Sunday 12 December 2021

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

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

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 10,819,515 (+48,854)
Losses of Life: 146,439 (+52)
Tests: 1,326,438
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 51,254,510 (89.1% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2 Doses: 46,742,069 (81.3%)
Boosters: 23,124,829 (40.2%)

Up until Friday 26th November, according to the Office for National Statistics, 170,001 people in the UK have had COVID-19 listed as one of the causes on their death certificate.

Rep. Of Ireland: 623,623 (+4,667) cases and 5,788 losses of life.

World: 270,247,123 reported cases and 5,320,918 losses of life.

WHO getting vaccinated could save your life

"In 2020, as a result of disruption of health services due to the COVID19 pandemic:
- immunisation coverage (non-COVID) dropped for the first time in 10 years
- deaths from tuberculosis and malaria increased."
The World Health Organisation

Boris did a UK briefing at 8pm - that's very late in the day, so I came back and added this bit later. That's why it doesn't quite match up with the bits afterwards! Pah, it'll be fine....  

Boris was pre-recorded, solo, had especially tousled hair, and frankly eyebags that look like he really did just have a baby during a pandemic.
He started by saying "I'm afraid we're now facing an emergency with the new variant Omicron".
Omicron is doubling every 2-3 days. "No-one should be in any doubt there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming."
2 Doses are not enough - get your booster.
"Do not make the mistake of thinking Omicron can't hurt you". We have patients in hospital with Omicron in the UK already.
Today we are launching the "Omicron National Emergency Booster"  - in light of the Omicron EVERYONE ELIGIBLE AGED OVER 18 WILL GET A CHANCE TO BE BOOSTED BY THE NEW YEAR.
They are going to postpone some other appointments until the New Year in order to vaccinate.
He asks NHS workers to help.
Remember to work from home if you can from tomorrow - COVID pass or negative lateral flow from Wednesday.
If you haven't had any jab, please do it. If you need boosters, "get boosted now".
There ya go...

Boosters are about to roll out to anyone aged 30 and over in the UK. Hang on for the official announcement (which may be at 8pm), but you should be able to book from tomorrow.

Scotland at least is also hoping to roll out boosters for the 18-29 age group later next week.

From 9am on 13th December fully vaccinated children aged 12 to 15 can request an NHS COVID Pass letter for international travel.
(So I'm guessing kids are about to get their 2nd doses... ).

"Following advice from the UK Health Security Agency and in the light of the rapid increase in Omicron cases, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director have recommended to ministers that the UK COVID-19 alert level should increase from Level 3 to Level 4."
And they have accepted that advice.
"Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced. Data on severity will become clearer over the coming weeks but hospitalisations from Omicron are already occurring and these are likely to increase rapidly."
Remember a very small percentage of a very large number will still be a very large number. Your personal risk hasn't changed, but the risk we completely overwhelm medical facilities has done. If that happens, we won't be able to treat everyone who needs oxygen... or breaks their leg, or develops meningitis. That's what we are trying to protect against. 

UKHSA Omicron needs booster jabs quote from Mary Ramsey of NHS England

From Tuesday (or frankly from now if you have any common sense) in England all contacts of people with confirmed COVID should take daily free rapid lateral flow tests for 7 days whatever your vaccination status. Unvaccinated adults should still also self-isolate for 10 days.
(Catching up with Northern Ireland there... )

From Wednesday care home residents in England are only allowed 3 visitors, in an effort to lower the risk from Omicron. 

UK Education Secretary (and ex-Vaccines Minister) Nadhim Zahawi says we currently have no plans to roll out vaccinations to Primary School aged (5-11) children. 

Scientists are sweating watching the Omicron numbers. Basically in the UK they are increasing by 1/2 each day. (So if we had 2 cases, the next day 3. If we had 6 cases, the next day 9.)
We had 817 cases on Thursday
We had 1,265 cases on Friday
We had 1,898 on Saturday
Today, Sunday, the total is 3,137 - a single day increase of +1,239
This is how exponential growth can really upset everything very quickly.
National totals today stand at:
England - 2,953
Scotland - 159
Wales - 15
Northern Ireland - 10

- Omicron does NOT look more deadly. It could even be slightly less deadly than Delta, which is the COVID variant that has been most common worldwide for several months now, and which evolved on a different branch of the family tree all together.
- 2 doses of vaccination looks unlikely to prevent most people catching Omicron, and is less effective at preventing all symptoms, but is still very likely to keep most people from becoming very ill.
- 3 doses looks like it'll bump protection back up to "full levels". Do it. Don't delay, don't mess about. If you give yourself anything this Christmas, make it your booster jab.
- Kids can definitely catch Omicron, and we seem to be seeing higher numbers of children testing positive than with previous variants. It could be because they're more likely to have noticeable symptoms, it could be they stand out because vaccinated adults are less likely to have symptoms. It's early and could still be many reasons, including pure luck.
- A rise in cases won't be followed by a rise in hospitalisations for a good 2 to 3 weeks, and losses of life follows behind that. Any Government has to make a best guess decision - waiting until you know that you're in trouble for certain is too late. 

