Tuesday 13 July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 12th / 13th July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 12th / 13th July 2021.

The UK added 36,660 cases today ( last week 28,773 / 2 weeks ago 20,479 / 3 weeks ago 11,625) and now has reported a total of 5,191,459 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,066,498 tests yesterday.

The counter says 45,978,017 people (87.3% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 34,997,491 people (66.4%) had received 2 doses and will be fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose.

The number of people in hospital has still not been updated since last Thursday, when it was 2,731, with 417 using a ventilator.
Public Health England figures at 8am this morning show that, IN ENGLAND ALONE, 2,970 beds were occupied by COVID patients with 470 people using a ventilator. (Last Thursday in England those figures were 2,209 and 376.)

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 50 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 128,481 losses of life in all settings.

Total cases for the last 7 days:
Area: Cases / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales: 4,634 / 147
Scotland: 20,190 / 369.6
Northern Ireland: 3,432 / 181.2
England: 185,128 / 328.9

Rep. Of Ireland 278,464 cases and 5,006 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 188,387,431 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,059,110. Already 172,178,460 people have recovered.

One dose of vaccine reduces household transmission by half, but not if you hug like the 4 people in the image

All of Scotland will move to Level 0 on Monday July 19th. Congratulations / commiserations depending on your feelings.
Good news from a pandemic point of view is that they aren't letting the reins go entirely, so you should still be able to watch and point at us South of the border, at least a bit. Remaining restrictions include:
- Restaurants and pubs will have a midnight closing time.
- Mandatory use of face coverings will remain in place for some time to come.
Nicola Sturgeon said earlier:
"Lifting all restrictions and mitigations right now would put all of us at greater risk, but in particular it would make it much more difficult for the most clinically vulnerable to go about their normal lives. It would risk the imposition of shielding by default."
There are actually calls from several different directions for them to close the border with England, as so many outbreaks occur after people have visited. (You need another wall Nicola!!)

Wales - You can choose 2 other households to meet in your home, becoming an extended household. Up to 30 people can meet outside.
First Minister Mark Drakeford will make an announcement about the future of lockdown in Wales tomorrow - Wednesday July 14th.

Northern Ireland - Up to 6 people from 2 households can socialise indoors, including for overnight stays, and up to 15 people from no more than 3 households can meet in a private garden.
The indicative date of 26 July has been set for relaxation of some restrictions. This is subject to a review on Thursday 22nd July.

I have exciting news for anyone who has spent many hours of their lives reporting lateral flow tests for their household - You can now save the details of household members! Yeeeeay. Huge thank you to whoever finally added that option. 

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

The UK’s first testing megalab has opened. The Rosalind Franklin laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa is expected to process hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 samples every day - to rapidly detect new variants and help stop the spread of the virus.

Public Health England say please keep working from home for a few weeks. They aren't so keen on masses of people suddenly turning up at A&E around 25th July, and they'd REALLY like you to maintain some caution.

Local health authorities are 'on their own' now in many respects - and you may well find they take a more proactive role in curbing cases in your area. They are the local experts, they know where it is spreading in your community, and it is in their interests to keep cases as low as possible. 

As COVID has evolved, so have the main symptoms. Currently the Zoe Symptom app. lists these 5 symptoms as being the top 5 to look out for if you have been double vaccinated - and they are about as much use as a chocolate teapot:
Runny nose
Sore throat
Loss of smell
(Yeah - it really is not easy to spot COVID unless you are particularly unlucky.)
If you've had a single vaccination,  top 5 symptoms are:
Runny nose
Sore throat
Persistent cough
If you are unvaccinated, your top 5 symptoms are:
Sore Throat
Runny Nose
Persistent cough
Bear in mind that although they might be the top 5 most common symptoms, it doesn't mean you'd even have any of them. 

