Tuesday 29 June 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th June 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th June 2021.

The UK added 20,479 cases today (up from 11,625 a week earlier: 7,673 two weeks earlier) and now has reported a total of 4,775,301 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,095,973 tests yesterday.

The counter says 44,581,771 people (84.6% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 32,721,762 people (62.1%) had received 2 doses.

1,585 people were in hospital on Sunday 27th (up from 1,378 a week earlier: 1,136 two weeks earlier), with 297 using a ventilator yesterday, 28th June (up from 227 a week earlier: 188 two weeks earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 23 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 128,126 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 271,589 cases and 4,989 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 182,333,954 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,948,238. Already 166,874,107 people have recovered.

Check in if you are heading off to the match Photo of people cheering in a [pub, taken from behind

"New analysis suggests the vaccination programme has prevented between 6.4 and 7.9 million infections and 26,000 and 28,000 deaths in England alone."
Public Health England.
Yes - really. Excellent stuff. 

I expected a UK Briefing yesterday, but Sajid just made the announcements in Parliament instead:
"With the numbers heading in the right direction. (eh, what?)
All while we protect more and more people each day.
July 19th remains our target date.
The Prime Minister has called it our terminus date.
For me 19th July is not only the end of the line, but the start of an exciting new journey for our country."
Entirely as expected, we aren't stopping restrictions early.

UK travellers to Mainland Portugal, who have not been fully vaccinated, will now have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival (sorry to anyone affected). This is in place until at least 11th July.

The Hong Kong Government has gone a step further and banned arrivals from the UK starting 1st July, due to concerns over Delta Variant. The UK will also be designated as an "extremely high risk" area.
I keep pointing this out to people on Twitter. Protesting to our Government to unlock travel for the UK means naff all if they don't want you.
Arrivals from the UK to around half of Europe are currently barred. You can't go to Russia, Canada, Japan, Iran, Korea, Taiwan. The USA have limited UK arrivals to essential purposes and permanent USA residents since March 2020. UK visitors are currently not welcome in around half the world - and our own Travel and Tourism Ministers can do very little to change that. 

Due to rising cases of the Delta Variant, indoor hospitality in Ireland won't reopen as planned on July 5th.
Some of the restrictions on weddings and outdoor events will be relaxed. Again, sorry to anyone who this affects. 

Photo of Andy Burnham and test thanking Nicola for allowing us to visit

Boris was asked yesterday on BBC News "Why didn't you sack Matt Hancock?" He replied:
"Well, I read the story on Friday and then we've got a new Health Secretary in post on Saturday, and I think that's about the right pace to proceed in a pandemic."
Technically all correct, but some media are concerned you're trying to take the credit for him going Boris. He walked. 

"More than half a million positive COVID-19 samples have been genomically sequenced, cementing the UK’s status as a world leader in genomics."
Say the UK Government. Ah, true though. That's around 1/4 of the samples sequenced and uploaded to GISAID - the global genomics database tracking the whole family tree of COVID Variants around the world. 

"I am grateful to the First Minister and to the Scottish Government for listening and for the decision they have announced today."
Andy Burnham is friends with Nicola again. She has lifted the ban on non-essential travel between Scotland and the boroughs of Bolton, Manchester and Salford.

There are a lot of people paying close attention to Indonesian health workers. Within the last month, 350 fully vaccinated health workers tested positive over just a 2 week period. (I believe 3 are known to have died.) Over 90% are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, but they have to isolate - making the hospital situation far worse. The New York Times is among those commenting on the outbreak.
Delta Variant appears to have hit hard and fast, with the hospital in Kudus going from 30 COVID+ patients to 400 A DAY within the same fortnight. Travel for important religious holidays is suspected to have made the situation much worse (kind of like when everyone came home to the UK from their Italian half term break in Feb 2020).
Sadly Indonesia is not wealthy, and they are already struggling in places. Only 4% of the population are vaccinated, and they know they don't have enough oxygen, or enough trucks to transport any more.
The Indonesian Medical Association is now considering giving health workers a different 3rd vaccine dose, potentially AstraZeneca, in the hopes it gives broader and more robust protection.
(If they can drop a Rover on Mars, surely they can drop oxygen near hospitals in Indonesia.)

