The five percent of people in Britain predicted by a new tool to be at highest risk from Covid-19 accounted for three-quarters of deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, researchers reported Wednesday.
Tthe risk-assessment method – which also predicts the chances of hospitalisation – could help identify the small percentage of the population most in need of being shielded from the virus, they reported in BMJ, a medical journal.
“The tool provides nuanced information on people’s risk of serious illness due to Covid-19 and is designed for use by clinicians with patients to reach a shared understanding of risk,” the authors said in a statement.
To develop the new application, called QCOVID, researchers from across Britain compiled data from six million patients, including age, height-weight ratio, ethnicity, and pre-existing conditions – such as high-blood pressure and diabetes – known to increase the risk of serious outcomes after infection.
They then tested the approach on 2.2 million patients – most of whom did not have Covid-19 – to see how well it predicted hospitalisation and deaths during two periods, late January to the end of April, and May 1 to June 30.
More than three-quarters of those who died from the virus were in the top five percent of those predicted to be at maximum risk.
While the tool effectively profiled those facing the worst odds, it did not identify which factors caused fatal outcomes, the researchers cautioned.
More than 100 people are believed to have been infected by the coronavirus at a wedding early this month in the northern Mexico border city of Mexicali, authorities said, AP reports.
About 300 people attended the 0 October nuptials of a soap opera actor and the daughter of a businessman, Alonso Oscar Pérez Rico, the health secretary of Baja California state said Monday.
Pérez Rico told local media that there were apparently no masks or temperature checks at the event and that the organisers also did not have permission to hold an event of that size during the pandemic.
He said authorities are investigating whether anyone attended the wedding knowing they had Covid-19 or were infected by the virus. In some states in Mexico, knowingly infecting someone with a disease is a crime.
In the UK, Labour is stepping up the pressure to impose an England-wide “circuit-breaker”, claiming the economy will be billions of pounds worse off if the government fails to act.
Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, last week endorsed calls by the government’s scientific advisers for a two- to three-week shutdown. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has opposed the plan, calling it a “blunt instrument” and warning about the damaging economic impact of shuttering many sectors.
Spain nears 1m cases
Spain is nearing a total of a million coronavirus infections over the course of the pandemic so far, with 988,322 currently registered on the Johns Hopkins coronavirus database, which would make it the first European country and sixth country overall to to do so.
More than 34,000 people have died.
The Spanish Health Ministry reported Tuesday that authorities have recorded nearly 14,000 new cases, taking the total to 988,322.
At the current rate of infection, Spain is likely to exceed 1 million on Wednesday.
Health experts say the true number of infections is probably much higher. That’s because insufficient testing, asymptomatic cases and other issues mean official counts fail to capture the real scale of the outbreak.
CDC finds 300,000 excess deaths in US
Here is a closer look at that report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows the has seen 300,000 more deaths than it usually would.
The CDC has been tracking how many deaths have been reported and comparing them with counts seen in other years. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it’s closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5% increase, AP reports.
The CDC says around 200,000 of the deaths are already attributed to coronavirus, but that the it’s likely Covid-19 was a factor in many other deaths, too. For example, someone with heart attack symptoms may have hesitated to go to a hospital that was busy with coronavirus patients.
The largest segment of the excess deaths, about 95,000, were in elderly people ages 75 to 84. That was 21.5% more than in a normal year. But the biggest relative increase, 26.5%, was in people ages 25 to 44. Deaths in people younger than 25 actually dropped slightly.
Deaths were up for different racial and ethnic groups, but the largest increase – 54% – was among Hispanic Americans.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s Wednesday here in Sydney, my name is Helen Sullivan, and this is the place to be for Covid news from around the world.
The US has seen 299,028 excess deaths since January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report. 66% of these deaths have already been attributed to coronavirus, in line with the official total of just over 220,000 deaths.
The CDC warns that, “these results provide information about the degree to which Covid-19 deaths might be underascertained and inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimise disruptions to health care.”
“The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic or Latino persons.”
Meanwhile Spain is nearing 1m coronavirus cases, a milestone that would make it the sixth country worldwide to cross the threshold.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine trial in the US is expected to resume as early as this week after the US food and drug administration (FDA) completed its review of a serious illness, sources told Reuters.AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage US trial has been on hold since 6 September, after a participant in the company’s UK trial fell ill with what was suspected to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.
- The White House and Democrats in the US congress have moved closer to agreement on a new coronavirus relief package. With just two weeks to go until the US presidential election, Trump signalled a willingness to go along with more than $2.2tn in new Covid-19 relief, as Democrats had been pushing for months – despite opposition from the Republican party.
- Chaos and fury as Boris Johnson forces curbs on Greater Manchester. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester in England, accused the government of playing a “game of poker with people’s lives” after Boris Johnson imposed the toughest Covid restrictions on the region without agreeing a support package for businesses and low-paid workers.
- Lombardy curfew aims to curb Covid hospital admissions rise. Authorities in Lombardy have been given the green light to impose a curfew as the Italian region hardest hit in the coronavirus first wave braces itself for a surge in hospital admissions.
- Belgium postpones non-essential hospital work to deal with Covid-19 surge. The country will need to postpone all non-essential hospital procedures to deal with a surge in Covid-19 infections, the health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said, days after warning of a Covid “tsunami” hitting the country.
- UK to spend £30m on trials infecting young people to hasten Covid vaccine. More than £30m of UK government money is to fund the world’s first Covid-19 “challenge trials”, in which healthy young volunteers are intentionally infected with the virus to hasten the development of a vaccine.
- Italy’s southern Campania region plans to introduce a night-time curfew from this weekend in an effort to tackle a surge in Covid-19 cases. The move follows a similar decision taken on Monday by the northern region of Lombardy following a rise in hospital admissions. The Campania governor Vincenzo De Luca said he planned to introduce an 11pm curfew from this weekend.
- Berlin’s municipal government has made it compulsory to wear masks at markets, in queues and on 10 busy shopping streets, but stopped short of imposing another lockdown to curb a new wave of infections in the German capital. The mayor, Michael Müller, urged the capital’s residents to comply with the new rules, which also included limits on parties, to avoid shutting down public life again.