Sunday 1 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 31st July / 1st August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 31st July / 1st August 2021

The UK added 24,470 cases today and now has reported a total of 5,880667 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 863,554 tests yesterday.

The counter says 46,851,145 people (88.6% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 38,345,841 people (72.5%) had received 2 doses.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 65 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 128,719 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 302,074  (+1,098) cases and 5,035 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 198,845,081 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,238,127. Already 179,505,242 people have recovered.

Mums with COVID and babies should stay together

"With the Delta Variant in terms of severity, we have seen a few countries demonstrate increased hospitalisation rates. In terms of people who are infected with this variant, it had not yet translated into increased mortality.
What we do know is that public health and social measures do work against the Delta Variant.
We know that our vaccines are safe and effective against severe disease and death.
And so those who have access to the vaccine - when it's your turn, please get vaccinated and make sure that it's with the full course of your dose, because it is definitely working against severe disease and death.
There is some data that suggests that people who are vaccinated can be infected and they can transmit, although the likelihood of that is much reduced if you are vaccinated.
But it's important that we look at "vaccines and" and not "vaccines only", and that we use a comprehensive approach to understanding, and to controlling transmission."
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Epidemiologist and COVID19 Technical Lead at the World Health Organisation. 

From August 7th, double-jabbed adults in Wales are exempt from isolation if they are identified as a contact of someone who test positive to COVID.
England will bring in the same policy on August 16th.
I have no idea why. 

The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation have established The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries.
The purpose is "to identify and resolve finance and trade impediments to vaccine, diagnostics, therapeutic production and deliveries", and they've issued a joint statement about vaccine equity. We really aren't playing fair.
"We are concerned that vaccine delivery schedules and contracts for COVAX, AVAT, and low and low-middle income countries are delayed or too slow. Less than 5% of vaccine doses that were pre-purchased by or for low-income countries have been delivered."
That is shocking. I don't need to tell you that Europe, the UK, the USA etc. have all received far, far more than 5% of their pre-orders.
"We urge COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to redouble their efforts to scale up production of vaccines specifically for these countries, and to ensure that the supply of doses to COVAX and low and low-middle income countries takes precedence over the promotion of boosters and other activities."
As a UK citizen with grown up children, it is in my own human nature to be glad we all have the benefit of double vaccination, but morally I'm devastated to know healthcare workers in other parts of the world are, even now, treating COVID patients without that protection. That's wrong. To know that these countries may have placed their orders and paid for their vaccines before my own, is pretty rotten.

What to do if you feel lonely - contact people by phone, internet, go for a walk

In 2020 Scotland had the worst record for drug misuse deaths in Europe (21.2 per 100,000).
1,339 people died from drug misuse in Scotland in 2020, up from over 1,200 in 2019 and 1,187 in 2018. Many countries are reporting huge rises and record drug misuse deaths during the pandemic - so Scotland really haven't done as badly during COVID as you might first think. They started from a very high level, and that's their biggest issue, not the pandemic.
They have put a lot into dealing with drug misuse in the first part of this year, so they are on it, even though they are running after a horse which has already bolted.

Delta Variant is causing havoc in Tokyo, and Japan isn't the only East Asian country suffering. Taiwan, China, The Philippines and Thailand are all struggling to control spread, and Myanmar, which had a military coup earlier this year, is not looking good at all. Their reported mortality rate suggests they are only testing a few people, yet daily cases have still skyrocketed from under 100 a day at the beginning of June, to around 5,000 a day, 8 weeks later. 

Delta Variant COVID poses a huge threat for any country, and it's particularly mean when it takes over somewhere you really thought had escaped, or where they were winning.
On May 21st this year, Vietnam had reported a total of only 4,941 COVID cases through the whole pandemic. In just 5 weeks that has risen to over 140,000 cases. They reported another 4,374 cases today.
On Friday the USA reported 101,098 cases - at the beginning of July they were down to around 17,000 cases a day.

A Goal For All Vaccine Equity The World Health Organisation sprinter

The British Chamber of Commerce estimate around 1in5 (19%) of UK companies with staff still on furlough are likely to announce redundancies with the changes to furlough today. It's now August,  which means employers are liable for 20% of employees pay. This will be too much for a lot of businesses that have remained closed or at very limited capacity through COVID. I genuinely am very sorry to anyone who receives bad news tomorrow.

Apparently Pfizer and Moderna have raised the prices they're charging for vaccines across Europe.
(It was behind a paywall, didn't read it.)

Apparently people over 50 in the UK who received 2 doses of AstraZeneca will be offered a dose of Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine as a booster this Autumn.
(It was a headline from The Sun, not official, and I certainly wasn't going to read it.)
This really is what the smart money would do with their vaccine strategy. Evidence shows it gives most people a much more robust and wider-ranging immunity against a host of variants. 

