Tuesday 11 May 2021

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

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

The UK added 2,474 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,439,691 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 955,467 tests yesterday.

The counter says 35,587,384 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 18,088,385 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

1,108 people were in hospital on Sunday 9th May, with 143 people using a ventilator.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 20 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,629 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 253,189 cases and 4,921 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 160,083,826 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,324,958. Already 137,821,105 people have recovered.

uk gov from 17th may you can exercise indoors in classes

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that most of Scotland (excluding Moray) will be moving to Level 2. I covered what changes that'll make yesterday, so I won't repeat myself.

The World Health Organisation have reclassified the Indian Variant B1617.2 as a "Variant of Global Concern" as there is now evidence it is more transmissible,  or catchy. This is the 4th Variant of Global Concern, alongside the UK/Kent B117, the South African B1351 and the Brazilian P1. 

Latest real world data from Public Health England shows 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine cuts your chance of dying from COVID by 97%. That is absolutely astounding and we could never ever have hoped for so much. Obviously we'd love Zero COVID, but making it harmless comes a close second, and we aren't far off.
Two doses of the AstraZeneca jab haven't been given to enough people to accurately assess efficacy, but a single dose of either vaccine shows an 80% overall reduction in mortality (less chance of you catching COVID, and then less chance of dying from it if you do catch it).

India is is no better position than it was 2 weeks ago. It is so incredibly sad and grim over there, and now dozens of bodies are turning up floating in the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers. It's suspected they are from rural areas where there's simply no crematoria which can take them, or relatives can't afford a funeral.
Wood is being shipped into cities for funeral pyres, park flower beds have been converted to burn bodies, and medical oxygen is still in short supply around the country.
In the last week India have officially reported 2,641,016 new cases and the loss of 27,301 people. 

UK Gov vaccination Update 11th May 2021

The World Health Organisation say only 1% of vaccine doses administered have been in Africa, and around a dozen countries still haven't received a single COVID vaccine - so their medics and nurses are still treating COVID+ patients without that thick layer of life-saving protection.
The COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative wanted to immunise all health care workers worldwide within the first 100 days of 2021. Sadly it did not. The future will judge us badly for that. And we will deserve it.

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have authorised the Pfizer vaccine for young people aged 12-15. 

Although we are all a bit nervous about the Indian variant B1617.2, we don't have any evidence it's more harmful. Out today is not-yet-peer-reviewed research from Ravi Gupta and the University of Cambridge, plus the Indian CDC and others, regarding the B1617.2 Variant.
They found that, in a lab, antibodies taken from people who had been given the Pfizer vaccine were a bit less successful at killing this variant than wild COVID, but still mainly effective, and the collection of mutations did NOT all add up to some terrifying effect:
"B.1.617 spike bearing L452R, E484Q and P681R (mutations) has modest ability to avoid neutralising antibodies elicited by BNT162b2 (Pfizer) vaccination. The fold reduction for the two RBD mutations L452R and E484Q was no greater than the individual mutations alone, arguing against use of the term “double mutant”. The loss of neutralisation of B.1.617 has likely contributed to an epidemic wave in India where background infection to the Wuhan-1 D614G (wild COVID) in 2020 was between 20-50%"
This is backed up by anecdotal evidence from India, where some vaccinated people are catching COVID, but not becoming severely ill. An example from Professor Vincent Rajkumar of the Mayo Institute:
"One piece of positive news speaking to leaders of 2 large hospitals in India where most healthcare workers were fully vaccinated: No serious COVID cases among any of the vaccinated healthcare workers during this current crisis. The vaccines are working."
That'll give Boris some easier sleep tonight. Now, we just need to get everyone vaccinated... EVERYONE...

Merck, the company who make Ivermectin have made an announcement to try and STOP people using it for COVID patients.
"It is important to note that, to-date, our analysis has identified:
No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies;
No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and;
A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.
We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information."
(I.e. it's mainly for intestinal parasites, that's it.)
Brazilian President Bolsonaro on Friday defended using the drug, as well as supporting use of hydroxychloroquine - which was ruled out so long ago that my phone has forgotten how to spell it. 

300421 People aged 40 or over can book their COVID jab

UK school staff union UNISON have asked for detailed local information on variants before the mandate for high school pupils to wear masks is relaxed. They are quite fairly concerned about the Indian variant B1617.2, which is spreading quite rapidly in a couple of UK areas (mainly parts of the Northwest and London).

