Tuesday, 27 April 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 26th / 27th April 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 26th / 27th April 2021.

The UK added 2,685 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,409,631 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,034,181 tests yesterday.

The counter says 33,843,580 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 13,201,811 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

1,608 people were in hospital on Sunday 25th (down from 1,973 a week earlier), with 227 using a ventilator yesterday, 26th April (down from 318 a week earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 17 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,451 losses of life in all settings.
Up until Friday 9th April, 151,243 people in the UK had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland 247,489 (+420) cases and 4,884 (+10) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 148,988,111 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,140,683. Already 126,694,173 people have recovered.

Total Vaccination doses UK text box with bright happy colours

"A quarter of UK adults have received 2 doses of a COVID vaccine, giving them maximum protection against the virus.
This is a huge achievement made possible by the tireless work of so many across our country.
Please keep coming forward to get vaccinated when you are called."
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister. 

Public Health England and the University of Warwick have crunched some numbers regarding how many people we've saved so far by vaccinations:
"By the end of March 2021, it is estimated that 9,100 deaths were averted in individuals aged 80 years and older, 1,200 in individuals aged 70 to 79 and 100 in individuals aged 60 to 69 years giving a total of 10,400 deaths averted in individuals aged 60 years or older."
We've had another month on top of that now. Good stuff. 

The UK Government have got a new COVID slogan. They've exhausted non-rhyming triplets and moved onto simple sentences. I've probably typed it several times myself, yet somehow it feels trite coming from Matt Hancock.
"Every Vaccination Gives Us HOPE."
True that.

Matt's got a new photo for his new slogan. It's not as good as that Hot Water photo from the Nightingale Hospital opening, it's more 1980's disco than Big Brother.  

Matt Hancock standing in front of HOPE Disco party

Boris has now caused the biggest scandal of his life, without even leaving the house. The Daily Mail reported that he said the following during a meeting last October at no.10:
"No more ****ing lockdowns - let the bodies pile high in their thousands!"
Literally every Minister who has spoken publicly has denied this.
The BBC, ITV and Robert Peston are saying they've had it confirmed it's true by multiple sources.
Let's examine the evidence:
Lockdowns are universally not fun, and costly financially.
Rishi Sunak (Chancellor) desperately didn't want another lockdown.
Boris is a millionaire Conservative.
Boris isn't great at watching his words.
Boris regularly makes inappropriate jokes and realises half way through. (Remember the "Operation Last Gasp" comment over procuring ventilators.)
The Government last year repeatedly used the Daily Mail to "leak" potential restrictions and gauge public opinion, so really they deserve for us to believe this.
Wow, someone really is after Boris' head. I wonder who? (as well as Dominic Cummings) And why now?
Boris has blatantly lied quite a few times in the past, and generally he laughs it off. Integrity is not his middle name.
Words can just be sounds, actions matter.
The UK lost more people in early Spring 2021 than we did during the first COVID wave in Spring 2020.
Delaying lockdown gets you both - lockdown AND piles of bodies.
Where were we again?
Ah yes. If Tory HQ want him out, his days are truly numbered. Fingers crossed the next one actually thrives on the workload, because I don't think this was ever what Boris wanted. 

8th May 2021 Vax Live Global Citizen Concert 8th May US time

The European Commission has started legal proceedings against AstraZeneca for non-delivery of vaccines. They were expecting 300m doses by June, and they'll get barely 100m if they are lucky. All 27 member states have backed the decision.

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority has issued 630 fines since February to airlines carrying passengers without the right documents.

"Some people seem to fail to realise that this a biological entity and it is not interested in their annoyances."
Lucy Hill, regular reader on Facebook

The UK public's behaviour is being plotted by the ONS, and shows something really interesting. Your average chance of catching COVID is actually very slightly less at points during the 3 weeks before you are vaccinated, than it is 3 weeks after vaccination.
It seems people have COVID on their mind, know their vaccination is coming and don't want to trip up at the final step.
It's a lot easier to follow COVID safety strictly when you have a time frame - a luxury that a pandemic virus rarely allows.

