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. 

"I completely understand the inconvenience and distress this late change will cause millions of parents and pupils up and down the country (and the education staff trying to plan for tomorrow!). Parents who had children in school today may reasonably ask why we did not take this decision sooner? And the answer is simply that we've been doing everything in our power to keep schools open, because we know how important each day in education is to children's life choices (what a load of tosh). And I want to stress that the problem is not that schools are unsafe for children (that's not what the science says Boris). Children are still very unlikely to be affected by even the new variant of COVID (this is true - no evidence to suggest anything else), the problem is that nonetheless, schools may act as vectors for the transmission. Causing the virus to spread between households."
(I'm so pleased they finally realised kids don't live alone...)  

New variant B.1.1.7 graph of confirmed cases UK

Boris says there is one huge difference compared to last year - vaccinations. At this point we have vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined. Today we started vaccinating with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

By mid Feb - we hope to have offered 1st dose of a vaccine to everyone in the 4 top priority groups. Everyone in care homes, everyone over 70, all frontline health & social care workers, and everyone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. This will remove huge numbers of people from the "path of the virus".
He reminds us vaccinations don't mean instant immunity, and it will take a while before we see a positive effect on the NHS. 

He hopes to reopen schools after February half term. 
He says he knows how tough it is and how frustrated we are. 
The new rules take effect now, and will be law by Wednesday morning. 

"Thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight, but we know exactly how we will get there.
For now we must, once again. Stay At Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives." 

SCOTLAND is also under lockdown from midnight tonight. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new rules earlier, which will stand until at least the end of January. They include:
- There is a legal requirement for everyone to stay at home except for essential reasons. 
- Maximum 2 people from different households can meet outdoors (under 12's not included)
- Schools are closed to most pupils, the majority will return to online learning. 
- Everyone should work from home if possible. Shielded people should not go out to work.
- Minimise travel, stay local
- The border remains shut except for essential reasons

Wales is already under Tier 4 'lockdown' restrictions, and Northern Ireland are also already under tight restrictions. 

This morning all of the main English education unions issued a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. 
They asked for a pause on the reopening to all pupils, a move back to home learning, priority access to vaccination for all school staff and DISCUSSION. They'd like to have a clue what's going on, and not find out what they're meant to be doing with hundreds of pupils via a UK briefing from Boris the night beforehand - as they as they have again done tonight. Thank you Boris. 

Playing herd immunity by transmission doesn't just mean your own citizens can suffer for longer and face much greater losses. It risks mutations at every step, with every person it passes through. The UK have started vaccinating. The entire world doesn't want a mutation that escapes the vaccinations and ruins it for everyone. The UK will have huge pressure from money and power worldwide to take this seriously and hit hard, and drive the number of infections right down. 

The South African variant is looking a bit more concerning than the UK one. The vaccines in use and in development should hopefully still stop it, but with some of them, it's kicked a chair leg out. You can probably still use the chair if you need to, but it's a little wobbly (we're not entirely sure how wobbly yet), and if you lose another leg it's going to be precarious. The vaccines can be tweaked within about 6 weeks to be just as effective on the new variant, but that's a time delay, and a waste of product already manufactured. It's much more preferable that it's stopped. Cases of the SA variant have been found in many countries, including the UK, so realistically it may already be too late to stop it spreading around the world, but every case stopped is a good thing, so never too late to do your best. . 

040121 Statement from the 4 UK CMO's Text copied below for you

Full Statement from the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers:
"Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England Medical Director recommend that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 5.
Many parts of the health systems in the 4 nations are already under immense pressure. There are currently very high rates of community transmission, with substantial numbers of COVID patients in hospitals and in intensive care.
Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant. We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days.
Although the NHS is under immense pressure, significant changes have been made so people can still receive lifesaving treatment. It is absolutely critical that people still come forward for emergency care. If you require non-urgent medical attention, please contact your GP or call NHS 111.
Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith
Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride
NHS England, National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis

I knew as soon as I said I'd be back Tuesday that I'd hexed myself... I will be back Tuesday... Read a good book and forget COVID exists for 30 minutes, Save the NHS. 


1 comment:

  1. Let's hope everyone is fed up enough to follow this advice and stay safe xxx


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