Sunday 11 April 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 10th / 11th April 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 10th / 11th April 2021.

The UK added 1,730 cases today (DOWN from 2,297 last Sunday) and now has reported a total of 4,369,775 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 931,579 tests yesterday.

The counter says 32,121,353 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 7,466,540 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

2,862 people were in hospital on Thursday 8th, with 406 using a ventilator yesterday, 9th April.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 7 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. This is lower than last Sunday's total of 10, and the first time we have lost so few people since September last year. We now have an official total of 127,087 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 240,945 (+302) cases and 4,785 (+2) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 136,426,846 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,945,571. Already 109,686,470 people have recovered.

Dr Mary Ramsey says get your vaccine text only

Hot on the heels of Pfizer's 6 month results, we now have Moderna's - and their vaccine also shows excellent efficacy 6 months after immunisation. In the first 33 patients studied:
"Antibody activity remained high in all age groups at day 209."
(That's actually just under 7 months.)
Great news for the new technology mRNA vaccines. 

Not so great news for the more traditional vaccine technology. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) have published information on 3 different vaccine side effects for Oxford / AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson (which uses very similar technology to AstraZeneca):
Side Effect 1 AstraZeneca (the rare blood clotting) -
"EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca)."
(There's a jazzy name).
Side Effect 2 AstraZeneca (this is new) -
5 people across Europe have developed "capillary leak syndrome". Blood plasma seeps into muscles and cavities, causing sudden low blood pressure, and if untreated it can lead to death.
"At this stage, it is not yet clear whether there is a causal association between vaccination and the reports of capillary leak syndrome. These reports point to a ‘safety signal’ - information on new or changed adverse events that may potentially be associated with a medicine and that warrants further investigation."
Side Effect 3 Johnson&Johnson / Janssen (this is new, this vaccine is only currently licensed in the USA) -
Four serious cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets have been reported post-vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen. One case occurred in a clinical trial and three cases occurred during the vaccine rollout in the USA. One of them was fatal.
"These reports point to a ‘safety signal’, but it is currently not clear whether there is a causal association between vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen and these conditions. PRAC is investigating these cases and will decide whether regulatory action may be necessary, which usually consists of an update to the product information."
Remember these are incredibly rare side effects that occur within 2 weeks of a 1st vaccination, and may affect around 1 in every 100,000-350,000 people. We probably would never have spotted anything if we weren't vaccinating millions of people at the same time.

080421 Table of Variants of concern or under investigation found in the UK to date

Some more vaccine news, as Israel are doing what they promised, and feeding information to the world. They sequenced the COVID in 150 people who caught it despite being vaccinated, and it appears the South African variant can in some cases escape the Pfizer vaccine.
Professor Adi Stern, who headed the research, said:
“Based on patterns in the general population, we would have expected just one case of the South African variant, but we saw eight,”
Obviously these are small numbers which can be affected by random events, but to find 8 times as much of a variant than you'd anticipated does suggest it could be very hardy indeed. 
There is much better news for the efficacy against the UK Kent B117 variant though:
"To summarize: we see evidence for reduced vaccine effectiveness against the British variant, but after two doses – extremely high effectiveness kicks in."

And in China, Gao Fu, their CDC head, has admitted their 3 current vaccines have relatively low efficacy rates, and they are looking at ways to increase protection - including mixing vaccines, changing dose intervals, adjusting the dosage or offering an extra booster shot.
We don't have a lot of data except for Sinovac, and that was only around 50% effective in Brazil, and 83% in Turkey. 

We also have potentially bad news from the Indian Government, who really sailed through the last year without getting their feet wet, and are definitely not finding the same fortune this year:
"India is witnessing a recent surge in Covid cases. As on April 11, there are 11.08 lakh active Covid cases (1.1 million) and they are steadily increasing. This has led to a sudden spike in demand for injection Remdesivir used in treatment of Covid patients. There is a potential of further increase in this demand in the coming days.
Seven Indian companies are producing Injection Remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with M/s. Gilead Sciences, USA. They have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month (3.88 million).
In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves."
India are attempting to manufacture vaccines and therapeutics for billions of people, watching richer countries snatch them up to the deficit of their own neighbours, and now they are having their own nightmare. You can hardly blame them. 

The BBC have received so many complaints about replacing scheduled programming with programmes about Prince Philip, that they have set up a quick fill form.
I'm actually quite glad that's happening,  because it will put this firmly in people's memory.  When noteworthy events in history occur, that's important for you looking back. It creates memories and stops the story changing - we should remember this time.
In 40 years, many of you will be telling your Grandchildren you were there. "They cancelled all the telly..."
The royal family have stated that the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral on Saturday will be a private service, and they will observe COVID restrictions, with only 30 mourners in attendance. 

BBC too many complaints about coverage of Prince Philip

From TOMORROW Monday 12th April in ENGLAND:
- The following can reopen, subject to maximum numbers, social distancing, masks indoors etc: non-essential retail, personal care premises, public buildings, outdoor hospitality venues, most outdoor attractions, drive-in performances, some smaller outdoor events, self-contained accommodation (individuals/bubbles only),
- Indoor leisure and sports facilities (individuals/bubbles only for adults)
- All childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
- Care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (lateral flow test required)
- indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens". Funerals may have a maximum of 30 people, and 6 people can attend events linked to a funeral (stone-setting etc).
(Always triple check before you go ahead with any arrangements or payments. )
"You should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible", continue to socially distance and wear masks indoors. COVID didn't disappear overnight. 

From 12 April in WALES:
- travel restrictions within the UK and Common Travel Area will be lifted. The border is reopening.
- full return to schools and further education settings
- university campuses can open for blended face-to-face and online learning for all students
- all shops and close contact services can open
- wedding venues will be able to let prospective clients view their premises by appointment only

Don't you be going wild now. We want to keep everything open, and if cases get too high too quick, that will be at risk. You still don't want to catch COVID, or pass it to your friends and family - and we ALL know so much more now about how we can have the best chance of avoiding it. Have fun, smile lots, stay well.

Some numbers. All people 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 31,876,948 (+6,952) 575,615 (+20)

India 13,511,816 (+156,351) 170,063 (+758)

Brazil 13,445,006 not yet reported today 351,469

France 5,023,785 not yet reported today 98,602

Russia 4,641,390 (+8,702) 102,986 (+337)

UK 4,369,775 (+1,730) 127,087 (+7)

Turkey 3,849,011 (+50,678) 33,939 (+237)

Italy 3,769,814 (+15,746) 114,254 (+331)

Spain 3,347,512 not yet reported today 76,328

Germany 3,003,355 (+10,552) 78,939 (+81)

Poland 2,574,631 (+21,703) 58,421 (+245)

Colombia 2,518,715 not yet reported today 65,608

Argentina 2,517,300 not yet reported today 57,647

Mexico 2,278,420 (+6,356) 209,212 (+51)

Iran 2,070,141 (+21,063) 64,490 (+258)

Ukraine 1,853,249 (+12,112) 37,014 (+235) 





"Vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna offer protection against COVID-19 for at least six months, according to the latest research"

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