Thursday 5 August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th August 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th August 2021

The UK added 30,215 cases today (still slightly down from 31,117 a week earlier) and now has reported a total of 5,982,581 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 845,680 tests yesterday.

The counter says 46,926,330 people (88.7% of UK adults) had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 38,874,837 people (73.5%) had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

5,686 people were in hospital yesterday, August 4th (down from 6,034 a week earlier, but up from 4,861 two weeks earlier), with 881 using a ventilator (up from 853 a week earlier / 647 two weeks earlier).

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 86 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 130,086 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 305,527 cases and 5,044 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 201,360,015 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 4,275,763. Already 181,272,358 people have recovered.

050821 UK Public Health England dailty stats

"I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation.

WHO have called for a pause in booster vaccinations (except for when an individual has specific clinical need (e.g. organ transplant recipients).
"In late May, I called for global support for a “sprint to September”, to enable country to vaccinate at least 10% of its population by the end of September. We’re now more than halfway to that target date, but we’re not on track.
When I issued that challenge in May, high-income countries had administered around 50 doses for every 100 people. Since then, that number has doubled. High-income countries have now administered almost 100 doses for every 100 people.
Meanwhile, low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 vaccinations for every 100 people, due to lack of supply. We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries.
Accordingly, WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September, to enable at least 10% of the population of every country to be vaccinated."
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO.
These countries have ordered and paid for their vaccines, but the stocks keep going to those who already have. We really shouldn't be accepting deliveries of booster vaccinations when unvaccinated healthcare workers in other countries are STILL treating COVID patients - and those COVID patients, however elderly or vulnerable, had no chance at vaccination either.
It's the very definition of unfair. 

The USA aren't very impressed with the World Health Organisation's moratorium request, and clearly they aren't going to take part. White House press Secretary Jen Psaki said:
"We feel that it's a false choice, and that we can do both. We announced just yesterday that we hit an important milestone of over 110 million vaccines donated to the world. That is more than any other country has shared, combined. We also made clear that this is the beginning..."
She went on to say the first of 500 million Pfizer vaccines will be ready to send out later this month, but vaccines will be available for every US citizen who is eligible, and if the FDA decide boosters are needed, they'll be available too. 

The COVID Actuaries Response Group (numbers people) have done the maths and they conclude:
"...excess vaccines may save potentially 11 times the number of lives in a low-income country that has not administered any 1st doses as yet compared to being used as a booster in a high-income country. Furthermore, ensuring sufficient vaccination world-wide may reduce the risk of further variants emerging."

Healthier Scotland text and image of line drawn medicine bottle

There was a UK COVID Data Briefing yesterday, with Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr June Raine of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency) and Professor Wei Shen Lim of the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation).
They did NOT get to use the fancy 2.6m quid corridor with the flags. Wasted.
Dr June explained that efficacy and safety data in young people and teenagers 12-17 is comparable to that in young people (18-24).
The conclusion of the MHRA is that vaccination should be recommended for young people aged 12-17. "The benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks of vaccination."
Prof Wei explained the JCVI's position.
Vaccinating protects relatives and friends. He mentioned longer term symptoms, and the mental health and educational effects of COVID, and the way it affects different populations unfairly.
Even if you take an 18 year old and a 14 year old, the 18 year old is still at greater risk because of their age. We also have limited ability to vaccinate. All of this has to be considered.
Healthy 16 and 17 year olds will be offered a single dose of vaccination for now. The second dose will follow later, and will take into account studies that haven't yet completed (basically they aren't sure what's going to work best, may as well get it right first time). A longer dosing interval has proven to be more effective at boosting immunity, so we can have the luxury of waiting.
The advice for children aged 12-15 has not changed (see below.)
He reminds us that other vaccinations are really important, don't forget to have them! (Remember students off to uni should have a Meningitis jab - they are the most at-risk group.)

