Thursday 15 July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 14th / 15th July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 14th / 15th July 2021

The UK added 48,553 cases today (up from 32,551 a week earlier and 27,289 two weeks earlier), and now has reported a total of 5,281,098 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,210,002 tests yesterday (which I think could be a record).

The counter says 46,097,464 people (87.5% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 35,341,428 people had received 2 doses (67.1%).

3,786 people were in hospital yesterday, 14th July (up from 2,636 a week earlier and 1,795 two weeks earlier), with 545 using a ventilator (up from 417 a week earlier and 287 two weeks earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 63 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 128,593 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 279,790 cases and 5,006 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 189,473,728 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,078,581. Already 172,964,052 people have recovered.

2 out of every 3 UK adults have now had both COVID jabs

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that all of Wales will move into Alert Level One from July 17th, with an intention to move to Level Zero on August 7th, although some restrictions will remain in place.
From Saturday 17 July - Alert Level 1:
- Up to 6 people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
- Organised indoor events for up to 1,000 seated or 200 standing can take place, subject to a risk assessment and taking reasonable measures
- Ice rinks can re-open
- Remove the legal restrictions on the number of people who can gather outdoors
- Allow up to 30 children from organisations, such as the Brownies and Scouts, to attend residential centres over the summer holidays
From Saturday 7 August (if conditions allow) - Alert Level 0:
- Remove legal restrictions on the number of people who can meet indoors, including in private homes, public places or at events
- All businesses and premises can open, including nightclubs
- People should still work from home wherever possible
- Face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises. This will be kept under review.

On Monday the UK travel lists will be updated, and so will the rules on quarantining on your return to the UK. Grant Shapps, UK Travel Minister:
"From 4.00am Monday 19th July Bulgaria & Hong Kong will be added to the green list and Croatia & Taiwan the green watchlist of destinations. Please check latest travel advice before you travel as countries and territories may have extra requirements before you get there.
We’re also moving the Balearic Islands & British Virgin Islands to the amber list - previously on the green watchlist.
Also, from 19/07 if you’re fully Vaccinated in the UK you can return to England from amber countries and territories without needing to quarantine."
In addition, 4 more countries have been added to the 'no travel' Red List - Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone. 

As an aside, the UK Gov Twitter seems to be doing a grand job of getting across all of the important new travel rules, in language we can all understand. Very handily, a stream of people are asking very clear relevant questions. Examples include "hi could you please tell me the requirements for a British citizen returning to the UK from Canada this month. (Also been fully vaccinated in Canada)" and "could you please confirm if a British Expat living in Cyprus, who has had both Astrazeneca vaccines, can travel to the UK without having to quarantine?"
I'm not suggesting that the UK Gov Travel office employees wrote any of those questions themselves, obviously... 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that face coverings will remain mandatory on all London transport:
"What we are going to do is make it what is called a 'condition of carriage', basically, think of it as a contract. If you want to use our services, a condition of using them is you must wear a face mask."
This will apply to all passengers except those who are exempt, on London buses, tubes, overground services and the DLR, and enforcement officers will check compliance.

Face coverings will also be mandatory for many travel companies and on several other modes of transport, including all the airlines I've seen mention it so far, including when walking through Heathrow Airport.
It is entirely up to the company involved, and they have every right to refuse service or eject you if you do not follow their rules.  

Calmly smiling lady from NHS England with text quote about facemasks

Lewis Goodall, BBC Journalist:
"NEW: Over 520,000 people were pinged in England by the test and trace app in the week ending July 7th. That’s up 46% and the greatest number since January.
To put it another way it’s just shy of 1% of the English population..."
(Around 22% (1 in 5) of the English population are children and probably don't have the test & trace app...)

Unlocking poses a distinct risk for pregnant people, over half of whom in the UK have declined vaccination. Literally thousands of people have now had babies after vaccination, and no harm has been reported. Studies by NorthWestern University, USA, have found no damage to the placenta, which acts like a filter and usually is the first place to find any problem.
The UK Government say:
"Although the overall risk from COVID-19 disease in pregnant women and their new babies is low, in later pregnancy some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment.
Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Women with COVID-19 disease are also 2 to 3 times more likely to have their babies early than women without COVID-19.
Pregnant women with underlying clinical conditions are at even higher risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19."
I've had 5 babies, I declined the flu jab because I wouldn't usually have been offered it. I understand how torn some of you must feel, but please consider this one carefully. COVID, especially towards the end of a pregnancy, is really hard work on your already stressed body. 

"Two thirds of adults across the UK have now had two jabs. We have beaten our target by almost a week - this is a huge achievement. Thank you to everyone who has come forward. The vaccine is our wall of defence against the virus."
Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary

"NHS patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings and follow social distancing measures in healthcare settings.
Please help us to reduce the risk of infection for our staff and patients by following the guidance."
NHS England.
After July 19th face coverings and distancing rules will still apply in GP surgeries, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare settings. 

The percentage of a population who need to be fully vaccinated or have natural antibodies in order to achieve 'herd immunity' or 'population immunity' is something everyone has been trying to estimate for a while.
Studies have found around 75% made a massive difference, but to actually curb spread to sustainable levels, there are a lot of figures which have to balance out. 80% is a regularly mentioned 'herd immunity threshold' - BUT that means 80% have good antibodies, and not everyone develops good antibodies from vaccination, so you have to go above the 80% in order to cover the deficit. It also varies depending on how transmissible (catchy) the virus is, so with Delta Variant it's possible we may have to aim even higher.
Obviously we have millions of people in the UK who have COVID antibodies from infection, so what the UK Government (and frankly all of us) are pinning hopes on, is a total of 80% or better from the combination - as quickly as possible. 

