Thursday 8 April 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th / 8th April 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th / 8th April 2021.

We have new advice about the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine today in the UK, so pay attention to that part.

The UK added 3,030 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,370321 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,034,088 tests yesterday.

The counter says 31,807,124 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 6,091,905 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

3,124 people were in hospital on Tuesday 6th, with 440 using a ventilator yesterday, Weds 7th April.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 53 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 126.980 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 239,723 (+398) cases and 4,737 (+5) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 134,092,613 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 2,906,902. Already 108,059,594 people have recovered.

Prof Wei Shen Lim under 30's should be offered alternative vaccine to oxford astra zeneca

The UK, and specifically Wales, has received the first of our 17 million dose order of the Moderna vaccine. Immunisation started yesterday, with a 24 year old female unpaid carer.  

The big news over the last couple of days is the rare blood clotting disorder and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. It's been looking more and more likely there's a link, so the news is not exactly unexpected.
The European Medicines Agency have met again and their decision was to officially state that there IS a link. They don't yet know exactly what that link is, or why it occurs, but they're as certain as they can be that it does exist, and it should be listed as a possible side effect.
Emer Cooke, the head of the EMA said:
“Based on the current available evidence specific risk factors, such as age, gender, or previous medical history of clotting disorders, have not been able to be confirmed as the rare events are seen in all ages, and in men and women.
Any national decision on the optimal use in vaccination campaigns will also take into account the pandemic situation in any individual country, and other factors such as hospitalization and availability of vaccines."
Sabine Straus, EMA Medicines Evaluation Board chair had the figures:
"As of April 4, 2021, the new drug safety database had received a total of 169 cases of CVST and 53 of splanchnic vein thrombosis. And at that moment 34 million people were vaccinated in the European Economic Area, and the UK.”
That is 1 in 153,000. Roughly. 

The UK swiftly reacted by releasing our own updated review from MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency). The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) have announced that people under 30 should not be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine, they should be given an alternative where possible. (Handy we've just had that Moderna delivery.)
Their updated UK figures show:
- Over 20m doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine delivered
- 79 cases of rare blood clotting - 51 women and 28 men (far more women have currently been vaccinated than men).
- ALL cases were after the first dose.
- 19 of those 79 people have died - 13 women, 8 men
- 19 of those who died were under age 50 (3 of them were under age 30).
- "As a precaution, administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in people of any age, who are at higher risk of blood clots because of their medical condition, should be considered only if benefits from the protection from COVID-19 infection outweighs potential risks.
- Anyone who experienced cerebral or other major blood clots occurring with low levels of platelets, after their first vaccine dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should not have their second dose. Anyone who did not have these side effects should come forward for their second dose when invited.
- Pregnancy predisposes to thrombosis, therefore women should discuss with their healthcare professional whether the benefits of having the vaccine outweigh the risks for them.
- The MHRA recently confirmed that the evidence to date does not suggest that the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca causes venous thromboembolism without a low platelet count. It is important to note that this type of blood clot together with lowered platelets can rarely occur naturally in unvaccinated people as well as in people with COVID-19 disease."
They add that everyone should be aware of symptoms that could indicate you have had a potentially dangerous reaction:
"While the MHRA continues to investigate these cases, as a precautionary measure anyone that develops symptoms after vaccination is advised to seek prompt medical advice.
Symptoms to watch for are those such as shortness of breath, chest or persistent abdominal pain, leg swelling, blurred vision, confusion or seizures, unexplained pin-prick rash, or bruising beyond the injection site.
Furthermore anybody with new onset of severe or persistent headache that does not respond to simple painkillers starting four days or more after vaccination should speak to their doctor."

medium risk 070421 MHRA advice blood clotting rsk factors by age compared to vaccination

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine trial in children has also been paused while the blood-clotting events are examined. Vaccination has to be far, far less risky than the disease itself, or the trial will be abandoned. (It seems unlikely it'll resume with their version 1 vaccine.)
Other vaccines are already also in trials with children and young people.

Matt Hancock, UK Health Minister has also responded, to reassure people that we still have enough vaccines for everyone regardless. (Just a bit. We have orders for many tens of millions still to come.)

Matt Hancock was also on the radio this morning because Imperial College modelling suggested the UK would have 'herd immunity' when 73.4% of people have protection, either through vaccination or previous infection - which could be as early as Monday 12th April.
Sadly for this aspect, we started by vaccinating mainly the people who stay home. Although we have a level of herd immunity, and care home outbreaks really should become a thing of the past, we don't yet have enough immunity among the under 50's to break sufficient lines of transmission. Slow reopening is still prudent. 