Of 2,702 COVID-19 cases in Sydney from June 16 -July 28, just 15 were fully vaccinated. 0 in hospital, 0 in ICU, 0 deaths.
Pfizer & AstraZeneca jabs have almost equal efficacy too (told you AstraZeneca seems particularly good against Delta).
Australia doesn't have the same level of vaccination as the UK, so it can't be directly compared. You can compare with the wider population though. A lady called Tracy did the maths. She doesn't have a blue tick, but it looks right from what I could see. The missing figures are where it's "not known" which vaccinations people have had, if any:
"In NSW on 28 July (to match graph) 69% of population unvacc'd, 17% partially vacc'd, 14% fully vacc'd. Compared to number of cases - 80% unvaccd, 5% partially vacc'd, 1% fully vacc'd. In hospital - 87% unvacc'd, 6% partially vacc'd, 0 fully vacc'd. So still good."
Very good news for vaccinations in the real world - on a smaller and more precise scale than England...

The world keeps turning. There are horrific wildfires in Europe. Holidaymakers are being rescued as I type in Turkey, with local fishermen helping evacuate people from Bodrum.
There are also wildfires in Italy and Greece, with temperatures expected to rise again tomorrow. 

"Yesterday Archie Manners and I convinced anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn to take £10,000 he thought came from AstraZeneca to stop criticising their vaccine. Except it was monopoly money and we recorded the whole thing."
Josh Pieters, You Tuber.
Yowch! That really must sting Piers... but, hang on a minute. Ten grand? That is a a life changing amount of money to me, but pretty much nothing to him. I guess "the UK's most prominent anti-vaxxer" doesn't actually care about the vaccines then? So why is he trying to convince people not to get vaccinated? 

COVID vaccine has saved thousands of lives UK NHS

Sky News Australia has received a "first strike" from YouTube, who say they breached rules on spreading Covid-19 misinformation. The channel won't be able to upload any new content for a week.
Sky say they did find some old videos which breach rules, which really highlights a problem with rolling news channels and old videos - sometimes things seem right at the time, but they are proven wrong later.
(Insert any example of things people used to think were great - e.g. cow pat poltices, radioactive tonic water, giving babies a brandy at bedtime etc.)

Some numbers. These are the full 24 hour figures up until midnight last night, and these are the countries which reported the highest daily totals yesterday.  They are all struggling to contain COVID right now.
It is the weekend, some areas don't report, including some states in the USA, so even these aren't complete.
Last time I did this, I included every country which reported over 3,000 cases, and I had 16 included. Yesterday, 26 countries reported over 4,000 cases in a day. This doesn't even take into account countries with smaller populations, for whom 500 cases is a huge amount. Delta really is incredibly cruel.

Each number is a person:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (the 24 hours until midnight GMT last night):

USA 35,745,024 (+51,898) 629,315 (+241)

India 31,654,584 (+41,790) 424,384 (+542)

Brazil 19,917,855 (+37,582) 556,437 (+925)

Indonesia 3,409,658 (+37,284) 94,119 (+1,808)

UK 5,856,197 (+26,033) 129,654 (+71)

Russia 6,265,873 (+23,807) 158,563 (+792)

France 6,127,019 (+23,471) 111,867 (+43)

Turkey 5,727,045 (+22,332) 51,332 (+79)

Iran 3,871,008 (+19,846) 90,630 (+286)

Mexico 2,829,443 (+19,346) 240,456 (+459)

Thailand 597,287 (+18,912) 4,857 (+178)

Malaysia 1,113,272 (+17,786) 9,024 (+165)

South Africa 2,447,454 (+12,418) 72,013 (+334)

Japan 913,480 (+10,469) 15,184 (+11)

Argentina 4,929,764 (+10,356)

Iraq 1,626,599 (+10,215) 18,657 (+62)

Bangladesh 1,249,484 (+9,369) 20,685 (+218)

Colombia 4,785,320 (+9,029) 120,723 (+291)

Cuba 384,596 (+8,875) 2,758 (+65)

Vietnam 145,686 (+8,624) 1,306 (+145)

Philippines 1,588,954 (+8,136) 27,889 (+167)

Kazakhstan 572,576 (+7,691) 5,866 (+86)

Morocco 623,528 (+7,529) 9,785 (+53)

Italy 4,350,027 (+6,512) 128,063 (+16)

Pakistan 1,029,811 (+4,950) 23,360 (+65)

Myanmar 299,185 (+4,725) 9,334 (+392) 




Daily hospital admissions

Vaccinequity image

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