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! 

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th to 16th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th to 16th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,637,190 (+39,705)
In Hospital / Using A Ventilator aren't regularly updated over the weekend
Losses of Life: 143,159 (+47)
Tests: 916,832
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,614,550 (88% UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 46,045,964 (80.1%)
Boosters: 13,147,333 (22.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 507,413 (+4,395) cases and 5,566 losses of life

World: 254,873,337 reported cases and 5,126,745 losses of life

161121 Book online from next Monday extra jabs for 16 to 17 year olds

Soooooo, Boris must have known I was taking a long weekend off and yesterday we had a JCVI COVID Data Briefing, and then a UK Press Briefing. I'm proud to say I was in the pub having a birthday meal, so I missed them. The UK Press Briefing with Boris was mainly to pass on the latest figures from the Data Briefing, the advice offered by the JCVI, and decisions made based on that.

Friday, 12 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 10th, 11th 12th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 10th, 11th 12th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,487,302 (+40,375) - for the first day in ages, this is an increase.
In Hospital Yesterday 11th November: 8,652
Using A Ventilator Yesterday 11th November: 999
Losses of Life: 142,678 (+145)
Tests: 980,626
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,491,701 (87.8% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,964,488 (79.9%)
Booster / 3rd Doses: 11,823,643 (20.6%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 490,001 (+5,478) cases and 5,566 losses of life.

World: 252,967,467 reported cases and 5,099,784 losses of life.

121121 UK NHS has delivered over 90 million vaccinations text over blurry hospital style scene

"Almost 2 million cases of COVID19 were reported in Europe last week, the most in a single week in that region since the pandemic started.
Almost 27,000 deaths were reported from Europe, more than half of all COVID-19 deaths globally last week.
COVID19 is surging in countries with lower vaccination rates in Eastern Europe, but also in countries with some of the world’s highest vaccination rates in Western Europe.
It’s another reminder, as we have said again and again, that vaccines do not replace the need for other COVID19 precautions."
A warning to the UK and others there from Dr Tedros and the World Health Organisation. 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

The Humble Co. Eco-friendly Toothcare Review (sent for review)

I love anything which reduces single-use plastic and waste, and my family have been using compostable bamboo toothbrushes for the last couple of years. We hadn't tried Humble before though. They've sent us a selection of eco-friendly tooth and mouth care products to review.... 

The Humble Co Humble Brush review Close up of wooden handle with logo

The Humble Company products have been developed by dentists and designed in Sweden, and they all use minimal plastic without compromising on hygiene and safety.

The Humble Company Bamboo Toothcare Review

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 8th / 9th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 8th / 9th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,366,676 (+33,117)
In Hospital Yesterday 8th Nov: 8,900 (DOWN from 9,538 a week earlier, still higher than 8,693 two weeks earlier)
Using A Ventilator Yesterday 8th Nov: 1,025 (Slightly DOWN from 1,030 a week earlier, and up on 913 two weeks earlier)
Losses of Life: 142,124 (+262)
Tests: 920,068
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,296,294 (87.5% of UK adults aged 16+)
Vaccinations 2nd Doses: 45,873,038 (79.8%)
Booster /3rd Dose Vaccinations: 10,580,122 (18.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 472,547 cases and 5,492 losses of life (not yet reported today).

The total number of people who have tested positive for COVID worldwide has passed 250 million.
World: 251,333,353 reported cases and 5,075,739 losses of life.

091121 New regulations announced that all NHS and care staff have to be fully vaccinated

"I have concluded that all those working in the NHS and social care will have to be vaccinated."
Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, confirming to Parliament that all patient-facing NHS England workers will have to be vaccinated by 1st April next year.
"The majority of NHS workers are already vaccinated, as over 92.8% have had their first dose and 89.9% have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. In social care, 83.7% of domiciliary care workers have had their first dose and 74.6% have had both doses.
Latest published data shows, however, that over 103,000 NHS Trust workers and 105,000 domiciliary care workers have not been reported as fully vaccinated and the government is urging them to take up the offer now, to keep themselves and those they care for safe."

Sunday, 7 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 6th / 7th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 6th / 7th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,301,909 (+30,305)
Losses of Life: 141,805 (+62)
Tests: 914,955
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,234,416 (87.4% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,836,791 (79.7%)
Booster / 3rd Dose: 10,062,704 (17.5%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 469,386 (+3,428) cases and 5,492 losses of life.

World: 250,527,992 reported cases and 5,063,647 losses of life.

