Thursday 30 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 29th /30th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 29th /30th September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,807,036 (+36,480)
In Hospital yesterday Weds 29th: 6,853
Using A Ventilator yesterday: 813
Losses of Life: 136,662 (+137)
Tests: 1,115,605
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,829,118 (this would be 89.8% of UK population aged 16+, but we are vaccinating 12+ now, so it's not the actual percentage.)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,867,373

Rep. Of Ireland: 389,932 (+1,267) cases and 5,249 losses of life

World: 234,304,776 reported cases and 4,791,753 losses of life

300921 weeky cases UK by age UK Health Security Agency

Today's Surveillance Report from the UK Health Security Agency (honestly, they are a room full of number crunchers, not men in black) shows that during the week 20th to 26th September 2021, the picture was very similar to last week. Cases are slightly up, but hospitalisations down, which has to be a bit of a win:
- Case rates are highest in those aged 10 to 19 years old and lowest in over 80s.
- Case rates are highest in the East Midlands and lowest in London.
- Hospital admissions are still highest among those aged 85 and older and have decreased since last week.
- The North East has the highest amount of hospital admissions this week.

Today is the last day of the UK Furlough Scheme. It has cost the treasury around £70 billion, and kept millions of people warm, fed and watered while they weren't able to go to work. Around £1 million people are still off work according to the ONS, and it isn't always obvious who they might be.
One of my grown up kids worked in car accident repair. Lockdown meant their workload evaporated, and with a lot of us driving less, it's still not recovered. That's a great thing as regards less humans involved in accidents, but it affects the entire car industry, parts supply chain, garage staff etc. Eventually (sadly) it is likely to pick up, but you simply can't pay people to be on standby indefinitely forever. Hospitality, which is going to take a long while to recover properly, will likely suffer most. A sad day for a lot of people and businesses.

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £500m Winter Hardship Fund. He says it'll offer a lifeline to people struggling with the £20 a week cut in Universal Credit, but citizens' groups say it won't come close, and a lot of people will be in dire straits this Winter.
Labour’s shadow welfare secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, is quoted in The Guardian:
“Temporary and inadequate sticking plasters are no substitute for a proper social security system that offers security to families in hard times. The government must learn the lessons of the pandemic, cancel their cut to universal credit and use our recovery to better prepare this country for the challenges of the future.”
Remember kids, if you don't have money, you can't spend it, and what does money make? (aside from 'rich people richer'). Yes, it makes the world go round.
Business needs us to spend money in order to pay their employees and turn a profit. If we leave people with nothing after food, housing, and their rapidly exploding gas bills, they can't buy new clothes, frothy coffees and fancy doodads, and then businesses go broke, can't pay their taxes, rent and debts, and redundant employees have to go on benefits. And ultimately, that can cost the government more than just giving people a little extra in their pocket. This is why America refers to emergency cash payments as "stimulus checks"... it stimulates and brings to life the economy, and keeps the big wheel turning.  

300921 weekly cases uk chart from beginning of pandemic to present day

Some press are reporting that university students are annoyed that some universities have put in place different policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated students, including wristbands which contain vaccination status, and at least 9 student unions which have made their events "show your COVID pass on entry".
I'm not really seeing it to be honest. There really aren't loads of shouty students online, or in the articles. You can show you're fully vaccinated or that you have a negative test result, and anyone in the UK can take a free lateral flow test any time.
Two of my grown up kids worked at Park Life festival, neither had both vaccine doses when they started, and they had to show a negative test instead. Honestly didn't hurt them. The whole point here is to make it safer for people who don't have great immunity, and keep the event open and running. Universities especially have a duty of care to students. They really were stung last year, and got a ton of abuse for it. This year they're playing it safe. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

The HOAX school pupil vaccination checklist I told you about on Tuesday did fool a few schools, who shared it with pupils. You can't really blame them, it looked official and seemed to be from a legitimate NHS account.
Well done to any head who spotted the hoax immediately - and well done to the company who hosted the email address. They took it down the instant they were made aware of the issue by a headmaster on Twitter.
If you received that checklist - the "facts" are not true - and you can easily check that yourself by Googling, you don't even have to trust me on it.
This is not that scene in a movie where someone shouts "I have the cure" and everyone immediately injects themselves. The vaccines are thoroughly tested. This pandemic is almost 2 years old, and thousands of researchers and scientists have been working on this since China posted the genetic code for COVID on the Internet on January 10th 2020.
Vaccines aren't new, even mRNA vaccines have been in the pipeline for 30 years, since researcher Katalin Karikó realised they had real potential, and could potentially be programmed to fix damage and fight pathogens throughout the body. Most early studies were trying to fight Cancers - vaccines weren't really top of everyone's list at that point. The rapid progress made over the last 2 years will hopefully advance that research now too.
Billions of people have been vaccinated ahead of your child. No conspiracy theory could ever encompass virtually the whole world. 

