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. 

Late this afternoon Sir Kier Starmer, leader of the Labour party, finally grew a pair and spoke out. He has throughout encouraged his party to vote with the Conservative party, in order that COVID is dealt with smoothly and swiftly - and to a large extent I agree with that (even though it's rarely happened). There comes a line you won't cross, and he's reached his:
"The virus is clearly out of control.
It’s not good enough for the Prime Minister to hint at further restrictions at unspecified times and then do nothing.
He must put national restrictions in place within the next 24 hours.
No more dither, no more delay."
It might not initiate any immediate response, but thank flip for that. I was beginning to wonder just how long the cull would be allowed to carry on, without a major player speaking up. Until now it's just been scientists, medics  and teaching unions sticking their necks above the parapet. It's not entirely clear exactly what Mr Starmer wants from his request. 

Ex-journalist Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson was on the telly this morning, and aside from hinting at some action at some point in the future, he also told everyone that 'there is "no doubt in my mind" schools are safe'.
This opinion is in direct opposition to science.
Member of SAGE and indieSAGE, Professor Susan Michie, keeps repeating schools are not safe, and immediately came back with:
"How can Boris Johnson keep saying schools are safe as on Andrew Marr when transmission data show it is not true? Undermines trust which is necessary for good leadership. Urgently needs to partner with LAs, teaching unions, governors, parents as advised by IndependentSage."

Susan Michie is actually a psychologist. As "giving COVID to someone else who dies" is my own children's deepest fear, I feel children's mental health has been almost completely ignored throughout this pandemic. The government talk only about the mental health benefits of being in school, but have pigeon-holed every child as being the same, and are ticking the box thinking they've covered it. They're not the same, they're all unique. 

Oxford Astra zeneca vaccine available now

The debate over schools reopening in England and Wales has raged all weekend. Scottish and Irish schools have a delay, Welsh schools have the option to reopen a little later, but the majority of English schools are meant to open to all pupils from tomorrow, and parents are meant to send them in.
The Head of OFSTED, Amanda Spielman,  has been quoted in The Sunday Telegraph this morning, in an article entitled "Children’s lives can’t be put on hold while we wait for vaccination".
I agree Amanda, however personally I'm well aware the vaccination programme won't have an effect in schools until around early Summer at least. It's actually the sheer number of local cases currently that concerns me. And the upwards trajectory. 

In the last 5 days the UK has reported over a quarter of a million new cases of COVID. There are only 68m of us, so just during those 5 days, more than 1 in every 270 of us developed symptoms.
Bear in mind that around 1/3 of positive people don't develop symptoms, and many more will be very mild and may not even realise they have COVID. Around 1 in every 6 or 7 (about 17%) will need some medical support - that's around 42,000 people ringing 111 or 999 for help over the next week or so. 
Around 2% will at some point be at immediate risk of death and need intensive care. That is potentially another 5,000 people heading to intensive care, just from the group who tested positive during those 5 days. 

It isn't only London hospitals struggling.
Oxford Palliative Care Doctor Rachel Clarke tweeted on Friday:
"Critically ill Covid patients in Kent are being transported by ambulance and helicopter as far as Bristol, Leeds, Southampton & Portsmouth.
Oxygen is running out. ICU nursing has gone from 1:1 to 1:4.
Please, everyone, take Covid seriously

There is still nothing to show evidence that children are more affected by the new UK variant, or that more children become ill. As of this moment, all available data suggests there are simply more cases in kids because there are more cases overall.
I think that seals the lid on the "kids don't catch it" theories back last Spring. 

table of Return dates for school pupils department of education

COVID test positivity rates in London are now around 24%. The World Health Organisation have stated many times. If you are getting over 5% positive, you are missing cases. There are rumours testing is struggling, with some Londoners unable to book a test locally. 

I have some news that isn't the disaster in the UK! Thank heavens for that, although it's not great news for France.
Police in Brittany broke up an illegal New Year's rave and have issued fines to around half of the 2,500 revellers. I read about a few New Year's gatherings in the UK, but nothing on that scale.
Honestly, it's just not worth it - and the bigger it is, the more not worth it.... 

Famous People With COVID:
Top Gear Presenter Jeremy Clarkson (now mostly recovered)

Some good news from NHS England. It's never all bad:
"From tomorrow, the NHS will begin administering the new Oxford AstraZeneca COVIDVaccine.
By New Year's Day we'd vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined."
Nice one. Truly excellent news. Over half a million doses will be delivered next week, spread around over 100 different vaccination centres. The vaccination counter currently says up until 27th December we had given a first dose to 944,539 of our most vulnerable people. 

We knew it would be grim, it is grim. We didn't realise that the scientists and the government would be battling it out to quite this extent, at a point when we have 366,435 new cases and 4,228 losses of life in the last week. Never lose sight of the fact that your own personal risk of death, serious illness and even Long COVID is very low. 

You have free will. You can minimise contact with other people, and make that contact as safe as possible. You have a right to demand from your boss that your workplace is safe. You can open a window and wash your hands. It's just a little virus and it isn't so clever. Complacency and forgetting the simple stuff are its biggest allies.

I think I'm back into a routine now, and (boo... hiss.. ) Christmas is over for this year, so I'll see you on Tuesday. However you spend the next 2 days, take time out to relax, and clear your head. Do something completely unrelated to the outside world and have a break from COVID for a bit. Use some of the fancy bath bombs you got for Christmas, treat yourself. The UK has a pretty horrible month to get through, but you have already proven you're stronger than you think. We can all do this. 

Some numbers. All understand what it feels to be a bit scared:

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

USA 20,930,164 (+25,311) 358,948 (+263)

India 10,339,726 (+15,095) 149,659 (+188)

Brazil 7,719,314 (+2,909) 195,805 (+63)

Russia 3,236,787 (+24,150) 58,506 (+504)

UK 2,654,779 (+54,990) 75,024 (+454)

France 2,643,239 not yet reported today 64,921

Turkey 2,241,912 (+9,877) 21,488 (+193)

Italy 2,155,446 (+14,245) 75,332 (+347)

Spain 1,936,718 not yet reported today 50,837

Germany 1,779,915 (+6,375) 35,053 (+194)

Colombia 1,666,408 not yet reported today 43,765

Argentina 1,634,834 not yet reported today 43,375

Mexico 1,443,544 (+6,359) 126,851 (+344)

Poland 1,318,562 (+5,739) 29,119 (+61)

Iran 1,243,434 (+5,960) 55,540 (+102) 




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