Tuesday, 30 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update and UK Briefing 29th / 30th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 29th / 30th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 10,228,772 (+39,716)
In Hospital: 7,631
Using A Ventilator: 916
Losses of Life: 144,969 (+159)
Tests: 1,014,359
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,963,718 (88.6% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 46,367,149 (80.6%)
Boosters: 18,215,535 (31.7%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 564,657 cases and 5,652 losses of life.

World: 262,686,518 reported cases and 5,229,286 losses of life.

World Health Organisation Do It All Protect YOurself

"If it emerges that the Omicron variant is no more dangerous than the Delta variant, then we won't keep measures in place for a day longer than necessary."
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
(Surely you won't keep any measures 'longer than necessary' anyway Saj?)

Monday, 29 November 2021

Manchester Theatre Review Visit: Waterside, Sale ~ The Not So Ugly Sisters

Last Thursday we were guests of Waterside theatre in Sale, Manchester, for the press night of their 2021 festive family musical - The Not So Ugly Sisters. Brought to us by theatre group Wrongsemble, and suitable for anyone aged 5 or over, this is a family show and very much a family theatre. And it was excellent... 

Waterside festive family musical the not so ugly sisters tickets and programme

Waterside is incredibly easy to get to - it's right opposite Sale Tram Station and there is loads of parking nearby too. Next to the river, it's a gorgeous area with lots of reasonably priced food and drink available nearby too. 

Inside the theatre, the set for The Not So Ugly Sisters is big, bold, bright and airy, and instantly recognisable as a hairdressers, so you know this isn't going to be a familiar Cinderella story.

The story is moved to present day, and we are with the 2 sisters left behind when Cinders finds media fame because of her connection with, and imminent wedding to, the Prince. 

Not So Ugly Sisters on stage

Sunday, 28 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 27th / 28th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 27th / 28th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 10,146,915 (+37,681)
Losses of Life: 144,775 (+51)
Tests: 1,048,739
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,917,949 (88.5% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 46,309,909 (80.5%)
Boosters/3rd Doses: 17,581,331 (30.6%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 560,054 (+3,735) cases and 5,652 losses of life.

World: 261,651,854 reported cases and 5,216,327 losses of life.

281121 Changes to combat Omicron

"People should continue with their plans as normal for Christmas, I think it's going to be a great Christmas."
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Bet everyone feels reassured now. 

Yesterday at the UK COVID Briefing, Boris Johnson announced the reintroduction of compulsory face coverings on public transport and in shops. ANYONE who complains about this is being incredibly selfish. Transport and shop workers generally receive a low level of pay for long and awkward hours, and don't have a choice about being there and interacting with copious members of the public. The least you can do is wear a ruddy mask.
Other measures announced in reaction to Omicron Variant are that:
- ALL international arrivals have to self-isolate until they receive a day 2 negative PCR test.
- ALL contacts of Omicron cases will have to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.
These measures will be reviewed in 3 weeks time. 

UPDATE: Currently Sajid is saying face masks become mandatory in shops and on public transport on Tuesday - AND the Dept. For Education has recommended pupils in year 7 and over wear masks when moving around school.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

COVID Saturday November 27th 2021 - (not the) UK Briefing

COVID Saturday November 27th 2021 - (not the) UK Briefing 

I'm in a bit of a tricky spot today, as it's my son's birthday weekend, I'm in the pub, and Boris has called an emergency COVID briefing. I have been typing up what we know about the Omicron Variant as it emerges, and I will come back later and add any other salient points in the comments, but it is unlikely Boris, Chris and Pat will have any more to tell you than the below:

Soooooo, Omicron. It is still very early days. We know very little for certain, and we definitely shouldn't panic. Mainly it looks like it has potential to be super flipping catchy, even if you are vaccinated, and... erm... that's about it. 

Trevor Bedford, who is an epidemiology genius, has looked into where it came from, and surprisingly it is a bit of a wild card. 
The ancestry can't really be easily tracked directly backwards, the closest relatives we know of are incredibly old strains of COVID from May 2020.  
It appears to have evolved quietly somewhere where there is very little or no genome testing (definitely not South Africa), or (and this is very likely) it has evolved inside a single human being or just a few human beings who spent a very long time trying to beat COVID. 
Mr Bedford estimates Omicron escaped into the community around early October, the first case we've discovered tested positive November 11th.
Trev estimates unchecked (no masks, distancing, restrictions etc) doubling time to be 4.8 days, and he does believe it will have quicker transmission and be able to sneak past vaccinations - but to what extent, only time will show us. 

