Sunday 23 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 22nd / 23rd May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 22nd / 23rd May 2021

The UK added 2,235 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,462,538 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 982,099 tests yesterday.

The counter says 37,943,681 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 22,643,417 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 5 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,721 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 258,267 cases and 4,941 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 167,360,571 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,475,049. Already 148,377,406 people have recovered.

If meeting up, outdoors is safest UK Gov drawing of 2 ladies sitting outside drinking wine and chatting

"60 million vaccine doses have been given to adults across the UK.
Jab by jab this life-saving programme, unparalleled in our history, is getting us back to the things we love. Thank you to everyone who has made this happen.
Please get both your vaccines when it's your turn."
Boris Johnson, UK PM 

People in England aged 32 and 33 can now book your COVID vaccinations. 

Surge testing has been expanded to more areas of London. It will in part focus on secondary schools, as spread among older kids has been a big factor in Bolton with the B1617.2 'Indian' variant.

Naughty Naughty UK Government. It appears a page was missing from the latest data regarding the spread of the Indian Variant B1617.2. That page concerns spread in schools.
My eyes tell me that this variant is spreading more readily between school pupils, and I'm definitely not the first person to spot this.
It seems a particularly unwise moment to tell kids they can take their masks off in class, no?
Teach 3 or 4 classes of 30 teenage kids tomorrow? In North Manchester? Without masks?
Bolton, Bury, Sefton and several other local authority areas, and many individual schools, have decided to ask young people to please keep the masks ON for now. Follow the advice given by your own school. 

Yorkshire and the Humber have decided the North West and London have far too much airtime, so they have their own variant now.
There have been at least 49 cases of the "Yorkshire Triple Mutant" , which has been marked as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI). There's no assumption that it has any particular qualities to make it more dangerous or transmissible, it's just a very strange mutation and it looks weird. 

230521 60m COVID vaccine doses test over union flag

The big news today is that we have (not-yet-peer-reviewed) figures from Public Health England regarding how effective vaccines are against the B1617.2 Variant first identified in India. It's not great news, but is what we were expecting, and definitely could have been much worse.
Because it takes longer to get information on how many people will become seriously ill, and how many won't survive, and measuring transmissibility is tricky (how catchy it is) because of all those asymptomatic people, right now we only have clear data on how many vaccinated people develop symptomatic infection.
Symptomatic infection is anyone with any symptoms - those people who order a test and self-isolate.
(The PHE Study compares the B1617.2 variant with the UK/Kent B117 variant which has accounted for most UK cases over the last 6 months.)
"The study found that, for the period from 5 April to 16 May:
- the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant 2 weeks after the second dose, compared to 93% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant
- 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant compared to 66% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant
- both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from B.1.617.2, 3 weeks after the first dose compared to around 50% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant"

The huge jump in efficacy between 1st and 2nd doses explains why Matt Hancock and his crew were so keen last briefing on promoting 2nd vaccinations. Remember we are in a race here, and every % helps - book it.
And also remember, the numbers for those protected from serious illness should be far, far, far better. You might have to put up with catching it and having a couple of rough days, but even with a single dose of vaccination, you are far more likely to be here to moan about it afterwards, and as far as we can tell, far less likely to end up with Long COVID.

"So the good news about today's story is that it confirms that FULL vaccination still provides a way out (alongside other measures).
The bad news is that it makes proceeding with current roadmap a very bad idea & moving to Step 3 last Monday might have been a big mistake."
Professor Christina Pagel, indieSAGE member and Director of Clinical Research at University College London. 

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

Germany have banned visitors from the UK. In fact they've actually banned visitors from loads of places, so don't you be feeling special.
They already have cases of the Indian variant (over 40 countries have detected it), but the sheer fact that UK case numbers could, in the very worst case scenario, be about to balloon, will not be lost on German Health Authorities. The world is watching Bolton and London right now to see what happens next. 

