Friday, 25 November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 25th November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 25th November 2022

World COVID Statistics: 645,069,583 reported cases and 6,633,233 losses of life.

"My offer of formal negotiations was declined and instead ministers have chosen strike action.
Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve."
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen, as quoted by Sky News. 

251122 Pat Cullen RCN Nurses Strike quote

Today's UK random COVID sampling from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is refreshing. It's week ending 15th November, so 10 days behind, but positive tests are declining or static. That's excellent news as Winter is beginning to make itself known, and far better than we are doing with RSV (chest infection virus) and Flu. 
- England, estimate 809,200, equating to 1.48% of the population (a decrease from 1.73% in the previous week), or around 1 in 65 people.
- Wales, estimate 45,400, equating to 1.49% of the population (a decrease from 1.84% in the previous week), or around 1 in 65 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 34,100, equating to 1.86% of the population (there was no change in the percentage which was 1.86% in the previous week), or around 1 in 55 people.
- Scotland, estimate 83,700, equating to 1.59% of the population (a decrease from 1.85% in the previous week), or around 1 in 65 people.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

How Do I Find a Reliable HVAC Los Angeles Contractor? (Featured Article)

Today I have a featured article from a writer the USA, with hints for finding reliable heating, ventilation and cooling (air conditioning) suppliers and fitters - this general advice is useful wherever you are in the world...  

How Do I Find a Reliable HVAC Los Angeles Contractor?


It may be difficult for many people to find a reliable HVAC firm to work on their homes
or businesses. It may seem daunting to try to locate a reliable HVAC company to handle
the dizzying array of options accessible today. By adhering to these guidelines, you may
choose a firm that hires only the most qualified HVAC repair specialists.


Friday, 18 November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update November 18th 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update November 18th 2022

World COVID Statistics: 642,121,750 reported cases and 6,622,222 losses of life.

"We now have strong evidence that COVID medicines saved lives during the last COVID wave. 
Victorians aged over 70 who took COVID medicines were 26% less likely to be hospitalised and 55% less likely to die than those who did not."
Victorian Department of Health. 
(That's Victorians living in Victoria, Australia, not Victorians living in the past.)


Latest UK ONS random sampling (week ending 8th November) is an all round good news story. 
"The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to decrease across all UK countries."
- England, estimate 940,700, equating to 1.73% of the population (a decrease from 2.43% in the previous week), or around 1 in 60 people.
- Wales, estimate 56,000, equating to 1.84% of the population (a decrease from 2.38% in the previous week), or around 1 in 55 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 34,200, equating to 1.86% of the population (a decrease from 2.17% in the previous week), or around 1 in 55 people.
- Scotland, estimated 97,500, equating to 1.85% of the population (a decrease from 2.04% in the previous week), or around 1 in 55 people.
We could have expected numbers to be creeping up now with the colder weather, so everyone cross your fingers in case this is the real-world result of those new bivalent (2 pronged) Omicron-fighting vaccines... 

Talking of which... Moderna have announced official trial results showing that their bivalent booster jab is more effective against Omicron than their original jab. Data suggests it produces around 15 times as many Omicron-fighting antibodies - which is great (it has performed very well, but not quite that well, in smaller trials). Pfizer's bivalent booster has also proven to offer an increased level of protection, and we do have a good chance of some stability this Winter, although obviously neither booster will stop all cases.

At the weekend new UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said “I’m Scrooge who’s going to do things that make sure Christmas is never cancelled". Ermmm yeah. So how did he do? 
Well, I for one thought maybe someone in the Tory party benches was going to jump up and call him a raging communist. (They didn't.) The budget gives extra attention to the NHS and Social Care, it allowed for lots of discussion and input as to what exactly has been going wrong, it takes tax from some of the wealthiest and most stable people, and should help those folk who aren't in a food or housing secure position. Its not magic, you will still feel poorer, but I felt it went far better than I anticipated. Fingers crossed.
(Ps. Jez. Can we remove the artificial limits and train more doctors, surgeons, nurses, dentists, opticians, podiatrists etc. and fill those very big gaps. Thanks in advance, Jenny.)

