COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
Low-skilled men suffer highest Covid-19 fatalities in England and Wales
Men in the lowest-skilled jobs have the highest death rates involving Covid-19 among working-age people, according to data for England and Wales that also showed fatalities among nurses and doctors were no higher than the average.
Men in low-skilled occupations suffered 21.4 Covid-19-related deaths per 100,000, more than double the average for working-age males of just under 10 deaths per 100,000, the Office for National Statistics said.
Male security guards had a death rate of more than four times the overall average for working-age men. Male chefs, taxi drivers, chauffeurs and bus and coach drivers and also had higher death rates, contrasting with men classed as having professional occupations - which typically require a university education - whose mortality rates involving Covid-19 was 5.6.
BMA says lockdown plans 'confusing and too risky'
In response to the Government’s announcement that some lockdown measures are to be eased from next week, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair said that the plan to ease certain aspects of lockdown in England is too fast, too confusing and too risky.
He said: “As the Prime Minister said in his address to the nation tonight, the death toll in this country has indeed been tragic, and it would be irresponsible to allow any chance of a second spike of this virus, however, these measures risk doing just that.
“There is no detail of how those being asked to return to work will be protected from the infection or prevented from infecting others and there are mixed messages about returning workers not using public transport when many will not own cars. These pose serious risks of further spread of the infection.
"There is no clarity on how social distancing will be monitored and enforced when lifting restrictions to visiting parks and public places and opening travel to any part of the land. Meanwhile the level of testing to monitor spread remains far below the capacity needed and there is still no agreement even about the best app for testing and tracing."
WHO: new research on smoking and Covid-19
A review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with Covid-19, compared to non-smokers.
Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
WHO is constantly evaluating new research, including research that examines the link between tobacco use, nicotine use, and Covid-19. WHO urges researchers, scientists and the media to be cautious about amplifying unproven claims that tobacco or nicotine could reduce the risk of Covid-19. It says there is currently insufficient information to confirm any link between tobacco or nicotine in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19.
Plasma concentrations of ACE2 are higher in men than in women
Men have higher concentrations of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in their blood than women, according to a new study that could help to explain why men are more vulnerable to Covid-19 than women.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal also found that heart failure patients taking drugs targeting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), did not have higher concentrations of ACE2 in their blood.
Dr Adriaan Voors (MD-PhD), Professor of Cardiology at the University Medical Center Groningen (The Netherlands), who led the study, said: “Our findings do not support the discontinuation of these drugs in Covid-19 patients as has been suggested by earlier reports.”
Some recent research suggested that RAAS inhibitors might increase concentrations of ACE2 in plasma – the liquid part of blood – thereby increasing the risk of Covid-19 for cardiovascular patients taking these drugs. The current study indicates that this is not the case, although it looked only at ACE2 concentrations in plasma, not in tissues such as lung tissue.
Doctors should not be financially penalised for extra working hours
Doctors should not be hit with a large tax bills after working extra hours to deal with Covid-19 and instead should be properly rewarded for their ‘extraordinary efforts’ during the pandemic.
BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul has written to the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) urging recognition of the ‘resilience, dedication and professionalism’ shown by doctors, particularly with many healthcare workers tragically losing their lives.
Dr Nagpaul said staff had been ‘extremely flexible’ – working long hours in unfamiliar roles, without access to sufficient personal protective equipment and lack of clarity over death-in-service cover.
Doctors have also had to deal with lack of childcare support and have faced severe clinical pressures while managing system changes, and showing considerable skill in caring for patients in new ways.
Other news roundup
- Russia’s coronavirus cases overtook Italian and British infections on Monday to become the third highest in the world
- New cases have been reported in northeast China and the central city of Wuhan
- A 50-page document outlining the UK's plans for easing lockdown has been published
- Nicola Sturgeon says Boris Johnson lockdown changes not safe for Scotland