Thursday, 25 March 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th / 25th March 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th / 25th March 2021.

The UK added 6,397 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,319,128 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,813,842 tests yesterday.

The counter says 28,991,188 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 2,775,481 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

5,122 people were in hospital on Tuesday 23rd, with 683 people using a ventilator yesterday, 24th March.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 63 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 126,445 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 232,164 cases and 4,628 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 125,796,833 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,761,392. Already 101,515,732 people have recovered.

from 29th March England UK Gov Outdoor exercise, including swimming pools can reopen Photo of swimmer by pool in costume

"We are basically entering a new pandemic. The mutation from Great Britain has taken over, which means we have a new virus. Of course of the same kind, but with very different properties. It is clearly more lethal, more contagious, and contagious for longer."
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor.

"The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed my friends."
"Actually I regret saying it. Forget I said that."
Boris Johnson in a zoom call to the 1922 Committee (according to The Sun). It's the raw, honest truth, and he's a politician. A rare combination. Not winning any respect though...


"Simply loosening restrictions when it’s too early is not helping.
I get nothing from someone telling me halfway through a marathon that I already passed the finishing line and then telling me later that actually I do have to run the rest of the marathon..."
Kai Kupferschmidt, Scientist and Journalist commenting on the last few weeks in Germany. They have rising cases (as has much of Europe), due in large part to the spread of the UK/ Kent B117 variant, and the Government have just announced that for a 5 day period over Easter, all of Germany will enter a strict lockdown.  

UK MPs today voted to extend the Coronavirus Act for another six months. The extension was backed by 484 votes to 76. They promised to remove anything that is no longer relevant, and have dropped some outdated rulings on social care, food production and storage of data from COVID testing.  The new shiny roadmap with 'Steps' that are strikingly similar to previous tiers and levels, was also approved and will be introduced to us any minute... 

250321 vaccinations to date in the UK text over image of someone being vaccinated

NHS Trusts in the UK are preparing themselves for a possible June peak (yes, really. Sheesh, we haven't even finished the last one yet). The HSJ are reporting that Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust’s modelling suggests they could have as many patients as they did during April 2020's peak, possibly as soon as mid May, but likely first week of June.
Something  for us all to look forward to there...

The final Americas trial results for the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine have been published, and they've revised the efficacy down. Luckily only by 3%, so I think we can live with that.
"76% vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19
100% efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation
85% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in participants aged 65 years and over"
There were 32,449 trial participants, 2/3 of which were given real vaccine, and 1/3 a placebo. They looked at the results 15 days or more after the participants had received two doses given four weeks apart.
190 people had COVID with symptoms during the course of the trial, and 8 people became seriously ill from the smaller placebo group.
If you can't get rid of COVID, making it almost harmless is the next best thing. 

There are some doubts about Johnson &Johnson meeting their commitment of 20m doses for the USA by the end of March. They say they can do it, Joe Biden's team aren't prepared to make that promise. 

I've got an amendment to the post 2 days ago. I typed Polio, because I was chatting to my son about knowing people who had been disabled by it, but in fact it is Smallpox which has been eradicated by vaccination. That'll teach me to type up notes while I talk. Polio is sadly still with us, although we are tantalisingly close to eradicating it. There were 11 new cases in the last week. 

Hong Kong has temporarily suspended use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, because at least 1 batch has defective bottle lids.
Something so simple, and what a blow.

Just in case you weren't aware of just how full UK hospital Intensive Care Units have been over the past 6 months, a massive 2,300 seriously ill patients were moved from one hospital to another chasing Intensive Care beds. 

Scotland Gov NHS pay rise 4 percent or £1000 Smiley lady at side of text

Blatant Liar Of The Week:
Vicky Ford, Children's Minister, said on the telly this morning that she was working on giving food vouchers in lieu of free school meals during the holidays anyway, long before Marcus Rashford got involved. She'd been working on it for 3 years apparently.
You know we could ALL see exactly what happened in real life right Vicky? When my children do this, I ask them to think about how other people viewed that event? Do you think they'd have the same account as you?
Even if it had been true, writing ideas on a notepad for 3 years (and whatever else she had been doing), wasn't going to get our deprived children fed, but a kick from Marcus seems to have done the trick.
Food vouchers will be available to children on free school meals over the Easter holidays. Thanks Vicky... (and Marcus)..

This is why this record of events is important. Revisionist history. 

