Friday 4 June 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th June 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th June 2021.

The UK added 6,238 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,506,018 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 806,272 tests yesterday.

The counter says 39,949,694 people (75.8%) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 26,799,944 people (50.9%) had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

954 people were in hospital on Wednesday 2nd, with 134 using a ventilator yesterday, 3rd June.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 11 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,823 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 263,720 (+529) cases and 4,941 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 173,114,912 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,721,371. Already 155,865,907 people have recovered.

percentage vaccinated all different age groups in the UK

"It's not fine if kids get covid. Firstly, it isn't. Secondly, it can spread to other people, and thirdly it disrupts their education when they need to go home."
Christina Pagel, IndependentSAGE

“We’re certainly getting more data. Unfortunately, the news is not as positive as I would like in any respect about the Delta variant. The best estimate at the moment is this variant maybe 60% more transmissible than the Alpha (B.1.1.7 UK/Kent) Variant."
Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College on Radio 4 today.
If I tell you that's the best Delta Variant news of the day, you get the picture. 

Age breakdown of cases UK indieSAGE briefing 040621

Big news today is that the UK's Medicines And Healthcare Regulatory Agency have approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12-15. Whoot!
It has appeared for some time that the UK government (and several other world governments) had an aim to vaccinate kids over the Summer holidays - and this is a big step closer to that.
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines:
“Over 2000 children aged 12-15 years were studied as part of the randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials. There were no cases of COVID-19 from 7 days after the second dose in the vaccinated group, compared with 16 cases in the placebo group. In addition, data on neutralising antibodies showed the vaccine working at the same level as seen in adults aged 16-25 years. These are extremely positive results.”
We are not the first country to approve the Pfizer vaccine for kids, so actually there are tens of thousands of vaccinated children to get data from, as well as our own UK trial data. 

Data from Public Health England, that I did begin to report on yesterday, but had only just been released at teatime, suggests that Delta Variant (B16172 India) is:
- 50-70% more transmissible (catchy)
- 2.7 x more likely to send you to hospital than the Alpha Variant (B117 UK)

Anthony Costello of IndependentSAGE was on Question Time last night talking about the Delta Variant, and reminding us that only 40% of the UK population are fully vaccinated - which still might only offer around 65% protection from symptomatic illness.
“Many people could end up in hospital, the NHS could be thrown into another surge.”
Today IndependentSAGE released an emergency statement asking for the English Government to reconsider the next step of the unlocking (we really aren't meeting that list of tests). They feel strongly that young people will be put at risk if unlocking goes ahead, and also suggest we need immediate extra measures to help retain control of the current situation:
- Strengthening financial and practical support to close contacts and those needing to isolate.
- Ensuring adequate ventilation and infection control measures within indoor venues (e.g. schools, workplaces, hospitality), with rigorous monitoring, certification and sanctions.
- Reinstating face coverings for secondary school children, and providing resources to enhance classroom ventilation
- Doing away with the red/amber/green travel stratification and implementing comprehensive border control with managed quarantine
- Further accelerating vaccine rollout, and ensuring completion of two doses. Boosters for vulnerable populations should be considered urgently.
- Adequately resourcing the global vaccine initiative, to ensure control of transmission worldwide.

Delta variant school outbreaks UK indieSAGE briefing 040621

England as of 4 June:
R value range: 1.0 to 1.2
Growth rate range: 0% to 3%

As Hugh Pym put it so succinctly, I won't rewrite:
"ONS survey shows increase in virus cases in England and Wales week ending May 29
England: 1-in 640 are estimated to be testing positive  Vs 1-in-1,120 previous week
Wales: 1-in-1,050 Vs 1-in-3,850 previous week
Scotland and Northern Ireland little changed."
It's not going entirely well.

We really should have had a UK Briefing... Vaccinations are going fantastically, Delta variant very bad, vaccines approved for teenagers. There's your sh** sandwich, right there. 

Talking of the Delta variant, we've now reported 12,431 cases. That's 5,472 cases in the last week. It is definitely the most prevalent variant in many areas, and believed to account for most cases across the entire UK. 

Mark Drakeford, Welsh First Minister, has confirmed some changes from Monday in Wales, but indoor restrictions will remain much the same, while we get more information on the Delta Variant.
Changes that WILL happen:
Outdoor events can take place with up to 10,000 seated/4,000 standing
Up to 30 people can meet outdoors
Extended households can expand to include a third household. 

Which variant school outbreaks UK indieSAGE briefing 040621

Public Health England have released their information on how reopening schools affected case numbers among pupils.
"Our latest data shows that COVID19 outbreaks linked to school settings & cases among school-age cohorts have remained low and broadly reflected what is happening in the wider community."
Good so far - but we can see with our eyes that the spread in schools with the Delta Variant is much higher, when is this data from?
Turns out it was 15th-31st  March. Aahhh. So we know where we were just before the Delta Variant started streaking through Bolton schools then, but utterly useless to us for signs of what will happen next. Can't wait for the next figures on, ermmm, 1st July.

