Friday 20 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 20th August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 20th August 2021.

The UK added 37,314 cases today (Up from 32,700  a week earlier) and now has reported a total of 6,429,147 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 822,777 tests yesterday.

The counter says 47,516,505 people (87.4% of UK population over age 16) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 41,332,128 people (76%) had received 2 doses.

6,441 people were in hospital yesterday 19th August (Up from 5,875 a week earlier), with 928 using a ventilator (Up from 882 a week earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 114 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 131,487 losses of life in all settings.

Up until Friday 6th August, 154,811 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Area: Deaths / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales: 7,928 / 250.1
Scotland: 10,405 / 190.4
Northern Ireland: 3,045 / 160.6
England: 132,369 / 234.1

Rep. Of Ireland 333,304 (+2,098) cases and 5,074 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 211,155,597 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,422,710. Already 189,046,199 people have recovered.

200821 indieSAGE cases by day

The latest Public Health England estimates suggest that the vaccination programme has "prevented over 82,100 hospitalisations in those aged 65 and over in England. Further data suggests that it has also prevented 95,200 deaths and 23,957,000 COVID-19 infections more widely."
Excellent stuff.

It's been a long time coming, but the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have approved their first monoclonal antibody treatment drug, Ronapreve. (Monoclonal just means each antibody is an exact clone or copy of the original, so it attaches to the same part of the virus.)
"Developed by Regeneron/Roche, the drug is administered either by injection or infusion and acts at the lining of the respiratory system where it binds tightly to the coronavirus and prevents it from gaining access to the cells of the respiratory system. Clinical trial data assessed by a dedicated team of MHRA scientists and clinicians has shown that Ronapreve may be used to prevent infection, promote resolution of symptoms of acute COVID-19 infection and can reduce the likelihood of being admitted to hospital due to COVID-19."
It is NOT a substitute for vaccination, but should be of great value to a lot of people, including those who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, and anyone who becomes poorly.
This is one of the drugs being tested in the RECOVERY trial (Oxford University), and we should get some figures at some point, but the final polished report won't be written up for some time.
Monoclonal antibodies are actually being used quite widely to boost patient's immunity, after good results from US studies among others. Florida today opened the first of 3 state-run therapy centres for people diagnosed with COVID, each capable of treating around 300 patients a day with monoclonal antibodies. Hopefully it will ease the pressure on hospitals and save a good few lives, and possibly prevent a lot of Long COVID too.

The BBC are reporting that ambulance services in the South Central, South West, North East and East areas of England are being supported by the military.
High demand, staff sickness, self-isolation and annual leave are being blamed.
97 military personnel have been deployed. 

200821 indieSAGE positivity rates UK nations over time

Kenya has received 407,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK. We previously sent another 410,000.
They have been promised around 4 million doses of other various vaccines by the end of next month, and hope to vaccinate 10m people by the end of the year. Kenya has a population of just over 55m people, and so far around 1.45m have received at least 1 dose of a vaccine. 

And a shipment of 249,000 UK-donated AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Ghana's Accra Kotoka International Airport yesterday.
Ghana has a population of 31.8m people, and so far around 866,000 have received at least 1 dose of a vaccine. 

GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac's joint COVID vaccine version 2 (CV2CoV) has reached the animal testing results stage. This vaccine has been designed to hopefully fight a range of variants in one go, and initial results look good.
Clinical trials (with humans) are already planned and will go ahead. 

Researchers and aid agencies are very concerned about the 'hidden pandemic' of bereaved and orphaned children who will be left behind by COVID. In Peru alone, they estimate around 99,000 children have lost at least one main caregiver.
This is something my partner and I considered way back at the beginning. Our children are bereaved, so it was forefront in our mind that a lot of children will lose people they love. All of the main charities have Coronavirus specific advice. For anxious or bereaved children and their caregivers, my recommendation is winstonswish dot org / coronavirus

Trump Of The Day:
It's probably a good job double-vaccinated COVID case Texas Governor Greg Abbott isn't feeling poorly (so he says), because his 'ban on mask mandates' has been back in the courts - this time it's Supreme Court.
A disability rights group (on behalf of 14 children) claim that the order "violates federal protections for students with disabilities because it prevents them from safely returning to in-person classes".
The whole matter is so confused, that the Justices dismissed their request on a technicality, without issuing a ruling on the legal argument. So right now, it's legally in limbo.

200821 indieSAGE cases by day in Scotland shows rise last 2 weeks

Today's indieSAGE headline was:
"Disappointing but not surprising. Cases are on the rise again, as are hospital admissions, occupancy and deaths."
(" the wrong direction, albeit more slowly than earlier in the year.")
The case rate in Scotland has doubled in the last 2-3 days. Dr Kit Yates is doing the talk through, and he believes Scottish schools went back this week, so won't have an impact yet. He credits the whole increase on the relaxation of restrictions - BUT hang on Dr Kit! Some Scottish schools went back last week, AND aren't high schools testing all the kids before they go in anyway? So I partly disagree - I think that could just as easily cover a lot of it. It would be very interesting to know how many Scottish pupils tested positive in the 'back-to-school' testing, but the number of confirmed cases is highest in the 15-19 age group, and 2nd highest in 20-24, and rising slightly in all groups. So okay, these are not all pupils, some of these ARE going to work, and/or partying and clubbing. How about 40/60?...
Positivity rates (percent of tests that are positive) in Northern Ireland have now dropped from the horrific 21% mid/late July, down to a much better 14%,  but tragically Wales has come up to meet them. England is around 8%, Scotland around 6.5%. We aren't catching all cases. (I think we know that...)
indieSAGE summarise that cases are going up, hospitalisations fell to a fairly high rate and then started rising again - meaning the NHS are still under a lot of pressure (in several UK areas you guys haven't really had a break!). Deaths are also rising, almost back to the levels we were at last March. We aren't vaccinating very many people a day, but with the rollout to younger age groups 16+, that has picked up a bit during the last week. 

