Monday 29 March 2021

29th March 2021 UK Briefing with Boris, Chris and Pat.

29th March 2021 England COVID Briefing with Boris, Chris and Pat.

Cases: 4,337,696 (+4,654)
Losses of Life: 126,615 (+23)
Vaccination 1st Dose: 30,444,829
Vaccination 2nd Dose: 3,674,266
In Hospital: 4,560
Using a Ventilator: 615

It is 'next stage of the English roadmap' day, so a briefing was anticipated. We also have the news that we are expected to have deliveries of the Moderna vaccine next month.

Boris was in his shiny new million quid briefing room. It has 2 large Union flags, a bright blue wall, and slightly different coloured wooden podiums. 

29th March 2021 UK restrictions change text only messaging as below.

Boris started by saying in England we are now allowed to meet - up to 6 people or 2 households OUTDOORS. Gorgeous day for it. Remember to still socially distance, protect each other.

Yesterday we recorded the lowest number of hospital admissions for 6 months.

The wave across the channel is still rising, and it's inevitable as we advance along the roadmap, that there will be more infections and more deaths. (That really isn't the message we're hoping for Boris.)

April will be the month of mainly second doses, but all adults will be offered at least 1 dose by the end of July.

The Novovax vaccine is going to be made at Fujifilm in the North East, and then bottled by Glaxosmithkline nearby. This should give us 50-60m doses of UK-made vaccine (subject to approval by the MHRA). He mentions no timeframe.

Boris reminds us to follow the rules - "Hands, face, space, and fresh air".

Chris Whitty does the slides. Everything is currently going down (except vaccinations obviously). He doesn't sound like Captain Confident. He's stuttery.
He compares slides showing numbers of cases and deaths across age groups. He stresses that the vaccinated people are those who would be most likely to die - the majority of any transmission now is among younger age groups who haven't yet been vaccinated.
He says, as we unlock, it is inevitable that there will be more cases. There has been a flattening and 'slight uptick' in cases among school age children. (I've got one here who's just had a test today.)
Patrick continues with more slides showing the difference vaccination is making. Far, far less vaccinated people have been hospitalised than would have been prior to vaccination.

Figures show how many people are hospitalised within 4 weeks, out of every 100,000 people, by age:

Age 25-34 - 7 unvaccinated / 1.4 vaccinated

Age 35-44 - 13.9 unvaccinated  /2.8 vaccinated

Age 45-54 - 21.2 unvaccinated / 4.2 vaccinated

Age 55-64 - 28.9 unvaccinated / 5.8 vaccinated

We are reminded that vaccines are never 100% effective. 

Photo of woman sitting at home table working

Public asked about travel abroad to see relatives. Boris says it's still illegal to leave the country except for essential reasons, but he will say more on April 5th.

Chris talked about COVID variants that 'might' have a problem with the vaccine - we don't want any of them. "That is the principle thing driving border concerns at this stage."

Public also expressed concern about 2nd doses - Boris says EVERYONE will get their 2nd dose.

Patrick explains we really need 3 weeks 'doing it' and a week to assess data before we can say exactly what effect something has had, so we will know better about the effect of schools reopening to all pupils by next week. It will be 4 weeks from today before we really know what effect this reopening has had.
Chris talks about how sensible people have been so far, and thinks the "uptick will be modest", but it's "not realistic" to think it won't happen. Pat adds that everyone has to remember it takes about 3 weeks before your vaccine takes full effect.
Chris adds that everyone has to get their 2nd dose for their best level of protection. 

Chris again with vaccines - they are never 100%. In some people a vaccine just won't work, or won't work as effectively. If we have a small surge then sadly a few people who have been vaccinated will still catch COVID and die. The bigger that surge is, the more people will be caught up and the more people will die. Pat adds we also have to protect against creating variants. We need to keep numbers low. 

Press ask about health and social care staff who haven't been vaccinated. The vast majority have. Chris says they should think about the risk to their own families, and ignore myths. Talk to reliable sources and medical people. Your risk from not being vaccinated is substantially greater than your risk from vaccination. He also feels that people who are caring for others have a professional responsibility to be vaccinated with all of their jabs, not just COVID, in order to protect vulnerable people at work. 

person in swimming costume about to dive into a pool

Boris mentions a wave spreading in from "the continent" a lot, despite the fact COVID cannot cross the channel unaided. He also uses the word 'caution' approximately 400 billionty times. It must be engraved inside his eyelids. Chris' word of the day is 'uptick'. That's a more friendly word for 'rise'. Chris mentions 2nd doses, and 'no vaccine is 100% effective' many times. Pat mentions the 3 week gap between vaccination and full protection many times. These are the important messages you would be tested on if this was a GCSE. What they didn't stress, even though there's been a government release, was the OUTDOORS bit. You can only meet outdoors - fresh air is a win.

Back with the usual report tomorrow. I hope your evening is as good as that of the Captain of Egypt's Suez Canal Tugboats... The Ever Given Container Ship was finally moved at high tide, and is currently pootling across the massive 'Bitter Lake' under it's own power. Bitter Lake is a good few miles North of where it was stuck, and it looks like ships are already lining up at the North end of the Suez ready to go as soon as they get the all-clear. There'll be a lot of happy people tonight...  No-one needed any shortages or rationing of anything just now... we've had a lucky break there. 


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