Friday, 29 September 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 29th September 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 29th September 2023

World COVID Statistics: 695,939,792 reported cases and 6,921,077 losses of life.

Get your flu and COVID jabs UK NHS

Hospital admissions with COVID in England increased by 10% in the week ending 22nd September. Biggest increases are in the NW (+33%) and NE&Yorks (+29%).

290923 CMI hospital admissions England

The UK is still losing more people each week than anticipated, but it isn't at the lofty heights (and extra 8-10%) that it was last year. 
The Continuous Mortality investigation (CMI) weekly Mortality Monitor (week ending 15th September) for England and Wales shows rates were 4% higher than the equivalent week in 2019, based on death registrations data.
"CMI calculates 204,200 excess deaths in the UK since the start of the pandemic. That total has increased by 32,600 in 2023.
Cumulative mortality rates YTD (year to date) are 5.4% of a full year’s mortality worse than 2019."
Better news for this year (but worse for last year), the CMI note that there are far more late registrations than usual, so many of December 2022's registrations were actually added in with January 2023's figures.

Friday, 15 September 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 15th September 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 15th September 2023

World COVID Statistics: 695,289,957 reported cases and 6,915,596 losses of life.

Massively mutated COVID variant (current estimate is 33 mutations) BA.2.86 Pirola is agitating a lot of people and causing an upset to our calmly steady COVID stats. It is visibly worrying health officials in the UK, US, Canada, Europe and beyond - although we still see no signs it is more dangerous or deadly, just more easily caught and very quick.

150923 weekly England hospital admissions by age UK HSA

Friday, 1 September 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 1st September 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 1st September 2023

World COVID Statistics: 694,630,525 reported cases and 6,911,550 losses of life.

Hospital admissions with COVID in England are up among all age groups, but from 3 people per 100,000 population overall, to 3.37.
Up, but it's not a really dramatic increase, and could simply be a reflection of us spending more time indoors as the weather cools or more people returning to work after holidays, or something else seasonal.

Meningitis jabs for uni students

Current UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay has offered a 6% pay rise to England’s hospital consultants, and an average 8.8% rise to England's Junior Doctors. He says these offers are final, and is very disappointed that they aren't being accepted. 
Strike dates are planned, including for the first time ever, consultants and junior doctors striking at the same time - 20th September 2023. They will also be on strike simultaneously from 7am 2nd October until 7am 5th October. Many thousands of appointments will not go ahead as planned.
Junior Doctors in Wales are planning future strike action after refusing a 'final offer' last week, and Junior Doctors in Scotland will not be striking, as they have accepted an offer of 12.4%. 

Friday, 18 August 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 18th August 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 18th August 2023

World COVID Statistics: 693,666,294 reported cases and 6,908,586 losses of life.

The UK JCVI has given their advice on who should be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine this autumn:
- residents in care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 65 years and over
- anyone 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
- frontline health and social care workers
- persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
- persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults

The UK Government have announced £250m funding and plans for 5,000 extra hospital beds. Sadly these appear to be mainly aspirational or rented from private sources, rather than an increase to NHS supplies.
If you are a Tory minister, great news, this makes a tidy profit for someone, and puts more public money into private hands.
If you're a patient or NHS worker, it looks like there'll be 900 actual extra beds - just physical beds and A&E cubicles - by next January.  
If you are a Tory minister, great news, the NHS will spend Winter looking like its not fit for purpose despite your 'heavy investment', and private healthcare will look more attractive to the UK public. 

"WHO has designated COVID19 variant BA.2.86 as a ‘variant under monitoring’ today due to the large number of mutations it carries."
WHO, yesterday.
Exactly as it says, something very shifty looking has just entered the room, so everyone is watching to see if if it hangs around, and what it's capable of. At this moment only 5 cases of BA.2.86 (also known as BA.X) have been detected (although hardly anyone is tested these days) in Israel, Denmark (2) and Michigan, USA and London. We have no reason to think BA.2.86 is more dangerous, but we can see it has a whopping 30 mutations to the parts that latch on (like carrying a big bunch of keys) and has potential to sneak round our immunity and infect a lot more of us - if it learns that trick.

Meanwhile in the UK, new variant Eris is spreading well. This is EG.5 and has also recently been tagged by WHO, as a variant of interest. It now accounts of around 1 in 10 UK cases, and although it hasn't yet 'exploded' (helpfully it's the school holidays), there are a handful of scientists warning it could make Autumn and Winter less pleasant. 

Jonathan Van Tam, softly spoken voice of the UK COVID response, has taken up a position working with Moderna. 
Last year the UK Government announced a £1b deal with Moderna to build a new mRNA manufacturing plant. 
Did Jon Bon Tam have any part in that decision? Was his input unbiased? Did Jon Claude Van Tam already know 18 months ago that he'd be taking this position now?
Frankly he always seemed one of the cleverest and most human of the lot, so I'm willing to believe he just fancied a new job, and the timeline is really long for any subterfuge. 