More bad news from India, and this is pretty grim I'm afraid. Doctors around India are reporting some recovered COVID patients are affected by Mucormycosis, a very rare but dangerous fungal infection which is also known as Black Fungus. I cannot see that any other country has reported any cases so far.
It may be related to steroid use to control the COVID symptoms, and the vast majority of cases seem to occur in diabetic patients.
You can get the infection from soil, dirt or contaminated food, and normal immunity will usually prevent it. People come into contact with these spores all the time.
In patients with reduced immunity, it can take hold, usually in the nose, lungs or airways before travelling. In the recovered Indian COVID patients it seems to be entering the nose, spreading to the eyes and in very rare instances reaching the brain.
For patients severely affected the outlook is not bright. Around 50/50.
If you are diabetic and catch COVID, be sensible about controlling your sugar levels while you are in recovery. Just be sensible anyway, your diabetes nurse will love you for it. 

HOAX of the Day:
There is a story being shared on Facebook, which says a 2 year old in Virginia died after having the Pfizer vaccine early this year. There is no evidence or information to support this, no word from any hospital or doctor, and no 2 year olds were officially given the Pfizer vaccine until March - as part of a very carefully observed trial, where all participants are currently alive and well. Anyone can report a vaccine side effect (in the UK and the USA). It seems someone filled out a report form just to share it and upset people. Fact-checker Snopes and the US CDC have called a hoax, and it's a very mean one. 

Germany is now offering the Johnson&Johnson Janssen vaccine to any adults.
The risk of developing the rare blood clotting appears to be around 1-3 in a million, and although anyone can choose to have it, they are currently advising that it's better used on people over age 60. 

India are working really hard to try and fight COVID, but the sheer scale is almost unimaginable. The state of Utter Pradesh alone has deployed 141,610 teams and 21,242 supervisors to try and find cases, isolate them, supply them with basic medicines, and test their contacts (something you'll note that the UK have never bothered to do...). 

2nd dose provdes longer term protection. Don't delay, get yours

Gwyneth Paltrow Of The Week:
Gwyneth was interviewed in The Guardian today, and says she got so low during lockdown that she ate bread. Horrific. Surely someone can help this poor woman.... because she is so far off this planet...
My lowest point in lockdown was 4.30pm on June 27th 2020, when it was clear the UK were about to mess it up, were continuing with an idea of herd immunity, and I had to report that politely to you lot. I was very tired, demoralised and grumpy, and had an accident where I completely smashed all the ligaments in my right hand and wrist. It was entirely my own fault.
I also ate bread.
A year of typing one-handed and eating butties fades to nothing compared to the 3.3 million families who have lost someone. 

Norway have done a marvellous job with controlling COVID so far. Their Prime Minister Erna Solberg didn't mess about, and started out hard. As a result until November last year they'd only had 20,000 cases in total - the population is under 5.5m, so the UK equivalent would be around 250,000 cases. They haven't performed quite so well since, but still levels of COVID are relatively low compared to much of Europe.
Their health committee has decided a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can be given within 3 months, and they have orders coming in, so they are able to be a bit picky. They have just advised that the Expert Committee "...does not recommend the inclusion of vaccines based on adenoviral vectors in the national vaccination program“.
This means they won't be using Johnson & Johnson-Janssen or Oxford-AstraZeneca, China's CanSino, Russia's Sputnik V, or many of the other lower cost vaccines, including the oral vaccine currently in development by Vaxart.
They still have plenty of choice though. The World Health Organisation tally says 97 different vaccines are now in clinical development - either finishing trials, waiting for approval or approved. 

Royal London Hospital closed their huge 'surge' COVID ICU today. Over 500 patients received care there, and the final few have been moved to the main ICU. Best of luck to them all, and thank you to all of the staff who worked there, and everywhere, to help save the lives of so many people.

More GOOD vaccine news. I just wish we already had one for everyone. Stay well. Back Thursday...

Some numbers. Each one has a name and a face:

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

USA 33,519,257 (+3,949) 596,267 (+88)

India 23,311,156 (+319,229) 253,620 (+3,595)

Brazil 15,214,030 not yet reported today 423,436

France 5,780,379 not yet reported today 106,684

Turkey 5,059,433 (+14,497) 43,589 (+278)

Russia 4,896,842 (+8,115) 113,976 (+329)

UK 4,439,691 (+2,474) 127,629 (+20)

Italy 4,123,230 (+6,946) 123,282 (+251)

Spain 3,586,333 (+4,941) 79,100 (+205)

Germany 3,538,927 (+3,573) 85,623 (+142)

Argentina 3,165,121 not yet reported today 67,821

Colombia 3,015,301 not yet reported today 78,342

Poland 2,838,180 (+3,098) 70,336 (+319)

Iran 2,691,352 (+18,133) 75,568 (+307)












"Doctors in India warn about 'black fungus', a fungal infection found in some recovering COVID-19 patients" https://twitter.com/i/events/1391701565552041995?s=09















"A two-year-old did not die after receiving the Pfizer vaccine during clinical trials, according to CDC and fact-checkers" https://twitter.com/i/events/1391849772521115649?s=09







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