Tuesday 7 September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th / 7th September 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th / 7th September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,056,106 (+37,489)
In Hospital yesterday: 7,976 (UP from 7,015 ten days earlier)
Using A Ventilator yesterday: 1,062 (UP from 988 ten days earlier)
Losses of Life: 133,483 (+209)
Tests: 1,346,631
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,292,811 (88.8% of UK popn. age 16+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 43,535,098 (80.1%)
According to the ONS, up until Friday 27th August, 156,888 people had COVID listed as a cause of death.

Rep. Of Ireland: 359,420 (+1,465) cases and 5,112 losses of life.

World: 222,266,621 reported cases and 4,593,633 losses of life.

Build Back Better front cover title 070921

Congratulations to Boris, Matt, Rishi, Dominic and everyone else who is ultimately responsible for the UK's handling of COVID. The UK has recorded over 7 million official cases - and this is probably somewhere between one and two thirds of the true figure.
Award yourself a hearty slap on the back (face).
This is only officially beaten by the USA (population 331m), India (population1,396m), Brazil (population 214m) and Russia (population 146m).
It may well in reality be matched by a few other poorer countries... 

The UK NHS is to receive £5.4 billion over the next 6 months to help cover the mahooosive backlog.
This would be a more fantastic thing if we had extra staff and premises in which to deal with lots of extra patients. Hang on, we do. We can rent it from private healthcare. Jobs a goodun.
(I'm already so bored of the eternal Government schemes to move public money into private hands. Guess who directors and owners of private healthcare firms include? Pah. We have little choice.)

Build Back Better 2 070921 outlines points typed below

COVID has broken the bank and it needs to be repaid, but it's also exposed some huge gaps in how we care for our most vulnerable people. That needs paying for too.
In order to pay for well-needed Social Care reforms in the UK, today's big story is that National Insurance is to rise by 1.25% next year. The money will be ring-fenced (not spent on other things), and it'll appear as a specific 'Health & Social Care Levy' on your pay slip. It will also apply to all eligible earnings - whatever your age.
- Health & Social Care are going to be integrated. We need to solve the problem of how to free up hospital beds more swiftly, and put patients who don't need to be in hospital back into somewhere more comfortable. Those are problems 1 and 2 of about 4,987.
- Anyone with assets worth less than £20,000 won't have to pay social care costs.
- The total social care bill for any individual will be capped at £86,000 and never more. Boris believes this will mean people won't have to sell off their homes when older age catches up with them. In Boris' world everyone has a spare 86k knocking about.
- Everyone with assets up to £100,000 will be eligible for state support. (That doesn't really cover the value of a house, does it? Basically anyone with a house bigger than a postage stamp will probably still have to sell it.)

Back to the National Insurance:
Changes don't take place immediately - most don't happen until next year. I admit, I missed the dates - I do medical and sciencey stuff, not money. (This is why I'm poor.)
Current National Insurance rates for most employed people for the 2021/2022 tax year are:
0% on earnings up to £184 a week (£796 a month)
12% on earnings between £184 to £967 a week (£797 to £4,189 a month)
2% on any earnings above £967 a week (£4,189 a month)
Downing Street maths says that after they add the Health & Social Care Levy of 1.25%, a typical basic rate taxpayer on £24,100 will pay an extra £180 a year, and a higher rate taxpayer on £67,100 will pay an extra £715.
It is not entirely popular, as yet again it hits the youngest and poorest hardest. The lower your income, the more each £ is missed, and younger people are more likely to be on a low wage. People of pensionable age (currently 66 or above) do not currently have to pay any National Insurance, whatever their income, but Rishi has said they WILL pay the Health & Social Care Levy, so maybe it is a bit fairer than we thought.
Today Boris refused to rule out Tax rises, but says he doesn't want them. I'd say they look plausible. Remember, only a fool says never - and in this case at least, Boris is not a fool.
The Telegraph are already warning that this move threatens jobs and could slow our recovery. I don't have the energy or business acumen to work it out, but if they say it, it possibly means someone rich gets a tiny bit poorer and is bleating. They'd clearly already written the article, it nearly beat the actual announcement. 

