Coronavirus News 25 November 2021

Blurred photograph of a hand holding a lateral flow test overlapped with black text reading 'When is the End? #COVID19'

What is Coronavirus or COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a very infectious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is more serious in older people and those with certain health conditions.


Do you know someone who has not been vaccinated?  Do you think it is because they don’t feel they have enough information about the safety of the vaccine?

It is understandable that people worry that the vaccine is too new for them to be confident it is safe.  But the vaccine is not totally new, it is an adapted version of vaccines that have been around for quite a while.  Also, because of the pandemic, the vaccine has been tested on thousands and, in the past year, researchers have been able to follow the effect of the vaccine on hundreds of thousands of people.

For example, to begin with people were rightly worried about the safety of the vaccine for pregnant women and their babies.  Now, after researchers have been able to follow the pregnancies of over 100,000 women, we know that catching Covid-19 does more harm to them than having the vaccine. 

Vaccinations – over 50s can have booster jabs; go online to book. Please encourage everyone to book their vaccinations, including flu jabs for those entitled.

COVID-19 boosters

The COVID-19 Booster Programme is now open to those aged 40 years and over, as well as frontline health and care staff and those with an underlying health condition.

A COVID-19 booster vaccine dose helps improve the protection you have from your first two doses of the vaccine.

This booster dose will help extend the protection you gained from your first two doses and give you longer term protection.

The booster will help to reduce the risk of you needing admission to hospital due to COVID-19 infection this winter.

That’s why it’s really important that, if you’re eligible for a booster jab, you please book your appointment as soon as possible or visit a walk-in clinic near you.

Visit for a full list of walk-in clinics offering boosters near you.

Coronavirus deaths

The first official statistics covering the deaths of those getting home care over the past year have been published.

The figures tell us that the pandemic has probably taken a great toll on a stretched and unequal system.  More than 25,000 people died in the past year while receiving home care in England, and almost 3,000 died over that period in Scotland, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

These figures report deaths having increased in England by nearly 50% between April last year to March, compared with the previous year.  The deaths are of all Disabled people, including older people, who rely on care workers coming into their own homes for them to be able to live independently.  This rise in reported deaths in England of 50%, and in Scotland of 70%, compares to an increase of 22% in the wider population in England, according to figures from the ONS.

However, although recorded deaths have increased quite a lot, relatively few people in home care have died of coronavirus.  Across England, the data is saying only 8.7% were Covid-19 related, though that rose to 20% in some areas.  This suggests the deaths were related to the pandemic, but not caused by the Coronavirus itself.

We can’t say why, just yet, but it may be that with hospitals almost only taking Covid-19 patients for along time led to people dying who may well not have done if the NHS had not been so overloaded.

The data shows very wide regional differences in deaths across England.  This may be because the home care system is quite complex – care can be delivered through one of almost 19,000 providers, including agencies, non-profits, councils, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups – and differs from area to area.  Or, it may be that the differences relate to how may Covid-19 patients the local hospitals had.

Deaths of adults in home care more than doubled in 38 council areas across England, according to data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In ten local authority areas recorded deaths tripled.

In Bristol, recorded deaths among those getting home care of one type or another increased from 106 in 2019-2020 to 165 in 2020-2021.  This is a 55.7% increase in deaths.

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