Covid: Military in hospitals and pupils refusing to wear maskson January 7, 2022 at 7:38 am

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

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

1. Military medics support hospitals

The Armed Forces are sending 200 personnel – 40 defence medics and 160 general duty staff – into hospitals across London to plug staff shortages. Thousands of NHS staff are off sick or isolating, while 4,000 patients are in the capital’s hospitals with coronavirus. As of Thursday afternoon, 17 hospital trusts in England were experiencing critical incidents – meaning they might not be able to provide core priority services, such as emergency care.

Army at Royal London Hospital
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2. Pupils’ mask refusals causing concern

Some older pupils in England are refusing to take lateral flow tests and wear face coverings in classrooms as they head back to school, parents and other pupils say. Although wearing a mask isn’t mandatory, charities are worried about the effects on vulnerable students. Some parents say masks impact on their children’s learning. The government says schools “can decide how best to encourage” pupils to follow the recommendations on tests and masks.

Pupil taking a lateral flow test with the help of an adult
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3. ‘Anti-vaxxers think I faked having Covid’

After being featured undergoing hospital treatment for Covid in a BBC News report, 29-year-old Henry Dyne was flooded with online abuse. Anti-vaxxers were accusing him of being a “crisis actor” – a term used by conspiracy theorists suggesting people are hired by authorities or media to act out a tragedy. It was nonsense but, as Henry explains, trying to make light of the claims only served to worsen the onslaught.

Picture of Henry Dyne in his hospital bed
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4. Bookmaker’s £102m furlough despite online windfall

Bookmaker Ladbrokes claimed £102m from the furlough scheme, despite rapid growth in online betting making up for all losses from the closure of stores. Since the pandemic began parent company Entain has actually increased revenues, driven by strong online growth. The company said the money protected 14,000 jobs, and is “under review”.

General view of a Ladbrokes shop

Image source, Reuters

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5. A letter to lift everyone’s spirits…

Many of us have taken up new hobbies as a way of helping to relieve the strain of the pandemic. Feargal Lynn’s was writing letters. And one he got in response not only lifted his spirits but gave his local postal workers a laugh too. Here’s the story of how a letter missing an address but marked with a 57-word biography, referring to Feargal as “friends with the fella who runs the butchers”, found its way to the right home.

Feargal Lynn letter

And don’t forget…

… if you’re struggling to remember the rules on self-isolation, you can check our explainer.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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Image source, BBC

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