Coronavirus bombshell: Hidden factors that play role in contracting deadly virus exposed

UCL Intensive Care Medicine Professor Hugh Montgomery claimed multiple factors explain why coronavirus cases differ from country to country. Professor Montgomery, who currently represents the Intensive Care Society Charity, insisted genes, pollution, culture and how data is recorded all played a role in the overall number of official coronavirus cases. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Professor Montgomery highlighted many of the risk factors that explained why coronavirus may differ between areas.

Professor Montgomery said: “There are other differences you have got to consider that account for different levels of mortality.

“It is a little unfair, in some cases, to compare Vietnam, that maybe only had four or five intensive cases, to Britain or somewhere else.

“There are demographic factors as well.

“We know obesity is a risk factor for severe disease and if you look at a place like Vietnam, the bulk of the population is very thin.

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“They eat healthy vegetable-based diets and take more physical exercise so are very lean.

“It could be simple factors such as that.”

Professor Montgomery also noted that air pollution may play a role in the spread of coronavirus and the severity if contracted.

He said: “Factors like obesity combined with air pollution which may well be playing a part in the transmission of the virus.

“It may also be making the severity worse as well as other risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure and so forth.”

Mr Montgomery concluded that it was difficult to pinpoint one true cause of the spread of the virus as there are many factors to consider.

He closed by saying: “It is very hard to judge how much it is genes, how much it is the nature of the people, how much of it is cultural and how much of it is down to reporting.”

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Professor Montgomery has also warned if Britons do not take responsibility for their actions, a second coronavirus wave could overwhelm the NHS.

While the Government is confident the NHS can now deal with the number of people with COVID-19, Professor Montgomery claimed the NHS is still recovering from the first wave and dealing with a tsunami of new cases could prove to be difficult.

The charity Professor Montgomery represents, The Intensive Care Society, is currently working to provide essential wellbeing and support to the intensive care community through the coronavirus pandemic. Any donations to this cause are appreciated during this difficult time period. 

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Britain faces ‘calamitous consequences’ as expert warns UK faces more deaths than in WW2

A new study – the first of its kind – shows that chasing an infection target of below 1 will force Britons into long term social distancing and more lockdowns. 

It shows that without a vaccine, it would take until December 2024 to see off the virus using social distancing.

But the economic cost of these measures would be so grave it would kill more people than WWII, Philip Thomas, a Professor of Risk Management at the University of Bristol has found.

The study estimated that 150,000 people will die from Covid-19 over five years under intermittent lockdown or semi-lockdown conditions that would be necessary to keep infection rates at the government goal close to below 

The analysis, shortly to be published in the Scientific Journal Nanotechnology Perceptions, was based on projected death rates linked to the virus, together with the economic impact of social distancing or lockdown and that of previous recessions. It shows “calamitous” long term consequences leading to large scale loss of life.

It reveals a move out of lockdown slow enough to avoid a strain on the NHS due to a surge in cases is likely to cause a drop of 23.5 percent to the economy in 2020 and still further in 2021. The study also reveals the economy would not return to pre-lockdown levels until the end of 2024. This would cause a dramatic cost to health and an associated loss of an extra 675,000 lives due to poor healthcare and impoverishment, as well as a relaxation of safety regulations.

This is higher than the UK’s loss of life over the six years of the Second World War which equated to approximately 525,000 civilian and military personnel, dwarfing the number of lives saved by lockdown.

Professor Thomas said: “It is not enough to look at the epidemiology, the spread of Covid-19, in isolation. You need to look just as much as the effect on the economy because a nation’s economy and its health are so strongly linked that at some point they become inseparable. Poverty kills just as surely as the coronavirus. The only reason we have good health and live a long time in the UK is because we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The policy of coming out of lockdown gradually, over five years – which will be necessary if we are to keep the infection rate close to or below 1 – will reduce the toll on life from the coronavirus but incur a far greater loss of life through the impoverishment of the nation. The net loss of life is likely to be of the order of 675,000 lives.

“The initial pandemic response to lockdown as a device for gaining time to build defences and make sure our health service was not overwhelmed was a reasonable response. But our society cannot remain under siege forever and we need to find a way of returning towards normality.

“I think we can more or less justify a lockdown of two months based on the ill effects to the economy but three months is too long. We now have to realise if we do go so slowly and continue with the aim to keep the infection rate close to or below one then the number of deaths from the prolonged lockdown will be far worse and we will be condemning people to significant impoverishment, permanent loss of wealth and more deaths than lives saved and we have to ask ourselves: “What are we doing?”

He added: “We are faced with a bad situation where there are no easy wins. We cannot just gamble on waiting for a vaccine as we cannot rely on this. This is not just a question of saving people’s money versus saving people’s lives. It is comparing life versus life.”

He also pointed out that the case against coming out of the lockdown slowly was even stronger if, as various studies have pointed out, the number of people who have already had infections is far higher than current estimates which would mean the virus is less lethal than previously thought.

Professor Thomas said he supported the less draconian social distancing measures followed by Sweden which he said were “broadly sensible.”

He added: “Lockdown doesn’t do much and does not get rid of the virus – it only gives you time.”

His comments follow criticism of the UK lockdown system by former chief scientist at the European Centre for Disease Control, Professor Johan Giesecke. Professor Giesecke, who has been advising the Swedish Agency for Public Health said in a recent article in The Lancet: “Everyone will be exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and most people will become infected. COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in all countries, but we do not see it – it almost always spreads from younger people with no or weak symptoms to other people who will also have mild symptoms. This is the real pandemic, but it goes on beneath the surface, and is probably at its peak now in many European countries. There is very little we can do to prevent this spread: a lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear. I expect that when we count the number of deaths from COVID-19 in each country in 1 year from now, the figures will be similar, regardless of measures taken.”

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Patients with prostate cancer to get pills at home instead of chemotherapy

Recently sufferers had been dealt a double blow of being told they had the killer disease but could not be given treatment. Targeted hormonal therapies enzalutamide and abiraterone will now be temporarily available after new guidance from NHS England. The tablets will allow patients to minimise their risk of infection by staying away from hospitals.

Previously they were only for men who had tried other forms of hormone treatment.

Prostate Cancer UK said about 1,000 men will benefit from the change over the next three months.

The charity’s Heather Blake said: “This is fantastic news for newly diagnosed men. Until now, they have been faced with the distressing prospect that chemotherapy – which could extend their life by 15 months – was not being made available due to the increased risk from Covid-19.”

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, welcomed the move but said it had taken too long. Professor Nick James, who is researching how best to treat prostate cancer, said the drugs were “smarter, kinder treatments”.

Stuart Fraser, 66, who was diagnosed in February, started a petition for the drugs to made available to men in his situation. He is now been prescribed enzalutamide.

The father of two, from Ashtead, Surrey, said: “Being diagnosed was a huge shock. What made it even more worrying was that – because of coronavirus – I was told I couldn’t have the usual treatment of chemotherapy, which would have affected my immune system. That’s why it’s such great news that NHS England have made this change.”

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