Thursday 10 June 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 9th / 10th June 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 9th / 10th June 2021.

The UK added 7,393 cases today (up from 5,274 a week earlier) and now has reported a total of 4,542,986 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,085,999 tests yesterday.

The counter says 40,886,878 people (77.6%) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 28,857,102 people (54.8%) had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

1,048 people were in hospital on Tuesday 8th (up from 919 a week earlier), with 158 using a ventilator yesterday, 9th June (up from 129 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 127,867 losses of life in all settings.

Up until Friday 28th May, 152,289 people from across the UK have had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.
Wales 7,863
Scotland 10,106
Northern Ireland 2,973
England 130,297

Rep. Of Ireland 265,356 cases and 4,941 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 175,356,048 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,782,452. Already 158,913,018 people have recovered.

Regular rapid testing is great 3 smiling people with text banner between them

"The United Kingdom and the United States have agreed a new landmark partnership to fight future pandemics & emerging health threats.
The new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness will lead the UK’s work to develop a global early warning system to detect new infectious disease threats."
The partnership also reaffirms their joint commitment to tackling health inequalities as part of levelling up agenda.
And the G7 hasn't even officially started yet... 

Hospitalisations in the UK are beginning to go up, which was inevitable with the rise in cases. It's a bit of a jump over the last few days (particularly in London and the North West) and really we still don't know how it's going to go, but there's every expectation vaccinations should keep severe COVID levels far, far lower than previously. In another week, we will have a far better idea, but really it would take a little longer to feel secure.
A decision on whether to reopen England further is due in 4 days. The sensible and cautious move is to delay until we can see that vaccines are definitely doing the trick. Sorry. If they weren't working as well as hoped, or the Delta Variant really does streak through the UK, then ultimately a week or two delay would save a huge amount of lives. 

Get the bad news over with. The official estimate for Delta (Indian) Variant is that it's 60% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent/UK) Variant. That is definitely not great, and explains how it can spread so fast.
Alpha is already 30-70% more transmissible than original wild COVID, so we really do have a much harder job than last year - HOWEVER we have natural immunity and vaccinations, and better treatments. The virus isn't running much faster than we are.
Matt Hancock earlier today said Delta now accounts for 91% of UK COVID cases.

The Good Law Project took the UK Government to the High Court and won. Michael Gove's Cabinet Office did break the law - by awarding a market research contract worth half a million quid to Dominic Cummings' mate, without giving other companies the chance to apply.
This is the Good Law Project's second win - Matt Hancock was found guilty of wasting money last month.
Will any punishment happen? Probably not. Will it change things? Probably not. Do they actually care? 

100621 Daily Vaccination totals

Matt Hancock was back under the cosh today, facing MP's questions about the coronavirus response.
Dominic Cummings has failed to supply evidence to back his claims. Matt said 'it was telling' that there was no evidence.
Matthew says he never lied, he only ever meant that 'testing of all care home residents being discharged from hospital would happen WHEN CAPACITY WAS THERE'.
He made a fair point. Testing took around 4 days a year ago, by which time the patient could have caught or developed COVID, and become infectious anyway. (Counterpoint is that Matt was claiming back then that most tests were back within 24 hours.)
He was asked if the UK Government had a "blind spot" when it came to East Asia - where we really could have learnt a lot of quick lessons. The answer is pretty much yes - the UK wasn't set up the same way, and didn't have mass testing or tracing capacity, so we went a different route.
Interestingly, he was asked about the UK not locking down quickly enough last March. 'The UK got bogged down in modelling' and didn't just look at what was visible to everyone - the crude death rate.
(This has been something that has driven me mad. I'm really big on science, but clearly waiting 3 weeks for a report on whether it's correct to move out of the way of a falling airplane isn't the best option.)

There's more to the 'Japan and the USA help Taiwan with vaccines' story from the other day. It seems that Taiwan had wanted a big order from Germany's BioNTech, and it's not been able to be agreed. Politics is playing a huge part behind the scenes here, and it may not just be Taiwan and Germany involved.

America have promised vaccines to Taiwan, and Joe Biden is reaffirming his public stance of being a very decent bloke. According to several different reports, he is expected to announce a plan for the US administration to buy 500 million Pfizer vaccines, and donate them to 92 low-income countries as part of the World Health Organisation's COVAX program.

"As at 28 May 2021:
230,037 Defence personnel had a COVID-19 test administered as part of the national testing programme, of these:
- 215,209 UK armed forces personnel.
- 14,828 civilian personnel.
- 9,018 UK armed forces personnel had a positive test for COVID-19 recorded in their medical record.
That's 1 in 25 for the armed forces, which is much better than the UK average 1 in 15. Maybe in any future pandemic, Defence should be put in charge of care homes.

"Lab leak" theories are growing legs at the moment. If we aren't careful then in 100 years our ancestors will be relating a story which is a rewrite of 12 Monkeys, with Bruce Willis' Grandson playing Tom Hanks - the man who created the vaccine and saved the world.
Keep to facts for now.
We don't know where COVID came from. We can't rule lab leak out, we can't rule out bat poops and animal inhales the dust or eats it. We can't rule out most theories; because you can't prove a negative, and we haven't proven a positive.

its normal to feel a bit unwell after a jab

Yesterday India reported the world's largest single day figure for losses of life to COVID, 6,138 people.
We know that under-reporting is a huge issue in India, with some estimates suggesting as many as 1.6m people have really died from COVID there to date. Now there are calls across India for the discrepancies to be addressed, and Bihar is the first place to begin checks. They added over 4,000 losses from 2 weeks ago to yesterday's total.  