Daily vaccination totals UK

Famous People With COVID:
UK Defence Secretary General Sir Nick Carter. The heads of Royal Navy and RAF, and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace are among those now isolating.

On Sunday in St James' Park Chris Whitty was manhandled and probably half terrified by some very happy and potentially a weeny bit under the influence yobs, who filmed themselves and shared it on social media. He's just a person, same as we are. Boris has responded pretty sternly:
"I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it."
Agreed. Sheesh - I would not like to be on that podium, even if it did cost 2.6 million English pounds, but someone has to do it... and at least Chris gets blurty when he really needs to say something, so we can tell what's actually most important. Give him a break.
Just for fairness, I have transcribed the important points the young men made to Chris:
"Aaaaaahhhhh yyyyyeeeeay aaaaaaah aaah aaah. Oh no, don't go. Please please sorry (Mr Whitty had just pulled his head out from the man's elbow). Oy oy oy, ahey. Hahaha ha. Awun follow me. I'm going to change that. Gonna change that. Yeeeeay."
They should expect a surprise visit from people in uniform bearing gifts (and it won't be PCR tests)... 

The UK has now added myocarditis and pericarditis as potential side effects of both the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines. Both reports say the same, here's Moderna:
"There have been very rare reports of myocarditis and pericarditis occurring after vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, often in younger men and shortly after the second dose of the vaccine. These are typically mild cases and individuals tend to recover within a short time following standard treatment and rest.
Healthcare professionals should be alert to the signs and symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis. Vaccinated individuals should also seek immediate medical attention should they experience new onset of chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations or arrhythmias."
It's incredibly rare as a side effect of vaccination, and hard to say how rare, as a lot of less active people may not even realise if their heart inflammation is very mild. 

UK Gov routes of transmission chart how to catch COVID

The Spanish CombiVacS trial of Mix & Match jabs has some excellent results.
450 people who had received the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine 8-12 weeks earlier took part, and were given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as their second dose. No adverse events (serious side effects) occurred. After 7 days they had their blood tested and were found to have a 'strong immune response'. Excellent. No comparisons here because they were just checking they weren't wasting their time. Several million people, especially younger people across Europe, received AstraZeneca first and a different second dose, due to concerns over the rare blood clotting condition. 

Oxford University's Study of Mix & Match jabs has found that giving a dose each of 2 different vaccines offers a more 'robust' response (I knew Angela Merkel wouldn't get it wrong).
Adults aged 50 or under, including those with well-controlled comorbidities, were randomised across eight groups, and received different combinations of Oxford/AstraZeneca (aka ChAd and Vaxzevria) and Pfizer/BioNTech (aka BNT and Comirnaty) at either 28 or 84 day intervals. In the 28 day interval group:
"Geometric mean of T cell response at 28 days post boost in the ChAd/BNT group was 185 SFC/106 PBMCs (spot forming cells/106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells) compared to 50, 80 and 99 SFC/106 PBMCs for ChAd/ChAd, BNT/BNT, and BNT/ChAd, respectively."
So basically, a month after their second jab, these are the average T Cell immunity scores:
AZ/AZ = 50
Pfizer / Pfizer = 80
Pfizer / AZ = 99
AZ / Pfizer = 185
"These data support flexibility in the use of heterologous prime-boost vaccination using ChAd and BNT COVID-19 vaccines."
I think you may well find your 'booster' third jab is different to your first two... 

And yet more jab news. How about a 3rd dose of AstraZeneca?
A not-yet-peer-reviewed study from Oxford University has found that:
"A third dose given more than 6 months after the second dose leads to a substantial increase in antibodies and induces a strong boost to immune response against SARS-CoV-2, including variants."

And fourthly. How about delaying your second AstraZeneca jab? The same not-yet-peer-reviewed study from Oxford University has found that:
"A longer delay of up to 45 weeks between the first and second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine leads to enhanced immune response after the second dose."
We have seen evidence of this before, but only previously up until around 4 months - and it's just not a sensible option to wait if you have Delta Variant, because that 2nd dose makes such a huge difference to your chance of being seriously ill. 

