I’ve seen the heartbreaking devastation Covid-19 is causing on the NHS frontline – and the sheer devotion fighting back – The Sun

LAST week, I returned to Milton Keynes hospital after a fortnight for the second part of my documentary series on the NHS frontline.

What struck me the most was the relief expressed by doctors that 150 patients had recovered from Covid-19, and despite their sadness that 30 had lost their battle with the virus, they had been expecting far worse.

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I had come back to this Buckinghamshire hospital hoping to meet a very brave 63-year-old man who had asked my crew to film him as he was being transferred to intensive care during filming for the first episode.

A retired military police officer, he was adamant that the public should see how severe an impact Covid-19 could have on a person’s ability to breathe.

It was a testament to him that he had shown such courage to want to tell his story to the public.

Having left ICU and looking like he was making a recovery in the days leading up to my return, I wanted to thank him.

But I was devastated to discover that his recovery was a false dawn and he passed away in the early hours of Friday morning.

Second wave terror

Despite Milton Keynes’ lower than expected death toll, and seeing so many patients recover on their watch in the past two weeks, doctors spoke of their fears of a second wave.

Although Britain’s hospitals’ death rate is falling, Dr Hamid Manji, Milton Keynes’ intensive care consultant, told me that any easing of lockdown restrictions should not be accompanied by a return to people socialising normally.

“[A second wave] is a concern for me because as lockdown eases and people start to co-mingle again, there is that risk. So I think the message is still the same, even if lockdown eases, you need to continue social distancing,” he said.

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The view among the hospital’s executive directors that the pandemic is plateauing is mainly due to the public carrying out the advice of the government in terms of isolating and social distancing.

With fewer deaths than anticipated, the hospital is reopening wards, booking in surgeries and making it possible to safely divide the facility into two — Covid and non-Covid.

This is the “new normal,” according to CEO Joe Harrison, where normal life gradually resumes alongside the virus.

Family members will now be allowed to visit their loved ones who are suffering from Covid-19.

'Petrified together'

I discovered that more than 350 babies had been born in the hospital’s maternity ward since the start of the pandemic and I met new parents Laura and Tom who had just welcomed their baby girl into the world.

I was also given the honour of delivering and reading out a letter to cancer patient Anthony Rolph from his great-granddaughter which brought him tremendous joy.

The Covid isolation wards are nursed by staff from a wide range of other departments and some still find their new roles daunting.

It has to be the positivity and devotion of NHS frontline staff that should give us all hope.

One nurse, Hannah Dunkley, told me that she was “terrified, because Covid is so unknown and we’d never experienced anything like this”.

Her colleague, Lucy, chimed in: “We’re all petrified but we can be petrified together.”

Senior Sister of the ward, Caroline Middleton, had been staying in a local hotel for three weeks to avoid the risk of bringing the virus back into her family’s home.

Eternal thanks for heroes

But the gratitude of patients for our NHS heroes had not diminished at all.

One man, John Stacey, who had been in an isolation ward with suspected Covid-19, but was relieved to have been tested negative, summed it: “I’m going home soon.

"But these guys have to put their life on the line yet again, no words in the world could possibly ever sort of thank you guys enough, [you know] for all the help.”

Despite their dedication, the strain of Covid-19 is clearly having an effect on staff here.

But amid the darkness it’s important to remember that more people are recovering than dying and new life happens here every day.

Doctors are continuously finding new ways to beat this virus.

But it has to be the positivity and devotion of NHS frontline staff that should give us all hope.

Ross Kemp: On The NHS Frontline airs tomorrow at 8.30pm on ITV.

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Trump mocks Justin Amash’s Libertarian presidential campaign

President Donald Trump on Wednesday mocked Michigan Rep. Justin Amash’s Libertarian campaign for president, calling him a “wonderful candidate.”

Amash left the Republican Party last year and said Tuesday he would seek the third-party nomination to challenge Trump.

