The UK continues to post more than 500 Covid deaths a day, as the new figures from Wednesday took its total toll above 53,000. The second wave around the world has also brought the US to the grim milestone of 250,000 deaths.
With increased pressure on hospitals amid the rising cases, one trust has been found to be ignoring national guidance on safe staffing and risking lives by increasing staff-to-patient ratios to dangerously high levels.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s plan to allow a five-day festive “amnesty” from lockdown for families to gather at Christmas has worried public health officials, who say people may have to pay the price with weeks of tighter restrictions afterwards.
Coronavirus death toll rises by 529 in 24 hours
A further 529 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total number of fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 53,274.
The latest government figures also show that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 19,609 lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 1,430,341.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate show there have now been 68,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
US Covid death toll reaches 250,000
The confirmed US death toll from coronavirus has topped 250,000, the highest figure of any country in the world.
The grim milestone was confirmed by Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, which collates worldwide data on Covid-19 fatalaties and cases, on Wednesday.
It comes as infections, hospitalisations and mortality rates are rapidly increasing in the vast majority of states across the US.
The number of people hospitalised with the virus rose to at least 78,630 by Wednesday afternoon, the highest ever for a single day during the pandemic.
Hospital trust accused of raising patient-to-nurse ratio to ‘dangerously high levels’
A hospital trust in Bristol has been accused of risking lives after raising its patient-to-nurse ward ratio to dangerously high levels, having allegedly dismissed staff concerns and national guidance on safe staffing.
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) has introduced a new policy across its hospitals that assigns one nurse to 10 patients (1:10) for all general adult wards. This ratio, which previously stood at 1:6 or 1:8 depending on the ward, rises to 1:12 for night shifts.
The measure, applicable to Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Weston General Hospital, has been temporarily implemented as a result of rising patient numbers – fuelled by the pandemic – and staff shortages.
UK may have to pay for family Christmas with tighter restrictions
Britons could have to pay for a family Christmas with tougher coronavirus restrictions on either side of the festive break, government scientists have said.
Boris Johnson is considering a UK-wide five-day “amnesty” from social gathering rules, stretching from Christmas Eve to Bank Holiday Monday on 28 December, to let family and friends get together to celebrate.
But Public Health England warned that every day of relaxation would require five days of tighter restrictions afterwards, to get transmission rates back down.
And the prime minister’s deputy chief scientific adviser, Dame Angela McLean, said that if social mixing was to be allowed, the UK needs to go into Christmas week with infections “as low as possible”.
43% of young people considering move back into parents’ home as pandemic hits incomes
Woman gives birth to twins while in Covid-19 coma
A coronavirus patient who was pregnant with twins woke up from a medically-induced coma in hospital to find her babies had been delivered, and were alive and well.
Perpetual Uke was around six months pregnant when she began to feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms in March.
Ms Uke, a rheumatology consultant at Birmingham City Hospital, fell seriously ill and ended up on a ventilator in her own place of work.
She was in the induced coma for almost a month, during which time doctors decided it would be safer for her and the twins if they were delivered prematurely by caesarean section.