It seems likely one of the next countries added to the UK's Red List may be France. That would be an immense blow to potential tourism this Summer, and it would mean hauliers coming into England have to show a negative COVID test (currently from France they don't, but they do to go back to France, so I'm not seeing that as a huge problem).
Last month France had an estimated 5% of cases with the South African B1351 and Brazilian P1 variants, and average of 30% UK variant - but that varies massively by area. In Moselle over 40% of cases were SA B1351 or Brazil's P1 (which has the pesky antibody-evading E484K mutation). More disturbingly, last week in Brittany they discovered 8 linked cases which were not detectable by PCR COVID tests. Invisible COVID is not something anyone wants.
(Invisible, mainly asymptomatic COVID is like giving every toddler a gun before they go to see Grandma. It'll probably be okay, but...)
France is now reporting over 33,000 cases a day.

The Scottish Government has offered all of their NHS staff a pay rise of £1,000 or 4%, whichever is greater. 

There are rumours UK schoolchildren may be offered a vaccination before they return to learning in September's Autumn term.
Well, vaccine trials are taking place with children, and it's clear the UK's intention is to vaccinate as many people as possible ASAP, so I'd say that's not the biggest revelation... and it's only a rumour at the moment...

Losses of life to COVID in Brazil have surpassed 300,000 people. They are having a nightmare, and are losing more people on average each day now than at any other time during the pandemic. Yesterday they reported 90,564 new positive cases, and 2,244 more people succumbed. 

Dr Jenny Harries has been appointed the first Chief Executive of the new UK Health Security Agency. They'll ensure we are prepared for any future pandemics.
The choice has had a mixed response.
No, I lied. It's mostly incredulity. Jenny famously told us children don't suffer from COVID, masks wouldn't help, large events such as Cheltenham wouldn't cause spread, and she referred to pubs as smoky - which shows how long it is since she let her hair down. Whereas other scientists found clever ways to avoid actually lying on behalf of their government, Jenny is maybe a little more malleable. Soooo, yeah... congrats on the new job. 

250321 test and trace stats 26.9m people reached

Please can EVERYONE OVER 50 or on the vulnerable/critical lists make sure you've booked your jab. Supply is going to slow down during April, due to a possible delay in India, a possible delay in the EU, and a batch that's being re-tested for stability after it's journey here.
Second jabs have to be done, so they'll take priority. In the next few days they want to look at exactly how many doses they'll have left, and how many more first jab people they can cope with over April. BOOK BEFORE MONDAY.
Follow the directions on your letter, call 119 or go online at NHS dot UK and click where it says Coronavirus. It doesn't matter if you lost the letter, don't know your NHS number or aren't even here in the UK with all the correct paperwork - if you're over 50 - you're entitled, so BOOK. 

Good news from Israel. They began vaccinating in December, and have administered 114 doses per 100 people. Their graphs look every bit as good as you'd ever hope. At first there was a little blip as cases in younger people went up, but now all age groups have dropped to very low levels.
This can be us soon.... fingers very much crossed. 

Decline in COVID in Israel after vaccination Graph showing all age groups cases declining rapidly
Our World In Data

Luxury Cruise News:
The Cruise Lines International Association asked the CDC if they would consider lifting their conditional sailing order early, but the response was a firm "no". From November 1st 2021 mock sailings and certification can take place, but until then they are responsible for ensuring their crews test, isolate, prepare for passengers and clear all traces of COVID from ships.

Not Luxury Not Cruise Ship News:
A container ship called the Ever Given has become stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, and has been blocking it now for the last 3 days. This is really big news,  because about 12% of the world's trade, and 30% of container cargo, goes through the Suez Canal. The long way round is an extra few thousand miles, takes over a week and costs £££££££s.
The ship lost power during Tuesday morning and drifted into the canal wall, where strong winds then swung it sideways, and it became stuck against the banks at either side. I didn't mention it, because I thought it would be all over by Wednesday.
The front has dug into the canal wall quite substantially. All the tugs in Egypt can't shift this ginormous 200,000 ton, 400m long, Ultra Large Container Vessel (it's almost as big as, and about half the weight of, the Empire State Building), and there are fears that because the ends are stuck and the middle is floating, the low tides might even allow it to sag, and it could crack.
An expert salvage team are on the way, and with nothing else they can do, earlier today the Suez Authority had no choice but to suspend shipping through the canal. Everyone waiting to use it can either sit it out for what could be a very long time, or take the route around. The longer this continues, the more of an effect it will have on world trade. (There's your warning.)
The owner has sincerely apologised. Finger's crossed he has excellent insurance...

