Friday 7 June 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus, Avian Flu and other virus UK and World News Update 7th June 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus, Avian Flu and other virus UK and World News Update 7th June 2024

"If H5N1 does jump to efficient H-H transmission in the future, we would probably look back and say: "The cow farms with PB mutations, the sea lions with an a-2,6 favorable mutation, the infected workers... the signs were there, and we didn't do enough to stop it"
Jay.P.Weiland, Infectious Disease Modeller and Data Scientist.

Advice for food safety following an emergency

In the UK excess deaths have levelled off at the recent low figures, and are now steady and close to 2019 levels.
"So on any reasonable calculation basis it is clear we are no longer experiencing the significant excess deaths seen from 2020 until early 2023."
Stuart McDonald of the COVID Actuaries:
Ahhhh, that's better. 

Friday 31 May 2024

Simba Orbit Weighted Blanket Review (Sent for review)

Last week Simba sent us their Orbit Weighted Blanket to try out, and I'll start this review by saying it's excellent. The Simba Orbit is a 15lb generously sized single blanket with a removable cover. Weighted blankets are great for anyone who likes to feel snuggled or secure when sleeping or relaxing, they're proven to help people sleep more deeply and soundly, and are often found useful by children and adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Simba orbit Weighted Blanket with removable washable 100% cotton cover shown in front of packaging on a bed

One of my boys doesn't like the feel of a duvet, and has refused to sleep with anything other than heavy blankets for several years. He gets far too warm at night for much of the year, plus blankets can take an age to dry after washing and it really isn't ideal. He doesn't much like change, and wasn't sure about trying the Simba Orbit, but he agreed to a 3 night trial and he loves it! You'll be glad to hear the 'trial' ended after just one night, when he decided his old blankets are history and his weighted blanket is the future. 

Friday 24 May 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 24th May 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 24th May 2024

"COVID19 ranked among the top 3 leading causes of death globally in 2020 and 2021, responsible for 13 million lives lost.
In most regions of the world, it was among the top 5 causes of death. In the Americas, it was the number 1 cause of death."
The World Health Organisation

COVID no 1 cause of death 2022 23

In the aftermath of COVID breaking out, the 196 members of the World Health Organisation have decided on some changes to International Health Regulations.
“The IHRs focus on building countries’ capacities to detect and respond to public health events which could take on international dimensions, whilst the draft pandemic accord focuses on a coordinated international response to pandemics, with equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics at the centre."
They haven't yet agreed on the wording for the Pandemic Accord, but discussions are at least ongoing and it's all become very civil.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

KatKin Fresh Meat Frozen Cat Food Review (sent for review)

We were recently contacted by KatKin to see if our cat Sonya wanted to try out their cat food. Unlike most canned and sachet cat foods, KatKin is not super heated to kill off any bugs or nasties. It means it won't last for months in your kitchen cupboard, but it also means it has retained more flavour and nutritional value. This is fresh meat, cooked, and frozen.

cat sniffing katkins food packaging

We were sent a 2 week trial box, with 14 portions of food in a variety of flavours (each approx 147g), plus Chicken Nibbles (50g) and Chicken Sprinkles, which are both made from freeze dried cooked chicken.

Friday 10 May 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 10th May 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 10th May 2024

"Hospital admissions with Covid in England increased by 33% in the last week of April, having been low and stable for a month.
Most regions saw significant in-week increases. The fasted increases were in NE+Yorks (+52%), Midlands (+39%) and South East (+38%)."
Stuart McDonald, COVID Actuary. 
This is a pretty rapid increase, and while it started from a low point, it's not great.
It implies the highest 'R' number since last Summer, and sadly this surveillance is only reported once a month now, so we'll have to wait a while and delve into UK HSA (Health Security Agency usually have a big lag in reporting) stats to find out what happens next.
Variant surveillance does suggest the FLiRT variant has already taken over in the UK, despite me being so blasé about it last report, so that may be a factor and it might be a bit more easily shared than it previously suggested, and hardly vaccinating anyone won't bring down numbers either.

