Thursday 20 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 19th / 20th May 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 19th / 20th May 2021.

The UK added 2,874 cases today (UP slightly from 2,657 a week earlier) and now has reported a total of 4,455,221 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,180,660 tests yesterday.

The counter says 37,250,363 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 21,239,471 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

894 people were in hospital on Tuesday 18th (DOWN from 1,098 a week earlier), with 122 using a ventilator yesterday, Wednesday 19th May (DOWN from 136 a week earlier).

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 127,701 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 257,362 (+469) cases and 4,941 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 165,953,677 reported cases worldwide. The official number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,438,682. Already over 145,124,456 people have recovered.

Remember to open the window when friends are round - 3 friends playing computer games

The EU have decided they will reopen the borders to visitors who are fully vaccinated with an EU authorised vaccine. Visitors from countries with "good epidemiological situations", (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore etc), will not have to be vaccinated.
Remember individual countries may still decide on stronger border controls, and the situation can change at any time without warning.

AstraZeneca and Oxford Uni are working on booster jabs, and we have good news. Matt Hancock alluded to it yesterday in the briefing, but didn't give us any numbers because it's not yet been published.
There were a few worries that by using another similarly based injection, the human body would begin to recognise and fight off the whole thing, but rumour is that the results are excellent. The Financial Times is reporting anonymous sources, who say that when they gave people a 3rd dose of the AstraZeneca jab, the immune response was incredibly robust.
The actual report will follow soon.  

The UK's NHS app., which you can use to prove vaccination status when travelling internationally, has updated today.
Bizarrely it now has categories with space for information relating to your mental and physical health, family, lifestyle and social circumstances, ethnic origin, biometric data, criminal convictions and "alleged criminal behaviour".
I know it's an NHS app. and not an "International Travel" app., but it's not a "UK Citizenship" app. either.
Human rights people are not amused. 

200521 daily vaccination doses uk

In the USA there has been a spike in racist crimes towards people of Asian and Pacific Island descent. This is because racist people are so stupid, they don't even understand the difference between Chinese, Hawaiian, Tasmanian and Japanese. The US House has passed a specific COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in an effort to stop it.
For those who need to hear it, no, that elderly Asian woman from the corner shop did NOT sit in her kitchen and invent COVID, then release it in some sort of Megamind plan for world domination. She's just as frustrated and scared by it as you are. 

There has been a bit of a spat between Arvind Kerjiwal, Delhi's Chief Minister, and Singapore. He said that they were keeping secret a new variant that is especially dangerous to children.
Helpfully Singapore have very few cases, robust hospitals and lots of genome testing, and I think if they were hiding something, they'd have to be excellent at it. There doesn't appear to be any rumour or evidence to back up his claim.
Singapore are dealing with a new Variant of Concern, but it's B1617.2, the variant first discovered in India.
India's Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar has been very blunt:
"...irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships.
So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India." 

Malawi's Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda yesterday publicly burned 19,610 expired doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. They want to reassure the public they won't use anything that isn't completely safe.
Malawi and South Sudan are both in the same position. South Sudan received their doses from COVAX the day before they received a smaller donated batch of vaccines. They didn't realise that the second shipment had less than a month before they expired, or they would have used them first. They only have the money to vaccinate a few thousand people each day at most, so it was impossible to use the jabs up in time once they realised the error.
Previous testing has shown the majority of drugs, including vaccines, are fine and still effective for years, but the COVID vaccine is new, so it had to be given a temporary "use by" time limit. I believe for AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson that it's 6 months. WHO have asked all countries to retain any expired vaccines, so that safety and effectiveness testing can be carried out.

Excess mortality England May 2020 to present 200521 all age groups

There is an excellent, yet harrowing article about India in The Guardian. The situation there has not improved, and with COVID spreading fairly rapidly through villages where testing is rare, many of those lost will never be counted.
Cremations and funerals are, in many cases, costing more because wood, time and space is in such short supply, and relatives (often sick themselves or with other family members to care for) are instead burying the deceased in the sands around the River Ganges, or immersing them into the river.
The Ganges is incredibly massive, so by the time the river has flowed past several villages it is truly grim. Nets are being used to try and prevent bodies washing into heavily populated areas, and poorer families in some areas are being given the equivalent of $48 to pay cremation costs.

I've included 3 images showing 'excess mortality' for different age groups in England over the course of the pandemic. Excess mortality is the extra people who have died, above and beyond what we would usually expect. It is perhaps the best measure of how many people COVID has cost us, however they died.
It also clearly shows that children haven't been falling out of trees, or being hit by cars, or any of those other things that can make childhood dangerous... 

Excess mortality England May 2020 to present 200521 age 0 to 24

A new study from Brown's University, on behalf of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has "synthesized existing data from more than 81 million patients and found that risk of developing CVST blood clots is eight to 10 times higher following a COVID-19 infection as compared to the risk associated with receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine."
COVID is nasty... these are not the only types of blood clots that it causes.  

It appears some people are booking two holidays to ensure they get at least one - a UK based break and an overseas holiday. It is a really worrying situation for the travel companies, as they know there will inevitably be a sudden late rush of last minute cancellations somewhere.
The same thing happens with restaurants - people book 2 or 3 and pick one on the day. Just. STOP.
Please, please encourage people to stop this sort of behaviour. These businesses are clinging on to solvency by the skin of their teeth. They can only operate at reduced capacity anyway, you would be one of their few customers. Not turning up, when it's too late to replace you, means they still have to pay all of their costs but they don't earn. In order to survive under those conditions, they have to charge non-refundable deposits, raise the prices, or go under. None of those is the best solution for anyone, and charging more may send them under anyway. You could genuinely break their business just because by 6pm you had gone off the idea of eating Italian.
Consider the staff and their families. Be sure when you book, and unless you can't go for a reason you'd find wholly acceptable, TURN UP. 

Excess mortality England May 2020 to present 200521 age 24 to 49

We are seeing a very slight rise in cases in the UK, although we are still seeing incredibly low numbers of cases in most areas, with some continuing to go down. It's that rotten B1617.2 bringing case numbers up in places like the North West and London, and a good percentage are being spotted during surge testing. Surge testing catches asymptomatic people who might never even know. Every single case we find and isolate, is a person who isn't spreading COVID. The more we slow it down, the better chance we have of keeping up.

Some numbers. All people, hurtling through space on the same chunk of rock:

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

USA 33,804,454 (+2,130) 602,009 (+60)

India 26,022,499 (+251,094) 291,112 (+3,956)

Brazil 15,815,191 not yet reported today 441,864

France 5,917,397 not yet reported today 108,181

Turkey 5,160,423 (+9,385) 45,626 (+207)

Russia 4,974,908 (+9,232) 117,361 (+396)

UK 4,455,221 (+2,874) 127,701 (+7)

Italy 4,178,261 (+5,741) 124,810 (+164)

Germany 3,632,651 (+4,874) 87,493 (+88)

Spain 3,631,661 (+5,733) 79,601 (+33)

Poland 2,861,351 (+2,086) 72,500 (+250)

Iran 2,804,632 (+12,428) 77,994 (+229)

Mexico 2,387,512 (+2,000) 220,850 (+104) 




 "The European Union announces reopening of borders for fully vaccinated visitors"

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