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. 

Vin (the London Medical Director) thanks all of the 999 services for their hard work so far. "This pandemic is the biggest health emergency this country has faced since the second world war. For the last few weeks, through the Christmas period, and right through the start of the New Year, we have been facing 3 substantial challenges."
'At the start of November NHS London were caring for 1,000 patients, by Christmas Day that was 4,000, today it is just under 8,000, with 1,000 in Critical Care.' He thanks other areas for accepting London patients.
3 times as many other patients are still coming into hospital with other urgent and emergency conditions.
Yesterday NHS Nightingale London was opened to non-COVID patients. COVID and the very sickest patients will remain in hospitals. This can't go on indefinitely, more patients will need to be transferred out of London, but across the country every area is seeing a rise in patients. The entire system is under pressure.
He asks us to please follow the rules.

Martin says "The basic thing we need to do to prevent spread of the virus is limit contact with other people". 

Vaccine prioritisation

Public asked when public-facing keyworkers (shop staff, police, non-NHS hospital staff, teachers etc) are going to be immunised, why they don't have priority? Priti explains the JCVI made the decision, and Vin reinforces it was decided to prevent the maximum amount of death and serious illness as quickly as possible. Martin says there are discussions in Government regarding the next stage of the vaccine rollout.
Press asked why this lockdown isn't as tough as the previous one? Priti says, "there are very, very limited reasons" for leaving your home.
Press also asked why police are focussing on public places when public transport and workplaces are major spreading places right now (they've just said public transport will be stricter, and don't forget lots of places are closed, so those places left open will seem to be worse). Workplaces should be 'as safe as possible', and it's up to your employer to ensure that's the case.
Priti explains that rules are constantly under review regarding all aspects (and will be tightened if needed), but she won't speculate.

 "Follow the rules that are in place right now, because by following those rules, that is effectively how we can collectively whack this virus down."

Press kept returning to the fact that 2 ladies in Derbyshire were fined (it was rescinded) for driving 5 miles separately to go for a walk together, but Boris was spotted on his bike 7 miles from home. Priti was a bit exasperated:
"LOOK. I think we have to come back to the current state of play and the situation that we are in right now. The fact of the matter is, we are in a pandemic. We are in a health pandemic. You have already heard me say the number of people that have passed away - DIED. 1,243 fatalities reported today. When we have people dying, when we have people tragically succumbing to this virus, we all have to exercise our judgement and be very conscientious as to how we act."
That's our Priti. She didn't disappoint. 

Vaccine prioritisation

Press asked about vaccination centres. The one in Cardiff has had to pause due to an outbreak of COVID. They asked are they safe? Priti says they have to be safe for the staff as well as the visitors. Vin says he has visited the Excel and it has excellent infection control measures. All vaccination centres require masks, are spaced according to latest guidance and configured specifically to avoid transmission. 

Public Health England:
"A number of people have suggested our recent data shows no excess mortality. FullFact have published an article explaining why this is false"
Christmas and New Year had a big lag in figures, which are already being revised to look far less positive - unsurprisingly EVERYONE wanted to make the most of the break and have some time off. 

United Arab Emirates was removed from the UK quarantine exempt list at 4am this morning.

China's outbreak near Beijing is not disappearing. Over 11 million people are now in strict lockdown in the northern city of Shijiazhuang. They have discovered just over 500 new positive cases in the last week. 

Public Health England have been facing some flack because although they changed their guidance to suggest taking a Vitamin D supplement year round, they didn't really promote it. They did a bit though - I have some images and I mentioned it several times, so I dispute that claim. I think in truth the press didn't really pick up on it.
Regardless, PHE do advise vitamin D supplements, especially if you have darker skin, and spend most of the time somewhere with low levels of sunlight, e.g. Europe, or 'indoors'.
Gingers can make some of their own vitamin D - that's why Liverpool, Manchester and Scotland have so many redheads - nature gave them the ability so they could survive the almost entirely continuous drizzle and low-lying cloud.

Vaccines administered in UK 120121

The UK Royal Mail is struggling to maintain service with so many people off ill. They've been having issues since cases started to rise in London and the South West before Christmas, and have now officially released a list of 27 areas where post is delayed and regular service is broken.
I shan't list them, I think everyone can expect disruption to service. Please make a note of any medical or important meetings, bills or dates (Car tax, insurance, MOT, Vaccination invitation), you may not get a reminder letter. 

Canada isn't doing anything like as badly as the USA, but they are still suffering more cases with the cooler Winter weather and more time spent inside. Quebec has imposed an 8pm-5am curfew and Ontario is expected to declare a State Of Emergency and impose further restrictions today, after 180 new hospitalisations (over 10% increase) in 24 hours. 

The World Health Organisation backed team of world experts will arrive in China on Thursday, to begin investigating the virus origins and hopefully discover the source of the COVID outbreak. 

The world is finally noticing that Ireland is in trouble. Both North and South are seeing a massive increase in new cases, and a sharp rise in the percentage that are new UK variant. They show the same "curve" as London did until a couple of days ago. Not so much a curve as a line heading straight for the sky. It's not going to be a fun few weeks.

