Friday, 22 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update and UK Briefing 22nd January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update and UK Briefing 22nd January 2021.

The UK added 40,261 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,583,907 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 665,330 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 5,383,103 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night, with 466,796 fully vaccinated. 

38,562 people were in hospital on Wednesday 20th, (78% higher than the first peak in April) with 3,960 using a ventilator yesterday, 21st January. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 1,401 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 95,981 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 184,279 (+2,357) cases and 2,870 (+52) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 98,409,112 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,107,517. Already 70,706,296 people have recovered.

vaccinations take time to take effect

“One of the new things in this administration is that if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Just say you don’t know the answer.”
Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the USA's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Welcome back.)

We do have some good news. Today's ONS data does suggest that for the first time in ages, the UK's overall R rate is below 1. It's assumed to be between 0.8-1.0. 

Right. We also have some bad news. There's little we can do about it and I can't sugar coat it, but paradoxically it may eventually lead to less overall losses of life in the UK at least. An investigative study by UK Government advisory group NERVTAG (New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group), has found that the UK variant does seem to be more lethal than the original COVID.
It appears to be around 1.3 fold more dangerous - so if 10 people would have succumbed to plain old COVID, 13 would succumb to the UK variant.
This is possibly also the case with the South African variant, and the Brazilian variant - which share some genetic mutations with the UK variant, despite developing completely separately.
This news will cause some worldwide concern - in the countries which do have UK variant (much of Europe, USA) and the countries which don't. It is seeming increasingly likely that travel between areas WITH COVID and areas WITHOUT COVID will get more and more difficult and restrictive, but possibly so will travel between areas with and without new variants. 

Thursday, 21 January 2021

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

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

The UK added 37,892 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,543,646 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 640,856 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 4,973,248 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night, and 464,036 are fully vaccinated. 

38,676 people were in hospital on 19th, with 3,953 using a ventilator yesterday, 20th January. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 1,290 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 94,580 losses of life in all settings.

Country / Cases / Losses of life / Losses of life per 100,000 population.
Wales 185,035 / 5,399 / 171.2
Scotland 168,219 / 7,070 / 129.4
Northern Ireland 98,351 / 1,975 / 104.3
England 3,092,041 / 81,379 / 144.6

Rep. Of Ireland 179,324 cases and 2,768 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 97,601,280 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,090,444. Already 70,097,292 people have recovered.

House parties new fine £800 UK Government

The latest REACT random study data for 6th to 15th January suggests in most English areas cases were still rising. We are still seeing the effects of Christmas, but with a 3 week old lockdown you'd hope for some positive signs. On 15th January more people in the UK had COVID than in mid December - not good news.
The hopeful news is that since the 15th Jan we are beginning to see daily reported cases drop, so fingers crossed that the last week made all the difference...
The main findings from the eighth REACT study (6-15 Jan) show:
- national prevalence increased by 50% from 0.91% in early December to 1.58%, or 158 out of every 10,000 people infected
- national R was estimated at 1.04
- regional prevalence was highest in London where it had more than doubled from 1.21% to 2.8%. It had also more than doubled in the South East (0.75% to 1.68%); East of England (0.59% to 1.74%); and West Midlands (0.71% to 1.76%). It increased in the South West (0.53% to 0.94%) and North West (0.92% to 1.41%). There was a decrease in Yorkshire and The Humber (1.39% to 0.84%). It was stable in the East Midlands (1.04% to 1.16%) and North East (1.26% to 1.18%)
- prevalence increased nationally in all adult age groups and was highest in 18 to 24 year olds at 2.51%. Prevalence in the over 65s more than doubled from 0.41% to 0.94% 

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

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

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

The UK added 33,355 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,466,849 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 556,689 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 4,266,577 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night, and 456,866 had received their second dose.  

37,946 people were in hospital on Sunday 17th, with 3,916 using a ventilator yesterday, 18th January. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 1,610 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 91,470 official losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 174,843 cases and 2,616 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 96,288,013 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,056,675. Already 68,860,956 people have recovered.

