Sunday 24 January 2021

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

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

The UK added 30,004 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,647,463 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 665,330 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 6,353,321 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 469,660 have been fully vaccinated.

37,899 people were in hospital on Thursday 21st, with 4,076 using a ventilator on Friday 22nd January.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 610 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 97,939 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 186,184 cases and 2,947 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 99,537,514 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,134,426. Already 71,536,933 people have recovered.

COVID safety Wales Government

It is a year ago yesterday that China put the residents of Wuhan under a lockdown that would officially last for 76 days, but for some people it lasted for months.
At the time it signalled to the world that this was really serious, but we also looked on in complete dumb shock. What a lot of world leaders didn't do, was watch and learn, and act. 

Yvonne Doyle (Medical Director and NHS England) has said that evidence is not yet there to say decisively that the UK variant is more deadly.
This is absolutely true, it's ridiculously hard to prove either way, but caution is probably best, and if it makes the UK government wake up to the fact letting COVID run through the population is a bad idea, I'm all for it.
Even if you are made of stone and only cared about the economic implications of COVID, by now you must be seeing the benefit of a lockdown long and hard enough to finish this thing once and for all, surely? 

At this moment the UK has the worst mortality rate in the world - more than 1 in every 7781 people in the UK died from COVID last week alone. Over the course of the pandemic we have lost more than 1 in every 700 people to COVID. Some of those people would have died anyway. Some of those people had their last weeks stolen. Some of them lost far more. 

There are some delays to vaccine supplies anticipated. No real details, but in the past we've had shortages of ingredients and glass vials. Pfizer announced some delays a few days ago, and today AstraZeneca have announced they will only be able to supply 1/3 of the promised vaccines to the EU before the end of March. 31m as opposed to 100m. That's a huge shortfall and a will be a real blow to the affected countries, including the Republic of Ireland.

Governments should identify their aims, and they should be willing to try for ZERO COVID, is the message from German virologist Christian Drosten in Der Spiegel. He makes clear a point that Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has also just made. Aim low and if you fail then you fail badly. Aim high and even if you fail, you'll almost certainly have a better end result. In this case that interprets into lives. 
When Jacinda first locked down, she never believed zero COVID would be possible, but she was prepared to go for it anyway. 

The UK have vaccinated 2.3m people this week

A study from 2017 is being used to suggest we should probably never go back to "blowing out birthday cake candles". I've raised 7 kids, I've witnessed a lot of birthdays, and I admit there were some pretty grim sneezing and spluttering incidents. I guess in future that would seem a lot more sinister...
The study found cakes that had the candles blown out had up to 1,400 x more bacteria. Presumably those were cakes that hadn't been hand-decorated by a 4 year old in the first place... 

There's been a lot of talk worldwide about whether the UK might be making an error in deciding to give vaccines 3 months apart.
The UK's official opinion is that most likely it'll be fine. But if the vaccines only work in the short term, they'll need repeating quickly. If they just don't work, they're wasted. Both Pfizer and Moderna have spoken out about the policy and even suggested they may not guarantee future supplies for countries planning to use vaccines against advice.
Now the British Medical Association have said that the 12 week gap is "difficult to justify" and should be changed to six weeks maximum.
Delaying a second dose also risks incomplete protection, and increased chance of the virus existing alive and replicating itself inside a human being for a longer time. The more it replicates, the more chance for errors, or mutations as we tend to call them. This is something the SAGE advisory group have warned about, and it's something the entire world is understandably particularly twitchy about right now...  

China's CoronaVac vaccine isn't really achieving it's promised potential. They claimed efficacy of 78% - but a study in Brazil has found it's only.just over 50%. That is still above the point which makes the vaccine worthwhile, but only just, and it's disappointing compared to other vaccines. 

The Guardian is reporting that in at least 1 UK hospital, NHS workers who are foreign nationals have been denied the COVID vaccine - because they didn't have an NHS number. Some other hospitals have worked around it, and devolved nations can write details on paper instead... 