The Guardian is reporting that GPs in England are going to be able to refer suspected Cancer patients for tests without having to send them to a specialist first.
This trial is a desperate attempt to speed up Cancer care, which is falling behind targets and risking the lives of people who could be saved. Alas we also already know that there are delays with accessing treatment once diagnosed, due to lack of trained staff, so I'm not sure how helpful this will be, although it should free up consultant and other staff time. Fingers crossed all round. 


The World Health Organisation have updated their Family Planning Manual to include information on "practical measures that support the continuity of family planning services during epidemics". The main recommendations include wider access to self-administered contraception, and direct distribution of contraception through pharmacies. 

National World have looked at the areas in England and Wales worst affected by COVID loss of life.
Around 1 in every 10 deaths that have occurred this year have been due to COVID in Luton, Ealing, Rushcliffe, Wandsworth, Harrow and Cannock Chase. 
Stafford, Nottingham, Nuneaton & Bedworth, and Kensington & Chelsea running closely behind at more than 1 in every 11.
Figures earlier this Autumn suggest England and Wales are losing around an extra 10-13% more people than we'd expect. That's clearly not a trajectory we want to continue forever, or average life expectancy will fall by several more years. 

The US Senate don't hang about. Just 1 week since the mid-term elections and a small swing of power, and they've voted to end the COVID19 Emergency Declaration.
With the declaration in place they were able to do things like pause student loans, offer free testing and vaccinations, cap treatment prices etc. This is a big move, and it's likely to have a visible effect. 

Ontario in Canada is "urging" the public to wear masks when out of the home indoors, as hospitals are struggling with the number of patients with COVID, flu and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus - the chest infection virus). 

Famous People With COVID:
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. He has just taken part in lengthy discussions with a host of world leaders (including 79 year old Joe Biden) at the G20 Summit in Bali. Oops. 

Luxury Cruise News:
Ahhh, how we've missed you.
Last Saturday the Majestic Princess Cruise ship docked in Sydney with around 800 COVID positive passengers on board. There's nothing like a cruise to share whatever you have with everyone else. Good news is that when it docked no-one was very ill. All passengers who chose to stay aboard the ship were required to isolate for 5 days.
Australia is facing a wave of infections at the moment, and people in Queensland have been asked to wear masks in public indoor spaces, including public transport and healthcare settings. 

A new study published in Nature (not yet peer-reviewed) looks at added risk from reinfections with COVID. Hopefully you guys all understand you roll the dice each time you catch this virus, and every infection can cause lasting damage to your body. It's not going to be a huge surprise to learn that reinfection carries a greater risk of severe COVID outcomes, and repeated reinfection even more so.
The researchers looked at the US Veterans data, which is proving to he useful time and again. They studied data collected from 1st March 2020 to 6th April 2022, including 443,588 patients with one SARS-CoV-2 infection, 40,947 with two or more infections, and 5.3 million non-infected people.
As Dr Eric Feigl-Ding nicely summarised:
"Compared to no reinfection, reinfection contributed additional risks of death (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.17, hospitalization (HR = 3.32) & risks of pulmonary, cardiovascular, hematological, diabetes, gastrointestinal, kidney, mental health, musculoskeletal & neurological disorders."
A hazard ratio of 2.17 means 'times 2.17' - more than double. And more than triple for risk of being hospitalised. 
Across the board, whether vaccinated, boosted or not, every group saw this increase. 


Dr Peter Hotez, the Dean of Baylor College of Medicine and Chair of Tropical Diseases at Texas Children's Hospital, thinks its time we stopped listening to crazy theories and started reacting to what we have. He is in no doubt COVID came to us via wildlife, and that we should be looking more closely at how this happened, and how we can prevent it happening again.
A paper out this weekend supports him. It's not yet peer-reviewed, but has some important people backing it, and gives explanations about why COVID came from animals and wasn't a bio-weapon made in a lab. The author talks lots about the genetics and how well SARS-COV-2, the virus which causes COVID, can attach and grow in different animals. In short he uses this as an example of why it wasn't created in a lab - if it was a weapon against humans, they wouldn't have made it infect everything from mink and deer to cats, rats and bats - it would be too difficult to engineer, and too risky to ever use. He also talks about lab leak theories and says if it had been present in lab samples, then wildlife and then human populations near to where the samples were originally collected would become infected, so one lab technician breathing in a few particles would be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. 
As hard as they look, the first known cases all had links to Wuhan live animal market, and samples from cages and drainage covers tested positive, but conspiracy theories still persist. You can never prove a negative, you can only prove something DID happen, and in this case, we'll likely never have definitive proof of anything. 

