Covid-19: Plea to put ‘Generation Covid’ centre stage, and why you may be feeling numbon February 17, 2021 at 7:01 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

The outgoing children’s commissioner for England has called on the government to put vulnerable young people “centre stage” of plans to “level-up” the country. Anne Longfield, in her last speech after six years in the job, will say that an entire generation risks being forever defined by the coronavirus pandemic and will call for a new “Covid Covenant” for education and support in every community. For its part, the government says the most vulnerable children in England can still go to school and it has also worked to provide laptops and data packages for home-schooling.

Children in school

image copyrightPA Media

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Research by the think tank Reform suggests hospital waiting lists in England could more than double and hit 10 million by April. While praising NHS staff for their work during the pandemic, Reform said more needs to be done to deal with the growing backlog in hospitals. The NHS Confederation, which represents hospital bosses, has questioned Reform’s predictions, saying the main issues were under-funding and the health service operating near capacity.

Patient having surgery

image copyrightGetty Images

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Work has begun to assess the effectiveness of the coronavirus jab developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca on children. Around 300 volunteers aged between six and 17 are taking part in the trial, with 240 receiving the Covid vaccine and the rest getting a meningitis jab. While children can catch and spread coronavirus they are unlikely to become very sick with it. But the Oxford researchers say this trial is needed to find out whether some young people might benefit from being vaccinated.

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BBC News analysis of data from England suggests the vaccine rollout in England is starting to push down the number of deaths from coronavirus. According to the data currently available, deaths of over-80s fell by 53% between 28 January and 11 February, compared with 44% for under-80s. The number of Covid cases is also down, but this statistic is not a reliable indicator of whether the vaccines are working because the jabs should prevent serious infections. It is expected the government will release more details next week as part of its plans to ease the lockdown in England.

Chart showing that deaths for people aged 80+ are falling faster than under-80s.
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With more than 118,000 people in the UK now having died with coronavirus, many of us may end up feeling a bit numb. This is not unusual, psychologist Dr Meg Arroll tells BBC Newsbeat, and is a form of self-preservation. She says that some people may be suffering from “compassion fatigue”. If you’re feeling out of touch with your emotions, there are things you can do to help, including remembering it is OK not to be OK at the moment, looking after your physical health and taking time out for yourself.

Simone Ziel, Annie Walsh, Thomas Smithurst

image copyrightSimone Ziel, Annie Walsh, Thomas Smithurst

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You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page. We’ve also updated our explainer about who is currently on the shielding list in England.

Government statistics show total deaths are 118,195, up 799 in the past 24 hours, total cases are now 4,058,468, up 10,625, there are 21,001 people in hospital and 15,576,107 have received a first dose of a vaccine tested, up 275,956
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