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Covid-19 questions answered from second wave to families reuniting at Christmas

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The coronavirus crisis has led to a lot of questions as life changes beyond all recognition – here Daily Star Online offers some answers.

There have been 41,595 Covid-19-related deaths in the UK, and more than 355,000 cases.

Following a national lockdown the amount of daily cases reduced drastically, and life was able to edge more towards normality.

But we aren’t out of the water yet.

Around the country there are local lockdowns, and from Monday, September 14, gatherings of more than six people will be banned.

The rule changes have understandably brought up a whole host of new questions – including whether there will be a second wave followed by another lockdown.

Here we answer all your coronavirus-related questions, as reported by the Mirror.

What are the new restrictions?

Social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England from September 14.

This new rule applies to private homes, indoors and outdoors, as well as public places such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafés.

However, this rule does not apply to Covid-secure schools, workplaces, weddings, funerals and organised team sports.

People with a household or support bubble of more than six people are exceptions to the rule.

No 10 said that groups of seven or more people of any age "risk being dispersed by police or fined for non-compliance".

If so they risk being fined £100, which doubles on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200.

Will there be a second wave?

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Health chiefs fear a second wave is inevitable, but believe with the right measures in place it can be stopped from being as bad as the first outbreak.

NHS Trusts in England have started making preparations for a surge in cases.

Medical experts are worried there could be a spike in Covid-cases, as new infections hit nearly 3,000 on Monday – the highest since May.

Will we be able to see our families at Christmas?

This will depend on how severe the spike is.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the restrictions will be for the “foreseeable future”.

However, he did say they “hoped” they would be removed in time for Christmas.

Will there be a second national lockdown?

It is very unlikely there will be a second lockdown.

Boris Johnson is desperate to avoid this due to the economic damage it could cause.

Tens of thousands of people lost their job due to coronavirus restrictions during the first lockdown.

And another lockdown could put even more jobs at risk.

There are however local lockdowns in place in areas where there has been an increase in cases.

The government would prefer to continue with these localised restrictions, like those in Leicester and parts of Greater Manchester.

Can I see five people from different households one day, and five other ones the next?

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There is nothing specifically in the rules about keeping to the same five people.

However, logically, the more people you see, the more likely it is you will contract the virus.

So while this wouldn’t be breaking the law, it might not be wise to keep switching who you see.

Can I play five-a-side in the park with friends?

No, you wouldn’t be able to do this with friends.

But organised team sports are exempt from the new law, so if it’s an officially arranged fixture it would be fine.

If there are no more than six of you together you could still go for a kick about in the park.

What is wrong with the Track and Trace system?

The “world-beating” system which was promised by Mr Johnson has faced many problems.

Firstly, people in England with symptoms are being told to travel hundreds of miles to get tested.

This is because there are problems at labs processing the tests, and prioritising at-risk groups.

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Mr Hancock said it could take “a couple of weeks” to resolve the backlog.

Secondly, the NHS Track and Trace system has repeatedly failed to hit its target of reaching 80% of those in close contact with a Covid carrier.

Data for the week ending August 26 showed of those close contacts provided by people who recorded a positive test, only 69% were reached. This fell from 77% the previous week.

Has the situation got much worse over the past six months?

On March 2, the UK recorded its first Covid death, and on March 23 the number had passed 1,000, and Mr Johnson announced a local lockdown.

Eight days later the total number of deaths reached 5,000, and at the end of May coronavirus was killing 891 per million.

However, during lockdown treatments were found such as dexamethasone and doctors became more equipped at caring for Covid patients.

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The death rate consequently fell, and the number of hospitalised patients dying in England fell from 6% to 1.5%.

Yesterday, on September 10, eight people died from Coronavirus.

There could be other reasons why fewer are dying. Many who fell ill in the first wave were old and sick.

Now more young people are proportionally affected, but if they infect more vulnerable people, the death rate could rise.

Will there be a vaccine soon?

There are many people working hard on developing a vaccine.

But the most realistic hope is for potentially reliable inoculations having completed big trials.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said there is a “reasonable chance” a vaccine will be ready for the 2021-2022 season.

Why don’t we test everyone coming into the country, instead of self-isolating?

The practicalities of testing makes this very difficult.

Another reason is that ministers say a first test at an airport may miss 93% of cases.

Meanwhile, transport chiefs dispute this fact and want passengers to be tested on arrival, and up to eight days later while they are self-isolating.

Are young people to blame for the increase in cases?

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In England people aged 20 to 29 accounted for a third of all Covid-19 cases last week.

With universities returning this month there are fears it could rise further.

Young people are more likely to socialise, use public transport and share accommodation – meaning they are more likely to catch the virus.

Some scientists say young people should be allowed to continue with their lives because their risk of dying is low.

But others fear they could pass it on to more vulnerable relatives.

Could the colder weather affect the rate of infection?

Yes, evidence suggests all viruses survive outside the better when it’s cold.

The spread of coronavirus is hampered by sunlight, which there is much less of in the winter.

People suffer more from seasonal colds and coughs in the winter, and until they get tested it might be hard to tell the difference.

Therefore they could potentially spread coronavirus without realising.

What is the R Rate?

An R Rate of 1 means an infected person will transmit the disease to one other person.

A rate below 1 means the virus is dying out, but above 1 means it’s spreading.

England’s R Rate is between 0.9 and 1.1 currently, but varying regionally.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus

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