Wednesday 8 December 2021

Briefing with Boris 8th December 2021

Briefing with Boris 8th December 2021

Sooooo, my laptop died yesterday, I thought I'd sorted another around lunch, but it's taken me until around 6pm to actually get up and running again, and a UK briefing was kind of beyond me!

Boris has announced we will move to 'Plan B'. It's not so huge as he makes out really, and mainly involves work from home if you can, mask wearing in indoor public spaces and the use of a COVID Pass for entry to events and venues.

Omicron is the worry. All the evidence coming through this week is early and needs longer to be sure, but suggests:
- Vaccination won't prevent all of us catching Omicron, but should still protect most of us from becoming very ill.
- Having a booster jab will really raise protection against hospitalisation from Omicron up past the 90% (so your personal risk is reduced to 1/10th of what it had been).
- Omicron doesn't look more deadly than other types of COVID.
- Omicron looks catchy as a catchy thing - potentially even 3 1/2 times as catchy as Delta COVID.
- If everyone catches it at once, the tiny percentage who end up in hospital will amount to many thousands of people, all at once.
-  The concern is we'll fill our hospitals. Yes we were warned that might happen right from the start, and it hasn't happened IN THE UK. It has plenty of other places though. The reason it hasn't happened in the UK is because we've slammed the brakes on whenever it looked possible.

081221 COVID passes from 15th December

The brakes are going back on, and Boris explained why:

"568 cases (of Omicron) have been confirmed through genomic sequencing across every region of the UK, and the true number is certain to be much higher.
Most worryingly, there is evidence that the doubling time of Omicron in the UK could currently be between two and three days.And while there are some limits to what we can learn from South Africa, because of the different rates of vaccination and different rates of previous infection - we are seeing growth in cases here in the UK that mirrors the rapid increases previously seen in South Africa.
And South Africa is also seeing hospitalisations roughly doubling in a week, meaning that we can’t yet assume Omicron is less severe than previous variants.
So while the picture may get better, and I sincerely hope that it will - we know the remorseless logic of exponential growth could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations, and therefore sadly in deaths.
And that is why it is now the proportionate and responsible thing to move to Plan B in England, while continuing to work closely with our colleagues in the Devolved Administrations - so we slow the spread of the virus, buy ourselves the time to get yet more boosters into more arms, and especially in the older and more vulnerable people, and understand the answers to the key outstanding questions about Omicron."
(People living in the devolved administrations - Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, already have measures in place that England didn't have, so you can mostly sit around looking smug...)

from 13th December work from home

- From Friday 10 December, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings.

- From Monday 13 December, those who can will be advised to work from home.
- "From Wednesday 15 December, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app. Having considered the evidence since the emergence of Omicron, proof of a negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.
The NHS Covid Pass can still be obtained with two doses but we will keep this under review as the boosters roll out. And having taken clinical advice since the emergence of Omicron, a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient."

And presumably they then all went off to not have a party... 

081221 COVID Face Coverings in public spaces from 10th December


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