Thursday 23 September 2021

COVID UK and World News Update 22nd / 23rd September 2021

COVID UK and World News Update 22nd / 23rd September 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,565,867 (+36,710)
In Hospital on Tuesday 21st: 7,588
Using A Ventilator on Tuesday 21st: 943
Losses of Life: 135,803 (+182)
Tests: 969,173
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,674,154 (89.6% of UK aged 16+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,600,070 (82.1%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 380,720 (+1,354) cases and 5,209 losses of life

World: 231,117,855 reported cases and 4,736,455 losses of life

Dont' accidentally spread COVID image of man wearing face mask

The UK Government have learnt a few lessons from the pandemic, and have been in consultation about how to improve things for British workers.
They have made a proposal to make the right to request flexible working a day one entitlement - meaning employees can go to their boss and reasonably ask for flexibility over when and where they work - obviously this isn't possible for everyone.
The Government will also introduce "a day one right to one-week’s unpaid leave for carers balancing a job with caring responsibilities"- if you are a carer and have a disaster which keeps you off work, or need to attend an important meeting, you really shouldn't be risking your job for it.

Nottingham University Hospitals are having to 'limit' or 'ration' Cancer treatments, as they simply don't have enough staff because of absences and vacancies.
The NHS is struggling with staffing, and has been since the pandemic began. Staff are demoralised, exhausted, burning out, and quite a few are leaving the profession.
Lucy Goss, an Oncologist in Nottingham, has written a pretty heartbreaking post about just how hard it is to tell people results aren't back still, or that they will be pausing a chemotherapy course.
She also said how much of a relief it is that this is out in public now, which obviously leads to questions about how other hospital departments are coping, and other hospitals... 

The UK have amended some of the  travel restrictions that will be in place from 4am Monday 4th October.
You will now qualify as fully vaccinated if you are vaccinated at least 14 days prior either:
A/ Under an approved vaccination programme in the UK (including overseas territories), US, Europe.
B/ With a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a listed public health body (includes Australia, Antigua, Barbados etc etc).
Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, now qualify as approved vaccines.
Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you will be able to:
- mix 2 different types of vaccine, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna
- have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, EU and Canada
"The rules for fully vaccinated people will also apply if you are either:
- under 18 and resident in the UK or one of the listed countries or territories with approved vaccination programmes
- taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK, Australia, Canada or the USA"
Tragically this still doesn't add India to the approved list, because the UK don't yet recognise their online COVID certificate app. (Gimme strength.)

ANYONE can catch COVID World Health Organisation

The US FDA have rubber stamped approval of 3rd dose Booster Vaccinations for people aged 65 or over, those at high risk of severe disease, and other people who are regularly exposed to COVID - usually through work.
This includes roles like frontline health and social care workers, teachers, people who live communally (prisons, shelters etc), and supermarket workers. 

 Bad news if you're in Birmingham, the Coronavirus rate is currently 2,000 x the UK average.
It's not quite so bad as it sounds - it was partly because of a massive 441 newly reported cases on Monday, and fingers crossed that won't be repeated.
The UK is a very patchy place right now, with huge variation from area to area, and there may be vaccination patterns emerging, just as we are seeing in the US states.
Birmingham currently has only 58% of people aged 16+ fully vaccinated. The UK average is 82%. 

"I don't use the herd immunity term anymore. When vaccination was started, we used a conventional formula to calculate herd immunity.
"But that was before the Delta variant was widespread. Delta has thrown out the herd immunity calculation and it is difficult to say when we can get herd immunity.
"So we don't look at herd immunity anymore. We look at the broadest coverage of vaccination as possible.
"That is why the immunisation programme for youths is important. Because it isn't enough for 80% of adults to receive vaccines while children are unvaccinated."
Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin sounding just like our own Chris Whitty there. We really are ALL in the same boat.

The UK have done a vaccine swap with South Korea. We are sending them over 1m doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine over the coming weeks, and they'll return it by the end of this year when their orders come in.
All of the vaccines have a shelf life, often 6 months. Delivery logistics can take a few weeks to more remote areas of the Earth, and each vaccine in an arm is doing a job, so anything sitting on a shelf is being wasted, and at risk of going out of date.
We literally don't need these doses yet, there won't be any disruption to our vaccination plan.

In photos of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, Boris is the only world leader present who is not wearing a face covering.
Face coverings are mandatory, they made that very clear, unless of course you are exempt on medical grounds. Boris, are you exempt now? You weren't exempt before. Is this since you had COVID?
I don't believe even Boris would be so arrogant or dismissive as to flout the rules, not at that meeting.

Famous People With COVID:
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga. He's currently at the UN General Assembly and will remain in New York until his quarantine ends.