It's Dominic Raab's turn to face the wrath of the Tory boys. He spoilt their hollybobbs! Oh no, hang on, he's also the UK Foreign Secretary and he was on holiday in Crete while the Taliban strolled through Afghanistan, so he didn't even send an order to get everyone's visas ready to escape. Well done Dominic! The UK currently have about 5,000 staff left in Afghanistan. Never mind the death toll, Dominic can console himself in the knowledge the USA have made an even greater mess of it. They've got over 10,000 US citizens, and heaven knows how many Afghan employees still over there.
Dominic should have phoned his counterpart in Afghanistan when he realised there was a problem (3 weeks ago...tsk). He said he'd asked a Junior Minister to do it, and Afghanistan officials had refused to speak to them. Turns out he didn't ask anyone to do anything, and his head is now on the block.
Next week: Dominic resigns after he is caught having an affair in front of a secret hidden camera no-one knew about, which points directly at a blank space for no reason, and no-one knows who 'leaked' the footage. Probably... 

200821 indieSAGE summary

One of the team who went to China to investigate the origins of COVID, Peter Ben Embarek, has taken part in a documentary in his native Denmark, in which he talks about the 'lab leak' theory, and says "it had been difficult for his team to discuss this theory with Chinese scientists". He also said  that the team "did not have the opportunity to consult any documentation”.
I think however many times they go back, they'll always have more questions. China would be wise to simply answer anything and everything as honestly and openly as possible.
Maybe he should employ the tactic that a journalist employed last year - just ring the lab and ask them! You never know, they might just answer everything...

Disaster Down Under:
New Zealand's lockdown has been extended until at least 24th August after another 11 new cases today, including 3 in Wellington - the rest were all in Auckland. This is a disaster for them. They are the safe haven for the world. They are our COVID-free island - and anyone lucky or rich enough is already there...
The Wellington cases recently visited Auckland, so there is a direct link back to the person who did their quarantine and then passed COVID on (I feel so sorry for them).
The entire country of New Zealand is now on full lockdown until Tuesday August 24th.
Residents may only leave home for essential shopping, medical care, COVID testing and physical exercise within their own neighbourhood.
(Keeping those fingers crossed guys.)

Luxury Cruise News:
I can't believe I missed this last week, but 27 people on the Carnival Vista cruise ship tested positive. 26 were crew, and all had mild or no symptoms. The ship sailed from Galveston, Texas and docked in Belize, and there were over 4,000 passengers and crew on board. Everyone was tested.

The BBC had a great article the other day about people who are so adamant they won't be vaccinated, they feel they will split apart from main society and form their own breakaway communities, where they're allowed to do everything they'll be barred from in a vaccinated world.
It makes fascinating reading, but I think they maybe they've watched too many apocalyptic movies during lockdown... Real life pandemics, like climate change catastrophes or major political changes, are usually far more boring and insidious than the Hollywood version...

It is the weekend! Hurrah! My partner has got the next week off, so hopefully there won't be much news! We've rented a car, as we've never actually managed to get my van back on the road (after it failed it's MOT 3 days before the MOT extension when we went into lockdown last year...sigh), and I don't know exactly what we'll be up to - but the next week is 'holiday mode'. I'll try and share anything interesting/vital, but I won't be spending 3 hours on any tricky maths!

Do NOT forget your own treat - something that you want to do, for you. We made it through another week, and even though numbers in the UK are rising slowly, we expected that, and they've been much lower than we really could have expected up until now. Worldwide rising case numbers have slowed down, and hopefully that is a sign of things to come. Vaccines are getting delivered - and we know they work. We haven't won, but we are running a little faster than the virus just now. We can do this.

Open The Window, Wash Your Hands, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All people on this rock we call home:

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

USA 38,238,718 (+6,931) 643,177 (+65)

India 32,365,996 (+7,786) 433,758 (+136)

Brazil 20,494,212 not yet reported today 572,733

Russia 6,705,523 (+20,992) 174,485 (+785)

France 6,557,356 not yet reported today 113,103

UK 6,429,147 (+37,314) 131,487 (+114)

Turkey 6,157,772 not yet reported today 53,891

Argentina 5,116,803 not yet reported today 109,841

Colombia 4,880,516 no yet reported today 123,901

Spain 4,758,003 not yet reported today 83,004

Iran 4,616,516 (+28,833) 100,810 (+555)

Italy 4,471,225 (+7,224) 128,683 (+49)

Indonesia 3,950,304 (+20,004) 123,981 (+1,348)

Germany 3,858,609 (+4,100) 92,451 (+4)

Mexico 3,175,211 (+23,006) 251,319 (+850)

Poland 2,886,291 (+212) 75,315 (+4) 

South Africa 2,652,652 no yet reported today 78,694

Ukraine 2,271,826 (+1,600) 53,394 (+26) 




Daily hospital admissions

Support and advice for bereaved children and their carers:

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