Friday, 1 July 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st July 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st July 2022

UK: 22,741,065 reported cases and 180,417 losses of life. 

World: 552,972,953 reported cases and 6,358,508 losses of life.

You are going to have to bear with me a bit, because I'm still writing on my phone and not at home at the moment. Give me a couple of weeks and hopefully we'll be back to normal. 

Latest English hospital admissions are still rising fast - on Wednesday we were up 37% week-on-week, approaching 1,200. 
Bed occupancy with COVID is up by 35% to 8,120. Yowch. 

The experts are beginning to twitch a little at the thought of next Winter - I forsee more jabs this Autumn...

Some English hospital trusts are bringing back a requirement to wear masks. I reported back on 9th June that hospital-acquired illness was rising even faster than community transmission, and I suspect that is still the case. You are far more likely to pass on COVID to elderly sick Gladys in the bed next to the patient you are visiting, than to someone you pass in the supermarket, and Gladys is more likely to die as a result. Hospitals are full of sick and vulnerable people, and people who are interacting with sick and vulnerable people. It's common sense to try to protect them. 

UK GPs are threatening strike action over a new contract that forces them to work Saturdays and evenings.


Just hours after the above story, the BBC was reporting that within a decade around 1/4 of GP positions in England are likely to become vacant.
Well, at the moment you have more chance of being accepted onto UK medical courses if you were born into wealth than any other quality. We actually don't need doctors who can ride a pony. We need doctors who are keen and able - however much wealth their parents earned or inherited. Remove the glass ceiling, support tuition financially and properly invest in our future medics. Or keep dragging them in from countries which are desperately in need of doctors... 

The Zoe app. may have lost it's UK Government funding, but they are still keeping an eye on UK infection rates, and spoiler, its bad news. The ONS random sampling backs that up with more scientific data. 1,829,100 people are estimated to have had COVID in the week ending 23th June. 

It's become apparent that while married Boris Johnson (BJ) was working at the foreign office, he was caught while at work, receiving an oral massage (BJ) from a young lady who went on to get a £100,000 job and later become his new wife. The word is that The Times removed the article due to pressure from within Downing Street. I'll bet. Carrie won't have wanted that one leaked. 
I guess Boris would say to move on, it was a work event and he was only there for 10 minutes.  


The US FDA panel has recommended changing Covid shots to specifically fight omicron this Autumn, and has asked vaccine manufacturers to update vaccines accordingly and begin trials.  

Possibly partly in response to the FDA Panel recommendations, the US Government has signed a fresh contract with Pfizer worth $3.2 billion. 

Omicron BA.5 is now taking over in several areas, including the UK and USA. Sheer volume of infections means although vaccines are still keeping most people out of hospitals, numbers are going up and the death rate is also rising. Past infection is little protection against reinfection from BA.5 and in heavily vaccinated Portugal, hospitals are struggling. 

Monkeypox continues to spread, with over 1000 cases in the UK now. If you have a strange rash, don't go to a sex spa, instead check with your doctor. It is still mainly spreading among people having intimate contact. Sexual partners and households of people infected. 

The World Health Organisation have not yet declared Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, but they are likely to - becauaw once it spreads to local wildlife its incredibly hard to eradicate. Some experts are now asking if we are moving too slowly with this one and failing to use lessons learned from COVID. 

USA Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci has said he's now taking a second course of antiviral Paxlovid, after suffering what's being called "Paxlovid rebound". If you recall, this is where the antiviral doesn't actually help enough for the body to fully beat COVID, so after the course of treatment ends, symptoms return. People generally don't become seriously ill when this occurs, and a second course of antiviral should be enough to do the trick. Mr Fauci is 81. 

Canadian researchers think they’ve found a key clue as to what causes Long COVID. A team of researchers in Ontario focusing on breathing problems have discovered a microscopic abnormality in the way oxygen moves from the lungs to the blood vessels. They have been following 1w hospitalised and 22 non-hospitalised patients for 9 months to see why they arw exhausted and breaghless. That esearch is continuing.  

You more vulnerable people, I may have lost my mum, but I'm never going to forget the rest of you. Those of you who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or anyone who will always be especially vulnerable to COVID - you still matter. You still deserve our protection, and our care. Don't be scared to ask for space, or wear a mask, or whatever makes you feel safer.  

No world numbers because I simply don't have time today. Sorry. Hopefully they will be back next week, but in the meantime you can find them all at Worldometer or John's Hopkins. They are all people... 

Back next Friday, remember to treat yourself and be kind. You deserve it. Give yourself a pat on the back for all that you have achieved over the past week, and don't ever think there was nothing - you have always done something that was difficult for you. Credit yourself. 



Sources: 
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://t.co/0lavAOaeYK
https://twitter.com/COVID19actuary/status/1542165358609588235?t=ZiI6KDJwMtXOqbs8OqhHUw&s=19
https://news.upday.com/uk/call-for-autumn-boosters-as-another-covid-wave-hits-britain-see-the-hotspots/
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-omicron-vaccine-news-b2110061.html
https://twitter.com/Rebeccasmt/status/1542075562293870593?t=poncLatBpXeFOsSUaZXnhg&s=19
https://twitter.com/AdeleGroyer/status/1534817326637502464?t=sf_3iWGgNH6wZbZwqrT3lg&s=19

