Tuesday, 2 March 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st /2nd March 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st /2nd March 2021.

The UK added 6,391 cases today (DOWN from 8,489 a week ago) and now has reported a total of 4,188,400 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 727,972 tests yesterday.

The counter says 20,478,619 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 844,098 people had received 2 doses.

12,748 people were in hospital on Sunday 28th Feb (DOWN from 16,797 a week earlier), with 1,806 using a ventilator yesterday, Monday 1st March  (DOWN from 2,273 a week earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 343 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, (DOWN from 548 a week earlier) making a total of 123,296 losses of life in all settings.

The ONS record cause of death and up until Friday 19th February, 140,062 people had COVID listed on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland 220,630 (+357) cases and 4,333 (+14) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 115,191,510 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,554,472. Already 90,854,912 people have recovered.

Jeane Freeman Scottish Health Secretary says we are all doing a grand job.

Today's unlucky winners in the COVID Variant of Concern lottery are - "targeted areas within Merton (Wimbledon Park) and Barnet (East Finchley), where the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found".
You will be offered surge testing, which may include door-to-door delivery of postal testing kits. Please remember to register online before you do the test. Register first, snot second.

Nicola Sturgeon has today confirmed that everything is still currently on track, and school pupils in Primary 4-7 will return to school full time from March 15th. Wraparound childcare will also resume for all Primary pupils.
Secondary pupils are anticipated to return fully after the Easter break, but it's intended they will all spend some time within school between March 15th and Easter. Exam years will be given priority. 


The missing person who has had the Brazilian /Manaus P1 variant of COVID has been narrowed down to 379 households in South East England, as the specific batch of home testing kits has been identified. Each of the households will be contacted.

Matt Hancock says old people are'nt dying so quickly

If you want to collect the Lateral Flow Test Kits for household and bubble members of any school and college pupils, you do not need an appointment, but you do need to go to a centre which offers collection of kits for this purpose - so it may not be your nearest test centre.
There will be over 500 locations once it's all up and running fully, so you shouldn't have to travel too far.
The Government said a visiting adult would be able to collect up to a maximum of 4 kits for their own household/bubble, but that seems to have been reduced to 2 at least for now, Bear in mind secondary pupils and people from some occupations will have regular tests supplied anyway.
Each kit contains 7 tests for 1 person to take, at a rate of 2 a week. 

Public Health England's latest Schools Infection Survey found that "teachers and school staff show similar levels of COVID19 antibodies as other working age adults".
The study uses data collected in 15 local authority areas, during 3-19 November (Round 1) and  2-10 December (Round 2).
"During Round 1 12.51% of staff in the COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey tested positive for antibodies, compared with the estimate of 12.61% of working-age adults in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey.
During Round 2 , 14.99% of staff tested positive for antibodies, lower than the estimate of 18.22% for working-age adults in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey."

A new Italian study suggests that in response to the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine, people who are obese can produce as few as half the COVID antibodies as people of a healthy weight.
We have known obesity is a substantial mortality risk factor with COVID for a while, but it's always been suggested it was purely the extra pressure on the body and inability to get adequate oxygen, this is the first time obesity has been shown to potentially also reduce your body's defences against COVID. This study isn't yet peer-reviewed, but supports an earlier smaller study. If this proves universal, it may mean some people with a very high BMI might benefit from an extra booster jab.
Clearly people who are underweight can also suffer from low immunity - always aim for the healthy green bit in the middle.

020321 12 weeks since first COVID vaccination in the UK

Dr Tedros of the World Health Organisation is annoyed, an he's not hiding it. There was a general agreement to get those people most at risk vaccinated first worldwide - frontline health and social care workers - followed by the most vulnerable older populations. Clearly the UK are using our financial might and not abiding. Israel, the UAE and a couple of other countries are the same, and it looks like the USA will also join in. It is a bit naughty, and selfish, and if a healthworker or elderly person from any country anywhere was standing in front of me right now, I'd totally give them my jab - and I believe most younger, fitter and healthier people would feel the same.
Buuuuuttt.... playing Devil's Advocate, the UK is in a bit of a state. Without continued lockdowns until we get vaccinated, I don't think we'd have a lot of chance of preventing B117 from working it's way through the entire population, which could mean up to 70-80% of the unvaccinated people catching it, and potentially around 300,000 deaths - and easily 10x that rate if at any time we overwhelmed the NHS.
I think it's easy for anyone to see both sides have an argument, both sides are scared. 