British IMA COVID-conspiracy-theory-replies-halal

Face of the UK COVID response, Matt Hancock, who famously caught COVID as early as he could in the pandemic, is self-isolating after being alerted by the Test & Trace app. Remember that? Guess it's still live then. Wait. He's only got to isolate until Sunday? Guess Test &  Trace is live, but still pretty pants then.
As Matt doesn't have a frontline role and everything is shut, this may mean he wasn't careful, didn't socially distance and didn't attempt to protect the NHS. 

Monday, 18 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK News and Briefing Update 18th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK News and Briefing Update 18th January 2021.

"The development and approval of safe and effective vaccines less than a year after the emergence of a new virus is a stunning scientific achievement, and a much-needed source of hope.
Vaccines are the shot in the arm we all need - literally and figuratively.
The recent emergence of rapidly-spreading variants makes the rapid and equitable rollout of vaccines all the more important.
But we now face the real danger that even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots.
It’s right that all governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first.
But it’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries.
There will be enough vaccine for everyone. But right now, we must work together as one global family to prioritize those most at risk of severe diseases and death, in all countries."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation 

Total vaccination to date carried out by the UK NHS over 4 million

Yesterday the UK Government announced a £269m boost to the Social Care sector:
- New £120million fund for local authorities to boost staffing levels
- £149million grant system to support increased testing in care homes
The £120m fund for local authorities is in addition to the £149 million announced in December, which will be used to support rapid testing of staff testing and facilitate visits from family and friends where possible. All funding will be available from next month.
"Around 40 per cent of people aged 80 and over and a quarter of older care home residents have now received their first vaccine dose. By the end of next week we aim to have offered a jab to all care home residents and staff."

The UK Government has announced the invitations to have a vaccination are now being sent out to people over 70 and extremely clinically vulnerable people. 

Ad | Sleep Tips To Improve Your Mental Health (paid collaboration with Tempur)

The second week of May is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and while I think we are all a lot more aware of how common mental health problems are, they're impossible to measure and rarely have a simple fix.

I'm working in a paid collaboration with Tempur, the people who make those incredibly comfortable squidgy mattresses, and they commissioned a Mental Health And Sleep Survey looking into the effect quality of sleep has on mental health and wellbeing. We all now know that our mental health is as important as our physical health and needs to be looked after, but how does sleep, and the quality or lack of it, affect us?


Physically, lack of good quality sleep gives us eye bags, it makes us crave carbohydrates and we store more fat. which can lead to weight gain. Among other things it affects growth hormones, testosterone and insulin levels, blood pressure and repair systems in the body. Not getting enough sleep can make you heavier and it can make you ill, and you'll stay ill for longer and find it harder to lose weight.

Mentally, lack of good quality sleep has a huge effect too. We know the obvious signs, we are tired, irritable and grumpy. Lack of sleep also makes it harder for us to learn and remember, it's responsible for lack of libido and motivation. We can feel hungry, clumsy and down, even depressed.

We've all been there, and those days that start like that never do seem to get any better...

Sunday, 17 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 16th / 17th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 16th / 17th January 2021.

The UK added 38,598 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,395,959 positive cases of COVID-19. 

Up until midnight last night we had vaccinated 3,857,266 people with at least their first dose. 

37,475 people were in hospital on Thursday 14th, with 3,789 using a ventilator on Friday 15th January. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 671 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 89,261 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 169,780 cases and 2,595 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 95,173,803 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,034,893. Already 67,938,678 people have recovered.

Total number of vaccine doses today

“We are in the final stages of the coronavirus. Israel, with the scale of its vaccine drive, is showing the world that there is an exit strategy.”
Ronni Gamzu, Israel’s previous COVID Czar and the director of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, after a clear drop in hospitalisations among immunised groups. 

I reckon UK studies have discovered something about how people are catching COVID, because the messaging is clearly changing. We are being reminded to wash our hands, and we are being asked not to handle anything in shops unless you intend to buy it. Remember kids "you look with your eyes". 

Saturday, 16 January 2021

77 Months #TBCSmiles January 2021

I'm a day late with the smiles this month. Life got in the way, or more precisely intermittent Internet and my eldest son's birthday. I could have worked till after the young boys were in bed, and finished the post last night, but sometimes other things are more important.

