Thursday 16 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 15th/16th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 15th/16th September 2021

A note about today's figures:
"Because of a technical issue affecting the availability of data, there has been no update to cases, testing and vaccinations for Scotland. Therefore newly reported numbers for the UK include England, Northern Ireland and Wales only."
(That means tomorrow's numbers for the UK are likely to be artificially high.)

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,339,009 (+26,911)
In Hospital Weds 15th: 8,339
Using A Ventilator Weds 15th: 1,081
Losses of Life: 134,805 (+158)
Tests: 1,084,585
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,503,181 (89.2% of UK aged 16+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,229,777 (81.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 371,301 (+1,413) cases and 5,179 losses of life.

World: 227,512,652 reported cases and 4,677,473 losses of life.

160921 COVID vaccinations UK text

There's not masses of COVID news today... the UK and a lot of the world press seems a bit distracted by the new AUKUS (Australia, UK, US) defence treaty announcement...

Today, 282 days after the first person in the UK was given the AstraZeneca jab, the NHS delivered their first booster dose.
All frontline NHS and social care staff, anyone aged 50 and over, people under 50 with health conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID, and 'adult household contacts of severely immunosuppressed people' should all receive an invitation in due course - around 8 months after your 2nd vaccine dose (a minimum of 6 months after).

Goodbye Gavin Williamson, ousted as UK Education Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle. He's been replaced by the ex-Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who has actually proven himself capable and intelligent so far. I have high hopes Nadhim!
Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary who didn't curtail his holiday by 3 days when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, has been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, naturally. He's been replaced by Liz Truss. She's not universally liked.
Robert Jenrick, Housing and Local Authority has gone. He's replaced by Michael Gove. Excitingly Michael Gove will head a new task force which will "secure food supply chain". Nothing says "Brexit's going well then" quite so clearly as a new food supply chain task force.
Thankfully we keep the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, because he's been in the job for about 5 minutes and he's not made any major gaffes yet... well...

Yesterday Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, said that MPs don't need to wear masks in the House Of Commons because they aren't strangers.
This has led to a few comments, although technically it does fit the word of the Government advice. A lot of people aren't strangers Sajid - a human can instantly recall about 1,000 faces... 

While we're on Sajid, he said on Tuesday that the Valneva vaccine, which was due to be made in Livingston, Scotland, wouldn't have received approval in the UK, because other vaccines are more effective than early figures suggest.
Valneva are still in shock.
Sajid has said the UK Government will do what it can to help the company. Erm... yeah. Probably help them find a buyer would be good.
Valneva's is the most traditional vaccine the UK would have had, and it was thought might be reassuring for people who are vaccine-hesitant about newer technology.

Members of the British Army are going to be sent to support Scottish ambulance workers, after a request from Scottish Government. They've really struggled, and with enormous backlogs, a gentleman from Glasgow died after waiting 40 hours for a paramedic.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stressed that people should “never hesitate in calling an ambulance if that is the intervention they think is required”.

The UK NHS is under increasing pressure in many areas, and Addenbrookes Hospital has set up a tent triage beside A&E - in order to free up ambulances more quickly. The NHS in some parts of the UK do already have some military assistance, including ambulance driving, and that's been the case for a little while now. We are admitting an average of around 1,000 patients a day, and a little less than that are being discharged each day. The total in hospital is creeping up slowly.

Vulnerable people will be offered a booster starting next week

In an ongoing trial across 6 countries, with 44,165 participants 16 years or over and 2264 participants 12 to 15 years, 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine 3 weeks apart has proven to offer high protection against Covid-19 disease for at least 6 months. They also, very importantly, found no safety concerns.
"Vaccine efficacy against Covid-19 was 91.3% through 6 months of follow-up..."
This was an average, in different populations it varied between 86%-100%. That staggeringly beautiful 100% efficacy was in South Africa, against Beta Variant. NICE. 

Idaho has had to ration health care across the entire state because of a surge in COVID patients. People deemed most likely to survive will get priority. Only around 40% of Idaho residents are fully vaccinated - the 3rd lowest rate in the US. Only Wyoming and West Virginia have lower vaccination rates.

Fake USA Vaccination Cards are selling like hot cakes on the black market... or are they? Vendors appear to ask for lots of personal details in order to supply the fake cards, so potentially they're just stealing your money. Either is a crime.
Don't fall for the scammers, and remember if you deal with criminals - they're criminals.