In England and Wales adults and children aged 12 and over with a severely weakened immune system should start receiving invitations to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine 'booster' dose any minute now.
The Government are keen to stress this is not 'the start of a Booster programme' (but there are suspicions around 35m people in total in the UK will be given a 3rd booster dose when vaccine availability allows). 

After parents/carers were told on Sunday that they would have to give permission for teenagers to have COVID jabs, Nadhim Zahawi (UK Vaccines Minister) has now clarified that those same teenagers can then override a parent's negative decision and have a jab anyway.
Both are true, but he wasn't clear with what he said at first. To have a vaccination in school, parents have to sign permission, but without permission young people can go to their Doctor and request the jab themselves anyway.
Being a teenager is a sensitive time, so young people are allowed privacy over medical issues, and, along with medical professionals, can make some of their own decisions. Parents and carers don't always have to be involved.
I've worked with young parents many times, and also in sexual health (although that was mainly with older people). There is no 'type', infectious diseases, mystery rashes and surprise babies can happen to just about anyone - and therefore free, without-your-parent access to services like contraception, medical care and advice are available to anyone deemed mature enough to understand fully their situation. (It has limitations. There'll be no secret heart surgery or amputations...)

Build Back Better 3 070921 Text as typed description ish

Talking of kids, this was Dr Christina Pagel of indieSAGE yesterday:
"Over 7,000 cases reported today in Scotland and positivity rate of over 14% - both very high.
Looking by age, cases rapidly increasing in school age children.
Also going up in adults over 25. Only the 15-24 year old age groups are falling.
Is this England soon?"
It's not brilliant is it? Darnit... 

Apparently 'clarity is needed over the mandatory vaccination policy' for care home workers.
Really? It seemed very straightforward to me. Everyone who works inside a care home has to be fully vaccinated - both doses plus that extra 2 weeks for it to work properly - before the November 11th deadline, meaning first dose has to be in by next Thursday 16th September. No?
Well, it turns out that as of yet there hasn't been word as to what happens with staff who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
There's nothing like leaving it to the last minute... 

UK Office for National Statistics (ONS):
"There were 10,268 deaths in England and Wales registered in the week ending 27 August 2021 (Week 34). This was 255 more deaths than the previous week and 12.1% above the five-year average."
"The number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 27 August 2021 was 11,666, which was 1,251 more than the five-year average; of deaths registered in the UK in Week 34, 769 involved COVID-19, that is, 115 more than in Week 33."
We are either under-reporting COVID, or we are still losing considerably more people to other causes than we would in an average year - and when August is usually one of the safest and least bumpy months, it stands out like a sore thumb.
Is it people who delayed going to the doctor? Is it delayed treatment? Is it the sheer fact we're mixing again and swapping all the viruses, not just COVID?
And if you have missed a check up, smear, eye test, dentist because of COVID, get it booked in. 

Some media are reporting that an October 'firebreak lockdown' could be in planning for England. Apparently its all made up - although there are obviously going to be some thoughts towards what might happen. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who appears to be the only current Government spokesman willing to go on the telly, has said he's never seen any such plans.
As I've said many times, only a fool says definitely not. 

070921 ONS chart showing deaths all causes inc coronavirus

Disaster Down Under:
Australia really have not been able to do anything but slow down their Delta outbreak in Sydney, and according to modelling from Melbourne’s Burnet Institute, by the end of next week the New South Wales area could reach a peak of 2,000 new cases a day, and hospitals could be over capacity within 2 months.
Plans are being drawn up to reassign operating theatres into ICUs, and pull back nursing staff from vaccination hubs.
They must be devastated, I'm honestly gutted for them.
New South Wales alone reported 1,281 new cases yesterday, and the loss of 6 people - including an aboriginal woman who lived in a remote village with less than 200 occupants. At least 21 of the villagers have tested positive.
Australia reported 1,487 new cases today.

Australia aren't the only previously generally unscathed nation to be teetering on the brink of a Delta Variant breakout. Vietnam have already seen an explosion in cases (+14,208 today), as have several Asian and African nations. New Zealand is desperately trying to stop their outbreak before it escalates (+21 cases today). Taiwan is in a similar position, with an outbreak at a pre-school in New Taipei City that just won't be quashed (+12 cases today).
Others include Palestine (+2,762 cases today), Mongolia (+3,963), Cambodia (+511), Timor-Leste (+190), Laos (+307) and Brunei (+103 today, out of 3,567 in the entire pandemic).
On top there are several countries which previously peaked fairly low, and may have even brought cases almost to a stop, but are now seeing a very steep climb that's higher than at any point before. These include Norway (+599), South Korea (+1,596), Uzbekistan (+597) and Finland (+544).

