Thursday, 22 April 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st / 22nd April 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st / 22nd April 2021.

The UK added 2,729 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,398,431 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,371,393 tests yesterday. (That's a higher number of positives, but a much higher number of tests, than we have been used to, so hopefully it's due to increased testing catching asymptomatic cases).

The counter says 33,257,651 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 11,192,601 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

1,915 people were in hospital on Tuesday 20th (down from 2,393 a week earlier), with 276 people using a ventilator yesterday, 21st April (down from 351 a week earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 18 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,345 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 244,695 cases and 4,856 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 145,015,191 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,078,535. Already 123,095,371 people have recovered.

220421 UK cases / vaccines etc data briefing JCVI headline information
UK Data briefing chart 22 April 2021

"This Earth Day, I’m proud to say science is back."
US President Joe Biden

After employing Ms Allegra Stratton on 150k a year, and doing up their new briefing room to the tune of £2.6m (flags must be super expensive), the UK Government have decided they don't want US style briefings, and have scrapped the plan.
Honestly the money these people waste is truly beyond belief. 2.6m for a slightly more fancy corridor is an absolute joke. I don't believe they can have even got 3 quotes on that... 

Current English surge testing for Variants of Concern (and potentially worrisome variants) is currently happening in:
London: Barnet (some N3 postcodes), Hillingdon (some UB3 postcodes), Lambeth (borough wide), Southwark (some SE16 postcodes), Wandsworth (borough wide)
West Midlands: Birmingham City Council (Ladywood, Soho and Jewellery Quarter, Alum Rock, and Glebe Farm and Tile Cross wards), Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (B66 3, B66 4 and B67 6).

220421 UK data briefing JCVI local authority performance

India is just in such a heartbreaking position that it could make even Priti Patel weep. Hospitals are full and oxygen is in low supply in all major cities - there's nothing let and it's close to collapsing. The country which actually makes the Remdesivir has just about run out. State leaders have asked that all oxygen is to be diverted for medical use, and there are reports that some states are preventing oxygen tankers travelling through, taking it for their own hospitals instead. New Delhi is basically not able to take any new COVID patients, they are reportedly telling people to stay at home.
Complacency, new variant, political rallying, mass events, sheer bad luck. Whether one or all are responsible, official figures have numbers tripling in the last fortnight, doubling in the last week. We know India are massively under-reporting due to overwhelming of the health system, and the true picture is far more grim than numbers suggest.
This morning India reported a record 314,835 new cases. Their population is around 20 times as big as the UK, so that's the equivalent to us reporting a little under 16,000 cases. They also reported the loss of 2,102 people. Researchers counting the numbers of people being cremated are estimating the true figure could be as many as ten times bigger. 

India's production of Remdesivir is being massively increased. Currently they have 380,000 dose monthly capacity, but this is being increased to 740,000 doses a month. 20 new manufacturing sites have also been arranged.
While India are not exporting drug treatments or vaccines, it will have a knock on effect worldwide. 

In far better India news, regular reader Cathy shared a fantastic Twitter thread from Jeffrey Barrett of the Sanger Institute, which is mapping the Indian variant of interest B1617. Early signs are that it may be a little more 'catchy' than wild COVID, but isn't looking as transmissible as the UK's B117 variant. He is also fairly confident he can't see that it will evade vaccinations or antibodies - it just doesn't look in good enough shape.
Although cases are really high and rising fast over in India, it isn't all because of the B1617 variant, all variants and original COVID cases are soaring. 

UK Gov COVID Roadmap Business hospitality can serve indoors at the earliest 17th May

In an individual tragedy that really does make your heart sink, an oxygen tank leakage at a hospital in Maharashtra cut off the supply and 22 patients died. Around 150 patients were dependent on oxygen at the time, and the 22 people who lost their lives were using ventilators. 100 patients had to be moved to other hospitals, many in critical condition. That's not an easy feat any day, but especially when hospitals are already reaching capacity.
Utterly horrendous for all involved, and beyond a nightmare for the staff. How on Earth medical staff can go back on shift the next day and just keep going is beyond me. 

The EU are reported to be getting ready to sue AstraZeneca over it's failure to provide them with the vaccine doses they need.
They ordered 100m doses for Jan-March, but received just 30m. They should get another 200m before July, but seem likely to get only 70m.
The EU relationship with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine has been a disaster from start to finish really.
AstraZeneca simply couldn't make all the doses they'd anticipated, and that became clear early on. They didn't share out the reduced allocation very fairly (ahem, the UK).
Initially the EU stated the AstraZeneca jab shouldn't be used on people over 65 because of lack of data. Later they paused rollout because of the blood clotting, and reinstated quickly, but it has left confusion everywhere. At the moment many EU countries still have a ban on using it on older people (but we have all the data now!!), and/or have brought in a ban on using it on younger people (because of risk of blood clotting, which is so rare it's not reason to stop vaccinating in any country with active COVID, say the EMA/WHO etc).
I can't see this being an incredibly straightforward court case. 

Roche are having to move their antibody pill trials, as the lockdown and vaccination programme in the UK has reduced cases to such low levels, it will take much longer to find enough participants with COVID.
This appears to be part of Boris' vision - the trials involve giving people who have been exposed to COVID an antibody pill, which will boost their own defences and hopefully prevent severe COVID. 

As of 20th April, the EMA (European Medicines Agency) said cases of thromboses with thrombocytopenia (the rare blood clotting) after covid19 vaccines in the European Economic Area are:
AstraZeneca - 142 in 16 million (1 in every 112,676)
Pfizer/Biontech - 11 in 59 million (1 in every 5.3m)
Moderna - 2 in 5.2 million (1 in every 2.6m)
(This is cases, and not losses of life.)

