Friday 15 October 2021

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.

Earlier today Member of Parliament David Amess was stabbed multiple times while working with the public in his constituency. He died immediately.  It is 5 years since Member Of Parliament Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death while working in her constituency.
Whether or not you agree with a councillor, a politician, a party or any other elected person, they are there to represent all of the people, including you. If you do not feel they represent your needs, the way to change that is to vote.
My thoughts with his wife and children, and everyone who was witness to the events today. 

COVID cases are really beginning to rise in parts of the UK. According to the latest ONS infection survey. For the 7 days ending 9th October:
- England, rising cases, they estimate that 890,000 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 60 people.
- Wales, rising cases, they estimate that 66,200 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 45 people.
- Scotland, decreasing cases, they estimate that 66,600 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 80 people. (Nice one.)
- Northern Ireland, uncertain, they estimate that 15,100 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 120 people. "In Northern Ireland, the percentage decreased in the two weeks up to 9 October 2021, but the trend was uncertain in the week ending 9 October 2021". 

As cases rise in your local area, you may find you have some COVID measures put into place. My own authority is (from Monday) reinstating face coverings for secondary children (age 11+) when moving around school buildings. 

now even easier for 16 and 17 year olds to get their jabs

We are also hearing bad things about waiting times in hospitals - with around 1/4 patients waiting over 4 hours to be seen during September. This is expected to get worse. Lack of access to a GP is being partly blamed - but on top we have COVID patients, staff off ill or isolating, and a backlog of people who didn't seek or receive treatment they probably should have gone for earlier...

News today on the mystery of why so many people were testing positive on the rapid lateral flow tests, but then negative when they went for a PCR test. It is a failure at a lab in Wolverhampton, and it's a big one. Around 400,000 tests were affected, with an estimated 43,000 positive people incorrectly told they were negative.
Dr Will Welfare (fantastic name - nominative determinism at its finest!), Public Health Incident Director at the UKHSA:
"As a result of our investigation, we are working with NHS Test and Trace and the company to determine the laboratory technical issues which have led to inaccurate PCR results being issued to people. We have immediately suspended testing at this laboratory while we continue the investigation."
The people affected are mainly in the South West, and were given their results between 8th September and 12th October.
If that might be you, any contacts should be especially aware of symptoms, and anyone who could still be infectious (your test result was within the last 5 or so days) should get another PCR test.

The NHS COVID Pass app. crashed on Wednesday, which caused havoc at airports because people weren't able to prove their COVID status.
The problem with a centralised system is if you have a central point of failure, the entire thing collapses.
Here's a hint - if you ever have ticket entry or a barcode etc that someone has to scan on your phone, screenshot it before you get into the queue. You still have the "live" version if they ask, plus the screenshot will have a timestamp, and you won't be panicking searching for it, or hoping you have signal.

In other NHS COVID Pass news, the EU have said they will recognise it "soon".

This week the NHS will be inviting millions of people for a flu vaccination

Vitamin D is making headlines again. This is a vitamin we can get from sunlight, but people in gloomier climates, such as the UK (especially persistently drizzly Manchester or further North) are less likely to get enough - particularly if you have a darker complexion.
Vitamin D helps our body with lots of things, including having a strong immune system, so supplements will really be of benefit to some people.
You can't overdose on vitamin D from sunlight, but you can from supplements, so only take the recommended amount - no being clever with Dr Google. Enough, is enough. 

GPs in England are being given an extra £250m so that they can see more patients in person. Apparently the money is to take on extra staff. The British Medical Association aren't impressed. We really don't have heaps of medical staff just sitting around desperate for work...

India's COVAXIN vaccine was due to be considered by the World Health Organisation for approval during this week, and no news as yet. Millions of doses have been administered, so a lot of people are not happy - as approval by WHO will automatically mean it counts for travel in a lot of countries.
India are using a range of vaccines, and are due to administer their 1 billionth dose next week.

To remember just how big the difference between 1 million and 1 billion is, a million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 31 years.
(Yes, really.)

Baby safety when to call for an ambulance - breathing difficulties - breathing gaps - blue lips or mouth

In this week's edition of "Did that really happen?", Matt Hancock has been appointed as UN Special Envoy to help COVID recovery in Africa.
Presumably because he has done such a sterling job in the UK? Because he knows people who can almost supply PPE? Because he has skills at Test&Trace? Because his wife wants him sent abroad? Because Boris wants him sent abroad?
This is the man who twice has just been found guilty in court of taking much, MUCH UK money and giving it to people he knows, in return for empty promises. I'm struggling to see how he can be helpful. Prove me wrong Matthew.... please. And no awarding contracts to your mates - Africa can't afford that sort of "help". 

The United States is relaxing border restrictions from November 8th. Fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be allowed entry via land or air. 

India's Subject Expert Committee on COVID-19 has recommended Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine for 2-18 year-olds. It now goes to the Drugs Controller General of India to give emergency use approval.

