Tuesday 31 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 26th to 31st August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 26th to 31st August 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 6,789,581 (+32,181)
In Hospital: 7,015 (on Friday 27th)
Using A Ventilator: 988 (on Friday 27th)
Losses of Life: 132,535 (+50)
Tests: 672,479
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,048,009 (88.4% of UK population aged 16+)
Fully Vaxxed: 42,790,585 (78.7%)

Area: Cases last 7 days / Rate per 100,000 population last 7 days
Wales: 13,014 / 410.6
Scotland: 35,215 / 644.3
Northern Ireland: 11,664 / 615.3
England: 178,267 / 315.2

Rep. Of Ireland: 351,065 cases and 5,092 losses of life (not yet reported today.)

World: 218,223,304 reported cases and 4,528,320 losses of life. 

Care home workers MUST be vaccinated. Deadline timeline

I'm back! There hasn't been too much COVID news while I was away on a relatively remote farm in Scotland thankfully, so I managed entire days without even reading a single news article, press release or study. And crikey, how amazing it was to see Grandma and Grandpa after 2 years apart! (Thanks for having us x.)

Sadly I'm not Boris, so I don't get another break this week... (who knew Prime Minister was such a part time position?)

While I was gone:
- The UK Government announced a study to see the effect of 3rd 'Booster Doses' in people with weakened immune systems (about time guys... tsk).
- We had movement in the UK travel 'Traffic Light' lists - Montenegro and Thailand move to the red list. The Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland move to the green list.
- There was extra COVID support sent to South West England. Holidaymakers arrived en masse bearing gifts. As a result, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay will receive help for around another month.
- The UK Government have announced a study to try and discover why some people are reinfected, and some are not. Data will be collected via the SIREN Study, the PITCH study and other studies with capital letter acronym names.
- The UK (and I suspect a few other places) is facing an 'unprecedented crisis' recruiting and retaining social care staff. Historically underpaid and undervalued, I think throwing them to the lions while their service users feared for their lives might have been a straw too many. Well, that... and Brexit plus a global pandemic saw a lot of staff wave goodbye and leave for elsewhere in the world. 

We have a new and exciting (in the wrong way) COVID Variant.
According to the (not-yet-peer-reviewed) paper, the snappily titled C.1.2 was first spotted in May, and descends from Variant C.1, which was only spotted in January. It has somewhere between 44 and 59 differences from original wild Wuhan COVID. Estimates are that any strain of COVID will only pick up around 24 mutations in a year, so this is really swift, and it has the most mutations of any known variant so far. The World Health Organisation are investigating, as are lots (LOTS) of other people.
C.1.2 has arisen in South Africa, but has already been detected in England, China, DRC (Congo), Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.
(Bear in mind some of these countries, including England, have excellent levels of genomic testing, including when people arrive from overseas, so they are more likely to pick it up, even if they have very few cases or only cases in quarantine.)
C.1.2 is increasing in prevalence in South Africa pretty rapidly:
"In May C.1.2 accounted for 0.2% (2/1054) of genomes sequenced, in June 1.6% (25/2177) and in July 2.0% (26/1326), similar to the increases seen in Beta and Delta in South Africa during early detection."
It does also look likely to be a bit vaccine-escapey, and a study is already underway to try and assess just how much.
"Like several other VOCs (Variants of Concern), C.1.2 has accumulated a number of substitutions beyond what would be expected from the background SARS-CoV-2 evolutionary rate. This suggests the likelihood that these mutations arose during a period of accelerated evolution in a single individual with prolonged viral infection through virus-host co-evolution."
Yep... it likely all happened during 1 illness inside 1 person who caught C.1 and then fought for a long time before they had an outcome.  

310821 COVID hospital admissions Scotland COVID Actuaries

With the end of the UK Summer break, Education Secretary Gavin "Frank Spencer's Double" Williamson has done an interview (nice of him to bother), in a popular racist daily grown ups comic (oh). The Independent quote the article:
“Parents too have a responsibility to make sure that their children are tested regularly.
I know that there are many things people would rather be doing than testing but it’s really important to make time for it.
The last thing we want is for schools to partially close again, or for whole classes of pupils to be at home self-isolating. That should only ever be the last resort.”
I tell you now Gav - the parents who have been sensible will continue to be so, and the ones that weren't... well, they're unlikely to change either.
That said, if your school has to send pupils home because of a COVID outbreak, it most likely won't be anyone's fault unless you have "MP" as a job title.
There appear to be plans to vaccinate English high school children (it would explain why we just ordered 35m Pfizer doses), but seeing as we have some free hospital beds, no rush eh. 

