Coronavirus live news: UK had world's highest Covid death toll last week; more countries record new variant

UK had highest Covid death toll in week to 17 January with 16.5 deaths per 1m people; Czech Republic and Japan find Covid variant first detected in UK

9.59pm GMT

A new variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa is more contagious than earlier versions, experts said, but there is no evidence that it is more deadly.

The new variant is 50% more contagious, said epidemiologist Prof Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the health ministry’s scientific committee.

9.49pm GMT

Brazil on Monday reported 23,671 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the new total to 8,511,770, the country’s health ministry said.

Deaths rose by … Read more

Musing on “the social” in pain rehabilitation

What do we think about when we consider “the social” as a factor in pain rehabilitation? Do we think of socioeconomic status? Maybe employment status? Perhaps societal attitudes towards pain and recovery? Do we ask if the person has someone they trust in their life? Maybe we even discuss how a relationship is going, whether the person sees their friends and family?

Have we forgotten that possibly the most potent influences on pain behaviour are the people around the person we’re seeing?

It will be no surprise to anyone reading my work over the past 10 or more years (yes, really! it HAS been that long!) that I love reading older pain theorists, researchers and historic approaches to pain. We can learn so much from the pioneers in this area – people like Waddell, Loeser, Main, and Fordyce. While some of the details of theoretical advances … Read more

Biden Terms Vaccine Rollout ‘A Dismal Failure’ as He Unveils Pandemic Response Plan

In the past 24 hours, President-elect Joe Biden has delivered two speeches focused on the nation’s covid response.

Thursday night, he laid out a $1.9 trillion-dollar plan to address what he’s calling the “twin crises” of the covid-19 pandemic and the economy.

Biden proposed, among other things, that Congress allocate funds for implementing a national vaccination program, reopening schools, sending $1,400 checks to Americans who need them, providing support for small businesses and extending unemployment insurance. He also proposed increasing subsidies for Affordable Care Act insurance coverage, and providing more assistance for housing, nutrition and child care.

The plan is ambitious and will likely face some pushback in Congress. (Read PolitiFact’s analysis here.)

Friday afternoon he offered a more detailed take on his vaccine distribution plan.

On his first day in office, he said, he will instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start setting up mass vaccination centers … Read more

Coronavirus live: Portugal's health system 'very close to limit'; Brazil approves vaccines

Portuguese hospitals in worst-hit areas running out of ICU beds; Brazil permits Oxford/AstraZeneca and Sinovac jabs; Amsterdam police break up anti-lockdown protest

9.58pm GMT

Ghana’s Covid-19 infection rates are skyrocketing and include strains of the virus not previously seen in the country, threatening to overwhelm the health system, President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Sunday.

Since 5 January, the number of active cases has risen to 1,924 from about 900, Akufo-Addo said in a speech. There are now 120 severe cases, up from 18 a week ago.

9.10pm GMT

Schools in Malawi will be shut for at least 15 days while bars have been given an 8pm closing … Read more

Black Americans Are Getting Vaccinated at Lower Rates Than White Americans

Black Americans are receiving covid vaccinations at dramatically lower rates than white Americans in the first weeks of the chaotic rollout, according to a new KHN analysis.

About 3% of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine so far. But in 16 states that have released data by race, white residents are being vaccinated at significantly higher rates than Black residents, according to the analysis — in many cases two to three times higher.

In the most dramatic case, 1.2% of white Pennsylvanians had been vaccinated as of Jan. 14, compared with 0.3% of Black Pennsylvanians.

The vast majority of the initial round of vaccines has gone to health care workers and staffers on the front lines of the pandemic — a workforce that’s typically racially diverse made up of physicians, hospital cafeteria workers, nurses and janitorial staffers.

If the rollout were reaching people of all … Read more