Friday 28 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th May 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th May 2021.

The UK added 4,182 cases today (UP from 2,829 a week earlier) and now has reported a total of 4,477,705 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 959,007 tests yesterday.

The counter says 38,871,200 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 24,478,052 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated. (This is 73.8% and 46.5% of the adult population respectively. You lot are doing an amazing job.)

889 people were in hospital on Wednesday 26th (DOWN from 913 a week earlier) with 120 using a ventilator yesterday, 27th May (DOWN from 123 a week earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 10 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,768 official losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 260,299 cases and 4,941 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 169,938,197 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,531,425. Already 151,768,645 people have recovered.

280521 Transmission statistics in the UK today R rate 1-1.1

"The R range for England is 1.0 to 1.1 and the growth rate range for England is 0% to +3% per day as of 28 May 2021"

Nicola Sturgeon today announced that Glasgow will stay in Level 3 restrictions. She hopes to be able to bring it down to level 2 with the rest of Scotland on June 5th.

Today's Surge Testing Bingo Winners are in Lancashire (yeeeay, terrific!). Most specifically Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale.
Please be polite to the Test & Trace volunteer, and don't forget to register your PCR COVID test online or on the phone BEFORE you put it in the box and post it. (Take photos of the numbers with your phone when you open it, and you'll have them then, just in case.)

UK Regulators have now approved the Johnson&Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine for adults over 18. This is very similar to the Oxford vaccine, also available at under a tenner a patient, and very importantly it is a single dose vaccination. Speed is key. It does also have the side effect of the rare blood clotting, although it appears to occur much less often than with the Oxford vaccine.
This is the 4th vaccine to receive UK approval after Pfizer-BioNTech , Moderna and Oxford-Astra-Zeneca. 

Scientists in Germany believe they may have found the reason for the rare blood clotting found with the Adenovirus vaccines, and if so, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson&Johnson etc should hopefully be able to remove it. It appears that parts of the spike protein break away. They can be a bit confused as to where to go, fail to attach, and in very rare instances be misread by the body, and it's this which is believed to trigger the blood clotting.
It's not yet peer-reviewed, but fingers crossed it checks out.
We know that COVID infection itself regularly causes blood clotting. Research has found that 30-70% of patients in ICU develop blood clots. Around 25% of patients in ICU develop pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). 

280521 COVID vaccine Johnson and Johnson Janssen approved by the UK's MHRA image of basic medicine bottle with large tick

"PHE’s latest weekly variant cases data shows that cases of VOC-21APR-02 (B1617.2 'Indian' Variant) have risen by 3,535 to 6,959 since last week.
The most affected areas continue to be Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen, which have seen 1,354, 366 and 361 confirmed cases, respectively. There are small numbers of cases of VOC-21APR-02 in most parts of the country."
Word is, they are pretty worried in case they're about to have an explosion of cases in Birmingham similar to the explosion of cases in Bolton - which does thankfully appear to be still growing, but slowing. 

The European Medicines Agency has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds. 

Today's indieSAGE started off with figures around schoolchildren, B1617.2 and the rise in cases. "Compared to 2 months ago, we now have a new dominant variant that spreads more easily and has some vaccine escape."
It sums it up neatly, but I think Jenny Harries would have said it in a more jolly way, whereas poor Christina Pagel looks like she's just utterly exhausted from banging her head against a wall.
B1617.2 is clearly spreading easily among pupils in schools, and cases are spread across the UK, but heavily focussed on hotspot areas.
There is a new variant under investigation which we do need to keep an eye on - the Thai Variant C.36.3. It has a string of mutations that are making people uncomfortable, but we don't know much about it yet. So far 109 cases have been discovered in the UK.
They feel the priorities are that:
"We need to get and keep infections DOWN, protect schools, and prevent new variants from spreading."

American President Joe Biden has asked the USA Intelligence Community for a fresh report on the origins of COVID within 90 days.
He's not entirely happy with the World Health Organisation's inconclusive report, and obviously still believes there may be something to find.
Meanwhile the serious science world is a bit perturbed that 'possible lab escape' seems to have been partly replaced by notions that China could have deliberately infected the world. China are flipping livid at the suggestion.
There is not a shred of evidence that COVID did escape from a lab, but likewise, no-one has managed to find out exactly where it did come from, aaaaaaand... we probably won't. Most boring and everyday likely scenario is that it originated in a bat, spread to an animal, either then or later spread to a domestic or farmed animal, and somewhere after the bat it by sheer bad luck acquired a more 'human-friendly' mutation, and then spread to farm workers or other people in contact with animals. Any other theory is waaaay more complex.