The good news is that people who are testing positive for Omicron aren't exactly dropping like flies. Anecdotal and other evidence is suggesting even fully vaccinated people who have recently had a booster are catching it, but they aren't necessarily falling very ill. South African health officials say of the very few cases known to be in hospital, they are virtually all unvaccinated. 
We already have that situation with Delta - most of us can still catch it, but very few vaccinated people get serious symptoms, and less than 1/10th end up in hospital. We have no reason to believe Omicron is any more of a danger. 

Omicron has now been detected in the UK. The first 2 cases are recently returned travellers, linked, but now in Chelmsford and Nottingham - where they are isolating as they should be, and surge testing will take place. It has also been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Israel, Hong Kong, Belgium, Germany (not yet confirmed).
I think we can assume it will be worldwide any minute. 

And to back that up, Dutch authorities are frantically sequencing samples from a staggering 61 passengers who have tested positive from just 2 flights back from South Africa. That is a huge amount of COVID positive people - and bear in mind they wouldn't usually have been able to board those flights without negative tests. Did they board just after catching it? Did they catch COVID at the airport? On the flight? Will it turn out they do all have Omicron? Is Omicron catchy as a catchy thing?
Well, it looks possible. 

The UK Government are still moving far more quickly than ever before, and from 4am tomorrow, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will join the travel Red List.

Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novovax have all confirmed they are ready to work on a version2 vaccine if we need it, and it would be ready within around 100 days.
To date, even though we have gone through Alpha, Beta, Delta, Mu and other variants, all vaccines created against original wild COVID have still worked to prevent the vast majority of severe illness and keep people out of hospital, so no tweaking has been necessary.

It's a virus. It simply isn't as clever as we are. It can get a lucky break, or even a lucky streak, but ultimately we will win. Again the main concern here is overwhelming hospitals because so many people become ill at once - and that's the main worry for everyone - especially nations not lucky enough to have vaccinations... 

Go and continue with your weekend. Worrying won't change a thing. 
Be sensib, and book your jabs if you have any coming up...

Friday, 26 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th / 25th / 26th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th / 25th / 26th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 10,070,841 (+50,091)
In Hospital Yesterday 25th: 7,633 (DOWN from 8,079 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator Yesterday 25th: 925 (923 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 144,593 (+160)
Tests: 1,048,739
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,875,712 (88.5% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 46,255,081 (80.4%)
Boosters/3rd Doses: 16,779,656 (29.2%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 546,909 cases and 5,652 losses of life.

World: 260,682,363 reported cases and 5,203,984 losses of life.

We'll start with today's big news and, spoiler, it's not great. Don't panic just yet - it's waaay too early to fret - you don't even know what you'd be fretting over...

Omicron vs Delta vs wild COVID 3 lines showing how quickly it can take over

Thursday, 25 November 2021

(Sent for review) IDo3D Ultra Review - 2 Pen Funky Pets 3D Modelling Set (Age 8+)

We've been sent the IDo3D Ultra 2 Pen Funky Pets Set for review - this is a 3D modelling pen which sets the 'ink' under the enclosed UV light in less than 1 minute.
Suitable for age 8+, it's a very affordable introduction to thinking and creating in 3D - you can even draw vertically, straight up into the air... 

I Do 3D 2 Pen Activity Set Funky Pets box front and contents beside - instruction sheet 2 x pens 1 x UV light

Inside the I Do 3D Activity Set are 2 x pens in green and yellow, with screw on twist close nibs. There is a 3 bulb UV light which actually clips over the pen to 'light up as you draw', 1 x themed mould/tracing sheet, 1 x plain non-stick drawing sheet and an instruction sheet.