I've been doing this so long now that I forget some of you haven't been here for the last year or so, and some of the stuff from a while ago might have slipped past you, or other things have filled your head in the meantime.
How COVID virus works, the simple version:
The virus enters your body, usually via the nose or mouth, and immediately starts making copies of itself. Now these copies it makes are also copiers, and as soon as they're made, they join in, making copies of themselves, which all make more copies etc. Within a couple of days there are enough copies that they start spilling out everywhere when you breathe and talk. Shouting, sneezing, coughing and singing blows them much further. The copies will keep coming until your body stops them, and it takes bits of your body to make these copies.
Your body has to recognise the threat and then stop it.
If you're vaccinated or previously caught COVID, you've seen this photocopier before, and should remember how to fight it off - you know the weaponry and the weak points - and you've created perfectly shaped antibodies to latch onto it and destroy it. Therefore there's usually a much smaller window when you'll be spilling or shedding virus, about 2-5 days. (It still takes time to organise any army effectively.)
In some people, the body pulls together all it learnt about viruses it has come up against in the past, and it recognises this new stranger enough that it takes no chances. These lucky people may not ever even know they caught COVID.
In some people, the immune system is exhausted from previous battles, or it's already busy, or it's only running with half an army, and won't be so quick or effective against COVID. Most of you guys will get a booster dose.
Once your body knows the enemy well enough, it starts creating antibodies and throwing them at it. You may feel your worst once the fight is in full swing. It can be exhausting, and quite rough on your body - you take it easy.
The earlier you start fighting, the faster you are, the less virus copies you have to fight and the quicker you'll win. That's why initial exposure is important.
If you only get a few COVID particles the first time your body meets COVID, you have a much easier job. If you breathe in a lungful of infected air, your body has a lot of virus copies to deal with much more quickly, and it's a lot harder to fight off.
COVID is usually beaten within a week, but if you are still ill at day 8, keep an eye on yourself. COVID can be quite sneaky, and fill the lungs without you even realising until the moment you start to struggle. If you begin to feel dizzy, weak, short of breath, develop headaches etc call 111 for advice. Most people just need a little extra oxygen. 

120921 vaccine efficacy rates against delta US CDC

Trump Of The Day:
Singer Nicki Minaj. She claimed her cousin's mate's scrotum swelled up after he was vaccinated. The Trinidad & Tobago Health Minister Dr. Terrence Deyalsingh took this claim very seriously and spent 2 days investigating before releasing a statement. They find NOTHING. In fact, not only have they received no such report, they can't find anyone in the WORLD who has reported swollen testicles after vaccination. During his press briefing he said:
"We wasted so much time running down this false claim".
Did Nicki make it up as a joke? Did someone tell her the story as a joke? Is she just some anti-vaxxer who'll say anything to stop people protecting themselves? We'll probably never know. What we do know, is she was locked out of her Twitter account for disinformation.
The White House have offered one of their own in-house doctors, to call Nicki and explain to her how vaccines work.
I can't wait for the Netflix special on this.

An amazing sea of 650,000 white flags is being put into place in front of the Washington Monument at the US National Mall. There is a flag for every person who has died from coronavirus in the US. In case you're a few miles closer than I am, it will be in situ until October 3rd. 

One of our regular readers has COVID and is doing okay, but her partner has been in hospital since last weekend. Last I knew (yesterday) he was improving. Everything crossed he is home soon - and you are both feeling better by the day.
And I wish the same to anyone who has COVID...

Some numbers. They're all people:

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):

India 33,380,438 (+34,565) 444,274 (+314)

UK 7,339,009 (+26,911) 134,805 (+158)

USA 42,504,484 (+24,704) 685,295 (+272)

Philippines 2,304,192 (+21,261) 36,018 (+277)

Russia 7,214,520 (+19,594) 195,835 (+794)

Iran 5,378,408 (+18,021) 116,072 (+453)

Thailand 1,434,237 (+13,897) 14,953 (+188)

Mexico 3,542,189 (+13,217) 269,912 (+897)

Vietnam 656,129 (+10,489) 16,425 (+239)

Cuba 776,125 (+7,628) 6,601 (+78)

Serbia 846,114 (+7,602) 7,664 (+31)

Japan 1,657,004 (+6,806) 16,959 (+65)

Ukraine 2,331,540 (+5,744) 54,651 (+101)

Italy 4,623,155 (+5,117) 130,167 (+47) 




"Trinidad and Tobago conclude there are no reports of vaccine-related testicular swelling in the country following an investigation"

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