I think we're all better at picking out exactly what's important now. We've spent a year learning what has been essential for our wellbeing, and what we can manage without. We have definitely realised the value of people in our lives, and not only those we love the most. Humans need other humans, even if just to say "hello" as you pass by each other in the street. 

This time of year can be hard any time, during a pandemic virus there's a high chance it's more so. The lights and sparkly decorations are down, but it's still gloomy and dark most of the day. We're a bit bored of anything with marzipan or crackers, but picnics in the sunshine are a long way off. With Christmas gone, we have a long stretch ahead before Summer, and it can all feel a bit directionless and droll. Under lockdown that's amplified by about a bazillion. Don't you dare lose hope...

While the UK admittedly is in a pretty dire position right now, but it's exactly NOT the time to feel it's pointless. We can see the light at the end of Jonathan Van Dam's tunnel. We ARE going to be in a completely different position by Easter. Spring shoots and NHS jabs bring with them new hope. We WILL get a Summer, and next Christmas will feature far more humans. 

Christmas dinner in my household. Hectic scene with people putting food and crackers on the table, and a boy in the middle grinning with double thumbs up

Don't just sit it out, that always makes it last longer. Watch for Spring coming. Listen to those birds, squawking now to alert everyone else to a feast or a threat, but very soon they'll be looking for tufts of dry grass to nest. The insects are in hiding, but more closely you see cobwebs and miniature non-stop worlds. The trees are bare and the colours are gone from the garden, but the sprouts and greens of new life are already beginning. Take a moment to enjoy the freshness after the rain, the crisp cold of an early morning, and the warmth of the sun on your face in a gap through the cloud. We have hope. 

You can see the hope shining through in the smiles this month, and a huge thank you to everyone who joined in and shared theirs on Instagram with the hashtag #tbcsmiles. EVERYONE is welcome to join in. Any smile shared is a smile that makes more smiles, and that is always a good thing... 

Here are just 9 of the biggest smiles from the last month, and a special mention for all of you with the matching Christmas pyjamas! They may be irrefutably cheesy, but heck, if it's a reason to make sure you get a great photo of yourself every year, it's a definite win. 

77 months TBCSmiles January 2021 Collage of 9 photos featuring smiles

The above smiles, chuckles and giggles were shared by the following Instagrammers: 

_Moolboots / Casacostello / FamilyFever
Hodgepodgedays / EarthBasedFun / Hollybobbs
WeMadeThisLife / Over40andamumtoone / MummyMelton

My family made our own smiles too. Christmas was very special for us, as it was the first time in a year that our London Uni student was even able to come home, and the first time the rest of the kids have been able to get together since Spring. To have all of our children in one place laughing and chatting was something we'll never take for granted again... 

A collage of my family smiling, many taken at Christmas dinner

From all of us here at The Brick Castle. We can, and we will, get through this, and maybe we will learn some lessons about humanity along the way. 2021 will start badly, but it WILL get better. May our 2021 be substantially better than our 2020. Best wishes for the new year. 

small boy with fancy port glass full of cola chinking glasses in a toast with others off screen


It can be an especially hard time to cope with. Don't be alone. If you are struggling, there is always someone you can talk to. If you can talk to someone you know, please do. We're all struggling a bit this year, you may find more support than you imagined possible. Likewise, check in on your mates. 

If you don't feel able to talk to someone you know, then speak to your GP. Talking therapies can help, it doesn't mean they'll put you a prescription if you don't want one, and they can signpost you to local and online specific support. 
If you are really struggling, The Samaritans are on hand 24 hours a day. If you are a young person or are worried about another young person, you may feel more comfortable talking to Papyrus or Childline. But don't you dare give up. We can get through this. All of us. 


If you don't understand why you should stay, here are Five Reasons Why You Shouldn't Decide To Leave This Christmas Or In The period Thereafter.


Friday, 15 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 15th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 15th January 2021.

Yesterday the UK abacus was broken, and they didn't release any numbers until very late. In the end the UK added 48,682 cases and another 1,248 people were reported as losing their lives. 