Doctors
https://twitter.com/i/events/1542095684794474496?t=MnQV2W8DFK-JjCoPvOTnHQ&s=09
https://twitter.com/BBCHughPym/status/1542393232713203715?t=Yg_L2eCEkXj7m4pnerYpRw&s=19

https://inews.co.uk/news/science/covid-case-surging-300000-day-warning-autumn-wave-worse-1713005


https://news.yahoo.com/pfizer-signs-3-2-billion-210047641.html
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/28/fda-panel-recommends-changing-covid-shots-to-fight-omicron-this-fall-.html
https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1541418780210995200?t=OG8d4mhZqmXJt9GCMIidgg&s=09
And more BA.5
https://twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1542115126215598080?t=Uf12XbvKfO9vaDNZLYAyUw&s=19

https://news.sky.com/story/monkeypox-cases-in-the-uk-rise-to-more-than-1000-latest-figures-show-12641999
https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1542150260918816772?t=fj7zYrnXhV-8Q7E8i29ntA&s=19
https://twitter.com/T_Inglesby/status/1542220342072049666?t=fM4ViM46_DLQid4ZedV1WQ&s=19

https://twitter.com/i/events/1541846548845367302?t=f0RzC3LcVLBVRXXr1XTjeA&s=09

https://www.dnaindia.com/health/report-massive-breakthrough-as-cancer-disappears-in-every-patient-in-drug-trial-dostarlimab-2958614



Friday, 24 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th June 2022

Everything is a bit short today because I've been called back home to Derby, so this is mostly written on trains on my phone. I will come back to it once I'm back in Manchester, and properly write up anything I've had to leave for now. Sorry about that, I know you guys understand. Sometimes things are far more important.


So... COVID cases are rising still in all 4 UK nations - we are up around 23% week on week according to random sampling (so it's pretty accurate). The latest ONS figures suggest that it the week ending 18th June, 1.7m people across the UK had COVID.

Hospitalisations have a slight rise, the unfortunate North East, and people aged over 85, still struggling the most.

The World Health Organisation convened a special meeting yesterday to decide if the Monkeypox outbreak was a PHEIC - Public Health Emergency of I ternational Concern. No definite answer on that last I looked.
We now have more than 3,200 confirmed cases in at least 44 countries where monkeypox is not usually found among the wild animal population. One person has died.

On Wednesday the UK Health Security Agency declared a National Incident because of Polio.
The UK routinely vaccinated against Polio using live (but inactivated) vaccine until around 2004, when it was changed for an inert (dead) version. Some countries still use live vaccine, which can pass through the person and into their poop still alive - so it is normal to detect it in the UK sewage a few times each year. In this case a live vaccine derived Polio has escaped and linked strains have been detected in samples from different months, so it seems to have passed from person to person.
If you were vaccinated then you are well protected, but we actually have a significant number among us who have not received the vaccination - especially in parts of London.
Polio can be nasty. Check that your kids are up to date with their jabs - it'll be in their red book. If you didn't grow up in the UK, check that you were vaccinated against Polio as a child - and if not, you can contact your doctor to arrange it.

There were also reports on Wednesday of a person contracting Cholera in Spain - that is NOT true. It was a confused message and although it's a very similar condition, it was NOT Cholera. *Phew*

The first court case of someone dying as a result of AstraZeneca vaccination has received a payout. A gentleman from Cumbia died in May 2021, and his fiance has received £120,000. Obviously any sum will never be enough to replace him.


Sperm count drops by about 20% after vaccination and restores to previous levels within around 6 months. No effect on motility or volume. Sprem count often drops with all kinds of illness (your body is busy doing other stuff), including COVID infection, so this wasn't a surprise, but should reassure potential parents (there will still be millions for most people, and you only really need 1).

Moderna have partnered up with the UK Government to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing and research centre in the UK. Moderna's new Omicron-specific vaccine has performed very well in early trials, so this is a very hopeful and progressive move.

Variant watch - worldwide Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 have now taken over as the most common strains. They lead the way in the UK and are quickly taking over in the USA. Thankfully there's still no evidence or suspicion that they are more dangerous or deadly.

A new study has confirmed that while PCR testing is the best way to tell if you have COVID (because it's very sensitive), rapid testing such as lateral flow is the best way to determine if you are actually contagious and breathing out virus (aside from hugging lots of people and waiting a few days).

Trump Of The Day:
I've almost missed Trump. Almost. The January 6th hearing has released lots of documents, including documents proving that the US decided to go for  herd immunity (just like the UK) without knowing that herd immunity was possible (it isn't).

If you have a child under age 10 with a medical condition or allergies then while stocks last you can get free medicalertuk membership and an ID Tag, thanks to sponsorship by the Lions Club. I'll add more details in the comments.

Fertility rates are dropping - and while we often mention Japan when we talk about this, theirs isn't actually the lowest right now. Taiwan is averaging 1.1 live births per female, far far below the 2.1 needed to keep the population at the current level. It is dropping all over Europe and the Western world. Really the only countries where it is above 2.1 are those where infant mortality is very high, life expectancy very low, and there's nothing much else to do ever (no telly, no contraception, no universal education, no money).

A new study published yesterday has worked out how many lives were saved by COVID vaccinations. The figure is 20million. That is a huge number of family and friends who will never know how fortunate they are. Hug your loved ones - let them know you are glad they are with you.

I will write some of this up more thoroughly in a few days time, and I will be back with the next new report next Friday. Have the best weekend you can - and have that treat. You earned it.

Stay Sensible, Play Outdoors, Save The NHS.