“No, I think Amash would make a wonderful candidate, especially since he is way behind in his district and has no chance of maintaining his Congressional seat,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“He almost always votes for the Do Nothing Dems anyway. I like him even more than Jill Stein!” Trump wrote, referring to the 2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate.

Amash told few about his intentions before tweeting that he was forming an exploratory committee and that “I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”

Many Democrats fear that Amash will help Trump win reelection by giving voters an alternative to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump added his commentary while circulating a Washington Post op-ed from anti-Trump former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) titled “Justin Amash’s campaign will help Trump win.”

Amash, currently a political independent, broke with the GOP after saying that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report described impeachable conduct by Trump in allegedly obstructing justice in the probe of Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Trump retaliated by calling Amash a “loser” and saying, “He probably wants to run for some other office. I don’t think he’ll do very well. He’s been a loser for some time.”

In December, Amash was the only non-Democrat who voted to impeach Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who scored a cushy job on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm.

Amash, 40, was first elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave of fiscal conservatives. He’s the son of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants.

In 2013, Amash became well-known for sponsoring a narrowly defeated House amendment to end the National Security Agency’s dragnet collection of domestic call records.

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Flockdown! Gang of mischievous peacocks run amok in Kent village

Flockdown! Gang of mischievous peacocks run amok in Kent village as they take advantage of deserted streets

  • Four mischievous peacocks have been making the most of lockdown in Kent 
  • Blanche, Gulliver, Prince and Victor have been roaming the streets of Sholden 
  • A Facebook group of 3,600 people are keeping track of their movements
  • The colourful animals are believed to return to their owner every night 

Four mischievous peacocks have been running amok in a village in Kent as they have the deserted streets all to themselves.

The ballsy birds, known as Blanche, Gulliver, Prince and Victor, have been breaching ‘stay at home’ measures since lockdown began to roam for miles along the east coast.

They have been spotted window shopping on the high street, exploring private back gardens and even invading a garage.

Four mischievous peacocks have been making the most of lockdown in a village in Kent

Blanche, Gulliver, Prince and Victor have been roaming the streets of Sholden, and have been spotted window shopping on the high street, exploring private back gardens and even invading a garage

The colourful creatures are often seen around the village of Sholden near Deal but they have been venturing further afield since the streets emptied – wandering as far as four miles south to Kingsdown.

But the birds are believed to return home to their owner Paul Louis every night.

Residents have set up a Facebook group, which has amassed more than 3,600 members, for people to stay up to date with their whereabouts.

A Facebook group of 3,600 people have been tracking the movements of the colourful animals

The group, The Famous Four Peacocks of Deal, describes the birds as having a ‘disregard for isolation’ but having ‘lovely time’ while doing it.

Members regularly post pictures so fans of the foursome can track and enjoy their antics.

John Stevens-Hill, who has been sharing the birds’ adventures online, tweeted: ‘Can I spread a bit of joy?

‘Right on the edge of Deal in Kent is a village called Sholden. Someone in Sholden has four pet peacocks.

‘I’d seen them occasionally on school runs. With COVID lockdown, the peacocks have decided the town is theirs.

‘They’re roaming THE WHOLE TOWN daily.’

 

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Moment missing fisherman’s head and limbs cut from the belly of a massive crocodile after it snatched him from riverbank – The Sun

A CROCODILE killed and ate a fisherman only to then be sliced open by hunters who discovered his severed head inside its belly.

The 13ft long reptile was pulled out of the water by angry locals who were searching for the missing man in the Lakar River delta, Indonesia, on April 26.


Syafri, 55, was fishing  when he was dragged into the river by the saltwater crocodile in killed in the region of Siak.

His friend Toha witnessed the attacked and managed to scramble up the banks for safety, screaming for help.

Residents in the nearby village of Teluk Lanus reported the attack to police and launched teams to hunters to try and find Syafri and the croc.

During a search on Monday, they stumbled across a severed leg washed up on the river bank.

And not long later, they managed to snare the crocodile and shoot it dead.

Dragging it from the murky water, they pulled it along a dirt track before slicing open its belly.