The Bird Flu epidemic continues apace, with many dead birds appearing in parks in London and Glasgow among others. 
Do NOT touch dead or sick birds or pick up bird feathers.
If you are asked to keep dogs on a lead or keep to pathways, do so.
In affected parks do not feed the birds or approach them
If you find dead or sick birds in the UK, contact DEFRA. (One or more large birds or predators, 3 or more smaller birds.)
All farmed birds should now have been housed indoors for the last 2-3 weeks. Fresh free range eggs are not currently an option. 


The world's population passed 8 billion humans on Tuesday. This is 3 times the number of people we had in 1950, just over 70 years ago. That growth rate is slowing, and caused in large part by increased life expectancy as opposed to loads of new births. This causes its own problems, as less young people means there's no-one to take care of us when we are old...

The UK's Royal Mail have announced several strikes in the run up to Christmas, after being offered a 2% pay rise, which is less than 1/5th of inflation, along with unpopular changes to working conditions. 
They plan to strike on November 24, 25 and 30, and December 1, 9, 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24. 
Get your Christmas post sorted early to avoid disappointment. (Obviously delivery of a parcel doesn't guarantee there won't be any disappointment.)

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday last week - I had a very lovely meal out with most of our kids, and a cardboard "Birthday Princess" tiara, which made everyone smile. I also had 3 lazy days, which was an epic present to myself. It is the weekend again now, so I hope you've planned something nice for yourself - you really have earned it. Be kind to others, but always remember to be kind to you too. 
I'll be back next week. 

Let Fresh Air In Often, Wear A Cardi. Save The NHS. 

Some people. They are shown as numbers, but that's because I can't spell all of their names.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life YESTERDAY in the full 24 hours until midnight GMT:

World 641,927,262 (+352,137) 6,621,844 (+1,121) 
Japan 23,519,801 (+93,005) 47,959 (+133)
S. Korea 26,412,901 (+55,437) 29,862 (+67)
France 37,250,370 (+33,331) 158,089 (+87)
Brazil 35,009,176 (+29,102) 688,886 (+75)
Germany 36,180,077 (+27,587) 156,410 (+218)
USA 100,108,704 (+23,012) 1,101,843 (+158)
Taiwan 8,112,228 (+20,121) 13,790 (+76)
Australia 10,541,753 (+10,922) 15,953 (+15 )
Hong Kong 2,012,877 (+8,052) 10,569 (+12 )
Indonesia 6,590,113 (+7,822) 159,291 (+38)
Chile 4,859,241 (+6,904) 62,102 (+50)
Russia 21,520,021 (+5,680) 391,273 (+61)
Austria 5,506,809 (+4,509) 21,134 (+6)
Malaysia 4,960,179 (+3,457) 36,583 (+9)

Sources: 
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://twitter.com/VicGovDH/status/1593081344908988417?t=pIY6Llcfm14V8qgVAoCySQ&s=19

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/18november2022

https://www.upday.com/uk/im-scrooge-with-a-plan-to-save-christmas-by-beating-evil-inflation-hunt-said

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/moderna-bivalent-covid-19-booster-shot-performs-ba5/story?id=93251807