Medicalertuk 

MedicAlert IDs, worn on pulse points, can be life-saving in an emergency or an accident for children with medical conditions. For the rest of the time, the peace of mind they provide can give your child the confidence to be more active physically and join in socially. Family members also benefit from knowing that their loved ones are safe. That is why the NHS recommends them.
The Early Start Programme provides free MedicAlert membership until your child’s 10th birthday, along with a free medical ID.
Funded by Lions Clubs, the scheme is currently open for applications. There are limited spaces available based on current funding, so don't delay
https://www.medicalert.org.uk/early-start/

Sources:

https://twitter.com/BBCHughPym/status/1540292380691251201?s=19
Weekly COVID statistics
https://twitter.com/UKHSA/status/1539981805360746497?t=kDZVuCJ54wFVGRPzFzVR5w&s=19

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-infections-rise-in-all-four-uk-nations-as-around-17-million-had-virus-last-week-12639721

NHS hospital stats - monthly
https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-hospit0al-activity/


https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/monkeypox-case-count-rises-more-than-3200-globally-who-2022-06-23/
https://twitter.com/WHOEMRO/status/1540002803690737664?t=XIZIqmOKL4wjrQqE32iOBQ&s=19
https://twitter.com/Mahesh_Devnani/status/1540036638763409410?t=drxm_j5ZlC-dSSsCTBAP3Q&s=19
https://www.who.int/news-room/newsletters

Boghuma
https://twitter.com/DrNeilStone/status/1540075585996787718?t=SBfKe4EUEDmgzZJ9Mwo4hg&s=19

Monkeypox updates
https://twitter.com/UKHSA/status/1538857644215214080?t=9Jkr69wgFN4V2paA20vr7Q&s=19

https://twitter.com/michaelmina_lab/status/1537994987706589187?t=XBf4hZe-CuxtoZA6_ivXzA&s=19

WHO Vaccine equity for Africa
https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1539910842807750656?t=6av1c2JBDhqaDFZsrtWdrg&s=19

Monkeypox vaccine UK
https://news.sky.com/story/monkeypox-gay-and-bisexual-men-at-higher-risk-of-exposure-to-be-offered-vaccines-12637989

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-61898853

https://twitter.com/UKHSA/status/1539606492386574336?t=ZraYzDdoaN9EBST_TrsSbQ&s=19 https://news.sky.com/story/traces-of-polio-virus-found-in-london-sewage-as-health-officials-declare-national-incident-12638443
https://news.sky.com/story/polio-detection-of-virus-in-london-is-a-major-blow-but-it-has-little-chance-of-spreading-widely-12638525

https://news.yahoo.com/spain-detects-first-local-infection-150135304.html

AstraZeneca death
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-61885899

Sperm
https://www.news-medical.net/news/20220621/The-effect-of-the-COVID-19-BNT162b2-vaccine-on-semen-parameters-among-semen-donors.aspx
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/andr.13209

https://t.co/ln5Obu0xKj https://t.co/BUxGUND2zy
https://twitter.com/DHSCgovuk/status/1539496682500628481?t=0eJv6Or3JJRsa6AliPDgNg&s=19

https://twitter.com/DHSCgovuk/status/1539639352992550914?t=dK3fEfjxnY3r7l64a8b0AA&s=19

And this is why https://news.google.com/s/CBIwlZOS7Z0B?sceid=GB:en&sceid=GB:en&r=0&oc=1
"Lasting protection of omicron-specific Covid vaccine could pave way for annual boosters" https://twitter.com/i/events/1539679217230675969?t=XtzcNycvi3T6cQ3UntpC1g&s=09
Moderna's Omicron-specific vaccine performed well in trials

https://twitter.com/Laurie_Garrett/status/1540007730173329414?t=ljDZ3kRqMkT3gAmZOoGYKQ&s=19

https://twitter.com/Laurie_Garrett/status/1539308336188796928?t=WUTbYMROHMd6npVeO4BBBQ&s=19
Never had COVID ? Old news
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-30/never-had-covid-you-may-hold-key-to-beating-the-virus#xj4y7vzkg


https://twitter.com/opinion/status/1539844737443762181?t=XGHB7vVQP4FXvpibh7tpoA&s=19

https://twitter.com/Laurie_Garrett/status/1539968277329354752?t=3EFpd9868JjY7jtk8frWDw&s=19


https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-jab-saved-20-million-lives-in-its-first-year-study-suggests-12639430
https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-jab-saved-20-million-lives-in-its-first-year-study-suggests-12639430

Important news for people with MS.
https://twitter.com/florian_krammer/status/1540008771145109505?t=0Eb09m1QrrKl05jDQsun5w&s=19

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st June 2022

UK COVID Statistics according to Medriva: 

Today:
Cases: 22,525,358 (+16,430)
Losses of Life: 179,706 (+105)
Yesterday:
Cases: 22,508,928 (+36,425)
Losses of Life: 179,601 (+64)
(Includes weekend backlog - I'm guessing cases on Monday and losses of life on Tuesday)

UK Gov Dashboard:
Total  losses of life with COVID listed as a cause on the Death Certificate up to June 10th: 196,977

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,578,284 cases and 7,409 losses of life up to yesterday, 20th June. 

World: 545,221,827 reported cases and 6,342,385 losses of life.

Protect yourself from the sun - skin and eyes - WHO poster - wear a hat, sunscreen, shade, drink plenty of water, wear a t shirt


Sorry I'm late - I had to take the kitten for her jabs! 

“There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle... We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”
General Sir Patrick Sanders, new head of the British Army. Not actually saying we are going to go to war against Russia, thankfully, but clearly expressing the fact he believes there may be some potential.

Over 125 million COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered in England alone. If you have been invited for any and not yet had them, you will always be able to book in or go to a walk-in centre (if you are over 18) - it isn't too late.

Friday, 17 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 17th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 17th June 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Total Cases 
England 18,908,381
Wales 875,497
Scotland 2,449,840
Northern Ireland 713,294
Lost their life within 28 days of a positive test:
England 156,186
Wales 7,517
Scotland 12,389
Northern Ireland 3,445

Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to Friday 10th June: 4,780
In hospital on Monday 13th June: 5,918

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,578,284 cases and 7,409 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 543,316,589 reported cases and 6,338,474 losses of life.

