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      Cheaper private Covid jabs may prove to be as expensive, say experts / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 2 April - 14:32

    Exclusive: Multi-dose vials could push up charge per patient, while experts warn high cost could widen inequalities

    Cheaper private Covid jabs could end up being just as expensive as their pricier alternative because the vaccine must be given in groups of five, experts have warned.

    Boots and pharmacies that partner with the company Pharmadoctor are offering Pfizer/BioNTech jabs to those not eligible for a free vaccination through the NHS, with the former charging almost £100 a shot. The latter is also offering the latest Novavax jab, a protein-based vaccine, at a cost of about £50.

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      ‘I only had £5’: what happened to the 3.8 million people denied furlough at the start of Covid? / TheGuardian · Tuesday, 2 April - 13:00 · 1 minute

    Four years ago, about 11.7 million UK employees were furloughed, their jobs and wages protected by a government scheme. Those who had just changed job were left out – and that hardship still affects them today

    In March 2020, Mark Edwards was excited to start a new job running a venue that hosted weddings and hospitality events. Before that, the 47-year-old had been working as a general manager at an independent group of hotels for the past nine years. He was living with his partner and dog in Norwich. “My life was on track. I felt everything was in my hands, but that flipped on its head,” he says.

    Just as he started his new job, Covid-19 swept across the country. As the country went into lockdown – almost exactly four years ago – and the hospitality industry shut down, Edwards’ new employer sent everyone home. Most people in this situation were able to claim furlough, but Edwards was one of 300,000 “ new starters ” – workers who had started a job in February or March 2020, but weren’t on their company’s payroll in time to make the furlough scheme’s cut-off date. He ended up being out of work for a whole year, with a mortgage to pay and only six months of jobseeker’s allowance available. He spent £25,000 trying to support his household and keep up with mortgage payments. “It changed everything,” he says. “My entire life plan changed … I’ve recovered in terms of jobs but not recovered from losing 25k. I’ve not got it back.”

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      Young people like me are still feeling the effects of Covid – and they’re not all bad | Isabel Brooks / TheGuardian · Friday, 29 March - 08:00

    When it comes to studies, work or social abilities, some fared better than others. But the pandemic left its mark on all of us, whether we realise it or not

    I recently came across a folder on my laptop labelled “Covid”. Inside I found screenshots I had taken of the government website, showing daily cases, ICU admissions and deaths from Covid-19. These reports were released every weekday during the first lockdown, and each afternoon I would collect them in this folder and study them, trying to understand what was happening in the wider world – before I began a busy evening of Zoom birthday quizzes, Netflix Party and WhatsApp.

    I was shocked – both that I had ever been so macabre in the first place, and also that, four years later, I had forgotten doing it. I don’t remember being anxious or depressed during lockdown, but I have 60 image files suggesting otherwise.

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      Andrew Bridgen must pay Matt Hancock legal fees of £40,000 in libel claim / TheGuardian · Thursday, 28 March - 20:18

    High court strikes out part but not all of Bridgen’s case and orders him to pay Tory MP’s costs

    The MP Andrew Bridgen has been ordered to pay Matt Hancock more than £40,000 in legal fees after an early stage of their libel battle.

    The MP for North West Leicestershire is bringing a libel claim against the former health secretary regarding a January 2023 message on X that followed Bridgen posting a comment about Covid-19 vaccines.

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      Over 4,000 Covid victims at Madrid care homes ‘could have been saved’ / TheGuardian · Thursday, 28 March - 14:30

    Citizen-led commission suggests deaths may have been avoided if transfers to hospital were allowed

    The lives of more than 4,000 care home residents in Madrid could have been saved if the regional government had allowed them to be treated in hospitals, the findings of a citizen-led Covid commission have suggested.

    Launched in April last year, the commission spent months researching and compiling the testimonies of family members, care home staff and experts in an attempt to piece together how the region’s residential homes came to rank among Europe’s deadliest in the early months of the pandemic.

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      Lockdown gave Finley Boden’s parents cover – but safeguarding failures ran deep / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 27 March - 18:54

    A report on the case of the murdered Derbyshire baby finds a number of opportunities were missed to protect him

    When Finley Boden was returned to the care of his parents, only to be murdered by them weeks later, England was days into its second national lockdown.

    A safeguarding report into Finley’s care makes clear the backdrop of restrictions brought in during the Covid pandemic hindered the ability of authorities to protect him.

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      The Guardian view on unpaid care: time to heed Kate and Derek’s story | Editorial / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 27 March - 18:42 · 1 minute

    Let us hope Kate Garraway’s films spark a national conversation and serious change. Society is nothing without care

    It is an extraordinary story, it is an ordinary tragedy. Kate Garraway’s documentaries about caring for her late husband, Derek Draper , have drawn huge publicity and millions of viewers. That is partly testimony to the celebrity of the couple – a TV presenter and a New Labour politico – but it is mostly due to the power of their story. Covid ravaged every organ in Mr Draper’s body so that, in the programme aired this week , viewers saw this vibrant, sharp-witted man confined to a bed, struggling to walk or to form sentences. “His brain was his best friend,” Ms Garraway remarked at one point. “Now it is like his brain is his enemy.” Meanwhile, the work of caring for him pushed  her to the edge financially, psychologically, even physically. The stress was so severe that she developed heart pains that forced her to attend hospital.

    Even amid this intimate suffering, Ms Garraway knows there are millions of other households in similar situations – except without her profile, access to expertise or high salary. Among the programme’s most moving sections are the testimonies from other carers about negotiating bureaucracy and trying to manage. They borrow money from friends and family, they go to food banks, they are “just existing”. The last census from 2021 found that 5 million people provide unpaid care to a loved one .

    That is a sizable jump from a decade ago, and carers’ organisations believe the current total is higher still – perhaps 10 million – after Covid. Yet they are practically invisible in our political conversation. Ministers and economists note that nearly 3 million people are now long-term sick and worry about the impact on our labour force – but no one asks about the people looking after them.

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      From the archive: ‘Is anybody in there?’ Life on the inside as a locked-in patient – podcast / TheGuardian · Wednesday, 27 March - 05:00

    We are raiding the Guardian Long Read archives to bring you some classic pieces from years past, with new introductions from the authors.

    This week, from 2020: Jake Haendel spent months trapped in his body, silent and unmoving but fully conscious. Most people never emerge from ‘locked-in syndrome’, but as a doctor told him, everything about his case is bizarre. By Josh Wilbur

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      CDC no longer gently recommends COVID precautions most weren’t following anyway / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 August, 2022 - 23:29

    Huge facade for CDC headquarters against a beautiful sky.

    Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images )

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its pandemic guidance today, offering slightly looser recommendations that likely won't change much about how Americans handle the pandemic these days.

    According to the updated guidance , people who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations —i.e., unvaccinated people or people who have not received the recommended number of boosters—no longer need to quarantine if they know they've been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Instead, if a not up-to-date person is exposed, the CDC now recommends they wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure and get tested for COVID-19 on day 5. Currently, roughly 68 percent of the US population is not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination.

    This guidance update essentially ends all COVID-19-related quarantine recommendations since the CDC had previously said that those who are up to date on their vaccines do not need to quarantine but only wear a mask for 10 days and test.

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