The UK added 55,761 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,316,019 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 695,148 tests yesterday. 

37,282 people were in hospital on Wednesday 13th (up from 31,624 a week earlier). There were 3,672 people using a ventilator yesterday, 14th January (up from 2,929 a week earlier).  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 1,280 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 87,295 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 166,548 (+3,491) cases and 2,536 (+48) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 93,861,080 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 has passed a very sad milestone and is over 2 million people. COVID has taken 2,009,441 lives. Already 67,029,564 people have recovered.

UK quarantine in place for arrivals

There was some terror and excitement today because Professor Wendy Barclay, a UK Government advisor, mentioned the UK had already seen cases of the Brazilian variant. She later clarified that there are 2 distinct Brazilian lineages of virus, but it's only the new one which is a variant of concern, and we haven't yet found any cases in the UK.
It certainly woke everyone up. 

The UK is in a bit of a disastrous place regarding the whole COVID thing right now, hopefully it will never look any worse than this. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson hosted a UK briefing which was always going to be grim watching. He was accompanied by Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance - the new triumvirate of the UK COVID response. 

Thursday, 14 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th / 14th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th / 14th January 2021.

UK official data is broken today. I'll seamlessly edit it in and add it in the comments when it is published, but there have been 48,682 more positive cases in the latest 24 hour reporting period.
A "data processing issue" is to blame according to Public Health England.

Rep. Of Ireland 159,144 cases and 2,460 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 93,229,269 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,994,359. Already 66,549,524 people have recovered.

COVID Variant alert and list of countries now barred for arrivals to the UK travel

There are now 3 "lineages of concern" or mutated variants which we have to keep an eye on - well, really it's mostly the scientists keeping an eye on them.  

1) - The UK variant B.1.1.1 which has now been located in at least 51 countries, and is the most populous strain in the UK,  and rising fast in Denmark. This strain has 2 important mutations - N501Y spike protein mutation, and a double deletion or missing part of the code at points H69 and V70. We believe this makes it around 50-70% more transmissible and removes an attack option for most current vaccines, but shouldn't make them less effective overall.

2) - The South African variant B.1.351/ 501Y.V2 has an identical gap in it's programming to the UK variant (69/70 deletion), the spike protein N501Y and a couple of other spike mutations. One of the other mutations, E484K was shown to 'escape' natural antibodies in a single patient, so it is a bit worrying and trials are ongoing to check it isn't resistant to vaccines. Like the UK variant, it is assumed to be more transmissible, but not more personally deadly.  It has been spotted in at least 16 countries, but is far less prevalent than the UK strain at the moment.

3) - The Brazilian variant P1 (20J/501Y.V3.) was first discovered in 4 travellers returning to Japan from Brazil, and has since been found in several Brazilian cases.
"We have detected a new variant circulating in December in Manaus, Amazonas state, north Brazil, where very high attack rates have been estimated previously. The new lineage, named P.1 (descendent of B.1.1.28), contains a unique constellation of lineage defining mutations, including several mutations of known biological importance such as E484K, K417T, and N501Y."
Because it has the same N501Y spike protein mutation as the other two, the obvious worry is that it is also likely to be more transmissible.
Because it has E484K like the South African variant, it is also being watched incredibly carefully until we are sure current vaccines will do the job.
No-one seems willing to say publicly yet what they believe K417T is likely to do, but it is another spike protein of concern.
(Remember vaccines can easily be tweaked, but it takes about 6 weeks plus the time, cost and resources needed to manufacture and distribute new vaccines). 

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th January 2021 and UK Briefing.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th January 2021 and UK Briefing.

There have now been a total of 91,634,529 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,960,988. Already more than 65,522,842 people have recovered.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, was the choice for today's UK briefing - presumably because she's terrifying and she wanted to tell us all off. If you break lockdown she'll personally come round and bark at you until you cry. Goddit? Good. Anyway, I digress.
Alongside were Dr Vin Diwakar, Regional Medical Director for London and Martin Hewitt, Chair of Police Chiefs.
Priti started by giving an update on the current situation.
As of today, 2,431,648 people have been vaccinated with at least 1 dose across the UK.
45,533 new cases were reported today.
As of 10th January, 35,075 people are in hospital with COVID, up 22% on this time last week.
83,203 people have now been officially reported as lost within 28 days of a COVID test, including another 1,243 today.

