Tuesday, 26 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 25th / 26th October 2021

"Because of technical issues at Public Health Wales yesterday, the cases and deaths reported today cover a 72-hour period. However, due to further technical issues, not all cases in the 72-hour period have been flagged as new. The true number of new cases since the previous update is likely to be just over 8,000. The cumulative total is unaffected by this reporting issue."
Also - UK vaccination totals are wrong, so I've left those for today. Counting can be so tricky...

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,853,227 (+40,954)
In Hospital on Monday 25th: 8,693 (UP from 7,749 a week earlier, 7,003 two weeks earlier - it's growing by more each week).
Using A Ventilator on Monday 25th: 913 (UP from 823 a week earlier, 747 two weeks earlier - again growing at an increasing rate).
Losses of Life: 139,834 (+263)
Tests: 820,481

Rep. Of Ireland: 431,722 cases and 5,369 losses of life.

World: 245,086,616 reported cases and 4,974,870 losses of life.

Depression can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness

"For every 100 people in high-income countries, 133 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, while in low-income countries, only 4 doses per 100 people have been administered."
World Health Organisation. 

Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary who may or may not reside in an alternate dimension, believes Christmas is going to be fine. He was on the telly and radio  yesterday reassuring the UK public.
He's also implied he is pretty keen on the idea of mandatory vaccinations for Health and social care staff. This is incredibly common elsewhere, it's something many countries are making law.
Approximately 100,000 NHS staff and 100,000 care workers aren't yet vaccinated in the UK. 

Monday, 25 October 2021

Ad / UK Giveaway! Science Mad! Chemistry Lab and Planetarium Review - And Crystal Growing Lab Giveaway

We've always been a family that enjoys science, and once the kids get a bit older, Science Mad! caters for the more mature junior scientist, taking things up a notch and using equipment like real glass, fire and chemicals, and language that they'll hear in secondary school.

We've been sent the Chemistry Lab and Planetarium Star Globe for review, and I have a UK giveaway for one of my personal favourites - the Crystal Growing Lab. 

science mad planetarium star globe and chemistry set with real spirit burner displayed on a table

The Science Mad! Chemistry Lab is not a new addition to our house, we actually bought this exact set ourselves a couple of years ago. It's great to see the manufacturer has swapped out the plastic insert for cardboard - nice one.

Science Mad Chemistry lab review pack shot

The set is suitable for age 10+ and it contains a real spirit burner, which runs on methylated spirit. It's illegal to include it in the set, so you will have to get it separately - but you can buy methylated spirits cheaply all over the place (supermarkets, homeware or decorating shops, including Wilkos). It has a million uses, although we tend to use more pleasant-smelling products to clean things nowadays. All you'll need beyond this are commonplace items like vinegar, salt and turmeric. 

Sunday, 24 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 23rd / 24th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 23rd / 24th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,773,674 (+39,962)
Losses of Life: 139,533 (+72)
Tests: 1,011,431
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,684,322 (86.4% of UK aged 16+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,542,207 (79.2%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 428,152 cases and 5,369 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 244,355,896 reported cases and 4,962,875 losses of life.

you can how use a lateral flow test for some travel

"The pandemic is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on health workers, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect us are themselves unprotected.
A new WHO working paper estimates that 115,000 health workers may have died from COVID-19 between January 2020 and May this year. That's why it's essential that health workers are prioritised for vaccination.
Data from 110 countries suggests that on average 2 in 5 health and care workers globally are fully vaccinated.
But of course the average makes huge differences across regions and economic groupings. In Africa less than 1 in 10 health workers have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile in most high income countries, more than 80% of health workers are fully vaccinated.
More than 10 months since the first vaccines were approved, the fact that millions of health workers still haven't been vaccinated is an indictment on the countries and companies that control the global supply of vaccines."
Very strong words from Dr Tedros,  Head of WHO.

Time and again promised vaccines have been diverted to wealthier countries, the West won't allow African countries to produce their own patent-free at-cost versions of vaccines, and vaccine equity has gone out of the window in the scramble to keep countries open.
I do feel incredibly fortunate to be fully vaccinated (especially as my 11 year old just tested positive), but it has a bitter taste when I know that vaccine is more likely to save a life if it goes to someone else. 

Friday, 22 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20th - 22nd October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20th - 22nd October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,689,949 (+49,298)
In Hospital on Thursday 21st: 8,238 (UP from 7,086 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 21st: 892 (UP from 783 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 139,326 (+180)
Tests: 1,011,431
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,603,139 (86.3% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,486,950 (79.1%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 425,725 (+2,465) cases and 5,369 losses of life.

World: 243,550,193 reported cases and 4,949,721 losses of life.