On the positive side, despite bank holiday reporting being likely to have a lag, mortality in England and Wales is below expected levels for 2024. Up until week ending 26th April, 6% below expectations. 

100524 England COVID hospital admissions by area chart

Monday 6 May 2024

Not/Coming Out Charity Anthology Book Review (Sent for review).

We all carry secrets, parts of our lives which we hide away and don't share. Not/Coming Out is an anthology of poems and short stories from people who have hidden away the biggest parts of who they are. Some of the LGBTQ+ authors or their fictional (semi-fictional?) characters tell us what happened when they did reveal themselves, some explain why they don't. For all of them it is a huge decision which is very often overshadowed by worry, even when they are amongst their closest friends and allies. 

Black and white line drawn image of a closet or wardrobe, containing various clothes and with a teddy bear sitting in front

Thursday 2 May 2024

We Are Family: Six Kids and a Super-Dad - a poetry adventure by Oliver Sykes (sent for review)

We Are Family: Six Kids And A Super Dad is a poetry adventure written by Oliver Sykes. Intended for independent readers aged around 7 - 99 or over, the anthology introduces us to Oliver, his 5 siblings and his Super Dad. It gives us an insight into how a big family can work really well as a team, sharing chores and responsibilities, and being there to annoy and frustrate, support and love each other. 

We are family by oliver sykes book cover showing kids on a bunk bed being held aloft by a flying Dad

Author Oliver Sykes grew up not far from where I grew up, and was one of 6 children. When he was aged 8 his Mum left the household by choice and never returned. In We Are Family we get a glimpse into that time, and just how hard it was for his Dad to ensure his family survived and thrived.

Friday 26 April 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 26th April 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 26th April 2024

World COVID Statistics: 704,753,890 officially reported cases and 7,010,681 losses of life. And that is the last COVID statistics update. Very few countries still report, and even less test regularly, so it's far from accurate. Huge thank you to Worldometers dot info for keeping tally for the last 4 years. 

Pharmacy First England list of services available, shown in front of image of frontage of chemist

"It's World Immunisation Week
Every minute, every day over the last 50 years, immunisation saved over 6 lives. It is one of humanity's greatest achievements.
Yet there’s more work to do. We’ve eradicated smallpox, it’s time now to eliminate malaria, polio, cervical cancer and more.
Nobody should suffer from a disease we know how to prevent.
It’s Humanly Possible."
The World Health Organisation

"Thanks to immunisation, a child born today is 40% more likely to see their fifth birthday than a child born 50 years ago.
And more and more lives are being saved as more and more diseases are becoming vaccine preventable, with newer vaccines against COVID-19, malaria, cholera, dengue, meningitis, RSV, Ebola and mpox, and more in development"
DrTedros, Head of WHO

Monday 15 April 2024

Itson - A More Environmentally Conscious Household Battery (Sent for Review).

This Spring when you are buying batteries for household gadgets and toys you will be able to choose a more environmentally conscious brand with a lower carbon footprint - itson batteries.

itson batteries box cover showing 2 varieties low and high drain

Itson batteries are brought to us by APS (Advanced Power Solutions, previously known as Panasonic Energy Europe), and focus on local production using 100% renewable energy from wind and solar. The batteries are  packaged plastic free, and sourced and made within the EU, further reducing their carbon footprint to as little as one third that of other batteries. 

Friday 12 April 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 12th April 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 12th April 2024

World COVID Statistics: 704,749,430 officially reported cases and 7,010,624 losses of life.

Hiya! Welcome back. Not a lot of COVID news this week, it's especially quiet because a lot of regular sciencey folk have taken time off, so no big COVID news means no disasters, which is always a good thing.

120424 Biggest 5 month drop in waiting lists ever