Gruesome footage shows them rummaging through the croc's guts as they search for their missing friend.

The man's lifeless head is then pulled from the crocodile's open stomach after it had been swallowed whole.

Eventually, they also find severed arm inside the animal's stomach in the grim footage.


Heru Sutmantoro, head of the Riau province Natural Resources Conservation Agency, slammed the locals for killing the protected crocodile.

The expert said fisherman's death was tragic – but locals had been warned no to go fishing or swimming in the swamps around the delta.

Warnings had been put out in June 2019 telling locals of the danger posed by the saltwater crocodiles.

The beasts can grow up to 20ft in length and can weight up to 2,370lbs.

Saltwater crocodiles are apex predators that use ambushes to seize their prey from riverbanks, before drowning it and then swallowing the animal – or person – whole.

Indonesian local slaughtered 300 crocodiles back in July 2018 in a string of revenge attacks after a man was eaten in West Papau.

Heru said: ''We received the information that the attack happened on Sunday night.

"We have long warned the public to avoid saltwater crocodile habitat and be careful around that area. This was not the first attack, similar attacks have happened before around the Lakar River.

"The victim probably did not know the area was a habitat for saltwater crocodiles."

Heru said that wildlife officials were powerless to act against the villagers who killed the croc but he vowed to increase patrols to map the habitat of the crocodiles to try and prevent future attacks.

He added: “Saltwater crocodiles are among the wild animals protected by the law. It is the authority of the Police or the Environment and Forest Ministry’s law enforcement centre."

It comes after terrifying footage emerged of a massive crocodile lurking just a few feet from a man in Australia.

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Pole dancing instructor sues Zoom after ‘uninvited men’ interrupt online classes

A Texas pole dancing instructor filed a class action lawsuit against Zoom, claiming the video-conferencing app’s “security failings” enabled creepy men to access her online classes.

Stacey Simins, who owns a dance studio in Austin, began offering Zoom classes in March after the state’s coronavirus restrictions were put in place, Bloomberg Law first reported.

“After Ms. Simins began using Zoom, uninvited men joined some of her classes on Zoom,” the suit, which was filed Monday in California federal court, alleges.

“The attackers were intimidating and harassing to Ms. Simins’ clients. On at least one occasion, Ms. Simins had to cancel a session as a result,” the suit says.

Simins, in the suit, said she decided to use Zoom based on its “promised” security features.

“But in reality, Zoom has failed to deliver private and secure video conferencing,” the suit alleges.

Zoom did not respond to a request for comment.

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Arthritis drug may help fight severe coronavirus cases, study finds

An arthritis drug may actually save lives in severe cases of coronavirus, according to a report.

Tocilizumab — which is sold under the brand names RoAcemtra and Actemra to help treat rheumatoid arthritis — showed “clinical benefit” in patients who had the virus according to an unpublished study conducted by Paris university hospital trust, Canada’s CTV News reported.

The drug was used in a study of 129 patients who had moderate-to-severe viral pneumonia as a result of COVID-19. Half of the patients were given two shots of the medicine — which sells for $870 a dose — along with antibiotics, while the other half were given the normal antibiotic treatment, the outlet reported.

The patients who were given tocilizumab were less likely to die and less likely to need to be put on life support compared to the control group, researchers found.

Tocilizumab may prevent cytokine storms — severe reactions to foreign bodies that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells, researchers found. Cytokine storms occur in severe cases of COVID-19 and can be deadly, CTV News reported.

While the study has not yet been published and further research needs to be done on possible side effects, the hospital released the preliminary results “for public health reasons,” CTV reported.

On Monday, worldwide cases of COVID-19 reached three million. About one third of those are found in the US with cases topping 1 million Tuesday.

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UK weather – Locked-down Brits face two days of torrential rain with bleak conditions to last into May – The Sun

BRITS face two days of torrential rain and bleak weather into May as showers soak the UK.

Predictions this month would be the driest April since 1938 collapsed, with the first week of May to follow suit bringing grey skies, drizzle and windy conditions.



