Friday 24 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,601,487(+35,623)
In Hospital on Thursday 23rd: 7,124
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 23rd: 916
Losses of Life: 135,983 (+180)
Tests: 1,063,394
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,705,771 (89.6% of UK adults)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,644,887 (82.1%)
Up until Friday 10th September, 158,664 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland: 380,720 cases and 5,209 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 231,605,504 reported cases and 4,745,680 losses of life.

240921 case rates england by age

"The UKHSA’s best estimate for R in England is between 0.9 and 1.1. R is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.5 for Scotland, 1.1 and 1.3 for Wales, and 0.9 and 1.1 for Northern Ireland."

During its most recent week (ending 3 September), the ONS COVID infection survey estimates that an average of 754,600 people had COVID-19 in the community in England, Scotland 117,300, Wales 46,800, Northern Ireland 31,800. (Community only - doesn't include prisons, care homes or hospitals.)

US CDC figures show that 0.01% of children who have caught COVID have died. While that is a tiny tiny percentage - 1 in 10,000 - in the last week it was 20 US child deaths, and the total is 480 American children lost to COVID overall.

UK Variant watch data is really good. Genomic sequencing during the last week has detected just 1 new case of Mu, 1 case of B11318 (been around a while and hasn't really been bothersome anywhere except Mauritius) and nothing else of note - 126 Alpha and 64,579 cases of Delta.

The UK has fuel shortages - or does it?  Actually this morning there were only shortage issues with less than 100 of the fuel stations in the entirety of England. By now people panicking and filling up "just in case" will ensure that situation is considerably worse. If you have a full tank and no intention of going further than the corner shop... tsk...
If you have an HGV licence and nothing better to do, you can apparently be earning £45 an hour by tomorrow. Brexit eh...  

240921 uk situation report changes to 7 day average chart

A recently released study found that people with COVID Variants breathe out more virus into the air - which makes it obviously easier to catch.
It's old news really, because it was done when Alpha Variant was most prominent, and now that's been superseded by Delta - which is likely to spread even more virus particles in the air, which is why it has taken over and become dominant.
The study did also find that wearing a surgical mask reduced the number of particles released into the air by at least half - and the N95 masks obviously even more so.
The particles breathed out were measured by a special cone put onto people's faces, so don't let this scare you too much - they caught everything, including all of the seepage from masks which might ordinarily just blow or fall onto your own face, hair or shoulders. In real life most of the remaining particles will drift down onto the floor or another surface, or be killed off by sunlight, and never reach another human. 

New UK cases by date indieSAGE 240921 chart

Today's indieSAGE introduced their own Winter Plan. They don't believe the UK Government's plan (which is mainly vaccinations) does enough to mitigate (limit) the spread of COVID, or support people who need it.
We STILL have HUGE disparities in ethnicity when it comes to vaccination. White rich folks are more likely to be vaccinated. By the end of August, only 48% of people who identify as black were fully vaccinated, compared to 79% of white people. Only 55% of people who are of Pakistani origin are fully vaccinated.
There doesn't seem a huge benefit in Booster Jabs for many people under 65, as protection really doesn't wane very quickly. In the age group 40-65, protection really stays virtually the same from 15 to 20+ weeks, and we don't have data beyond that yet. Moderna really looks incredibly promising over time - we need to wait for that data too.
Very importantly, when vaccinations over time are compared to underlying health conditions, people who are 'fit and healthy' simply don't experience the same drop in efficacy as people who aren't so robust - even at age 65+. Clinically extremely vulnerable people aged maybe 40+ are definitely at a disadvantage here, and the case for Booster Jabs is strong in their case (much stronger if they're over 65).
Cases are clearly on the rise over the last few days, and there's a clear North/South divide, with almost twice as many cases in Northern regions.
When you look at data later on, extra late reports are added, so the UK's losses of life is actually averaging 140 per day at the moment. Since July 1st we've lost 7,629 people. In the same period in 2020, we lost 1,469 people.
While cases and hospitalisations in school aged children in Scotland are finally beginning to drop, hospitalisations in the age group including most of their parents is only just beginning so slow. The same is true in Northern Ireland.
In England and Wales (where kids went back to school later), cases in school age children have gone through the roof. In other countries, including Ireland, where some measures have stayed in place (e.g. masks, bubbles), this surge hasn't happened.
indieSAGE are still very concerned about the number of children who could be left with long term symptoms. Studies vary, but it seems to be between 2% and 14% of confirmed cases. That's somewhere between 1 child in every 3 classes, and 4 children in every class.

240921 Long COVID in kids indieSAGE

The USA has now lost more people to COVID than it lost in the 1918 Flu pandemic. It's estimated around 675,000 Americans died from 1918 flu, and almost 703,000 have died from COVID. That's a pretty grim statistic.
The UK is not quite at that stage as yet. We lost around 228,000 people to the 1918 flu pandemic.
Around 1/4 of the world's entire population caught the 1918 flu, and it killed approximately 1 person in every 10. An estimated 50 million people died. 