Get your booster get your flu jab get protected UK GOv

"India scripts history.
We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians.
Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat."
Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister.
1 crore = 10 million, so India have just vaccinated their 1 billionth person.
They have supplied around 10% of all Vaccinations delivered so far in the world. Thanks India.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

COVID UK Briefing with Sajid 20th October 2021

COVID UK Briefing with Sajid 20th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,589,737 (+49,139)
In Hospital Tuesday 19th: 7,891 (up from 7,749 the day before)
Using A Ventilator Tuesday 19th: 850 (up from 823 the day before)

Losses of Life says 139,031 (+179), but it also says "Because of a delay to the update of figures for deaths within 28 days in England, today's update will be delayed. Data will be released no earlier than 6:00pm"
I'm not sure where the +179 comes from, but I think it's the total. Scotland report 26 losses of life today, Wales 13 and Northern Ireland 6.

201021 UK Government briefing slides cases

No surprises the figures in the UK are almost entirely NOT going the correct way. Leaping in maskless and cuddling while all shouting "wheeeeee" has left most of the world staring with their mouths open. It is beginning to crack at the edges. In simple terms, more people are dying than they predicted.

I've tried to keep it in frame that the NHS is under a lot of pressure, and I'm not the only one. Last night it was ambulance drivers warning us that 6 hour delays may become commonplace - mainly because they are spending hours waiting outside A&E to offload patients. The West Midlands is currently (and for a while now) the worst affected - with waits of up to 8 hours 'not uncommon' according to the Metro.
By this morning Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, was in the papers warning that we really are at genuine risk of overwhelming services this Winter if the Government don't bring out Plan B (masks in busy places/ less indoor mixing/ work from home if you can/ vaccine passports for nightclubs etc).
Downing Street responded by saying Boris has “absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B".
Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK Business Secretary, backed that up on the telly this morning, by ensuring viewers the UK is not considering another lockdown. 

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 18th / 19th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 18th / 19th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,541,192 (+43,738)
In Hospital Yesterday 18th October: 7,749 (UP from 7,003 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 823 (UP from 747 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 138,852 (+223)
Tests: 911,550
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,462,425 (86% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,400,990 (78.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 419,087 (+2,397) cases and 5,306 losses of life

World: 242,144,283 reported cases and 4,924,839 losses of life

191021 covid daily dashboard

The UK is up an average of 100 extra people a day being admitted to hospital since last week. That's not the best news. We also have an increase in ventilated patients of around 10 a day. The loss of life reported today is also the biggest since March. Our NHS is under pressure again. It isn't time to panic, but we do need to keep a close eye on this, and we are probably very fortunate the October half term school holidays might break this up and slow it back down a little. At least let us get those most vulnerable people boosted... 

Sunday, 17 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 16 / 17th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 16 / 17th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,449,165 (+45,140 - the highest figure since June)
Losses of Life: 138,584 (+57)
Tests: 980,883
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,398,211 (85.9% UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 45,358,472 (78.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 413,734 cases and 5,306 losses of life.

World: 241,410,075 reported cases and 4,913,151 losses of life.

COVID Variant distribution UK 15th October 2021 - nothing of any note

I was pretty scathing about Matt Hancock's appointment as UN Special Envoy To Help Africa's COVID Recovery, and I wasn't the only one. The UN have withdrawn the offer, and it appears it may be due to political and public backlash.
I expect Matt is pretty devastated, but honestly, it wasn't the job for you - maybe you can retrain in cyber like that ballet dancer in the advert.

Friday, 15 October 2021

86 Months....# TBCSmiles

Hello! It is definitely time for some smiles. October is always our quietest month, and it's easy to see why. The night time is creeping into our day, the cold is forcing us into jumpers and coats. Everyone is back into the post-holiday routine of work and the Autumn school term, but not yet getting excited about Christmas. It's all a bit meh... 

Guinea Pig Close up Face looking at camera with his eye

It can make us all a bit gloomy, and when you feel gloomy, it's easy to forget it won't be for long. That's when the collection of smiles really helps. It reminds you of the sunshine, the sparkle, the fun times. It reminds you of the things you like to do, the things you said you'd do again. The things you can do right now. It reminds you of the plans you can make, the places you can go. Best of all, it reminds us that a smile has power. It has so much power that it can last far longer than that moment, and spread far further than the same room. And it shows us we can always do this. 

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th / 14th / 15th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th / 14th / 15th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,361,651 (+44,932)
In Hospital Yesterday 14th Oct: 7,086
Using A Ventilator Yesterday 14th Oct: 783
Losses of Life: 138,379 (+145)
Up until Friday 1st October, 161,798 people had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.
Tests: 980,883
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,335,154 (85.8% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 45,297,231(78.8%)
(Those really are excellent vaccination percentages)

Cases by nation, last 7 days:
Area: Cases / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales; 17,051 / 538
Scotland: 17,282 / 316.2
Northern Ireland: 8,840 / 466.4
England: 217,023 / 383.8

Rep. Of Ireland: 411,554 (+1,907) cases and 5,306 losses of life.

