Friday 21 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st May 2021

The UK added 2,829 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,457,923 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 982,099 tests yesterday.

The counter says 37,518,614 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 21,659,783 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

913 people were in hospital on Weds 19th, with 123 people using a ventilator yesterday, 20th May.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 9 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,710 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 257,362 cases and 4,941 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 166,224,701 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,451,442. Already 147,028,461 people have recovered.

Open a window, Wear a cardi, save the nhs

"The R range for England is 0.9 to 1.1 and the growth rate range for England is -2% to +1% per day as of 21 May 2021."

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Moray can move down to Level 2 restrictions from tonight, but case numbers are too high in Glasgow, so people there will remain in Level 3 restrictions for at least another week. Sorry guys.

Added to surge testing for Variants of Concern in England:
Bedford Borough Council (Kingsbrook, Cauldwell and Queens Park areas and the village of Wixams)

As of yesterday's figures, the UK has now detected 3,424 cases of B1617.2,  the variant first identified in India, strain no.2.

Latest PHE figures show the Bolton case rate stands at 341.5 per 100,000, which is almost 17 times the England average of 20.4 per 100,000.
7.5% of tests are positive (positivity rate).
About 1/3 of all Bolton's cases are children aged 5-14.
This suggests that the Indian variant is more easily transmitted between children, but it's definitely not a given, because it could simply have broken out among children first.

indieSage 210521 variant of concern cases in bolton by age over time

Today's indieSAGE Briefing tagline was "pretty flat".
Cases across the UK are fairly flat, which is a continuing reduction in some areas, balancing with an increase (mainly due to Indian Variant B1617.2) in other areas.
B1617.2 now accounts for almost 1/3 of new cases in England.
Cases in Scotland have been rising for the past 3 weeks, and it's not showing signs of levelling off. That could also be the effect of B1617.2 outbreaks in Glasgow and Moray.
They looked more closely at Bolton, where the case rate among children 0-14 is 730 per 100,000 per week. That's staggeringly high, and means 1 in every 137 children in Bolton has COVID right now (or at least they did on 15th May). Cases in Bolton have been doubling weekly.
Bolton's vaccination rates for 1st and 2nd doses are almost exactly identical to the UK average each week , so vaccination doesn't have anything to do with the reason Bolton is having this disaster.
Professor Ravi Gupta from University College London answered more questions about 'variants'. There wasn't really anything that we haven't covered before, which was refreshing.

UK Prime Minister Alex De Pfeffel yesterday announced the plan for a new ‘Global Pandemic Radar’ to identify and track new COVID variants and emerging diseases.
"WHO will lead work with the UK, Wellcome Trust other partners and nations to develop an advanced international pathogen surveillance network."
The UK are so world-beating at genomics, and maintaining a level of COVID infections, that we are pretty much doing a lot of this anyway.
"The pathogen surveillance network will save lives and protect health systems by spotting diseases before they cause future pandemics and enabling the rapid development of vaccines, treatments and tests."
If we are playing a large part in keeping an eye on the world, you'd better hope we learn how to react more quickly. 

Friends for dinner - open a window

Volunteers on the UK's Novovax Trial are pretty darn peeved that they can't prove they are fully vaccinated using the NHS COVID app.
Well.... it's a trial. The whole point is to check this vaccine is safe and works. We think it will, but you can't really prove it does, until we know it does...
Volunteers believe they've been had, and were lured into thinking that taking part in the trial would get them vaccinated early (well, technically, it did), and allow them certain extra freedoms internationally (no-one could ever actually promise that).
It's an unfortunate position to find themselves in, especially should they wish to go abroad, as many countries will also only accept vaccines authorised by their own health committees or government.
According to comments in The Guardian, volunteers are even seeking alternative COVID vaccinations, without declaring they are part of the trial. Not only is this dangerous, but it messes up the trial. If they have to repeat it, it will hold up authorisation by around 6 months.
Novovax is expected to ask for UK approval in July at the earliest.  

Global Pandemic Radar announcement 210521

The UK Government are running a consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes. They want YOUR opinion.  Should it be mandatory for all staff to be vaccinated (or have a legitimate medical exemption)?
If you have something to say, Google 'consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes' and tell them what you think within the next 4 days.

As I have no world news today, I'll tell you about how 'COVID passports' are going elsewhere.
Denmark launched their Coronapas back in mid-April, so they're getting used to it now. You can take a test and then for the next 72 hours you get a 'pass'. You also get a pass if you tested positive 2-12 weeks ago, or are fully vaccinated.
A pass can be used for some of your international travel, but also allows you to access some non-essential businesses, such as hairdressers, beauty salons, indoor gyms, restaurants, museums and theatres.
DW News reports that around 8% of Danes are tested for COVID every day, and information on how many people have tested positive is updated almost live, with the area, so that people know where to be cautious.
Like the UK, all testing is free. Denmark have a population of 5.8m, less than 1/10th of the UK population. and have lost 2,506 people. Right now cases are rising slightly, so as an experiment it's definitely not an amazing success, but they are doing better than some other European nations, so it's not a failure either.
Importantly, you can't ever directly compare any country with another. Denmark's population are far more spread out than the UK's for a start. There are cultural differences, weather, location, density, traditional behaviours, use of public transport etc etc. There are more differences than we'd ever begin to realise... 

210521 surveillance overview of variants of concern UK to 12th May

It's the weekend - hurrah! I've had 2 poorly boys this week (negative tests), so I for one am delighted it's Friday. I SHALL be having a treat, just for me, and I think it's going to be an exceedingly long bath, with a glass of beverage and plenty of bubbles. Remember to treat yourself - you have earned it! You made it through another week, and we kept moving forward. We may not be going as quick as we'd like, but we WILL get to the the end. I promise you.

Back Sunday. Have an excellent weekend, ignore the weather. Choose Outdoors or Open A Window, Wear A Cardi, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All people. All very much just like you:

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

USA 33,836,077 (+2,896) 602,659 (+43)

India 26,263,164 (+232,490) 295,047 (+3,682)

Brazil 15,898,558 not yet reported today 444,391

France 5,568,551 not yet reported today 108,314

Turkey 5,160,423 not yet reported today 45,626

Russia 4,983,845 (+8,937) 117,739 (+378)

UK 4,457,923 (+2,829) 127,710 (+9)

Italy 4,183,476 (+5,218) 125,028 (+133)

Germany 3,640,085 (+1,581) 87,667 (+28)

Spain 3,636,453 (+4,792) 79,620 (+19)

Argentina 3,447,044 not yet reported today 72,699

Colombia 3,177,212 not yet reported today 83,233

Poland 2,863,031 (+1,679) 72,691 (+191)

Iran 2,815,882 (+11,250) 78,194 (+200)

Mexico 2,390,140 (+2,628) 221,080 (+230)

Ukraine 2,175,382 (+4,984) 49,101 (+202) 




UK variants of concern distribution  -


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