The Covid-19 pandemic has caused mass trauma on a larger scale than World War II, and the impact will last “for many years to come,” the World Health Organization’s top official said Friday.
“After the Second World War, the world has experienced mass trauma, because Second World War affected many, many lives. And now, even with this Covid pandemic, with bigger magnitude, more lives have been affected,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference Friday. “Almost the whole world is affected, each and every individual on the surface of the world actually has been affected.”
“And that means mass trauma, which is beyond proportion, even bigger than what the world experienced after the Second World War,” he added, noting the effect on mental health. “And when there is mass trauma, it affects communities for many years to come.”
WSJ: “The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Covid-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new probe. A group of two dozen scientists is calling in an open letter on Thursday for a new international inquiry. They say the WHO team that last month completed a mission to Wuhan—the Chinese city where the first known cases were found—had insufficient access to adequately investigate possible sources of the new coronavirus, including whether it slipped from a laboratory.”
Open Letter Link “Call for a Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19”
The number of patients reporting symptoms of Covid-19 weeks after becoming ill could be as high as 20%, an immunologist said, as he warned it could place an additional burden on the NHS.
Professor Danny Altmann, from Imperial College London, said a figure of one in 20 people suffering long Covid, reported in October by King’s College London, is lower than what is now being reported.
“Many people would have 10-20% as their range if you look at the papers on how many people are still reporting significant symptoms several months afterwards,” he told Times Radio.
“Our thinking that [Covid-19] is more of a respiratory disease is not necessarily true,” Kumar said. “Once it infects the brain it can affect anything because the brain is controlling your lungs, the heart, everything. The brain is a very sensitive organ. It’s the central processor for everything.”
Georgia State University biology researchers have found that infecting the nasal passages of mice with the virus that causes COVID-19 led to a rapid, escalating attack on the brain that triggered severe illness, even after the lungs were successfully clearing themselves of the virus.
Assistant professor Mukesh Kumar, the study’s lead researcher, said the findings have implications for understanding the wide range in symptoms and severity of illness among humans who are infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Our thinking that it’s more of a respiratory disease is not necessarily true,” Kumar said. “Once it infects the brain it can affect anything because the brain is controlling your lungs, the heart, everything. The brain is a very sensitive organ. It’s the central processor for everything.”
The estimated fatalities from the Great Plague of 1665-66, the Aids epidemic and every terror attack and war of the last 75 years that the UK has been involved in totals 99,500.
The USA, with 25,700,000 infections so far, would have 2,570,000 long haulers
The UK, with 3,600,000 infections far, would have 360,000 long haulers
Germany, with 2,100,000 infections so far, would have 210,000 long haulers
France, with 3,000,000 infections so far, would have 300,000 long haulers
Spain, with 2,600,000 infections so far would have 260,000 long haulers
Russia, with 3,700,000 infections so far, would have 370,000 long haulers
Brazil, with 8,800,000 infections so far, would have 880,000 long haulers
Planet Earth, with nearly 100,000,000 infections so far, would have 10,000,000 long haulers
Lancet: “Our findings showed that 76% of patients reported at least one symptom at 6 months after symptom onset, and the proportion was higher in women.”
Infection figures courtesy of Worldometers.info
A ten-point plan for children and young people
- Disadvantaged children and young people and their families must be a key priority. They must not become casualties of COVID.
- Free school meals must continue to be provided over the summer holidays so that disadvantaged children do not go hungry. Holiday hunger was real pre COVID – it will be worse this summer.
- Local authorities must be funded to make a summer holiday local offer to children and young people. Local authorities should coordinate the planning of summer holiday clubs, particularly in areas of deprivation, so that children and young people have a safe place to go to and positive activities to engage and interest them, and build their confidence for a successful return to school in September. Places for those on Free School Meals should be fully funded by Government.
- Public buildings, such as libraries and sports halls, civic centres and religious buildings should be used to expand the space available to schools so that social distancing can be achieved, with greater numbers of pupils being educated in non-school settings, if not in schools.
- Qualified teachers who have left the profession should be encouraged to return to teaching. They will be needed as class sizes will be smaller. This will help all children who have gone through a traumatic time during the crisis, and in particular disadvantaged children who will benefit greatly from lower pupil/teacher ratios.
- GCSE and A levels must be changed to provide a fair assessment of young people’s attainment. They cannot be expected to cover all the current syllabus because they have had less teaching time. This could involve a combination of teacher assessment and slimmed down exams, with more choice of questions. Whatever the decisions made, teachers, pupils and their parents need to know that the emergency measures adopted for GCSE and A level exams in 2020 will not be repeated in 2021. Government will need to reassure all those involved that this will be a fair process that will not disadvantage young people and their futures. Primary SATs should not take place because they are mainly a school accountability measure and will not be comparable to previous or subsequent years.
- Plans must be made for blended learning – pupils learning at school and at home – from September and into the next academic year, with all pupils having both face-to-face contact and remote learning when this is safe. These plans will be needed in case of a second spike or a rise in a local R rate. This must be resourced by government and teachers supported to develop blended learning as has happened in Scotland.
- Children and young people living in poverty and low- income homes must be given the resources they need to learn at home, including access to books and creative resources, as well as technology. 700 thousand children live in homes without internet access. This must be provided by government so that these children are able to access on-line learning. Free laptops must be provided for children who do not have them so that they are able to access online learning at home.
- We know childhood poverty and inequality limits life chances and is a significant factor in school achievement. We must not lose a generation because the pandemic makes even more children poor. This requires a ‘can do’ mentality – around unemployment, training and benefits as well as direct support to schools.
- A national plan for children’s wellbeing should be resourced and launched to support children who suffered trauma in the pandemic and students’ well-being must be placed at the centre of how we adapt education to meet the needs of children and young people.
“There could be a phased reopening of schools in England based on regional infection rates after a lifting of the national lockdown, MPs have been told.
The deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, said that as England came out of lockdown, it was highly likely there would be inconsistent patterns of infection across communities in different parts of the country.”
The largest study of its kind found that most of those treated in a Wuhan hospital were still showing symptoms six months after being sent home
The most common problems were fatigue and difficulty in sleeping, but lung and kidney problems were also recorded
The long-term health consequences of COVID-19 remain largely unclear. The aim of this study was to describe the long-term health consequences of patients with COVID-19 who have been discharged from hospital and investigate the associated risk factors, in particular disease severity.
Nearly one in five people who have had Covid-19 are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder such as anxiety, depression or insomnia within three months of testing positive for the virus, according to a study that suggests action is needed to mitigate the mental health toll of the pandemic