Thursday 19 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 18th / 19th August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 18th / 19th August 2021

The UK added 36,572 cases today (UP from 33,074 a week earlier), and now has reported a total of 6,392,160 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 808,235 tests yesterday.

The counter says 47,460,526 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 41,157,069 people had received 2 doses. As this now includes people aged 16-17, but the percentages they give are age 18+, their maths needs sorting out.

6,379 people were in hospital yesterday, Wednesday 18th August (UP from 5,909 a week earlier), with 909 using a ventilator (UP from 871 a week earlier). Those figures are creeping upwards, albeit thankfully slowly.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 113 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 131,373 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 331,206 (+1,818) cases and 5,074 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 210,485,717 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,411,859. Already 188,538,308 people have recovered.

Care home workers MUST be vaccinated. Deadline timeline

"10 countries have administered 75%+ of COVID19 vaccines, while low-income countries have received just over 1%, nowhere near enough to fully vaccinate their healthworkers, older populations & others at highest risk. This is why a moratorium on boosters is needed."
Dr Tedros, WHO.

"Our latest data shows that 62,311 women, who reported they were pregnant or could be pregnant at the time of receiving the vaccine, have come forward and received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, up to 31 July.
This is an increase of 10,587 from 51,724 as of 18 July."
Public Health England.
If you catch COVID when you are pregnant, you have a bigger chance of being very poorly, especially in the 3rd trimester. I'm not going to tell anyone they have to get vaccinated, especially a pregnant person, but please consider it carefully with your medical professionals.

BIG new University of Oxford study today, using the ONS Random Survey data, and it has some incredibly interesting - and positive - results. This isn't yet peer-reviewed (checked over for flaws by other scientists). The data was collected from 384,000 people.
They found that:
1. Against either (mainly) Alpha and Delta COVID, two doses of Pfizer vaccine is overall more effective (80%) than AstraZeneca (67%) - prior infection but no jab falls in the middle (72%)
2. Even after 2 jabs, people infected with Delta Variant had the same high viral load as unvaccinated people - this is bad news, but not unexpected. It means ANYONE infected (even entirely asymptomatic) can be breathing out tons of virus at the most contagious part of their infection. In most vaccinated/recovered people we anticipate that the levels will fall away far more quickly.
3. A month after the second Pfizer dose, patients were 90% less likely to have an infection with a high viral load - 85% after two months, 78% after three.
4. For AstraZeneca, the level of protection was 67%, 65% and 61%.
5. Pfizer vaccine efficacy begins to wane faster than AstraZeneca. By around 6-7 months it's possible both vaccines will be equally effective.
6. They didn't really find much difference in dosing intervals - so fairly good news all round with that one, although it would have been awesome to find a "sweet spot" which was especially effective.
7. If you have been previously infected and then are vaccinated, your chance of being reinfected is below 10% - with only a tiny sign of that beginning to wane by a fraction of a percent, 100 days after the 2nd dose.
This study didn't consider serious illness and death - remember vaccinations offer far more protection against severe outcomes than they do infection. 

Drug manufacturer Roche is warning of a global shortage of Tocilizumab - which is a really useful drug for very sick COVID patients, and recommended by the World Health Organisation:
"Tocilizumab can play a key role in decreasing mortality and reducing need for invasive mechanical ventilation among severely ill patients, when delivered alongside oxygen and corticosteroids."
The UK use Tocilizumab, and our RECOVERY Trial research estimated it saved the lives of 1 in every 25 patients who were going to succumb.
When you consider that since we started using it in February, over 11,000 people had COVID listed as a cause of death, it's possible that it's already saved at least 440 people in the UK alone.  

Mary Ramsey encourages pregnant women to come forward for vaccination

A big study by the Canadian Public Health Authority has found:
"In this cohort study of 6280 households with pediatric index cases, the adjusted odds of household transmission by children aged 0 to 3 years was 1.43 compared with children aged 14 to 17 years."
Babies, toddlers and young children, if infected, are 43% more likely to spread COVID to others in their households than teenagers are.
Of course they are - if your 3 year old catches a bug, they smear, sneeze and cough it onto all of their loved ones. If your teenager catches something, they share it with their mates. Glad we've cleared that up.
(Whoever said 'kids don't transmit COVID' really was living in fairyland.)

The Delta Variant continues to threaten US healthcare systems.
In response they have announced Booster Doses will be available to ALL Americans, beginning September 20th.
Rumour is also that the USA is going to extend compulsory masks on planes, trains and buses, and in airports and train stations, until January 18th 

Famous People With COVID:
Texas Governor Greg "I barred anyone in Texas from making masks mandatory" Abbott. (Also counts as Trump Of The Day.)

