These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.
Medical School Numbers Cap Lifting Confirmed
The cap on medical school places in England has been lifted after pressure from doctors’ groups.
There were concerns about A level students missing out on places after those admitted with the abandoned ‘algorithm’ grades were joined by those upgraded after teacher assessments.
The Department for Education also said additional teaching grant funding will be provided to increase capacity in medical, nursing, and some other courses.
Commenting, Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians said: “Today’s decision is really welcome news for many hardworking A Level students who could see their dream of medical school fading away through no fault of their own. In tandem it is vital that universities and the NHS receive the resources they need to ensure that these students receive the full experience they deserve.
“This situation also acts as a reminder that we need to plan for a large phased expansion of places which will help place the NHS workforce on a more sustainable footing. If we don’t we are setting ourselves up for another decade of workforce shortages which is totally avoidable.
“Ahead of the comprehensive spending review, we urge the Government to make clear its commitment to double the number of medical school places.”
Long COVID Study
The DISCOVER Study of COVID-19 patients at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital has found three quarters (81 out of 110) had ongoing symptoms 3 months after discharge, and many were still experiencing poor quality of life.
Continuing problems described in the preprint include issues with breathlessness, excessive fatigue, and muscle aches.
Research project lead Dr David Arnold from North Bristol NHS Trust commented: “This research helps to describe what many coronavirus patients have been telling us: they are still breathless, tired, and not sleeping well months after admission. Reassuringly, however, abnormalities on X-rays and breathing tests are rare in this group. Further work in the DISCOVER project will help us to understand why this is, and how we can help coronavirus sufferers.”
Apps Unlikely to Contain COVID-19
Contact tracing apps are unlikely to be effective without good uptake and support from concurrent control measures, according to a UCL systematic review published in Lancet Digital Health.
Researchers reviewed 4033 papers published between 1 Jan 2000 and 14 April 2020 of which 15 provided useful data.
Lead author Dr Isobel Braithwaite commented: “Although automated contact tracing shows some promise in helping reduce transmission of COVID-19 within communities, our research highlighted the urgent need for further evaluation of these apps within…