Sunday 21 February 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 20th / 21st February 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 20th / 21st February 2021.

The UK added 9,834 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,115,509 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 560,400 tests yesterday. 

The counter says 17,582,121 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 615,148 people are fully vaccinated (2 doses).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 215 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 120,580 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 214,378 cases and 4,135 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 111,817,847 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,475,106. Already 87,118,682 people have recovered.

210221 vaccine total uk gov nhs text over soft image of nurse vaccinating person in chair

“I want to see the rollout go further and faster in the coming weeks.
We will now aim to offer a jab to every adult by the end of July, helping us protect the most vulnerable sooner, and take further steps to ease some of the restrictions in place.”
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister.

Well, I think we saw that one coming...

Boris has also said that all those over age 50 and everyone with underlying health conditions will have been invited to have their jab by April 15th.

This morning Matt Hancock had the pleasure of announcing that 1/3 of all UK adults have now been vaccinated.

Brentwood in Essex is the latest lucky area to have a case of a variant of concern,  and it's the South African variant.
Matt Hancock said this morning that cases of the variants with that pesky antibody-evading E484K mutation are going down, and that would certainly seem to be the case considering the slow rate at which areas are being added to the surge testing. Test and Trace is clearly doing it's job effectively. Good news overall, but bad news for anyone in the CM13 postcode area, where every adult will now be offered a test. 

English are home residents will be allowed a single regular visitor from March 8th - and you'll be able to hold hands, but anything more is advised against. Scotland will be allowing up to 2 visitors.
You are grown adults and you understand we are actually having a pandemic. You have to weigh up your own risk and live with whatever follows. For many people it won't be worth it, for many it will. For some it will always be worth it. Making an informed decision is the important bit.
Some care homes have already started asking questions about insurance, so it may take a bit of time before some individual homes can come to some arrangement and allow it. 

surge testing to monitor for variants in some postcode areas - bold text

Matt Hancock has had a busy weekend, because he was also on Andrew Marr this morning being grilled on his failure to be forthcoming with the receipts for PPE etc. Aside from that, he suggested reopening will be in stages, slowly, and may take months to get right, before we are fully reopen.
(I think that's fairly obvious. We can't really imagine huge crowds at indoor gigs this Summer for example.)
He also said that: "There are signs that the number in hospital are falling much more quickly than they did in the first wave" and that 1 in 3 UK adults have now had at least 1 dose of a vaccine.
Fabulous going, that really is a testament to the hard work of NHS Staff, and hopefully proof of vaccine efficacy, as it means less and less people are developing the severe form of the disease and ending up in hospital.

The head of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, doesn't beat about the Bush. She has made clear that richer countries with vaccines on the shelf should be donating them now, so that they can go in an arm. It is pretty much a direct response to Boris saying last week that the UK would donate "spare vaccines", and the UK's obvious plan to go ahead with a general population rollout first.

It looks like Tanzania might be in big trouble. A number of travellers to other countries have recently tested positive, and 2 senior leaders have recently died, but Tanzania hasn't reported any cases of COVID since early May 2020, when they had a total of 509 cases. The World Health Organisation have issued a public offer of help and support. I hope they accept. There is no room for misplaced pride here. 

Canada (who just extended their lockdown in the Toronto and Peel regions for an extra 2 weeks), are not doing very well with their vaccine rollout. They have been let down by supply not being ready several times, and since they began in December, have only administered 1.4m doses. 

We have COVID, the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, and now the first ever known cases of H5N8 strain Bird Flu in humans. H5N8 Bird Flu has been travelling the globe over the last few months, many thousands of domestic and farmed birds have been culled to try and slow the spread, and now 7 Russian poultry farm workers have tested positive. It was always suspected it had potential to cross to humans, at least 3 other strains have done before.
It does feel a bit "omg really? Now?".
All 7 workers were asymptomatic and we can't see evidence of any human to human spread, so it could be over already. Fingers crossed. Russia has COVID measures in place,  and this should have helped the situation massively. A vaccine will be created ASAP. (I reckon with everything we've learned over the past year, it'll take the Russians 6 months tops.)

after vaccination you can still spread stay home image of two older people sitting at home grinning

The folk in Texas right now are basking in 11 degree temperatures. Many have had hardly any power for at least a week, and water pipes have burst.
Hospitals have been heavily affected. Already shattered staff haven't been able to get to work, or to leave, no water meant it was almost impossible to function. At one point only 2 of Houston's 7 hospitals were able to accept new patients, and ambulance waiting times were 9 hours, if at all. Even now the freeze looks like it's at an end, it will take a while to get everything back up and running. 

Hungary has become the first EU country to approve China's Sinopharm vaccine, ahead of the EU itself finishing authorisation. Hungary have already taken delivery of 550,000 doses and have orders for 5m in total. They intend to start vaccinating next week. 

Johnson and Johnson / Janssen have submitted their vaccine to the World Health Organisation for approval. It had fantastic results in trials - including against UK variant B117 and South African variant B1351, it can be stored in a fridge and it's actually quite similar to the Oxford vaccine - but importantly it's a single dose vaccine, which should cost around £10 per person. Easy to use and affordable to everyone. 

after vaccination you can still spread stay home

A big day tomorrow, as Boris will present his UK 'route out of lockdown' COVID Road Map. You can't tell the virus how you expect it to behave, and you have to be able to react quickly.  I hope for sensible, and reliant on DATA NOT DATES.

It will also be a big day tomorrow for some pupils and staff in Scotland and Wales, as the youngest 3 years return to in-person schooling. I hope it all goes really well - we'll all be watching closely over the next couple of weeks. 

A change to the numbers today, to show you the full 24 hour figures for yesterday. These are the countries which are currently reporting the most cases, and having the most trouble with COVID.

Every single number represents a person:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (to midnight GMT last night):

USA 28,706,473 (+69,617) 509,875 (+1,907)

Brazil 10,139,148 (+57,455) 246,006 (+1,051)

France 3,583,135 (+22,371) 84,147 (+183)

Italy 2,795,794 (+14,929) 95,486 (+251) 

India 10,991,091 (+14,315) 156,339 (+99)

Russia 4,151,984 (+12,953) 82,876 (+480)

Czechia 1,146,404 (+11,268) 19,146 (+138)

UK 4,105,675 (+10,406) 120,365 (+445)

Poland 1,631,729 (+8,512) 42,077 (+254)

Indonesia 1,271,353 (+8,054) 34,316 (+164)

Iran 1,566,081 (+7,922) 59,409 (+68)

Turkey 2,631,876 (+7,857) 27,983 (+80)

Mexico 2,030,491 (+7,829) 178,965 (+857)

Germany 2,388,417 (+7,158) 68,343 (+225)

Peru 1,275,899 (+6,376) 44,877 (+187) 





"WTO chief urges the UK to send vaccines to low income nations 'now'"

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