Tuesday 28 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th / 28th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th / 28th September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,736,235 (+34,526)
In Hospital Yesterday Monday 27th: 7,000
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 831
Losses of Life: 136,375 (+167)
Tests: 1,010,007
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,765,726 (89.7% of UK adults aged 16+ - although we are now vaccinating young people aged 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,799,748 (82.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 387,218 (+1,497) cases and 5,209 losses of life

World: 233,338,734 reported cases and 4,773,711 losses of life

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th / 28th September 2021

Social distancing rules in English hospitals are being changed, so that patients can be treated 1m apart rather than the current 2m. It's hoped this will enable more bed space to be released, in order to plough through the backlog of elective patients more quickly (elective is anything that's not urgent). 1 metre is the WHO recommendation.
It won't mean twice as many beds in each ward, patients weren't crammed in like sardines before the pandemic, so don't panic if you are vulnerable and due in hospital soon. Any clearing of a backlog will also heavily depend on hospitals actually having the staff available to make it possible.
The other changes they are making are:
- Removing the need for a negative PCR and 3 days self-isolation before selected elective procedures. Selected patients in low risk groups who are fully vaccinated, asymptomatic, with a negative lateral flow test on the day of their procedure will no longer need to have a negative PCR and isolate for 3 days, unless they are a contact of a confirmed case.
- Re-adopting standard rather than enhanced cleaning procedures. Enhanced cleaning can be discontinued in agreed low risk areas and providers can revert to standard cleaning procedures between patients. It's not entirely clear what benefit it offers in practicality, and scrupulous hand hygiene seems to have a far bigger effect.

UK schools are being sent fake vaccination letters which appear to be from the NHS, and have a checklist for students before vaccination. These are a HOAX, and the Director of the NHS is asking schools to destroy them ASAP, while an investigation is launched to find out where they came from.
The letters are full of misinformation designed to put people off being vaccinated. COVID vaccines have been through all of the safety checks that any other vaccine goes through - we are 20 whole months into this pandemic already, and billions of vaccines have been administered. In trials, and real world experience, the COVID vaccines are equally as safe in people aged 12-15 as they are in people aged 22-25.
This yet again begs the question, "what kind of crazy do you have to be in order to create these things to prevent strangers from being vaccinated?"
For reference - far more kids die from COVID than vaccination. Far more kids get long term harm from COVID itself than from vaccination. FACT.
Those numbers are all super tiny - which is why the government thought about it for a while - because it's really expensive, and vaccinating all high school kids will only save tens of children's lives. (Only. To any parent their child's life is never "only" anything.)

Average daily hospital admissions in Scotland are still plummeting - down 29% in a week (Whoot! Go Scotland, go Scotland). 

People on the bus wearing a face covering

A new UK study released today shows that 70% of Long COVID patients have organ damage.
This is not a surprise to me, and hopefully not to any of you - I have never tried to play down something that we don't yet fully understand. I've said before that Long COVID is a really sweet way to say brain damage, lung damage, heart damage etc. It turns out pancreas and liver damage is quite common too.
- 201 individuals aged 21–71 years, who self-reported Long COVID symptoms, were studied (71% female, 88% white, 32% healthcare workers). All were at fairly low risk of mortality, with only 19% hospitalised when they had COVID-19.
- The study took place an average of 141 days following SARS-CoV-2 infection, when 42% of individuals still reported 10 or more symptoms and 60% had severe post-COVID-19 syndrome. Fatigue (98%), muscle aches (87%), breathlessness (88%) and headaches (83%) were most frequently reported.
- Researchers scanned them with an MRI, and found that "mild organ impairment was present in the heart (26%), lungs (11%), kidneys (4%), liver (28%), pancreas (40%) and spleen (4%)". Severe post-COVID-19 syndrome was associated with radiological (x-ray/scan) evidence of cardiac damage (myocarditis).
70% showed single-organ impairment. 29% showed multiorgan impairment.
Remember that the body is an amazing thing. Most of this damage will repair. We get damage constantly from all kinds of things, including other viruses. However... Long COVID is particularly costly, in all ways. 

UK ONS data to 1st August found somewhere between 3% - 11.7% of people report Long COVID symptoms. Today they released a survey done within schools, which found:
"Just over one-in-three school staff members (35.7%) and just over one-in-ten (12.3%) secondary school pupils, surveyed in England, who said they had a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection reported experiencing ongoing symptoms for more than four weeks."
That's potentially a heck of a lot of people. 

The UK have increased the shelf life of Pfizer Vaccine to 9 months. It was 6, we've now had more than long enough time elapse to check that efficacy isn't reduced after 9 months - the US FDA increased it to 9 months 5 weeks ago.
Most vaccines have a shelf life of 1-2 years, but obviously it needs to be at least that old to check it still works, so we expect COVID vaccines to be given that sort of lifespan eventually. 

Pfizer have begun trials for their oral antiviral drug to prevent COVID.
The idea is that people who are at high risk of transmission take the drug, which contains virus-blocking enzymes, that shouldn't allow COVID to reproduce. It's going to be tested on healthy people living in households where someone has a positive case of COVID, and it could be a real game-changer for vulnerable people and frontline staff - and just frankly when someone really can't afford to get COVID right then (e.g. when they need urgent medical treatment for something else).
Best of luck. Antivirals have had mixed results so far - Gilead Science's Remdesivir is the only one approved by the US, UK and EU, and that seems to work best to shorten recovery time in people already hospitalised.