071121 total boosters and 3rd doses uk

"An amazing 10 million people across the UK have already come forward for their booster.
We know vaccine immunity wanes over time, so boosters are vital in keeping you and your loved ones protected through the winter.
Please get this lifesaving jab as soon as you are called."
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister.

“I strongly urge everybody who is eligible for a Covid-19 booster or flu vaccine to take up the offer as soon as you can.
For those not yet eligible, please help your parents, grandparents or vulnerable loved ones get their jabs, it could save their life.
And if you haven’t yet had your first and second vaccines, it is not too late, the NHS will always be there to welcome you with open arms.
This truly is a national mission.
If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas.”
Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, with an impassioned speech there, and a belief vaccinations alone will fix the pressure on the NHS.

Friday, 5 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 3rd, 4th, 5th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 3rd, 4th, 5th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,241,916 (+34,029)
In Hospital Thursday 4th: 9,160
Using A Ventilator Thursday 4th: 1,034
Losses of Life: 141,588 (+193)
Tests: 914,955
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,156,656 (87.2% of UK 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,790,934 (79.6%)
Booster/ 3rd doses: 9,347,074 (16.3%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 458,370 cases and 5,492 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 249,633,651 reported cases and 5,049,391 losses of life.

Celebrate bonfire night responsibly use your COVID app

"The age-adjusted risk of deaths involving COVID19 was 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in fully vaccinated individuals between 2 Jan and 24 Sept 2021"
UK Office for National Statistics (ONS)

WHO has granted emergency use listing to COVAXIN (developed by Bharat Biotech), This is a massive relief to India especially, and it's been a long time coming. All of the countries who rely on WHO to ensure their medicines and treatments are safe, can now use the COVAXIN vaccine. It also opens up travel for anyone already vaccinated. 

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

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

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

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,130,857 (+33,865)
In Hospital on Monday 1st Nov: 9,538 (UP from 8,693 a week earlier, 7,749 two weeks earlier)
Using A Ventilator on Monday 1st Nov: 1,030 (UP from 913 a week earlier, 823 two weeks earlier)
Losses of Life: 140,964 (+293)
Tests: 905,663
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,025,020 (87% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,731,565 (79.5%)
Booster Vaccinations: 8,356,172 (14.5%)
(Great vaccination numbers, low level of testing, better case numbers, but losses of life is really not good at all, and we are still admitting over 1,000 people a day to hospital, and patient numbers are rising.)

Rep. Of Ireland: 452,172 (+3,723) cases and 5,436 losses of life.

World: 248,117,814 reported cases and 5,025,075 losses of life.

COVID Booster eligibility UK as of 021121

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Suffolk local authorities are receiving additional support because of very high levels of COVID  - what used to be known as 'surge' testing and vaccinations.

Boris Johnson has ensured us Christmas isn't anything to worry about:
“I see no evidence whatsoever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards.”
Bet that's put your mind at ease.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 30th / 31st October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 30th / 31st October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,057,629 (+38,009)
Losses of Life: 140,632 (+74)
Tests: 875,931
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,955,853 (86.9% UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,697,856 (79.5%)

Area: Cases total last 7 days / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales: 19,018 / 600 (1 in 166)
Scotland: 17,992 / 329.2 (1 in 304)
Northern Ireland; 8,545 / 450.8 (1 in 222)
England: 246,472 / 435.8 (1 in 229)

Rep. Of Ireland: 445,594 (+1,963) cases and 5,436 losses of life.

World: 247,352,866 reported cases and 5,013,900 losses of life.

Over 99% of people registered with a GP in England live within 10 miles of a vaccination site

Mark Drakeford, Welsh First Minister, has made some big announcements and suggestions over the past few days. I didn't cover him on Friday because there was so much to read through, he really took the brakes off and has been all over the telly and radio.
- He says he has been urging the English Government to initiate Plan B for some time
- Measures such as working from home could be reintroduced
- 2,000 cases of a suspected-to-be more transmissible Delta Variant have been detected in Wales
- The self-isolation rules if someone tests positive in your household have been tightened up. IN WALES:
*Fully vaccinated or age 5-17 - self-isolate and take a PCR test. If your test is negative you can stop isolating.
*Not fully vaccinated - self-isolate for 10 days. Take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8. You should self-isolate for 10 days even if your tests are negative.
(Children aged under 5 do not have to self-isolate or take a test.)
- From Monday 11 October IN WALES people will be required to show the NHS COVID Pass to prove they are either fully vaccinated or have a recent negative Lateral Flow Test to attend nightclubs, indoor non-seated events where over 500 people are mixing closely for prolonged periods, outdoor non-seated events where over 4,000 people are mixing closely for prolonged periods, and any event of more than 10,000 people

Friday, 29 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th / 28th / 29th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th / 28th / 29th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,979,236 (+43,467)
In Hospital on Thursday 28th: 8,983 (UP from 8,238 a week earlier/ 7,086 two weeks earlier - still an increase, but it's slowed a bit)
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 28th: 946 (UP from 892 a week earlier/ 783 two weeks earlier. Again, an increase, but a less steep curve upwards)
Losses of Life: 140,392 (+186)
Tests: 875,931 (low - possibly due to school holidays?)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,882,904 (86.7% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,651,222 (79.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 440,665 (+2,541) cases and 5,436 losses of life.