Indian doctors have now reported over 9,000 cases of COVID patients in recovery developing mucormycosis, the black fungus. If you remember, this is a common fungus found in soil, and usually the human body brushes it off.
It seems to be linked to uncontrolled sugar levels and/or possible use of unnecessary additional steroids during COVID treatment.
The sheer number of people developing mucormycosis has caused a shortage of the drugs needed to treat it. Which is just what India needs right now...
Advice to any diabetic COVID patients, especially in India, is to watch your sugar levels carefully during recovery.

Meanwhile case numbers in India continue at an incredibly high level, and as we all know, are no indicative of what is happening in rural towns and villages, where testing is rare.
Even in Delhi, it's been decided to continue the lockdown for another week, despite the financial implications for citizens. 

I've never beaten about the bush, clearly the UK's initial strategy was for us to all catch COVID, carefully avoiding the elderly and vulnerable, and develop herd immunity before Winter. Nice plan, but it was ridiculously unfeasible.
The government have denied it ever since.
Dominic Cummings has written a huge "expose all" thread on Twitter, explaining it was the plan, hence they only expected one wave of COVID initially.
This thread has been shared by some genuinely informed people, and it reached as far as Alistair McLellan, the editor of the Health Service Journal,  who has confirmed it.
"Certainly was - had a number of conversations with v senior NHS leaders about it in March. Plan didn't last long tho".
Dominic also talks about secrecy hampering  efforts, and preventing anyone actually assessing how badly it was going. 

up to 8th may all sequenced variants of concern compares b117 with b16172 over time

35,000 Catholic pilgrims heading to Romania's biggest open air religious event, the service and procession at Sumuleu Ciuc in Transylvania, received a bonus.
Authorities set up mass vaccination and offered them a jab before they left. 

The Wuhan Virology Lab have finally published papers on the bat coronaviruseses they were apparently studying when the pandemic broke out.  Word is that it's just boring research which you can find in labs all over the world - they are creating a database of these bat coronaviruses (which don't have the ability to infect humans directly). SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID, unsurprisingly wasn't listed among the 8 virus being looked at.

Everest Watch:
First that bloke arrived at base camp with COVID, and then several other people at base camp developed COVID too. Now it really does look like they might have been better off calling it a day at that point. They soldiered on, and now Austrian climber Lukas Furtenbach has cancelled his own attempt and spilled the beans. He says there are now at least 100 confirmed cases, and possibly more like 150 or 200, among climbers, sherpas and other Everest team members. 

The head of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, is sad that everyone is being mean to him. His company have passed over bazillions in potential profit, and created a vaccine that is accessible and affordable to the entire world, and all they get is mean comments.
Don't be sad Pascal, your vaccine might be the instant noodle to Pfizer's Wagamama, but millions of people survive just fine on instant noodles, and it has already saved tens of thousands of lives. Thank you.

Some numbers. All were their parent's most precious gift:

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

India 26,738,220 (+209,374) 303,355 (+4,059)

Russia 5,001,505 (+8,951) 118,482 (+357)

Iran 2,832,518 (+8,631) 78,597 (+216)

Turkey 5,186,487 (+7,839) 46,268 (+197)

Nepal 513,241 (+7,598) 6,346 (+193)

Malaysia 512,091 (+6,976) 2,248 (+49)

Chile 1,329,918 (+6,505) 28,518 (+132)

Indonesia 1,775,220 (+5,280) 49,328 (+123)

Japan 714,274 (+5,041) 12,236 (+84)

Italy 4,192,183 (+3,995) 125,225 (+72)

Iraq 1,167,940 (+3,791) 16,190 (+32)

Netherlands 1,626,232 (+3,422) 17,544 (+8)

Thailand 129,500 (+3,382) 776 (+17)

Pakistan 900,552 (+3,084) 20,251 (+74)

Philippines 1,179,812 (+3,083) 19,951 (+38) 





"Two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are effective against the B.1.617.2 variant, says Public Health England"

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