Sajid Javid has decided to go with the advice of the JCVI and offer vaccinations to all UK young people aged 16 and 17.
"Those aged 12 to 15 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities, as well as people in this age group who are household contacts of individuals who are immunosuppressed, are already eligible for vaccination. JCVI will continue to review data and provide updates on at risk groups aged 12-15 and whether any additional groups will be added.
COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 60,000 lives and prevented 22 million infections in England alone. They are building a wall of defence against the virus and are the best way to protect people from serious illness. I encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward for both their jabs as quickly as possible."

The hashtag leaveourkidsalone has been trending on Twitter since the announcement. Scrolling through a couple of hundred of the posts using it, I'd say there are a lot of people for whom this isn't even going to apply, who have a lot to say against it - and a lot of young people who are really relieved to be able to be vaccinated.
16 and 17 year olds in the UK are old enough to get a job, join the army, get married, have babies, and they also do NOT need parental permission to be vaccinated. Under 16's do. 

Healthier Scotland text and this one has a test tube/urine sample bottle beside it. I think that must be an error

"Number of covid positive patients in English hospitals falls below 5000 for 1st time since 25 July. Really looks as if the Summer Wave has peaked (and that people like me were too pessimistic when it came fearing how high peak might be). Never been happier to be wrong."
Alistair McLellan, Editor of the Health Services Journal. Me too Alistair, me too. (Insert surprised smiley face here.)

And indeed the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) Coronavirus Infection Survey found that over 9 in 10 British adults (93.6% of the adult population / 74% of the whole population), have developed antibodies through vaccinations or past infection. We can assume that most children live with adults, and they might have a similar level of antibodies from infection, but obviously not vaccination. Even if children have a 'previous infection' rate of just 5% (1in20) then we are still over 75% in total - if they have a 'previous infection' rate of 20% (1in5) then we are up to 80% of the total population.  And THAT seems like it may well be enough for 'herd immunity'. 

Travel Update:
EVERYONE who travels to the UK from abroad needs:
1. To take a 'before you travel' test or you won't be allowed to travel here.
2. To fill out 'passenger locator forms' in case your plane was a hotbed of infection.
3. Anyone aged 5 or older needs to book a 'Day 2 Test' for within 48 hours of when they arrive in the UK
Changes from 4am Sunday 8th August:
- Good news if your name is Sim and your parents live in France. My mate and lots of other people will be delighted to know that France has been added to the regular Amber List for travel - meaning you don't have to quarantine on your return to the UK IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED or under age 18. Summer probably got a lot easier for a lot of people.
- Good news also for anyone people travelling from these countries, which have been added to the Green List: Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
- Good news for these countries moving to the Amber List: Bahrain, India, Qatar and UAE
- Bad news for the countries moving to Red List: Georgia, Mayotte, Mexico and Reunion.
For reference, and this is only true right now, for goodness sake check before you book or travel:
Red List - no go. Only UK residents may return. If you do, you need to book a quarantine hotel and testing package.
Amber List - it's okay. Fully UK vaccinated and people under the age of 18 don't need to quarantine on their return or take a day 8 test. Unvaccinated need to isolate for 10 days, and book that day 8 test.
Green List - Jollibobs. 

Moderna have announced their vaccine data shows it remains 93% effective 6 months after the 2nd dose, which is almost exactly the 94% efficacy in their original trial data.
Pfizer/BioNTech said last week their vaccine lost just under 6% efficacy every 2 months, so at 6 months after the 2nd dose it was around 84% effective.
Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel did however say he felt a booster would be needed in late Autumn in order to protect fully throughout the Winter. 

Australia is still struggling, and cannot contain their outbreak in Sydney. A few days ago some people broke lockdown and travelled to a beach party outside the lockdown area. This has led to a significant number of linked cases in other parts of New South Wales, and authorities are particularly concerned because in a couple of areas they are finding unexpected levels of COVID in sewage. Now Victoria has reported a cluster of 8 new cases, and announced a 7 day lockdown starting tonight.
The Guardian are reporting that New South Wales had 51 COVID patients in Intensive Care yesterday - 46 were unvaccinated, 5 had their first dose only. (Vaccination levels in New South Wales are much lower than the UK, so it can't be directly compared. They have administered around 1/5 of the doses per person as the UK.)

