Sunday 11 July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 10th / 11th July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 10th / 11th July 2021

The UK added 31,772 cases today and now has reported a total of 5,121,245 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,114,234 tests yesterday.

The counter says 45,881,721 people (87.1% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 34,764,511 people (66%) had received 2 doses.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 26 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 128,425 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 277,892 (+576) cases and 5,006 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 187,486,594 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,046,485. Already 171,397,639 people have recovered.

2nd dose gives much better protection fingers in shape of a heart

Public Health England Variant Surveillance has some figures on Delta Variant and vaccine efficacy against hospitalisation, and loss of life:
Up until June 21st, 1,904 people had been admitted to hospital in England with confirmed Delta Variant.
Of those hospitalised, 1,283 were under age 50
- 987 (77%) were unvaccinated, plus 106 (8%) less than 21 days after dose 1.
- 118 (9%) 21 or more days after their first dose of vaccine
- 48 (4%) fully vaccinated
Of those hospitalised, 615 were 50 or over.
- 195 (32 per cent) were unvaccinated, plus 11 (2%) less than 21 days after dose 1
- 140 (23%) 21 or more days after their first dose of vaccine
- 265 (43%) fully vaccinated.
Up until June 21st, 257 people with Delta Variant in England died within 28 days of a positive test.
Of those who died, 26 were under the age of 50
- 21 unvaccinated
- 3 were 21 days or more after one dose of vaccine
- 2 fully vaccinated
Of those who died, 231 were aged 50 or over
- 71 were unvaccinated, plus one person within 21 days of their first dose.
- 41 were 21 days or more after one dose of vaccine
- 116 fully vaccinated.
Bear in mind that the older you are, the more likely you are to be fully vaccinated, but also the more susceptible you are to becoming seriously ill. You can clearly see the effect of vaccinations, especially if you look at the figures for people aged under 50. 

"The NHS COVID Pass is available for free on the NHS App, by visiting NHS dot UK, or by calling 119.
We never ask for bank details, so please be aware of suspicious emails or text messages."

The NHS COVID Pass is FREE and always will be on the NHS app

Vaccinations won't prevent the majority of us from catching Delta Variant. A lot of us are going to catch it. We already know this. A not-yet-peer-reviewed study in Nature (Magazine) on Friday looked at how antibodies in blood neutralised Delta. This isn't real life, it's in a lab, but the results are about as bad as you might have thought.
"Sera from convalescent patients collected up to 12 months post symptoms were 4 fold less potent against variant Delta, relative to variant Alpha (B.1.1.7). Sera from individuals having received one dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines barely inhibited variant Delta. Administration of two doses generated a neutralizing response in 95% of individuals, with titers 3 to 5 fold lower against Delta than Alpha."
In simple English:
Antibodies taken from the blood of recovered patients were considerably less effective against Delta (India) Variant than Alpha (UK/Kent) Variant.
Antibodies from people with 1 dose of AstraZeneca Vaccine barely did anything against Delta.
2 vaccine doses generated antibodies against Delta in 95% of samples - although they were quite noticeably less effective than against Alpha. 

Between you and me, and obviously I wouldn't ever say this aloud.
IN THEORY,  if you were double-vaccinated and ONLY THEN caught Delta Variant, your chance of becoming seriously ill is incredibly small, but your chance of being left with fantastic protective antibodies against a whole cornucopia of variants would be really high.
On an individual level it's a big gamble, because you can still get very ill, still get Long COVID (even if you aren't very ill), still be part of the 0.2% who die. But on the other side of the coin, you could be really incredibly well protected from lots of the future variants (it'll NEVER  be all).
As a Government, IF you are lucky, you'll end up with a well-protected population, virtually eradicate community transmission, and turn COVID in much less of a threat. But inevitably, as Boris clearly said, people will die. If you get your maths wrong, it's very hard to get the bung back into the bottle.
This is the gamble the UK Government is taking. Again.
Last year when they thought they could deal with this by herd immunity via transmission, they realised their maths was way off and pulled back. This time they're so certain, they keep loosening the screw more. They are almost actively making changes to encourage transmission. It really does appear they want this to sweep over and be done with before Winter.
If we win the football tonight, Boris has promised something special. I have my bets on huge communal street parties... 

