Tuesday 2 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st / 2nd November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st / 2nd November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,130,857 (+33,865)
In Hospital on Monday 1st Nov: 9,538 (UP from 8,693 a week earlier, 7,749 two weeks earlier)
Using A Ventilator on Monday 1st Nov: 1,030 (UP from 913 a week earlier, 823 two weeks earlier)
Losses of Life: 140,964 (+293)
Tests: 905,663
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,025,020 (87% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 45,731,565 (79.5%)
Booster Vaccinations: 8,356,172 (14.5%)
(Great vaccination numbers, low level of testing, better case numbers, but losses of life is really not good at all, and we are still admitting over 1,000 people a day to hospital, and patient numbers are rising.)

Rep. Of Ireland: 452,172 (+3,723) cases and 5,436 losses of life.

World: 248,117,814 reported cases and 5,025,075 losses of life.

COVID Booster eligibility UK as of 021121

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and Suffolk local authorities are receiving additional support because of very high levels of COVID  - what used to be known as 'surge' testing and vaccinations.

Boris Johnson has ensured us Christmas isn't anything to worry about:
“I see no evidence whatsoever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards.”
Bet that's put your mind at ease.

Sajid Javid has today informed MPs on the Commons Health Committee that the target of 6,000 more GPs in England by 2024 is “not on track”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi is looking into extending the school day in order for pupils to 'catch up' the months they missed due to COVID.
It's a bit of a mixed one this. Anyone who has ever worked in a school will tell you that the kids completely zone out once they're tired, making them more tired won't help. But in his defence... he does expressly mention the fact some schools close before 3pm and/or do less than the average 6.5 hours a day.
This move would be intended to help disadvantaged pupils the most, but straightaway there's a big flaw. Disadvantaged pupils are more likely to go to paid work after/before school, and they are far FAR more likely to have caring commitments at home. It all has to be considered if we want to actually be helpful, and not lose these kids from education forever.
If your child does have caring commitments let your school know, because sometimes young people need longer deadlines, or to be home promptly, and they shouldn't be disadvantaged for that.

uk COP26 affordable clean energy everywhere image of wind turbines

COP26 announcements:
- 121 countries have signed up to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.
Really fabulously this includes Brazil, and the signatories represent over 85% of the world's forests. Funding will help poorer countries worst affected, including protecting the Congo Basin rainforest.
- Over 100 countries have signed up to the Global Methane Pledge - as proposed jointly by the US and the EU. It's goal is to eliminate over 0.2C of imminent warming by cutting global methane by at least 30% by 2030. It doesn't sound a lot, but even that extra 0.2C will cause extreme global weather events, and every little adds up. Grazing animals create 40% of methane annually, we can also repair cracked pipework, and make power production cleaner and less wasteful.
- Over 40 world leaders have joined 'Glasgow Breakthroughs' to boost development of clean tech before 2030. Scaling up deployment of sustainable steel, clean power, electric vehicles, hydrogen power and agriculture.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos apparently had a revelation when he went into space last month (it's very common, a lot of astronauts mention it). At COP26 he has pledged $2b (£1.5b) to restore landscapes and transform food systems, and he says overall the Bezos Earth Fund will give $10b towards fighting climate change. 

The minutes from several of this year's JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) meetings were published over the weekend. indieSAGE were amongst those asking for them to be released, as they legally should be. The fact that they were held back for months doesn't really instil confidence, and..... nor should it really. We could all see that they were maintaining their 'herd immunity' plans with schoolchildren, but you still hoped it was more by accident than design.
It seems it was a conscious decision, although even in July they still weren't convinced that COVID spread readily through schools, and assumed only a few children would lose their lives. Over 100 children in the UK have now died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID. 

The US FDA have given the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine emergency use authorisation for children aged 5-11. 

011121 FDA authorises Pfizer for kids aged 5-12

Still with the US FDA, as they are reviewing whether the Moderna Vaccine causes myocarditis (enlarged heart) in adolescents. It is already listed as a rare side effect with the other mRNA vaccine from Pfizer, so this isn't entirely unexpected, and I think we've just been waiting until we had enough numbers to count.

The UK NHS vaccine data has measured myocarditis and pericarditis incidence (pericarditis refers to the lining surrounding the heart - the US figures just lump them together as myocarditis) up until 28th July 2021.
At that point we had administered:
20.46 million first doses and 13.8 second doses of Pfizer/BioNTech
24.8 million first doses and 23.6 million second doses of AZ
1.3 million first doses of Moderna
They haven't separated first and 2nd doses, so overall rates per million doses are:
Pfizer = 4.3 myocarditis cases and 3.8 pericarditis cases (8.1) per million doses
AstraZeneca - 1.7 myocarditis cases and 3.0 pericarditis cases (4.7) per million doses
Moderna - 14.7 myocarditis cases and 13.0 pericarditis cases (27.7) per million doses
Bearing in mind when you are using such low figures per million it isn't going to necessarily be accurate, because every single person makes a big difference - especially in the case of Moderna, where only 37 people had been affected in total. 