There is mounting evidence that Oestrogen plays a significant role in how well your body fends off COVID. The Guardian have a fantastic article by Kate Muir, with links to a couple of studies which suggest women taking HRT seem far less likely to die from COVID, and that being on The Pill or HRT might ease the effects of Long COVID. It suggests the reason this hasn't been examined further is because we generally plump for a "one size fits men" approach. 

The BBC are reporting that the boss of Canary Wharf Group says people want to get back to 'the office' and "There is a lot of fatigue out there".
Erm... yeah... 'Baker says everyone wants to be given more cake'.
Sure, some people do, for a positive cornucopia of reasons, but there are also a lot of people who have discovered the joys of not having a 5am alarm, to get ready to spend 2 hours commuting to work. I hope that there is consideration for everyone's personal opinion when businesses do make decisions on when (and possibly if) to reopen the office... 

For reference, in the same way the UK Variant of COVID (B117) is often referred to more locally as the Kent Variant, the Brazilian Variant P1 (the one with the pesky antibody-evading mutation) is now more regularly also being referred to by the more exotic name, the Manaus Variant. This is because Brazil now has 2 variants. Joy. 

Act like youve got it 1 out of 3 no symptoms outline of a house with a family drawn inside

Long COVID is getting a lot of airtime at the moment, as people try to work out 'Why does it happen? Favourites, with some evidence behind them, are:
1.Immune system just stays in overdrive for fun, in a cycle of attack/we're being attacked/attack back.
2.Viral resurgence - reservoirs of virus sit quietly and build up, then attack.
3.Remnants of virus are still present, and your body continues to attack them.
4.Persistent reinfection is also being mentioned by some.
These aren't exclusive, it's very likely a mix.
For people suffering from Long COVID already, the big question has to be, "will being vaccinated make me feel even worse?". Lots of scientists think it might actually help. Favourite theories include:
1. Showing your immune system the right thing to fight.
2. Distracting your immune system from fighting you
3. Kicking your immune system into releasing the right sort of response
4. Some more things I don't entirely understand, so I can't explain in sentences shorter than a paragraph
A survey of 473 Long COVID sufferers found vaccination is twice as likely to make you feel better than worse. At more than 2 weeks after vaccination around half the respondents felt the same as before, 1in6 felt a little worse, and 2in6 improved.
(We do expect people to improve though, so we'd hope some of these people would have felt 'better than they did a fortnight earlier' anyway.)   

First initial data is coming through now finally on the Brazilian Manaus Variant P1. This is from Imperial College, it isn't yet peer-reviewed, but supports the theory.
We know P1 has the same N501Y mutation that the UK & South African variants have, which make them more transmissible and more deadly.
We know P1 has the pesky antibody-evading E484K mutation.
It also has other mutations, including 2 or 3 which are shaped to be able to cling on more strongly to human cells, very similar to N501Y.
"The researchers estimate that the P.1 VOC (variant of concern) is between 1.4–2.2 times more transmissible than non-VOC lineages. In addition, they estimate that the P.1 VOC evades 25-61% of protective immunity arising from infection with previously circulating variants."
Not good news, but pretty much what the science predicted, so it could have been worse... 

India have begun Phase 2 of their vaccination programme. Phase 1 was Healthcare and Frontline Workers, Phase 2 is people aged over 60 and people over 45 with comorbidities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday received his first dose of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, and they are also mass immunising using Covishield, their name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. 

Argentinians have been protesting their vaccination rollout. Healthcare workers were priority 1, and last Wednesday priority 2, people over 70, began to be vaccinated. Last week the Government published a list of 70 people who received the vaccine outside of the official priority groups. It included the 38-year-old economy minister and former president Eduardo Duhalde, his wife and their children. The people are shouting about "VIP Vaccinations", the Health Minister has resigned.