World: 240,610,424 reported cases and 4,900,697 losses of life.

151021 3m people have had a booster jab

"Millions of people will be invited to get their flu vaccine from this week as part of the biggest annual flu drive in NHS history.
It's more vital than ever that all children and eligible adults take up the offer of the free vaccine ahead of winter."
It is. Flu can seriously harm you, COVID can seriously harm you, both can occasionally kill. Catching COVID AND Flu together doubles the chance you will not go home.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 11th / 12th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,231,437 (+38,520)
In Hospital yesterday 11th: 7,003
Using A Ventilator yesterday: 747
Losses of Life: 137,944 (+181)
Tests: 936,288
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,216,092 (85.6% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 45,212,813 (78.6%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 405,970 (+1,456) cases and 5,280 losses of life.

World: 239,261,170 reported cases and 4,876,704 losses of life.

Cross parliamentary report into COVID response photo of 2 MP's and text

6,000 people a week in the UK are being referred to Long COVID clinics, and papers are reporting that even Sajid Javid has finally noticed it might be a bit of a "huge" issue.
The ONS figures released last week show 1.1m people in the UK self-report symptoms lasting over 3 months, (including over 125,000 NHS staff). 405,000 people say symptoms have lasted over a year, and 211,000 people say it significantly reduces their ability to carry out daily activities. 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 9th and 10th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 9th and 10th October 2021

There are no new cases or losses of life for Wales today, because they accidentally added the whole weekend's new cases and losses of life to Friday's numbers, but too late for it to be reported - which really makes a farce of the whole thing.

UK Random Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,154,306 (+34,574)
In Hospital on Thursday 7th: 6,763
Using A Ventilator on Thursday 7th: 808
Losses of Life: 137,735 (+38)
Tests: 962,225
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,158,835 (85.5% of UK Population aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,168,344 (78.5%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 401,773 cases and 5,280 losses of life

World: 238,538,845 reported cases and 4,865,522 losses of life

Depression can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness  WHO. Image of a heart shape held in someone's hands

"There has been no update to data from Wales today.
Cases and deaths within 28 days of positive test that would normally have been reported today were included in the update on Friday 8 October 2021, which was delayed because of network issues at Public Health Wales."
Wait, wait, what? You really typed that on the Government website? So, the 'daily stats' are at least 3 days out of date. Great, I can't wait to find out how many new cases we had last Friday.
To be fair we did always know the Government were a day or two ahead, but I wish they'd stop treating us like babies. Just give us the real figures each day. Go on.... if you can do it by accident, you can manage it by trying...
The Welsh 'interactive dashboard' hasn't been updated since 4th October. 

Friday, 8 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th - 8th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th - 8th October 2021

There's no data for Wales today, so numbers are lower than they should be. Different data was missing last week, so I can't do a comparison.

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 8,081,300 (+36,060)
In Hospital yesterday 7th October: 6,765
Using A Ventilator yesterday 7th October: 808
Losses of Life: 137,541 (+127)
Tests: 962,225 (a fairly low level of tests, but higher number of new cases means we are catching less of the cases that are really out there)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 49,101,734 (85.4% of population aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,107,185 (78.4%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 399,833 (2,002) cases and 5,280 losses of life

World: 237,771,320 reported cases and 4,852,690 losses of life.

Dr Mike Gent tells us to be sensible and wash hands

“As some of you may know, I started my career as a malaria researcher, and I longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease. Today is that day, an historic day.”
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO.
Not COVID-related, but the World Health Organisation has recommended the world's first ever malaria vaccine for a broad rollout in Africa.
Malaria kills around 400,000 people each year, and half are children under 5. Hospitalisation doesn't bode well for survival, but vaccination reduces admissions by 1/3. This is huge news, and as climate change will affect temperatures, humidity and malaria-carrying mosquitos, it could be of even greater use in the future. 

Ad | Review: Akedo - Ultimate Arcade Warriors from Moose Toys (age 6+)

Akedo - Ultimate Arcade Warriors are the brand new battling collectible from Moose Toys, and tie in with the animated series on Nickelodeon. We've been sent 3 of the new product range to review, and it's been a lot of fun all round! These little retro Arcade Warrior action figures have a built-in 'realistic battling action', at a micro collectible scale, and they're really easy to play with too, thanks to the clever, battery-free control system.

Ad | Review: Akedo - Ultimate Arcade Warriors 3 packs shown unpoened

The packaging does have a lot of single-use plastic, but it's at least very easy to open (you'll find it easier with scissors for some of the ties) and there are no batteries required - so you can play straightaway. 