UK NHS Symptoms of dehydration

The ONS UK Random sampling (week ending 11/12 June) shows an increase, and it's big - cases are up 43% from last week.
"The latest data from our COVID19 Infection Survey show infection rates increased in all four UK countries, likely due to continued growth of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants."
(These are the variants which have battered South Africa and they are more transmissible than any others to date.)
"COVID19 infection rates increased in all English regions, except for the North East where the trend was uncertain."
Infections have increased across all age groups.
Hospitalisations are still highest in the North East (the North East has maintained a high level of hospital admissions pretty much throughout the last year, so they've suffered enough, they really don't need any more).
"COVID19 hospital admission rates increased in all age groups, remaining highest in those aged 85 years and over."
It isn't all such bad news. If you want reassurance about how well vaccinations are working at preventing severe COVID:
"Our COVID19 insights interaction tool shows infection levels are at similar levels to the Alpha wave peak in January 2021. However, during this time hospitalisations were 6 times higher and deaths involving COVID19 were over 32 times higher."

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

The Silent Brother by Simon Van Der Velde Fiction Book Review

The Silent Brother is a brand new release from author Simon Van Der Velde, who sent me a copy for review. I'm glad he did, because it's been an excellent read, and actually a book which has stayed with me, as it has a depth and relevance I couldn't have seen coming, and actually a lighter ending which doesn't leave you feeling demoralised. 

Subtitled as a Literary Thriller, The Silent Brother is a life story for one fictional person, Tommy, and by the end of the book we've grown up with him, and really do know him incredibly well. 

Silhouette of young man in a window book cover


We begin with 5 year old Tommy living with his alcohol-loving Mum and her boyfriend, Daryl. Daryl is a hard man for any child to live with, aggressive, jealous, violent and a heavy drinker. I feel that he's possibly very young to be raising children and it's not where he wants to be. 

Simon absolutely nails my childhood in the 70's. Looking back now, it really was rough, so I was surprised to discover that actually The Silent Brother was set in the late 80's/early 90's. His account hit so many buttons, I'd never be able to explain it in a book review. I'm a 50 year old woman who has spent the last 3 weeks revisiting my childhood and teenage years, and the relationships I had with the people around me. 
The scene with his brother Benjy hiding at the back of a cupboard, in the space between the back board and the wall, I've been there. The fear of your adults, and the crap TV. The acceptance of physical punishment being "a good hiding", as if any "good" could ever come of it. I was hurled back 40 years to places I'd forgotten existed, and I closed the book being grateful I'd always chosen the less destructive path, glad for what I have and also a little sad, as I remember the not-so-great times. It's a sad jolt back to Earth to think that 20 years later time had stood still, and to realise that for some now, it's still just the same. Anyway, I digress...

Tommy becomes involved in crime early on in life, and in the book, and you can clearly see that he is a product of the events that occurred in his life, the people around him, and chance timing. What you realise is just how easily someone's life path can change. A single brief exchange can alter everything. 

June #TBCSmiles 94 Months

It's Summer! Well, it feels like it just now anyway, and the UK is promised a heatwave this weekend, which has given everyone something to talk about, even if some of us aren't as excited as others (I'm not built for hot weather!). It'll also mean lots of playing outdoors, getting together with friends and relatives, and hopefully a lot of smiles.

MY partner blowing out the candles on his 51st birthday cake which is being held by our 12 year old - who looks nervous to have such an important job

We've had a few bonfires, a trip to the cinema and a birthday, but mostly spent the last month continuing to sort and pack, take stuff to the tip and send it away with other people who want it or can use it. We never seem to get anywhere close to actually finishing! I guess a surprise move after 15 years and 7 kids really does mean you have no choice but to go through all of that stuff you have been putting off for far too long. 

For us it's meant the rediscovery of tons of treasure, and a million memories. Going through all of the kid's old toys takes you back in a way photographs never can. It doesn't give you a snapshot, it releases all of the stories and the moments. The times things went wrong, or right, the conversations and debates, birthdays and holidays. The daft things they said, pet names and misheard sentences. The precious reminders that make something costing pennies into something so valuable that you can never imagine letting it go.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 14th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 14th June 2022

Official UK COVID Statistics are mostly up until 19th May, which is ridiculously old, and I'm not reporting on any of them. The only data updated during June is:
In hospital on 6th June: 5,237
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause to 3rd June: 196,643
(The UK data in the table below is from Medriva, who say they get it from UK Gov. Ermmm, pass.)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,570,519 cases and 7,383 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 541,250,865 reported cases and 6,332,926 losses of life.

Irish Government do it all to prevent spread and protect against COVID

"I can understand entirely where doctors, nurses and everybody who works in health and social care are completely knackered..."
Humza Yousaf, Scottish Health Secretary, telling it like it is. 

In Collaboration with Maqio | Top ideas for a fun playroom

Top ideas for a fun playroom


When you are lucky enough to have a designated playroom in the home, you may really want to make the most of this space. Your children might appreciate having an entire room they can use for fun and games, and it can also help to minimise the number of toys left elsewhere in the home. You might want to think about the ways that you decorate this room to really maximise your children’s enjoyment, while still keeping costs as low as possible.

Wonderworld Eco-House with Playmobil characters included

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Letts Key Stage 2 SATs Study Books

Friday, 10 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 10th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 10th June 2022

Latest UK Govt. COVID Dashboard Statistics:
Cases in the 7 days to 19th May: 57,625 (average 8,232 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to 3rd June: 3,624
In hospital Monday 6th June: 5,237
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test to 20th May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause to 27th May: 196,418
Tests in the 7 days to 19th May: 1,546,244 (average 220,892 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,570,519 cases and 7,383 losses of life.

