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Science news in numbers: February

A breakdown of science news this month.

Science news in numbers

3 hospital trusts - Basildon, Southend and Broomfield are in talks to consider merger proposals, which would create one of the largest NHS trusts.

The 3 trusts have a combined financial deficit of more than £49m, according to board papers. A public consultation will run until 9 March and a final decision will be made in the summer. If approved, the new trust would serve more than 1.1m people across Essex, employing more than 14,000 staff.

Seasonal influenza - 1bn Seasonal flu infects roughly 1bn people worldwide each year. Of those, around 5m have severe cases and 500,000 die. In contrast, Spanish flu is estimated to have claimed at least 50m lives, with some saying the figure may be as high as 100m.

90% of staff say snacking is the biggest problem. Tameside hospital has removed all added sugar from meals for visitors and workers, and has taken sugary snacks and fizzy drinks off its menu. It took the measures after a trial in which 100 staff members signed up for a weight loss scheme. This included a staff survey in which 90% said snacking was the biggest problem at work.

At least 2 in 3 of those who try 1 cigarette become daily smokers, even if only temporarily, according to research. Data from the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand shows that 60.3% of people had tried smoking and 68.9% of those progressed to a daily habit. The authors of the research said it shows the “remarkable hold” cigarettes could establish after one experience.

44,633 - This was the number of whole genomes sequenced by Genomics England, as of 8 January. The work is being done as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project.


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