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/nov/16/gps-england-send-suspected-cancer-patients-directly-tests
https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1592414495074574338?t=jLPWsGa13t9pf9-Q6RhPQQ&s=19

https://www.nationalworld.com/health/coronavirus/covid-deaths-areas-england-wales-hardest-hit-coronavirus-deaths-2022-3919409

https://twitter.com/luckytran/status/1592738788534407168?t=D8M6QslG_qKWQWIvXNlAJg&s=19
https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/what-happens-when-covid-19-emergency-declarations-end-implications-for-coverage-costs-and-access/

https://twitter.com/seungminkim/status/1592325720210288641?t=GJKNPLV_Isn_pVY5NPqcKQ&s=19

https://twitter.com/picardonhealth/status/1591211053333245952?t=RQg0D7dQa63j4w_W0tI2vA&s=19

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-02051-3

https://drericding.substack.com/p/avoid-repeat-infectionsrisk-of-death

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/nov/11/cruise-ship-majestic-princess-to-dock-in-sydney-with-800-covid-cases-on-board
https://twitter.com/BNOFeed/status/1591201039847391232?t=wA0DAE1cHBYLO5H_CVPyDg&s=19


Image
https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1592558817929154560?t=vvpj05CJCJdMMcpcgLfG-g&s=19

https://twitter.com/NHSEnglandLDN/status/1592789878869266432?t=XikNTFIEIa0iktkSyk8dvQ&s=19

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1593135937902768129?t=3Td0r6XwSblIsF1Y_jAVsw&s=19

https://twitter.com/john_actuary/status/1593604163228811264?t=5Nwp4o3QhdnjTim13h5p2A&s=19

Wildlife
https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2214427119
https://twitter.com/PeterHotez/status/1591374214820687872?t=fRTzgRwExAJcvcZvY_7c3w&s=19
 
https://news.sky.com/story/world-population-to-hit-eight-billion-as-projections-reveal-where-is-growing-the-fastest-12747549

https://news.sky.com/story/cost-of-living-latest-autumn-statement-tax-rises-12615118?postid=4893032#liveblog-body


Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Engenius Contraptions Motorised Bounce Marble Run Review (age 10+) Sent by Cheatwell Games for review

I love a clever toy, and even better if it has minimal plastic, smart and unusual design, and it makes your children think. Cheatwell Games have a range of truly 'Engenius Contraptions' - marble run sets with working motors, which you build yourself before you get down to the serious business of playing with them. We have been sent the Bounce Marble Run, which is just what it says - marble track with trampolines! 

Image from front of Bounce Marble Run box, showing complete set up and contents.

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November #TBCSmiles 99 Months...

I'm a bit late this month, but with good reason. I'm shattered and busy non-stop, so I took my birthday off on 14th, and a day either side I took it easy, so here we are. I'm sure you'll forgive me. 

Being productive and effective is really as much about taking a break from doing it, as it is about actually working. 

Me grinning at a table in a restaurant with a birthday card and Birthday Princess cardboard tiara

Friday, 11 November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 11th November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 11th November 2022

World COVID Statistics: 639,532,801 reported cases and 6,612,327 losses of life.

"Does it need to be stated that infection with a pathogenic virus does not confer a net benefit to the host? Because sometimes it feels like there is a need to say this."
Aris Katzourakis, Professor of Evolution and Genomics at Oxford Uni, reminding us that things which do not kill us do not always make us stronger.

101122 number of people waiting 18 months for treatment has fallen image of 2 shadow people sitting at a table

"This view of relative mortality risk by age (share of all death certificates mentioning COVID) continues to trace a pattern of decreasing ripples. 
This is despite COVID prevalence being considerably higher than it was in January 2021."
Numbers guy Paul Mainwood summing up the ONS graph nicely. It's great to be a long way away from thousands of deaths a week, but remember low constant ripples still mean we are losing hundreds of people every week. It isn't over, especially for people who are at greater risk. 

Latest ONS stats (to 6th November) are positive - officially reported cases (people who test positive), hospitalisations and deaths are all DOWN on the previous week.

Latest ONS Infection Survey random sampling is also positive. We know cases are likely to go up with Winter, so the lower we can start off, the better. This is a more accurate true measure, as they invite thousands of randomly selected people for a test each week. 
"The percentage of people testing positive for COVID19 decreased across all UK countries."
- England, estimate 1,323,200, equating to 2.43% of the population, or around 1 in 40 people.
- Wales, estimate 72,400, equating to 2.38% of the population, or around 1 in 40 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 39,900, equating to 2.17% of the population, or around 1 in 45 people.
- Scotland, estimate 107,300, equating to 2.04% of the population, or around 1 in 50 people.