"Attendance in state-funded schools was 94% on 22 April, up from 90% on 25 March. Attendance for all state-funded settings in the most recent week is the highest it has been at any point during the coronavirus pandemic."
Reopening UK schools has so far worked very well... shhh. No-one touch anything. Looks like the lateral flow testing really IS helping us catch it before it spreads... 

270421 1 in 4 UK adults have had 2 doses of a vaccine edit

It's a fact that shift work has been proven to lower your immunity, and people who work shifts their whole life generally don't live as long as those who don't. It messes with you. Maybe that's part of why the UK's Biobank and Manchester University researchers have found shift workers who end up in hospital for any reason are 3 times more likely to test positive for COVID than people who don't work outside regular 9-5 hours. It didn't seem to matter what sort of work people did, or who they mixed with at work. 

We know you can suffer long term symptoms from COVID, even if you weren't seriously ill. A peer-reviewed study just published in Nature Magazine looked at US veterans 6 months after recovery from mild/moderate COVID which didn't need hospital admission. They excluded anyone who died from any cause within 30 days of their positive test, to look at what happened after that period of time.
Long term symptoms become more likely the sicker you were when you had COVID, but even in this group - with mild and moderate cases - there were a substantial number of people still affected 6 months later.
Hospital admissions, outpatient visits and use of medicines such as those for asthma, diarrhea, cardiovascular conditions, depression, anaemia, and pain were all higher in the COVID group.
The risk of death at 6 months, compared to veterans who had never tested positive, was over 1 1/2 times greater (Hazard Ratio 1.59).
All of the extra burden will have to be considered when planning long term healthcare services, and clearly research is ongoing. 

More bad news from India as Doctors at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences have stated they believe each patient is now infecting up to 9 out of every 10 contacts, compared with 4 or less last year. Holy heck if that's true it's a very bad thing.
A lot of the change is due to the UK's B117 variant, which accounts for most cases now in some areas of India, and has been shown in studies to be around 1.3 - 1.7 times more transmissible than original wild COVID. But still, 9 contacts is massive. It could mean the B1617 variant might be even more easy to catch, or it could simply reflect the fact that Indian people on average live in much more densely packed communities and have larger households.

World news is still focussed on India. Several countries and agencies have sent aid, oxygen, ventilators, oxygen-concentrators, and anything else that seems helpful, including the UK, France, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, the World Health Organisation etc.
100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators arrived in India from the UK a few hours ago.
Modelling is going wild, with estimates from the experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at University of Washington suggesting for every case recorded in India, 57 are undiagnosed. That would mean the true count of cases in India was rising by as much as 13.5m a day. Those figures are staggering beyond belief. India's population is around 1,395 million people. It is the equivalent of the UK having 675,000 new cases a day.
Those empty Nightingale hospitals were one of the best things of the whole pandemic.

At least 82 people have died due to a fire at a hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. The hospital didn't have central oxygen, so COVID patients have their own cylinder, which in desperate times might be changed by their relatives. Eye witnesses say one exploded.
Most of the people who died had been seriously ill and needed constant oxygen, so moving them was dangerous or impossible. 28 had been using ventilators. Over 100 people have serious burns.
Government response has been swift, with the hospital director and head of the local health department immediately sacked, and the Minister for Health suspended. 

210421 ONS All Deaths and those involving COVID all time chart. Clearly shows both large waves and drop in levels to now

The UK's Weekly Excess Mortality Report clearly shows that the vaccinations are reducing excess deaths in our older age groups. In fact, now that COVID levels have dropped so much, less people in the 65+ age groups are dying than would usually be expected to lose their lives at this time of year.
The charts also clearly show the effect the restrictions have had on our young people - in 36 weeks out of the 53 counted, we lost less 0-24 year olds than we usually would. 
ONS figures show that the UK has lost less people than the 5 year average for the last 6 weeks running. Sadly this is because a lot of our oldest and frailest people have already died. COVID can steal your final weeks.
"Using the most up to date data we have available, from the week ending 13 March 2020 up to 16 April 2021, the number of deaths was 791,517. The number of deaths involving COVID-19 was 151,243, and the number of excess deaths above the five-year average was 119,138."

