Friday 2 July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 2nd / 3rd July 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 2nd / 3rd July 2021

The UK added 27,125 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,855,169 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,121,678 tests yesterday.

The counter says 45,013,503 people (85.5% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 33,241,265 people (63.1% of UK adults) had received 2 doses.

1,795 people were in hospital with COVID on Wednesday 30th June, with 300 using a ventilator yesterday, 1st July.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 27 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 128,189 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 272,784 cases and 5,000 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 183,594,196 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,974,337. Already 168,034,808 people have recovered.

020721 45m people in the UK at least 1 vaccine dose

"The time for lofty words is over. There needs to be concerted action, backed by financial resources to mitigate the consequences of climate change, while we work to keep temperatures down and scale green innovations.
We are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic. In those countries with low vaccination coverage, terrible scenes of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm. But no country on Earth is out of the woods yet.
The Delta Variant is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate.
Delta has been detected in at least 98 countries and is spreading quickly in countries with low and high vaccination coverage.
There are essentially two ways for countries to push back against the surge:
1. public health measures incl. surveillance, testing, physical distancing, masks, etc.
2. the world must equitably share protective gear, oxygen tests, treatments, and vaccines."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation.
He has asked that by September, 10% of people in every country are vaccinated, with a priority to health care workers. He also asks world leaders to work together so that by this time next year, 70% of people in every country are vaccinated. 

"The R range for England is 1.1 to 1.3 and the growth rate range for England is +2% to +5% per day as of 2 July 2021."
That is very slightly down on last week. Still going up, but slightly more slowly.
Region: R / Growth rate % per day
England:1.1 to 1.3 / 2 to 5
East of England: 1.0 to 1.2 / 1 to 4
London: 1.0 to 1.2 / 0 to 3
Midlands: 1.1 to 1.3 / 2 to 5
North East and Yorkshire: 1.2 to 1.4 / 3 to 7
North West: 1.0 to 1.2 / 1 to 4
South East: 1.1 to 1.3 / 2 to 5
South West: 1.3 to 1.6 / 5 to 8
And what I can find of the devolved nations:
Scotland - R is between 1.2 and 1.5, with the growth rate between 3% and 7% per day, as of estimates to 25th June.
Northern Ireland - R is 1.2 – 1.6, as of 29th June
Wales - tricky one this. The Welsh Government's Technical Advisory Cell on June 22nd estimated 1.1 to 1.4. Public Health Wales have less lag time and estimated 1.6 to 1.8

020721 indieSAGE linear graph showing rise in cases and estimate going forward to 19th July

There are scandalous headlines today stating that Delta Variant cases in the UK have "skyrocketed". Erm... Well, yeah, obviously.
Most cases in the UK for several weeks have been Delta family offspring, and for the last 3 or 4 weeks it has accounted for over 90% of new cases.  Total case numbers are growing, we reported 155,870 new cases in the last 7 days, and it follows the majority are Delta Variant. Exciting headline, but really just another way of stating facts. 

More scandalous headlines in that 'Up to 5m Brits aren't covered by the EU Green Pass scheme because they had the Indian version of the AstraZeneca jab - Covishield'.
Well spotted The Telegraph, this is true, and it will affect some people. The important thing here is "how many people will it affect?", which is anywhere between 0 and 5m. Spoiler, it's far closer to the 0.
Around 5m doses of Covishield have so far been administered in the UK - and you can find out if that includes you by checking your vaccine batch number on your vaccine card or the NHS app. Vaccine batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002, 4120Z003 are Covishield.
Already 9 EU countries are reported to have said they'll accept it, and according to the Schengen Visa website, 5 have authorisation in place - Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Slovenia and Spain. The other 4 are - Austria, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland. Expect more to follow.
The World Health Organisation have endorsed Covishield, and EU Authorisation is in the paperwork stage.
So, if you had Covishield and wanted to visit France within the next few days using the EU Green Pass, you might have a problem, but the vast majority of people will not. 

As of yesterday, Malta accepts the EU 'Green Pass' Digital COVID Certificate and the UK Green Passport (your NHS app.) to prove double vaccination for restriction-free travel. Children aged 5+ will need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of ARRIVAL. (If you travel, be sure you get this right - some countries say a time limit before boarding the plane, some say within arrival at destination.)

020721 indieSAGE 7 day average hospitalisations UK regions

The UK's success at vaccinations is making it virtually impossible to model what is going to happen next. We can see that Delta Variant has taken over in the UK, but assessing how dangerous it actually is, how easy it is to catch, and how protected we are by vaccinations, is all educated guesswork with huge confidence ranges - i.e. we think Delta could be up to twice as likely (as Alpha) to cause severe illness in unprotected people, but the 'confidence range' is massive. It starts just above Alpha and spreads to just over twice that level. No-one really knows.