"I believe we found room for hope in Glasgow. With one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, we made the promises to keep that goal within reach... And the question today is this, can we summon the collective will to deliver them? I believe we can."
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressing the other delegates at the COP27 Climate Conference - which he did go to, despite saying he wouldn't. Rumour has it he hadn't realised how important the future existence of humans was until he saw the guest list.

111122 ons covid charts by age

NHS figures out on Thursday were eye-wateringly bad - so bad they've issued revisions today, so sorry if I missed any alterations to averages.
1/ We have record breaking queues in A&E emergency departments:
- In October 43,792 people waited over 12 hours for a bed after a decision was made to admit them to hospital, up an extra third from 32,776 in September.
- In October 150,922 people waited at least 4 hours, up from 131,861 in September.
2/ We have record breaking numbers of people who have waited a long time for treatment:
- In October a staggering 401,537, or 1 in every 18 of us, had been waiting for over a year for treatment. Awesome.
- In good news, the number of people waiting 18 months or over has fallen substantially - down 60% on last year.
3/ Ambulance waiting times are, as we well know, grim. For some reason this month's English NHS stats don't include London (but they would likely be grimmer than grim):
- In October 2022, the mean average response time for Category 1 (England excluding London), was 9 minutes 56 seconds, with 90% within 17m 42s. Clearly longer than the 7 minute and 15 minute targets.
Zoe Bell of Upday News points out that we haven't actually met A&E targets since 2015 - 5 years before COVID. 

UK politics continues to bow under the weight of it's own ineptitude. It's like watching a teenager in heels trying to sneak upstairs in the dark after 15 shandies. Now our COVID-times Education Secretary and newly ordained Sir, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Childcatcher Gavin Williamson, has "resigned" after accusations of bullying. It was all fun and games until someone said they weren't happy with being told to slit their throat or jump out of a window. (Defenestration is a rare event in the UK. More common with Russian COVID Doctors). 
Gavin said the allegations were "becoming a distraction"... err, yeah. Okay. 
According to Sky News, "a total of 80 ministers or whips have resigned or been sacked from the government since the start of 2022". Yowch. That's some world-beating staff turnaround...  

Gavin Williamson resignation letter

Remember back in 2020 when 'kids didn't catch COVID'. How times have changed... and also knowledge. Obviously kids always caught COVID. they were just less likely to show it. Sadly although our understanding has changed, everything else is slow to catch up, and in the UK we don't vaccinate young children. Omicron is more severe than previous COVID strains, and you can spot this in the unvaccinated populations, including our children. 
In 2022, up to October 31st, the UK had already hospitalised more children who are testing positive for COVID than in all of 2020 AND 2021 ADDED TOGETHER. The UK has a lot of people with COVID at any given moment, and many of these kids will only find out they have it when they turn up at A&E with a broken leg or asthma attack, but it is not an impressive figure. Even if they aren't really poorly, each bout of COVID can have a long lasting effect on things like concentration and tiredness. 

RSV is a MASSIVE problem in the Northern hemisphere as we head into our Winter. Figures are high and rapidly rising, especially in our youngest infants and children. This is Respiratory Syncytial Virus and it causes chest infections and bronchiolitis, and it has hospitalised a lot of children in New Zealand and Australia over their Winter. Keep your kids home if they are ill, and listen regularly to their breathing in case they develop a persistent wheeze or crackle, or begin to struggle.

A UK study has found that confidence in vaccinations has dropped across the board - whatever your religious, educational or cultural background. All this talk of side effects, efficacy rates, rule breaking and number fudging has made people think more and trust less.
(Read more, all of you. Not just headlines, think about the answers you actually want to know. If you are in doubt, get the numbers for yourself. Google is your friend.)