World: 246,561,955 reported cases in total and a very grim milestone, as over 5 million people have now officially been reported as dying from COVID.  5,000,844 people have lost their lives.

Over 99% of people registered with a GP in England live within 10 miles of a vaccination site

"I am upset that so many people have lost their lives, and still our governments fail to protect the healthcare workers that they need most.
There is something seriously wrong, and we all have responsibility."
Annette Kennedy, President of ICN (the International Council of Nurses), for the World Health Organisation. Around 40 countries have not yet been able to vaccinate all of their frontline healthcare workers.

Our World In Data:
"49.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
6.97 billion doses have been administered globally, and 23.6 million are now administered each day.
Only 3.3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose."

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

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

"Because of technical issues at Public Health Wales yesterday, the cases and deaths reported today cover a 72-hour period. However, due to further technical issues, not all cases in the 72-hour period have been flagged as new. The true number of new cases since the previous update is likely to be just over 8,000. The cumulative total is unaffected by this reporting issue."
Also - UK vaccination totals are wrong, so I've left those for today. Counting can be so tricky...

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,853,227 (+40,954)
In Hospital on Monday 25th: 8,693 (UP from 7,749 a week earlier, 7,003 two weeks earlier - it's growing by more each week).
Using A Ventilator on Monday 25th: 913 (UP from 823 a week earlier, 747 two weeks earlier - again growing at an increasing rate).
Losses of Life: 139,834 (+263)
Tests: 820,481

Rep. Of Ireland: 431,722 cases and 5,369 losses of life.

World: 245,086,616 reported cases and 4,974,870 losses of life.

Depression can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness

"For every 100 people in high-income countries, 133 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, while in low-income countries, only 4 doses per 100 people have been administered."
World Health Organisation. 

Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary who may or may not reside in an alternate dimension, believes Christmas is going to be fine. He was on the telly and radio  yesterday reassuring the UK public.
He's also implied he is pretty keen on the idea of mandatory vaccinations for Health and social care staff. This is incredibly common elsewhere, it's something many countries are making law.
Approximately 100,000 NHS staff and 100,000 care workers aren't yet vaccinated in the UK. 

Monday, 25 October 2021

Ad / UK Giveaway! Science Mad! Chemistry Lab and Planetarium Review - And Crystal Growing Lab Giveaway

We've always been a family that enjoys science, and once the kids get a bit older, Science Mad! caters for the more mature junior scientist, taking things up a notch and using equipment like real glass, fire and chemicals, and language that they'll hear in secondary school.

We've been sent the Chemistry Lab and Planetarium Star Globe for review, and I have a UK giveaway for one of my personal favourites - the Crystal Growing Lab. 

science mad planetarium star globe and chemistry set with real spirit burner displayed on a table

The Science Mad! Chemistry Lab is not a new addition to our house, we actually bought this exact set ourselves a couple of years ago. It's great to see the manufacturer has swapped out the plastic insert for cardboard - nice one.

Science Mad Chemistry lab review pack shot

The set is suitable for age 10+ and it contains a real spirit burner, which runs on methylated spirit. It's illegal to include it in the set, so you will have to get it separately - but you can buy methylated spirits cheaply all over the place (supermarkets, homeware or decorating shops, including Wilkos). It has a million uses, although we tend to use more pleasant-smelling products to clean things nowadays. All you'll need beyond this are commonplace items like vinegar, salt and turmeric. 

Sunday, 24 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 23rd / 24th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 23rd / 24th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,773,674 (+39,962)
Losses of Life: 139,533 (+72)
Tests: 1,011,431
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,684,322 (86.4% of UK aged 16+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,542,207 (79.2%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 428,152 cases and 5,369 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 244,355,896 reported cases and 4,962,875 losses of life.

you can how use a lateral flow test for some travel

"The pandemic is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on health workers, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect us are themselves unprotected.
A new WHO working paper estimates that 115,000 health workers may have died from COVID-19 between January 2020 and May this year. That's why it's essential that health workers are prioritised for vaccination.
Data from 110 countries suggests that on average 2 in 5 health and care workers globally are fully vaccinated.
But of course the average makes huge differences across regions and economic groupings. In Africa less than 1 in 10 health workers have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile in most high income countries, more than 80% of health workers are fully vaccinated.
More than 10 months since the first vaccines were approved, the fact that millions of health workers still haven't been vaccinated is an indictment on the countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines."
Very strong words from Dr Tedros,  Head of WHO.

