Dr Waqar Rashid

Dr Waqar Rashid

Dr Waqar Rashid is a consultant neurologist at St George's University Foundation Hospital NHS Trust, London. This article is a personal view and does not necessarily represent the views of the Trust. He tweets at @DrWaqarRashid1

How Wales’ Covid-19 outbreak spiralled out of control

Back in October, Wales implemented the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown which was rejected by Boris Johnson on the grounds that these things are not long-term solutions. It’s hard to see what good it did Wales now: after a short-term dip, its Covid rates are now at least twice as high as anywhere else in the UK and seem

Is the Liverpool mass-testing scheme a gimmick?

The revelation that both Pfizer and Modena have created seemingly effective and safe Covid vaccines that could be here by December is surely the first bit of good news 2020 has brought us. But we are, of course, nowhere near yet out of the woods. Even if a vaccine gets regulatory approval by early December,

Should we have abandoned regional restrictions?

There has been much to question about the government’s policies during the coronavirus crisis, but the decision to announce a second lockdown this week was perhaps the most perplexing. One unusual aspect was that with the announcement of the regional tier policy in October, Boris Johnson had finally managed to distance himself from his increasingly

Are we really seeing a second wave?

‘Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.’ There are lots of sayings about statistics, but I think this one by Mark Twain best describes where we are at, regarding hospital figures and Covid-19. There are three questions that currently need answering when it comes to the Covid debate: firstly, are we experiencing a second

The end of the Sage supremacy

Something very significant happened during Boris Johnson’s national address this week. It was not the announcement of the new three tier local risk-based system of restrictions – imaginatively titled medium, high and very high. It was what didn’t happen. The Prime Minister resisted applying a ‘circuit break’ national lockdown which it now transpires was being

The Covid testing trap

We are in a time where money has lost meaning and value, so perhaps the £10 billion plus spent on Test and Trace doesn’t merit comment. But what do we get for our money? Well, we get a daily case tally which provides headlines for media outlets and endless graphs. We get a regional breakdown

What Iceland’s volcano chaos teaches us about our Covid mistakes

Remember the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland? When it erupted in 2010, it caused unprecedented disruption. Millions of people were stranded in various corners of the world. Europe’s airspace was shut down. And airlines were left with an estimated £1.2bn bill. Needless to say this is all small beer by today’s standards of financial loss. But can the response to that

Vallance’s dire Covid warning was a mistake

The idea on the whole was sound. The execution less so. Boris Johnson was nowhere to be seen at yesterday’s press conference. Instead, the honest brokers in this crisis, the medical scientists, were front and centre, in what may be a Downing Street briefing remembered for all the wrong reasons. When chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty,

Don’t blame youngsters if there is a second Covid wave

Deaths of Covid-19 are overwhelmingly concentrated among the elderly. But now there is a new eagerness to blame young adults trying to live their lives in a normal way for the possible resurgence of the disease. With minimal actual evidence, we are told those under the age of 30 are not socially distancing and, worse

We have lost sight of what a positive Covid case means

In a year that almost everyone will want to forget there is some emerging good news. Covid-19 related hospital admissions are undoubtedly falling. By the end of August there were barely over 300 people in hospital in England with coronavirus listed as a diagnosis, and only 46 in London. To put this into context, the

The search for a Covid-19 vaccine is coming at a price

As billions wait with bated breath for the outcome of clinical trials on the new Covid-19 vaccines, many studies on other diseases have been halted. There are several reasons for this, not least the drop in revenue charities are receiving which is then used to fund studies. Additionally, coronavirus continues to dominate the medical landscape

We’re stuck in a coronavirus time warp

There is actually some good news emerging from the tragic gloom of the Covid-19 epidemic. Despite some relaxation of lockdown rules in recent weeks, markers of serious infection – hospital admissions and deaths – continue to fall. There are several reasons for this but undoubtedly a learning process has taken place and we now understand

St John Ambulance and the Covid fear factor

Coronavirus has changed our lives. In fact, there is very little that has been left untouched by this pandemic. A risk assessment has been done for every aspect of life, no matter how mundane. So, it should not surprise that St John Ambulance is no different. Its Covid CPR advice may be matter of fact

The scandal of excess deaths at home

How does one measure health in the midst of the extraordinary times we live in? The usual markers: visits to doctors, waiting lists, and number of people in hospital, have all changed beyond recognition and there is mounting concern that amidst the justifiable concern over coronavirus, other diseases are being forgotten. Trying to determine what

Immune system regulation could be the key to fighting Covid

Over the last few months, the management of severe Covid-19 cases has effectively been turned on its head. At first, reports from China and Italy, coupled with initial guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), had doctors preparing for acutely ill and breathless patients whose lungs were being starved of oxygen. The natural reaction of

The Oxford vaccine appears to have surpassed expectations

It has been yet another busy medical day in our ‘new-normal’ coronavirus world. Today, the Phase One results of the University of Oxford vaccine were published, confirming positive reports tantalisingly leaked last week. Also making the news is a press release from the pharmaceutical company Synairgen, touting very positive initial results from its inhaled protein,

What’s the true cost of lockdown?

Mental health has always been the pauper when it came to medical provision and its sufferers long stigmatised. Some well-meaning campaigns have been undertaken in recent years to break taboos and stereotypes and help alleviate the suffering of those with mental health conditions. But the fallout from coronavirus and the climate of fear which continues

Will more doctors speak out against the lockdown?

Over the last few months, I have watched events with growing incredulity. So much ‘normality’ has been lost, and even when measures have been eased recently, it has always been with strings attached. This makes it feel like more restrictions have appeared; at the height of the epidemic, we were still able to get on a

Can the mad cow disease outbreak teach us anything about Covid-19?

When so-called ‘mad cow disease’ hit the headlines in 1996, I was in the final stages of finishing my medical degree. Understandably, I was already fascinated by the brain and its workings so I wanted to know more about this deadly malady which could be transmitted from animals to humans. Information back then was harder to come by without social