111122 England children with COVID hospital admissions Antonio Caramina

Waits for Cancer care in the UK are too long. Yet another victim of the NHS being on its knees and desperately short staffed.
The BBC has a clear article explaining that although screening is being rushed through to try and clear the backup, lack of specialist staff to actually oversee treatment means unnecessary delays for very anxious people, and a risk that treatment will arrive too late.

UK Nurses WILL be going on strike, as will Civil Servants. The UK isn't alone in this discontent. A lot of people worked solidly through COVID, risked their health before vaccinations, saw colleagues leave through illness or bereavement, and in return got clapped at and offered a crap pay rise.
Royal College of Nursing members at 176 NHS Organisations have voted to strike. Dates to be arranged. Closed door meetings between brand new Junior Government Health Ministers and nursing representatives are underway already.  

A US team have published a study looking at the difference masks make in schools. This isn't yet peer-reviewed, but it's getting a lot of high profile shares, which we can assume means no-one has spotted any huge errors at this point.
They looked at schools in Boston, Massachusetts, where masks were worn by all pupils and staff until February 2022. Two districts kept the mask mandates until June 2022, which allows for a comparison.
They found that the districts which kept masks were poorer, with older schools and more pupils per class. They also had "higher percentages of low-income students, students with disabilities, and students who were English-language learners, as well as higher percentages of Black and Latinx students and staff".
Despite having extra risk factors, those schools which kept masks continued with a steady amount of COVID cases, while the schools which got rid of masks had a big increase.
'During the 15 weeks after the statewide masking policy was rescinded, the lifting of masking requirements was associated with an additional 44.9 cases per 1000 students and staff, which corresponded to an estimated 11,901 cases and to 29.4% of the cases in all districts during that time.'
So there you have it (again). Masks DO make a big difference. 

111122 ons covid charts deaths hospitalisations

As reported by Channel News Asia, “China will "unswervingly" stick to its zero-COVID policy and persevere with its "dynamic-clearing" approach to COVID-19 cases as soon as they emerge, health officials said on Saturday (Nov 5).”
They're not having it. China still have a mandatory quarantine for arrivals from abroad, and really do think the West is storing up problems for the future... and it's worth noting their vaccination rate is really very low, especially in older people. 
The latest area to be locked down is part of Guangzhou, after reporting over 1,000 cases a day for the last 5 days. Around 5.6 million residents were just told to stay home, in an attempt to prevent a whole area lockdown affecting over 19 million people. 
Despite remaining "unswerving", Chinese Health Authorities do at least review their rules and update them. As a result they have made several changes to their COVID policies, including reducing close contact quarantine from 7 days at a centralised location to 5 days (plus three days at home). Rules regarding inbound travellers and traveller quarantines have also eased.

We have heard before that our genes can make us more susceptible to severe COVID. This week Oxford University Professor Dr James Davies has revealed another unfortunate gene, which dates back to neanderthal times. LZTFL1 is found in around 15% of Europeans, and 60% of Southern Asian people, and it appears to double the risk you'll die from COVID. 
In the UK your risk of succumbing to COVID is clearly greater if you are not white - but it's been very hard to pinpoint physical reasons, as non-white people are also more likely to live in larger or multi-generational housing, more likely to work in high risk professions, less likely to be able to take time off sick, more likely to be poor etc etc... all risk factors.

The US CDC have a new campaign to encourage pregnant people to get their COVID vaccinations. The main point of the campaign is:
"Infants aged <6 months, who are ineligible for vaccination, have high COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates compared with other pediatric age groups."
Yes. Infants under 6 months do have high hospitalisation rates for COVID, and in the US that has gone up by a whopping x11 since Omicron COVID took over. 
Hold on before you panic, it's a bit misleading. Younger babies catching Omicron can show more cold or flu-like symptoms, so are more likely to be admitted out of caution. Most importantly a "return to normality" means far, FAR more people have COVID in the community, and as a result far, FAR more babies are being born WITH COVID.
Despite that eleven-fold increase in hospitalisations, the CDC see no increase in levels of severe illness. Being admitted to hospital doesn't mean they'll become very poorly - it means they're in the right place if they do.
Getting vaccinated before or during pregnancy hasn't shown any detrimental effect, and offers a level of protection for both the parent and newborn baby. (And as we well know - pregnancy and COVID don't mix well at all.) Talk it through with your healthcare professionals.