The UK Office for National Statistics are quite rightly in a bit of trouble today. They haven't really lied, as much as worded things carefully to give a different impression. I did mention it at the time, but they kept implying 'schools are safe and teachers aren't at greater risk', yet some of the timeframes were when kids weren't at school in person. It was like saying fire-jugglers aren't at risk, based on how often they singe themselves in the bath.
Teachers were ALWAYS at increased risk, the common sense and logic says nothing else. They ARE frontline, because they have to share breathing space with so many other humans. 

240121 total people vaccinated

Anyone reporting on the UK's REACT study and saying 'new cases are higher now than in mid December' has to take into account that there would have been an even higher peak in the middle of this period (over Christmas and New Year), and it is now on the way DOWN. You can see that downward slope by looking at how many new cases we are reporting day after day, without finding a higher percentage of positives or reducing the number of tests.  Figures are especially low today because of weekend reporting, but the 7-day average is going the right way. 

The UK's B117 variant looks like it's in decline as a percentage of all cases according to figures released by the ONS REACT study, but scientists are warning they may be too strict with their search. Theo Sanderson, a researcher and Fellow at the Francis Crick Institute explains they're looking for 3 specific markers, but B117 can actually have 3 other combinations of 2 of those markers, so they may be under-reporting. 

Some countries aren't confident that even regular masks are enough against UK Variant B117, and where it isn't already rife, they're trying to prevent it. Germany and Austria are making it mandatory to wear more premium KN95, KF94, or European FFP2 masks on public transport. They're thicker and almost seem padded, but aren't the surgical N95 masks with a valve. Remember you shouldn't wear masks with a valve unless it has a replaceable 2 way filter. If you did have COVID, breathing out through a mask with a simple one-way valve causes a jet of air, which can travel an incredibly long way. 

Lost Their Fight:
Larry King - US talk show host

The USA rejoined the World Health Organisation on the first day of the new Presidency, and they will be joining COVAX - the initiative to share vaccines equitably around the world, and ensure ALL health care workers and vulnerable people are vaccinated first.
Each country pays what they can afford and in return will get enough vaccines to immunise around 20% of their population. The UK should get our share around November.
We are incredibly lucky in the UK, in that we have orders for more vaccines than we have people, and the money (or credit) to buy them. We are also vaccinating as quickly as we can already. Poorer countries should benefit from COVAX before us. COVID-19 vaccines should never sit on a shelf when they could be in an arm. 

Lab grown antibodies, such as those made by Eli Lilly (monoclonal antibody) and Regeneron (two-antibody cocktail Trump was given) have received emergency use authorisation in several countries, for treating patients who aren't yet ill enough to need to stay in hospital or receive oxygen. They have to be given intravenously, before an individual develops severe symptoms, and are a very expensive option.
A (not-yet full data released) study in US nursing homes by Eli Lilly has shown they can also be incredibly effective if given as a preventative:
"These results suggest that residents randomized to bamlanivimab have up to an 80 percent lower risk of contracting COVID-19 versus residents in the same facility randomized to placebo".
These drugs weren't expected to receive wide use, but if they can be administered at any point as a preventative then we have something which could be very valuable - especially to people unable to be vaccinated. 

Some people. They look like numbers, but they all have names:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (since midnight GMT. In larger countries some states /provinces have yet to report today):

USA 25,598,610 (+31,821) 428,086 (+451) 

India 10,668,332 (+12,897) 153,502 (+126) 

Brazil 8,816,254 not yet reported today 216,475

Russia 3,719,400 (+21,127) 69,462 (+491)

UK 3,647,463 (+30,004) 97,939 (+610)

France 3,035,181 not yet reported today 72,877

Spain 2,603,472 not yet reported today 55,441

Italy 2,466,813 (+11,629) 85,461 (+299)

Turkey 2,429,605 (+5,277) 25,073 (+140)

Germany 2,140,870 (+3,181) 52,607 (+71)

Colombia 2,002,969 not yet reported today 50,982

Argentina 1,862,192 not yet reported today 46,737

Mexico 1,752,347 (+20,057) 149,084 (+1,470)

Poland 1,475,445 (+4,683) 35,363 (+110)

South Africa 1,404,839 not yet reported today 40,574




Nervtag report on virus variants

1 comment:

  1. The stats aren't getting as good as we hoped. Let's hope people comply. xx


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