World: 539,390,879 reported cases and 6,328,761 losses of life.

WHO Do it all collage of images showing masks, wash hands, space, ventilate etc.

""Hospital admissions with COVID are rising again across England, up 10% week-on-week."
Welcome to the next wave."
Professor Kit Yates, Mathematical Biologist and IndieSAGE member, quoting yesterday's COVID Actuaries Response Group (CARG) weekly report. The UK Government might be releasing figures in the least understandable way ever, but that doesn't mean we can't see through it.
Admissions rose last week in all English regions except London, with the fastest increase in the South East, which is up 28%. Nationally bed occupancy is up by 8%.
Hospital deaths with COVID are still falling, down 9%, but as we are well aware, any increase in hospital admissions will inevitably be followed by a rise in the number of people succumbing.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th June 2022

UK COVID Latest Govt. Dashboard Statistics:
Cases in the 7 days to 2nd June: 57,615 (average 8,230 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to Sunday 29th May: 3,652
In hospital Thursday 2nd June: 4,891
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test to 20th May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause to 20th May: 195,962
Tests last 7 days: 1,546,244 (average 220,892 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,565,970 cases and 7,347 losses of life up until yesterday.

World: 536,108,391 reported cases and 6,321,883 losses of life.

World Food Safety Day WHO advice to avoid food poisoning

“What we are detecting now is not the new transmissions that are happening, new transmissions are happening that we don't know anything about. And that really worries me."
Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, Cameroonian medical doctor and clinical researcher, talking to Kai Kupferschmidt, science journalist about Monkeypox. It has a very long incubation period, which makes it stealthy. Average is 7-14 days, but it can be 3 weeks before an infected person develops any symptoms. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 31st May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 31st May 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 57,602 (average 8,228 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to May 24th: 3,946
In hospital Thursday 26th: 5,584
Using a ventilator on Sunday 22nd May (this is the latest number): 175
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test up to 22nd May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause up to 20th May: 195,962
Tests last 7 days: 1,546,244 (average 20,892 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,561,632 cases and 7,271 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 532,349,235 reported cases and 6,312,535 losses of life.

Image of gent sitting in a chair donating blood, with text and large red blood droplet

"UKHSA has procured over 20,000 doses of a safe smallpox vaccine (called Imvanex, supplied by Bavarian Nordic) as part of our rapid response to rising monkeypox cases."
I see the UK Health Security Agency are determined to beat everyone else to this vaccine too. Vaccines for smallpox, unlike COVID vaccines, are still useful once a person has been exposed, so close contacts of confirmed monkeypox cases in the UK are being vaccinated already (and the same is true in many/most affected countries, including the USA).

Friday, 27 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th May 2022

UK COVID Statistics - The page says it's all updated, but some of the data is over a week old. It makes a lot of this irrelevant as anything but a rough guide as to trajectory:
Cases in the 7 days up to 22nd May: 57,584 (similar to a week earlier)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to 22nd May: 4,130 (substantially DOWN on a week earlier)
In hospital yesterday: 5,584 (substantially DOWN from 6,729 a week earlier)
Losses of life in the 7 days up to 20th May: 725 (down slightly on a week earlier)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test up to 20th May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause up to 13th May: 195,347
Tests in the 7 days up to 19th May: 1,546,244 (similar to a week earlier)
UK Vaccination data up to 18th May
1st Dose 53,398,518
2nd Dose 49,895,254
Booster/Third Jabs 39,585,631

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,561,632 cases and 7,271 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 530,508,082 reported cases and 6,308,310 losses of life.

Free Meningitis jabs for UK students - image of young woman carrying a bag and coffee and grinning

The Nursing Director of the UK's West Midlands Ambulance Service, Mark Docherty, has told the Health Service Journal (HSJ) that some people are now waiting up to 24 hours in an ambulance before a suitable bed is found, and the service could collapse completely. Over 100 people have now died when "the service has been unable to respond because its ambulances are held outside hospitals". Mr Docherty has gone so far as to predict the exact day the service might collapse completely if current trajectories continue - August 17th.
“It would make me the happiest person in the world if everyone in the system proves to me that actually the ambulance service in the West Midlands isn’t going to fail on 17 August, and I’ve got it completely wrong.”
Date for your diary there... fingers crossed it never happens. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 24th May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 24th May 2022

The UK COVID Statistics page has been amended, and hasn't been updated since Friday, when I last took note of the numbers, so there seems little point having any statistics today. Hopefully on Friday they'll update it promptly, and I will be able to compare week on week differences. 

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,551,835 cases and 7,244 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 528,498,202 reported cases and 6,302,354 losses of life.

Monkeypox what to look out for UK HSA collage of 3 images describing symptoms and if in doubt check with your doctor

The UK HSA has announced quarantine guidance regarding Monkeypox - any close contacts with highest risk of exposure should self-isolate for 21 days. This includes sexual partners and households of people who test positive, as well as exposed healthcare workers. There's been a lot of people very shouty about this because it's usually a mild illness - however it can be dangerous for unborn babies, immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children under 12. Pretty much everyone who is pregnant or under 50 right now worldwide does not have any immunity via childhood vaccination for Smallpox. The spots can really cause nasty scarring too. I think it's fair, and I'm pretty sure most people who test positive or are direct contacts will too. 

Friday, 20 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 20th May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 20th May 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 58,786 (average 8,398 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 5,074
In hospital yesterday: 6,729 (substantially down from 9,619 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 191 (down from 203 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 789
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 177,890
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 194,550
Tests last 7 days: 1,566,809 (average 223,829 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,337,395
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,844,562
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,474,656

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,551,835 cases and 7,244 losses of life.

