Sunday, 14 March 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 13th / 14th March 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 13th / 14th March 2021.

The UK added 4,618 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,258,438 positive cases of COVID-19.

The counter says 24,196,211 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 1,584,909 people have received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

8,029 people were in hospital on Thursday 11th, with 1,110 using a ventilator on Friday 12th March.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 52 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 125,516 losses of life in all settings. This is the lowest daily loss of life since October 12th - 5 months ago.

Rep. Of Ireland 226,741 (+383) cases and 4,534 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 120,279,615 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,662,612. Already 96,850,479 people have recovered.

Image of phone screen with text explaining the NHS won't randomly turn up to vaccinate you

Ireland has become the latest country to pause rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, after Norway reported 4 cases of blood-clotting among recipients. All health authorities involved are being clear any pause is while it's checked out, and NOT because they actually see evidence there is an issue.
Astrazeneca say:
“An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country with Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. In fact, the observed number of these types of events is significantly lower in those vaccinated than what would be expected among the general population.”
(We are currently having less operations, long journeys and flights, which could bring down numbers below average.)
Each country which has paused delivery will now undertake their own investigations before vaccinations can resume. The WHO are also investigating, but have advised there is no reason to pause vaccinations while this is ongoing.
Everything I've seen really makes this seem likely to be a panic over nothing, but one that has to be taken very seriously in order to fully reassure the public.
I know personally 2 people who have died from COVID, and many more friends have lost people from their lives. I haven't yet heard a single account of anyone with a blood clotting reaction to vaccination. I can't help but feel that if there was an issue, the UK press and public would have already found it. 


India are also mass-immunising with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, known there as Covishield, and their health ministry has released a statement:
“There have been no specific reports on blood clots as side effects post vaccination with Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine yet.”
They say they will conduct a review of every single death or hospitalisation following immunisation, whether the person received Covishield or Covaxin, or any other vaccine. Results to follow 

Most health bodies are practically begging countries to continue vaccinations while investigations into the AstraZeneca jab are ongoing - in order to preserve lives. Michael Fralick and a team from University of Toronto have already done the maths in a not-yet-peer-reviewed paper, and found:
"The available data suggest that among 5 million people who received the AZ vaccine, 30 developed a blood clot. So, 30 in 5 million. Our research team has shown that among those with COVID about 2% developed a blood clot. So about 100,000 in 5 million."

140321 24m vaccinated

Israeli people had lockdown restrictions lifted a week ago, and have special allowances for the 50% of the population who are already fully vaccinated. The Financial Times has spent a night on the town with them, and they really are partying like it's 1999 - or, erm... 2019...
Historically populations tend to be a little nervous for a few years after a pandemic, and wary of others, before going wild and spending all their spare time partying, dancing and sitting together in enclosed spaces. Vaccination may help us bypass the cautious bit and get our confidence back earlier.

The Ebola outbreak in Guinea has been genetically examined, and seems to be due to a direct transmission from a person who had Ebola back in 2016. Ebola has previously been found in the semen of a man who had been diagnosed 18 months earlier, but 5 years??? This is staggeringly bad news for any country which has ever had cases, and for survivors. It could be a single fluke isolated case, but it will be incredibly hard to find that out. Ebola can kill up to 80% of people who catch it, so it is never ever taken lightly. Thank heavens no Coronavirus has ever proven long-lived. 

COVID-19-scepticTanzanian President Magufuli has still not been seen in public, and his government have not denied nor confirmed he is critically ill with COVID. Rumours are that he's now been moved from a hospital in Nairobi to a hospital in India. With every day he doesn't stand in public and show he's fine, it's looking increasingly likely the rumours may be based in truth.
Magufuli last year declared the pandemic beaten by the people's prayers, and Tanzania stopped reporting new cases. Since January there have been very real fears expressed by WHO and just about everyone, after travellers from Tanzania began regularly testing positive. 

An image from Charlie Mackesy, simple line drawing - we are forever, even if I'm not here
The fabulously 'on the nail' Charlie Makesy, for Mother's Day

A study which has just been released, so obviously isn't peer-reviewed yet, has looked at people who had Long COVID, and asked them about their symptoms after vaccination - this study was with the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer / Moderna). Two thirds felt rough after vaccination, but it lasted for less than 3 days.
A month later, and 5.6% of vaccinated sufferers felt worse, compared to 14.2% of unvaccinated sufferers.
Even more promising, at least one symptom had gone away in 23% of vaccinated sufferers, compared to 15% of unvaccinated people.  

The UK vaccination programme is going incredibly well - we really are doing something right, and it is testament to everyone making it happen. We are due some big vaccine order deliveries towards the end of March, and forecasts predict that it's possible we could have offered a single dose of vaccine to all adults by the end of June.
Give yourselves a pat on the back too for the fact cases aren't rising, despite all of the extras from asymptomatic school kids. Winning... You did that. Thank you for staying home.

The Guardian have published an extract from Michael Rosen's upcoming book. The article is titled "I Am Not Who I Was", and you might want a tissue. Among his long term COVID symptoms, Mr Rosen has lost the sight in one eye, and the hearing in one ear, and reminds us by recounting his experiences, that being seriously ill can have a very heavy mental toll:
"‘Will I wake up?’
‘There’s a 50:50 chance.’
‘If I say no?’ I say.
‘Zero.’
And I sign."
Every single number is a person. EVERY person has their own COVID story:

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

USA 30,055,349 (+11,687) 546,735 (+130)

Brazil 11,439,250 not yet reported today 277,216

India 11,385,158 (+26,514) 158,762 (+120)

Russia 4,390,608 (+10,083) 92,090 (+395)

UK 4,258,438 (+4,618) 125,516 (+52)

France 4,071,662 (+26,343) 90,429 (+114)

Italy 3,223,142 (+21,315) 102,145 (+264)

Spain 3,183,704 not yet reported today 72,258

Turkey 2,879,390 (+13,378) 29,489 (+68)

Germany 2,571,733 (+1,883) 73,913 (+6)

Colombia 2,299,082 not yet reported today 61,046

Argentina 2,192,025 not yet reported today 53,646

Mexico 2,163,875 (+6,104) 194,490 (+639)

Poland 1,906,632 (+17,259) 47,178 (+110)

Iran 1,746,953 (+7,593) 61,230 (+88) 

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Sources:

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

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

https://amp.independent.ie/world-news/coronavirus/astrazeneca-vaccine-temporarily-suspended-as-precautionary-measure-over-reports-of-blood-clots-40194558.html

https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n699

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/no-report-of-blood-clots-after-astrazeneca-vaccine-shot-health-ministry-1778974-2021-03-13

https://www.ft.com/content/4cf1b235-ed07-4ffe-bab4-95846a0ecf36

https://www.cmaj.ca/content/193/1/E10

https://twitter.com/FralickMike/status/1370368163649613827?s=19

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/11/tanzania-opposition-leader-says-magufuli-in-india-with-covid-19

https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2021/mar/13/i-am-not-who-i-was-michael-rosen-on-surviving-covid-extract

https://twitter.com/EricTopol/status/1371158638190940164

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.11.21253225v1?rss=1

https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1370462178285912071

How mRNA works

https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1370106365784506370?s=19

Insider vaccine chart 

https://www-businessinsider-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.businessinsider.com/covid-19-vaccines-efficacy-variants-south-africa-uk-brazil-2021-3


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