As of this week the UK had received just 13.1mm of rain with 25mm expected to fall over yesterday and today alone, which is the equivalent to a week's worth.

Two days of torrential showers are now forecast for locked-down Brits after baking 25C temperatures last weekend.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: “In central and southern England, [Wednesday] will be a cloudy, wet day, with showers getting quite heavy at times”.

Rain today will hit Exeter in the South East, Liverpool, Birmingham and Portsmouth in a long and narrow line.

This afternoon will see rain pass over London, Sheffield and Leeds in the North, and Cambridge and Dover in the South.

And 25mm of rain is expected to fall throughout last night and today.

WET START TO THE MONTH

The grim weather will be accompanied by plunging temperatures, according to the Met Office.

Mr Petagna said: “Some areas will struggle to get above 8C.

“These areas will have been more than 10C higher in the past few days, so it’s a big change.”

The government yesterday warned Brits confined to their homes some properties could see flooding.

In Alton, Hampshire, the government’s flood information service said the persistent rainfall “could continue for several weeks or longer”.

Meanwhile, in Lambourn Valley, Berkshire, it says: “Property flooding is possible in the longer term.”

And the next month is set to be dreary too.

A long-range forecast from the Met Office predicts: "It is likely to be generally unsettled during the first week of May as Atlantic weather systems bring further bands of rain to many areas, particularly in the south and the west of the UK.

"It is expected to be windy at times, especially along southern and western coastlines."

However, the ensuing weeks of May after the initially drizzly start will hopefully return to average with some drier days to come, too.

But Britain's warm spell is decidedly over, forecasters say, with the mercury sadly plummeting back to this time of year's expected temperatures – in the mid-teens during the day with lows of around 7C.






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Hayes man, 37, found strangled to death in an alleyway

Police launch murder probe after man, 37, was found strangled to death in a west London alleyway

  • Baljit Singh, 37, was strangled to death and found dead in an alleyway in Hayes
  • Police want to to find two people Mr Singh was seen with on Saturday, April 25 
  • The family of Mr Singh, who lived in Hayes, have been informed of his death 

A murder investigation has been launched after a 37-year-old man was found strangled to death in an alleyway at the weekend.

Baljit Singh, from Hayes, was found dead off Station Road in the west London town just before 11pm on Saturday night. 

Police say he suffered a ‘vicious beating’ and believe he was involved in an argument with two others before his death.

Baljit Singh, 37, was found dead in an alleyway in Hayes, west London on Saturday night 

DCI Helen Rance, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘Mr Singh was subjected to a vicious assault; the severity of which has caused him to lose his life. My officers are working through hours of CCTV footage and speaking with people in the area to establish what has happened and identify those responsible.’

Mr Singh was pronounced dead at the scene after police and paramedics were called out to an alleyway off Station Road in Hayes on Saturday night.

Mr Singh’s next of kin have been informed.

A post-mortem at Fulham mortuary on Monday gave the cause of death as ‘compression to the neck’. 

Officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command (Homicide) would like to trace two Mr Singh was since in the company of just prior to his death. It is believed a disagreement may have taken place and Mr Singh was assaulted.

DCI Rance added: ‘I would like to appeal directly to anyone who was in the vicinity of Station Road, Hayes from around 10pm onwards on Saturday night who may have seen the victim in company with two individuals. Alternatively if anyone is aware of the victim’s movements earlier that day we would be keen to hear from them.’

Anyone with information which could assist the investigation is asked to call 101 or incident room on 020 8721 4266 ref CAD 8667/25APR.

Alternatively to give information anonymously, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

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Children have 'started attacking parents during lockdown'

Victims commissioner Dame Vera Baird says frustrated teenagers have started attacking their parents as anti-social behaviour spikes during Covid-19 lockdown

  • Dame Vera Baird was speaking to MPs on Commons Justice Committee today
  • Has been speaking to representatives of victims’ services around the country
  • She revealed that ‘there were some real features emerging’ during the lockdown
  • Among them was ‘a big uptake in help for dealing with anti-social behaviour’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Frustrated teenagers have started attacking their parents as complaints of anti-social behaviour grow during lockdown, the Victims’ Commissioner has said.