Don't miss the little press-out tool - it is really handy for scraping and shaping the wet ink. 

ido3d pack contents pen system screw on twist close nibs etc

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 22nd / 23rd November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 22nd / 23rd November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,932,408 (+42,484)
In Hospital Yesterday Monday 22nd: 8,088
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 928
Losses of Life: 144,137 (+165)
Tests: 979,922
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,800,732 (88.3% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Doses: 46,186,817 (80.3% of UK age 12+)
Boosters: 15,639,477 (27.2%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 538,255 (+3,661) cases and 5,609 losses of life

World: 258,755,918 reported cases and 5,179,602 losses of life

WHO do it all stop COVID

People in Northern Ireland are being asked to 'work from home if you can', in an effort to bring case numbers down. It has been the official guidance for a while, but ministers are keen to try and keep numbers down and are reiterating with a 'stronger message'.
This is also the guidance in Scotland and Wales - but has not been the case in England since June. 

Sunday, 21 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20th / 21st November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20th / 21st November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,845,492 (+40,004)
Losses of Life: 143,927 (+61)
Tests: 993,405
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,759,550 (88.3% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 46,152,913 (80.3%)
Boosters/3rd Dose: 15,064,693 (26.2%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 524,783 cases and 5,609 losses of life.

World: 257,708,604 reported cases and 5,167,044 losses of life.

Hands face space fresh air images

"We could have potentially saved over 160,000 of the 180,000 lives lost in the US to COVID since June if every eligible person had been fully vaccinated."
Professor Vincent Rajkumar from the Mayo Clinic, USA

Friday, 19 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 17th, 18th & 19th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 17th, 18th & 19th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,766,153 (+44,242)
In Hospital yesterday 18th November: 8,079
Using A Ventilator 18th Nov: 923
Losses of Life: 143,716 (+157)
Tests: 993,405
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,707,953 (88.2% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 46,108,608 (80.25)
Booster /3rd Doses: 14,266,368 (24.8%)

Area: Cases last 7 days / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales: 16,530 / 521.5
Scotland: 21,372 / 391
Northern Ireland: 10,433 / 550.4
England: 222,096 / 392.7

Rep. Of Ireland: 515,691 cases and 5,609 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 256,667,497 reported cases and 5,151,787 losses of life.

191121 Latest transmission stats ONS UK

From today: "travellers who have had a booster or a third dose will be able to demonstrate their vaccine status through the NHS COVID Pass from today. This addition will enable those who have had their booster or third dose to travel to countries such as Israel, Croatia and Austria who have already introduced a time limit for the COVID-19 vaccine to be valid for quarantine-free travel".

Important news yesterday regarding vaccinating children who have had COVID. Always bear in mind it is TINY percentages who are affected - but every child matters.
COVID infection has been found to cause myocarditis in a significant minority of people, especially young people. Vaccination is associated with a very tiny number of cases of myocarditis, mainly in young people. There are some signs from abroad that vaccination when you've not fully recovered from COVID can increase the risk of myocarditis - and obviously that's potentially mainly in young people.
Therefore 12 to 17 year olds ONLY should wait 12 weeks after testing positive before you get your vaccination.
Myocarditis is heart inflammation and most people who get it would only notice if they try and push themselves physically. It usually heals all by itself, but can take a while because you can't rest your heart on a stool while you watch telly - it has to keep working while it gets better.
It's virtually unknown to catch COVID again within 3 months (some countries use it for a COVID Pass), so there is no loss to this, and if it prevents some young people having a hard few weeks or months, or losing their place on a team, struggling to maintain their social life or even actually saves their life, it's worth doing.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

87 Months... #TBCSmiles November 2021

I am late (again) with the #TBCSmiles this month, but at least with good reason. It was my 50th birthday on Sunday, something I can't quite believe myself. I'm not saying I don't look or act 50, but I certainly don't feel it inside. 

The Brick Castle Birthday Cake Huge, dense, strawberries and cream cake about 9 inches tall and diameter

Inside there is still a small part of me which will always be the little girl, and when I find myself wide-eyed at a birthday cake, or crying an expectant and warming tear over a daft Christmas advert, or just hugging someone hard because I really do love them and miss them, I'm glad. I never want to lose that little girl part of me...

Me, sitting at a restaurant table with the ginormous cake in front of me and someone handing me a slice bigger than my head. I am grinning

A huge personal thank you to everyone who made my 50th birthday the best ever.... 

This time of year is traditionally quiet for smiles, although Instagram seems to be hiding more and more people from the hashtag! There are 250 less smiley photos than last month, which I don't think can be down to people deleting their photos... If you do share yours, and I don't like or comment by the end of the month, it is probably because I've not seen it. I love to see each and every one, so don't be scared to tag me and call me out!