45,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued to people breaching Coronavirus Regulations. 

Act like youve got it 1 out of 3 no symptoms

Police and local councils have now been asked to be strict, and more tightly enforce the regulations. It will save lives. Priti talks about the fact that Police, Fire Service staff etc. are there to help the most in need, and shouldn't have to face danger from the public when going about their job.
Martin Policeman talks about working WITH the public, and says a stubborn minority don't seem to want to prevent COVID. "Ten months on, the rules are clear, and I urge everyone to abide by them."

"We should all be asking ourselves, whether our reason to leave home is truly essential?"

They are guiding officers to be stricter, and more officers will be out on dedicated patrols to find people who are letting the rest of us down. He gives examples:
A Hampshire boat party for 40 people (who all paid £30 a ticket).
A minibus full going from Cheltenham to Wales for a walk
A party which claimed to be a business event
Illegal raves
The wearing of face coverings on public transport will also be more tightly enforced. You can expect a fine if you have no legitimate medical reason not to wear a mask. 

Monday, 11 January 2021

UK COVID Briefing with Matt Hancock Vaccine Delivery Plan 11 Jan 2021

UK COVID Briefing with Matt Hancock Vaccine Delivery Plan 11 Jan 2021

There was a UK COVID Briefing today with Matt Hancock, Health Minister and face of the UK COVID response, to explain the new plan for the vaccine rollout. He was joined by Professor Steve Powys, medical director of NHS England. 

Matt starts. The new variant is highly contagious, and putting the NHS under extreme pressure.
32,294 people are currently in hospital, up 22% on this time last week
The average number of people who have died over the last week is 926 per day.
Chris Whitty said this morning that "we are at the worst point in this pandemic". Matt seconds this, and says it's your actions NOW that make the difference. Reduce all social contact that isn't absolutely necessary. Act like you have the virus. 

110121 UK Briefing Vaccine Delivery Plan number vaccinated UK

The vaccination programme is continuing apace.
So far 2.6m doses have been given to 2.3m people. More than the rest of Europe added together. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 9th / 10th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 9th / 10th January 2021.

The UK added 54,940 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,072,345 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 619,941 tests on Thursday 7th. 

32,294 people were in hospital on Thursday 7th, with 3,098 using a ventilator on Friday 8th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 563 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 81,431 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 147,613 (+6,886) cases and 2,344 (+8) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 90,423,626 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,939,602. Already 64,646,155 people have recovered.

England vaccine capacity by 17th January 2021

"The NHS in England now over 30,000 covid positive patients in its hospitals - about a third of all available beds (the proportion in intensive care is significantly higher)."
Alistair McLellan, Editor of the HSJ (Health Services Journal). 

Latest charts do suggest it's possible new cases in most UK areas, especially high prevalence areas, have begun to plateau, but let's not get too excited just yet.
It is the weekend, so it can be hard to tell, but in the main the UK lockdowns do seem to be having an effect. Wales shows a sustained drop, Scotland looks like it's turning, and England tentatively is turning overall. Northern Ireland still doesn't look good.
In England, although cases are dropping or staying similar in most authorities, in just a few areas, especially where the new UK variant is beginning to take over, cases are clearly still rising - mainly the North West, South West and Midlands.

Friday, 8 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 8th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 8th January 2021.

The UK added 68,053 cases today and now has reported a total of 2,957,472 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 619,941 tests yesterday. 

31,624 people were in hospital on Wednesday 6th, with 2,929 using a ventilator yesterday, 7th January. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 1,325 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 79,833 officially reported losses of life in all settings. Today's figure still includes people who succumbed over Christmas, so is artificially high for a single day. 

Rep. Of Ireland 127,657 cases and 2,307 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 88,893,141 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,913,630. Already 63,807,780 people have recovered.

