Tuesday 18 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 17th / 18th May 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 17th / 18th May 2021.

We have a revision to case data today, to remove people added twice because of a lateral flow test and a PCR lab test, so 4,776 cases were removed from the total.

The UK added 2,412 cases today and the total is now 4,450,392 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 967,162 tests yesterday.

The counter says 36,811,405 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 20,564,452 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

932 people were in hospital on Sunday 16th, with 125 using a ventilator yesterday, 17th May.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 7 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,691 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 256,390 (+358) cases and 4,941 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 164,660,382 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,411,800. Already 143,584,699 people have recovered.

36 and 37 year olds can book a jab boring text in a rectangular box

"Over the next 6 weeks, the United States of America will send 80 million doses overseas. That represents 13% of the vaccines produced by the United States by the end of June. This will be more vaccines than any country has actually shared to date."
Joe Biden, US President. (How very refreshing...)
This includes 20 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and 60 million AstraZeneca doses.

If you’re in England and aged 36 or over, or if you turn 36 before 1 July 2021, you can now book your COVID-19 vaccine.

Surge testing bingo winners today:
Hillingdon Council within the HA4 postcode/ Ruislip, Hackney Council within Shoreditch and Dalston, Redbridge Council within IG1, IG6, IG5 and IG7, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea within W11
North West:
Blackburn with Darwen (within Shear Brow and Corporation Park, Billinge and Beardwood, and Bastwell and Daisyfield). Bolton Council (targeted areas within the BL3 postcode), Sefton Council (targeted in Formby)
West Midlands:
Worcestershire County Council (targeted areas in Redditch)

image of Prof Stephen Powis saying vaccination rollout going well, and expanding to age 36 and 37

Today's UK Minister who refuses to rule out local lockdowns is George Eustice, Environment Secretary.

Public Health England's figures showed that, in the week ending Thursday 13th May, out of 315 local authority areas in England:
In 150 areas the weekly new cases had risen
In 143 it had fallen
In 22 it remained the same.
The picture around the country is very varied indeed, cases in Bolton and Bedford had more than doubled.

Matt Hancock was in the commons yesterday and gave ministers updated figures for the B1617.2 Indian variant outbreak.
2,323 cases have now been detected, which is up from 1,313 on Friday. That is the rapid, rapid growth we saw happen in India, and with every statistic like this, another sign we can't outrun it.
In Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, Sefton and Bedford, B1617.2 last week accounted for over 80% of new cases.
Keep in mind that we have every reason to believe vaccinations will prevent the vast majority of people becoming seriously ill, but it still won't be fun.
Get your vaccine booked as soon as you can - whichever dose you are due. If you are over 50 or vulnerable, second doses are being brought forward to 8 weeks. 

Cases of B1617.2 in Bolton first started with school outbreaks, and the rate for teenagers is reportedly around 13 x that of the UK average. Now we are beginning to see that spread, as they infect school staff and their parents, who then spread it among their friends, workmates etc. It will creep up through the age ranges. It's important to note the vast majority of Bolton's cases are still unvaccinated  - and this will be studied in depth by scientists everywhere to assess how effective vaccinations are, as the older, vaccinated populations start to come into contact with infected people.

We still have every reason to believe vaccinations will be incredibly effective at preventing people from developing serious disease. Evidence from India seems to suggest that a fair number of people who have been vaccinated are catching B1617.2, but only a tiny fraction are being hospitalised.
More locally, as of this morning there were 24 COVID patients in Bolton hospital. Two weeks ago there were 13, and last week (I believe) 18. It is a rise, and it may be increasing, but so far, so tentatively okay. 

180521 Daily vaccination totals UK

Tom Wenseleers, Biology and Biostatistics Professor at KU Leven in Belgium, has crunched the latest numbers from Public Health England and it isn't good news. He estimates B1617.2,  the variant first identified in India, to be around 60% more transmissible than UK/Kent variant B117. If you recall, B117 is already 30-70% more transmissible than original Wild COVID. If his maths is right, and I am sad to say I think it could be, we will have little choice but to keep our heads down and ride this out.
This proves yet again that New Zealand's Jacinda Arden really was the clever one, and we should have thrown everything at it while it was all so much easier. 