I hope your evening is considerably better than that of the the Ever Given's Captain....

Some people. All floating on the same rock as you:

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

USA 30,718,393 (+14,101) 558,607 (+185)

Brazil 12,227,179 not yet reported today 301,087

India 11,845,748 (+58,735) 160,982 (+256)

Russia 4,492,692 (+9,221) 96,612 (+393)

France 4,424,087 (+45,641) 93,378 (+225)

UK 4,319,128 (+6,220) 126,445 (+63)

Italy 3,464,543 (+23,696) 106,799 (+460)

Spain 3,247,738 (+6,393) 74,420 (+356) 

Turkey 3,091,282 not yet reported today 30,462

Germany 2,719,123 (+9,251) 75,981 (+70)

Colombia 2,353,210 not yet reported today 62,394

Argentina 2,269,877 not yet reported today 54,946

Mexico 2,208,755 (+5,714) 199,627 (+579)

Poland 2,154,821 (+34,151) 50,860 (+520)

Iran 1,830,823 (+7,506) 62,142 (+97) 

Ukraine 1,596,575 (+16,669) 31,135 (+362)

Czechia 1,495,361 (+8,763) 25,450 (+83) 

Netherlands 1,228,647 (+7,702) 16,397 (+26) 

Romania 919,794 (+6,651) 22,719 (+140)

Belgium 849,090 (+6,315) 22,786 (+23)

Israel 830,515 (+487) 6,157 (+3) 

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Sources:

Our world in data https://twitter.com/OurWorldInData/status/1374682139598405634


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


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


https://news.stv.tv/scotland/government-offers-nhs-staff-in-scotland-4-pay-rise

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/22/politics/biden-concerns-jj-covid-19-vaccine-supply-delays/index.html

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/securing-our-health-the-uk-health-security-agency/securing-our-health-the-uk-health-security-agency

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56483444

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/hong-kong-suspends-use-of-pfizer-vaccine-over-defective-bottle-lids-01616555323

https://twitter.com/Thomas_Sparrow/status/1374241552164356096?s=09

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9395467/Children-vaccinated-August-11m-18s-inoculated-start-term.html

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-johnson-says-capitalism-and-greed-are-behind-the-uks-vaccine-success-12254946

https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1374652367447146497?s=19

https://www.hsj.co.uk/coronavirus/trust-forecasts-june-surge-in-covid-patients-will-be-on-a-par-with-april-2020-peak/7029775.article

https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Where-are-France-s-Covid-variant-hotspots

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210317/New-SARS-CoV-2-variant-in-France-appears-undetectable-by-PCR.aspx

https://m.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/france-red-list-boris-johnson_uk_605b593ec5b67593e054ae71

https://news.stv.tv/scotland/government-offers-nhs-staff-in-scotland-4-pay-rise

https://twitter.com/scotgovhealth/status/1374837636272156675

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/3/25/suez-canal-still-blocked-causing-massive-shipping-jam-live

https://nationaldailyng.com/egypts-suez-canal-diverts-ships-to-old-channel/

https://www.independent.co.uk/business/suez-canal-live-news-ship-blocked-b1822137.html

https://twitter.com/jsrailton/status/1374523356838391812

Germany restrictions

https://twitter.com/i/events/1374401136447295493

UK Roadmap Summary 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson_MP/status/1375013272232017922

https://labourlist.org/2021/03/mps-back-renewing-coronavirus-act-by-484-votes-to-76/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56521358

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT04516746?term=NCT04516746&draw=2&rank=1

https://www.astrazeneca.com/content/astraz/media-centre/press-releases/2021/azd1222-us-phase-iii-primary-analysis-confirms-safety-and-efficacy.html

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-over-50s-urged-to-book-a-jab-before-rollout-slows-down-from-monday-12255928

https://www.foxnews.com/travel/cdc-not-lift-conditional-sailing-order-november

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/cruise-ship/what-cdc-is-doing.html

https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson_MP/status/1375013272232017922

https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/24/health/astrazeneca-updated-coronavirus-vaccine-data/index.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-25/astra-reports-lower-efficacy-for-covid-vaccine-after-criticism

https://twitter.com/i/events/1373914221944041474

https://polioeradication.org/polio-today/polio-now/this-week/

https://twitter.com/WiredUK/status/1375077948210958342

https://twitter.com/H31ban/status/1371827930821693440?s=19

https://twitter.com/i/events/1374996710674423809

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56521358


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