Friday 13 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 13th August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 13th August 2021

The UK added 32,700 cases today and now has reported a total of 6,211,868 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 813,378 tests yesterday.

The counter says 47,215,352 people (89.3% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 40,206,029 (76%) people had received 2 doses.

5,875 people were in hospital on Thursday 12th August, with 882 people using a ventilator.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 100 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 130,801 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 320,915 (+1,978) cases and 5,059 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 206,613,680 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,353,844. Already 185,388,795 people have been reported to have had COVID and recovered.

Cases of COVID in England to 12th August indieSAGE

"The first doses of COVID19 vaccines donated to COVAX by the UK are set to land in Zambia and the DRC today! 3 million AstraZeneca doses will be delivered to 11 African countries in the coming days; the first of 80 million pledged to COVAX in total."
GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance
The UK have pledged 80 million doses by the end of June 2022. The countries due to receive vaccines this week are: Zambia - 119,200
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - 51,840
Malawi - 119,040
Senegal - 140,160
Egypt - 299,680
Uganda - 299,520
And in the next few days/weeks Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria will finalise arrangements for deliveries.

The UK Government have today sent an Emergency Medical Team to Tunisia to help tackle their Covid-19 crisis. Cases have surged there over July, and although it has eased over the past week or so, hospitals are full.
"The team includes nine doctors, nurses and logistics experts, from the UK, France, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Italy. The medical experts specialise in emergency medicine and infection, prevention and control, as well as humanitarian healthcare. They will provide clinical supervision and support to Tunisian healthcare services and are expected to deploy for up to twelve weeks."
Tunisia's population is under 12 million people, and they are reporting around 3,000 cases a day at the moment. 

Good as his word, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid did ask the Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate the price and quality of private COVID tests.
"There are 3 areas that the CMA is currently exploring:
- Whether individual PCR providers may be breaching their obligations under consumer law and should be subject to enforcement action.
- Whether there are structural problems in the market for PCR tests, affecting price or reliability.
- Whether there are any immediate actions that the Government could take in the meantime."

Up until July 30th the USA has recorded a total of 4,404 cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in children who have COVID.
60% of cases were in boys, and 37 of the children have died.

130821 vaccination take up by age UK

This weekend the UK has the Edinburgh Fringe, cricket at Lords, and the return of football league matches. People will start travelling and gathering, and as a result it's inevitable we'll see more cases.
We are all a bit more relaxed. We're all mixing more. We're all quite rightly enjoying the Summer. But it will have a cost. What that cost will be is really anyone's guess.
At the moment we are far, far below the highest modelling scenarios. We are well below the mid-range modelling scenarios. It IS going really well, and a lot of people around the world are acting in response and removing restrictions on their vaccinated populations.
But it still has a vague hint of something not being quite right, and very few people are entirely confident that we won't see a marked increase once schools go back and that Summer sunshine disappears behind a cloud. Fingers, as ever, crossed. 

In the USA we are seeing a potential disaster emerge. Atlanta, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and even New York are struggling to curb cases.  Hospitals are really feeling the pressure, with many full, and temporary tents outside at least two hospitals in Texas.
The UK NHS started out with far less beds, but managed to stretch to accommodate tens of thousands of COVID patients. America's health system simply isn't so integrated. I honestly don't know how well their bed capacity can be adapted, how easily they can transfer patients, and how that works in a private healthcare system. I would hate to think anyone could end up dying for lack of a bed, because someone else paid for a private room, but realistically it must be happening. 

Why is the USA falling over because of Delta, but the UK doesn't seem to be? A few of you have asked. It really is likely to be a combination of things, and it's impossible to say which is having the biggest effect.
- Prior infection. Millions of people in both countries have already had COVID, and potentially at least 20%ish each, but it's impossible to have any exact figure. It could easily be around 30% or more in the UK, and that could make a big difference.
- Hospital 'surge' capacity may be smaller in the USA, or barely exist - see above. When your hospital is full, it's full.
- Vaccination rates in the USA are currently a little lower than they are in the UK.
Age 18+
USA = 1 dose 71.5% / 2 doses 61.3%
UK = 1 dose 89.3%/ 2 doses 75.7%
The USA vaccinate people aged 12+ though, so as a proportion of the entire population:
USA = 1 dose 59.2% /2 doses 50.4%
UK = 1 dose 70.4% / 2 doses 59.8%
- Some studies do suggest being fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine offers better protection against Delta Variant than the posh, expensive mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna). Often when given a choice, people take the expensive option, assuming it'll be better. The more traditional vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Janssen have received some bad press in the USA, so take up has been very, very low, whereas in the UK,  around half the vaccinated people have had AstraZeneca - including most of our workers, the people out there day after day mixing.
- The USA is really diverse. Their averages vary massively from state to state, whether it be cases, losses of life, vaccinations, population density, use of restrictions to curb cases etc. For example, Mississippi has administered just 76,000 doses per 100,000 people, compared to Vermont's 137,000 per 100,000. Some states had ditched restrictions months ago, some still have them. It will make a big difference. The whole UK on the other hand was in restrictions, or only just slowly relaxing restrictions, when Delta emerged.
- Political pressure. One main party is refusing to see COVID as a threat, the other is refusing not to. It just doesn't work like that. COVID honestly doesn't have political affiliation. If you have lots of cases and full hospitals, smiling and saying "vaccines will save us" isn't what a Governor should be doing. Likewise if you don't have many cases, restrictions are unpopular at best. 