One of the nurses who cared for Boris when he was in hospital with COVID has resigned over lack of respect for the NHS and healthcare workers from the UK Government.
I'm honestly stunned we have any nurses or school staff left... I imagine the powers-that-be know you are there for the patients and the kids, and they're abusing the fact you are unlikely to abandon them. We shall see what happens once this time has passed. 

Fighting between Israeli and Palestinian factions has continued. The World Health Organisation have said that they are very concerned. Gaza's only Coronavirus lab is now non-functional after being bombed.
Today the United Nations Security Council has held an emergency meeting to discuss diplomatic efforts to encourage a ceasefire. 

The National Audit Office have estimated the cost of the pandemic response in the UK to be £372 BILLION up until the end of May 2021.
I bet New Zealand's tiny bill would make Boris weep.

After stating last week the NHS app was the Test & Trace app., we can all clearly see now that it IS NOT. I did think that was weird, but the link on the gov UK website took me to the wrong page. It now goes to the correct page.
It is its own independent app. and I'm not sure why, but half the people who download it appear to be able to get straight in, and the other half can't.
I was trying to download it to check it out for you guys, but after entering my entire life details, NHS number, photograph of my drivers licence, weight when I was 13 3/4, favourite dinosaur and whether I felt the final episode of Game Of Thrones was a disappointment, I ran out of time (patience) and I'll have to come back to it. 

Luxury Cruise News:
Domestic cruises departing from, and returning to, UK ports are now allowed.
They can operate with up to 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is lower. This capacity limit applies to passengers only, so the staff are extra.
"COVID-secure guidance applies. Groups of more than 6 people or 2 households will not be allowed to mix indoors – whether or not they originally booked in the same group."
I dunno, I'm still just not feeling it... 

Person chatting to elderly lady, both wear masks

The Financial Times have an article about how COVID saw the rich get richer. The mega-rich right at the top of the pile have benefitted most from the pandemic, bouncing currency around, leaping on urgent opportunities with "write your own" paychecks, and raking in government business stimulus cash.
It goes without saying that when someone gets richer, someone else becomes poorer. Guess who? 

The UK Government launched a campaign today to get us all to open the windows... bless them. It's a mere 6 or 7 months since science irrefutably proved the importance of diluting any COVID in the air, by adding extra fresh air. The Victorians weren't daft. They didn't know what they were sending outside, but they knew to open the windows regularly, especially if someone was ill. Not only will it help prevent infection of other people, it's better for someone who has COVID to not re-inhale your own viral particles. This will be the year of the cardigan. All of that time learning to crochet definitely won't have been wasted...

Restrictions eased in much of the UK over the past couple of days. Your own common sense is the best defence against COVID. If you do it as sensibly as possible, all kinds of things can be COVID-safe. Use what you've learned, watch out for yourself, and everyone else.

Some people. They're shown as numbers because I don't have space for all of their names:

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

USA 33,750,602 (+3,163) 600,609 (+76)

India 25,478,736 (+250,766) 282,906 (+4,155)

Brazil 15,661,106 not yet reported today 436,862

France 5,881,137 not yet reported 107,812

Turkey 5,139,485 (+11,937) 45,186 (+203)

Russia 4,957,756 (+8,183) 116,575 (+364)

UK 4,450,392 (+2,412) 127,691 (+7)

Italy 4,167,025 (+4,452) 124,497 (+201)

Spain 3,619,848 (+3,988) 79,502 (+70)

Germany 3,609,912 (+1,620) 86,943 (+73)

Poland 2,856,924 (+1,734) 71,920 (+245)

Iran 2,779,415 (+13,930) 77,532 (+310)

Mexico 2,382,745 (+822) 220,489 (+56)

Ukraine 2,160,095 (+4,095) 48,469 (+285) 
















"The billionaire boom: how the super-rich soaked up Covid cash" https://twitter.com/i/events/1394348827012911110?s=09









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