Time and again promised vaccines have been diverted to wealthier countries, the West won't allow African countries to produce their own patent-free at-cost versions of vaccines, and vaccine equity has gone out of the window in the scramble to keep countries open.
I do feel incredibly fortunate to be fully vaccinated (especially as my 11 year old just tested positive), but it has a bitter taste when I know that vaccine is more likely to save a life if it goes to someone else. 

Friday, 22 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20th - 22nd October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20th - 22nd October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,689,949 (+49,298)
In Hospital on Thursday 21st: 8,238 (UP from 7,086 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 21st: 892 (UP from 783 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 139,326 (+180)
Tests: 1,011,431
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,603,139 (86.3% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,486,950 (79.1%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 425,725 (+2,465) cases and 5,369 losses of life.

World: 243,550,193 reported cases and 4,949,721 losses of life.

Get your booster get your flu jab get protected UK GOv

"India scripts history.
We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians.
Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat."
Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister.
1 crore = 10 million, so India have just vaccinated their 1 billionth person.
They have supplied around 10% of all Vaccinations delivered so far in the world. Thanks India.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

COVID UK Briefing with Sajid 20th October 2021

COVID UK Briefing with Sajid 20th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,589,737 (+49,139)
In Hospital Tuesday 19th: 7,891 (up from 7,749 the day before)
Using A Ventilator Tuesday 19th: 850 (up from 823 the day before)

Losses of Life says 139,031 (+179), but it also says "Because of a delay to the update of figures for deaths within 28 days in England, today's update will be delayed. Data will be released no earlier than 6:00pm"
I'm not sure where the +179 comes from, but I think it's the total. Scotland report 26 losses of life today, Wales 13 and Northern Ireland 6.

201021 UK Government briefing slides cases

No surprises the figures in the UK are almost entirely NOT going the correct way. Leaping in maskless and cuddling while all shouting "wheeeeee" has left most of the world staring with their mouths open. It is beginning to crack at the edges. In simple terms, more people are dying than they predicted.

I've tried to keep it in frame that the NHS is under a lot of pressure, and I'm not the only one. Last night it was ambulance drivers warning us that 6 hour delays may become commonplace - mainly because they are spending hours waiting outside A&E to offload patients. The West Midlands is currently (and for a while now) the worst affected - with waits of up to 8 hours 'not uncommon' according to the Metro.
By this morning Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, was in the papers warning that we really are at genuine risk of overwhelming services this Winter if the Government don't bring out Plan B (masks in busy places/ less indoor mixing/ work from home if you can/ vaccine passports for nightclubs etc).
Downing Street responded by saying Boris has “absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B".
Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK Business Secretary, backed that up on the telly this morning, by ensuring viewers the UK is not considering another lockdown. 

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 18th / 19th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 18th / 19th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,541,192 (+43,738)
In Hospital Yesterday 18th October: 7,749 (UP from 7,003 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 823 (UP from 747 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 138,852 (+223)
Tests: 911,550
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,462,425 (86% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,400,990 (78.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 419,087 (+2,397) cases and 5,306 losses of life

World: 242,144,283 reported cases and 4,924,839 losses of life

191021 covid daily dashboard

The UK is up an average of 100 extra people a day being admitted to hospital since last week. That's not the best news. We also have an increase in ventilated patients of around 10 a day. The loss of life reported today is also the biggest since March. Our NHS is under pressure again. It isn't time to panic, but we do need to keep a close eye on this, and we are probably very fortunate the October half term school holidays might break this up and slow it back down a little. At least let us get those most vulnerable people boosted... 

Sunday, 17 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 16 / 17th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 16 / 17th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,449,165 (+45,140 - the highest figure since June)
Losses of Life: 138,584 (+57)
Tests: 980,883
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,398,211 (85.9% UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 45,358,472 (78.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 413,734 cases and 5,306 losses of life.

World: 241,410,075 reported cases and 4,913,151 losses of life.