A scientific paper from The Netherlands which has been quoted by a lot of anti-vaxxers has been retracted. The peer-reviews were scathing. The Netherlands include ALL adverse events in their reporting, whether they were due to vaccination or not. A broken leg from football or alcohol poisoning would be included. It made it appear vaccination was really quite dangerous... seeing as it was responsible for literally everything. 

When scientists give numbers as answers, they usually give a figure and a confidence range or credible interval. This is a broader estimate which they think covers most cases.
Imagine a class of 7 year olds and sweets. I can work out how many sweets they ate over the last month, look at events and times when they ate more or less, which sweets were eaten most and all kinds of variable sums. I might estimate that an average 7 year old from this class is likely to eat 12 sweets a month.
But different months have different numbers of days and special events. I know 12 won't be exactly true for all children,  and in a different group, a single child who behaved very differently could really change the result, so I couldn't be confident the answer would always be an average of 12 each for the children in every class.To allow for that
I could say "I found that, on average, 7 year olds in a class ate 12 sweets each a month, with a confidence range of 3-21 sweets for 97% of children in any given class".
I use a 'confidence range' because some children might even eat more or less than the 3-21, I can't be entirely sure, but I feel confident. If I have a set maximum and minimum, and am certain of my limits, then I would use 'credible interval', because anything else would be highly unlikely - incredible in fact. 

020721 indieSAGE age distribution of new cases england shows younger most affected

Today's indieSAGE was downhearted.
Vaccinations are going well, we have around 50% of the whole UK population fully vaccinated now. They estimate we need around 85% fully protected (through vaccination or infection) in order to attain 'herd immunity' - or protection for virtually everyone.
There are still massive disparities in vaccination when you look at ethnicity. 94% of white people over 50 have had at least 1 dose, and only 69% of black people. Although percentages are going up, it's really slowly.
Case numbers are the big thing. They aren't good, and have doubled over the last 9 days. This is very bad.
indieSAGE had a pretty scary graph showing the prediction for where we would be on 'unlocking day', 19th July, if cases continue to follow the same pattern. It's not pretty. We would be at around 90k cases a day. 1m new infections over the next 17 days.
They are VERY concerned. We have very few measures in place, kids have 3 weeks left in English schools, there's the football etc.
Even if growth slowed to 50% of the speed it is now, by 19th July we would have 80k new cases a day. I can't sugar-coat that, I can't even roll it in glitter. All we can do is hope the vaccinations actually have a bigger effect on case numbers than they anticipate, and that they continue to keep people out of hospital.
The first good news is that hospitalisations are waaaay down on previously. Vaccinations are keeping most people out of hospital. Most. Remember - a small percentage of a very large number is still going to be a big number. Hospitalisations are going up in every English region except the East, and also in Scotland, where the number per 100,000 population is almost twice that of England.
The really good news is that vaccinations are also keeping people alive. At this stage in a previous wave, we were losing hundreds, if not thousands of people a week. We are currently losing around 110 people a week.
That is going up, as we have to expect, but very slowly indeed.
Case numbers in England and Scotland are highest in youngest age groups still, and we have a huge number of children off school self-isolating - almost 400,000 the week before last, and expect that to have risen.
They are quite angry that the UK Government aren't concerned by rising cases, as it isn't only death that will have an effect. Long COVID, missing school, missing work, losing wages. They are ignoring what is going to be a HUGE problem, and we don't have any idea for how long. Some people will have been so damaged by COVID that they will never be back to the health they had before.
They also remind us that more cases = more chance of dangerous variants. We really don't want anything worse than Delta, which is already twice as bad as original COVID...

"With our excellent vaccination programme plus better public health measures WE DON'T NEED TO REACH POPULATION IMMUNITY BY INFECTION and its consequences, but that seems to be the plan. IT'S A TERRIBLE PLAN".
I tend to agree... strongly.

020721 indieSAGE linear graph showing cases to date and projection going forward at half the rate to 19th July

My 27 year old son had COVID a mere 3 weeks ago. He is now "fine". Just for interest, he has a Fitbit and before COVID his resting heart rate was around 65ish. During COVID it went up to the high 80's. He feels he's recovered, and it is now around 73, but hasn't gone below 70. 

