Thursday 29 April 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th April 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th April 2021.

The UK added 2,445 cases today (higher than the last few days, but still lower than 2,729 this time last week) and now has reported a total of 4,414,242 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,360,719 tests yesterday.

The counter says 34,094,048 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 14,043,961 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

1,553 people were in hospital on Tuesday 27th (down from 1,915 a week earlier), with 208 using a ventilator yesterday, 28th April.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 22 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,502 losses of life in all settings.

According to ONS figures, up until Friday 16th April, 151,243 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Country / Losses of Life / Losses per 100,000 of the population:
Wales: 7,821 / 248.1 (roughly 1 in every 403)
Scotland: 10,039 / 183.8 (roughly 1 in every 544)
Northern Ireland: 2,941 / 155.3 (roughly 1 in every 645)
England: 129,394 / 229.9 (roughly 1 in every 435)

Rep. Of Ireland 248,326 (+469) cases and 4,899 (+3) losses of life.

There have now been a total of over one hundred and fifty million officially reported cases worldwide - 150,794,093. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,171,081. Already 128,239,456 people have recovered.

290421 vaccine doses UK update text

"India needs our support and solidarity.
I’m very grateful to France, Italy, Austria, Finland and Ireland for sending oxygen, medical equipment such as ventilators and COVID medication under our European Union Civil Protection Mechanism.
We are in this together."
Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
(Ireland is sending 395 ventilators and at least 1 oxygen generator.)

Matt Hancock, English Health Minister, had his first jab today - from Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Matt said:
'Brilliant! Got the jab. In & out in 8 minutes. Didn’t hurt at all.
Massive thanks to JVT & the science museum team. When you get the call, get the jab!'
Needless to say the UK public had a field day replying to that... "In & out in 8 minutes" was a gift to any keyboard comedian...
And for anyone who is interested, he wore a plain white t-shirt underneath his button up shirt, to preserve his modesty. 

The Scottish Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith was also vaccinated. He was in a black t-shirt to match his truly gigantic monochrome tattoos. He's got Asclepius (God of medicine) on his chest, and his father Apollo (God of healing, disease, music and light) on his arm.
(Hmmm.... I wonder if Chris Whitty.... naaaah....)

The head of the British Medical Association, and Chief Executive of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, will step down at the end of July. He's had a hell of a year...
He will immediately be given a life peerage and become Lord Simon Stevens. 

Sir Simon Stevens announces retirement from NHS text quote thats very long and image of smiley Mr Stevens

US CDC Study results out yesterday show that fully vaccinated adults aged 65 or older were 94% less likely to be hospitalised with COVID.
Study participants had the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Excellent news, and it backs up UK study results.

Latest published UK Government surveillance suggests that at a national level COVID-19 activity decreased slightly in week 16 (week ending Sunday 25th April).
"Case rates continue to be highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a case rate of 45.5 per 100,000 population. A slight increase compared to the previous week.
The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a rate of 6.3 per 100,000 population.
Case rates per 100,000 remain highest in Yorkshire and the Humber, at 44.7.
Case rates per 100,000 are lowest in the South West, with a rate of 14.2.
The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 106 in week 16, compared to 97 in the previous week.
Seroprevalence data indicates around 63.3% of the population have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 from either infection or vaccination, compared to 16.0% from infection alone.
The hospital admission rate for COVID-19 has fallen – it was 1.24 per 100,000 in week 16, compared to 1.48 per 100,000 in the previous week."

Gavin Williamson (Education Secretary) yesterday addressed the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) Annual Conference, and he is set on a vision for all schools to be part of a Multi-Academy Trust. He reckons the pandemic has shown that the Multi-Academy Trust model works really well.
I've got an idea. Take all of the schools and lets make one giant massive trust to oversee the lot. We could call it.... the Education System. It could be run by the state, led by actual teachers, and not be expected to function as a business or turn a profit. Then all the money would go into schools, not things like 'middle management who only see a classroom when they're inspecting it'. It could be great... 

Yesterday in the English COVID Briefing Jon Van Tam said 'Professor Snape is running our vaccine booster research programme'.
I giggled a bit, assumed I'd misheard and carried on. Sorry. It was true, and I obviously should have taken the pee out of that one... I shall do better in future. 

The US CDC on Tuesday relaxed some of their guidance. Americans are no longer advised to wear masks outdoors unless you are in a crowd.
Over half of US adults have had at least 1 jab, and over a third are fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated adults in America are now allowed to mix outdoors in small groups without masks.
Getting US citizens to come forward for their 2nd dose is proving more difficult than their 1st. That 2nd dose acts like a revision class for your body. It really does pin in that knowledge, and your body will not only boost it's defences, it's very likely it'll also remember the COVID virus for longer. 