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid is at the G20 in Rome, and on Sunday brought up the subject of trial participants and vaccination status. Some countries won't recognise trial participants as fully vaccinated, but we can't penalise people for coming forward and offering to test vaccines.
Sajid is asking that the rights' of individuals who take part in trials are protected. 

Lab leak theorists, on your marks, get set....
900 pages of documents obtained via a Freedom Of Information Act request by The Intercept must make terrific reading, because it details U.S. funded research on several types of coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Excitingly it includes details of the $3.1m (three point one million dollar) grant for "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence,” which involved screening thousands of bat samples and people who work with live animals for novel coronaviruses.
"The documents contain several critical details about the research in Wuhan, including the fact that key experimental work with humanized mice was conducted at a biosafety level 3 lab at Wuhan University Center for Animal Experiment — and not at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as was previously assumed."
There are also documents relating to work at the Institute of Virology (costing $599,000) to "identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans".
Lab leak theorists... gooooo...
To be fair we did already know that scientists from the USA were in collaboration with Wuhan scientists - it's incredibly common for scientists to go to each other's labs to learn new stuff and play with cool toys. It's also incredibly common to hire the best lab for the job, wherever it is, within budget. And we did already know that scientists in Wuhan were studying bat coronaviruses...
It's mainly the fact that the USA were paying for it, and Anthony Fauci / the Trump administration will have known all about it but didn't come exactly clean, that seems to be bothering people... Me, I just want to know what exactly they were altering about bat coronaviruses? 

070921 ONS excess deaths report 2 charts - England and wales

In another of those "wow, really?" events that seem to occur these days, the Brazil - Argentina World Cup Qualifying match was suspended because local health officials walked onto the pitch 7 minutes after it began.
They had issue with 4 of the Argentinian players for breaching COVID protocols - specifically it seems the quarantine rules, and it was the 4 UK based players who broke them. Naughty. That crime definitely did not pay...
ALWAYS check the quarantine rules before you book, and before you travel. And remember they can change at any minute. 

Apparently Botox has boomed during lockdown. You guys have been looking in the mirror too much. Just smile - remember all the Botox in the world won't make a scowl pretty. To be fair I've woken up today with 3 parallel deep wrinkles on one cheek. It's like the collagen fell out overnight. Is this how it happens? Anyway...
Backstreet Botoxists and Botox parties are becoming a little too common, and doctors are unsurprisingly warning against it... 

"The impact of the pandemic has taken a large toll on children and young people’s mental health.
This #YouthMentalHealthDay, help them to #StrideForward with their mental health."
UK Department of Health
You can find help and advice online at NHS dot UK slash every-mind-matters - whether you are the one struggling, or your mate. Or one of your kids.
EVERY mind matters.
Including yours.

Some people. All know what it's like to feel very small:

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 33,095,436 (+38,116) 441,433 (+358)

UK 7,056,106 (+37,489) 133,483 (+209)

Iran 5,184,124 (+27,138) 111,892 (+635)

Malaysia 1,880,734 (+18,547) 18,802 (+311)

Philippines 2,121,308 (+18,012) 34,498 (+161)

Russia 7,047,880 (+17,425) 188,785 (+795)

Vietnam 550,996 (+14,208) 13,701 (+316)

Thailand 1,308,343 (+13,821) 13,283 (+241)

Japan 1,580,517 (+8,234) 16,387 (+33)

Cuba 704,675 (+7,771)5,881 (+93)

Indonesia 4,140,634 (+7,201) 137,156 (+683)

Iraq 1,928,930 (+5,988) 21,220 (+58)

USA 40,871,538 (+5,744) 666,627 (+68)

Spain 4,892,640 (+5,246) 85,066 (+138)

Mexico 3,433,511 (+5,127) 263,470 (+330)

Serbia 788,895 (+5,069) 7,421 (+23) 


















Where to find help: https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/coronavirus/


















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