The figures are tiny compared to the damage actually catching COVID can do. Also according to the UK NHS, approximately 18% of hospitalised COVID patients suffer myocardial (heart muscle) injury while they are very poorly.
'A recent preprint has provided some evidence of the risk of myocarditis following COVID-19 infection in individuals aged 12 to 19. After analysing mainly US electronic health records and adjusting for missed cases of COVID-19 and myocarditis, cases of myocarditis were estimated to be:
601 per million COVID-19 cases for males aged 12 to 15
561 per m cases for males aged 16 to 19
(450 per m cases for males aged 12 to 17)
235 per million COVID-19 cases for females aged 12 to 15
708 per m cases for females aged 16 to 19
(213 per m cases for females aged 12 to 17)'

Remember the Novovax Vaccine that the UK made all the big announcements about, and then very quietly walked away from without any announcement? Good news for Novovax, they have submitted their final rolling data to the Canadian health authorities and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) - and thanked them for their continued support.
Now that has to be assessed, and if successful, they will be offered the chance to apply for authorisation.
Novovax is a more traditional vaccine which uses a "protein subunit" - in other words, it shows a chunk of protein that looks like part of COVID, and you body recognises what it assumes is a threat, and creates perfectly shaped antibodies to fight it. It's a technology that's been used for decades. 

021121 over 8 million total boosters given in the UK

The Economist has been keeping count of what is probably the most accurate measure of how many people have lost their lives because COVID exists. They have added up the excess deaths around the world - and it is a fascinating, and heartbreaking article (free to read if you log in).
We are all well aware that poorer countries or countries in denial have less testing. We also know that any overwhelmed country can't possibly keep up with testing. Counting people who die after a positive test isn't entirely accurate, not even in rich countries with excellent testing. It also doesn't account for all the people who die from other causes because they couldn't get the healthcare they needed - and this can be very big as soon as a healthcare system has to turn people away.
Looking at the number of people who have died, compared to the average over the past few years, shows much more clearly how many extra people have died because COVID exists.
Officially we have lost 5 million people to COVID. Excess deaths since January 1st 2020 show some big discrepancies, and they are much bigger in 2021 than in 2020. Asia particularly has lost substantially more people than reported lost to COVID (an estimated 11m difference), and a large part of that is when Delta Variant took over and overwhelmed India. It's enough to make you weep, it really is.
The Economist suggests COVID has actually caused somewhere between 10.3m and 19.4m people to die before their time. Their best estimate is that the true figure is around 16.7m people.

Sad news today from one of the very few countries who had up until now escaped COVID. Tonga has reported their first case.
They have enjoyed the last 2 years, and don't want it to end, so for now they are attempting to remain zero-COVID. The main island Tongapatu began a 7 day lockdown yesterday.
The case is a traveller from New Zealand, and the Prime Minister Pohiva Tuʻiʻonetoa is very knowledgeable. The case was announced on Friday and lockdown began on Monday, as he explained it would have taken over 3 days for anyone infected to become infectious themselves (and 3 days notice gave everyone chance to prepare). Unlike with other lockdowns in the past, I don't see any reports of anyone trying to flee this one...
Tonga is surprisingly well vaccinated. 86% of eligible people have had their first jab, which is 51.08% of the population. 34.82% are fully vaccinated.
Palau has also fallen from that elite list, as they imported 8 cases, all now recovered.
The only remaining countries who have never officially reported a single case of COVID are: Kiribati, Nauru, North Korea,Turkmenistan and Tuvalu. 

021121 daily stats UK HSA

A Scottish headteacher is in trouble after claiming she had been pinged by the COVID app.and had to self-isolate - but in fact she was flying to Turkey on holiday instead. One of the kids spotted her queueing at the airport and shared photos and videos online "Is that you miss? It looks like you? Are you going on holiday too Miss?"
If it wasn't for those pesky kids... 

A trip to Disneyland isn't everyone's idea of heaven, and if you visited Shanghai Disneyland at the weekend it sounds like a bit of a nightmare. A guest who had travelled from Hangzhou, China, tested positive, and the park was locked down. No-one was allowed to leave until all staff and guests had been tested - around 33,863 people. They didn't finish until nearly midnight.
Well done on testing so many people so quickly, but crikey China, that really is a bit extreme. The good news is, they report everyone tested negative, and the regular Disneyland fireworks and parades continued as normal.
China have averaged less than 100 cases a day since April 2020, and they aren't about to give that up easily.

Boris did a press conference earlier from COP26. My partner refused to let me watch it, as it wasn't 'COVID-related'. I did not put up a fight... 

Some numbers. Every single one is 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):

Russia 8,593,200 (+39,008) 240,871 (+1,178)

UK 9,130,857 (+33,865) 140,964 (+292)

Turkey 8,091,462 (+29,796) 71,052 (+224)

Ukraine 2,955,693 (+19,455) 68,727 (+700)

Romania 1,666,097 (+11,073) 48,664 (+586)

Iran 5,944,599 (+10,104) 126,616 (+160)

Germany 4,627,823 (+8,550) 96,364 (+67)

Czechia 1,773,291 (+7,591) 30,807 (+9)

Thailand 1,927,763 (+7,574) 19,338 (+78)

Serbia 1,155,756 (+7,111) 10,078 (+60)

Greece 754,451 (+6,700) 16,050 (+60)

Vietnam 932,357 (+5,637) 22,205 (+74)

Georgia 726,941 (+5,553) 10,136 (+47)

Austria 840,902 (+5,398) 11,380 (+11)

Poland 3,034,668 (+4,514) 77,021 (+9) 




Excess world mortality:

"Tonga to enter lockdown after reporting first-ever case of COVID-19"

"FDA approves COVID-19 vaccines for children aged five to 11 years old"

Link and image link

"Thousands locked in Shanghai Disneyland after Covid case"

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