According to The Times, the average age of someone testing positive for COVID in the UK was 41 at the beginning of the year, 35 six weeks ago, and is now 29.
Although this does help support data that vaccines are preventing illness, it is also partly due to the demographic infected. In Bolton for example, which has the highest rate of COVID in the UK, cases spread fast amongst school children and young people. 

Remember to open the window when friends are round Photo of people indoors playing computer games with a window open

Lost Their Fight:
Lisa Shaw - the 44 year old BBC Radio Newcastle journalist is one of almost 60 people in the UK who have died as a result of blood clotting following vaccination.
She died because COVID exists. Many people will not die from COVID, but will be lost because COVID exists. Most won't ever appear on any official lists, but they all count.

Olympic Hopefuls:
Japan has extended the coronavirus state of emergency for 9 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, until June 20 - a month before the games officially begin. They are trying really hard. I have my fingers crossed. 

I wrote this story up on Tuesday, but held onto it in case it went further. It did.
French You Tuber Leo "dirtybiology" Grasset is among several high profile European You Tubers and 'Influencers' who have been offered a job. Thanks to Google Translate:
"It's strange. I received a partnership proposal which consists of breaking down the Pfizer vaccine on video. Colossal budget, client who wants to remain incognito and you have to hide the sponsorship. Ethics / 20. If you see videos of it you'll know it's an op, then."
When he says "breaking down" he means basically making it look bad.
Not only is it unethical (and in some countries illegal, including the UK), not to state who is sponsoring a video or other piece of work, it's unethical and possibly libelous to pay people to rubbish any company, and it's really, really bad form to do anything which might put people off getting vaccinated. So who is paying for this?
Well, investigative Journalists are all over this one already.
Whenever any Adenovirus based vaccine gets bad press, it reflects on similar vaccines - including Russia's Sputnik V and China's CanSino, UK's Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson&Johnson Janssen. 3 major governments have a big investment here. It's plausible someone wants Pfizer and Moderna to take some bad press too.
This is a big fat paycheck, and I for one will be interested to see if anyone takes the bait. Did they already with the Myocarditis story? The timing is spot on. Its hard enough to separate what is true, and what isn't. Bringing more misinformation and slanted reporting won't make it any clearer for anyone, and politicising vaccines will cost lives.
Don't believe it until you see the numbers, and always turn them round in your head. 60% fat free also means it's 40% fat. Check if they use big numbers, or small numbers, real world, computer modelling (simulating what might happen if everything carries on going as it is) or lab result. A study of 12 people may not be reflective of the real situation. A study on cells in a test tube won't have exactly the same result as it will in real live human people. 

280521 Total vaccinations in the UK to date

"NEW: Covid+ patients in Eng hospitals -  26/5 = 745, 27/5 = 742, 28/5 = 743. Stalemate between the vaccine and the virus."
Alistair McLellan, Editor of the Health Service Journal. 

In response to a call for help from the Nepalese Government, the UK has sent 260 ventilators and 2,000 pieces of personal protective equipment, along with 2 health experts, to help the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Over recent weeks the UK has also sent other equipment and experts to help with tracking infections, they've designed warehousing for vaccine storage and funded a £180,000 oxygen generation plant at the Nepal Police Hospital to help tackle oxygen shortages. The oxygen from this plant is saving 150 lives a day.
Nepal actually have a worse infection rate than India, and are really struggling. 

The Zoe Symptom Tracker have been collating information about people who develop COVID after vaccination. For starters sneezing seems really common, so don't ignore it - although hay-fever will make that one tricky.
Among their 1.1m app. users who had logged at least 1 dose by 15th May:
2,394 developed COVID after 1 dose (1 in 500)
187 developed COVID after 2 doses (1 in 3,333)
104 people ended up in hospital (1 in 2,500).
Obviously COVID is at relatively low levels in most areas currently, so chances of catching it for most are quite low.
When you compare how many of these vaccinated people who tested positive ended up in hospital, it's 1 in 23.
With regular standard COVID and NO vaccination, around 1 in 5 (19%) to 1 in 7 (14%) of those with symptoms will end up in hospital, but we know that around 1 in 3 people with COVID don't have any symptoms, so we can estimate the true figure for unvaccinated people is around 1 in every 7-8 (13%) will end up visiting hospital.
Vaccination IS definitely working.