The USA is going to share out around 60m doses of AstraZeneca vaccinations with the world. A lot of their orders are due to come in over the next 3 months, they haven't yet done their own safety reviews of the AZ vaccine, and they already have enough, because they have other vaccines being delivered too. Much better in an arm than a fridge. 

On 2 days last week Israel reported no looses of life to COVID. Yesterday Portugal reported the same. Well done - keep it up! Best of luck to everyone. 

A Norwegian climber has become the first person to test positive on Everest. He did test negative beforehand, but became ill during the trek to base camp. Once there he was helicoptered out. He's quoted in hospital as saying he decided to go during a pandemic, because his guide offered to do it for free. It was cheaper.
Obviously it won't be cheaper now. Being airlifted off Everest during a pandemic isn't particularly cheap...

Apparently no UK Briefing again... I imagine Boris is not relishing the idea of speaking to the UK press live on telly...

Some numbers. All people, very much like you:

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

USA 32,882,206 (+7,161) 586,751 (+140)

India 17,940,289 (+314,554) 200,389 (+2,509)

Brazil 14,370,456 not yet reported today 392,204

France 5,503,996 not yet reported today 103,256

Russia 4,779,425 (+8,053) 108,980 (+392)

Turkey 4,667,281 not yet reported today 38,711

UK 4,409,631 (+2,685) 127,451 (+17)

Italy 3,981,512 (+10,404) 119,912 (+373)

Spain 3,496,134 (+7,665) 77,855 (+117)

Germany 3,317,330 (+9,561) 82,551 (+207)

Poland 2,768,034 (+5,709) 65,897 (+460)

Iran 2,438,193 (+20,963) 70,532 (+462)

Mexico 2,329,534 (+1,143) 215,113 (+166)

Ukraine 2,038,248 (+7,915) 42,950 (+432) 

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Sources:

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

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

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/india-covid-crisis-victims-dying-23981902

https://twitter.com/i/events/1386655855571918848

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2021/apr/26/uk-covid-live-news-boris-johnson-bodies-pile-high-lockdown-coronavirus

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9510133/amp/Boris-Johnson-said-bodies-pile-high-order-lockdown-sources-claim.html

https://twitter.com/PickardJE/status/1386566771759591424?s=19

https://news.sky.com/story/norwegian-climber-who-was-first-to-test-positive-for-covid-at-mount-everest-went-during-pandemic-because-it-was-cheaper-12285504

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/4/25/dozens-dead-after-rips-through-baghdad-covid-19-hospital

https://twitter.com/JamesGWood_UNSW/status/1385497768030998529?s=19

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/23april2021

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/977249/PHE_COVID-19_vaccine_impact_on_mortality_March.pdf

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/23april2021

https://twitter.com/MattHancock/status/1386649444360273920?s=19

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03553-9_reference.pdf

https://twitter.com/PeterKolchinsky/status/1386685288001548288?s=19

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/excess-mortality-in-england-weekly-reports 

https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYmUwNmFhMjYtNGZhYS00NDk2LWFlMTAtOTg0OGNhNmFiNGM0IiwidCI6ImVlNGUxNDk5LTRhMzUtNGIyZS1hZDQ3LTVmM2NmOWRlODY2NiIsImMiOjh9

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending16april2021

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-astrazeneca/u-s-to-share-up-to-60-million-astrazeneca-vaccine-doses-globally-white-house-idUSKBN2CD28I

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/26/shift-workers-treated-in-hospital-three-times-more-likely-to-have-covid-study

https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/hospitalised-shift-workers-up-to-3-times-more-likely-to-be-covid-19-positive/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-astrazeneca/u-s-to-share-up-to-60-million-astrazeneca-vaccine-doses-globally-white-house-idUSKBN2CD28I

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-17

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/1-covid-patient-in-delhi-now-infecting-9-contacts-report-2421649

https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/4/5/should-we-be-worried-about-indias-double-mutant-covid-19-strain

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/covid-19-situation-in-india-beyond-heartbreaking-who-chief-2422439

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-56898654

https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1386933995066245120

https://twitter.com/IHME_UW/status/1386195842378342407

https://www.thebrickcastle.com/2021/04/covid-19-coronavirus-uk-and-world-news_20.html




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