COVID Variant distribution UK 15th October 2021 - nothing of any note

I was pretty scathing about Matt Hancock's appointment as UN Special Envoy To Help Africa's COVID Recovery, and I wasn't the only one. The UN have withdrawn the offer, and it appears it may be due to political and public backlash.
I expect Matt is pretty devastated, but honestly, it wasn't the job for you - maybe you can retrain in cyber like that ballet dancer in the advert.

Friday, 15 October 2021

86 Months....# TBCSmiles

Hello! It is definitely time for some smiles. October is always our quietest month, and it's easy to see why. The night time is creeping into our day, the cold is forcing us into jumpers and coats. Everyone is back into the post-holiday routine of work and the Autumn school term, but not yet getting excited about Christmas. It's all a bit meh... 

Guinea Pig Close up Face looking at camera with his eye

It can make us all a bit gloomy, and when you feel gloomy, it's easy to forget it won't be for long. That's when the collection of smiles really helps. It reminds you of the sunshine, the sparkle, the fun times. It reminds you of the things you like to do, the things you said you'd do again. The things you can do right now. It reminds you of the plans you can make, the places you can go. Best of all, it reminds us that a smile has power. It has so much power that it can last far longer than that moment, and spread far further than the same room. And it shows us we can always do this. 

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th / 14th / 15th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th / 14th / 15th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,361,651 (+44,932)
In Hospital Yesterday 14th Oct: 7,086
Using A Ventilator Yesterday 14th Oct: 783
Losses of Life: 138,379 (+145)
Up until Friday 1st October, 161,798 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.
Tests: 980,883
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,335,154 (85.8% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 45,297,231(78.8%)
(Those really are excellent vaccination percentages)

Cases by nation, last 7 days:
Area: Cases / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales; 17,051 / 538
Scotland: 17,282 / 316.2
Northern Ireland: 8,840 / 466.4
England: 217,023 / 383.8

Today:
Rep. Of Ireland: 411,554 (+1,907) cases and 5,306 losses of life.

World: 240,610,424 reported cases and 4,900,697 losses of life.

151021 3m people have had a booster jab

"Millions of people will be invited to get their flu vaccine from this week as part of the biggest annual flu drive in NHS history.
It's more vital than ever that all children and eligible adults take up the offer of the free vaccine ahead of winter."
It is. Flu can seriously harm you, COVID can seriously harm you, both can occasionally kill. Catching COVID AND Flu together doubles the chance you will not go home.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,231,437 (+38,520)
In Hospital yesterday 11th: 7,003
Using A Ventilator yesterday: 747
Losses of Life: 137,944 (+181)
Tests: 936,288
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,216,092 (85.6% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 45,212,813 (78.6%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 405,970 (+1,456) cases and 5,280 losses of life.

World: 239,261,170 reported cases and 4,876,704 losses of life.

Cross parliamentary report into COVID response photo of 2 MP's and text

6,000 people a week in the UK are being referred to Long COVID clinics, and papers are reporting that even Sajid Javid has finally noticed it might be a bit of a "huge" issue.
The ONS figures released last week show 1.1m people in the UK self-report symptoms lasting over 3 months, (including over 125,000 NHS staff). 405,000 people say symptoms have lasted over a year, and 211,000 people say it significantly reduces their ability to carry out daily activities. 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 9th and 10th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 9th and 10th October 2021

There are no new cases or losses of life for Wales today, because they accidentally added the whole weekend's new cases and losses of life to Friday's numbers, but too late for it to be reported - which really makes a farce of the whole thing.

UK Random Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,154,306 (+34,574)
In Hospital on Thursday 7th: 6,763
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 7th: 808
Losses of Life: 137,735 (+38)
Tests: 962,225
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,158,835 (85.5% of UK Population aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,168,344 (78.5%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 401,773 cases and 5,280 losses of life

World: 238,538,845 reported cases and 4,865,522 losses of life

Depression can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness  WHO. Image of a heart shape held in someone's hands

"There has been no update to data from Wales today.
Cases and deaths within 28 days of positive test that would normally have been reported today were included in the update on Friday 8 October 2021, which was delayed because of network issues at Public Health Wales."
Wait, wait, what? You really typed that on the Government website? So, the 'daily stats' are at least 3 days out of date. Great, I can't wait to find out how many new cases we had last Friday.
To be fair we did always know the Government were a day or two ahead, but I wish they'd stop treating us like babies. Just give us the real figures each day. Go on.... if you can do it by accident, you can manage it by trying...
The Welsh 'interactive dashboard' hasn't been updated since 4th October. 

Friday, 8 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th - 8th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th - 8th October 2021

There's no data for Wales today, so numbers are lower than they should be. Different data was missing last week, so I can't do a comparison.