We've been sent:
Single Pack (£4.99) - 1x Akedo Warrior, 1x Trigger Controller
Versus Pack (£9.99) - 2x Akedo Warriors (one of which is an"Epic" Warrior), 2x Trigger Controllers
Starter Pack (£14.99) This special pack has everything you need to train warriors and play the official tournament rules of Akedo - 3x Akedo Warriors, 1x Joystick Controller, 1x Training Accessory
There are rules/instructions for play and a collectors guide inside each pack, so you can drool over your favourites, and work out which sets you'll find them in.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,967,985 (+33,869)
In Hospital yesterday 4th Oct: 6,747 (DOWN from 7,000 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator yesterday 4th Oct: 769 (DOWN from 831 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 137,152 (+166)
Tests: 940,981
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,994,530 (+37,671)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 45,021,381 (+29,337)
Up until Friday 24th September, 160,824 people have had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland: 394,519 cases and 5,249 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 236,364,710 reported cases and 4,826,202 losses of life.

Beware of COVID Pass fraud

"The health advice has been that to date, we've managed to largely control the outbreak, but as you can see, with this outbreak - and with Delta - the return to zero is incredibly difficult. And our restrictions alone are not enough to achieve it quickly.
In fact, for this outbreak, it's clear that long periods of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases. But that is okay.
Elimination was important because we didn't have vaccines.
Now we do, so we can begin to change the way we do things.
We have more options, and there's good cause for us to feel optimistic about the future, but we cannot rush.
That's why we need to continue to contain and control the virus as much as possible while we make our transition from a place where we only use heavy restrictions, to a place where we use vaccines and everyday public health measures.
We need to keep using the tools we have.
We need to vaccinate. We need to test. We need to find cases.
We need to isolate them and actively control any outbreak now and in the future."
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister. 

Sunday, 3 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 2nd / 3rd October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 2nd / 3rd October 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,900,680 (+30,439)
Losses of Life: 136,953 (+43)
Tests: 1,040,967
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,928,952
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,969,396

Rep. Of Ireland: 392,575 cases and 5,249 losses of life.

World: 235,607,128 reported cases and 4,814,231 losses of life.

011021 weekly vaccination by age UK

Daily first vaccine doses in the UK are around the 27,000 mark, which really is quite low, and the UK Government are keen to get more people to come forward. School vaccinations begin in earnest next week, which should make a big difference to those numbers - and hopefully give us the percentage protection we need to start reducing cases among the general population.

Friday, 1 October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 1st October 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 1st October 2021

(Some UK data is delayed today)
UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 7,842,613 (+35,577)
Losses of Life: 136,789 (+127)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 48,863,490
Vaccinations Fully Vaxxed: 44,901,832

Rep. Of Ireland: 390,989 (+1,057) cases and 5,249 losses of life.

World: 234,772,640 reported cases and 4,801,177 losses of life.

WHO vaccinequity pill bottles on 2 shelves poor and rich

"The world missed the target set by WHO of vaccinating 10% of all people in all countries by the end of September.
Vaccinating the Earth equitably is a moral, epidemiological, and economic necessity. #VaccinEquity"
The World Health Organisation.

German pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. have released interim data (the trial wasn't due to finish yet) from their antiviral pill study for Molnupiravir - and it's fabulous. It reduced hospitalisations and deaths by half in people who had mild to moderate illness (recently infected people, within 5 days of symptoms starting, when it could still go either way). This hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, but the world is all over it like a rash. If there are any flaws we'll soon know, but it's looking great so far.
Because the safety data is all there, and the efficacy findings are so positive, it starts to become unethical to give patients the placebo, and the trial doesn't need any more proof that it works.
"7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53/377). Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo. At the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee and in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recruitment into the study is being stopped early due to these positive results. Merck plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. FDA as soon as possible based on these findings and plans to submit marketing applications to other regulatory bodies worldwide."
At Day 29 the reduction in risk of death was looking far better than 50%, but some patients are still in hospital, so we can't yet say what the final outcome will be. (Hopefully positive all round - fingers crossed for them all.)
If Molnupiravir is approved, it will be the first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Nice. 

(Ad) Misty Ricardo's Curry Compendium Cookbook Review

I was recently sent a copy of Misty Ricardo's Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce for review. This is a mighty cookbook, which is full of recipes, hints and tips, but possibly more importantly, explanations and alternatives. It doesn't just give you the 'how to', it covers the 'why', and 'what difference will it make?'

Very differently to any cookbook I've ever used before, many of the recipes also feature a QR code, which will take your smartphone straight to the accompanying YouTube video, so that you can cook along with Richard himself...

Misty Ricardos Curry Kitchen Cook Book Review by Richard Sayce

Richard Sayce is the man behind Misty Ricardo's Curry Kitchen, and this is a compendium cookbook full of British Indian restaurant recipes which featured in his previous books. I may not get out to a restaurant very often, but take away Indian is a massive treat in our house, and I cook a curry from scratch around once a week, so this has to be a winner for us.