Matt Hancock Vaccination statistics text with small scary image of Matt for no reason at the bottom right

A study published in The Lancet 2 days ago is creating some fun headlines. Titled "6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236,379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records", they wanted to find out how often COVID infection causes damage to your brain.
They took a group of COVID patients, and control groups of both flu and respiratory infection patients, and 6 months after illness, examined how many had been diagnosed with 14 different conditions related to your brain: Intracranial haemorrhage; ischaemic stroke; parkinsonism; Guillain-Barré syndrome; nerve, nerve root, and plexus disorders; myoneural junction and muscle disease; encephalitis; dementia; psychotic, mood, and anxiety disorders (grouped and separately); substance use disorder; and insomnia.
The results are not good.
34% of COVID patients had been diagnosed with 1 or more neurological or mental conditions within 6 months.
Every single condition was more likely among the group who had recovered from COVID.
Every condition was even more likely, the worse your COVID was.
Some of these events are fairly rare (1 in 1,000 or less), some were very common (mood disorders), some appear to improve over the 6 months, and some of them may evolve over time (e.g. Parkinson's).
It's a part of a much bigger picture, and we may not see all of it for a very long time.
You know my thoughts on Long COVID... I've always thought I'd rather not play with something I don't understand. 

The UK's Kent B117 variant is now the dominant strain in the USA according to the CDC. (World-beating Boris....)

New Zealand have barred entry to anyone travelling from India, including New Zealand citizens, until April 28th. It's a very strong move, and if anyone was going to make it, you'd expect it to be Jacinda. 

India are reporting huge numbers of new cases each day (around 100,000), as are Brazil. Brazil lost a heartbreaking 7,944 people in the last 48 hours alone. They are both really in a pretty poor position, and it's unsure what will happen next in India, which managed to mainly escape the worst of the earlier waves. Brazil is in a very bad way, and new figures just released show 51% of young adults 18-44 who are intubated are dying - it was 35% a year ago, and is suspected to be because of the P1 Manaus Brazilian variant.

Some of the other countries standing out as being in a really bad place right now include Turkey (99,000 cases in the last 48 hours), Iran and Argentina, Poland, Hungary, and the USA, where cases are now going up again in some areas. 

Health is a right World Health Organisation with image of love heart with a circle pen drawn around it

In happier news, many (especially smaller) nations, have declared themselves currently COVID-free, after managing to eliminate all cases. They include Macao, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Greenland, Saint Pierre Miquelon, Monserrat, Micronesia and the Faeroe Islands, and Tajikistan.

Kiribati, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, Tonga, Turkmenistan and Tuvalu have still, officially, managed to escape COVID completely...

Matt Hancock has taken to tweeting out images with scary photos of himself in the corner. I do not know why. I've included today's vaccine stats plus scary Matt above for your entertainment...

Bhutan has a population of 735,000 people, they aren't financially rich, and they have just 37 doctors, but within 1 week they managed to vaccinate 62% of their population.
By Tuesday, according to Telegraph Business, thanks to their troops of citizen volunteers, they had vaccinated 85% of all adults with their first dose - surpassing even Israel. You utter stars.
We can all learn from each other...

Some numbers. Each one could look at the same sky, and feel the same breeze, as you:

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

USA 31,659,804 (+22,561) 573,134 (+285)

Brazil 13,197,031 not yet reported today 341,097

India 13,045,065 (+119,004) 167,592 (+700)

France 4,841,308 not yet reported today 97,722

Russia 4,614,834 (+8,672) 101,845 (+365)

UK 4,370,321 (+3,030) 126,980 (+53)

Italy 3,717,602 (+17,221) 112,861 (+487)

Turkey 3,633,925 not yet reported today 32,943

Spain 3,326,736 not yet reported today 76,037

Germany 2,940,682 (+13,110) 78,326 (+152)

Poland 2,499,507 (+27,887) 56,659 (+954)

Argentina 2,450,068 not yet reported today 56,832

Mexico 2,261,879 (+5,499) 205,598 (+596)

Iran 2,006,934 (+22,586) 63,884 (+185)

Ukraine 1,803,998 (+19,419) 35,962 (+464)

Czechia 1,567,848 (+7,015) 27,466 (+56)

Indonesia 1,552,880 (+5,504) 42,227 (+163)

Netherlands 1,327,136 (+7,783) 16,691 (+19)

Canada 1,032,945 (+4,904) 23,201 (+28)





  1. Since I've been suffering with long covid, I stopped reading everything as I was getting myself stressed out. Why I've not been here for a bit. But I do love your writing, your style and your posts. You really have been the voice of reason and fact through this and for that, thank you xxx

    1. Oh bless you. I know you don't often have time to come back, so you most likely won't read this, but I think of you often, and I know you are really suffering. I hope life is still making you smile x


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