World: 526,114,020 reported cases and 6,297,640 losses of life.

Vaccinations you should have before you leave for uni (from birth onwards) shows 2 young people hugging

"UKHSA have confirmed 11 new cases of Monkeypox in the UK. This morning I updated G7 Health Ministers on what we know so far. Most cases are mild, and I can confirm we have procured further doses of vaccines that are effective against Monkeypox."
Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary.

"In Downing Street there is a sense of injustice and considerable upset that the 126 Partygate fines have been levied disproportionately on women and junior officials. One source said: “the majority of [those fined] are very junior diary managers etc on 24k-ish and these fines are really stacking up for them. Typically they are getting fined for events they were at with their males bosses who seem to have got away no problem. Pretty clear also that people who bothered lawyering up [like the PM] are fine. There is a lot of very angry and upset people.”
Robert Peston, ITV's Political Editor. 

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Butterfly Garden Complete Kit from Insect Lore (sent for review by Bright Minds)

This Spring we were invited by Bright Minds to review the Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore. This is a complete kit which contains everything you need to raise your own butterflies - including a voucher to send away for live caterpillars when you are ready to begin. 

InsectLore Butterfly Garden Kit Box front showing contents and smiling children

Because you raise real live animals, you can only use the kit in Spring and early Summer - which is when the butterflies (Painted Ladies) hatch.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 17th May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 17th May 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 63,296 (average 9,042 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 5,771
In hospital yesterday: 7,604 (well down from 9,619 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 189 (down from 214 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 986 (average 140 per day)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 177,410
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 194,550
Tests last 7 days: 1,627,672 (average 232,524 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,337,395
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,844,562
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,474,656

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,535,451 cases and 7,203 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 523,559,119 reported cases and 6,291,622 losses of life.

Vaccinations you should have before you leave for uni (from birth onwards)

Latest UK HSA data shows 79.2% of those people aged 75 or over, who became eligible at the end of March for the COVID Spring booster, have taken up the offer and received their vaccination.

Also UK HSA data, and 59.5% of those giving birth in January 2022 had received at least one dose of the vaccine, up from 53.7% in December 2021 and 48.7% in November 2021.
Over half (50.6%) had received 2 doses, up from 43.3% in December 2021 and 38.4% in November 2021.
Between January 2021 and January 2022, 125,365 vaccinated people have given birth in the UK (88,736 of those with 2 doses and 14,378 with 3 doses).
"Despite the upward trend in the number of pregnant women coming forward, women of Black ethnicity and those living in the most deprived areas of England remain the least likely to be vaccinated."
Between November 2021 and January 2022, just 30.5% of Black women had one or more vaccine doses by the time of delivery, compared to 57.5% of White women. In the most deprived areas of the country, 38.9% had received one or more doses by the time of delivery, compared to 71.1% in the least deprived areas. Why do we have these disparities? Accessibility (no time/transport/childcare)? Misinformation? Distrust of authorities?

Monday, 16 May 2022

May 2022 #TBCSmiles 93 Months...

I've promised my family I won't work weekends, and while we are having to move we don't really have the time, so the #TBCSmiles have been relegated to today. That doesn't mean they are less important, in fact if anything they are more important - especially this month. 

We just had Mental Health Awareness Week, and it's no coincidence that it's placed here in the year. This month we've had the least smiles that we've had in 5 years, and while I'd love to be surprised by that, I'm not. It's been a lot harder for us to make smiles, and it's required more effort for just about everyone. 

4 of my boys in the dark, sitting in the glow of a bonfire

Spring in the UK is often cold, disappointingly not-so-sunny, and everyone is tired. Really we need to work less hours through Winter and sleep more, and then we'd be ready to face the world. Instead we are all a bit gloomy and really waiting for Summer to kick in and brighten everything up. On top this year we have the war in Ukraine, the ongoing COVID infections which really haven't gone away, the residual tiredness that most of us feel after catching COVID, the fuel bills flying through the roof and food prices going up. The comfort we've felt for the past 30 years is slipping away, and it's only now we realise just what we had to lose.

Friday, 13 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 13th May 2022

UK COVID Statistics - we are missing updated figures for Northern Ireland, as they are delayed:
Cases last 7 days: 76,867 (average 10,981 per day - UP slightly on 10,829 a week earlier)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 6,020
In hospital yesterday: 9,619 (down from 10,763 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 203 (down from 253 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,389 (average 198 a day - UP from 186 a week earlier)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 176,708
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 193,713
Tests last 7 days: 1,821,189 (average 260,169 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,264,512
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,780,389
Boosters / 3rd doses / Spring Boosters: 39,345,313

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,535,451 (+524) cases and 7,203 (+27) losses of life.

World: 519,990,677 reported cases and 6,285,251 losses of life.

It's not weak to speak numbers to ring in the UK

"A fever whose cause couldn't be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April and more than 350 000 people got fever in a short span of time, and at least 162 200 out of them were healed completely. On May 12 alone, some 18 000 persons with fever occurred nationwide and as of now up to 187 800 people are being isolated and treated. Six persons died (one of them tested positive for the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.)"
North Korean official media KCNA.
I don't know about you, but by crikey I just want to give them a hug. 

MOC-82591 Medieval Church Brick Set Review (sent for review by Let Bricks)

I was recently sent the Let Bricks Medieval Church set MOC-82591 for review. This has been designed by Peter Keith, and I was sent a hand-picked set - so I do have some errors which are unlikely to appear in the final store product. 