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,081,300 (+36,060)
In Hospital yesterday 7th October: 6,765
Using A Ventilator yesterday 7th October: 808
Losses of Life: 137,541 (+127)
Tests: 962,225 (a fairly low level of tests, but higher number of new cases means we are catching less of the cases that are really out there)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,101,734 (85.4% of population aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,107,185 (78.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 399,833 (2,002) cases and 5,280 losses of life

World: 237,771,320 reported cases and 4,852,690 losses of life.

Dr Mike Gent tells us to be sensible and wash hands

“As some of you may know, I started my career as a malaria researcher, and I longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease. Today is that day, an historic day.”
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO.
Not COVID-related, but the World Health Organisation has recommended the world's first ever malaria vaccine for a broad rollout in Africa.
Malaria kills around 400,000 people each year, and half are children under 5. Hospitalisation doesn't bode well for survival, but vaccination reduces admissions by 1/3. This is huge news, and as climate change will affect temperatures, humidity and malaria-carrying mosquitos, it could be of even greater use in the future. 

Ad | Review: Akedo - Ultimate Arcade Warriors from Moose Toys (age 6+)

Akedo - Ultimate Arcade Warriors are the brand new battling collectible from Moose Toys, and tie in with the animated series on Nickelodeon. We've been sent 3 of the new product range to review, and it's been a lot of fun all round! These little retro Arcade Warrior action figures have a built-in 'realistic battling action', at a micro collectible scale, and they're really easy to play with too, thanks to the clever, battery-free control system.

Ad | Review: Akedo - Ultimate Arcade Warriors 3 packs shown unpoened

The packaging does have a lot of single-use plastic, but it's at least very easy to open (you'll find it easier with scissors for some of the ties) and there are no batteries required - so you can play straightaway. 

We've been sent:
Single Pack (£4.99) - 1x Akedo Warrior, 1x Trigger Controller
Versus Pack (£9.99) - 2x Akedo Warriors (one of which is an"Epic" Warrior), 2x Trigger Controllers
Starter Pack (£14.99) This special pack has everything you need to train warriors and play the official tournament rules of Akedo - 3x Akedo Warriors, 1x Joystick Controller, 1x Training Accessory
There are rules/instructions for play and a collectors guide inside each pack, so you can drool over your favourites, and work out which sets you'll find them in.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,967,985 (+33,869)
In Hospital yesterday 4th Oct: 6,747 (DOWN from 7,000 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator yesterday 4th Oct: 769 (DOWN from 831 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 137,152 (+166)
Tests: 940,981
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,994,530 (+37,671)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,021,381 (+29,337)
Up until Friday 24th September, 160,824 people have had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland: 394,519 cases and 5,249 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 236,364,710 reported cases and 4,826,202 losses of life.

Beware of COVID Pass fraud

"The health advice has been that to date, we've managed to largely control the outbreak, but as you can see, with this outbreak - and with Delta - the return to zero is incredibly difficult. And our restrictions alone are not enough to achieve it quickly.
In fact, for this outbreak, it's clear that long periods of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases. But that is okay.
Elimination was important because we didn't have vaccines.
Now we do, so we can begin to change the way we do things.
We have more options, and there's good cause for us to feel optimistic about the future, but we cannot rush.
That's why we need to continue to contain and control the virus as much as possible while we make our transition from a place where we only use heavy restrictions, to a place where we use vaccines and everyday public health measures.
We need to keep using the tools we have.
We need to vaccinate. We need to test. We need to find cases.
We need to isolate them and actively control any outbreak now and in the future."
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister. 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 2nd / 3rd October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 2nd / 3rd October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,900,680 (+30,439)
Losses of Life: 136,953 (+43)
Tests: 1,040,967
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,928,952
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,969,396

Rep. Of Ireland: 392,575 cases and 5,249 losses of life.

World: 235,607,128 reported cases and 4,814,231 losses of life.

011021 weekly vaccination by age UK

Daily first vaccine doses in the UK are around the 27,000 mark, which really is quite low, and the UK Government are keen to get more people to come forward. School vaccinations begin in earnest next week, which should make a big difference to those numbers - and hopefully give us the percentage protection we need to start reducing cases among the general population.

Friday, 1 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 1st October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 1st October 2021

(Some UK data is delayed today)
UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,842,613 (+35,577)
Losses of Life: 136,789 (+127)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,863,490
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,901,832

Rep. Of Ireland: 390,989 (+1,057) cases and 5,249 losses of life.

World: 234,772,640 reported cases and 4,801,177 losses of life.

