“Long Covid” is genuine and leaves patients suffering debilitating symptoms for many months after their recovery from coronavirus, experts have confirmed.
Campaign groups supporting survivors of the virus have previously warned that doctors are dismissing ongoing problems or misdiagnosing the ongoing effects of Covid-19 as chronic fatigue syndrome.
But in the first study to show a conclusive pattern, researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust found that three quarters of virus patients treated at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital were still experiencing problems three months later.
Symptoms included breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches, leaving people struggling to wash, dress and return to work.
Follow the latest updates below.
Almost half of UK shoppers believe pandemic will permanently impact their habits
Research by O2 Business and Retail Economics revealed that 44% think they will see permanent changes to the way they shop, with many saying they expect to shop online more regularly.
The survey showed that 47% of people think the number of times they shop online will definitely increase.
This is the latest concerning sign for high street retailers who have seen footfall decrease after people were told to stay at home at the start of the outbreak.
Richard Lim, chief executive officer of Retail Economics, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has re-wired the customer journey, leaving many retailers scrambling to assess the impact as they attempt to realign their proposition to meet a new normal.
“We’ve already witnessed a significant shift towards online and it’s inevitable that some of these behaviours will become permanent, with digital playing a much more important role.
“Many of these consumers are shopping for goods online for the first time, overcoming the barriers of setting up online accounts, entering payment details and gaining trust.
“The new normal will involve a step-change in the integration of digital technologies and retailers are assessing what this means for the number of stores, where they should invest and the potential partnerships that could be formed.”
NHS staff trial to see if dogs can sniff out Covid-19
Scientists are seeking “odour samples” to see whether dogs can accurately pick up the scent of Covid-19, even in people who are asymptomatic.
There could be huge implications if the dogs can successfully smell out the virus, with researchers estimating the animals could potentially screen up to 250 people an hour.
As part of the trial, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), volunteers will provide samples of breath and body odour by wearing a mask for three hours and socks for 12 hours.
Kettering General Hospital has seen 92 staff sign up to the trial.
It is hoped that if the trial is successful the dogs can be used at UK airports to screen people arriving from abroad.
Medical jargon on masks puts people off using them, Oxford academics find
An analysis by academics from the University of Oxford, published in The BMJ, said: “Protracted debates about face coverings as a medical intervention have delayed implementation of a valuable preventive tool.
“Now that most countries have shifted to support face coverings to prevent transmission of Covid-19, we must also shift the focus to implementation.
“Instead of continuing to debate technical specifications and efficacy, socio-cultural framing should be explored to encourage their use.
“This can be done by emphasising underlying values such as solidarity and communal safety. Such measures are likely to enhance the uptake of face coverings and help curb the devastating impact of the pandemic.”
Britain could see ‘exodus of talent’ unless actors and musicians are supported
A warning has been issued that Britain could experience an “exodus of highly skilled talent” unless support for freelance creatives dealing with the coronavirus fallout is extended.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and actors’ union Equity have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for the “lifeline” of Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to be extended into spring 2021 from its current end date in October.
The letter, signed by more than 120 organisations, said: “With a return to full live indoor performances unlikely to happen in the near future, the earnings potential for creatives across the sector will be severely curtailed for at least the rest of this year.
“We need a new scheme for our sector in its unique circumstance which covers all of its freelance artists, no matter what their career or background.”
Children may play a larger role in community spread, study suggests
Children may carry much coronavirus in their system than previously thought, a new study suggests.
Infected children were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than hospitalised adults in ICUs for Covid-19 treatment, researchers say.
As schools plan to reopen, understanding the potential role children play in the spread of the disease and the factors that drive severe illness in children is critical, experts say.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHfC) in the US, suggest their findings indicate children may play a larger role in the community spread of the virus than previously thought.
In a study of 192 children aged 0-22, 49 children tested positive, and an additional 18 had late-onset, Covid-19-related illness.
Lael Yonker, director of the MGH Cystic Fibrosis Centre, and lead author of the study, said: “I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection.
“I was not expecting the viral load to be so high.
“You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalised patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high Sars-CoV-2 viral load.”
Read more: Do kids have to wear face masks? The best to buy, and latest advice for children
Japanese museum captures life in the time of Covid
Takeout menus. Directions for attending a funeral. A leaflet from a local shrine, announcing the cancellation of summer festivals.
These humble, everyday artifacts of life in the pandemic have found a home in the Historical Museum of Urahoro, in Hokkaido, northern Japan.