Dame Vera Baird told MPs on the Commons Justice Committee there has been ‘quite a big spike’ in calls about anti-social behaviour during the coronavirus outbreak.    

She has been speaking to representatives of victims’ services around the country on a weekly basis to gather information on who is being affected by crime amid the pandemic.

Although the information was anecdotal and not based on data, and crime had dropped overall, ‘there were some real features emerging’, she said.

Among them is ‘some suggestion’ of domestic abuse by older children against their parents during the lockdown, Dame Vera said.

Dame Vera Baird told MPs on the Commons Justice Committee there has been ‘quite a big spike’ in calls about anti-social behaviour during the coronavirus outbreak

She told MPs: ‘So this is a newer kind of domestic abuse which is probably suggestive of kids wanting to go out and not being allowed to. We are talking teenagers.

‘That, I think, is a worry and there’s a sense in which there’s a spike likely to emerge of this kind of domestic abuse complaining which is just coming through now.’

Dame Vera also told the Commons Justice Committee: ‘There’s quite a big uptake in help for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

‘It looks like, if I can put it this way, people are getting more frustrated and slightly angrier at things like noise nuisance, which perhaps isn’t a surprise given what’s going on.

‘But that is a big upturn, quite a big spike in calls about anti-social behaviour.’

Earlier this month, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said reports of anti-social behaviour had risen by 59 per cent during lockdown.

There had been an overall drop in levels of crime in England and Wales in the four weeks to April 12 of 28 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Regarding domestic violence, Dame Vera said: ‘Calls to the helplines have rocketed, complaints to the police have not gone up commensurately but complaints to victims’ services clearly have.

‘There are real worries about access to any help if you are locked down with the perpetrator in the next room.’

Victims’ services were also receiving high numbers of calls about welfare, she added.

Dame Vera told the committee: ‘Victims’ services are getting quite a lot of welfare-related calls – so about not having enough food, not being on Universal Credit, not having enough money, they’ve lost their job, as if people are having to resort to a friendly face and they’ve been victims of crime before.

‘They are asking for stuff which the victims’ services can’t answer.’

Dame Vera said calls to domestic violence helplines have ‘rocketed’. Victims’ services were also receiving high numbers of calls about welfare, she added

She has been working with Citizens’ Advice to try to make sure people are pointed towards the right support services.

When asked about victims’ experiences in court, Dame Vera said the ‘massive backlog’ of cases, particularly in Crown Courts, was ‘just going to get longer and longer’.

She told of incidents where victims had not found out until the very last minute their case had been delayed or they had not been notified about a cancellation and were being given unrealistic dates for adjournments, while some were confused about rules on attending court or if their health could be in danger.

Dame Vera added: ‘There’s a whole lot of confusion and chaos and the difficulty is, of course, we suspect that victims won’t stick at it and they won’t support if it doesn’t sort itself out fairly soon, so I think it’s bad for victims, I think it’s bad for the system.’

It comes after campaigners earlier in the month said soaring levels of domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown had led to at least 16 killings.

Karen Ingala Smith, the founder of Counting Dead Women, which records the number of women killed by men in Britain, said there had been at least 16 killings between March 23 and April 12. 

Dame Vera told MPs at at an earlier Commons Justice Committee: ‘Counting Dead Women has got to a total of 16 domestic abuse killings in the last three weeks. 

‘We usually say there are two a week, that looks to me like five a week, that’s the size of this crisis.’

Last week it was revealed that Metropolitan Police officers are arresting an average of 100 people a day for domestic violence offences during the lockdown.

The force said that charges and cautions were up 24 per cent from March 9, when people with Covid-19 symptoms were asked to self-isolate, compared to last year.

Commander Sue Williams said domestic incidents, which can include family rows not recorded as crimes, were up 3 per cent year on year and 9 per cent between March 9 and April 19, although offences were up just 2 per cent in the virus period.