UK Government members were recalled early from their holidays yesterday (devastated for them, obviously) to discuss Afghanistan. The UK will offer sanctuary to 5,000 refugees from Afghanistan over the next year, and up to around 20,000 in total.
"Priority will be given to women and girls, and religious and other minorities, who are most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban."
On top they will also offer relocation to the Afghan staff (and their families) who worked for the UK Government (translators, drivers, security, administrators, Embassy staff etc).
Today the IMF (international Monetary Fund - big saving account everyone pays into, and draws from when they have a disaster) has announced it will NOT be giving any money to Afghanistan, including $440 that was due next Monday, as it does not officially recognise the Taliban as government. Myanmar, which had a military coup in February, and Venezuela, which is in a really sorry state, also currently have unrecognised governments. 

Over the last 20 years 457 UK service men and women died in Afghanistan. Many, many more were wounded or left with mental scars they won't ever be able to erase. To feel that your efforts, or those of someone you love, were wasted is beyond hard. If you are struggling, or you know someone who is, contact the Veterans Gateway to be advised where to get appropriate support - or call the Samaritans on 116 123. 

UK Afghanistan Veterans Help

Disaster Down Under:
New Zealand today announced another 11 new cases, giving 21 in total so far. 2 people have been hospitalised.
At the moment most of the country is due to end lockdown tomorrow, but the Auckland and Coromandel areas have another 4 days - and this is subject to change.
1 person is an airport worker, and not a related case, but they have already sequenced 12 cases in the main outbreak, and they do seem to link to a person who returned from Sydney on August 7th. Yowch. They went through mandatory testing and managed quarantine, they did everything right, but I bet they feel rotten...
A family who were staying in the next quarantine hotel room to the Sydney returnee all tested positive on their Day 12 Test - that's incredibly infectious, and it's incubating at the longer end of usual. Nasty. It makes it so much harder to catch all of the cases, and shows that even New Zealand are struggling to maintain quarantine securely.
All movement details are released for contact tracing, and any New Zealander who was in the same place at roughly the same time, as someone who has tested positive, has to immediately go home and stay home, and their household do too, until they get a negative test result.  

Olympic Hopefuls:
Sad, sad news for Zakia Khudadadi. She was due to become Afghanistan's first female paralympic athlete, competing in the taekwondo. Civilian airspace is closed, she can't leave Afghanistan, and nor can any of the Afghan Paralympic Team, so none of them can travel to Tokyo to take part.
You're all still Olympians to me.

Olympic Venue Disaster:
Japan has extended their current state of emergency, which was due to end on August 31st, until September 12th. It is also being expanded to cover just under 60% of the entire population. They are paying a heavy price for the Olympic Games, and Delta Variant. Today they reported another 23,918 new cases. Up until the end of July, the highest daily total they'd reported in the entire pandemic was 7,855 back in January.

It is World Humanitarian Day. If you are the sort of person who gets the guilt for having 2 jabs, when frontline health workers in most of Africa still haven't had any, this day is for you.
"• Humanity
• Neutrality
• Impartiality
• Independence
4 humanitarian principles for Thursday's World Humanitarian Day & every day."
The United Nations. 

What is a humanitarian The United Nations

And in light of the horrific earthquake in Haiti, and flooding and wildfires across the globe:
"The climate crisis always generates more serious humanitarian crises and the poor are the most vulnerable regarding extreme weather events. A solidarity founded on justice, on peace and on the unity of the human family is needed. #WorldHumanitarianDay"
Pope Francis (still my favourite Pope).

Some numbers. Each number represents a real human being:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (since midnight GMT. In larger countries, for example the USA or India, some states /provinces may have yet to report today):

UK 6,392,160 (+36,572) 131,373 (+113)

India 32,356,944 (+36,046) 433,605 (+542)

Iran 4,587,683 (+31,266) 100,255 (+564)

Mexico 3,152,205 (+28,953) 250,469 (+940)

Japan 1,202,012 (+23,918) 15,501 (+34)

Malaysia 1,489,460 (+22,948) 13,480 (+178)

USA 38,095,250 (+22,594) 641,459 (+113)

Indonesia 3,930,300 (+22,053) 122,633 (+1,492)

Russia 6,684,531 (+21,058) 173,700 (+791)

Thailand 989,859 (+20,902) 8,586 (+301)

Philippines 1,791,003 (+14,895) 30,881 (+258)

Vietnam 312,611 (+10,654) 7,150 (+380)

Morocco 791,559 (+9,462) 11,472 (+127)

Cuba 554,247 (+8,972) 4,319 (+79)

Iraq 1,809,376 (+8,012) 19,958 (+72)

Kazakhstan 715,716 (+7,337) 7,988 (+121)

Italy 4,464,005 (+7,260) 128,634 (+55) 




Daily hospital admissions

Afghanistan veterans help image:

"New Zealand records 11 new COVID-19 cases under a snap lockdown"

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