Tuesday, 2 March 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st /2nd March 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st /2nd March 2021.

The UK added 6,391 cases today (DOWN from 8,489 a week ago) and now has reported a total of 4,188,400 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 727,972 tests yesterday.

The counter says 20,478,619 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 844,098 people had received 2 doses.

12,748 people were in hospital on Sunday 28th Feb (DOWN from 16,797 a week earlier), with 1,806 using a ventilator yesterday, Monday 1st March  (DOWN from 2,273 a week earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 343 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, (DOWN from 548 a week earlier) making a total of 123,296 losses of life in all settings.

The ONS record cause of death and up until Friday 19th February, 140,062 people had COVID listed on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland 220,630 (+357) cases and 4,333 (+14) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 115,191,510 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,554,472. Already 90,854,912 people have recovered.

Jeane Freeman Scottish Health Secretary says we are all doing a grand job.

Today's unlucky winners in the COVID Variant of Concern lottery are - "targeted areas within Merton (Wimbledon Park) and Barnet (East Finchley), where the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found".
You will be offered surge testing, which may include door-to-door delivery of postal testing kits. Please remember to register online before you do the test. Register first, snot second.

Nicola Sturgeon has today confirmed that everything is still currently on track, and school pupils in Primary 4-7 will return to school full time from March 15th. Wraparound childcare will also resume for all Primary pupils.
Secondary pupils are anticipated to return fully after the Easter break, but it's intended they will all spend some time within school between March 15th and Easter. Exam years will be given priority. 

Monday, 1 March 2021

UK COVID Briefing 1st March 2021 with Matt Hancock

UK Briefing 1st March 2021 with Matt Hancock

(Remember it is Monday, so some figures are artificially a little low because of weekend reporting.)

Cases: 4,182,009 (+5,455)

Losses of Life: 122,953 (+104)

In Hospital: 14,808

Using a Ventilator: 1,971

Vaccinated 1st Dose: 20,275,451

Vaccinated Fully: 815,816

Matt Hancock did indeed lead a COVID briefing today, with the unusual supporting combo of Prof Jon Van Tam, Deputy CMO for England, and Susan Hopkins of Public Health England.

URGENT need to find person with SA Variant UK Feb 2021


Matt led with yesterday's exciting news that the NHS has now vaccinated over 20m people across the UK, including 17m in England alone. It is super impressive - not far off world-beating. Well done to all nations for such a fantastic achievement.
Matt 'pays tribute' to all of the teams involved across the whole of the UK. "Insight and hard work." He used the phrase entrepreneurial something, I forget. He thanked Business.

94% of those eligible (according to a recent survey) say they have had, or will have, the jab. All of Matt's friends keep sending him photos of themselves having their vaccination apparently. That's nice.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

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

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

The UK added 6,035 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,176,554 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 731,410 tests yesterday. 

The UK has now vaccinated over 20m people. The counter says 20,089,551 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 796,132 people had received 2 doses. 

14,808 people were in hospital on Thursday 25th, with 1,971 people using a ventilator on Friday 26th.

 In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 144 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 122,849 official losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 218,980 cases and 4,313 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 114,552,911 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,540,282. Already 90,051,580 people have recovered.

Regular rapid testing for households and bubbles of schoolchildren text box

"Anyone who took a Covid test on February 12 or 13 and has not received a result, or did not complete their test registration card, is being asked to call 119 in England or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland as soon as possible."
(If that's you, it's not great news - see below.)

Recent reporting is that 6 more cases of Brazilian Variant (with the pesky E484K) have been found in the UK, 3 in England and 3 in Scotland.
They've yet to trace one of the English cases, hence the request above, and the 3 cases in Scotland bypassed quarantine hotels by travelling from Brazil via London to Scotland.
Nicola will be furious.... 

Friday, 26 February 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK Briefing, UK News and World News Update 26th February 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK Briefing, UK News and World News Update 26th February 2021.

The UK added 8,523 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,163,085 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 731,410 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 19,177,555 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 736,037 had received 2 doses. 

15,485 people were in hospital on Wed 24th, with 2,047 using a ventilator yesterday, Thursday 25th Feb. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 345 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 122,415 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 218,251 (+773) cases and 4,300 (+29) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 113,784,410 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,523,794. Already 89,371,118 people have recovered.

JCVI vaccine priority phase 2 age 49 -18

"The data on the slides speak for themselves. People are relaxing, taking their foot off the brake, at exactly the wrong time. It's a bit like being 3-0 up in a game and thinking 'well, we can't possibly lose this now', but how many times did you see the other side take it 4-3? Do not wreck this now."
Jonathan Van Tam, UK Deputy Medical Officer, with today's bad news. 