India's COVID crisis is spilling over into neighbour Nepal.
Nepal do not have much testing, and incredibly little genome sequencing, but have already identified cases with the UK's Kent B117 and the Indian B1617 variant. It's going to be impossible to really estimate how bad the situation is there, possibly even more so than in India.
Nepal have gone from reporting 150 cases a day to 4,800 in just over 3 weeks. 

UK Government message lateral flow testing helps keep everyone safe and smiley people in a park

"The United Kingdom has provided K2million (£400,000) worth of vital medical equipment to help Papua New Guinea tackle the recent surge in COVID-19 cases."
At the beginning of March 2021 they had reported under 1,500 cases in total for the whole pandemic. That figure is now almost 11,000. Cases do look like they may be slowing, so fingers crossed.  

Exponential spread is the reason COVID can seem to explode rapidly, and because of those asymptomatic cases, unless you know what is happening underneath (with random testing), it can take you completely by surprise.
If everyone with COVID infected 4 other people (at worst, COVID can do 2 of these steps in a week):
1 original person
5 (original + 4)
21 (original + 4, + 4×4 contacts)
1,398,101 = which is roughly the estimate from University of Washington of new daily cases in India.
5,592,405... 22,369,621... 89,478,485... 357,913,941...
Obviously exponential growth of COVID will constantly run into dead ends - once everyone in a household, community or village has been isolated, infected or vaccinated it'll have nowhere to go.

The boss of BioNTech has been quoted in Der Speigel as saying Pfizer / BioNTech expect to request authorisation for 12-15 years olds to be vaccinated very soon, and vaccinations could begin as early as June. They hope to have the trials finished for children of all ages by September.
Their age 12-15 trial of 2,260 adolescents ended in March and was 100% effective at preventing COVID.

What I really don't understand about this £200k flat refurbishment... I live in a rented house, and I'm loathe to even buy new curtains. I've been here 13 years. 13 years. He isn't going to be there 13 years. He might not last the month. Are they going to take it all with them when they move out? 

US CDC Data on reduction in transmission after vaccination mainly text

Rats! Yes, really. There is less traffic and less disturbance, so numbers have risen dramatically. With takeaways, cafes and restaurants closed, and people working from home, the newly enlarged rat population have moved into residential areas to find food. Rats can actually catch COVID, so it's a double problem really.
More people are going to be eating outdoors now, so make sure rubbish and dropped food are swept and cleared up, and if you're in charge of a pub garden or any other outdoor dining area - keep it under close watch. 

A couple named Dan Barker and Lucy Wood gave 6 homeless people cameras to take photos during lockdown. They were paid £20 for every full disposable camera they returned. The photos show the silence and emptiness of London during lockdown.
More poignant is the fact that one of the participants, Kelly, died suddenly. She was just 39. The average life expectancy for a homeless woman in the UK is 43.
You can find the photos at outofhome dot org 

On 27th March Barcelona trialled a mass event by allowing 5,000 people to cram into a concert by rock band 'Love Of Lesbian'. EVERYONE who went had to take a rapid test before entry, everyone wore masks, but they didn't have to socially distance.
It's been announced that after the event only 6 people tested positive, and 4 of those likely caught COVID elsewhere. It did NOT turn into a super-spreader event.
We have to be a bit clever, but we are winning.

Some people. All with hopes and dreams:

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

USA 32,989,068 (+5,373) 588,412 (+75)

India 18,692,720 (+324,624) 207,397 (+2,585)

Brazil 14,523,807 not yet reported today 398,343

France 5,565,852 not yet reported today 103,918

Russia 4,796,557 (+9,284) 109,731 (+364)

Turkey 4,788,700 (+37,674) 39,737 (+339)

UK 4,414,242 (+2,445) 127,502 (+22)

Italy 4,009,208 (+14,320) 120,544 (+288)

Spain 3,514,942 (+10,143) 78,080 (+137)

Germany 3,360,243 (+8,769) 83,096 (+78)

Argentina 2,928,890 not yet reported today 62,947

Colombia 2,824,626 not yet reported today 72,725

Poland 2,785,353 (+8,427) 67,073 (+541)

Iran 2,479,805 (+19,899) 71,351 (+385)

Mexico 2,336,944 (+3,818) 215,918 (+371) 

Ukraine 2,059,465 (+11,627) 43,778 (+387)





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