UK Government roadmap 17th May 2021 images showing reopening steps eg exercise class

I didn't realise until today that the EU call the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine Comirnaty. I did know they call the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine Vaxzevria, and India call it Covishield. All these names, but none of them so memorable as Sputnik V. I think Russia win that one. 

The Economist's tracker shows that Britain is no longer one of the 20 countries with the highest number of excess deaths during the pandemic. We have slipped to 21st place, just ahead of the USA in 23rd place. Top of the table are Peru, Bulgaria, Mexico, Russia, Lithuania and North Macedonia.
Peru has now lost an extra 412 people per 100,000 population than would be expected. Russia is approaching 460,000 excess deaths.
Several of the worst affected countries are also very small, so population is small, they don't appear at the top of tables and are rarely mentioned. Big or small, they will be the countries with the hardest job to pick themselves back up and continue through this.
(The UK has lost an extra 183 people per 100,000, and the USA 182)

A 'Stanford Paper' which suggested masks didn't work, and said it was from the US NIH (National Institute of Health) and Stanford Medicine is a hoax. The author  has no academic connection to Stanford University, nor are they connected to NIH. It's being shared as true by conspiracy theorists, but even the title is a lie...
Stanford University today released a statement confirming all evidence shows masks DO help prevent spread of COVID. 

John Burn-Murdoch, maths man from the Financial Times, says it's very clear from the numbers that vaccinations are having a big effect, even in a country such as France, which is going through a wave at the same time. In the UK, it's even more stark. 

UK Gov image of lady grinning at friend

Israel ordered bazillions of vaccines and there was always going to be a point they had too many. They don't need an upcoming order of 10m doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and are currently in discussions about where it should go to have best effect.
I'm pretty sure everyone who received short orders will be holding up their hands highest... including the EU and the WHO's COVAX initiative. 

Good news for fans of spangly popular music combo's - the 2021 BRIT Awards ceremony will go ahead with a live audience. It's the latest addition to the government’s 'Events Research Programme' aka 'How many Dua Lipa fans can you infect in a single 2 hour session?' Fingers crossed the answer will be "none"...
All 4,000 attendees can take off masks and don't need to socially distance. They must have proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue, and will be tested again after the event.

Today is Earth Day. COVID has shown us just how much our everyday activities can affect our world. All those 'nature is healing' memes were sweet, and sometimes hilarious, but they do have a more serious side.
Today at the Global Climate Summit, President Biden has committed to cut US emissions by 50-52% by 2030. Boris Johnson replied that it was a game-changer. Let's green up this planet...

Some people. They look like numbers, but they are all people:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (since midnight GMT. Remember most nations aren't in the same time zone. Some countries / states /provinces have yet to report today):

USA 32,614,266 (+12,215) 583,483 (+153)

India 16,200,450 (+275,644) 186,278 (+1,606)

Brazil 14,122,795 not yet reported today 381,687

France 5,374,288 not yet reported today 101,881

Russia 4,736,121 (+8,996) 107,103 (+397)

Turkey 4,501,382 (+54,791) 37,329 (+354)

UK 4,398,431 (+2,729) 127,345 (+18)

Italy 3,920,945 (+16,232) 118,357 (+360)

Spain 3,456,886 (+10,814) 77,496 (+132)

Germany 3,231,740 (+23,068) 81,648 (+266)

Poland 2,731,256 (+12,762) 64,168 (+694)

Iran 2,335,905 (+24,092) 68,366 (+453)

Mexico 2,315,811 (+4,639) 213,597 (+549)

Ukraine 1,990,353 (+16,235) 41,266 (+470) 

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Sources:

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

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

https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1385209821465559045

Stanford: 

https://twitter.com/i/events/1384997192281194502

"22 COVID-19 patients in Indian hospital die after oxygen tanker leak" https://twitter.com/i/events/1384805276948123649?s=09

https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-preparing-legal-case-against-astrazeneca-over-vaccine-shortfalls/

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/roche-trial-covid-19-pill-delayed-uk-vaccine-rollout-intervened-2021-04-21/

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/with-enough-supplies-israel-looks-re-route-astrazeneca-vaccine-delivery-2021-04-21/

https://www.news18.com/news/india/centre-to-supply-remdesivir-to-19-covid-crippled-states-maharashtra-given-lions-share-3664178.html

https://twitter.com/jburnmurdoch/status/1384878143308173313?s=19

https://metro.co.uk/2021/04/22/uk-drops-off-list-of-20-worst-hit-nations-for-excess-deaths-from-covid-14453397/

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/coronavirus-excess-deaths-tracker

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1383872820724174854.html

https://twitter.com/jburnmurdoch/status/1384782949879517185?s=19

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/22/brutal-second-covid-wave-rips-through-india-live-updates

https://twitter.com/jcbarret/status/1383872820724174854

https://twitter.com/i/events/1384908633713135617

https://www.earthday.org/

https://apnews.com/article/health-science-india-business-europe-96859351f6881bae8ca89347ef0e9140

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-56818750.amp

https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1385232169468055561

https://twitter.com/htTweets/status/1385088472965255168

https://twitter.com/i/events/1385153089968033793

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/surge-testing-for-new-coronavirus-covid-19-variants

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/979627/20210419_All_Regions_Brief_Final.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/brit-awards-to-go-ahead-with-live-audience-as-latest-event-in-government-research-programme

https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1384776607466938368

https://www.thebrickcastle.com/2021/04/covid-19-coronavirus-uk-and-world-news_15.html




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