Thursday 12 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th August 2021

The UK added 33,074 cases today (UP from 30,215 cases a week earlier, and 31,117 two weeks ago) and now has reported a total of 6,179,506 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 842,591 tests yesterday.

The counter says 47,170,968 people (89.2% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 40,013,470 people (75.7%) had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated 14 days after that 2nd dose.

5,909 people were in hospital yesterday, 11th August, with 871 using a ventilator.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 94 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 130,701 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 317,204 cases and 5,059 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 205,822,170 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,342,466. Already 184,790,391 people have recovered.

120821 70% of UK young people have been vaccinated text over a UK flag

The UK GCSE results were released today. I have the same message for you as I did for A Level students. Anyone who passed a formal qualification has done an extraordinary thing in extraordinary times. Well done to all of you.

Academic grades are only a tiny part of all the things that make you, you. There is so much more to who you are, and there are hundreds of options available, whether you got the grades you hoped for or not.
Re-sits, whole new GCSEs, vocational courses, apprenticeships, A levels, work. Take a deep breath. It will be okay. Some of the most intelligent, witty, creative and successful people around did not pass their exams first time, or in some cases, ever. 

"Over 70% of young people aged 18 to 29 in England have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the latest figures show, providing vital protection against infection and serious illness from the virus.
A total of 5,940,038 people in this age group have received a first dose (70.2%) and 2,683,434 people have received both doses (32.4%).
The latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University shows that vaccines have saved around 84,600 lives as well as preventing 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England up to 6 August."
Pretty darn flipping impressive, I'm sure you'll agree. 

Know your strengths grades don't define you SHOUT for help text 85258

Andrew Pollard, the Head of the Oxford Vaccines Group, has told UK MPs to stop focussing on herd immunity, because they simply can't get it with Delta, due to the fact a substantial number of previously infected people can be reinfected anyway.
If this was measles, we'd have stopped it - this isn't the same at all.
Because transmission will just keep going, he warns that everyone will eventually meet Delta, including everyone who isn't vaccinated and is more vulnerable to serious illness.
Obviously if Delta goes through millions more bodies, we also have the ongoing risk of an exciting new variant that escapes Delta antibodies, which could then come back round and reinfect everyone again.
We've said it many times. If we can't get rid of it, we make it as harmless as possible, and we are at least doing a pretty good job of that. 

The interim results of the 'Together Trial' (trialling repurposed drugs for patients with early COVID) of Ivermectin and Fluvoxamine has disappointingly found that Ivermectin has no significant effect, but we've much better news with Fluvoxamine - which reduced risk of hospitalisation by 31%.
The trial was held in Brazil, and enrolled patients who had COVID and seemed likely to need future hospital admission. The patients all had at least 1 risk factor (major or minor) - e.g. diabetes, asthma, age 50+ etc.
The trial was measuring hospitalisations, but when you look at the difference in 'outcome', it's almost identical. Patients given Fluvoxamine were also 29% less likely to die.
Not only is this excellent news, but Julien Potet, Tropical Disease Policy Advisor for Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), is among those asking for much more research into why it has this effect. If we understand it better, it'll help understand the virus and how it attacks the body - which should help us understand how better to prevent serious side effects in the first place. 

From 16 August (Monday) in ENGLAND:
"People fully vaccinated or under 18 will not need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive, or if you have symptoms."
Anyone who tests positive must still do their self-isolation. And importantly, don't forget that anyone who develops symptoms of COVID should still isolate and book a test asap. Contacts are free to go about their business though...
"Adults and children will be free to return to work, attend school, and meet friends and family as the protection from vaccines replaces the need for contact isolation from Monday."
Anyone else read that and think "but kids aren't vaccinated?" I love a good vaccine (Polio has to be my favourite really, or maybe Smallpox?), and they can do some amazing things, but they aren't actually made of magic.
Aaaaand trust me, the clinically extremely vulnerable aren't feeling your confidence Sajid... 

"Genomics firm wins £123m government contract after David Cameron lobbied Matt Hancock"
There's the headline, and once you know Mr Cameron is a paid consultant for Illumina (a genetic sequencing company), it just about covers it... 

South Africa has lost around 223,000 people more than expected since the pandemic began, a massive 0.4% of their population (1 person in every 250). It isn't exactly surprising then that the COVID Actuaries Response Group are reporting a South African life insurer appears to be the first to have a vaccination clause in their contracts.
Is this going to become a thing in the new COVID world? Is it yet another way to punish people who can't have a vaccination for medical reasons? 

daily stats in text as given at the top of the post

Australia, oh Australia. I'm as gutted for you as I am for Vietnam, and all of the other countries who really impressed the world with their ability to avoid COVID - until Delta came along.
Australia's outbreak in New South Wales continues relentlessly. They are reporting 350 new daily cases, and earlier today more areas went into lockdown, and some locked down areas became even more strictly restricted, in a desperate bid to stamp this out.
New Zealanders really must be very nervous, because this can potentially happen anywhere. If New Zealand ever lost their grasp on COVID, where would all the fleeing billionaires go?

