response. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of cytokines, it can lead to a state of chronic inflammation, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.
Finally, overeating can also affect the immune system by causing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the body is exposed to an excessive amount of free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to cells and tissues. When the body is constantly exposed to high levels of glucose and other harmful substances as a result of overeating, it can lead to oxidative stress, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness.
In conclusion, overeating can have a profound impact on the immune system. By increasing inflammation, altering the gut microbiome, causing obesity, and inducing oxidative stress, overeating can weaken the body’s ability to protect itself against harmful pathogens and other invaders. To maintain a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, and avoid overeating. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect your immune system and reduce your risk of illness and disease.
Homelessness and mental illness are two intertwined issues that have a complex relationship. Homelessness can cause or worsen mental illness and, conversely, mental illness can contribute to homelessness. It is a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape, and it is important to understand the ways in which these two issues are interconnected.
Homelessness can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Living on the streets can be a traumatic experience, with a constant fear of violence, theft, and disease. Homeless individuals often face stigma, discrimination, and a lack of privacy, which can lead to feelings of shame, hopelessness, and isolation. The stress and unpredictability of homelessness can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mental illness, on the other hand, can also contribute to homelessness. Mental illness can make it difficult for individuals to maintain employment, manage their finances, and maintain stable housing. Individuals with mental illness may struggle with accessing treatment and support, and the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness can also contribute to feelings of shame and isolation. These challenges can lead to a cycle of homelessness and mental illness, where each issue exacerbates the other.
There is a need for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness and mental illness. This includes providing safe and stable housing, access to mental health treatment and support, and addressing the underlying social determinants of health that contribute to homelessness, such as poverty, lack of education and job opportunities.
Housing First, a program that prioritizes providing permanent housing to homeless individuals before addressing any other issues, has been shown to be effective in reducing homelessness and improving mental health outcomes. This approach recognizes that stable housing is a critical foundation for addressing other issues, including mental health.
In conclusion, homelessness and mental illness are complex and interrelated issues that require a comprehensive and coordinated approach to address. Providing stable housing and access to mental health treatment and support is critical for breaking the cycle of homelessness and mental illness and improving outcomes for individuals experiencing these issues. It is important to continue to address the root causes of homelessness, including poverty and lack of access to education and employment opportunities, to reduce the prevalence of homelessness and improve outcomes for those experiencing it.
Improving Reception For Children With Cancer – Basque Family Support Association
The association “Tous avec Agosti” wants 2023 to rhyme with new dynamics. For nine years now, the structure has been working to welcome families of hospitalized children in Bayonne. Since 2018, 47 families have been able to find some respite in an apartment in Anglet.
Apartment in Anglet
Since she has benefited from an apartment in Anglet, the association “Tous avec Agosti” has enabled nearly 50 families of patients hospitalized at the Center Hospitalier de la Côte Basque to stay close to their loved ones. This represents 600 overnight stays, 47 families from 23 departments and even from Belgium and Spain. At the beginning of 2023, the structure has just had its prefectural approval renewed and sees things big.
“We have been working in our area for years,” notes Frédéric de Arroyave, the association’s president, but “in 2023, we will show ourselves much more, on the markets for example, but also in acts. The apartment we have in Anglet is a haven of peace for families going through terrible times, but for some it is difficult to access”. The apartment is located on the alleys of the Jardins d’Arcadie, near Biarritz – Pays Basque airport. We want to get closer to the Bayonne hospital.
The association “Tous avec Agosti” was born in 2015. Agosti, 10 years old, is suffering from cancer and taken care of at Bordeaux hospital for 6 months. His father, Frédéric de Arroyave, living in Ahetze, has the possibility of integrating a parents’ house and can stay with his child. Such a structure did not exist in Bayonne, so he launched the project and the association which lives today thanks to donations from contributors and the dozen (very) active volunteers. Each year, approximately 4,000 children are hospitalized in Bayonne.
This article is originally published on francebleu.fr
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