WHO vaccinequity pill bottles on 2 shelves poor and rich

"The world missed the target set by WHO of vaccinating 10% of all people in all countries by the end of September.
Vaccinating the Earth equitably is a moral, epidemiological, and economic necessity. #VaccinEquity"
The World Health Organisation.

German pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. have released interim data (the trial wasn't due to finish yet) from their antiviral pill study for Molnupiravir - and it's fabulous. It reduced hospitalisations and deaths by half in people who had mild to moderate illness (recently infected people, within 5 days of symptoms starting, when it could still go either way). This hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, but the world is all over it like a rash. If there are any flaws we'll soon know, but it's looking great so far.
Because the safety data is all there, and the efficacy findings are so positive, it starts to become unethical to give patients the placebo, and the trial doesn't need any more proof that it works.
"7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53/377). Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo. At the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee and in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recruitment into the study is being stopped early due to these positive results. Merck plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. FDA as soon as possible based on these findings and plans to submit marketing applications to other regulatory bodies worldwide."
At Day 29 the reduction in risk of death was looking far better than 50%, but some patients are still in hospital, so we can't yet say what the final outcome will be. (Hopefully positive all round - fingers crossed for them all.)
If Molnupiravir is approved, it will be the first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Nice. 

(Ad) Misty Ricardo's Curry Compendium Cookbook Review

I was recently sent a copy of Misty Ricardo's Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce for review. This is a mighty cookbook, which is full of recipes, hints and tips, but possibly more importantly, explanations and alternatives. It doesn't just give you the 'how to', it covers the 'why', and 'what difference will it make?'

Very differently to any cookbook I've ever used before, many of the recipes also feature a QR code, which will take your smartphone straight to the accompanying YouTube video, so that you can cook along with Richard himself...

Misty Ricardos Curry Kitchen Cook Book Review by Richard Sayce

Richard Sayce is the man behind Misty Ricardo's Curry Kitchen, and this is a compendium cookbook full of British Indian restaurant recipes which featured in his previous books. I may not get out to a restaurant very often, but take away Indian is a massive treat in our house, and I cook a curry from scratch around once a week, so this has to be a winner for us. 

Thursday, 30 September 2021

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

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

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,807,036 (+36,480)
In Hospital yesterday Weds 29th: 6,853
Using A Ventilator yesterday: 813
Losses of Life: 136,662 (+137)
Tests: 1,115,605
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,829,118 (this would be 89.8% of UK population aged 16+, but we are vaccinating 12+ now, so it's not the actual percentage.)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,867,373

Rep. Of Ireland: 389,932 (+1,267) cases and 5,249 losses of life

World: 234,304,776 reported cases and 4,791,753 losses of life

300921 weeky cases UK by age UK Health Security Agency

Today's Surveillance Report from the UK Health Security Agency (honestly, they are a room full of number crunchers, not men in black) shows that during the week 20th to 26th September 2021, the picture was very similar to last week. Cases are slightly up, but hospitalisations down, which has to be a bit of a win:
- Case rates are highest in those aged 10 to 19 years old and lowest in over 80s.
- Case rates are highest in the East Midlands and lowest in London.
- Hospital admissions are still highest among those aged 85 and older and have decreased since last week.
- The North East has the highest amount of hospital admissions this week.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

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

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

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,736,235 (+34,526)
In Hospital Yesterday Monday 27th: 7,000
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 831
Losses of Life: 136,375 (+167)
Tests: 1,010,007
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,765,726 (89.7% of UK adults aged 16+ - although we are now vaccinating young people aged 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,799,748 (82.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 387,218 (+1,497) cases and 5,209 losses of life

World: 233,338,734 reported cases and 4,773,711 losses of life

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

Social distancing rules in English hospitals are being changed, so that patients can be treated 1m apart rather than the current 2m. It's hoped this will enable more bed space to be released, in order to plough through the backlog of elective patients more quickly (elective is anything that's not urgent). 1 metre is the WHO recommendation.
It won't mean twice as many beds in each ward, patients weren't crammed in like sardines before the pandemic, so don't panic if you are vulnerable and due in hospital soon. Any clearing of a backlog will also heavily depend on hospitals actually having the staff available to make it possible.
The other changes they are making are:
- Removing the need for a negative PCR and 3 days self-isolation before selected elective procedures. Selected patients in low risk groups who are fully vaccinated, asymptomatic, with a negative lateral flow test on the day of their procedure will no longer need to have a negative PCR and isolate for 3 days, unless they are a contact of a confirmed case.
- Re-adopting standard rather than enhanced cleaning procedures. Enhanced cleaning can be discontinued in agreed low risk areas and providers can revert to standard cleaning procedures between patients. It's not entirely clear what benefit it offers in practicality, and scrupulous hand hygiene seems to have a far bigger effect.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

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

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

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,664,230 (+32,417)
Losses of Life: 136,168 (+58)
Tests: 1,063,394
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,722,414 (89.6%)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,739,473 (82.3%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 383,218 cases and 5,209 losses of life.