This is a 516 piece set, which is a nice build and creates a really attractive little chapel... 

Let Bricks Medieval Church Brick Set completed model shown on a table

As it's only a 516 piece set it doesn't need to have numbered bags, and the instructions are on a USB key, so although you don't have a paper copy, you can access them on any device - and enlarge them at will.  

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update May 10th 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update May 10th 2022

UK COVID Statistics (most data, such as 'cases last 7 days' is now only updated by the UK on Mondays and Thursdays):
Cases last 7 days: 102,089 (average 14,584 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: Has not been updated since May 3rd
In hospital yesterday: 9,619 (well down from 12,475 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 214 (well down from 304 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,512 (average 216 per day)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 176,424
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 193,713
Tests last 7 days: 1,788,178 (average 255,454 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,264,512 (92.6% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,780,389 (86.6%)
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,345,313 (68.4%. Every time I type this I consider the fact that some people have had a 3rd jab and a booster and a Spring jab, so this percentage is meaningless now.)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,524,555 cases and 7,163 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 518,032,714 reported cases and 6,278,793 losses of life.

Young people off to uni get vaccinated photo of two hip young folk grinning at each other. His luck is in.

"I'm starting to see signs that many people (scientists included) are getting convinced that going forward, we no longer need to vaccinate against COVID-19. Why? Because infections will do the trick. That thought is as delusional today as it was in 2020. Let's not go there."
Kristian G. Andersen, Infectious diseases & genomics Professor and Immunologist at the Anderson Lab at Scripps Research Institute. 

Friday, 6 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th / 6th May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 4th / 5th / 6th May 2022

UK COVID Statistics:Cases last 7 days: 75,809 (average 10,829 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 7,126
In hospital yesterday: 10,763 (well down from 13,027 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 253 (well down from 302 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,300 (average 186 per day)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 176,212
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 192,464
Tests last 7 days: 1,808,795 (average 258,399 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,189,550 (92.5% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,730,039 (86.5%)
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,254,038 (68.3%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,522,363 (+889) cases and 7,131 (+23) losses of life.

World: 516,102,810 reported cases and 6,273,069 losses of life.

Smiling young person in partywear with hands drawn together and huge grin

From 09 May 2022, the Public Health Scotland COVID-19 dashboard will be updated on Mondays and Thursdays, before moving to weekly updates, on a Wednesday, from June.
(Handily I report on a Friday and Tuesday, so I should still have current data.)

Wales and UK headline vaccination data will now be updated weekly - data up to Thursday will be reported the following Monday.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Home: My Life in the Universe by Mark Ballabon. Teenage / Young Adult Book Review (sent for review)

Home: My Life In The Universe is written by Mark Ballabon, with illustrations by Grant Macdonald. It is suitable for teenage and young adult readers aged around 12+, and is a book which really does make you think about what home is, and where it is...?

The story focusses on Leah, a teenage girl who is growing into the adult she'll become. It is a coming-of-age tale, with the climate crisis and our place in the universe right at its heart. 

Book cover showing young woman standing at night in a field of grass under the stars

Leah is an 'ordinary' teenager, and she's unique, just like every teenager. She feels she is weird and different, yet really plain, and she's okay with individuality to a point, but she wants to fit in, and she wants to be liked, but she doesn’t enjoy the feeling of being plain. She also wants to try new experiences and push herself out of her comfort zone, which she does when, together with her younger brother, she goes away to spend 3 weeks at an international camp over Summer. It's there that she meets people who test her patience and her mood, and others who encourage her to understand that we all have a backstory - reasons why we act as we do. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update April 30th May 1st /2nd /3rd 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update April 30th May 1st /2nd /3rd 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 79,310 (average 11,330 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 8,840
In hospital yesterday: 12,475 (down from 14,929 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 304 (321 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,175
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 175,319
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 191,277
Tests last 7 days: 1,889,966 (average 269,995 per day)
Vaccination Data is delayed, so we'll leave it for today as it's still the same as Friday. 

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,519,296 (+491) cases and 7,092 (+5) losses of life.

World: 514,254,906 reported cases and 6,264,024 losses of life.

try to stay home if you have covid symptoms and image of woman sitting on sofa

Scottish guidance on isolation has changed. If you've tested positive you should stay at home for 3 days if you're 18 years and under, or for 5 days if you're over 18 years. Day 1 is the day after you took your test.
"Stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as coronavirus and have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities."
(Probably someone should tell them COVID isn't necessarily a respiratory infection.)

Friday, 29 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th/ 28th/ 29th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 27th/ 28th/ 29th April 2022

UK COVID Official Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 105,331 (average 15,047 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 9,493 (significantly down from  13,752 a week earlier)
In hospital yesterday: 13,027 (down from 16,447 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 302 (down from 339 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,560 (average 223 per day, significantly down on 1,956 a week earlier)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 174,912
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 191,277
Tests last 7 days: 2,158,217 (average 308,316 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,184,869
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,727,305
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,248,005

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,516,153 cases and 7,076 losses of life.

World: 512,394,235 reported cases and 6,257,163 losses of life.

Immunosuppressed booster time test and image of syringe and vaccine vials

"For fans of important things quietly collapsing - it's worth taking a glance at the NHS England ambulance time data.
The headline Category 1s  - "immediate life-threatening": times are rising above standards but don't look utterly terrifying.
Category 2s. These are still critically important; "needing rapid assessment and transport": includes intense chest pain and strokes. So a *mean* [most common average] pushing past an hour is ... terrifying. And in the South West: *mean* was 1hr 53 minutes with 90th %ile waits at 4hr 31 (not a typo). [10% of category 2 people waited 4hr31m or longer.]
Category 3s & 4s are similarly horrific, with SW again the worst (a Cat 3 "urgent problem requiring treatment in an acute setting" having a *mean* of over 6 hours).
All numbers are by some way the worst since the categories were introduced in 2017. "Collapse" seems fair."
Paul Mainwood, Head Of Strategy And Planning at Innocent Drinks, Philosophical Physicist Oxford Uni.
That's the bad news, now the better news... 

