Monday 14 June 2021

14th June 2021 COVID UK 'not easing restrictions' briefing with Boris

14th June 2021 COVID UK 'not easing restrictions' briefing with Boris.

Cases: 4,573,419 (+7,742)
Losses of life: 127,907 (+3)
In hospital: not updated since Thursday 10th = 1,089
Using a ventilator: not updated since Friday 11th = 161
Vaccinated 1 dose: 41,698,429 (79.2%)
Fully vaccinated: 29,973,779 (56.9%)

There was a protest today in London, with crowds of people charging on Downing Street in a big melee together, to shout and chant at the top of their voices without any masks, and prove that they really haven't got a clue how to actually be sensible during a pandemic, thereby giving the government more ammunition to treat you like babies.

140621 UK Government Briefing weekly hospital admissions the North West

There were more formal protests inside Parliament, where MP's yet again complained that they were finding out important Government decisions via the UK media. The Speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, was pretty furious to be honest. He said he will be meeting with the Prime Minister, and looking into other avenues if they won't sort it out.
(It's previously been suggested that the leaky part of the sieve was Dominic Cummings, but they can't use that excuse now.)
So, erm, yeah. If you read one of the incumbent Government's preferred papers, you'll have had 2 or 3 days notice about what Boris is going to say. (I'm really only here to see if he gives us updated hospital numbers...) 

YouGov Poll Today:
"71% of English adults support delaying the lifting of lockdown by four weeks. 24% are opposed, with opposition highest among 18-24 year olds (34%)"

Shall I mention the article in The Lancet which finds you are twice as likely to go to hospital with Delta (India B1617.2) Variant than with Alpha (UK/Kent B117)? Or shall I leave that one for tomorrow? (THANK FLIP FOR VACCINES). This really is a race, and both sides are cheating. 

140621 UK Government Briefing North West and UK rises

Today's UK Briefing was led by Bojojo, with Chris "blinktastic" Whitty and Patrick Vallance.
"We were determined to make progress that was cautious but irreversible..."
(I hate that word. He should have never said it.)
Boris says it was inevitable that cases would go up with reopening, and then says we won't get rid of COVID, we "must learn to live with it".
(Some people disagree strongly.)
Cases are growing by around 64% on average per week, doubling in the worst areas, and hospitalisations are going up by 50% a week - 61% in the North West "which may be the shape of things to come, because we know the remorseless logic of exponential growth".
The link between infection and hospitalisation has been weakened, but not broken. Numbers in Intensive Care are also rising.
We can keep going and there is a risk the virus out-runs the vaccine, and thousands more deaths would ensue, which would have been avoided. The other option is to give the NHS more time to vaccinate.
We have not met the 4 tests for proceeding.

"I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer. By Monday the 19th of July, we will aim to have double jabbed around 2/3 of the adult population, including everyone over 50, all the vulnerable, all frontline health and care workers, and everyone over 40 who received their 1st dose by mid-May. In order to do this we will accelerate 2nd jabs for those over 40, just as we did for vulnerable groups. So they get the maximum protection as fast as possible."
(I actually did all of the maths on this for tomorrow - 2nd jabs are DEFINITELY priority.)

They want to give every adult at least 1 dose by 19th July - EVERYONE AGED 23 and 24 is invited to come for vaccination from TOMORROW.

"To give the NHS that extra time we will hold off Step 4 openings until July the 29th.... (Eh, what?? ) ...Except for weddings, that can still go ahead (from June 21st), with more than 30 guests, provided social distancing remains in place, and the same will apply to Wakes. And we will continue to pilot events such as EURO2020 and some theatrical performances. We will monitor the position every day, and if, after 2 weeks, we have concluded that the risk has diminished, then we reserve the possibility of proceeding to Step 4 and a full opening sooner."
He says he is confident we won't have to go beyond July 19th. (And... relax. When he said the 29th of July, it was an error.)

140621 UK Government Briefing age distribution hospitalisations

Chris with the slides. He looks flipping terrified. His skin is patchy and his eyebags have their own suitcases.
Estimates of protection against symptomatic cases of the Delta Variant:
After 1 vaccination 26-40% reduction
After 2 vaccinations 76-84% reduction
Estimates of protection against hospitalisation with Delta Variant:
After 1 vaccination 57-85% reduction
After 2 vaccinations 85-98% reduction
(This data is described by Chris as "very encouraging indeed". It is. It's better than initial estimates.)
70% of our hospitalised patients are currently under age 65.
Charts show the rates of increase in cases - UK wide and in the NW, cases are up by 64% in a week.
Cases of Delta are in every UK area
The link between illness and hospitalisation has been "substantially weakened", but not broken, and Chris is worried just 3 or 4 doubling times would be very quick and raise levels massively.
96% of UK cases sampled are now Delta Variant. The assessment of risk in the 4 tests has "fundamentally altered". 

140621 UK Government Briefing Vaccinations totals

Public asked about University students being vaccinated in time for next September. Boris says we are going as fast as we can. By July 19th 2/3 of adults in the country will have had 2 doses.
Then Boris stuttered and mumbled for words and words. Maybe he knew Laura Kuensberg was next up with his big question...
She asked about the future - and pay attention to this (clearly thought out) answer from Boris:
"What is the world going to look like on July 19th? And I think I'd give this answer, that at a certain stage we're going to have to learn to live with the virus, and to manage it as best we can. And what we're trying to do now, by this delay, is to reduce the current surge... .... and at the end of that period, by July 19th, we do think that we will have built up a very considerable wall of immunity around the whole of the population. And at that stage Laura, on the basis of the evidence that I can see now, I am confident that we will be able to go forward with the full Step 4."
Then he talks about more deadly new variants coming along and changing that. He says looking at the evidence with all current variants, we will be in a much better position by July 19th.
Patrick Vallance says all over 18's should have been offered a vaccination by July 19th. We had concerns at the beginning that vaccines wouldn't work - and maybe 1st dose not so much, but 2 doses is very effective. It is much better than first impressions looked.

140621 UK Government Briefing Vaccination protection against Delta

Chris says the key thing with vaccinating children is safety. The personal risks are much, much lower than for adults. We are currently accruing safety data. We vaccinate children with caution and he says 2 reasons would be 'high risk' children, and to prevent the disruptions to their education.

Press asked about business support reducing from next month, yet we aren't going to be 'fully open'. Boris says everything in place is intended to last businesses until September, and he is just asking them to hold out for 4 more weeks. 

Chris is being very blunt. He says EVERYONE agrees that at the end of this 4 weeks we will still have lots of cases and lots of people in hospital, and people will still be dying. Patrick adds that COVID will be with us forever.
(Wow - get those positive pants washed guys!)
They've clearly, for now at least, lost any hope of eradication. You will be using a quarantine hotel if you want to visit New Zealand for EVER. Pah. We've been told this before. Once it's calmed down and they get better vaccines the tune might change. The future's quite a big thing, you can't ever see it all at once.

140621 UK Government Briefing Vaccination protection against Delta

Patrick talks about vaccinations and says with any vaccine you don't get 100% efficacy, "some people will die".
"Dying, dead, die" are the somewhat morbid over-used words of the briefing. I think that the scientific advisors have been told to be less gentle...

My commiserations to anyone who is badly affected by the continuation of restrictions over the next 4 weeks. My congratulations to anyone who can now go ahead with their wedding....

Back tomorrow with the regular report. 


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