Friday 19 November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 17th, 18th & 19th November 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 17th, 18th & 19th November 2021

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 9,766,153 (+44,242)
In Hospital yesterday 18th November: 8,079
Using A Ventilator 18th Nov: 923
Losses of Life: 143,716 (+157)
Tests: 993,405
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 50,707,953 (88.2% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 46,108,608 (80.25)
Booster /3rd Doses: 14,266,368 (24.8%)

Area: Cases last 7 days / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales: 16,530 / 521.5
Scotland: 21,372 / 391
Northern Ireland: 10,433 / 550.4
England: 222,096 / 392.7

Rep. Of Ireland: 515,691 cases and 5,609 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 256,667,497 reported cases and 5,151,787 losses of life.

191121 Latest transmission stats ONS UK

From today: "travellers who have had a booster or a third dose will be able to demonstrate their vaccine status through the NHS COVID Pass from today. This addition will enable those who have had their booster or third dose to travel to countries such as Israel, Croatia and Austria who have already introduced a time limit for the COVID-19 vaccine to be valid for quarantine-free travel".

Important news yesterday regarding vaccinating children who have had COVID. Always bear in mind it is TINY percentages who are affected - but every child matters.
COVID infection has been found to cause myocarditis in a significant minority of people, especially young people. Vaccination is associated with a very tiny number of cases of myocarditis, mainly in young people. There are some signs from abroad that vaccination when you've not fully recovered from COVID can increase the risk of myocarditis - and obviously that's potentially mainly in young people.
Therefore 12 to 17 year olds ONLY should wait 12 weeks after testing positive before you get your vaccination.
Myocarditis is heart inflammation and most people who get it would only notice if they try and push themselves physically. It usually heals all by itself, but can take a while because you can't rest your heart on a stool while you watch telly - it has to keep working while it gets better.
It's virtually unknown to catch COVID again within 3 months (some countries use it for a COVID Pass), so there is no loss to this, and if it prevents some young people having a hard few weeks or months, or losing their place on a team, struggling to maintain their social life or even actually saves their life, it's worth doing.

New reports from the Royal College For Emergency Medicine show a really shocking number of excess deaths were caused by crowding in Emergency Departments (or A&E, as we tend to call them in the UK) last year:
" least 4,519 patients have died as a result of crowding and 12 hour stays in Emergency Departments in England in 2020-2021."
" 2021, 709 patients of those who stayed in an Emergency Department for eight to 12 hours in Wales have died as a result of crowding and long stays."
They make a point I made a couple of weeks ago:
"Furthermore, the UK has one of the lowest number of beds per 1000 inhabitants of all the OECD countries. As of 2020, the UK had only 2.4 beds per 1000 inhabitants. This figure has consistently decreased each year, standing at 2.9 in 2010 and 4.1 in 2000. The lack of physical beds within the UK means that hospitals are less able to handle surges in demand and can become overwhelmed more easily, leading to patients staying in the ED for longer and consequently more crowded departments."
(OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - a group of 38 countries.)

covid boosters bookable from 5 months to be jabbed after 6 months

NHS England are still claiming you can book your third jab/ 6 month booster a month in advance online - although I know people are having mixed results when they try. You can't actually be jabbed until 6 months after your 2nd dose , but apparently a lot of people are becoming confused at the "book from 5 months" message. I can see why. It's hellish typing it up in a way that is clear and makes sense - I'm calling it the 6 month booster in future.

The National Audit Office has prepared a report into the UK Government's preparedness for a pandemic. We weren't. We kind of were, but we hadn't prepared for anything quite like COVID, which has had a huge unexpected effect on all areas of life, from transport to theatre to workplaces etc. We assumed Brexit would be more bothersome to the economy... In their defence, it is really very hard to prepare for exactly whatever emergency occurs, although the report does state they learnt a lot during previous simulation exercises, but didn't act on what they'd learnt... 

iNews have done the maths, and they believe over 103,000 home care workers (domicillary care) in England had not yet been double vaccinated by November 7th. It became mandatory on November 11th. This is on top of potentially around 50,000 care home workers who hadn't been double jabbed days before the mandate came in.
Agencies are warning that if the mandate is strictly enforced, there won't be anyone available to take over their caring duties. 

191121 total cases per nation

The COVID surge across the Northern hemisphere is continuing, with North America and Europe both showing an increase in cases of over 10% on last week, while in the rest of the world cases are falling.
In Western Europe no-one else is really cavalier enough to stay in the hot water with the UK, so restrictions are coming into force in several countries.

