Sunday 16 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 15th / 16th May 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 15th / 16th May 2021.

The UK added 1,926 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,450,777 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 982,881 tests yesterday.

The counter says 36,573,354 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 20,103,658 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 4 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,679 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 254,870 cases and 4,941 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 163,546,079 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,389,699. Already 141,960,475 people have recovered.

20m second doses

Over 20m UK adults are now fully vaccinated. The entire UK population, including children, is around 68m people.

"In Bolton, where we've seen a number of people in hospital with this new Indian variant, the vast majority of them have been eligible for a jab, but not taken the jab.
So if you're eligible for the jab, if you're over the age of 38, please come forward."
Matt Hancock on Sky News today.
He also said a final decision on whether to reopen further to Step 4 of the roadmap will be taken on 14th June. 

Leicester City beat Chelsea in front of 21,000 live in-person human beings at Wembley on Saturday. This was the latest 'Pilot Event' or 'human trial' and the biggest UK crowd since last spring. We all know how well the Cheltenham horse racing went in March 2020 (spike in cases), fingers crossed this is one goes a bit better...

Sooooo. All that tricky maths on Friday and Saturday, to see if we are likely to be able to out-race the B1617.2 Indian Variant.
I'm definitely not a mathematician, statistician or any of those things, but my genuine feeling is we can't outrun this. It has a high potential to swiftly sweep through the UK, and we may all just have to batten down the hatches and hold tight while it goes (hopefully) past.
We were promised another wave as early as the end of May, this looks like it could be it.
Vaccination seems, from all Indian evidence, to be doing a spectacularly good job of keeping people out of hospital and alive, although a fair number of vaccinated health workers are testing positive. Inevitably some people will still become very ill, but if a million vaccinated people catch COVID because of the Indian variant, it seems likely the lives of around 8,500 people would be saved by their vaccination. And most of them will thankfully never need to know how fortunate they are... 

The UK's SAGE Scientific Advisory Committee have been earning their wages this week. I bet none of them have slept. They keep dropping hints they think we can't outrun this, but they are at least moving fast to give it their best try. Every single life saved is a person.
Today Matt Hancock announced that from next week people aged 35+ will begin getting invites to book your first vaccinations.
Every vaccine dose in an arm makes a difference right now - 1st or 2nd dose. 

It seems a lot of people in the UK have been waiting more than 3 months for your second dose of vaccine (I think this situation is about to resolve very swiftly.) The official UK Pfizer guidance says "at least 3 weeks apart", with no maximum wait. The good news is this seems solid with all the data so far. We haven't yet found the length of wait between shots, which is so long that it has a negative effect.
A little over 3 months seems fine, and any longer gap seems slightly more effective than the original 3 weeks. (That was a gamble we very much won.)
Because 2 doses offers better protection against death, hospitalisation and serious illness, 2nd doses for more mature and vulnerable people are now being brought forward to as early as 8 weeks after the first. 

Matt Hancock said on telly this morning that in Bolton, five people with B1617.2 have been hospitalised after a single vaccination, and one who was fully vaccinated. (It appears there are 18 x B1617.2 people in hospital in total, but I can't confirm that.)
There were 553 positive cases in Bolton in the week ending May 9th, reportedly around half from the 3 main B1617.2 areas. As Matt Hancock said B1617.2 is becoming dominant in Bolton, we can guess conservatively that at least 250 cases are likely to be B1617.2.
No vaccine is 100%. The Pfizer vaccine is around 97% effective from about 2 weeks after your 2nd dose.
A lot of people who have tested positive for B1617.2 in Bolton won't have been vaccinated (it initially spread among teenagers and young people), but still 6 vaccinated/12 unvaccinated people in hospital is NOT unusually high. I can't see anything SO FAR to suggest vaccines are less effective than hoped, or that B1617.2 is more harmful than either wild COVID or the UK/Kent variant which makes up most of our cases. 

Boris is getting a pasting in the media for waiting 3 weeks after he knew B1617.2 looked dodgy, before he barred arrivals from India. Word is he didn't want to upset Prime Minister Modi, who was having his own disaster (and has a lot of power over where billions of vaccinations and medicines are allowed to go).
20,000 extra people travelled from India to the UK before the ban came in. 

