Thursday 2 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st /2nd September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st /2nd September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 6,862,904 (+38,154)
In Hospital 1st September: 7,596
Using A Ventilator 1st September: 1,030
Losses of Life: 132,920 (+178)
Tests: 1,027,201 (higher - reflecting the first of the school testing)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,131,996 (88.6% of UK age 16+)
Fully Vaxxed: 43,023,372 (70.2% of UK age 16+)

Rep. Of Ireland: 354,236 cases and 5,112 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 219,622,854 reported cases and 4,550,511 losses of life. 

Just got back from a festival, take a rapid test. Image of 3 young adults laughing and joking in a bedroom

"People who refuse to accept vaccines, I think the right response for them is not to force them to, but rather to insist that they be isolated.
If people decide 'I am willing to be a danger to the community by refusing the vaccine', they should then say, well, I also have the decency to isolate myself."
Noam Chomsky, American Linguist and Philosopher.
Not a massively popular opinion, but he is being quoted out of context in the media with this. If you watch the whole interview, he's referring to an imagined scenario where COVID became as deadly as Smallpox (30% mortality, 1 in 3).
It has precedent. Quarantine islands and facilities are historical fact. Possibly the most famous detainee was Typhoid Mary, who spent a total of over 30 years isolated on North Brother Island, because she refused to stop working as a cook and killing people.  

Gavin Williamson, UK Education Secretary, was on the telly today talking about the return to school. I was going to start with a quote from him, but honestly there wasn't one. Anyway, the gist is (NB. May not be his exact words):
"Kids will be fine", "school staff are irrelevant", "vaccines save lives", "having no windows doesn't mean a room has poor ventilation", "CO2 monitors will save the day", "they'll be rolled out in schools over the coming 3 months"..."yes, I know schools go back now, but I was on holiday",  "still got free hospital beds, not a problem", "this is an extra thing we are doing for schools, and it hasn't happened yet because we only just announced it".
I. De. Spair.

Yesterday the UK's JCVI announced that the most vulnerable 1% of the UK population are going to get a 'Booster' 3rd jab:
"This third dose should be offered to people over 12 who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose, including those with leukaemia, advanced HIV and recent organ transplants. These people may not mount a full response to vaccination and therefore may be less protected than the wider population."

The World Health Organisation have listed a new Variant Of Interest - Mu. This was first spotted in Colombia in January, and although it doesn't look especially dangerous, it has potential (it isn't carrying a flick knife, but it seems likely it would have the perfect pocket for one). Given a couple of mutations, it could be a swine.
Previously known as B.1.621, Mu isn't a fast spreader, and in fact less cases are being spotted now than a few weeks ago, but it accounts for 39% of cases in Colombia and 13% of cases in Ecuador. One to keep an eye on...
The UK has to date detected 55 cases, including 2 new cases this week. 

yvonne doyle says dont worry schools will be fine

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked MP's to consider Vaccine Passports for limited high risk settings, such as nightclubs, indoor unseated events with 500 people or more, outdoor unseated events with 4,000 people or more, and any event with 10,000 people or more.

This week's Public Health England (PHE) surveillance shows case rates are highest in young people aged 10-19.
Award yourself a lollipop if you saw that one coming. We are currently mass testing all young people aged 11 or over who will be returning to secondary school or college this month. 

The latest PHE estimates also suggests that:
"Based on antibody testing of blood donors, 97.9% of the adult population now have antibodies to COVID-19 from either infection or vaccination compared to 18.9% that have antibodies from infection alone.
Over 95% of adults aged 17 or older have antibodies from either infection or vaccination.
The latest estimates indicate that the vaccination programme has directly averted over 143,600 hospitalisations.
Analysis on the direct and indirect impact of the vaccination programme on infections and mortality suggests the vaccination programme has prevented between 23.8 and 24.4 million infections and between 102,500 and 109,500 deaths.."
Good stuff. 

The English NHS is really short on blood collection tubes. Over the next 2-3 weeks at least, mainly urgent or essential blood tests only...

South Africa has lost an additional 249,471 people above expectations since 3rd May 2020, despite their official deaths to COVID being just 82,496.
The population of South Africa is just over 60m people, so 1 in every 240 people has died because of COVID. 

The US CDC have released one of their own studies into vaccination, and found that between January and July this year, vaccinated people were 17 x less likely to be hospitalised with COVID than unvaccinated people. This is when you add up the decreased risk of catching COVID with the decreased risk of severe illness.

020821 CDC graphic showing chart of vaccinated vs unvaccinated

Getting vaccinated will not stop a lot of us from catching Delta Variant, but if we do then it massively reduces your chances of becoming seriously ill (see above), and we now have some data to show it almost halves (reduced by 47%) an adult's chance of Long COVID (or brain/lung/kidney etc damage, as I like to honestly refer to it). Hurrah!
It did seem to be the case, but numbers to prove it are very welcome.
This is a study (not-yet-peer-reviewed naturally) by King's College, and uses self-reported symptoms via the Zoe Symptom app, so it has some limitations, but it includes entries from over 2m people, collected over 6 months.
The study also found that if you catch COVID, being fully vaccinated (2 weeks or more after your last dose) reduces your chances of being admitted to hospital by 73%, and the chance of severe symptoms was reduced by 31%.
Fully vaccinated people were more likely to be asymptomatic, and less likely overall to have any single COVID symptom than unvaccinated people.