Scientists at MIT have created a prototype face mask which has a special patch that detects COVID. The patch contains a freeze-dried sensor that can be made to react to a specific virus or other toxin. When the wearer puts on the mask, the moisture in their breath rehydrates the sensor, which can be modified to change colour when it detects a change - inside the mask, where it's only visible to the wearer.
Sensors could also be placed on the outside of clothing to let the wearer know if they had been exposed to the toxins in their environment.
This is incredibly clever technology, and it's not only useful for COVID. And when they say "sensor" think of lateral flow tests or litmus paper. Simple genius. 

The World Health Organisation are also not happy about Delta Variant. They have advised that people continue to wear masks, even when fully vaccinated.

The Johnson&Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine is more effective against Delta Variant than it was against Beta (South Africa B1351) according to research by the South African Medical Research Council.
Delta is now dominant there, so this is excellent news for them, and for anywhere else using the J&J £10 single dose vaccine.
It was found to be "85 percent effective against severe/critical disease".

020721 letter from sajid javid to health workers

Since December South Korea has struggled to get new cases under control, and just as they seemed to be winning, Delta Variant has arrived. Cases have gone up 40% in the last 10 days. Most new cases are centred around Seoul, where restrictions are in place until at least 7th July.  

Bangladesh Imposed a strict lockdown yesterday, and the Army are being deployed to ensure compliance. They are facing a rapid surge in cases, and a lacking health infrastructure. 

Luxury Cruise News:
A few days ago two guests aboard the Royal Caribbean's Adventure Of The Seas tested positive. They were unvaccinated children, and are now home.
This is the 3rd disaster Royal Caribbean have had in the last few weeks, as their attempts to reopen cruises have been hampered by guests or crew on at least 3 ships testing positive. Not entirely unexpectedly, they're tightening the rules.
"Royal Caribbean will require all guests over the age of 16 sailing from U.S. ports, except those in Florida, to be fully vaccinated. Starting Aug. 1, the rule will apply to all guests over 12.
Passengers leaving from Florida ports from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31 who are not vaccinated will be required to have travel insurance."
(The reason it's different in Florida, is because it's illegal to make vaccinations mandatory in Florida.)

Disaster in Australia. They keep getting fresh outbreaks and they really aren't happy. They are painfully aware Delta Variant could ruin it for them fairly swiftly, and are struggling to contain it. 7 major cities and around half the population are now under lockdown.
The hotel quarantine system is struggling to cope, so they have decided to halve the number of arrivals allowed from overseas to just 3,000 a week. 

020721 indieSAGE chart showing UK disparity in vaccination by ethnicity

5 of the biggest Indian pharmaceutical giants (Cipla, Dr Reddy’s, Sun, Torrent and Emcure) have announced a joint clinical trial for the Molnupravir oral anti-viral drug, to treat mild COVID in an outpatient setting.
Earlier this year all 5 agreed a non-exclusive deal with Merck, to manufacture and supply the drug to India and more than 100 low income countries.
Best of luck. It really could be a brilliant thing. In poorer countries healthcare is usually very limited, and the less patients needing a bed, the more can be saved. 

Sajid Javid, the new UK Health Secretary, wrote to all NHS workers today to thank them for everything they do.
Thank you from me too. You've really been asked for a lot, and still are. It hasn't been fair on you in so many ways, and yet you've never let us down. 

It is the weekend! Hurrah. Another week closer to getting everyone vaccinated and some semblance of normality. This week my partner and I had our 2nd jabs, and our 23 year old had his first. One of our 22 year olds also obtained a First - in his Art degree at University in London, so public congratulations Ryan, we are so flipping proud of you.

Don't forget your treat - you've earned it. Have a good weekend. Be Wise, Use Your Head, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All someone's child:

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

USA 34,562,210 (+807) 620,667 (+22)

India 30,465,185 (+11,248) 400,434 (+163)

Brazil 18,622,304 not yet reported today 520,189

France 5,777,965 not yet reported today 111,111

Russia 5,561,360 (+23,218) 136,565 (+679)

Turkey 5,430,940 not yet reported today 49,774

UK 4,855,169 (+27,125) 128,189 (+27)

Argentina 4,491,551 not yet reported today 94,772

Colombia 4,269,297 not yet reported today 107,137

Italy 4,261,582 (+794) 127,615 (+28)

Spain 3,821,305 not yet reported today 80,883

Germany 3,736,980 (+40) 91,530

Iran 3,232,696 (+13,836) 84,516 (+127)

Poland 2,880,107 (+96) 75,065 (+21)

Mexico 2,525,350 (+6,081) 233,248 (+201) 





Daily hospital admissions

Image Devi Prasad Rao -

Covishield -


Retraction of study:

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