111022 Excess deaths England by week age 0-24
111022 Excess deaths England by week age 0-24

Ugandan schoolchildren will break up 2 weeks early on 25th November, because of Ebola. Official case counts only include confirmed cases, and sadly when you add on 'suspected', the numbers are not good. 8 school children have already died from Ebola, which can have a fatality rate as high as 80% - this outbreak is currently running at around 40-50%. According to leading expert Helen Branswell, (Senior Infectious Diseases Writer at STAT News), the updated total on Monday was believed to be 157 cases and 74 losses of life.

Remember the woman from Alberta, Canada, who had been refused an organ transplant because she wouldn't get vaccinated against COVID? The Court of Appeal have upheld that decision. They say expecting her to get up to date relevant vaccinations is not a violation of her rights. The survival rate for people with COVID after a recent organ transplant is greatly reduced. 

All On The Board Armistice Day - notice board at London underground station bearing poem about the futility and waste of war

Scientists have announced they've found the oldest ever known sentence written by humans. It was written on an elephant ivory comb around 1700BCE and says:
"May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard."
We really haven't changed... 

Ukraine's official Christmas stamp, “Separated by war”, was created by Valeria Mykhailova, a year 11 schoolgirl who, until becoming a refugee, lived in Mykolaiv. It's split in two, with a young woman sitting inside a Christmassy room alone, and an armed person in a helmet and military clothing, sitting alone on the battlefield with gunfire around.  

Separated By War Ukraine Christmas stamp 2022

SchoolsWeek is reporting that the UK Government Treasury is going to be taking back over £100 million of the money earmarked for pupil catch-up schemes, as it hasn't been allocated this year. Schools have really struggled to access the money, because they have to pay 40% themselves this year, and they simply don't have it. Next year they'll be expected to pay 75% of the costs, so frankly it's hardly worth the paperwork.
It would be nice if the underspend went towards FREE catch-up programs for our most disadvantaged pupils. (It won't.) 

In case you missed it, the UK has a new King, and it has been confirmed we will get a one-off extra bank holiday when he has his Coronation. The crowning, swearing oaths and all that jazz will take place on Saturday 6th May, and the bank holiday will be on the Monday 8th May. I make that 2 proper weekends off in a row. Nice one.

A man arrested on a COVID ward in Scotland has been ruled by an Edinburgh Court to be an American wanted for serious sex crimes in the USA.
Nicholas Rossi claimed to be an Irish man named Arthur, and if Hollywood is anything to go by, his accent was probably appalling. He also claimed his tattoos (which matched the suspect) were drawn onto him while he was in a coma. 

Christmas really is on the way now. John Lewis have an absolutely excellent campaign, supporting young people leaving care, and highlighting fostering. Made me bawl. I've added it below. 

No numbers today because it's too long already, but next week I'll be without internet, or travelling, so it'll definitely be shorter! 

It is the weekend! Huzzah. I'm definitely having treats, because it's my birthday weekend, so I'm hoping to be very spoilt. I hope you are too. You've earned it, and we all need things to look forward to... 

Stay Sensible, Be Kind To Yourself, Save The NHS. 




Sources/Further Reading: 
https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Interesting thread on NHS problems:

Link to John Lewis Ad: https://youtu.be/1z0jfP2gCIs

ONS
https://twitter.com/ONS/status/1591038360956674050
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19/latestinsights

Quotes
https://twitter.com/PaulMainwood/status/1589988433367560192?t=HJ1EVfXpfHxRfk9SxBRKtA&s=19
Rishi
https://twitter.com/BBCNews/status/1589680241529626624?t=CVgcoQGhz7wVPwx1YnEAXg&s=19