UKHSA Omicron 121221

COVID restrictions could save the lives of between 25,000 and 75,000 people over the next five months, according to the worst case scenarios from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and many experts and advisors are calling for the UK government to take a heavier hand.
I honestly can't see how that could be in any way easy. They kind of blew it already. We are too close to Christmas, and the general public are not going to readily accept restrictions right now. We also have the issue that people will refuse to 'follow Boris' rules' because they're annoyed he doesn't follow them himself.
It's not about him. It's about you, and the people you love and care for. Don't make it political, it's a virus. 

Media are reporting that Boris faces a rebellion from some of the MP's in his own party, who believe he's "jumped the gun" by bringing in measures against Omicron. The gamblers on the field are rumoured to total 60 or more, and include David Davis, Esther McVey, Dr Liam Fox and Greg Clark.
I guess you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't (although is anyone calling Jacinda Ardern daft for moving quickly). Personally I'd like some sort of Christmas, so I'm more than happy to wear a mask in Tesco... 

Virologist Trevor Bedford keeps crunching the numbers, he's almost doing rolling updates as more data on Omicron comes in. Right now we are watching the UK, Germany and the USA, who are all facing rapidly increasing numbers.
Trev is doing all kind software calculations, and currently he's estimating doubling times of around 2.5 to 3.7 days. This would be more alarming and concerning if we hadn't already spotted that he's probably correct... 

UKHSA how to protect yourself Images of vaccine bottle, handwashing, face mask and open window

It is being reported just about everywhere that 2 boys from the same Staffordshire school both died from COVID over October half term. This is utterly tragic. It is also almost definitely just a horrible coincidence, and it doesn't imply anything sinister.
It is incredibly rare for children to die from COVID, and while both teenage boys were considered healthy, they both had risk factors. The odds were stacked millions to 1 against this happening, but that always leaves that rare chance it will. Anyone who buys a lottery ticket has a 1 in 14 million chance of winning, but most draws, someone does.
COVID vaccinations hadn't yet taken place in their school, and at least 1 of the boys definitely hadn't had his jab. One boy died from a bleed on the brain which caused a stroke, and the coroner has yet to report on the second child.  

The UK Government are going to do some research at Addenbrookes Hospital, to see how effective air purifiers and air sampling are at preventing spread of COVID across hospital wards.
I can't help but feel they should have started that earlier... 

There have been massive demonstrations against COVID measures in Vienna. Around 44,000 people protested this weekend.
Austria is making vaccinations mandatory in February, and has just had a lockdown which ends this weekend - but only for fully vaccinated people.

With the knowledge that 3 jabs or hybrid immunity make all the difference to your risk of symptoms with Omicron COVID, Australia is following in the UK's wake and also fast-tracking booster jabs. Eligible Australians will now be able to get a booster 5 months after their 2nd jab. 

Lab leak anyone? Taiwan doesn't have any COVID in the community just now, and a lab assistant who was bitten twice by a COVID-infected mouse has tested positive. No prizes for guessing how they caught it... 

Personally we've cancelled the Grandparents coming to stay at Christmas. None of us felt confident. If they came here and caught COVID if would be awful, and if they came to any permanent harm, we wouldn't have been able to cope with that. Seriously consider what is worth doing, and what isn't. For some people any risk will be worth it, but for most, there is another day to get together.

Some numbers. All characters on this big rock floating around the sun:

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 10,819,515 (+48,854) 146,439 (+52)

Russia 10,016,896 (+29,929)289,483 (+1,132)

Germany 6,528,536 (+27,257) 106,326 (+118)

Poland 3,828,248 (+19,452) 88,479 (+65)

Italy 5,225,517 (+19,215) 134,831 (+66)

Netherlands 2,880,426 (+16,588) 20,112 (+38)

Vietnam 1,413,051 (+14,638) 27,839 (+228)

USA 50,772,474 (+9,803) 817,837 (+48)

Czechia 2,334,289 (+9,080) 34,451 (+39)

S. Korea 517,271 (+6,688) 4,253 (+43)

Denmark 554,389 (+5,989) 3,014 (+9)

Ukraine 3,559,092 (+5,275) 91,027 (+238)

Slovakia 774,857 (+4,913) 15,354 (+50)

Ireland 623,623 (+4,667) 5,788





 Update on Omicron numbers - Image image 

WHO images

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