Yesterday Ireland imposed a midnight closing time on restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and people are encouraged to work from home except where absolutely necessary.
Proof of vaccination is already required for bars and nightclubs, and will also be needed for hospitality such as as cinemas and theatres.

Gibraltar is cancelling all official Christmas parties and celebrations, and advising people not to hold their own. They have a residential population of only around 33,600, and they've distributed more vaccinations per person than potentially any other nation (95,734 in total), but 668 people are known to currently have COVID (655 residents, 13 visitors). 95% actually have some symptoms, but a lot were found by random testing, so authorities are reminding people to get tested when you have mild symptoms, and not assume it's a cold. 

Bad news from Austria, where we are seeing exactly how exponential growth means cases can explode rapidly. Because COVID takes a while to incubate and pass on to others, locking down unvaccinated people last week hasn't had an effect on cases this week - because it's just too early.
It looks like they may have moved too slowly. They are now at around 1,000 new cases a week per 100,000 population. Hospitalisations are simply too high, and they've had little choice but to announce their 4th nationwide lockdown beginning Monday for at least 10 days. Less than 2/3 of Austrians (63%) are vaccinated.
Austrian capital Vienna has booked everyone eligible who hasn't yet been vaccinated an appointment, which they'll have to cancel if they don't want to keep it. Opt out, rather than opt in.
I'm assuming that Vienna-specific incentive I mentioned last week won't be included... (eggs, give them some eggs!).
In more surprising news, and a European first - COVID vaccinations will become mandatory in Austria on 1st February 2022. (I very much doubt they'll be the last country to make vaccinations mandatory.)

“7-Tage-Hospitalisierungsinzidenz” is the measure Germany will be using to decide on what restrictions are appropriate. This is the 7 day running average of how many people are hospitalised with COVID per 100,000 of the population, based on the date they tested positive (and yes, it really is as awkward as it sounds, because it's always going to be behind, and subject to more people being added).
Only those who have been vaccinated, test negative or have recovered from the virus can use public transport or go in to work from next week, and each state will impose other restrictions independently when necessary:
3-6: Hospitality/events only open to vaccinated and recovered people.
6-9: Hospitality/events only open to vaccinated and recovered people who also have a negative test.
9 or over: further measures may be added.
Brandenburg (which includes Berlin) and Bavaria have barred unvaccinated people from public indoor places and events. In addition Bavaria is cancelling all Christmas markets (oh my gosh) and closing bars and nightclubs.
Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (the German Ministry of Health facility which is responsible for disease), is quoted in The Independent:
“We’re looking at a horrible Christmas break if we don’t act now. We’ve never been as worried as we are right now. The outlook is bleak, extremely bleak. Anyone who can’t see how serious it is is making a big mistake.”

Greece is imposing restrictions. From Monday people who are unvaccinated by choice will be barred from indoor public spaces, including restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms, even if they test negative for COVID-19.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said:
“Greece is mourning unnecessary losses because it simply does not have the vaccination rates of other European countries.”
Last week there were reports of 2 main hospitals running out of ICU provision, and people being intubated in car parks and corridors.
62% of the Greek population are fully vaccinated. 

Slovakia and the Czech Republic have also imposed restrictions on unvaccinated people, and there are some public calls for an EU-wide ruling. I felt very mean the other day saying international travellers who are anti-vax will have to just 'suck it up', but I don't think I was wrong... 

191121 daily stats UK HSA

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid expressed his true emotions on Twitter on Wednesday. Some random guy tweeted and tagged him, which must happen a couple of thousand times a day:
"From our "world beating" NHS. Went for my 3rd jab today, previously having had 2 Pfizer ones. They were only using Moderna vaccines. WTF is happening sajidjavid?"
Sometimes we're tired, and don't use our best brain. Sajid didn't ignore the tweet, he replied:
"So what?
How about you show some respect for the NHS."
Now now Sajid. Bite your tongue. What you actually meant to say was:
"The system is designed to try and give as many people as possible a different booster than their original jab, and every booster will be Pfizer or Moderna, because that's what trials have found to be most effective at preventing symptomatic COVID, and potentially offering broader protection against future variants.
And please, be polite to the long suffering NHS staff. No-one is doing anything wrong. Our vaccine rollout really is going stupendously well. Not quite world-beating, but it's a candle amidst the darkness, and we can be rightly proud of this one."
But he didn't say that did he, he said "so what?".... tsk... 

Boris has apologised for not wearing a mask recently on his hospital visit. When I say 'apologised', I've had better results out of a teenagers caught drinking the milk straight from the bottle. He made like it was nothing, said it only happened for a few seconds and shrugged his shoulders... yeah... 