We also have more data on Long COVID in our unvaccinated kids. It is either "reassuring" if you are the BBC, or "yowch" if you are a children's doctor, or frankly anyone who has anything to do with children.
1 in 7 children still suffer from at least 3 symptoms 15 weeks after infection.
(Sorry BBC, nice try at the "it'll be fiiiiine", but you aren't really convincing anyone.)
It isn't as bad as some earlier data suggested, so technically the BBC are correct, but they did revise their headline to say "nowhere near scale feared". Personally I didn't believe the 1 in 2 myself either (it didn't match with what I see in the real world) but 1 in 7, that sounds far more likely.
This number of kids reporting symptoms is double the number who usually say they are too tired, too sore, out of breath, have tummy upset, headaches, trouble sleeping or concentrating etc - which really makes me feel sorry for the kids who felt like that anyway without COVID.
A slightly worrying aspect of this study is that the data was collected between September 2020 and March 2021 - BEFORE Delta Variant arrived. We know Delta is up to twice as rough on any population, so we can only assume it will have an effect here.
Long COVID has never been a myth, and it's never been imaginary. COVID can chop up tissue into tiny cubes, leaving damage we can all see very clearly on scans and biopsies. 

We had new data on Delta last week from Public Health England, and frankly it matches almost spot on with what scientists said waaay back in December.
Delta is more catchy, and it is more deadly - around twice as deadly as original wild Wuhan COVID. Original COVID is so long ago now that we can barely remember it. Alpha, which we've pretty much all been experiencing for the last year, was already more deadly than original COVID, so this isn't as bad as it initially sounds.
Vaccinations, if you are lucky enough to have them, more than cancel out the increase, which means they work even better than we thought, and we really avoided something incredibly nasty. Other countries did not/ have not / will not.

020921 case rates chart for england by age. 10-15 highest prevalence

Meanwhile Down Under:
In Auckland, New Zealand, Police in full PPE responded when a COVID+ man escaped from a quarantine hotel. He appears to have gone home, so he might not be the best escapee. His family were apparently 'extremely cooperative', which makes me think he wasn't coping on his own.
New Zealand is still struggling to control their own outbreak of Delta Variant, with 128 new cases in the last 48 hours, despite heavy 'stay at home' restrictions in affected areas.
Vietnam has gone, as have some of the other countries which did exceptionally well against COVID for the first year or more. Australia is reporting almost 1,500 new cases a day now, despite restrictions. Could New Zealand's bubble be about to burst?  Let's hope not. 

Last week I told you about Louisiana's hospitals being full. What they really didn't need on top was Hurricane Ida.
Hospital patient transfers from the evacuation area weren't even 100% possible, because other hospitals were already full of COVID patients, and now their situation is even more dire.
Meanwhile Ida has moved on and caused devastation and horrific flooding in many other areas, including Mississippi, New York, New Jersey and most of the North Eastern states. Millions of homes in New Orleans don't have any power, and most of New York City itself was under about 2 feet of water when I typed this.
Remember before we had a pandemic, when we were mostly worried about climate change?
Best of luck to everyone affected.

CalMac Ferries are asking people not to travel to Mull unless you have a valid uncancelled ticket. They have a very limited number of staff and ferries, and last week a crew member tested positive, putting one boat temporarily out of action, this week a boat has broken down. It'll take some days to fix, so last minute holidaymakers and locals who have their own ferry cancelled will be desperate for any remaining seats on other ferries. Chaos - on a relatively small, yet not any less frustrating, level.

Some people. I've shown them as numbers, because I don't have space for all of their names.

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 40,344,066 (+13,354) 660,064 (+137)

India 32,901,414 (+44,551) 439,890 (+331)

Brazil 20,804,215 not yet reported today 581,228

Russia 6,956,318 (+18,985) 184,812 (+798)

UK 6,862,904 (+38,154) 132,920 (+178)

France 6,783,329 not yet reported today 114,577

Turkey 6,412,277 not yet reported today 57,000

Argentina 5,190,948 not yet reported today 112,005

Iran 5,055,512 (+30,279) 108,988 (+595)

Colombia 4,911,082 not yet reported today 125,016

Spain 4,871,444 (+9,561) 84,640 (+168)

Italy 4,553,241 (+6,761) 129,352 (+34)

Indonesia 4,109,093 (+8,955) 134,356 (+680)

Germany 3,976,297 (+6,264) 92,775 (+18)

Mexico 3,369,747 (+17,337) 260,503 (+1,177)




American disinformation

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