Look out for your Winter vaccines invite

It's been a mere 2 days since my last report, but the UK fuel situation has been exciting.
We were assured there were no problems, but there were clearly problems. Half the UK's drivers raced to queue up at the nearest fuel station, most of which rapidly ran out. Ironically commercial drivers were then unable to fill up, causing even more problems for HGVs and ambulances, both of which are already struggling with lack of drivers. Meanwhile around 125 panicking drivers A DAY have blocked garage forecourts by filling up from the wrong pump.
"We'll need the army!" cried the papers, "We'll be fine" said the Government, swiftly followed by "We may need the army", and then "The army are on standby".
There are calls for fuel to be limited to essential workers only. For example, your average nurse doesn't have an extra 3 hours after a night shift to queue up for fuel so they can go back to work that evening. Same goes for teachers - you don't want the schools closed because there are no staff in.
Meanwhile the conspiracy theorists are pointing out fuel only really has a shelf life of a couple of years, and we haven't driven so much over the last 18 months... It's an interesting theory, and if garages bought 2 years worth of fuel at once and stored it, I'd agree they might be keen to offload it, but it doesn't quite work like that. Production and delivery slowed down as well as use.
As long as you don't need fuel in the next few days, be calm. Once all the panic buyers have filled up, the queues will go away... 

HGV drivers meanwhile are laughing at the ridiculous idea they might want to come back to work in the UK. Driving conditions here are appalling. Town centres have strict time limits on when they can unload or drive through, and you can't pull into a services for a nap, a 4 hour break, a meal or an overnight without it costing a fortune. Lorry drivers are treated like scum. They are, it's true. We need to start respecting the people who make our world actually turn.

We're also low on water because of lack of rain. Did we mention the water? Sheesh, 2021 is going well. Fuel, power, food and water. Thank heavens no-one really needs any of these things...

wash your hands regularly to limit the spread of covid

15,000 people took part in the UK's Novovax vaccine trial - and it doesn't have final results or approval yet, so they are in limbo regarding boosters and travel.
Being part of a trial is an incredibly generous thing. Sadly it isn't guaranteed success, and can go a bit wrong for you in many ways. It's always a risk. Several COVID vaccine candidates were dropped entirely when figures showed they weren't going to be effective enough, so at least Novovax does appear to be doing okay, and approval isn't off the cards entirely.

The World Health Organisation have launched the WHO Academy, and broken soil on the build - which is in Lyon, France, and due to be completed in 2023. Dr Tedros:
"The WHO Academy will be a school for the future, and for the whole world. Our ambitions are not modest: to transform lifelong learning for health impact globally. It will also be a centre of learning and career development for WHO’s own workforce."
The building will also house things like the digital information sharing hub, and bring together scientists and healthcare workers for education and training, as well as spreading that knowledge worldwide through a series of local hubs.

Telegraph cartoonist Bob Moran is in trouble, and rightly so. He published a tweet which was particularly unpleasant to NHS workers, saying they all deserve verbal harassment. He was called out publicly, reported and the tweet taken down, but in the furore he also managed to accuse one of the UK's leading palliative care doctors of 'killing children without any moral or scientific justification', and some more things. He fit quite a lot into one tweet, and it was entirely libellous.
I think the next time we see him, it may be in court.

Trump Of The Day:
American social media influencer Samantha Rose Svoboda posted an 'hilarious' short video of herself on TikTok, waving a completed vaccination card and saying "Who ain't got vaccinated yet? Me. What you gonna do about it?"
Well, the answer is, of course, report you to the FBI. Faking a vaccination card is a serious federal offence, as is buying one. If found guilty she could be fined, imprisoned, and/or lose her right to vote or own a firearm. As could all the other people who replied and explained how they had acquired or manufactured fake vaccination cards too.

4 days ago Max Khadar, 17, was one of the first patients in the UK to be treated with antibody treatment Ronapreve. He can't be vaccinated, but has a heart condition and is immunosuppressed, which makes him especially vulnerable. There are around 1.5m people in the UK who can't be vaccinated, so antibody treatments will hopefully play a vital role in helping protect our whole population. 

240921 Long COVID in kids indieSAGE

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), has said she believes it should be safe for kids to go Trick Or Treating this year - but there are some points to remember:
1. Keep it outdoors
2. Keep it to small groups
3. Avoid crowds

Thank you all for the kind wishes for our regular reader's husband who was hospitalised almost 3 weeks ago. He is now home, but has a long road back to full health. I wish him the best, as I do anyone else recovering from COVID.

Some numbers. They are 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):

USA 43,950,102 (+7,767) 709,221 (+102)

India 33,715,038 (+21,890) 447,779 (+373)

Brazil 21,366,395 not yet reported today 594,702

UK 7,736,235 (+34,526) 136,375 (+167)

Russia 7,464,708 (+21,559) 205,531 (+852)

Turkey 7,095,580 (+28,892) 63,611 (+239)

France 6,995,628 not yet reported today 116,537

Iran 5,559,691 (+11,701) 119,888 (+239)

Spain 4,953,930 (+2,290) 86,358 (+60)

Italy 4,665,049 (+2,985) 130,807 (+65)

Germany 4,212,201 (+1,130) 94,049 (+14)

Indonesia 4,211,460 (+2,057) 141,709 (+124)

Mexico 3,635,807 (+3,007) 275,676 (+230)

Poland 2,904,631 (+975) 75,601 (+29)







"70% of long Covid patients develop organ damage, U.K. study finds" https://twitter.com/i/events/1442543738014900226?s=09






"Pfizer begins study of oral drug for prevention of COVID-19" https://twitter.com/i/events/1442537624598716418?s=09

Sky News: COVID-19: NHS director alerts parents to fake vaccine consent letters.


























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