The Conversation has an article about the 5 worst pandemic leaders - so I've taken their choices and added my own explanation as to why they may belong in the list:
- Lukashenko of Belarus - currently in a heap of trouble worldwide, for a false bomb alert in order to hijack a Ryanair plane carrying a journalist he wanted to arrest. Also in trouble with his own population - and leaked news footage of the hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting in Minsk is exactly why Lukashenko wanted to arrest the journalist. Famously declared the best defences against COVID include drinking 50ml of vodka a day, eating breakfast on time, working in the fields and regular trips to the sauna.
Belarus officially has a population of 9.4m, has officially reported 391,000 cases and the loss of 2,821 people.
- Narendra Modi of India - he called it far too early! While India coped well for 12 months of the pandemic, Modi thought it was all over. He donated millions of doses of vaccines, didn't make any preparations for a surge in hospitalisations, didn't stockpile any COVID medications, allowed the enormous Hajj religious festival to go ahead, and didn't lock down. The B1617.2 variant was able to spread rapidly and massively.
India has a population of 1,366m, has officially reported almost 28m cases and the loss of 322,364 people.
- Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil - he famously called COVID "a little flu" and said it will only kill the weak. He reopened gyms and hairdressers and actively prevented mask mandates and other COVID measures. When three hundred thousand Brazilians had died from COVID, he told the population to stop whining.
Brazil  has a population of 211m, has officially reported 16.3m cases and the loss of 456,753 people.
- Donald Trump of the USA - suggested scientists look into 'injecting light' and 'cleaning the inside of the body to disinfect it'. Although he did actually support vaccinations, his constant berating and belittling of scientists in just about every other respect means that currently 41% of people who vote for his party say they won't get vaccinated. (For anyone unsure as to whether evolution and natural selection is real, this is how it happens.)
The USA has a population of 332m, has officially reported 34m cases and the loss of 607,780 people.
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico - I've never really mentioned this bloke, and part of that is because although I knew Mexico was in a worse state than it appeared, I didn't realise how bad. Officially they have, over an incredibly long and sustained outbreak, lost around 220,000 people. They don't have enough funding for testing or care, and Obrador repeatedly played down any seriousness for almost a year. Their "case fatality rate" stands at almost 10%! (1 in every 10 patients to test positive dies.) That's clearly not right unless the hospital system is overwhelmed, or you are only testing very ill people. Worldwide the case fatality rate is 2%, (and we know even this is very high, because in some countries, and at some times, the only people being tested are those who present at a hospital). According to The Conversation, recent estimates suggest that the whole pandemic in Mexico has been so downplayed that the actual number of people lost is nearer 617,000.
Mexico has a population of 127.6m, has officially reported 2.4m cases and the loss of 222,657 people.
- They forgot Turkmenistan... President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov banned the use of the word Coronavirus in March 2020 - and voila, mysteriously, no cases. It works too - the UK have them on the Amber List for travel (lolz - I tweeted Grant and told him, maybe he hadn't noticed?).
Before everyone had to pretend to forget COVID existed, President Gurbanguly suggested his own book on medicinal herbs would be helpful for anyone suffering from symptoms.  Turkmenistan doesn't have COVID cases any more. Obviously. 

New variant spreading fast stay home save lives

Thousands and thousands of people turned up in London's Chinatown yesterday to queue for an NHS vaccination bus. Everyone could be vaccinated without an appointment,  NHS number, proof of ID or even a name.
The UK has always offered vaccination to ANYONE, whether you are legally allowed to be here or not, but booking an appointment on a government website would be terrifying for someone who has made a life here, or is at risk if they are returned to their old home.
A message about the bus visit was posted on the Chinese Information and Advice Centre charity website, and the community responded.

We're all people. And we aren't safe until we're all safe.

Have an excellent Bank Holiday weekend. My partner is 50 on Sunday, so I am taking the day off to lounge around drinking beverages and eating take away all day like a lush, safe in the knowledge I can have a lie in on Monday. Boy will that be a treat - and don't forget that you deserve one too. Take time for yourself. You've earned it.
I shall be back with anything really major, or a UK (England) Briefing, or else I'll be back on Tuesday with the usual report.

The weather forecast is awesome for the next few days - Get Outdoors, Catch Some FREE Immunity-Building Vitamin D, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All with the same magical glint in their eye on their 5th birthday:

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

USA 34,002,444 (+2,764) 607,780 (+54)

India 27,718,520 (+170,815) 322,364 (+3,543)

Brazil 16,342,162 not yet reported today 456,753

France 5,635,629 not yet reported today 109,165

Turkey 5,228,322 (+7,773) 47,134 (+164)

Russia 5,044,459 (+9,252) 120,406 (+404)

UK 4,477,705 (+4,182) 127,768 (+10)

Italy 4,209,707 (+3,738) 125,919 (+126)

Germany 3,676,245 (+2,276) 88,758 (+69)

Spain 3,668,658 (+5,482) 79,905 (+17)

Argentina 3,663,215 not yet reported today 76,135

Colombia 3,319,193 not yet reported today 86,693

Iran 2,886,111 (+10,253) 79,568 (+184)

Poland 2,870,595 (+946) 73,557 (+117)

Mexico 2,405,722 (+3,000) 222,657 (+425) 




The Zoe Symptom App.

"European influencers"

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