080121 we are not having a normal bad winter

Yesterday Sussex and Surrey declared a 'Major Incident' due to the numbers of COVID patients in hospital. London Mayor Sadiq Khan this afternoon has also declared a Major Incident. The ONS study estimates that 1 in every 30 Londoners currently has COVID, with ratios as high as 1 in 20 in some areas. The NHS is really struggling to cope with demand, not only upon the hospitals themselves and their staff, but also the Ambulance crews and everyone else involved in the chain of care. 

From next week passengers arriving in England by boat, plane or train will have to take a COVID test no more than 72 hours before departing the country they are in, "to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Denmark and South Africa".
(Denmark? you ask. Well, yes. Denmark is finding a worrying increase in cases of the, erm... UK variant...)
Scotland have said they'll also have the same measures, and it's anticipated Wales and Northern Ireland will also make negative tests mandatory. 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th / 7th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th / 7th January 2021.

The UK added 52,618 cases today and now has reported a total of 2,889,419 positive cases of COVID-19. 

We completed 557,441 tests yesterday.
As of 3 January 1,296,432 people had been vaccinated with their 1st dose. 

30,370 people were in hospital on Tuesday 5th (up from 23,813 8 days earlier), with 2,821 people using a ventilator yesterday, 6th January (up from 1,847 9 days earlier).  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 1,162 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 78,508 officially reported losses of life in all settings. 

Country / Cases / Losses of life as per death certificates.
Wales 163,234 / 4,357
Scotland 143,715 / 6,298
Northern Ireland 84,646 / 1,649
England 2,497,824 / 70,320

Rep. Of Ireland 121,154 cases and 2,299 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 87,994,422 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,898,400. Already 63,341,769 people have recovered.

070121 1 million vaccine doses uk

MPs were recalled to parliament yesterday to vote on England’s latest national lockdown restrictions. They were approved 524-16. The lockdown is now law. 

I'll start with the worst news. London has just 2 weeks before it is overwhelmed by COVID patients, according to a leaked NHS England briefing shared by the HSJ (Health Services Journal). This is a pretty grim position to be in, because we know cases haven't yet stopped going up, and losses of life lag behind by 2-3 weeks, so we can't make this go away, whatever we do right now.
We managed without needing to use the Nightingales or ration care before, we would need a miracle this time. Projections estimate a shortfall of between around 400 and 4,000 beds - after opening the London Nightingale. Patients are, right now, being moved from London around the country in an effort to spread the load, but as cases rise elsewhere too, that can only happen for a limited time. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update and UK Briefing 5th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 5th January 2021.

Note that today and tomorrow figures contain some extras because of the bank holiday weekend. Scotland for example has not reported losses of life since the end of December. These people all need to be counted, every one, but it won't give a truly accurate image until about Thursday. 

The UK added 60,916 cases today and now has reported a total of 2,774,479 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 464,611 tests yesterday. 

NHS figures show we had 26,467 people in hospital in England yesterday, with 2,378 using a ventilator.   

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 830 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 76,305 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 107,997 cases and 2,265 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 86,490,966 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,869,188. Already 61,269,766 people have recovered.

England Lockdown January 2021

A big soft, warm hug for every parent and carer who had a hard job this morning to explain to a child that school was closed again after 1 day. I know my own children would have struggled with that had they been in school yesterday. And a hug for every child who doesn't enjoy school at home.

Boris did another UK briefing today, this time at 5pm, and with genuine scientists beside him. The big guns - Chris "my eyes, my eyes" Whitty and Patrick "I can blink any time I want" Vallance.

Monday, 4 January 2021

COVID UK News and Briefing with Boris 4th January 2021

COVID UK News and Briefing with Boris 4th January 2021

Stay at home.... 

Boris pre-recorded an address to the UK, which was shown this evening. 

He says that the restrictions would have worked against the old variant of the virus, but the new UK variant is frustrating, and all the science suggests it is between 50-70% more transmissible. "You are much, much more likely to catch the virus and pass it on."

As he speaks tonight, hospitals are under more pressure than at any other time. In England alone, the number pf patients has increased by nearly 1/3 in the last week, to almost 27,000. This is 40% higher than at the height of the first peak in April. 