European CDC advice against Delta - one dose is not enough

Yesterday's England Briefing decisions were "guided" by the data collected by SAGE, and they released that to the public last night.
Modelling suggests that this wave won't peak until mid-August, by which time we are likely to have around 1,000 - 2,000 hospital admissions, and 100 to 200 losses of life a day.
Clearly this will have massive implications for all of the people involved, and how it's going to play out over Summer really is anyone's guess.
I'm really quite angry for anyone wanting to see loved ones abroad for the first time in potentially years. Your trip isn't in any way secure.
Government probably won't be very interested, because rest assured they WILL be on their jollibobs. If you work for the NHS though, will you even get a break?
"The number of hospital admissions likely to occur in this wave is also highly uncertain but is likely to reach at least 1000 per day, depending on the speed of changes following step 4. Most modelled scenarios have peaks lower than January 2021. However, under more pessimistic assumptions, some scenarios show a resurgence of that scale or larger. Even if lower than previous peaks, the number of admissions may become challenging for the NHS (medium confidence)."
"If the aim is to avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed, SAGE advises that it is important to understand the impact of different levels of admissions on NHS function and have appropriate contingency plans in place. Given the time between infection and hospitalisation, at any point that cases are still increasing exponentially, admissions can be expected to at least double once more regardless of any measures put in place at that point."
Here's your 'good' news:
"It is almost certain that the peak in deaths will be well below the levels seen in January 2021 due to the impact of vaccination (assuming that no new dominant variant emerges) (high confidence)."

Excellent news from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
"In the ENSEMBLE trial, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine was 85 percent effective against severe/critical disease and demonstrated protection against hospitalization and death. The vaccine was consistently effective across all regions studied globally, including in South Africa and Brazil, where there was a high prevalence of rapidly emerging Beta and Zeta (P.2) variants during the study period."
They've pulled out all of the samples which were Delta Variant, and they performed better than the average, greater than 85% protection against severe disease and death. Even better (probably) they found after 8 months the participants had a greater immune response than when it was measured at 29 days after vaccination.

It isn't all good news for Johnson&Johnson though. The US FDA have added a rare side effect warning. Around 100 people have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome after their jab. According to the NHS:
"Guillain-Barré (pronounced ghee-yan bar-ray) syndrome is a very rare and serious condition that affects the nerves.
It mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain.
It can be treated and most people will eventually make a full recovery, although it can occasionally be life-threatening and some people are left with long-term problems."
Around 12.8m people have received the vaccination, so the risk is very rare, at around 1 in 128,000. 

Pfizer are hoping to get authorisation for Booster Jabs in the USA within the next few weeks. Early data from their trial showed that the immune response leapt by 5 to 10 fold after the 3rd dose.  

France and Greece have both announced that they are making vaccinations mandatory for Health workers.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that "care staff in hospitals, those working in clinics, retirement homes, with the disabled, and all professionals/volunteers who work in contact with vulnerable people" must be vaccinated by September 15th, and COVID-19 passes will be necessary for anyone who wants to go to a restaurant, shopping mall or hospital, travel by train or plane.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that all nursing home staff must arrange vaccination immediately, and health workers have to be vaccinated from September 1. Only vaccinated customers will be allowed indoors in bars, cinemas, and other enclosed spaces.  

48 percent of men who were off work because of COVID reported mental health related illness

Peter Marks, who owns 42 UK nightclubs (including the chains Pryzm, Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction), has been interviewed by the Press Association, and is quoted in several papers today. He says they will NOT be using COVID passports for entry and will reopen at full capacity.
He did also say each of their venues is ventilated to exchange the air every 5 minutes, which is pretty darn good to be fair.
Fact remains that a night club, with a lot of people sweating, dancing, singing, shouting and generally a little inebriated, is always going to be a very tricky place to make COVID-safe.
(I think they need to make more use of UV Light. Somebody clever invent something!)

Cubans have been protesting, mainly peacefully, in huge numbers. Depending on which media you read, they are either protesting lack of COVID care and vaccinations, or they're also protesting their government. Either way, the White House was quick to respond by saying how great it was that some Cubans were helping their neighbours... okaaaaay. Thanks. That'll help. 

South Africans have also been protesting, and it is not peaceful at all.  Depending on where you go for news, it's either a non-story, or absolute carnage, with a frantic attempt for the world to pay attention.
Poverty and food shortages have been a real problem for a while, and there are now water shortages. Former President Zuma was jailed 2 days ago, his supporters rioted and it's all kicked off in a huge way.
Shops have become targets, and mass looting is taking place - mostly because people are hungry.
There is serious fighting between authorities and civilians, the military have been called in, major roads have been blocked by burnt trucks, and the unrest shows no signs of stopping.
The hashtag SouthAfricaIsBurning has been trending all day. I have seen footage from Durban, and wherever they pointed the camera, the sky was full.of smoke. It really is not looking good over there. If you are poor, and you destroy what little you have, you have nothing. 