Variant Watch:
That more catchy sub-variant of Delta (AY.4.2) is continuing to increase across the UK. During the latest REACT study period from 19th Oct to 5th Nov, AY.4.2 had grown by 2.8% a day, and accounted for around 12% of cases.
Media are reporting we have 'more cases of symptomless COVID' due to AY.4.2. There are some hints it may be less likely to cause symptoms, which would be great really, but it is tricky to say for sure.  At the moment it's mainly affecting young people and fully vaccinated people, so any measuring is just an educated guess.
Very importantly, Typhoid Mary was asymptomatic, and although she was fine, she personally killed at least 5 people and permanently disabled others. Sadly asymptomatic and 'harmless' are not necessarily the same things. 

Regular handwashing helps prevent antibiotic resistance

There is a concerning outbreak of Avian Flu this year. It shouldn't hopefully affect you unless you farm birds, but it has been spotted in several areas across Europe, including in the UK, and is so dangerous to wild bird populations that any cases are immediately euthanised. Please do not touch any sick or dead wild birds, and sadly shelters are unlikely to be able to accept them in case they do have Avian Flu and infect the entire shelter. For help and advice in the UK contact the DEFRA helpline on 0345 933 5577.

If that's not exciting enough, a traveller from Nigeria to the USA has tested positive for Monkey Pox (yes, its really a thing). Because of COVID restrictions on the plane and ground, its anticipated the chance of him spreading it to anyone else is tiny - phew... thank goodness for masks eh...

And for a 3rd strange virus story - a lab technician cleaning out a freezer in Pennsylvania discovered 5 vials labelled "Smallpox". Only 2 labs in the entire world are licensed to hold samples of Smallpox, and they're the VECTOR Institute in Russia and the CDC in Atlanta - which is where these samples were sent immediately, with a security detail.
Thankfully rapid investigation found they were Smallpox Vaccine, not virus. The last case was in 1978, the WHO declared Smallpox eradicated in 1980. Obviously vaccinations ceased at that point, but some samples remain - just in case.  

AstraZeneca have followed Merck and Pfizer's lead, and their anti-viral pill for COVID 'AZD7442' has great medium term results, both as a preventative and as a treatment in early infection.
"Six-months follow-up of prevention trial (PREVENT) showed 83% reduced risk of symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe disease or deaths with AZD7442.
Separate treatment trial (TACKLE) showed 88% reduced risk of severe COVID-19 or death when treated within three days of symptom onset."
Importantly these trials actually targeted people who are higher risk. Over 75% of trial participants in the PREVENT trial, and 90% of TACKLE trial participants, were considered higher risk.
Excellent stuff. 

Hoax Of The Day:
There was a fast-travelling rumour that the wife of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had died from complications following vaccination. She strongly denies the claim, and was even cheeky enough to attend a big gala event alive and well, despite her "death" 48 hours earlier. 

Have an excellent weekend, I'll be back on Sunday - I can't believe this week went so fast! The COVID situation in the UK is probably best described as 'tentative'. We don't know who is going to edge ahead next. We can't relax yet, so remember your treat and some time away from the pandemic. You've earned it, and you'll need it - Christmas is coming!

For reasons of fairness, today it's Aldi's turn at the Christmas video share below. I think this might be my favourite so far this year, because I love the message - "for you to be happy, you need to be kind..."

These are all of the countries who reported over 10,000 new cases yesterday alone - and it is a lot). They all look like numbers,  but they're really people:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life in the full 24 hours YESTERDAY until midnight GMT:

USA 48,398,455 (+99,146) 789,155 (+1,147)

Germany 5,233,821 (+64,164) 99,169 (+261)

UK 9,721,911 (+46,805) 143,559 (+199)

Russia 9,219,912 (+37,374) 260,335 (+1,251)

Poland 3,279,804 (+24,899) 79,996 (+372)

Netherlands 2,378,823 (+23,591) 18,863 (+34)

Turkey 8,503,220 (+22,234) 74,428 (+226)

Ukraine 3,284,008 (+20,591) 79,506 (+752)

France 7,351,324 (+20,366) 118,373 (+52)

Belgium 1,543,299 (+18,437) 26,484 (+40)

Austria 1,011,465 (+15,145) 11,903 (+55)

Czechia 1,944,442 (+14,134) 31,831 (+76)

Brazil 21,989,962 (+12,301) 612,177 (+279)

India 34,489,623 (+11,106) 465,082 (+459)

Hungary 987,199 (+10,767) 32,645 (+131)

Italy 4,893,897 (+10,662) 133,034 (+69)

Vietnam 1,065,469 (+10,223) 23,476 (+139)





ALDI Christmas advert:

Albert Bourla:

UK NHS A& E waiting times

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!