Cambridge University Hospitals have released data today on the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine efficacy. It's really good. As ever, not-yet-peer-reviewed, but it's basically counting, so pretty secure data.
They compared healthcare workers' regular lateral flow test results with who had been vaccinated, to find out levels of 'asymptomatic transmission'. Remember these are ALL people who had no noticeable symptoms.
12 days or so after immunisation was the first time there was a difference. They saw almost a 50% reduction in positive tests among the vaccinated population.
In tests taken more than 12 days after vaccination, it was even better, with a 75% reduction.
They also found that overall, in the people who still managed to catch COVID, levels of virus were lower, meaning they'll pass it to less people too.
Excellent news. 

Thursday, 25 February 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th / 25th February 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th / 25th February 2021.

The UK added 9,985 cases today (under 10,000 for 3 days running, for the first time since September) and now has reported a total of 4,154,562 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 740,717 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 18,691,835 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 700,718 have received 2 doses (that number should start to fly now, because we have reached the 3 month mark since 1st doses). 

16,059 people were in hospital on Tuesday 23rd, with 2,118 using a ventilator yesterday, 24th Feb.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 323 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 122,070 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 216,870 cases and 4,237 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 113,316,017 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,513,291. Already 88,861,737 people have recovered.

Vaccine efficacy PHE and the NHS small science type icons with comments about efficacy in different age groups / populations

"We are aiming to offer a jab to all adults aged 50 or older and those who are at higher risk due to underlying health conditions by 15 April and every adult by the end of July."
Boris Johnson. UK PM.

Good news, with caution. Remember the 'Alert Levels'?
"Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all 4 nations.
The health services across the 4 nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital. However, thanks to the efforts of the public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.
We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However, for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.
We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers. We thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic."

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

UK Briefing Education Special with Gav 24th Feb 2021

UK Briefing Education Special with Gav 24th Feb 2021

Cases: 4,144,577 (+9,938)
Losses of life: 121,747 (+442)
In hospital: 16,803 (down 20% from a week earlier)
Using a ventilator: 2,273
First dose vaccination: 18,242,873
Second dose: 669,105

"Today is the culmination of many months of planning, research, negotiation & coordination. But it's just the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do to realize our shared vision for Vaccine Equity by starting vaccination in all countries within the first 100 days of the year."
Dr Tedros of the World Health Organisation this morning, as the first COVAX shipment of 600,000 vaccines arrived in Ghana. 

UK Gov COVID Roadmap Business Step 2 April 1 of 6

Public Health England have added more people to vaccine priority groups:
“JCVI supports the plan to invite anyone on the GP Learning Disability Register – as well as adults with other related conditions, including cerebral palsy – for vaccination as part of priority group 6.”
This is presumably a result of their comprehensive computer programme algorithm - it has highlighted people who are significantly more vulnerable to COVID than we realised before (or were willing to admit. Common sense and logic suggested a few of them).
The cynic in me also adds that every adult we label "vulnerable" (and there are genuinely a lot), can justifiably be vaccinated as priority. It eases the conscience and pressure from the world, over vaccinating UK general population before other countries even get their health workers jabbed. It's a bit naughty - and they know it.
Invites will go out immediately it's possible, according to supply of vaccine in your area. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

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

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

The UK added 8,489 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,134,639 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 670,560 tests yesterday.

The counter says 17,916,181 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 642,788 people have had 2 doses.

16,797 people were in hospital on Sunday 21st, with 2,273 using a ventilator yesterday, 22nd Feb. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 548 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 121,305 losses of life in all settings.

Office for National Statistics report that up until Friday 12th February, 135,613 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate in the UK. 

Nation / Cases / Losses of life
Wales 202,324 / 7,204
Scotland 198,839 / 9,046
Northern Ireland 111,391 / 2,672
England 3,622,085 / 116,619

Rep. Of Ireland 215,743 cases and 4,137 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 112,458,095 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,490,418. Already 88,020,066 people have recovered.

