Friday 29 January 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th January 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th January 2021.

The UK added 29,079 cases today and now has reported a total of 3,772,813 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 753,031 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 7,891,184 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 478,254 people have been fully vaccinated.

35,375 people were in hospital on Wednesday 27th, with 3,918 using a ventilator yesterday, 28th Jan. 

The UK mortality data is delayed. It's likely to be very high. 

Rep. Of Ireland 193,892 (+1,247) cases and 3,214 (+47) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 102,351,668 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,207,195. Already 74,075,477 people have recovered.

290121 in the past year the NHS have treated over 320000 people with COVID

As anticipated yesterday, the EU have said member states are free to decide to ban export of vaccines if they wish, until all member states have their orders in hand (or arm). This really is no surprise. The entire world is desperate for vaccines, there are delays, everyone's a bit desperate and scared. It may affect the UK - we've been getting deliveries from Belgium, but it's unlikely to really disturb us for a few weeks yet. At this moment we are vaccine confident.
The UK restricted exports of medicines and vaccines 'intended for domestic supply' a couple of days ago - and then announced another vaccine manufacturing plant in Scotland.
It's still at the squabbling stage, but it'll be some luck if no fights break out. 

Talking of vaccinations, there could barely have been more vaccine news today.... you ready? 

The EU have approved the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine for adult use across all member states. They are in a blazing row right now though, as AstraZeneca said they can only supply 40% of their promised goods this Spring due to delays. The EU are livid (see above), yesterday they raided the Belgian plant to check if they were lying, and today published their AstraZeneca contract with almost every single line crossed out. They have however clearly expressed the point that they believe vaccines manufactured in the UK AstraZeneca plant should also go to the EU until the commitment is fulfilled.

The Johnson & Johnson 'Janssen' single-dose vaccine interim data suggests it is on average 66% effective in trials. This is (like the AstraZeneca vaccine) more of your no frills, does the job, doesn't cost a fortune - and the 'single dose' is a massive plus point. The UK has committed to 30m doses, which will be available later in the year, subject to approval by the regulator. The U.S. will receive 100 million doses by the end of June.
"The vaccine candidate was 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied, 28 days after vaccination in all adults 18 years and older. Efficacy against severe disease increased over time with no cases in vaccinated participants reported after day 49."
"The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate demonstrated complete protection against COVID-related hospitalization and death, 28 days post-vaccination. There was a clear effect of the vaccine on COVID-19 cases requiring medical intervention (hospitalization, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), with no reported cases among participants who had received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, 28 days post-vaccination."
No, I pass. I don't understand how they came to 66% from that glorious data, but it feels as if they're being cautious with their interim figures, as opposed to showboating. 

290121 vaccinations UK to date

Novavax vaccine interim data looks great. They have trials in the UK, South Africa and elsewhere, so have been able to look at original COVID, UK variant, and South African variant.
"The first interim analysis is based on 62 cases, of which 56 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 6 cases observed in the NVX-CoV2373 group, resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 89.3%. Of the 62 cases, 61 were mild or moderate, and 1 was severe (in placebo group).
Preliminary analysis indicates that the UK variant strain that was increasingly prevalent was detected in over 50% of the PCR-confirmed symptomatic cases (32 UK variant, 24 non-variant, 6 unknown).
Based on PCR performed on strains from 56 of the 62 cases, efficacy by strain was calculated to be 95.6% against the original COVID-19 strain and 85.6% against the UK variant strain."
Sadly their vaccine wasn't as effective against the South African variant - 49.4%. Around 50% is considered the benchmark for a vaccine to be worthwhile, so it's helpful, but (as with most current vaccines) far from ideal. The South African variant is a real PITA. 

Interim results from a Pfizer study suggest it is effective against the UK and South African variants. This is lab-based, rather than real humans, using blood from 20 previously vaccinated people. They found ALL strains were 'neutralised' by the antibodies. Job's a goodun. 

The UK Government have retracted some advertising that had jolly images of a man reclining on the couch with his missus, then she did the ironing, home schooled the kids, and then cleaned the house. (Presumably if you turn the poster over, you see her bashing away at a laptop working until 10pm).
While this may be your reality, it's not what we want to promote as being the best way to do things! If you are doing more than your share - speak up. Sure they'll moan, but you might keep some of your sanity. 