"Misinformation kills.
52 American physicians actively spread Covid-19 misinformation to millions of people on social media about vaccines, masks, and conspiracies.
One third of the more than 1,100,000 Covid-19-related deaths as of January 18 2023 were preventable if public health recommendations were followed."
Dr Jonathan N Stea of University of Calgary, summarising the results of a University of Massachusetts study.

Remember kids, COVID isn't less dangerous than it ever was - we have just been vaccinated and exposed to it, and our immune system has learnt how to fend it off. If you run the gauntlet without any antibodies today, you carry the same (or slightly increased) risk of severe illness as you did back in January 2020 (and that includes the 1.5m people in the UK who cannot develop a robust immune response, however many vaccinations you gave them). 

Cyprus has an outbreak of a really nasty cat Coronavirus. It has already killed many thousand cats, and now vets are treating their patients with a human COVID treatment - Molnupiravir- in an effort to save the most sick animals.  

Does it matter which arm you get your jabs in? Apparently yes!
Newly published research from the USA measured the T cell immune response in 300 people, 2 weeks after the second dose of their initial COVID jabs (none of them had ever knowingly caught COVID at the time).
T cells were found in 67% of people who had both jabs in the same arm, and only 43% of those who got one dose in each arm. 
The moral of this story is "crikey, I never saw that coming" really does happen, and that sometimes your Nan's logic is easily as smart as science. 

Disappointing Human Of The Week:
Captain Sir Tom Moore's daughter is in the news again.
Not only did she pay herself a fabulous annual salary to run the Captain Tom Foundation charity, she seems to have built herself a home spa pool using charity funding, and now she's being investigated for charging for public charity appearances and taking the cash as her own fee for turning up.
No-one wanted to see you for being you love. They only invited you because you were representing your late father's charity. (Too harsh? I think not in this case. I'll be astounded if she wasn't also claiming all expenses, food and travel.)
As a reminder, we are promised that ALL of the original funds raised by Tom walking in his garden were handed over to the NHS Together charities.

Captain Sir Tom died from COVID and pneumonia in February 2021 aged 100. He developed pneumonia shortly after returning from a promotional trip to Barbados with British Airways. Taking a 100 year old man across the world on a plane during a pandemic, before he's even been vaccinated, is an advertising scheme so poorly thought out, you wonder which idiot agreed to it. His daughter and her family went on the holiday with him.

Hoax Of The Week:
Fox News made statements which implied the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) had authorised Ivermectin for treatment of COVID. Nope. Nopeitty nope nope.
The confusion came because during the lead up to a court case, someone mentioned that 'the FDA had never banned Ivermectin for COVID patients'. The FDA issue guidance and offer support, of course they didn't ban it. What if you had horrific headlice or intestinal worms AS WELL AS COVID. You'd want Ivermectin then.
There have now been about a million trials for this, and ALL clinical and real life evidence still shows no decrease in hospitalisations or death from COVID when patients are given Ivermectin - it simply doesn't help. Also, the Earth is a ball. 

It is the weekend! For me it is a busy one, but with family, so it'll be exciting and memorable. I hope you have something nice happening too - and you remember to treat yourself. You earnt it. 

I'll be back in a couple of weeks. 
Play Outdoors, Wear Suncreen, Save The NHS. 

Some people. They look very much like numbers here, but they are all people like you.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (plus figures added over the last 24 hours):

World 693,666,294 (+1,077) 6,908,586
Macao 14,120 (+412) 123
Hong Kong 2,916,892 (+399) 13,819
Afghanistan 224,812 (+52) 7,941
Lithuania 1,322,361 (+50) 9,695
Poland 6,518,496 (+44) 119,636 
Czechia 4,643,541 (+42 ) 42,813
Denmark 3,182,857 (+39) 8,780
Vietnam 11,622,383 (+17 ) 43,206
Slovenia 1,344,385 (+11) 7,100
Niue (Small island near Tonga) 840 (+7)
(Most countries do not give a daily update, or even a weekly update - these are the countries and communities who reported most new cases yesterday, but it doesn't give an accurate representation of the actual world picture.) 


More beds Image with credit @c_peatfield twitter
Measles image
Autumn boosters

Flu and covid jabs from October NHS advice image
UK beds

COVID variant BA.2.86
Van dammed tam
Misinformation kills



Capt Tom

Friday, 4 August 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 4th August 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 4th August 2023

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has currently authorised 9 different COVID vaccines, and the latest is Bimervax, which is suitable as a booster jab for people aged 16+. It's still up the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination (JCVI) as to whether we actually deploy any of the vaccines we've okayed, and the Government have to agree to buy them. 

Protect yourself from the sun - skin and eyes - WHO poster

In the UK COVID cases are currently on the rise, with pharmacists noting a marked increase in test buying over July and the ZOE app. registering a jump in symptomatic people. That follows a similar pattern to previous pandemic years, with us desperate for the school holidays to serve as a firebreak. It's always worth keeping alert though... 