Today's indieSAGE tagline was "Not much good news this week".
We still have disparities in vaccination, with the ethnic groups more at risk, the ones least likely to be vaccinated. Overall though - its impressive.
Cases are going up massively, and it's driven by the Delta Variant.
Christina Pagel had the up to date figures for schools, and the chart was a bit of a hockey stick. A really huge percentage of school outbreaks for a while now have been caused by the Delta variant. (See the images for some of the slides.)
She went on to say that the UK's lockdown measures have continued to bring down all of the other COVID variants, but the Delta variant is a second epidemic running at the same time. We're fighting 2 battles, and we aren't quite winning one of them. 

Delta cases up other variants down  UK indieSAGE briefing 040621

France have confirmed that fully vaccinated UK travellers will NOT have to quarantine on arrival. Clearly they will be hoping to attract more UK visitors. However.... France is currently on the UK's Amber List, so you'll have to do a 10 day quarantine and two PCR tests when you want to come back, unless that situation changes.

Good news from the UK's ongoing VIVALDI Care Homes Study. They're at 10 months after natural infection now, and finding that, out of over 2,000 participants:
"...antibodies provide high levels of protection against reinfection for up to 10 months in both staff and residents. The number of reinfections was small, and although almost all cases of reinfection were symptomatic, none required hospital treatment."
Excellent real-world news. Fingers crossed next month we find the same is still true. 

Because New Zealand has so little COVID, any cases can actually show us a lot. A review into their recent infections at a quarantine facility has been able to teach them, and the world, a lot about best practise.
It was found ventilation and airborne virus was most likely responsible for the outbreak - including opening 2 adjacent hotel room doors in quick succession, and the wafts of air actually sucking COVID into the corridor and then into the next room. They also found a security guard, who hadn't been regularly tested because she wasn't considered to be in contact with travellers, became infected and passed the infection to another member of staff.
Really useful to the world is they insist on a negative test from everyone before their flight, and on Day 1 of quarantine  - and most of the positive results are found on that Day 1 test. 

vaccine take up rates across ethnic groups  UK indieSAGE briefing 040621

While looking into the New Zealand quarantine hotel thing, I found a story whereby a hotel worker lost their job after 'an inappropriate encounter' with a traveller in quarantine. They'd apparently been passing notes, and it was discovered they had spent 20 minutes in a room together - with a bottle of wine! Tsk... Naughty naughty... 

Apparently UK holidaymakers in Portugal are not impressed that they'll have to quarantine on their return, and there is expected to be a manic rush to get back before the 4am Tuesday deadline.
If you go to another country, or even another area, during a pandemic, you have to be aware of the increased risks of disruption, cancellation or quarantine. Shrug your shoulders and just own it.

Someone asked me yesterday evening just how long I think it will be before the UK have fully vaccinated 75% of the adult population, after results from Brazil showed this was the threshold that made a real difference as regards 'herd immunity'.
I threw the figure of 8-10 weeks back at her, and then spent several hours with tricky maths, guesstimating how many 1st vaccinations we'll do, and how keen people will be to come forward for 2nd jabs, whether we'll hit problems over stocks of non-AstraZeneca, if we'll continue to increase jabs per day and mass walk in vaccinations.
I'm not a statistician, mathematician or any of those big names, so this is my guess. We need another 13.2m jabs - and actually 8-10 weeks seems very doable. If we do this within 10 weeks - hats off. If we do it in 8, I'll throw in a curtsy. 

case rates across the UK nations map UK indieSAGE briefing 040621

It is Volunteers Week. In an ideal world everyone would be counted and paid for the time they give up keeping this world turning for other people. Sadly they aren't, but the rewards can still be immense, and we really are grateful to every one of you. Thank you.

It's the weekend again, and half term is almost over. The sun is still with us, and you know how important fresh air is now. Ah sure we can see the road is a bit bumpy ahead,  but don't you be thinking we can't do this.  We've come a very long way already, and we're all a lot stronger now. Do those laces up and give us your best exasperated smile.
You made it through another week, remember to have your treat - you earned it. Make it something just for YOU, not for your kids or your parent or partner. And get some vitamin D!!

Physically Distance, Socially Smile, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All were once a glint in their father's eye:

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

USA 34,176,498 (+1,746) 611,672 (+61)

India 28,664,375 (+92,016) 342,280 (+1,561)

Brazil 16,803,472 not yet reported today 469,784

France 5,694,076 not yet reported today 109,857

Turkey 5,276,468 (+6,169) 47,976 (+94)

Russia 5,108,129 (+8,947) 123,037 (+377)

UK 4,506,016 (+6,238) 127,823 (+11)

Italy 4,227,719 (+2,557) 126,415 (+73)

Argentina 3,884,447 not yet reported today 79,873

Germany 3,702,190 (+500) 89,626 (+21) 

Spain 3,697,987 (+4,975) 80,196 (+97)

Colombia 3,488,046 not yet reported today 90,353

Iran 2,954,309 (+9,209) 80,813 (+155)

Poland 2,874,411 (+319) 74,101 (+26)

Mexico 2,426,822 (+2,894) 228,362 (+216) 




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