290121 vaccinations UK to date

Today's indieSAGE focussed on Long COVID.
The figures are mainly good news.
Test and Trace is working far better now we have less cases, and test results are coming back much more quickly.
Positive cases, and the percentage of tests that come back positive, are dropping.
Again the ONS random sample survey today is more cautious - and it was last week too. We aren't really sure what's happening there, because up until the last 2 weeks, they've always matched. We definitely have peaked, we are coming back down, but it's hard to tell exactly how quickly.
Hospital admissions are coming down clearly across all English regions, and intensive care beds are beginning to come down by just a few people. It will takes weeks until the NHS isn't still using extra 'surge capacity' - it's good news, but a long way to go to get back to regular hospital levels.
We are still vaccinating around 300,000 people a day. So far, of the adult population in each nation, we have vaccinated with a first dose:
England 11.5%
Scotland 8.5%
Northern Ireland 9.3%
Wales 10.7%
An Open Safely study was released this week which shows vaccinations are not being delivered equally. Less people from BAME groups and disadvantaged areas have been vaccinated compared to white or more affluent households. In fact if you are white and over 80, yo'u're twice as likely to have been vaccinated than a black person over 80. It's vital we reach these communities, as they are more likely to lose their life if they catch COVID.
5-10% of people appear to develop Long COVID (symptoms for more than 5-12 weeks after initial symptoms), so with 3 million official cases and over 100,000 people lost,  it's likely we've actually had around 10 million cases in total. The UK already has around 300,000 people affected. It's vital we prepare for this.
indieSAGE propose we create a register of people with Long COVID. We decide on a clinical definition that doesn't require a positive test or hospitalisation, as many people didn't have either. Long COVID isn't limited to people who were severely ill, although your chances of continued symptoms are greater.
We should prepare individual treatment plans, and monitor patients recovery.
We have designated Long COVID clinics in the UK - we should use them to assess sufferers physically (heart, lungs, circulation etc), cognitively (confusion, concentration, memory problems) and psychologically (depression, anxiety, PTSD - being at risk of death, possibly for weeks, is a very scary thing).
NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) are conducting a 10,000 person study - hopefully we'll get a lot of answers about how Long COVID progresses, and what helps.  

Trump of the Last Year:
It appears that within Donald Trump's grandly announced $16,3b Operation Warp Speed programme to vaccinate Americans, only 2.3% was allocated to distribution of vaccines - including Pfizer's, which needs to be stored at -70. That's over $300m, but it only works out at about $1.45 per person to be vaccinated, so as little as 70 cents per dose. Pretty darn ambitious... 

Matt Hancock, UK Health Secretary:
After the good news last night of the effectiveness of the Novovax vaccine that, should it be approved, will be made in Teesside, this lunchtime we just had more good news about the new Janssen vaccine. This is a single dose vaccine, and our approach of buying abroad is paying off."
(errrrrmmm. Yes. It really is...let's not get greedy though. We do only have so many arms, and only so many people can jab them).

290121 indieSAGE vaccination inequality OPEN SAFELY report

Biden has invoked the 'Defense production Act' to compel US companies to produce 'low dead space' syringes (the ones that let you get an extra dose from every vial). It means you can vaccinate 6 opposed to 5 with Pfizer's vaccine, and 11 rather than 10 with Moderna's. 

Some Canadian Olympians have spoken out against the idea they get priority vaccination. They believe being an athlete isn't a good enough reason to jump the queue, and it'll potentially cause bad feeling. Being vaccinated is NOT mandatory to take part in the Olympics, but is being discussed, especially for things like wrestling... 

Trump of the Day:
In the absence of Donald, today's Trump is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. It's 2 years old, but seems only just to have been noticed that she blamed the 2018 Californian wildfires on "Jewish space lasers" which were clearing the way for a high speed railway.
Naturally. What else would cause them?
All day Jewish people on Twitter have been furious they didn't get their own space laser for a bar mitzvah gift. 

The WHO team investigating the origins of COVID were let out of quarantine today and immediately visited the hospital which treated some of the very first known cases. I'm not sure which day is market day, but it's on their list.
The entire investigation is expected to take months. 

There's a great story in the New York Times. Healthcare workers in Oregon who were travelling between vaccination centres during a blizzard got caught up behind a jack-knifed tractor-trailer. They knew the 6 doses of vaccine they had with them would expire within 6 hours, and the road was unlikely to be cleared, so they offered them to other motorists trapped in the same queue. One of the people in the queue was a Sheriff's Office employee who was due to go to for his vaccination and thought he missed his appointment...  

I'll end with the very latest from the Editor of the Health Services Journal (HSJ), Alistair McLellan.
"BREAKING: Number of covid positive patients in English hospitals falls below 30,000 for first time since 9 Jan after 2nd biggest daily drop in total (first was on Wednesday). Covid inpatients have fallen 11% in just four days!"
"London covid hospital patients down 23% from 18 Jan peak - still above Mid-April highest total tho"
See! We ARE getting there...and one day it'll all be good news. 

Have a good weekend! Back Sunday. Stay Home, Treat Yourself because by crikey you deserve it, Save The NHS.

Some people. They're shown as numbers because I can't spell all of their names:

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

USA 26,368,428 (+29,721) 444,402 (+622)

India 10,727,240 (+6,269) 154,069 (+22)

Brazil 9,070,575 (+9,789) 221,849 (+173)

Russia 3,813,048 (+19,238) 72,185 (+534)

UK 3,772,813 (+29,079) 103,126 (data delayed)

France 3,153,487 (+22,858) 75,620 (+510)

Spain 2,830,478 (+38,118) 58,319 (+513)

Italy 2,529,070 (+13,574) 87,858 (+477)

Turkey 2,464,030 (+6,912) 25,736 (+131)

Germany 2,198,378 (+3,784) 56,517 (+297)

Colombia 2,067,575 not yet reported today 52,913

Argentina 1,905,524 not yet reported today 47,601

Mexico 1,825,519 (+18,670) 155,145 (+1,506)

Poland 1,502,810 (+6,144) 36,780 (+336) 




1 comment:

  1. Excellent as always Jenny, keep up the great work 👏👏


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