A report out in Nature Magazine yesterday documents "47,381 individuals from 38 species, including 31 protected species sold between May 2017 and November 2019 in Wuhan’s markets. We note that no pangolins (or bats) were traded".
Approximately 1/3 of the animals were potentially taken from the wild - but none of the vendors actually had correct authority, so had nothing to lose by also disclosing pangolin or anything else.
Among animals for sale as food or pets were hedgehogs, badgers, racoon dogs, various birds, rats, snakes etc
(Before you judge, remember some people in the UK like to eat things like foie gras, duckling, caviar, blue cheese, Marmite.)
The authors of the report say that the animals were kept in a bad way, they were cramped and in stacked wire cages right next to each other.
(Please feel free to be judgey on that part.)
Many of the animals sold have been known to carry zoonotic (can pass from animal to human) diseases, including COVID, which is fairly easy to pass from animal to human to animal, and can be caught by a big variety of different animals.
Chinese authorities temporarily banned all wildlife trade on 26th Jan 2020 until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they permanently banned eating and trading terrestrial wild animals for food on 24th Feb 2020.

The British Fertility Society and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists states that:
"There is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretical reason, that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men”.
Just in case you were one of the people concerned. (People became pregnant during the trials. What more proof do you need?)  

Taiwan's first home-made vaccine, made by Medigen in a collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has met safety and efficacy standards.
Phase 3 (large scale human trials) will begin as soon as possible.
The earliest vaccines fast forwarded by completing safety tests, then recruiting lots of volunteers and starting Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials at the same time.
Now that we know much more about COVID, antibodies and vaccines, Taiwan have applied for Emergency Use Authorisation based on the safety being good (no adverse events among 4,000 trial participants) and the levels of reaction and antibodies created by the trial participants being far in excess of what we assume to be useful. 

"The catch-up funding for the whole of the next academic year isn't much more than the money spent on the month-long Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to the Education Policy Institute."
TES (Times Educational Supplement)

Join the millions already vaccinated It brings us HOPE smiley lady

The UK's hospital waiting list summary is fairly grim: 
* Over 5 million people are on the waiting list for first time
* 385,490 patients have been waiting over a year for operations
* Of those 64,959 have been waiting over 18 months
* Of those 2,722 have been waiting OVER TWO YEARS
The HSJ is reporting that some NHS hospital patients who should be waiting no more than a month for treatment have, in fact, been on waiting lists for over a YEAR. 

Two travellers have been confirmed to have caught Monkeypox in Africa and brought it home to Wales. Thankfully it's not expected to have spread, Monkeypox is not incredibly transmissible, and it usually clears up by itself in 2-3 weeks.
The question as to be asked though, how? 

Luxury Cruise News:
An English cruise ship has been refused dock in Greenock, Scotland, because it's against the Scottish coronavirus restrictions. Whoops. The MSC Virtuosa was on a seven night cruise due to stop in Greenock, Belfast, Southampton and the Isle of Portland.
Even worse, several passengers were due to board when the ship arrived in Greenock, so their holiday was over before it started, or began with a very long drive to Southampton to meet the ship.
Although much of Scotland is Level 1, Glasgow is still Level 2, and so cruise ships are still not allowed to dock. That darn fine print eh... 

UK vaccine passports will get their first outing for sports fans at England's group D games for EURO 2020. The 3 Wembley matches require fans to have proof on the NHS app that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to the match, or they need a negative lateral flow test within 48 hours before kick-off.
(Scotland's matches at Hampden Park will not have the same requirements.)

Washington State has previously allowed free drinks as an incentive for vaccination, and this week is running a Joints For Jabs promotion.
When Adults are vaccinated they can claim a free joint from the same location, as long as it's a legally registered Cannabis retailer.
42% of Americans are now fully vaccinated. Awesome job. 

A special thought for everyone self-isolating at the moment, including one of my grown up kids, whose housemate has tested positive. One of the things that makes COVID so very different, is that you aren't only ever writing about something that is happening to other people.

Still no UK briefing.... Boris is having his mate Joe round for tea....

Some numbers. All of them were someone's baby:

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

USA 34,267,107 (+2,380) 613,556 (+62)

India 29,268,010 (+85,938) 363,022 (+3,327)

Brazil 17,125,357 not yet reported today 479,791

France 5,725,492 not yet reported today 110,202

Turkey 5,313,098 (+6,408) 48,524 (+96)

Russia 5,167,949 (+11,699) 125,278 (+383)

UK 4,542,986 (+7,393) 127,867 (+7)

Italy 4,239,868 (+2,079) 126,855 (+88)

Argentina 4,038,528 not yet reported today 83,272

Germany 3,716,615 (+745) 90,200 (+13) 

Spain 3,715,454 not yet reported today 80,332

Poland 2,876,667 (+382) 74,447 (+84)

Mexico 2,441,866 (+3,855) 229,353 (+253)

Ukraine 2,219,824 (+1,785) 51,507 (+97)


Daily hospital admissions

Matt Hancock - James Illman urgent care waiting lists

Vaccines fertility

Joe Biden

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