I've had a couple of people asking similar questions, so maybe it's worth a recap:
1. Different vaccine boosters after double immunisation should have a BETTER real world outcome than a 3rd dose the same.
I'd have preferred 2 different jabs in the first place, so I'm delighted at a different booster. In trials having an AstraZenca and then a Pfizer produced 6 x more antibodies than if you had 2 AstraZeneca - so 2 AstraZeneca and 1 Pfizer/Moderna looks like a win, and all available (albeit very limited at the moment) data backs that up. Having different vaccines will also offer some protection against a wider range of variants - known and as-yet-unknown.
The UK are being a bit experimental here - there's no reason to think it's in any way dangerous or harmful, but we don't have any figures yet on what effect it really will have in the community. Potentially it could knock COVID back to really low levels. The world is watching us on this one - including the US CDC, who are reportedly contemplating it themselves.
2. Pfizer and Moderna are incredibly similar mRNA technology. In some studies Moderna is actually very slightly better against Delta Variant than Pfizer, and other studies have it the opposite, so really they're equally good.
3. The JCVI reckon even most older people will be okay to have their COVID booster and the flu jab at the same time - and they think kids will be fine if they get their COVID and flu jabs together. I'd imagine a bit grumpy and washed out for a couple of days for some, and maybe a couple of percent will feel pretty rough, but it shouldn't overload them - and you might get an early night.
4. Cases across the UK are going up. Hospitalisations though are fairly steady, and actually dropping a little at the moment - vaccinations are working, but annoyingly this could become hidden in the near future because it's getting cold fast. Winter is coming.
We are losing a lot of people and we shouldn't ever forget that, because they are all important, and they all leave people behind. Becoming used to losing 100 people a day is becoming used to losing 700 people a week, 3,000 people a month, 36,500 people a year. That's about 1 1/2 times the number who die from flu in a usual year, and I think the UK Government have accepted that figure. While we are fairly static and not overwhelming hospitals, that seems to be how we will continue. Increased vaccination will bring this down further, but Winter really is an unknown, so we might not even see real improvement until Spring.
It's likely that cases will keep going up for now, and even though the rate is lower, this will lead to hospital admissions, and losses of life. All of the projections are really varied - no-one knows what is coming next, but what we do know is that it definitely won't be like last year.
5. There's a lot of talk of a lockdown later in the year. It's very possible, and I imagine will only be done if it's deemed necessary to preserve Christmas. Christmas is really important in the UK, and I cannot imagine for one minute that the UK Government will risk being accused of ruining it... 

240821 indieSAGE international case rates in kids

Around the world, hundreds of thousands of vaccines have already been destroyed because they went past their expiry date. The saddest thing about this is that vaccines usually have a shelf life of around 2-3 years, but because the COVID vaccines aren't that old yet, we can't prove safety and efficacy over time, so all of the vaccines are still under the initial 6 month shelf life. Obviously trials are ongoing, and expiry dates will hopefully be extended soon - even if they can move it to 1 year, it'll make a huge difference.
If a vaccine gets too old, it's very unlikely it'll make anyone ill for years, it just becomes less effective as the active components start to degrade.

Catching a virus can send your immune system into a bit of a wild attack mode, and it can go overboard. Now there are several reports of people having a bad reaction when they dye their hair.
It needs investigation to find out exactly why these things would be linked, what part of the immune system is causing this, but if you've had COVID and want to use exciting products like hair dyes, always do a test patch - just in case.

It is Eye Health Week. My high blood pressure a few years ago was diagnosed because the optician saw something wrong with my eyes.  It was also how someone spotted my friend's brain tumour before it did permanent harm. Eyes really can be the windows to your health, and many eye problems can be addressed if they are spotted early enough.
I know I let my eye test lapse during the last 18 months, did you too?

240921 waning protection over time by vulnerability

Margaret Keenan, the lady who received the first dose of a COVID vaccine anywhere in the world outside of a clinical trial, received her Booster Jab today. She had her hair cut specially, I could tell. Sajid Javid shared a blurry photo, it's rubbish, so I've used the old one with the Christmas jumper and the cardigan, no-one will know. Plus, it's a great photo, look at those grinning eyes. 

Margaret Keenan First UK patient vaccinated against COVID Pfizer BioNTech, sitting in the vaccination chair double thumbs up

The UK is having a few gas/electricity fuel difficulties, more energy suppliers have gone bust today, but supply hasn't stopped and we are assured it won't - even if your supplier shuts down - the Government will step in. But I did tell you it would be the year of the cardi...

It IS the weekend! Hurrah! It's been a very quick week here, and I sold my van, which has been sat on my drive since it failed it's MOT 3 days before the MOT extension was announced and our garage shut for a year. I don't have the physical capacity to fix it any more, nor the money to pay for a ton of welding. There are so many more effects COVID has had, than those which are measured in Government figures.

Have a good weekend - don't forget that treat! We have a 13th birthday to celebrate (yeeeay), and 2 PCR test results on the way (not yeeeay), so that's plenty to look forward to!

Wear A Cardi, Catch The Last Of The Free Sunshine Vitamin D, Save The NHS...

Some people. I've shown them as numbers because I can't spell 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 43,541,811 (+9,505) 703,058 (+80)

India 33,617,100 (+23,608) 446,601 (+202)

Brazil 21,308,178 not yet reported today 593,018

UK 7,601,487 (+35,623) 135,983 (+180)

Russia 7,376,374 (+21,379) 202,273 (+828)

France 6,977,722 not yet reported today 116,371

Turkey 6,960,297 not yet reported today 62,524

Iran 5,508,885 (+15,294) 118,792 (+284)

Spain 4,943,855 not yet reported today 86,185

Italy 4,653,696 (+3,797) 130,603 (+52)

Indonesia 4,204,116 (+2,557) 141,258 (+144)

Germany 4,188,772 (+3,139) 93,876 (+29)

Mexico 3,608,976 (+11,808) 274,139 (+748)

Poland 2,901,674 (+813) 75,551 (+14)

Philippines 2,453,328 (+18,659) 37,405

Ukraine 2,379,483 (+9,058) 55,424 (+140) 

Netherlands 1,993,309 (+1,681) 18,147 (+3)

Iraq 1,990,316 (+2,964) 22,039 (+46)

Czechia 1,688,457 (+488) 30,451 (+2)

Japan 1,687,422 (+3,604) 17,375 (+56) 




IndieSAGE Winter Report:

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