150721 Total COVID doses

France celebrated Bastille Day yesterday, and there was a massive parade, fireworks, flags and banners. There were also protests against the recent announcement about a Health Pass (COVID vaccination pass), which will allow vaccinated people access to restaurants, shopping malls, hospitals and planes/trains, and mandatory vaccination for health care workers.
Since the Health pass announcement on Monday, 2.2m vaccination appointments have been booked in France. 

A huge international study has identified more than 200 symptoms of long COVID. This is the biggest study so far, and included researchers from University College, London.
Participants were found via Long COVID support groups and networks, and in total "3,762 participants with confirmed (diagnostic/antibody positive; 1020) or suspected (diagnostic/antibody negative or untested; 2742) COVID-19, from 56 countries, with illness lasting over 28 days and onset prior to June 2020" were surveyed. Very similar results were found in the confirmed COVID and suspected COVID groups.
Researchers estimated there were 203 different symptoms in 10 organ systems, and they traced 66 symptoms over seven months.
"The most frequent symptoms after month 6 were fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and cognitive dysfunction."
(Shattered / shattered after doing anything / brain fog or trouble concentrating - and very familiar to me as lasting for many months after my partner had Meningitis.)
Other symptoms included problems regulating temperature, coughing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, palpitations, fainting, allergic skin conditions, joint pain, muscle ache, slurred speech, hallucinations, new allergies, tremors, changes to the menstrual cycle, blurred vision, headaches and insomnia... among other things.
2,454 people had symptoms lasting longer than six months, and they averaged over 13 symptoms each, affecting different organ systems.
Importantly the researchers discovered several people with some lesser known but more serious symptoms, and a plausible link:
"Several of these symptoms (e.g. anaphylaxis, new allergies, changes in sensitivity to medications), as well as the more commonly reported Long COVID symptoms (e.g. dizziness and tachycardia), overlap with symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), possibly warranting further exploration into the role of mast cells in Long COVID."
So, if one of you could get onto that cheers, that would be great... 

Indonesia is currently the worst affected Asian country, reporting over 110,000 new cases in the last 48 hours. Reports are that hospitals are overwhelmed, and there are some severe oxygen shortages, especially on Java, where 148m people are crammed together on an island half the size of the UK. 

Famous People With COVID:
2 of the Indian Cricket Team (currently on tour in England)
An as-yet-unnamed athlete who is staying at the managed Olympic facilities. 

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

Argentina have become the 11th country to report the loss of over 100,000 people to COVID. They have had a fairly sustained outbreak for a while, which fortunately has peaked and is reducing.
The other 10 countries are: USA 623,856 / Brazil 537,498 / India 412,204 / Mexico 235,507 / Peru 194,752 / Russia 146,069 / UK 128,530 / Italy 127,831 / Colombia 114,337 / France 111,413

Olympic Hopefuls:
Japan is riding up their 3rd distinct COVID wave, and reporting around 2,500 cases a day - most of which are in Tokyo. The games are still happening though! All medals will be presented by a fully vaccinated official. 

A Manchester couple are among those who have fallen foul of the EU's failure to swiftly approve the Indian version of the AstraZeneca jab - Covishield. Around 5m doses of Covishield have been distributed in the UK. It is exactly the same recipe, but because it's made completely independently by Serum Institute India, it needs its own authorisation (or anyone could start making it - very badly - in their kitchen).
The couple were attempting to board a flight to Malta, which doesn't require quarantine on your return to the UK, and uses the covering EU authorisations rather than completing all of their own testing. Grant Shapps, UK Minister for Commutes and Jollibobs, has said he will be speaking to the Maltese Government immediately to try to address the problem.
CHECK BEFORE TRAVEL. Affected batch numbers are 4120Z001, 4120Z002 and 4120Z003 - and it won't make a speck of difference except for some foreign travel that happens before they sort this mess out.

Over 1,200 scientists have now signed the letter that 100 scientists, including members of indieSAGE, published in The Lancet last Thursday, asking for the UK Government to have a re-think....

In case I forget tomorrow - there is a 'Heat' Health Alert in the UK this weekend - bear it in mind when you make plans. You'll need lots of water, and shade... 

Some numbers. All people on our huge but tiny planet:

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

Indonesia 2,726,803 (+56,757) 70,192 (+982)

UK 5,281,098 (+48,553) 128,593 (+63)

Russia 5,882,295 (+25,293) 146,069 (+791)

Iran 3,464,055 (+23,655) 86,592 (+201)

India 31,007,870 (+21,067) 412,204 (+185)

Malaysia 880,782 (+13,215) 6,613 (+110)

Bangladesh 1,071,774 (+12,236) 17,278 (+226)

Mexico 2,616,827 (+12,116) 235,507 (+230)

Netherlands 1,766,102 (+10,976) 17,773 (+3)

Iraq 1,466,529 (+9,337) 17,707 (+30)

Thailand 372,215 (+9,186) 3,032 (+98)

Cuba 263,086 (+6,479) 1,726 (+67)

Kazakhstan 472,106 (+5,314) 4,816 (+47)

Philippines 1,490,665 (+5,221) 26,314 (+82)

Myanmar 212,545 (+4,188) 4,346 (+165)

Japan 827,772 (+3,194) 14,990 (+19)






Daily hospital admissions

Unlocking doesn't always go smoothly

France Protests


Unlocking doesn't always go smoothly

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