UK Government roadmap square image March 8th 2021
England Step 1

"We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There's no such thing. There's nothing ordinary about them. The people we’ve lost to COVID-19 were extraordinary."
US President Joe Biden

Thankfully, after all of the news yesterday, today is a slower day. There's a lot of dissection of the UK roadmap online, and I'm sure more will follow, but generally it seems to be favoured by most. A snap YouGov poll this morning found 26% think it goes too fast, 46% think it is about right and 16% think it goes too slow.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Boris UK Road Map Out Of Lockdown Briefing 22nd Feb 2021

Boris UK Road Map Out Of Lockdown Briefing 22nd Feb 2021

Cases: 4,126,150 (+10,641)
Losses of life: 120,757 (+178)
In hospital: 18,462 (18th Feb)
Using a ventilator: 2,469 (19th Feb)
First vaccination: 17,723,840
Second dose: 624,325

BIG real world data released today by Public Health England shows a really good reduction in cases among populations vaccinated with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. There isn't yet enough data on the Oxford vaccine for an 'early data' report, because we started using that later, but it'll be along shortly and looks just as good so far...
"Early data from PHE’s SIREN study shows a promising impact on infection in healthcare workers aged under 65. Healthcare workers in the study are tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) every 2 weeks – whether or not they have symptoms." This data shows:
"One dose reduces the risk of catching infection by more than 70%, rising to 85% after the second dose."
We also have really good early data for our older friends and family:
- One dose is 57% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease in those aged over 80. This effect occurs from about 3 to 4 weeks after the first dose.
- Early data suggests the second dose in over 80s improves protection against symptomatic disease by a further 30%, to more than 85%.
- Hospitalisation and deaths rates are falling in all age groups – but the oldest age groups are seeing the fastest decline since the peak in mid-January.
- Those over 80 who develop COVID-19 infection after vaccination are around 40% less likely to be hospitalised than someone with infection who has not been vaccinated.
Very importantly: These high levels of protection are also seen against the variant of concern (B.1.1.7) first identified in South East England in December 2020. (That's the more transmissible Kent/UK variant B117 which accounts for over 80% of UK cases now.)

UK Government COVID Road Map 8th March 2021

"The Prime Minister will today set out the government’s roadmap for cautiously easing lockdown restrictions in England" was the announcement this morning. We really need to go by data, and not set hopeful dates that we can't step back from...
The 4 main factors, or 'tests', they will consider are:
1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern (including anything with that pesky E484K mutation which is more resilient to antibodies).
As these 4 tests (which they just made up, and I'll be honest, seem pretty erm... 'loose') are being met, reopening is due to start March 8th as planned. This date was chosen because it is 3 weeks after the top priority groups in Phase 1 should have had their first vaccine dose, so the vast majority who are especially vulnerable or over 60 should have a healthy degree of immunity.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 20th / 21st February 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 20th / 21st February 2021.

The UK added 9,834 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,115,509 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 560,400 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 17,582,121 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 615,148 people are fully vaccinated (2 doses).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 215 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 120,580 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 214,378 cases and 4,135 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 111,817,847 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,475,106. Already 87,118,682 people have recovered.

210221 vaccine total uk gov nhs text over soft image of nurse vaccinating person in chair

“I want to see the rollout go further and faster in the coming weeks.
We will now aim to offer a jab to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and take further steps to ease some of the restrictions in place.”
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister.

Well, I think we saw that one coming...

Friday, 19 February 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 19th February 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 19th February 2021.

The UK added 12,027 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,095,269 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 560,400 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 16,875,536 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 589,591 people have had both doses (fully vaccinated). 

19,392 people were in hospital on 17th Feb (down from 24,352 a week earlier), with 2,535 using a ventilator yesterday, 18th February (down from 3,036 a week earlier). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 533 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 119,920 losses of life in all settings.

The ONS record deaths of people who had COVID listed as a cause. Up until Friday 5th February this included 129,498 people.

Rep. Of Ireland 212,647 cases and 4,082 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 111,040,682 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,457,011. Already 85,941,244 people have recovered.

190221 indieSAGE experience in Israel

All of the UK TV networks have come together to present a new video, and it's a star-studded tear-jerker. Lots of well-known people from different ethnic backgrounds and UK communities bust all of the most copy-pasted myths, and then prove just how human they are by telling us which of their loved ones have been vaccinated. An informative and poignant 3 minutes which actually does make you feel proud of what we've been through and how far we've come over the past year, but so very sad that it ever happened. You can find it by searching #takethevaccine  

Northern Ireland have extended their lockdown until April 1st. This happened yesterday,  but I failed to copy it across,  so apologies to anyone in NI.
Primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 return in person on March 8.
Secondary pupils in exam years 12 to 14 return in person on March 22.
"Click and collect" shopping rules will also relax a little, to allow more items to be sold.
The situation will be reviewed on March 18th.

I also lost a couple of other things I wrote for yesterday, including the US vaccination stuff. I rewrote quickly and cleverly used the total US population instead of 'doses'. Doh. The US has vaccinated really well, but not quite 330m doses, or 'exactly 1 per person' -  they've actually administered around 58m at this point.