Impressive Israel are vaccinating like medal-winners and the first data about how vaccination affects transmission and reduces cases, hospitalisations and losses of life will come from them within a week or so. They started at the end of December and have already vaccinated over 1.8 million people (around 21% popn.), including around 72% of people aged 60+ and 80% of people aged 70+.
They plan to vaccinate everyone over the age of 16 by the end of March.
They secured enough vaccine for their whole* population by paying a premium, and offering to be swift and share all available data with the world - and the drug manufacturers.

*Not-so-impressive Israel are facing criticism from world charities and health bodies over their failure to supply vaccinations for Palestinian frontline healthcare staff.
Israel has vaccines for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, but no-one in the occupied, and incredibly poor, West Bank and Gaza has yet been vaccinated. Groups including Amnesty and the World Health Organisation have asked Israel to be equitable and play fair. Israel say they don't have any spare supply just now. Palestinians have vaccines due for delivery in around another month, from pre-orders and the WHO's COVAX programme, but they are really struggling to cope right now, and have huge numbers of medical staff infected. They estimate 10,000 doses could make all the difference.

You will be invited to be vaccinated. You don't need to apply.

Trump of the Day:
Shouting in person from underneath a running helicopter:
"On the impeachment, it's really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics. It's ridiculous, it's absolutely ridiculous.
This impeachment is causing tremendous anger, and you're doing it, and it's really a terrible thing that they're doing."
Can't fool us Donald, we all saw you being seditious, inciting physical force against the Senate. You ARE a naughty person. And you still don't care about COVID...

Before anyone asks me - yes, I have seen the reports of people having allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine. I'll look into numbers, but before anyone panics - PLEASE REMEMBER we are literally vaccinating millions of people worldwide right now, all at once. Even a teeny tiny percentage of allergic reactions will look big if you put them all together at once like that. Millions and millions of people are NOT having bad reactions. 

Taiwan are incredibly strict about COVID - and it has paid dividends in lives, money and wellbeing. They have just reported 2 locally transmitted cases, the first in a really long time. The cases are a doctor and a nurse who are also a couple, and are assumed to have caught COVID via the doctor's COVID+ patient.
Locals on social media are horrendous gossips! They're desperate to find out exactly who they are and are spreading all kinds of rumours about their character - as if COVID is something to be ashamed of and implies certain types of people. Tsk! The World Health Organisation say 'COVID shaming' is a real issue in several countries, and it doesn't help, because it makes people less likely to come forward if they have symptoms.
Testing of hundreds of potential contacts has already taken place, and Taiwan haven't stopped yet. They have an almost flawless reputation to keep up.  

A Croydon Chaplain reached out to faith groups around his area to encourage them to locate their over 80's and make sure they got their vaccine - they have identified over 1,000 parishioners of all faiths and no faith (they don't mind). The NHS will send you an invitation to book an appointment when your turn in the queue comes up, but if you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours, make sure they know about it and don't miss it. All people over 75, NHS staff, Care home residents and staff, and the extremely clinically vulnerable should get invited for vaccination before mid February. Matt Hancock said you would. 

From today you have to wear a mask in Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and lots of other UK supermarkets unless you have a medical reason not to. Up until now they haven't challenged people, but less customers seem to be wearing masks, and it's just not fair on the staff or vulnerable customers.
In Sainsbury's (and possibly others) they will also enforce 'no shopping in groups' - this includes large family groups. They just want to minimise the number of people who all breathe in the same building. I think we'd all be sorry if they had to open short hours or cut deliveries because so many staff were off ill...

The quality of the free school meals parcels is dramatically different depending on where you live and who supplies them. There have been some horrific examples shown on social media today, and even MP's asking how it possibly equates to £30 worth. 

A married couple from Quebec in Canada have been fined $1,500 (£868) after attempting to bend curfew laws. You are only allowed out after 8pm to walk your dog, and putting your husband on a lead unsurprisingly doesn't count. Interesting try though, and I bet it seemed genius after a couple of shandies. I am sure the neighbours will never let them forget that one... 

Some numbers. Every number was once a twinkle in their father's eye:

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

USA 23,184,024 (+40,827) 386,546 (+1,297) 

India 10,493,457 (+13,544) 151,522 (+158) 

Brazil 8,146,823 (+12,990) 203,735 (+118)

Russia 3,448,203 (+22,934) 62,804 (+531)

UK 3,164,051 (+45,533) 83,203 (+1,243)

France 2,786,838 not yet reported today 68,060

Turkey 2,346,285 (+9,809) 23,152 (+171)

Italy 2,303,263 (+14,242) 79,819 (+616)

Spain 2,111,782 not yet reported today 52,275

Germany 1,950,885 (+9,808) 42,676 (+579)

Colombia 1,801,903 no yet reported today 46,451

Argentina 1,730,921 not yet reported today 44,654

Mexico 1,541,633 (+7,594) 134,368 (+662)

Poland 1,395,779 (+5,569) 31,593 (+326)

Iran 1,299,022 (+6,408) 56,360 (+98) 


















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