Rumour is that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) data shows an mRNA booster (Pfizer / Moderna) is more effective after the Johnson&Johnson jab. Johnson&Johnson have applied for their own jab to be given as a booster after the single dose initial jab.
No official announcement as yet, but logically this would seem to be what you'd expect. The J&J jab is more similar to the AstraZeneca, and we know a Pfizer mRNA booster after that is more effective. Mix and match has almost always shown better results in a lab. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has launched a multimillion-dollar challenge against vaccine mandates. Texan Governor Greg Abbott has already done the same and banned all vaccine mandates.
Joe Biden's national administration has imposed vaccine requirements on all Federal employees, and will soon announce full guidance on vaccinations for employees in larger companies. 

Top up your immunity this Winter NHS immunisations

This is pretty grim, but the UK may still avoid a mass cull of up to 150,000 pigs - by issuing another 600 x 6 month visas to butchers.
COVID happened, Brexit was coming, people went home, they weren't going to jump through hoops to rush back to somewhere which appeared it didn't want them anyway. We are now not only desperately short of HGV drivers and poultry workers, one of the other things we don't have are butchers.
The meat industry moves so fast that all of the little piggies need to make way to let the next crop move in. Right now we don't have enough people to butcher them properly, and if that continues, then around 150,000 will have to be culled. They wouldn't enter the food chain, because mass slaughter doesn't assure good meat.
Anyone who has read my ramblings for more than 5 minutes knows I don't eat animals, but it is so, SO much worse to just kill and destroy them.
Will 600 butchers leap at the chance to come over to the UK until next April? Who knows, but hopefully whatever happens won't see the complete waste of enough meat to keep the entire population of Rotterdam, or Fort Worth, or Glasgow, in bacon, sausage and ham for a year.  

Some things are far worse than COVID. Genome sequencing (family tree) of the new case of Ebola in Guinea shows it is related to the 2018-2020 outbreak, and not the random cases which appeared in February this year - which included a patient infected after having special cuddle time with someone who had recovered over a year previously. Makes Track&Trace a bit tricky. 

RSV is something you will hear a lot about over the next few months. Paediatric units in New Zealand had a lot of cases over their Winter, because kids haven't been mixing and sharing bugs over the past year, and immune systems have got sloppy. There are worries it will spread more than usual in the UK too.
"Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common virus. Most cases are not serious, but it can be more severe in young babies.
Call 999 if your baby:
- is having difficulties breathing
- their tongue or lips are blue
- there are long pauses in their breathing"

We have some new Lateral Flow Test  research from University College, London, and it's probably a fairer assessment than we've had previously. In the past LFTs were always compared to the more sensitive and accurate PCR (send away) COVID Tests. If you forget that comparison, and just look at how well they do their job - researchers found they find around 80% of all infections. Possibly more importantly, they will give a positive for over 90% of people who are at their most infectious.  They are a very useful public health tool.

Today is Global Handwashing Day. It is THE best measure you can take to protect yourself and others from a huge range of pathogens - virus, bacteria, horrible tasting fingers and lots of other nasties. We all know how to do it now, but have you kept up the proper handwashing we learnt 20 months ago? Hmmm... have you? 

After failing to find out anything at all in their first visit to China to look into the origins of COVID, the World Health Organisation have taken it a step further and announced a 26 person team to really study it - and other diseases - in the hopes we don't suffer so badly when the next potential pandemic pathogen comes along.
The team are a really diverse bunch of the world's best in their scientific fields, and are called the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens - SAGO for short.
(SAGONP was too hard to pronounce.) 

If you haven't seen it yet, John Lewis' new advert is pure joy in every step, so I'll add it below, because we all benefit from more joy. Over the past 18 months, admit it, who hasn't wanted to storm around their house to (the American Horror Story favourite) Stevie Nicks belting out 'Just Like The Wild Winged Dove', smashing things and not caring one iota. Ahhhh... I felt better just watching it. It probably should be available on the NHS...

It IS the weekend! Huzzah! I hope you have organised or considered your treat - something for you, because in real life you can't always be the kid in the advert (and you'd be the one who had to tidy up anyway). Cases are rising, hospitalisations will inevitably follow, and depending on which way it goes, so might restrictions. We still need to protect our NHS provision, but those vaccinations really are keeping 90% of people out of hospital. We are losing a lot of people, but it isn't like before. Lets maintain some sensible caution and not let it get any worse.

Wash Your Hands, Play Outdoors When You Can, Save The NHS.

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):

UK 8,361,651 (+44,932) 138,379 (+145)

Russia 7,925,176 (+32,196) 221,313 (+998)

India 34,052,626 (+15,942) 452,008 (+161)

Romania 1,430,475 (+15,828) 41,130 (+363)

Ukraine 2,610,899 (+13,624) 60,137 (+202)

Iran 5,765,904 (+11,857) 123,695 (+197)

Thailand 1,762,190 (+10,486) 18,123 (+94)

Philippines 2,705,792 (+7,625)

Malaysia 2,377,033 (+7,420) 27,770 (+89)

Serbia 1,037,707 (+6,424) 8,996 (+50)

USA 45,645,288 (+6,276) 741,979 (+86)

Mexico 3,744,574 (+5,825) 283,574 (+381)

Germany 4,371,092 (+4,849) 95,365 (+31)

Vietnam 857,639 (+3,797) 21,043 (+93)

Netherlands 2,040,337 (+3,709) 18,237 (+6) 




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