UKNHS UK GOV people aged 38 or over can book their COVID vaccinations now

Singapore have had a COVID outbreak which is based around the airport. 92% of staff are vaccinated, so they're pretty disappointed. First look suggests the majority of the vaccinated people with COVID have variant B1617.2. It is frustrating as heck.
I've included a fantastic graphic by Kenneth Choy at Channel News Asia, with some of the information which is shared with the public by the contact tracing teams in Singapore. Public are also told any travel routes or places that people have visited, along with times and dates. They really know how to do contact tracing.
It's not really possible for UK health agencies to share this sort of information on us without specific permission, even if it simply said female, 49, supermarket.

After advice from the US CDC changed to say fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks outdoors or for most indoor occasions, Walmart have said that in their US stores, fully vaccinated customers and staff no longer need to wear masks.
I think "Field Associate" means shop floor staff, and they'll be given $75 each as a thank you once vaccinated. 

Thailand had an excellent year compared to Europe, and managed to avoid massive outbreaks of COVID. Tragically that's changed in the last 6 weeks, and they are reporting around 2,300 cases a day.
They just did a mass testing of inmates in 2 Bangkok prisons and 2,835 inmates tested positive.

Just to confuse you, Taiwan also had an excellent year, but in the last fortnight it's all going a bit pear-shaped for them. They have the biggest outbreak of the entire pandemic, and for the first time have had to ask that positive cases without symptoms stay at home - previously anyone who tested positive was quarantined in hospital.
They have asked people to work from home when possible, and refrain from mixing in homes. Specific school years will move to remote learning.
Some panic buying has taken place.
Their contact tracing is excellent, and 105 cases are linked to a tea house in Wanhua. 

Singapore contact tracing Kenneth Choy

Fighting between Israel and Palestine has escalated rapidly over the past week, and this weekend tens of thousands of people marched in protest in London, Bristol. Paris, Milan, Melbourne, New York etc. There were protest marches and "Free Palestine" marches everywhere.
I truly wish that during a pandemic, someone had found a safer way to adequately protest, and obviously that the whole situation is resolved swiftly. 

India's number of new daily cases has dropped slightly, and possibly more importantly only 1 in 10 COVID tests in Delhi is coming back positive,  as opposed to 1 in every 3 a couple of weeks ago. If this is a plateau, it's at an incredibly high level, equivalent to the UK having 17,000 cases or more a day, so complacency now would be a bad thing, but hopefully the last month was as bad as it will ever get for any population anywhere.
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has had little choice but to announce another week's extension on their lockdown, to give hospitals a chance at some sort of recovery. Best of luck and skill. 

It's been a slow news weekend, and I think we all needed that. I hope you've remembered to take time to treat yourself, and spend time on yourself. You earned it, and you need to look after your head as well as your body.

Today's numbers are YESTERDAY's daily figures for some of the countries reporting the highest number of cases a day. Some smaller countries and territories are also having a hard time, but their population is so small, they rarely show on the charts.
Each number is a unique human being.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (until midnight GMT last night. + is full 24hrs):

India 24,683,065 (+310,822) 270,319 (+4,090)

Brazil 15,590,613 (+69,300) 434,852 (+2,067)

USA 33,695,916 (+25,642) 599,863 (+499)

Argentina 3,290,935 (+21,469) 70,253 (+400)

Colombia 3,103,333 (+18,873) 80,780 (+530)

France 5,863,839 (+15,685) 107,535 (+112)

Turkey 5,106,862 (+11,472) 44,537 (+236)

Germany 3,595,872 (+9,981) 86,669 (+188)

Russia 4,931,691 (+8,790) 115,480 (+364)

Nepal 447,704 (+8,046) 4,856 (+187)

Iran 2,739,875 (+7,723) 76,633 (+200)

Ukraine 2,150,244 (+6,796) 47,942 (+322)

Chile 1,280,252 (+6,736) 27,734 (+87)

Philippines 1,138,173 (+6,725) 19,051 (+93)

Italy 4,153,369 (+6,654) 124,063 (+136)

Japan 671,563 (+5,994) 11,365 (+110)

Peru 1,884,596 (+5,547) 65,911 (+303)

Canada 1,323,681 (+5,276) 24,908 (+39)




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