Sunday 12 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 11th / 12th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 11th / 12th September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,226,276 (+29,173)
Losses of Life: 134,200 (+56)
Tests: 1,241,334
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,422,588 (89.1% of UK 16+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 43,991,875 (80.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 365,313 cases and 5,155 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 225,307,666 reported cases and 4,641,812 losses of life.

You can still get your COVID vaccine NHS UK

The UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on telly this morning that England WILL NOT be going ahead with the vaccine passport scheme. This is mere days after Nicola announced Scotland WILL be having a scheme, and she's really arguing with Boris right now, so I wouldn't like to guess on the complete list of motivations.
That said, Nicola has generally been less cavalier with her population's wellbeing throughout.
So, as it stands at the moment, from next month in England, you won't have to prove vaccination status to enter a nightclub or book a festival ticket, but in Scotland, and for any other establishment or event which decides they require it, you will.

Media are reporting that Boris will (possibly tomorrow) be repealing some parts of the Coronavirus Act which no longer apply. All the emergency powers do have to come to an end at some point, so it's not as big news as some papers would have you believe, but it will be interesting to see which parts are dropped, and hopefully they won't interrupt any plans the devolved nations have in the pipeline... (cough *vaccine passports* cough).

The US CDC have released some very comprehensive study data on Delta and vaccinations. Everyone's looking at Delta Variant now - and fortunately we seem to be getting similarly good results (and it matches real world experience).
Against hospitalisations, all patients, any age:
Pfizer BioNTech efficacy 80%
Moderna efficacy 95%
Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) 60%
(The USA hardly has anyone who has been vaccinated with AstraZeneca)

120921 vaccine efficacy rates against delta US CDC

UK data analysts are (the same as some of you) pointing out that the UK last week released two lots of data on vaccine efficacy against Delta that doesn't even match up.
Different analysts measure slightly differently, they can take it from different time periods, use different hospitals or age groups, exclude certain criteria etc. and in this case it's given really drastically different results - one says unvaccinated makes you 11 times more likely to be admitted to hospital, the other says 5 times more likely.
The NIMS PHE data gives an efficacy against admissions of 78%, whereas ONS gives 91%. (We could be wondering between 2 much worse numbers!). The very good news is that the ONS figures actually seem more realistic.

Big vaccine news:
Moderna have been working hard. The vaccine manufacturers have created a jab that combines "6 mRNAs against 3 different respiratory viruses in 1 vaccine: COVID-19 booster + Flu booster + RSV booster".
Obviously I'm not a lover of animal testing, but they've shared really positive pre-clinical data (animal and lab trials) which shows mixing different combinations of the different mRNAs don't affect efficacy - they all "induced strong antibody responses to all components".
I think an annual jab to protect against flu, COVID and Respiratory Syncytial Virus is perfectly doable for the entire world. It may be the future.

RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Virus - is causing havoc in countries which have been locked down for long periods. It isn't that more people, especially children and older adults, are catching it and being hospitalised, it's that many missed it last year, so this year the numbers have skyrocketed. Usually RSV causes cough and cold symptoms for a week or two, but sometimes can make people very poorly. RSV is the most common cause of Bronchiolitis and Pneumonia in babies. 

120921 Moderna 6 shot joint mRNA vaccine results in mice

Sir Jeremy Farrar OBE etc, the director of the Wellcome Trust, in a podcast with German scientist journalist Kai Kupferschmidt, has pondered on where we are in the virus timeline. He believes we are in transition from epidemic or pandemic to endemic - which is when you accept the virus is going to exist and will cause a certain level of disease and death.
We don't know what the UK Government will decide is 'an acceptable level of deaths', but we need to maintain a balance where most people can work, play or stay in education. For a while we've been losing around 100 people a day - 36,000 a year. We lose around 25,000-30,000 people to flu in a regular year.
The big and obvious problems with this approach are Long COVID, the risk of creating scary mutations, and hospitalisations. We still can't overwhelm the hospitals, although we know we can stretch them a lot further than was previously anticipated.
The podcast also discussed the fact no-one has a clue how countries like New Zealand open up and remove restrictions, or China - which has a vaccine just shy of 50% effective, and an incredibly huge population.

Morrisons Supermarkets are cutting sick pay if unvaccinated workers have to self-isolate. This is probably partly an effort to get staff to hurry up and get jabbed, and then hopefully COVID won't disrupt Christmas. 

New Zealand are among the countries who weren't in any rush for vaccines...  and now they are. Within the last week or so New Zealand have bought half a million doses from Denmark, quarter of a million doses from Spain, and another 1.8 million doses from Pfizer itself. 

120921 WHO situation report

Currently the COVID world picture is that we may have just tipped over a peak, into a slowly declining wave. Cases in Europe and Western Pacific are hopefully now on a falling rate. South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean have fairly high but slowly declining case rates, and Africa does seem to have peaked and fallen to a relatively low level thankfully. The only area where case numbers are currently rising is The Americas.

Some numbers. All would appreciate the fresh air on an early Autumn evening:

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):

UK 7,226,276 (+29,173) 134,200 (+56)

Russia 7,140,070 (+18,554) 192,749 (+788)

USA 41,821,943 (+5,275) 677,754 (+17)

Philippines 2,227,367 (+21,441) 35,145 (+168)

Iran 5,295,786 (+20,219) 114,311 (+487)

Russia 7,140,070 (+18,554) 192,749 (+788)

Thailand 1,382,173 (+14,029) 14,353 (+180)

Mexico 3,506,743 (+12,511) 267,524 (+675)

Vietnam 613,375 (+12,026) 15,279 (+261)

Japan 1,632,091 (+8,807) 16,742 (+52)

Serbia 816,912 (+5,003) 7,548 (+28)

Italy 4,606,413 (+4,664) 129,919 (+34)

Germany 4,083,426 (+3,280) 93,121 (+3)

Romania 1,120,804 (+2,255) 34,990 (+29)

Ukraine 2,316,619 (+2,196) 54,342 (+22)

Netherlands 1,970,914 (+2,082) 18,069 (+1)

Belarus 503,073 (+1,907) 3,917 (+12)

Austria 710,030 (+1,857) 10,839 (+2)

Greece 615,157 (+1,319) 14,169 (+28)

Finland 133,638 (+976) 1,039

Albania 157,026 (+864) 2,543 (+4)


"Health Secretary Sajid Javid says vaccine passport scheme will be scrapped in England"

Pandemia Podcasts:

WHO SitRep:

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