Friday 12 March 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 12th March 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 12th March 2021.

The UK added 6,609 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,248,286 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,614,145 tests yesterday (remember all of the secondary school pupils are adding massively to this number).

The counter says 23,314,525 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 1,445,078 people were fully vaccinated (both doses).

8,408 people were in hospital on Weds 10th, with 1,194 using a ventilator yesterday, Thurs 11th March.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 175 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 125,343 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 225,820 (+641) cases and 4,518 (+9) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 119,383,210 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,645,889. Already 95,630,168 people have recovered.

Your Weekend at home is making a difference thank you

"More than 335 million doses of COVID19 vaccines have been administered globally so far, and no deaths have been found to have been caused by covid19 vaccines.
But at least 2.6 million people have been killed by the COVID19 virus."
Dr Tedros, head of WHO.

Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed the COVID19 vaccine developed by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), for emergency use in all countries and for COVAX roll-out.
Excellent news - this is another single dose £10 vaccine, and doses are ready to roll. 

The big news worldwide is that the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is on hold in several countries, and overwhelmingly the reason is because the general public have to feel confident in a vaccine - and rightly so.
ALL evidence suggests there isn't a problem, but it is morally and ethically correct to pause any medical treatments if you have any questions, and check everything as thoroughly you can.
- Denmark's Health Authority says it sees no evidence of a connection between the vaccine and blood clots.
- Oxford say they see no evidence.
- The European Medicines Agency see no evidence
- Canadian Health Authorities see no evidence
- etc etc
If this was a question over a vaccine designed elsewhere and imported to the UK, especially if we hadn't done our own extensive testing, I'd hope we'd be doing the same, and following protocol. That process has to be seen through. 
The European Medicines Agency said yesterday that in total there have been 30 cases of 'thrombotic events' - or blood clotting disorders - among 5 million vaccinated people in the EU, and 'there is no reason to pause vaccinations while the investigation is ongoing'.
"The information available so far indicates that the number of thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than that seen in the general population."

So I had a good look - 'Stop The Clot' say on average around 1 in each 1,000 people will get a Deep Vein Thrombosis during a year (and that rises with age), so 5,000 of those 5m people would have developed a DVT during 2021 anyway. Reduce that to a 3 week period, and you'll still find on average 288 people out of 5m would develop a DVT. Okay, so that's about as much use as a chocolate teapot, and it could be less right now because there are less operations, flights and long car journeys, but it certainly doesn't make 30 seem like a lot. 

Obviously we have extensive vaccination with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK, as there is in India, and there are no reports of anything being flagged in either country.
For what it's worth I would happily have the Oxford /AstraZeneca vaccine worry-free, and one of my grown up children who works in care has already had it - as have many, many of you. 

UK Government roadmap square image March 8th 2021

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said on iNews that Wales won't be back to normal during 2021, and another Covid wave is inevitable, so personal behaviour has to be really cautious to avoid that being a large wave and having to impose restrictions. He announced today that IN WALES:
From Saturday:
- “stay home” restrictions are replaced with “stay local”
- Four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors.
- Outdoor sports facilities can reopen
- Care home residents will be allowed a single designated visitor indoors.
From Monday:
- Hairdressers and barbers can reopen
- All primary and exam year pupils return to school in-person.
There are allowances for people from rural areas to travel further than people in cities.

Incidentally Mark Drakeford is being taken out of context in news reports claiming he has suggested a 'curfew for men'. He was led into saying he'd consider it, and then said he'd obviously consider anything that would help in a crisis, but that wouldn't be top of his list. Given a yes/no question, I think most of us would agree we'd consider it too, but wouldn't have thought of it before the question was asked. 

"Unpaid carers in England can get the COVID Vaccine if they are either:
- Registered with their GP as a carer
- Eligible for a carer's allowance
- Receiving support from their local council or carers' organisation
- Caring for someone clinically vulnerable to COVID-19"
("Either"? For 4 options? Tsk, who wrote this?...)
The policy varies slightly between UK nations, so check your local Gov page if you haven't yet heard anything or been invited - in England you can ring 119 and explain your situation, and you should be booked in.

The scammers already seem to be sending out more fake NHS vaccination booking tests than the real NHS, so DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN TEXT MESSAGES claiming to be from the NHS.
If it's a scam and you click the link and type on the page (which may look very authentic!), they'll collect your details and often try to charge you to have a 'priority booking' and jump the queue. The COVID vaccines in the UK are ALWAYS FREE and you'll never need to give payment details.
If you get an invite text that seems to be from the NHS, note any pertinent details and close the text. Then dial 119 to book an appointment, or go on the Internet and book - go to NHS dot UK (click on where it says 'Get the latest advice about Coronavirus'). It's exactly the same link - but you know it's real, and not a fake website. 

vaccinations take time to take effect - bold text

The situation in Brazil is really quite dire now. At today's WHO briefing, Dr Mike Ryan said:
“The situation in Brazil has worsened. Very high incidence of cases and increasing deaths across the country, certainly a very, very rapid increase in ICU bed occupancy with many areas around the country running out of ICU beds."
'There is very little resilience and capacity left in the system. The percentage of respiratory patients testing positive for covid19 is going up. Case fatality rate is also rising reflecting' “the pressure on the system and the lack of time that healthcare professionals have.
We certainly would like to see Brazil going in a different direction. But it's going to take a huge effort for that to happen."
Best of luck of over there, it's just heartbreaking. Over the last 2 weeks cases and losses of life have grown exponentially and exploded, and they are now reporting day on day record losses of life. 