Obviously Afghanistan has been at the top of the news for the last week, and it's not likely to change any time soon. Medics there have struggled with rising COVID cases, and that situation is deteriorating rapidly. Medical supplies cannot get through, funding has been frozen, there are a huge number of injured people requiring medical treatment, and the best brains are fleeing. On top of that, there are reports of women being refused permission to leave the home or go to work, despite assurances that wouldn't happen. For the last 20 years women have taken on many thousands of hospital jobs, and just removing them won't work.
Taken all together it really is a grim picture.  

Johnson & Johnson created a vaccine for HIV using the same technology as their single-dose COVID vaccine, and sadly it doesn't work. It has failed small scale trials, so it's back to the drawing board. Very unlucky for anyone at risk of HIV, but it certainly shows how lucky we all are that so many of the COVID vaccines worked first time. 

Lost Their Fight:
August has been a very bad month for American talk radio hosts who are also prominent anti-vaxxers and vocal about COVID restrictions.
Florida radio host Marc Bernier (aged 65)
Florida radio host Dick Farrell (aged 65)
Nashville radio host Phil Valentine (aged 61)
I guess their listeners might have a bit of food for thought there... 

Not COVID, but could you imagine a year of lockdown with China's new ruling? They have barred videogames for anyone under age 18 during the school week, and children and young people are only allowed 1 hour of play between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays.
I foresee a lot of underground 'criminal' teenage gamers in China's future... 

Close contacts no longer need to isolate if under 18 or double vaccinated

Trump Of The Day:
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who presumably has shares in Ivermectin, because now a group of doctors has asked him to stop flogging his snake oil:
“As not just a physician but also a resident of Wisconsin, it’s shocking and appalling that any grown person, let alone our elected senator, would promote Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.”
Dr. Bob Freedland, MD, Wisconsin State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care and an ophthalmologist.
“To be quite clear, Ivermectin is a drug used to deworm livestock, and researchers haven't found it to have the benefits against COVID-19 that some like Johnson try to claim it has. Senator Ron Johnson, if you really want to save lives from COVID-19, please stop horsing around and start promoting measures that actually work, like masks and vaccines.”
Wisconsin has around 88% of hospital beds full - including several Ivermectin poisoning victims.

Case numbers in England and Wales will inevitably rise with the reopening of schools, just as they have in Scotland and Northern Ireland, hopefully in part because of all of the symptom-free kids who are being tested. Annoyingly in Scotland hospitalisations are now also rising, and fairly rapidly - up 60% in a single week. It amounts to over 100 extra people, so it is significant, but hopefully will prove short-lived (come on guys...)

Although it might get a bit bumpy in England and Wales, we do expect an initial blip, so the next week or so really won't tell us very much - except just how well COVID has, or hasn't, quietly spread during the school holidays. Each case you find with mass testing of people without symptoms, is a case that isn't out there breathing on passers-by, so it isn't entirely a bad thing to see those numbers go up suddenly. It's what happens after that which will be more important.

Summer went well though, didn't it! The modellers have all had to reassess their numbers... in a good way.

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 of the states /provinces won't have reported yet today):

India 32,808,018 (+40,198) 438,962 (+370)

UK 6,789,581 (+32,181) 132,535 (+50)

Iran 4,992,063 (+31,319) 107,794 (+643)

Malaysia 1,746,254 (+20,897) 16,664 (+282)

Russia 6,918,965 (+17,813) 183,224 (+795)

Thailand 1,204,729 (+14,666) 11,589 (+190)

Philippines 1,989,857 (+13,827) 33,448 (+118)

Japan 1,469,327 (+13,638) 15,994 (+48)

Vietnam 462,096 (+12,607) 11,064

Indonesia 4,089,801 (+10,534) 133,023 (+532)

Spain 4,855,065 (+7,767) 84,340 (+194)

USA 39,953,651 (+6,943) 656,482 (+89)

Iraq 1,888,150 (+6,937) 20,830 (+66)

Cuba 652,855 (+6,342) 5,303 (+84)

Mexico 3,341,264 (+5,564) 258,491 (+326)

Italy 4,539,991 (+5,498) 129,221 (+47





















Thanks for the image COVID ARG:


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