NHS stats - images:
https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ambulance-quality-indicators/?hootPostID=353d8c198b221a5db64c5512db4cedee
https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/ae-attendances-and-emergency-admissions-2022-23/
Image
England Excess Mortality:
https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYmUwNmFhMjYtNGZhYS00NDk2LWFlMTAtOTg0OGNhNmFiNGM0IiwidCI6ImVlNGUxNDk5LTRhMzUtNGIyZS1hZDQ3LTVmM2NmOWRlODY2NiIsImMiOjh9
Gav
https://news.sky.com/story/sir-gavin-williamson-resigns-after-allegations-of-bullying-12742023
Image 
https://twitter.com/GavinWilliamson/status/1590074499889696768?t=wsIJobeghCO9tWH0XLGNpw&s=19
Kids and hospital
https://twitter.com/0minus_Prime/status/1589758832582225920?t=hs1Ur9aoFdJcDwRVh93qLQ&s=19
https://twitter.com/Antonio_Caramia/status/1589679889124569089?t=GT5ncXljBP66Z8-fBCJgcQ&s=19
Vaccine confidence
Strikes
https://f7td5.app.goo.gl/KkJw7x
https://metro.co.uk/2022/11/10/map-shows-which-nhs-hospitals-will-be-impacted-by-nurse-strikes-17737340/
Cancer care

Masks in Schools
China
https://twitter.com/WilliamYang120/status/1588914733226549248?t=KGzojLBakkvxeGY7ZuepVA&s=19
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2022/11/09/china/china-covid-guangzhou-lockdown-intl-hnk/index.html
China has loosened some COVID rules. 
https://twitter.com/WilliamYang120/status/1590978848442974208?t=Uw4-GP78ZPo-hc2bwF4LcA&s=19
Pregnancy 
Genes
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/957019/neanderthal-gene-caused-up-to-a-million-covid-deaths
Beard lice
https://news.sky.com/story/first-known-sentence-written-in-ancient-alphabet-discovered-on-a-head-lice-comb-12741750
Catch Up Premium
Ebola
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/11/8/uganda-to-close-schools-early-after-eight-children-die-of-ebola

Ukraine Christmas Stamp
https://twitter.com/MyrosiaM/status/1588078490829586434?t=E9zBbyqjVPNgK4kWD9o9Fg&s=19
Coma Tattoo



Friday, 4 November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Weekly Update 4th November 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Weekly Update 4th November 2022

World COVID Statistics: 637,112,203 reported cases and 6,602,562 losses of life.

Latest ONS random sampling for the week ending 24 October is a mixed bag: 
"The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) decreased in England, continued to decrease in Wales, continued to increase in Northern Ireland and the trend in the percentage of people testing positive was uncertain in Scotland."
- England, estimate 1,593,900, equating to 2.92% of the population, or around 1 in 35 people.
- Wales, estimate 77,500, equating to 2.55% of the population, or around 1 in 40 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 61,200, equating to 3.34% of the population, or around 1 in 30 people.
- Scotland, estimate 141,400, equating to 2.69% of the population, or around 1 in 35 people.

RSV advice on symptoms from UK NHS text over lung image

Thursday, 3 November 2022

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Friday, 28 October 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 28th October 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 28th October 2022

World: 634,784,361 reported cases and 6,589,972 losses of life.

This week's ONS random sampling for the week ending 17 October 2022 showed a decrease in people testing positive in Wales, an increase in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and "the trend was uncertain in England".
- England, estimate 1,748,400, equating to 3.21% of the population, or around 1 in 30 people.
- Wales, estimate 86,100, equating to 2.83% of the population, or around 1 in 35 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 53,700, equating to 2.92% of the population, or around 1 in 35 people.
- Scotland, estimate 159,200, equating to 3.02% of the population, or around 1 in 35 people.

'Fair pay for nursing' badges on a table

Great news regarding hospital figures in the UK - we are definitely going down the other side of this wave. COVID hospital admissions are down across the board - England's 7 day average is down 16%, and hospital-acquired admissions for COVID are down 19%. A little welcome breathing space for the NHS.
Adele Groyer of the COVID Actuaries points out 32% of COVID hospitalisations in England are now people who caught COVID in hospital, compared to the peak of 40% 3 weeks ago: "This probably reflects reintroduction of more testing and masks at that time."
Simple measures, saving lives.