Slovenia have suspended the Johnson&Johnson Vaccine after the death of a 20 year old woman from blood clots in the brain and a stroke, 2 weeks after she was vaccinated. This is the second serious incident in Slovenia, from only around 120,000 people. None of the other countries using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have experienced anything like this, serious events are rare, deaths far more so (last time I worked it out, it was approximately 1 in every 3 million), and it could simply be incredibly bad luck - but any sensible Government would suspend delivery and check everything they possibly can.
For reference the US CDC say:
"It occurs at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare."
Back in April the CDC had recorded 8 cases (1 fatal) from over 7 million vaccinations, and the EU had found "86 out of 25 million Europeans administered with the jab developed the unusual blood clots".
Most people recover completely - and blood clots have been reported at an incredibly low level after all the main vaccines, it isn't only Johnson&Johnson (Janssen). Risk of becoming ill with blood clots remains massively smaller than your risk of actually dying if you catch COVID unprotected.
Almost all cases are within 2-3 weeks of vaccination, but watch for symptoms after then anyway, because none of these things mean you are well:
Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Leg swelling
Persistent abdominal pain
Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site

France intend to extend their State Of Emergency until next Summer, so that if they do need to use the additional powers that come with it, they don't waste time. 

The UN say the healthcare situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly.
Over 2,300 health facilities were previously supported by the World Bank, but now only 17% of those (around 391) are fully functional, and 2/3 of those (around 260) have run out of essential medicines.
COVID cases are down (although testing is a bit haphazard). "Cases of measles and diarrhoea shooting up, and polio becoming a “major risk”.. "

300921 weekly hospitalisations by age chart

Lost Their Fight:
Italian Primetta Giacopini, aged 105. She survived the Spanish flu when she was just 2 years old. Her 25 year old mother did not. 

The World Health Organisation has added Casirivimab and Imdevimab to the list of therapeutics for treatment for COVID. And they have urged "producing companies and governments to ensure equitable access across all regions, especially in low- and middle-income countries".
"Patients that benefit most from these therapeutics are those who are:
-non-severe and at higher risk for hospitalization
-severe or critical with seronegative status (have not developed antibodies against COVID-19)."

"More than 3.5 billion people worldwide have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, equal to about 45% of the world population. But ten months after mass vaccination campaigns began, the global rollout remains unequal."
The New York Times.
Over 28.6m booster doses have already been administered in countries including the USA, Israel and the UK, Singapore, Panama, Chile and Cambodia... meanwhile 35 countries have vaccinated in total less than 5% of their population, 28 of them are in Africa.
15 countries have vaccinated less than 2% of their population - they include Haiti, Congo, Syria and Mali.

We aren't safe until we're all safe...

Some numbers. All people on this rock we call home:

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 - remember we have different time zones):

USA 44,214,497 (+15,001) 714,098 (+145)

India 33,765,470 (+27,282) 448,372 (+282)

UK 7,807,036 (+36,480) 136,662 (+137)

Russia 7,511,026 (+23,888) 207,255 (+867)

Iran 5,587,040 (+14,078) 120,428 (+268)

Germany 4,235,721 (+5,030) 94,214 (+23) 

Indonesia 4,215,104 (+1,690) 141,939 (+113)

Mexico 3,655,395 (+9,796) 276,972 (+596)

Poland 2,907,071 (+1,208) 75,650 (+27)

Philippines 2,549,966 (+14,286) 38,294 (+130)

Ukraine 2,423,379 (+11,757) 56,274 (+194) 

Iraq 2,003,303 (+2,434) 22,260 (+39)

Netherlands 2,003,050 (+1,703) 18,170 (+2)

Japan 1,699,636 (+1,986) 17,605 (+54)

Czechia 1,691,489 (+732) 30,459 (+2)

Chile 1,654,264 (+858) 37,468 (+13)

"Several schools in England unwittingly distributed 'dangerous' COVID-19 misinformation, the Department for Health and Social Care says"
Reference link from Tuesday 28th
"Anger on university campuses with students given wristbands to signify Covid vaccination"
"About 45% of the world has been vaccinated so far. See how the global Covid vaccine rollout is going."

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