On 29th December, over 80,000 people tested positive across the UK. The losses of life is up by 20% over the last week, and will sadly continue to rise, (as we have more and more people in hospital). 

Most of the country is already under extreme measures, but it's clear we need to do more to bring it under control while the vaccine is rolled out. 

Stay Home Protect the NHS Save Lives

In England we will have a national lockdown "tough enough to contain this variant".

- From midnight in England STAY AT HOME. You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law: shopping for essentials / medical assistance / exercise / "to work if you absolutely cannot work from home" and to escape domestic abuse. (All details will be on the gov dot uk website.)

- If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you need to start shielding (you'll get a letter)

- Education moves to remote provision from tomorrow. Primary, secondary and colleges - except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

- EVERYONE will still be able to access EARLY YEARS provision, such as nurseries.

- Next Summer's exams may not be possible or fair. The Education Secretary will work with OfQual to put in place alternative arrangements.

- We will provide extra support to ensure free school meals will still be available while schools are closed.

- More devices will be distributed to support remote education. 

Ad | How can a long dress be sexy?

Personally, as someone who loves long dresses, I can't find fault in this guest post. A long dress can instantly make you feel 'dressed up', whilst hiding a multitude of bumps and lumps. It's been a little while since I went on a date though... 

Nothing beats the feeling of butterflies in your stomach in the days and hours leading up to a date, but many women put themselves under enormous pressure to find the right outfit, often disproportionately so!

As a result, this often ends up in panic-buying, where you end up with a dress that doesn’t suit you at all – and which you may even not like! – and the date starts off with you in a bundle of nerves, rather than cool, calm, collected and ready to enjoy yourself.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 3rd January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 3rd January 2021.

The UK added 54,990 cases today and now has reported a total of 2,654,779 positive cases of COVID-19. 

People in hospital in the whole UK hasn't been updated since 23,823 six days ago.
NHS England figures state that on 2nd December 24,957 people were in hospital with COVID (up from 19,277 a week earlier), with 2,181 people using a ventilator (up from 1,996 a week earlier). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 454 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 75,024 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 101,887 (+4,961) cases and 2,259 (+7) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 85,237,889 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,847,668. Already 60,282,568 people have recovered.

Yvonne Doyle high case numbers mean dont give up now

After all of the news over the past week, today started off a lot quieter - although I'm quite frustrated Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, hasn't done a UK Briefing to explain his reasoning behind school reopening, and maybe even gave it a shot at reassuring the UK public. You might find it easier if you read this post safely locked in your own home, and pretend you don't live in the UK...

"It may be that we need to do things in the next few weeks that will be tougher in many parts of the country. I’m fully reconciled to that."
UK PM and persistent ditherer, Boris Johnson, this morning.
The next few weeks Boris? Helloooooooo. Surprise, there's a pandemic. Remember that?
Boris, the next few days is too long. I'm sorry you didn't get a Christmas break, but you took the job. Act. NOW. Before the NHS collapses. The world is staring at us with their jaws on the floor. 

Saturday, 2 January 2021

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

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

The UK added 57,725 cases today (up from 30,501 on 27th December) and now has reported a total of 2,599,789 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 420,492 tests yesterday. 

23,823 people were in hospital on Monday 28th December (up from 20,917 a week earlier), with 1,847 using a ventilator (up from 1,529 six days earlier). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 445 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 74,570 officially reported losses of life in all settings. (We haven't been getting all of the data over the Christmas and New Year period. Bear in mind numbers will bounce a little until around next Wednesday.)

Rep. Of Ireland 96,926 (+3,394) cases and 2,252 (+4) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 84,649,345 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,839,554. Already 59,838,067 people have recovered.

Mary Bousted head of NEU says Close all schools

Happy new year! 

Well, it will be eventually. Let's hold that thought. 

So the new UK variant is causing a headache. It is transmitting quickly. Very quickly. Any areas without large numbers of new variant cases are likely to see it explode there too without pretty harsh measures. During lockdown while the regular cases stayed low and controlled, and in many areas showed a fall, the new variant grew. It spread fast amongst students and children, and is most common in teenagers.