On Tuesday the Louisiana Department of Health reported the highest number of hospitalisations since the pandemic began. They had 2,112 people in hospital with COVID, and 222 people using a ventilator.
The Governor John Bel Edwards has reinstated an indoor mask mandate until at least September 1st. 

Dr Julia Baines of PETA says Get your jabs

Tokyo and Japan as a whole are still reporting record new COVID cases, as the outbreak just gets bigger and bigger. Today Tokyo reported 5.042 new cases, and Japan a whopping 14,211. In previous waves their highest daily totals never went above 7,800.
I think a lot of very important people will be incredibly worried right now.

One fifth of people in hospital with COVID in England are aged 18-34.

"Thailand has taken delivery of 415,000 vaccines donated from the UK to help the country tackle COVID.
Mark Gooding, the UK ambassador designate to Thailand was on the ground to see the vaccines arrive.
No one is safe until we are all safe."
UK Foreign Office, 

Bad news for fans of popular music combo The Offspring. Drummer Pete Parada has said they've parted company because he refused to get vaccinated. If you want to perform and travel at the moment, being unvaccinated is a big barrier, and for unvaccinated performers it is going to be incredibly frustrating and costly time wise.
In his case he has a genuine reason. He has suffered from the effects of immune disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome since he was young, and does not fancy it resurging. His doctor has advised against the jab - which lists Guillain-Barré as an incredibly rare side effect (whichever you choose), so it could potentially make him very ill.
Around 1.5m people in the UK cannot be vaccinated against COVID because of medical reasons. 

Anti-vaxxers are pretending to be vegan in order to avoid mandatory vaccinations for work. They're claiming veganism is protected and as a vegan they can't be required to have the vaccination.
I honestly despair, and I'm quite offended on behalf of vegans everywhere. Also, the Vegan Society have already made it very clear that they believe you SHOULD get vaccinated, because being vegan for moral or ethical reasons is about welfare and health, the greater good. A vaccinated population will save lives - and don't forget lots of animals can catch COVID too. And, while we're here, stop eating fish. 

Mattel have created a line of Barbie “role model” dolls to celebrate heroes of the pandemic and hopefully encourage more girls to choose STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and maths).
Included in the collection are:
ER nurse Amy O’Sullivan from Brooklyn, New York, one of the first people to treat a COVID patient in the USA.
Audrey Cruz, a front-line doctor in Las Vegas, who has been fighting discrimination in the workplace.
Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident who has been fighting systemic racism in healthcare.
Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, Brazilian biomedical researcher, who led gene sequencing of COVID variants in Brazil.
Kirby White, Australian doctor who pioneered a surgical gown that can be washed and reused.
And our very own Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University, the COVID-19 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine developer.
Sarah Gilbert has chosen nonprofit organisation WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), to receive a financial donation from Mattel in her name...

Some numbers. All people on a big rock in the sky:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (since midnight GMT. In some countries (e.g. the USA) there are states or provinces which have yet to report today):

India 31,855,725 (+44,943) 426,782 (+461)

Iran 4,057,758 (+38,674) 92,628 (+434)

Indonesia 3,568,331 (+35,764) 102,375 (+1,739)

UK 5,982,581 (+30,215) 130,086 (+86)

Russia 6,379,904 (+23,120) 162,509 (+794)

Spain 4,566,571 (+21,387) 81,931 (+87)

Thailand 693,305 (+20,920) 5,663 (+160)

Mexico 2,901,094 (+20,685) 242,547 (+611)

Malaysia 1,203,706 (+20,596) 10,019 (+164)

Japan 970,460 (+14,211) 15,228 (+9)

USA 36,190,614 (+14,143) 631,360 (+61)

Bangladesh 1,322,654 (+12,744) 21,902 (+264)

Morocco 665,325 (+12,039) 10,087 (+72)

Iraq 1,684,955 (+11,871) 19,000 (+62)

Cuba 431,013 (+8,399) 3,184 (+93)

Philippines 1,627,816 (+8,127) 28,427 (+196)




Daily hospital admissions

Whte House response:

COVID Briefing:

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