hospitalisations and vaccinations England June 2021

The UK is playing some big cards in our game of Herd Immunity. First we had announcements about removing the requirement to isolate as a contact of a positive case from 16th August, then we had future plans to open up the UK to more visitors quarantine-free. On Friday we learnt about plans to turn down the sensitivity of the Test & Trace app. after July 19th, because it's alerting so many people, and now we may be playing our first joker.
There are apparently plans to allow NHS staff to ignore a ping from the Test & Trace app. It's too bothersome to have them off work self-isolating, so it'll be better to have them ignore it and carry on. Apparently.
(In which world?)
My GUESS is that UK Government modelling is fairly tight (with very wide confidence ranges), and they really do want the double-vaccinated people who are going to catch Delta to just go ahead and start doing it. Remember the way the hospital admission curve has to stay below full capacity. A longer flatter hill keeps us below that line - but they want this all over and "normal" by Winter, so time is quite tight.

Nadhim Zahawi, Vaccines Minister, said on telly this morning that we'll be moving from 'you must' to 'you are expected to' as far as masks are concerned in England. For example, just because there isn't a specific law to say you have to wear them on public transport, you'll still be expected to in most cases.
As usual, as clear as mud, and placing ultimate responsibility on the individual.

Of course, the UK (English) Government will be telling us their final decision on reopening tomorrow - they might decide not to go for it...

Or maybe they will...
New UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid is interviewed in the Sunday Telegraph. He said he was "shocked" when he found out the NHS backlog could get to as many as 13 million patients before this is over.
Yeah, we hear you already Sajid "It was Matt's fault". But don't you worry, Sajid did also say that he's confident most remaining curbs will still be lifted in England on 19 July.

A 90 year old Belgian woman has become the first person to die from COVID with 2 known infections at the same time. Blood tests revealed she had both Alpha (UK) and Beta (South Africa) Variants simultaneously. The lady had good blood oxygen when she arrived at hospital, but rapidly deteriorated and died within 5 days. 

Boris' letter to the England football Team UEFA final day 110721

3.8m people across the UK have spent much of the last 18 months of your life shielding. Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University, creator of the AstraZeneca vaccine, is among those pointing out that if we remove all restrictions, you guys are being placed in danger, and there may be no other option but for you to shield yourselves again. The UK Government need a plan, and they need to make sure you are considered, respected, and supported. 

'Immunity debt' is a phrase you'll probably hear a lot about over the next few years. It refers to a 'backlog' of people becoming ill all at once, and it's happening in New Zealand. They have so many children in hospital with respiratory problems right now, that they are having to convert more space for paediatric care. It isn't that more children overall are becoming ill, and was explained beautifully by New Zealand Epidemiologist Michael Baker in The Guardian, using a forest fire metaphor:
"If a year or two have passed without fire, there is more fuel on the ground to feed the flames. When a fire finally comes, it burns much more fiercely. What we’re seeing now is we’ve accumulated a whole lot of susceptible children that have missed out on exposure – so now they’re seeing it for the first time.” 

There is still a long time to go before the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship final, which will be played tonight between Italy and England. Trafalgar Square is already full of lots of people having a good time, drinking enough to regret it, and making loads of new best friends. Pubs and homes around the UK, and potentially Italy, will all be the same.
Please don't forget we have a pandemic. COVID won't be taking the night off. If you do develop symptoms over the next week or so - get a test.

Be A Respectful & Gracious Runner-Up OR Winner, Open The Window, Don't Hug Strangers (a big grin is just as good) ...

Some people. All can appreciate that warm feeling of being a part of a community:

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

Indonesia 2,527,203 (+36,197) 66,464 (+1,007)

India 30,871,507 (+35,276) 408,763 (+691)

UK 5,121,245 (+31,772) 128,425 (+26)

Russia 5,783,333 (+25,033) 143,002 (+749)

Iran 3,373,450 (+17,664) 85,859 (+165)

Mexico 2,586,721 (+9,581) 234,907 (+232)

Thailand 336,371 (+9,539) 2,711 (+86)

Netherlands 1,728,438 (+9,318) 17,765

Malaysia 836,296 (+9,105) 6,158 (+91)

Iraq 1,429,362 (+7,616)17,548 (+33)

Philippines 1,473,025 (+5,916) 25,921 (+105)

Kazakhstan 454,825 (+3,695) 4,647

Myanmar 192,213 (+3,461) 3,838 (+82)

Libya 204,090 (+2,854) 3,240 (+8)

Japan 818,690 (+2,458) 14,948 (+15)

Chile 1,587,478 (+2,318) 33,877 (+110)





Daily hospital admissions

Delta - (face coverings)

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