The UK's send away to a lab PCR COVID tests are taking longer to come back. It's not entirely surprising given we have way more cases right now, but it's a nightmare for anyone needing to prove they're okay to go to work/school/hospital, or find out if they aren't okay to mix with people who are vulnerable.
You should still currently get results within 72 hours... most of the time. 

"The Netherlands removed most of their restrictions, opened night clubs, etc., and the COVID-19 Delta variant has launched through their society like a rocket.
I read the doubling time as around 2 days.  If sustained, that would put the effective reproduction rate, R, around 6."
Dr Robert Rohde
The restrictions were lifted on June 26th - not even 3 weeks ago, and they are being reimposed. Young unvaccinated people are those mainly affected.
Barcelona had a similar experience. Delta really doesn't give an inch. 

Jeremy Corbyn's brother forced a vaccination bus to close down and drive away in Brighton over the weekend. He led a protest there against lockdowns and vaccinations.
Seriously, no-one is being forced to get a vaccination. If you don't want one, that's your choice, but why stop other people? What have you got to gain?
As for lockdowns. WE AREN'T IN A LOCKDOWN. All we are currently doing is some very lightweight measures, and when it's anticipated the government are about to lift all restrictions, shouldn't you refocus on something else instead?

WHO New normal COVID is waiting for complacency

A UK couple were so determined to avoid hotel quarantine on their way back from South Africa, that they spent thousands to come home the indirect route, and staggered the journey over 7 months. Both caught COVID during the trip. Was that REALLY better than 2 weeks in a hotel? Personally I'd love 2 weeks in a hotel. 2 days would be bliss.

The defaced mural of Marcus Rashford in Withington has been covered over by bazillions of post it notes and love hearts bearing messages of support. Because the truth is that we actually have a ratio of just 1 racist scum for every hundreds of nice people. 

The dust is still settling over the plan to reopen everything on July 19th. I don't think anyone is "happy", but a lot of people are pleased it's going ahead. The YouGov polls show that actually the majority of people will still be choosing to use masks - social media and a quick straw poll of everyone I know is the same.
Everyone's situation is different, just as everyone's experience of the pandemic so far is different. Some people have had no choice but to go to work on the bus at rush hour all along, some people haven't left the house. Some people have children at several different schools, some live alone. Some people will stay at home until after this peaks, and some will struggle to go back out, and be wary for a long time. Some people can't stay at home because their mental health has suffered enough. They NEED to go out. Some people have lost friends and family who should have been with them for a long time yet.
You aren't everyone, you are just you. Take your own priorities and make your own choices when you can. And try not to judge the next person unless they are actually disrespectful, because you don't know what they have been asked to do over the last 18 months, or why they choose to behave as they do.

Some numbers. All unique human beings:

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

USA 34,767,924 (+1,520) 623,056 (+27)

India 30,941,863 (+37,129) 409,503 (+165)

Brazil 19,106,971 not yet reported today 534,311

Russia 5,833,175 (+24,702) 144,492 (+780)

France 5,813,899 not yet reported today 111,353

Turkey 5,486,959 not yet reported today 50,278

UK 5,191,459 (+36,660) 128,481 (+50)

Italy 4,273,693 (+1,534) 127,808 (+20)

Spain 4,015,084 (+43,960) 81,033 (+13)

Germany 3,744,784 (+517) 91,780 (+6)

Iran 3,417,029 (+22,750) 86,207 (+166)

Poland 2,880,959 (+96) 75,173 (+13)

Indonesia 2,615,529 (+47,899) 68,219 (+864) 







Daily hospital admissions 



 "Scotland COVID-19 restrictions will ease on July 19, Nicola Sturgeon confirms" https://twitter.com/i/events/1414852261084209172?s=09


























"The FDA adds new warning to Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for rare side effect" 



Johnson&Johnson Vaccine is to get a new warning 


"France and Greece announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination measures for health workers" https://twitter.com/i/events/1414739000653324289?s=09







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