Thanks to the museum’s curator, Makoto Mochida, it has a repository of the dross of the moment, stuff that may tell future generations what it was like to live in the time of Covid-19 – how life was profoundly changed with social distancing and growing fears over the outbreak.
“I am fascinated by how things connect with people,” Mr Mochida said.
So there are documents that show how children were taught to shift to online schooling. And instructions, complete with diagrams, on how to make a mask from a handkerchief.
Several hundred objects have been collected so far, after a call went out to residents.
Read more: The latest Covid-19 guidelines for theatres, galleries and museums
Call to extend Eat Out to Help Out scheme
The government needs to extend its Eat Out to Help Out scheme to help London and other struggling cities recover from the pandemic, according to the boss of pub chain Greene King.
Chief executive Nick Mackenzie told the Evening Standard that its trade in the capital had been “significantly worse” than expected since lock-down restrictions eased, with weekly sales about 60pc lower than one year ago.
His comments will fuel concerns about the damage being done to London’s once-thriving bars and restaurants as workers continue to stay away from offices.
Read the full story
Read more: Restaurants pull out of Eat Out to Help Out as staff suffer ‘physical and mental stress’
LA mayor authorises utilities to be shut off at party house
The mayor of Los Angeles says he authorised shutting off utility services at a home in the Hollywood Hills that has been the site of raucous parties despite a ban on large gatherings during the pandemic.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday that “this house has turned into a nightclub in the hills, hosting large gatherings in flagrant violation of our public health orders”.
The city has not identified the home’s address or the owner.
Mr Garcetti warned earlier that such action would be taken against houses and businesses for hosting parties. He says big parties can be “superspreaders” of the coronavirus.
South Korea fights to get control of new outbreak
South Korean health officials are struggling to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus centred in the capital Seoul, as new cases levelled off but remained in triple digits on Thursday.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 288 new cases as of midnight Wednesday, marking at least a week of triple digit daily increases.
Overall, South Korea has reported 16,346 cases with 307 deaths.
The latest outbreak has been driven by hundreds of cases in a church, and has been centred in Seoul and the surrounding areas. The government this week banned in-person church meetings in the area, and also ordered closed other “high-risk” locations including nightclubs, karaoke bars, buffets and cyber cafes.
The country used intensive tracing and testing to beat back previous spikes, but the recent surge in cases is raising concerns there could be a broader outbreak in the Seoul metropolitan area, which is home to more than 25 million people.
Beijing backs Wuhan park after pool party row
Chinese state newspapers threw their support behind an amusement park in the central city of Wuhan on Thursday after pictures of a densely packed pool party at the park went viral overseas amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19.
Videos and photos of an electronic music festival at the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park on July 11 raised eyebrows overseas, but reflected life returning to normal in the city where the virus causing Covid-19 was first detected, the official English-language China Daily newspaper said in a front-page story.
Another story in the Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, cited Wuhan residents as saying the pool party reflected the city’s success in its virus-control efforts.
While the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, strict lockdown measures that paralysed the Chinese economy earlier this year have kept its spread in check.
China on Thursday reported its fourth straight day of zero locally transmitted coronavirus infections.
Trump says university closures ‘cost lives’
President Donald Trump has attacked universities that have canceled in-person classes amid coronavirus outbreaks, claiming the move could cost lives.
Mr Trump said the virus is akin to the seasonal flu for college students and that students pose a greater safety threat at home with older family members than on college campuses. He cited no evidence to support either contention, and the White House did not respond to a request for information about on what Mr Trump based his remarks.
Health experts have said the novel coronavirus appears to be deadlier than the seasonal flu and more easily transmitted. In addition, most college students are 18 and older and thus considered adults, who are more susceptible to coronavirus illnesses than children.
“It’s significantly safer for students to live with other young people than to go home and spread the virus to older Americans,” Mr Trump said.
Students won’t get grades today amid new chaos
Close to half a million pupils face fresh exam chaos on Thursday after an eleventh hour decision to withhold their results.
On Wednesday night, with less than 24 hours to go until results day, the exam board Pearson told schools not to publish BTEC results, saying they needed more time to recalculate the grades.
It is the latest results exams fiasco and follows the A-level results chaos last week which led to the Government’s U-turn on teachers’ predicted grades.
The development will heap further pressure on the education secretary, who was accused of “forgetting” about the 450,000 students who take vocational qualifications.
Students are being assessed by predicted grades this year due to school closures following the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more: Half a million students told: You won’t get results today