The only places on the planet who STILL have not officially reported any cases of COVID are: Kiribati, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, Tonga, Turkmenistan and Tuvalu.

Talking of New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today announced they are continuing with their Elimination Strategy and will not be accepting COVID into their lives.
"We're not in a position to fully reopen just yet. When we move we will be careful and deliberate, because we want to move with confidence, and with as much certainty as is possible..."
"As a first step, from next year, once everyone who is eligible is offered a vaccine, and we have good coverage through the criteria I just described, we'll move to a risk-based pathway system of travel.
That means that the nature of your entry into New Zealand will be dependent on a couple of key things. In particular your vaccination status and where you have been for the last 14 days. Countries will be grouped according to risk, factors considered will be the number of cases, prevalence of Variants of Concern, vaccination rates and our confidence in the country's strategies for maintaining outbreaks."
None of you actually wanted to visit New Zealand did you? 

US Senator Rand Paul has (very late in the day) disclosed that his wife bought shares in Gilead last February. This is the company who created Remdesivir - which doesn't help with COVID, but was even used by President "Gimme All The Drugs" Trump when he had COVID.
Could it be that when you look behind the cupboard door, the rats were all placing their bets and then promoting the options which could make them the most profit, regardless of actual results? Surely not... 

"Today’s report shows some very startling numbers. We saw the largest single-day increase in hospitalizations and have eclipsed our previous high of COVID hospitalizations. There are currently only eight ICU beds available in the state. Vaccinations reduce hospitalizations."
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, 10th August 2021.
If only there was something else he could do, beside put all his faith in vaccines. Just an idea, banning large gatherings, maybe even delay school reopening? None of them take your fancy? No? What about mandating masks? You can't because that's illegal?
Governor Hutchinson is very contrite, and has admitted he now regrets signing the Bill making mask mandates illegal.
Arkansas has a population of 3 million people.

Meanwhile in Texas with their Governor Greg Abbott:
"Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy GA-38—which prohibits gov't entities from mandating masks—will be taken to court.
The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates."
If any school asks their pupils to wear masks, staff have been threatened they'll lose their pay. The White House has said if that occurs, they'll look into paying them instead. 

From October 11th Germany are going to stop paying for tests for people who refuse vaccinations.
From October 11th in Germany you will have to prove vaccination or negative test to have access to public events, restaurants, churches etc.
People who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, pregnant people and children are exempt. 

Cartoon drawing of two hands and lots of soap suds

Reuters are reporting that Facebook, Google and Twitter are cutting pay for employees who decide to work remotely.
They claim they always set pay depending on where an employee actually works, and to be fair pay varies around the UK, notably in London, but a lot of people will not be prepared to take a cut.
I'm not entirely sure what the justification is either - if you do as good a job at home as you did in the office, and you are costing your company less in office costs, why should you get a pay cut? It seems just another way for the big bosses and owners to make more money to me.

The US CDC estimate that around 1.1 million people in America have gone back for an unauthorised 3rd vaccination booster. Apparently this is happening most in Florida - which is having the worst problem right now. It's possible many were advised to go by their doctor because they are severely immune-compromised, but the FDA has yet to actually officially make an announcement or authorise a booster for anyone.
Good to know it's not only the UK who can confuse everyone...

Some numbers. All of them are people, very much like you:

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

Iran 4,320,266 (+39,049) 96,215 (+568)

UK 6,179,506 (+33,074) 130,701 (+94)

Indonesia 3,774,155 (+24,709) 113,664 (+1,466)

Thailand 839,771 (+22,782) 6,942 (+147)

Malaysia 1,342,215 (+21,668) 11,691 (+318)

Japan 1,069,554 (+15,792)

Philippines 1,700,363 (+12,439) 29,539 (+165)

Morocco 731,084 (+10,828) 10,711 (+104)

Iraq 1,751,176 (+10,243) 19,466 (+64)

Bangladesh 1,396,868 (+10,126) 23,613 (+215)

Cuba 491,904 (+8,194) 3,757 (+73)

Kazakhstan 664,524 (+7,747) 7,208 (+105)

Italy 4,420,429 (+7,270) 128,334 (+30)

Georgia 466,326 (+5,128) 6,279 (+49)

Pakistan 1,085,294 (+4,934) 24,187 (+102)

Vietnam 241,543 (+4,642) 4,487





Daily hospital admissions


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