Under the microscope

  • Low-paid workers can claim a pitiful £500 for compulsory two-week self-isolation from 28 September. Four million will be eligible – but who can afford to self-isolate for £200 less than the minimum wage? Meanwhile, those who can’t afford to skip work could face Tory fines of up to £10,000!
  • Six million poor UK households could be £1,000 a year worse off from April, calculates the Resolution Foundation. Without a fightback, Rishi Sunak will end his furlough scheme and modest boosts to tax credits and Universal Credit – with ruinous consequences.
  • Covid-19 infections at UK food factories could be many times higher than official figures, reports investment consultancy Pirc. Bosses employing 430,000 workers have apparently filed just 47 infection notifications, none lethal. Pirc dug up at least 1,461 infections and six deaths.
  • The wait for coronavirus test results is actually getting longer. Only 28% of results from testing centres in England came back within 24 hours in the week to 16 September, says NHS Test and Trace. Some took over three days. In Wales, the privatised ‘Lighthouse Labs’ only managed to process 4.4% of tests in the week to 23 September – down from 10%, says NHS Wales.
  • 22% of people in Britain say they are unlikely to get a Covid vaccination if it becomes available, finds UCL. The Tories have utilised scientific figureheads as cover for their blatant anti-worker agenda, while rushing through profit-first research and development. No wonder trust is so low.
  • 30,000 excess deaths have occurred in people’s private residences since the pandemic was declared, says the ONS. 10,000 of these occurred since June, well after the first peak. Fears of overrun hospitals – and policies which sacrifice the elderly – are to blame.
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the UK are over twice as likely to have lost paid work during the crisis, finds the IPPR. They are also around twice as likely to struggle with bills.
  • The pandemic and depression could thrust a further 100 million people globally into ‘extreme poverty’ this year, reckons the World Bank. Last year there were 630 million in this category – surviving on under $1.90 a day (at 2011 prices).
  • Covid-19’s official global death toll has surpassed one million, says Johns Hopkins University. “If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate,” said an emergencies expert for the World Health Organisation.