World: 232,468,443 reported cases and 4,759,808 losses of life.

75 years of NHS Blood Donation images of then and now blood being taken from smiling patients

Even the UK Government's SAGE Government advisory panel are surprised that UK hospital admissions are going down, because they expected a peak around 2,000 people. They aren't quite sure how this is happening, but clearly it's a great thing.
The scientific response surely has to be, 'shush, no-one touch anything. Keep doing what you're doing'...

Friday, 24 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,601,487(+35,623)
In Hospital on Thursday 23rd: 7,124
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 23rd: 916
Losses of Life: 135,983 (+180)
Tests: 1,063,394
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,705,771 (89.6% of UK adults)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,644,887 (82.1%)
Up until Friday 10th September, 158,664 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland: 380,720 cases and 5,209 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 231,605,504 reported cases and 4,745,680 losses of life.

240921 case rates england by age

"The UKHSA’s best estimate for R in England is between 0.9 and 1.1. R is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.5 for Scotland, 1.1 and 1.3 for Wales, and 0.9 and 1.1 for Northern Ireland."

During its most recent week (ending 3 September), the ONS COVID infection survey estimates that an average of 754,600 people had COVID-19 in the community in England, Scotland 117,300, Wales 46,800, Northern Ireland 31,800. (Community only - doesn't include prisons, care homes or hospitals.)

Thursday, 23 September 2021

COVID UK and World News Update 22nd / 23rd September 2021

COVID UK and World News Update 22nd / 23rd September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,565,867 (+36,710)
In Hospital on Tuesday 21st: 7,588
Using A Ventilator on Tuesday 21st: 943
Losses of Life: 135,803 (+182)
Tests: 969,173
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,674,154 (89.6% of UK aged 16+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,600,070 (82.1%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 380,720 (+1,354) cases and 5,209 losses of life

World: 231,117,855 reported cases and 4,736,455 losses of life

Dont' accidentally spread COVID image of man wearing face mask

The UK Government have learnt a few lessons from the pandemic, and have been in consultation about how to improve things for British workers.
They have made a proposal to make the right to request flexible working a day one entitlement - meaning employees can go to their boss and reasonably ask for flexibility over when and where they work - obviously this isn't possible for everyone.
The Government will also introduce "a day one right to one-week’s unpaid leave for carers balancing a job with caring responsibilities"- if you are a carer and have a disaster which keeps you off work, or need to attend an important meeting, you really shouldn't be risking your job for it.

LEGO NINJAGO Empire Temple of Madness Review Set 71712 Age 9+ (Sent for review)

Over the years one of my children has collected several LEGO NINJAGO dragons, so the LEGO NINJAGO Empire Temple of Madness set 71712 took his eye immediately. We were sent this set for review, and no surprises, the 12 year old was on it like a shot... 

LEGO 71712 Empire Temple of Madness image of front of box showing built product

This is an 810 piece set, which is recommended for builders aged 9 and over, and we agree with that assessment. My 12 year old had no problem building independently, and was not at all disappointed with either the build or the final model. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

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

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

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,496,543 (+31,564)
In Hospital on Monday 20th: 7,731 (DOWN from 8,413 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator on Monday 20th: 982 (DOWN from 1,056 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 135,455 (+203)
Tests: 984,065
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,617,703 (80.4% of age 16+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,512,572 (81.9% of age 16+)

Rep. Of Ireland: 376,517 cases and 5,179 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 230,045,673 reported cases and 4,717,179 losses of life.

Look out for your Winter vaccines invite UK NHS - image of letter and autumn leaves

The latest ONS figures show that:
- In the week ending 10th September there were 1,853 more deaths than the 2015-19 average. (Up by 20%.)
- Since the beginning of 2021 we have reported the loss of 404,768 people. (Up by 9%.)

Despite those grim figures, over the last 10 days new UK cases have dropped to a lower average level, and now hospital admissions are showing a marked drop - including in Scotland.
"Number of covid+ patients in English hospitals has fallen by nearly 900 over the last 8 days (14%) - the vaccination of younger people beginning to have an impact? Lowest total for over a month."
Alistair McLellan,  Editor of the Health Services Journal.