Today's indie SAGE was positive and cautious.
They are still concerned about what will happen when the UK reopens further.
Cases are still going down in all UK regions, with positivity rates below 5% (hopeful we are catching almost all cases. This is exactly the place we want to be).
Cases are highest in children now, and they are also reducing slowest in children. We need to keep an eye on that - but it is going the right way still - just.
All nations of the UK have now vaccinated around 40% (2 out of every 5) of their adult populations:
England 42.5%
Wales 39.4%
Scotland 39.7%
Northern Ireland 39.9%
The number of rapid lateral flow tests has been massive over the past few days with the schools returning. This has just about doubled the number of positive cases picked up with these tests, but indieSAGE warn it may not be entirely accurate.
In January decisions were made not to do PCR confirmation testing of some positive Lateral Flow tests. indieSAGE explained very clearly that if you test 1,000,000 people (1 million) with lateral flow, then in the UK right now around 3,000 will have COVID. Around 1 in 1,000 will get a false positive, but the sheer volume means that adds up to around 997 people.
With PCR testing to confirm any positives, 2 or 3 days later those 997 can go back to whatever they were doing.
Without PCR testing to confirm, you not only have people at home for no reason, you also have an inaccurate picture of how much COVID is really in the community.
They are also a little concerned that over time parents and pupils will get bored of doing home testing, and may only bother if their children show symptoms - which won't really help.
They are also concerned that as far more people start using these tests when they return to work, if we don't have PCR confirmation, it'll be even more inaccurate. 

The Novavax vaccine has been found to be 96% effective against original coronavirus, 86% against the UK variant B117, and 55.4% effective against the South African Variant B1351, in a really big UK and South African-based trial. It's an excellent result all round really, as it is a suitable vaccine for all 3 variants, although obviously results against SA B1351 are less impressive.
This is the picture with most of the vaccines so far. Most effective against the strain they were developed to beat, slightly impaired against UK B117, and useful but not great with SA B1351.
The UK are one of several countries with fingers in this pie - we are due to begin manufacturing doses in the UK later this year. 

Vaccines save lives every day Uk gov image we aren't scared of Polio any more

Moderna have begun human trials of 3 booster shots which are specifically designed to combat the South African variant. Moderna's vaccine was 1/6th as effective against the SA B1351- but that doesn't mean it won't work. It's like taking 1/6th of the soldiers into battle when you don't know how big the opposition is.
It is that pesky Brazilian Manaus P1 that we really need boosters against. 

Pfizer CEO Albert Boula was on HBO telly the other day, and made the interesting comment "It will be terrible for society if price becomes an obstacle. I think we should never... a situation like that, particularly for a vaccine."
As he is the person in charge of setting budgets and pricing, he is the very man who can make that happen... 

It's the weekend! It will also be Mother's Day this weekend. A lot of people won't have a Mum they can't visit this year, other people will be at home, unable to visit and very sad about that. It's going to be very hard for a lot of people.
Last year on Mother's Day I saw most of our children, and I have only seen 2 of them once or twice since. I miss them dreadfully, and I know a lot of you guys are in the same position. It's been really hard. But Mother's Day for me can be any day I get to see my kids, and give them an embarrassing hug. I can wait. And we have video chat - which, between 5 households is hilariously bad.
If you are a Mum, or take the role of a Mum, give yourself a day off. Don't let them make a huge mess for you to deal with the next day - they can eat raw food in the garden for once, it'll be an experience. Take a bath, wear nice knickers, do your nails, build a wardrobe, whatever floats your boat, but make sure you take some time just for YOU. You've earned it.

Stay At Home, Have A Treat, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All were once their parents' most precious gift:

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

USA 29,935,744 (+9,842) 543,877 (+156) 

India 11,333,402 (+27,423) 158,483 (+157) 

Brazil 11,284,269 not yet reported today 273,124

Russia 4,370,617 (+9,794) 91,220 (+486)

UK 4,248,286 (+6,609) 125,343 (+175)

France 3,990,331 not yet reported today 89,830

Spain 3,183,704 (+5,348) 72,258 (+173) 

Italy 3,175,807 (+26,824) 101,564 (+380)

Turkey 2,850,930 (+14,941) 29,356 (+66)

Germany 2,553,467 (+6,957) 73,668 (+108)

Colombia 2,290,539 not yet reported today 60,858

Argentina 2,177,898 not yet reported today 53,493

Mexico 2,151,028 (+6,470) 193,142 (+654)

Poland 1,868,297 (+18,775) 46,724 (+351)

Iran 1,731,558 (+8,088) 61,069 (+53) 





If you don't think the £2.50 option can work as well as the £30 option, you've clearly never spent an entire weekend festival as the driest person because you had a ginormous "pop out emergency rain jacket" that you bought from a machine at the motorway services.

Huge thank you to Kai Kupferschmidt for his typing skills, and Microsoft for the ability to copy/paste. It's saved me a lot of typing.

vaccine purchase tracker

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