At the UN General Assembly Joe Biden hosted a COVID summit meeting, where he announced a deal with Pfizer BioNTech to supply another 500m doses of vaccine, at not-for-profit cost, which America will then donate to COVAX, the World Health Organisation's vaccine sharing initiative. This doubles the USA's commitment before the end of next year.
Wow Joe, that's some number! He clearly understands we're not safe until we're all safe... and when you are host at a world platform such as the UN GA, you can really impress upon everyone your benevolence. Hopefully it'll spread.... 

Look out for your Winter vaccines invite

National Geographic have a fantastic article as a direct response to the Nicki Minaj's cousin's mate debacle from last week.
There is NO documented case of anyone having swollen testicles after vaccination...
But... there ARE many documented cases of people having swollen balls after COVID infection. In fact, researchers have found COVID hiding in the testicles 8 whole months after infection.
Swollen testicles aren't even the entire story. 11% of men hospitalised with COVID have some pain down there...
We know COVID can attack the cells that line blood vessels, and it can leave you short of oxygen. Obviously a gentleman's member is reliant on good healthy blood flow. Add on top stress, and the fact these people have been poorly, and you have a recipe for erectile disfunction.
So.... another tick for vaccination I think... 

The Indian Government will NOT at this point be buying any of the Moderna or Pfizer Vaccines.
Government ministers have refused to cover Pfizer's insurance against anyone claiming for side effects - they don't offer 'sovereign indemnity' to anyone. (They really aren't that rich, it's a luxury only a few countries can afford.)
In April, when Delta Variant cases exploded and people were dying by the thousand each day, India were desperate and asked everyone for help with vaccines. No Pfizer or Moderna doses were received. Now domestic AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturing has reached levels that they are able to put Indian people first, and still have surplus to export - through COVAX.

And still with Indian vaccines, Bharat Biotech say they have completed successful phase 2 and 3 trials of their vaccine on children under 18, and the results will be published next week.
Their nasal spray vaccine should complete phase 2 trials next month. They are trialling it as a 2-dose regular vaccine, and also trialling how effective it is with Covaxin as the other vaccine dose.

A German man returned to a petrol station 2 hours after his first visit and shot dead the 20 year old petrol station employee who had earlier asked him to wear a face mask (as is the law there).
Reuters report that "he said he had felt “pushed into a corner” and had held the victim “responsible for the situation as a whole because he had enforced the rules”".
German politicians are not the only people are beginning to have concerns about the 'radicalisation' of people who are against COVID restrictions.
The COVID-sceptics do seem to be getting angrier, and in some cases are so focused on their 'cause' that common sense seems to have gone out of the window. If you still believe COVID is a hoax at this point, you'll probably be open to believing anything. The big problem really comes when you are then willing to fight for it. 

Friends for dinner - open a window

The first UK-manufactured lateral flow devices (LFDs) are being rolled out to universities across England.
Finally! We first heard about Boris' dream of daily testing over a year ago, and ever since then we've been buying LFDs from China. We are using millions a week, and they are super simple technology to put together, so it's insane to fly the completed products half way round the world each time.
The tests have been validated by Public Health England and are made by Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics. 

Llamas are in the news again, and it's because of their 'nanobodies'. These are tiny antibody parts that llamas create in response to infection, and they can bind onto a specific virus really well.
Professor Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxfordshire, is leading the research, and he's really excited about it.
They injected a little dead virus into the llama and waited for an antibody response. Then they took a blood sample, removed the best nanobodies and grew them until they had lots. Then they squirted them into rodents using a nasal spray. The results were excellent as a therapeutic (treatment when you're infected) and as a preventative.
It's a little way yet before this one reaches human trials, so don't get too excited, but llamas may be in our future...

Some numbers. Each one represents a unique human being:

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 43,417,209 (+12,332) 699,878 (+130)

India 33,592,214 (+30,180) 446,373 (+293)

Brazil 21,283,567 not yet reported today 592,357

UK 7,565,867 (+36,710) 135,803 (+182)

Russia 7,354,995 (+21,438) 201,445 (+820)

France 6,971,493 not yet reported today 116,309

Turkey 6,932,453 not yet reported today 62,307

Iran 5,493,591 (+16,362) 118,508 (+317)

Argentina 5,245,265 not yet reported today 114,684

Colombia 4,945,203 not yet reported today 126,006

Spain 4,943,855 (+3,031) 86,185 (+100)

Italy 4,649,906 (+4,061) 130,551 (+63)

Indonesia 4,201,559 (+2,881) 141,114 (+160)

Germany 4,178,841 (+3,284) 93,798 (+28)

Mexico 3,597,168 (+11,603) 273,391 (+811) 




"President Biden holds summit on ending COVID-19 pandemic with several world leaders"

J&j from Tuesday - add link

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