Trump of the Day:
He's back. Trump has only made one official address since he left office:
“When I left office, and we are very proud of this, it was something they said could not be done, the FDA said it, everybody said it, couldn’t be done, would be years and years."
(There's more, he isn't actually referring to him leaving office, which, let's face it, we were all dubious about at one point.)
"I handed the new administration what everyone is now calling a modern day medical miracle, some people say it is the greatest thing to happen in hundreds of years.
What the Trump administration has done with vaccines has in many respects saved large portions of the world, not just our country, but large portions of the world.”
Ah, he's after total credit for all the vaccines made and distributed by the USA?.... Ermmmmm... Nope. Sorry Donald.
You did release funding, but I'm sorry, I can't imagine a single president alive or dead wouldn't have signed that cheque - let's face it, you signed it and you were calling it a hoax...

Look after your mental health. There is ALWAYS someone to talk to

Iraq today received their first delivery of vaccines - 50,000 doses of Sinopharm donated by China. They'll be delivered straightaway to 3 Baghdad hospitals, and the plan is to start vaccinating immediately. 

South America has received their first doses of vaccine via the World Health Organisation's COVAX initiative, with the delivery of vaccines to Colombia.
"Colombia is the 3rd country globally to receive vaccines through COVAX, after Ghana & Côte d’Ivoire.
Between now & the end of May, 237 million doses of COVID19 vaccines will be allocated to 142 participating economies & countries in COVAX."
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO.

The GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) tracker says that there are now 182 vaccine candidates being examined, 24 vaccines in Phase 1 early human testing, 28 vaccines in Phase 2 small scale human testing, 21 vaccines in Phase 3 large scale international human testing, and 11 vaccines have been approved and are being administered. It CAN be done...

Some numbers. All people very much like you:

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

USA 29,323,380 (+9,126) 527,746 (+520)

India 11,137,922 (+14,303) 157,370 (+95)

Brazil 10,589,608 not yet reported today 255,836

Russia 4,268,215 (+10,565) 86,896 (+441)

UK 4,188,400 (+6,391) 123,296 (+343)

France 3,760,671 not yet reported today 86,803

Spain 3,204,531 not yet reported today 69,609

Italy 2,955,434(+17,083) 98,288 (+343)

Turkey 2,723,316 (+11,837) 28,706 (+68)

Germany 2,458,017 (+2,448) 71,123 (+199)

Poland 1,719,708 (+7,937) 44,008 (+216)

Ukraine 1,357,470 (+5,336) 26,212 (+162)

Czechia 1,252,242 (+12,150) 20,701 (+96)

Netherlands 1,096,433 (+3,981) 15,649 (+65)

Canada 871,004 (+971) 22,028 (+11)

Romania 808,040 (+3,950) 20,509 (+106)

Portugal 805,647 (+691) 16,389 (+38)

Belgium 772,294 (+783) 22,106 (+29)

Sweden 669,113 (not yet reported)12,882 (+37)

.


Sources:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

Find a test centre to pick up lateral flow tests for school bubbles - https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.html#

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1366458362871881728?s=19

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1366455534157787139?s=19

 https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2021/03/iraq-receives-first-covid-vaccines-gift-from-china/

 https://twitter.com/i/events/1365669788752646146

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-covid-vaccine-credit-cpac-b1808929.html

https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines

https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/covid-19-vaccine-race

https://twitter.com/VirusesImmunity/status/1366067849480048643?s=19

https://youtu.be/Lio2ByLW4WE

https://twitter.com/BBCNews/status/1366337681375035397

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/28/if-oestrogen-can-save-women-from-the-worst-of-covid-they-should-be-given-it

https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1366425278214516744

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/28/pfizer-vaccine-less-effective-obesity-study

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.24.21251664v1.full.pdf

https://www.journalofinfection.com/article/S0163-4453(21)00043-8/fulltext

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/surge-testing-to-be-deployed-in-targeted-areas-in-merton-and-barnet

https://twitter.com/scotgov/status/1366798713813925888

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/thousands-protest-over-argentina-vip-vaccinations-scandal-1.5327831

https://twitter.com/i/events/1366450074075738114

https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2021/school-staff-covid-19-antibodies-similar-other-working-age-adults-local

https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/covid19schoolsinfectionsurveyround2englanddecember2020

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/covid19schoolsinfectionsurveyround2england/december2020

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-56249586

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56254979

https://twitter.com/CaddeProject/status/1365465206302920710?s=19

https://news.sky.com/story/brazilian-p1-variant-may-spread-more-easily-and-could-evade-immune-system-scientists-find-12233402

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/216053/more-transmissible-evasive-sars-cov-2-variant-growing





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