Displaying items by tag: Covid19
Europe has become seriously affected by the pandemic, and several countries are introducing restrictions amid rising cases. Two million Austrians not fully vaccinated are in lockdown as Covid-19 surges. Germany's Covid cases hit 65,371 and Angela Merkel said a fourth wave of Covid is ‘hitting us with full force’. New restrictions are expected. Holland’s ‘lockdown-lite’ measures are imposed to limit social contacts after a sharp infection increase. The measures include closing restaurants and shops early, and barring spectators from sporting events. Vaccination rates are significantly lower in some eastern European nations. Latvia has re-imposed a lockdown, Russians have shut shops, restaurants and schools in a partial lockdown and workers had nine days’ paid holiday to curb infections. The UK, with one of the highest infection rates, has yet to reintroduce restrictions.
British scientists have identified a gene that doubles the risk of dying from Covid-19, opening up possibilities for targeted medicine and providing new insights into why some people are more susceptible to the disease than others. Researchers at Oxford University found that 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry the high-risk gene. The discovery partly explains the high number of deaths seen in some British communities, and the effect of Covid in the Indian subcontinent. The scientists found that the increased risk is not because of a difference in genetic coding of the proteins, but because of differences in the DNA that makes a kind of ‘switch’ to turn a gene on. That genetic signal is likely to affect cells in the lung. The study shows that the way in which the lung responds to the infection is critical. This is important because most treatments have focused on changing the way in which the immune system reacts to the virus.
England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, predicted that there are hard months to come in the winter because Covid levels are running very high. Too many people believed the pandemic was now over, and winter could ‘potentially be problematic’. He also said there were signs that infections were starting to ‘penetrate’ older age groups, and how Christmas is affected would depend on a whole range of behaviours. We can pray for the nation to recognise that caution is still needed around the elderly, and face coverings should continue to be worn in appropriate places along with social distancing. Meanwhile the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation, which provides advice to the Government, said that while the infection rate is high, the current case numbers are not ‘out of control’ although we are at a ‘relatively important crux point’. The total of UK infections recorded on 3 November was 41,299, higher than most of Europe.
An estimated one in 60 people in the UK had coronavirus in the week ending 16 October. That figure is one in 45 for Wales, one in 55 for England, one in 90 in Scotland, and one in 130 in NI. Scientists advising the government said they should prepare to trigger stricter Plan B measures now, amid rising cases. The percentage of adults who say they always or often maintain social distancing fell to 39% in mid-October. Although most adults agree measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing to slow the spread of Covid are important, fewer people are still doing it and more than half of working adults are now travelling to work. Young people see the ‘hands, face, space’ measures and social distancing as less important than older age groups do. Men are less likely than women to view them as important or very important.
There have been anti-Covid vaccine protests outside 420 schools up and down the UK. The Association of School and College Leaders said it is not a fringe concern even though most protests stem from just two groups on the messaging app Telegram. One organiser has allegedly visited every secondary school in Hartlepool, and another group is coordinating multiple daily school visits from Kent to Cheshire. Protesters left Gateshead students distressed after showing them pictures of what appeared to be dead children. They target teachers with sham legal documents, and hand children leaflets with QR codes leading to extremist and conspiracy content. Some protesters think it is wrong to vaccinate children, or say the whole pandemic is a hoax. Sir Keir Starmer said it was sickening that protesters were spreading ‘dangerous misinformation’ to children, and wants exclusion zones set up around school gates.
A third Covid wave hit Myanmar amid ongoing violence from February’s coup. A ministry leader said, ‘This morning the wife of one of our workers cried on the phone, “My husband is struggling for breath. We need oxygen.” I asked our driver to go as soon as possible for a two-hour drive. The military frequently stop vehicles and confiscate oxygen tanks and medicines. Local missionaries drive for eight to ten hours to provide life-saving medical equipment and food aid. These days are mourning and weeping days. We are fighting the seen enemy, the military coup, and the unseen enemy, Covid. Many die by guns, bombs and Covid. Much violence is random. A pastor’s wife was killed in their house, a woman was killed while riding a motorbike toward the hospital. Since we have no government, no hospital, no government doctors and nurses, we search for private doctors and nurses that are available.’
Geane Prado was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. After a bone marrow transplant and a round of chemotherapy, doctors discovered Covid-19. Her condition deteriorated; she wrote goodbye letters to her family, and fully surrendered her life to God. While intubated, she endured pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrest, renal failure, and bacterial pneumonia. Doctors said she had 48 hours to live. Her children mobilized a massive prayer chain through WhatsApp, social media and praying at the hospital door. Across Brazil people joined in intercession. God answered them. Within a short time her fever vanished and her condition improved. Doctors called it ‘a miracle’ because it had nothing to do with medicine. After forty days Geane left the hospital not only healed from Covid, but also from cancer.
North Korea’s dictatorship says Covid-19 is not a problem, but the people secretly call it the ‘ghost disease.’ North Korea has reported no Covid cases and rejected millions of vaccines. However, reports on the ground tell a different story. Covid has been deadly, especially to the many North Koreans who are malnourished. Meanwhile Kim Jong-Un promises to expand his nuclear arsenal. Behind these issues are 25 million souls living and dying without the hope of Jesus. For a North Korean to have a chance to hear about that hope, it takes an act of God, and God is moving. North Koreans are being drawn to Jesus in daring and ingenious ways - through the underground Church, Christian radio broadcasts, and even covert balloon drops carrying Scripture. No nation is too closed for God to move. Ask God to deliver the people from the regime's indoctrination and lies and for truth to reign throughout the nation.
Online betting rose significantly during the pandemic, the Gambling Commission has confirmed. Figures from the industry watchdog show a 12% rise in the number of adults gambling on the web between 2019 and 2020. Half of those did so using a mobile device, such as a smartphone. Matt Zarb-Cousin of Clean Up Gambling said, ‘Online gambling exploded in lockdown, with firms posting record profits. At least 60% come from those experiencing gambling problems, and online slots provide most of the revenue.’ He added, ‘Consumer protections, such as limits to stakes on slots, as on fixed-odds betting terminals, are badly needed in the gambling review.’ Researchers discovered that 21% of the 10,000 gambling premises in Britain are in the most deprived areas of the country, with only 2% in the least deprived areas.
Health bosses say that patients will be put at risk unless the NHS receives an extra £10bn next year to recover from the pandemic. A five-year settlement will see the funding increase by £33bn by 2023-24, but Covid has added to costs in a way that could not have been envisaged when Theresa May's government agreed the settlement in 2019. NHS leaders say the pandemic has led to pressures never seen in the history of the health service. Hospital layouts have had to be overhauled, services moved off site into new buildings, extra infection control procedures have been brought in, and the scale of sickness being seen means extra staff are needed to care for patients. At the same time, there is a growing backlog of traditional care such as hip and knee operations. Instead of budget growth by £4bn under the existing settlement, NHS leaders need almost £15bn.