Sunday 27 December 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Christmas Update 27th December 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Christmas Update 27th December 2020.

The UK added 30,501 cases today and now has reported a total of 2,288,345 positive cases of COVID-19.  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 316 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 70,752 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 85,394 cases and 2,200 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 80,927,778 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,768,880. Already 57,117,746 people have recovered.

Merry Christmas thanks for suppressing COVID

Since I last reported Mexico, Italy, Germany and some other countries have started immunisations. The Queen did a new video and told us 'life has to go on'. Trump has warned staff who didn't support his voter fraud claim "I won't forget ". The US has imposed mandatory COVID testing for arrivals from the UK. Several countries have now reported odd cases of the UK COVID strain and /or the South African strain, and a little thing called BREXIT finally got a deal. Most of the world has had a holiday though, and chance to take a breath. 

Medics, nurses, care staff, buildings and cleaning staff are among those who didn't get a day off. Thank you all for keeping it going in our absence. 

Even though most of us couldn't spend Christmas in-person with all of our loved ones, I hope yours was fun and funny and made you laugh and smile. I hope you could grab everything you have and give it a little sparkle, even if it was partly over zoom... 

Millions of people across the UK, Europe and North America woke up on Boxing Day to tighter restrictions. And an ugly month ahead. We know January isn't going to be pretty. 

271220 Public Health England hospital admissions

Over 1/3 of those who caught COVID on Christmas Day will be showing symptoms by New Year. Around 1/3 won't show any symptoms. Almost all will be at their most infectious from around 27th Dec - 1st Jan, or if they get severe disease, when their symptoms end. Fingers crossed for all nations. Avoid mixing with other people at all if you can for the next couple of weeks. Slow the spread.
We'll get there, and what we do now will make a huge difference to our 2021.

Sadly thousands of lorry drivers spent Christmas in a car park in Kent. The army were drafted in to help test, as well as French firefighters who brought over 800 tests. By Boxing Day morning Grant Shapps (Transport Minister) announced drivers could now start heading for Dover, the backlog had cleared sufficiently.
Estimates on numbers vary, with the UK Government figures often stating hundreds, and in some cases 1/10th of other estimates. And they kind of gave the game away by announcing on Saturday morning that they'd already completed 15,526 tests - with 36 positive results that were "being verified".
Sadly this is a risk all the time, but especially so during a pandemic. 

Trump isn't supplying many tweets of the Day at the moment, because obviously he has more important things to do than COVID - like Tweet at the FBI, justice department, supreme court etc and call them liars for saying he lost the election. Also, he really isn't concerned by COVID. Actual footage exists of the White House Christmas night party with dancing and much merriment. Brilliant.
Chillingly he's invited all of his supporters to a mass spreadathon in Washington in early January. My commiserations to anyone living in DC. Fingers crossed for snow. 

271220 half a million vaccine doses

Excellent vaccine news! TheTimes are reporting that Astra Zeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, has told them new data will show the Oxford vaccine is as effective as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines - protecting 95% of patients, and it's “100% effective” in preventing severe illness requiring hospitalisation.
Approval is expected to be granted for UK use within days. 

When any company release data on how effective their vaccines are, they give a "confidence interval", a range around the actual numbers, to allow for a larger population getting slightly different results overall (3 out of 5 kids might like oranges, but you can't be certain that means 9 out of 15 will - so you allow for around 7-11 just in case).
Although the vaccines give an efficacy percentage, they sometimes have a very big confidence interval - it's very possible we'll find that those saying anywhere around 90%-95% are all actually pretty similar in the end - or wildly different.  

Wording in vaccine announcements can be slightly different from country to country or study to study- e.g. severe illness / symptoms / positive tests - however the important end outcomes are the same. Does it stop people needing in-patient hospital care for severe COVID? Does it prevent loss of life? 

Today is the first ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.
We have certainly learned a hell of a lot over the past year. 

NextStrain are still tracking the UK variant around the world. There are 3 cases in Australia which seem to have completely separate introductions, as well as odd cases in several countries including Israel, Sweden, Hong Kong, and South Africa - where of course they have their own variant of concern. 

Lots of the UK moved to a higher level of restrictions yesterday, and part of the reason is the new UK variant. Is the new variant more infectious? We still don't know for certain. What we do know is that in a lab it managed to infect more cells, and we have a lot of cases which aren't being controlled by measures that worked well in Summer.
Whether our case increase is a new strain or purely an example of exponential growth, the end result is the important thing - and that's thousands of new cases a day. We need to be cautious. 

The UK has a population of around 68m people and has committed to a total of 357m doses of vaccines. Most vaccines need 2 doses, but that's still enough for more than 3 full vaccinations each for every single UK adult. 

The first person to be vaccinated in Germany yesterday was 101 year old Edith Kwoizalla - who was born during the 3rd wave of Spanish flu. 

Act like you've got it just in case

Long COVID in children is getting press after an article in the British Medical Journal. We still aren't sure how many people suffer the effects of long COVID, but a quick search of Facebook support groups brings up loads for concerned parents - and many have hundreds of followers / members. 

Everyone knows a common symptoms of COVID is anosmia, a change to your sensations of taste and smell, but The Independent are reporting that many Long COVID sufferers live with strange and often unpleasant smells that don't exist - Parosmia. They smell things like burnt toast, fish and sulphur (bad eggs). 

Israel has started immunisations, and is so fast at rolling out their vaccine programme, they hope not to lose anyone to COVID after March. I hope so too. Fingers crossed guys. 

Japan have closed their borders completely after discovering a handful of cases of the UK COVID variant. They don't want any new strains of COVID thanks. 

A new one of those monoliths has appeared, and it wins prizes because this one was made from gingerbread. Genius. It appeared on Christmas Day at Corona Heights Park in San Francisco. The park General Manager said "We will leave it up until the cookie crumbles." Boom boom.  I like him already. 

Some numbers. All people who look up to the same stars as you:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (in larger countries some states /provinces have yet to report today):

USA 19,447,257 (+13,410) 340,146 (+225) 

India 10,206,901 (+18,509) 147,907 (+248)

Brazil 7,466,189 (+383) 190,861 (+46)

Russia 3,050,248 (+28,284) 54,778 (+552)

France 2,550,864 not yet reported today 62,573

UK 2,288,345 (+30,501) 70,752 (+316)

Turkey 2,147,578 (+14,205) 19,878 (+254)

Italy 2,047,696 (+8,913) 71,925 (+305)

Spain 1,869,610 not yet reported today 49,824

Germany 1,653,161 (+9,992) 30,386 (+229)

Mexico 1,377,217 (+4,974) 122,026 (+189)

Poland 1,257,799 (+3,678) 27,118 (+57) 

Iran 1,200,465 (+5,502) 54,693 (+119)

Ukraine 1,025,989 (+6,113) 17,774 (+72) 



"Japan closes borders to block the spread of new highly contagious COVID-19 variant"

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