There have been two domestic-related murders recorded in London as police continue to warn of an increased risk of abuse during the coronavirus lockdown.

Metropolitan Police Commander Sue Williams (pictured in London in 2017) said domestic incidents were up 3 per cent year on year and 9 per cent between March 9 and April 19

‘We are seeing a rise, there’s no doubt about that, and we welcome that because we will take positive action against any perpetrators,’ Ms Williams said.

‘We are arresting about 100 people a day for domestic offences, which I think is pretty amazing, even given all the challenges we have in London.’

She said police officers were finding it ‘much easier’ to arrest suspects, who are either at home during the coronavirus lockdown or with family members or friends.

‘If you’re a domestic abuse suspect, we want them charged, cautioned or bailed,’ she said.

‘Our charges and our cautions are up 24 per cent on last year, and that’s in the Covid-19 period. So, we are charging more people. 

‘It will be a mixture of charges and cautions, but mainly charges because we don’t like cautioning and the CPS don’t like cautioning people for domestic abuse.

‘So, they have definitely gone up. If we have to bail someone, we bail them with conditions.’

Ms Williams told reporters success stories included a pregnant woman in east London who called police for help.

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Covid-19 will return as a seasonal virus, Chinese scientists predict

Covid-19 will not be eradicated and will return become a seasonal virus, Chinese scientists predict

  • Chinese researchers have warned that the killer coronavirus will not disappear 
  • Instead, they believe that it will return and become a seasonal virus like the flu 
  • Researchers also warned hot summer temperatures would not stop the spread 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The coronavirus that is ravaging the globe will not be eradicated and will instead return as a seasonal virus like the flu, according to Chinese scientists.     

A group of Chinese viral and medical researchers told reporters in Beijing on Monday that the virus will likely not disappear like SARS did because it can infect asymptomatic carriers.

This means that people can spread the virus without experiencing its symptoms like a fever and cough, making it difficult to track its spread.  

The researchers added that Chinese health officials are still confirming dozens of asymptomatic carriers every day.

A medical worker cares for a coronavirus patient in Wuhan. Chinese researchers have now warned that the virus could become a seasonal illness like the flu

Medics treat a patient at Stamford Hospital intensive care unit (ICU), on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut

Jin Qi, director of the Institute of Pathogen Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said: ‘This is very likely to be an epidemic that co-exists with humans for a long time, becomes seasonal and is sustained within human bodies.’

Doctors across the world have admitted that the virus is unlikely to be completely eliminated, despite lockdowns and other strong measures being enforced in several nations.

According to Bloomberg, the Chinese researchers also revealed that they saw no evidence that the virus’s spread will slow during the summer.

There was some hope that higher temperatures could help to curtail the spread of the virus in the northern hemisphere. 

However,  Wang Guiqiang, head of the infectious diseases department of Peking University First Hospital, said: ‘The virus is heat sensitive, but that’s when it’s exposed to 56 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes and the weather is never going to get that hot. 

‘So globally, even during the summer, the chance of cases going down significantly is small.’

Emergency room in the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, Italy. Researchers say the disease will not be truly eradicated

Paramedics deliver a patient to the Royal London Hospital in London. Chinese researchers also revealed that they saw no evidence that the virus’s spread will slow during the summer

Last week, Bill Bryan of the US Department of Homeland Security presented a report that sunlight may kill the coronavirus on surfaces within minutes.

It suggested that radiation given off by UV rays can damage the virus’ genetic material and hamper its ability to replicate on surfaces. There is no evidence UV rays can kill the coronavirus in the body.

Mr Bryan’s report triggered a bizarre outburst by Donald Trump who proposed two dangerous new treatments, which included injecting cleaning agents in the body and the use of ultraviolet lights.

Leading scientists rubbished the use of UV rays as a therapeutic, and begged the public to not expose themselves to harmful radiation, proven to cause skin cancer. 

Makers of disinfectants also rushed out emergency statements warning people not to consume them in any way.

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