130821 covid cases by age england

Today's indieSAGE offered some hope to Northern Ireland, which is seeing a real rise in cases at the moment. Their positivity rate is going down, meaning they are catching more of the hidden cases that are there anyway, and the increase isn't actually so stark - and hopefully it's getting under some control.
The ONS Infection Survey results (where they randomly test thousands of people to see if they test positive) show that bouncing up and down that we've seen in case numbers, but overall on August 7th each UK nation was showing a true small decline in case numbers.
Sadly that has bounced a bit in the last week, and in England we can see cases rising - most markedly in people aged 20-59. The people who are out there mixing.
The volume of UK case numbers is having an effect, even though the vast majority of people are protected from serious illness by vaccination. Each day we are admitting around 200 more people aged 65 or older to hospital than we were this time last Summer. That's a little ominous, not as good a place to head into Autumn from.
indieSAGE continue to be concerned about the number of children who might potentially end up with Long COVID. They discussed the varying advice on school reopening this Autumn:
European CDC - be careful.
US CDC - Wear masks, be careful.
UK - it's okay, kids don't really catch COVID, and they probably don't really pass it on either, and they almost definitely won't die. It'll be fiiiiiiiine.
indieSAGE aren't entirely confident it's going to be easy sailing from here in:
"We are approaching autumn with cases 25x higher and hospitalisations 10x higher than last year and an NHS that is severely under strain. We are only one doubling away from July peak – not much room to manoeuvre."
There's our warning. 

India was absolutely ravaged by Delta Variant, and despite their relatively young population, they lost far more people than we'll probably ever know. Their '4th National Sero-Survey' last month found that 67.6% of the total population, and 62% of unvaccinated people, have developed antibodies against COVID.
The price of protection via disease is incredibly high. A report last month estimated that the true loss of life in India was around 10 times that which has been officially reported, somewhere between 3.4m and 4.7m people.

Iran looks bad. Their case rate is rising incredibly fast, despite so many prior infections. They cannot afford to lock down again, and are now reporting 40,000 cases a day - a number which is likely to be a massive under-estimate. 

130821 ONS infection survey indieSAGE

Chile has started offering Booster Vaccinations to their older citizens, and they are using a different vaccination to the first 2 shots, in hopes it will give better protection against Delta Variant.
They intend to fully vaccinate 80% of their population - with the idea it will bring herd immunity. Everyone aged 14 or over has now been invited to be vaccinated (I believe that's still true!).
Currently they've vaccinated over 80% of people aged 14+, which means 67.44% of their whole population is fully vaccinated, and another 7% need their 2nd dose. Not bad at all! They just another 6% to get to their goal...

Some countries relax border entry rules for people who have natural immunity - England does NOT.
We are also strict about "fully vaccinated" meaning 2 doses of the same vaccine. There's quite a lot of evidence to suggest mix-and-match vaccines may give better protection across a range of variants, and some countries either by design, or lack of other options, offered citizens different vaccines for their 2 doses. Some combinations work better than others, and I think that's why England has decided on refusing as a blanket measure.
Under these rules, Angela Merkel, ex German Chancellor and professional scientist, wouldn't be counted as fully vaccinated. Germany gave people the option, and she chose AstraZeneca first, Moderna second. I personally think it was a wise choice facing Delta Variant.
It may become a bit of an issue in future,  and I can foresee the single dose Johnson&Johnson / Janssen vaccine suddenly becoming a very popular "booster", because 1 dose of that IS fully vaccinated. 

Turkey is still ablaze, as are parts of Italy, Greece, the Ukraine and a whole swathe of Southern Europe. My thoughts with everyone affected out there, and please let it end soon. 

School guidance Autumn Term European CDC US CDC and Uk

It's Friday 13th!! *Insert scary ghost whooooohooo sound effect*. Thankfully we protected ourselves from bad luck today by taking it all yesterday (discovered a rat in the kitchen / the toilet leaks / my partner trod in poo). I hope your day has been a good one, and that you all have an excellent weekend. Do NOT forget your treat - for YOU. The situation in the UK may not be as bad as it has been, but you know you have still earnt it.

On Sunday it will be 7 years since we lost one of our teenage children, so I won't do a COVID report, my day will be better spent with my family. I shall be back on Tuesday (or Monday if Boris does a press conference, or earlier if anything incredible happens).

Do Something That Makes You Smile. Then Pass It On To Someone Else. And Save The NHS....

Some numbers. All of them were once just a thought, and a smile:

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

USA 37,215,814 (+12,165) 636,369 (+71)

India 32,149,514 (+32,462) 430,631 (+346)

Brazil 20,285,067 not yet reported today 566,988

Russia 6,557,068 (+22,277) 168,864 (+815)

France 6,398,983 not yet reported today 112,487

UK 6,211,868 (+32,700) 130,801 (+100)

Turkey 6,039,857 (+21,372) 52,860 (+157)

Argentina 5,066,253 not yet reported today 108,569

Colombia 4,856,595 not yet reported today 123,097

Spain 4,693,540 (+15,657) 82,470 (+63)

Italy 4,427,827 (+7,409) 128,379 (+45)

Iran 4,359,385 (+39,119) 96,742 (+527)

Germany 3,817,059 (+2,743) 92,355 (+7)

Indonesia 3,804,943 (+30,788) 115,096 (+1,432)

Mexico 3,045,571 (+24,975) 246,811 (+608) 




Daily hospital admissions

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