Shopworker Devi Prasad Rao in his shop PPE and 6 images of him wearing a mask in variois wrong positions on his head

UK school attendance is suffering from Delta Variant.
"COVID-related pupil absence in state schools is increasing and is currently at its highest rate since schools reopened in March 2021."
A lot of older pupils aren't on site full time right now (16 year olds, GCSE's, A Levels etc), so the percentages are adjusted to just include pupils expected to attend in person:
COVID-related pupil absence in state-funded schools was 5.1% on 24 June. This is up from 3.3% on 17 June and 1.2% on 10 June.
In primary schools, COVID-related absence was 4.5% on 24 June, up from 2.7% on 17 June and 1.1% on 10 June.
In secondary schools, COVID-related absence was 6.2% on 24 June. This is up from 4.2% on 17 June and 1.4% on 10 June.
"Among pupils absent for COVID-19 reasons, the main reason for absence is self-isolation due to contact with a potential case of coronavirus inside the school. On 24 June, 3.8% of pupils were absent for this reason, up from 2.3% on 17 June."
0.1% of pupils in state-funded schools were absent on 24 June because their school was closed due to COVID-19 related reasons.

The EU COVID Passport will include all vaccines currently authorised by the EU - which doesn't include India's version of the AstraZeneca jab, Covishield. It needs it's own separate authorisation, which has been applied for, but not yet granted. India have been supplying Covidshield to a lot of other countries, as well as vaccinating millions of their own population each week, so a lot of people want authorisation, and quickly.

UK NHS Grab a jab at a walk in clinic

South Africa are into a distinct 3rd wave, and infections are growing at the same rate as the two other waves, despite up to around 43% of the population already having antibodies from previous infection.
Delta Variant is being blamed. Twice as catchy, twice as fast.
Sadly, as only 4% of people have been vaccinated, around half the population still have no protection against severe disease. 

Sky News has are among those with a nice report about Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.  Staff working with COVID patients were 47 times more likely to become infected, in spite of their PPE, so they had a look, did some staff testing, and upgraded. (The technical specs are that they changed from fluid resistant surgical masks (FRSMs) to filtering face piece 3 (FFP3) masks.)
COVID infections reduced to the levels seen in the rest of the hospital, and it's even possible they managed to prevent 100% of staff infections in the workplace.
This has massive implications, as even staff absence due to isolating is a massive issue, and that's before you consider the number of medical staff who have lost their health or their lives.
NHS guidance has now changed to allow hospitals/departments to assess their own risk. 

There's a Tyrannosaurus Rex outside the Museum of Science in Boston, USA, and he's been wearing a mask for the last 18 months. The residents of Boston can sleep a little easier, he's got a plaster on his arm now, so he's had his first jab at least. 

A bloke called Devi Prasad Rao is fed up with shop customers not wearing their masks properly. He wears all of his protection, and he has to be there, and he's made a great little image to explain his predicament, and I shared it just up there... 

Some people, from all around our world:

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

India 30,361,699 (+45,699) 398,484 (+816)

Russia 5,493,557 (+20,616) 134,545 (+652)

UK 4,775,301 (+20,479)128,126 (+23)

Indonesia 2,156,465 (+20,467) 58,024 (+463)

Iran 3,192,809 (+12,717) 84,127 (+142)

Spain 3,799,733 (+7,091) 80,829 (+40)

Iraq 1,338,604 (+6,558) 17,156 (+35)

Malaysia 745,703 (+6,437) 5,108 (+107)

Turkey 5,420,156 (+5,846) 49,687 (+53)

Thailand 254,515 (+4,662) 1,970 (+36)

Philippines 1,408,058 (+4,479) 24,557 (+101)

Cuba 188,023 (+3,080) 1,270 (+17)

Chile 1,553,774 (+2,637) 32,489 (+35)

Zambia 152,056 (+2,395) 2,138 (+47)







Daily hospital admissions 






Image Devi Prasad Rao - https://twitter.com/DeviPrasadRao8/status/1409355516837470212/photo/1































Chris Whitty 



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