Friday, 21 July 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 21st July 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 21st July 2023

World to date: Officially reported COVID cases 691,770,965, losses of life 6,901,646

The final witness has testified for the first phase of the UK COVID Inquiry. There's a lot to sift through and evaluate, so an interim report is expected next year, and it'll be a long time before the final document. By then it'll likely be another degree warmer, fish will contain too much plastic to count as fauna, and no-one will really care about a report stating the obvious inadequacies we all lived through. They hope. 

measles is common abroad get vaccinated and image of holidaying family climbing steps onto a plane

A recent UK study has looked at just how many children have been hospitalised with COVID in England. 
• Between July 2020 and February 2022, 3,226,535 children and teenagers in England tested positive with COVID for their first time. 
• 29,230 (0.9%, almost 1 in every 111 of those who tested positive) needed hospital admission - some were tested on arrival to hospital with various other ailments, but 21,000 (around 3 in every 4) were taken to hospital and admitted specifically due to COVID. 
• 1,710 (5.9% or 1 in every 17 of those admitted to hospital) involved paediatric critical care.
• 70 deaths occurred in which covid-19 or paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome was listed as a cause.
•  8,415 (28.8% or more than 1 in every 4) of those children admitted to hospital were aged under 1 year. 

Friday, 7 July 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 7th July 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 7th July 2023

World COVID Statistics: 691,207,603 officially reported cases and 6,898,266 losses of life.

Happy birthday to the NHS! 
On Wednesday the UK NHS was 75 years old, and so was the first baby born in their care. Most of us in the UK have lived entire lives without fear of financial ruin because we got poorly or had an accident. We can ring an ambulance, book an appointment with a GP, become pregnant or turn up at A&E without having to worry if we can afford it. That is a very precious thing, and it has been underfunded and squeezed for a long time. In order that the NHS care for us, we really needed to take better care of the NHS. Thank you to anyone who has ever worked for the NHS. 

NHS birthday card with a small donor card beside

Yesterday the UK Government lost their legal battle to keep some of Boris and his mates' WhatsApp messages and notebooks secret from the COVID inquiry. They argued that some of it is 'irrelevant', and the High Court decided the COVID inquiry can be the judge of that. I think the Government are out of legal options now - they've got to hand it all over by 4pm Monday.
(For reference, the Christmas party video with catered snacks, flirtatious dancing and shiny paper hats is amongst things previously deemed irrelevant by our Government.)

Friday, 23 June 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 23rd June 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 23rd June 2023

We may as well start here... The Privileges Committee Report:
Within an hour of my last post, Boris Johnson resigned. This was after he received an advance copy of the 'Partygate' report - which he said finds him guilty "regardless of the facts". 
Even then he didn't actually give in, and reportedly sent the panel some extra evidence. They delayed the report by 24 hours to read it, which bizarrely resulted in Johnson getting shouty in Parliament about delays to publication.
On Thursday we were able to see what has been blindingly and unquestionably obvious since the very start. We were right there watching. Johnson lied to Parliament. Repeatedly.
He was emphatic that all of the COVID socialising rules had been followed, but as he has a brain and implemented them in clear English himself, he must have been aware he was breaking them.
Parliament still had to endorse the Privileges Committee's report, and they did, by vote of 354 - 7 (225 Conservative MPs abstained). 

COVID jab UK deadline July except vulnerable NHS

Among evidence which has now become public is a reminder WhatsApp isn't just for text messages, and the 'Partygate video'.
Handily this video appears to be from a party the met police didn't investigate through 'lack of evidence', and it shows people wearing paper party hats, laughing, flirting and dancing at an actual Christmas office party - with music, booze and catered food. Awesome.

I am so very sorry if you lost your next of kin, your parent, your child, during lockdown and restrictions on mixing. If you lost someone you loved very much, with very little contact or chance to say goodbye. If you attended a limited funeral, or weren't even able to go. If you had a baby, and couldn't show them off. If your Grandchildren grew, without you being able to watch. 
This affected ALL of us. They set the rules, and some never for a second believed those rules also applied to them. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

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Two young boys in school uniform with book bags, walking ahead facing away from the camera

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Friday, 9 June 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update catch up 9th June 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update catch up 9th June 2023

World COVID Statistics: 690,078,591 reported cases and 6,889,524 losses of life.

Hey up! Remember me? I'm finally regaining use of my faculties after having my abdomen wall reconstructed, and dipping back in to the COVID news between naps and 'exercising by walking round the block at the speed of a UK Government Renters (Reform) Bill'. 
I get a 6 month sicknote, so recovery is all going to plan, just veeeery sloooow. It's been 6 weeks, so there are quite a few headlines you might have missed - here are some of them.... (as always source links are at the bottom of the page, so you can find out more if you wish). 

Mpox vaccination deadlines UK