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 23rd - 26th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 23rd - 26th April 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 131,054 (average 18,722 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 10,386 (bear in mind many people are only in hospital overnight or for a couple of days)
In hospital yesterday: 14,929
Using a ventilator yesterday: 321
Losses of life last 7 days: 2,266 (this includes some backlog reported last week from Easter weekend - average 323 per day)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 174,144
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 190,124
Tests last 7 days: 2,310,897 (average 330,128 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,157,460
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,703,318
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,185,170

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,512,812 cases and 7,016 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 510,269,578 reported cases and 6,246,343 losses of life.

Since 1976 we have had vaccinations test and image of teenagers playing on a beach

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R.Tolkein, The Fellowship Of The Ring

Friday, 22 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20/21/22 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 20/21/22 April 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 185,625 (average 26,517 per day lollity lol - see ONS figures below)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 13,752 (I've added this measurement because it seems more useful now than case numbers, bearing in mind many people are only in hospital overnight or for a couple of days)
In hospital yesterday: 16,447 (down significantly from 19,028 eight days earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 339 (down slightly on 355 eight days earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,956
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 173,352
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause on the death certificate: 190,124
Tests last 7 days: 2,237,478 (average 319,639 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,087,904
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,661,362
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,125,015

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,509,536 (+1,163) cases and 6,996 (+3) losses of life.

World: 508,147,148 reported cases and 6,237,847 losses of life.

220422 ONS hospital admissions and deaths by age

"In the longer term we should expect millions of people to catch covid each year with the consequence that we have a population that is generally less healthy both from the burden of covid infection itself and the long-term consequences of long covid."
Kit Yates, member of UK indieSAGE advisory group, spelling out "Living With COVID" in plain English.  

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

ZEROWATER 5 Stage Advanced Water Filter Jug Review (sent for review)

We were recently sent the ZEROWATER 12 Cup / 2.8l Jug to review. This is a jug with a combined 5 stage ion-exchange water filter to remove all kinds of dissolved solids from your water before you drink it - and it fits neatly into the door pocket of a fridge. It also has a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter included, so you can see how effectively it works.

ZeroWater jug in packaging

As soon as you open the packaging, you see an important message - the filter should be replaced once the meter registers 6 or more. 

ZeroWater jug with packaged filter inside showing instructions

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

April 2022 #TBCSmiles 92 Months...

Hello Spring! We waited a long time for it, but Easter brought with it excellent weather and a chance for everyone to play out. We had a visit from Grandparents who we haven't seen since last Summer - and it's only the second time we've been able to see them since COVID arrived, so it was incredibly welcome. 

This month has been a bit unexpected for us, as 2 weeks ago we were given 8 weeks notice to leave our house. We've been here almost 15 years, and with 7 children growing up with us, we have accumulated a lot of stuff, and a lot of memories. 8 weeks simply isn't long enough. 

My sons 4th birthday - 2 brothers sitting on a sofa while one opens a huge LEGO set present

The imminent move has overshadowed Easter and completely filled our time, but we still made some smiles, and we still had an Easter egg hunt, and we have spent hours and hours carefully placing memories in boxes... it's much harder because we love this house and don't wish to leave, and it's where one of our children was born, and where one of our children died.

Easter in itself is full of memories for everyone who has lost someone. Christmas might be the big event, but Easter always involves family and friends, and reminders of what used to be. It's been a hard couple of weeks, and I think that probably shows. We are all exhausted here, and that isn't about to get any easier. It is also the reason that this month the smiles are very late. I simply wasn't in a place to do any writing last week - my apologies to everyone who has been waiting for this post!

My son on his 4th birthday holding a LEGO spaceman Benny model

You guys have all had your cameras out, and it's been a real pleasure to look through all of the smiles today. I inadvertently took photos up until today, so there may be a couple that really should be in next month, and snuck in. I'm not going to go back through them, I'll just accept that and keep moving forward. I'm only human... 

Here are just 9 of the biggest smiles you guys have shared over the past month (and 4 days) by using the #tbcsmiles hashtag on Instagram. The whole collection is well over 8,000 photos now, each one with an infectious grin, a chuckle or a wry smile, but all have a little joy to brighten your day. 

Anyone is welcome to join in with the smiles, you don't need a fancy camera or Instagram perfect house, as long as someone is smiling, that's all we need. After all is said and done, happiness is everything. 

tbcsmiles april 2022 collage showing 9 of your smiles

These smiles were shared by the following Instagrammers: 

OddHogg / PaigeWallbankxo / OurLittleEscapades

GirlyBones78 / BeautiesAndTheBibs / TheStrawberryFountain

SuburbanMum / Haylee_Louise_ / MrsShilts

My family made our own smiles, we really did, but I didn't bring out my camera much. We had a 12th birthday and our kitten Sonja to make us grin, so unsurprisingly star of this month's collection is my youngest son - who smiled through his entire birthday, even when he didn't win at bowling... even when life tests you, the smiles are always there if you look.

tbcsmiles april 2022 my smiles my youngests 12th birthday




COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 15th - 19th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 15th - 19th April 2022

UK Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 184,761 (average 26,394 per day - which I think we can safely assume is nowhere near a complete figure, although definitely cases are going down)
Hospital numbers have not been updated since last Thursday, but were steadily decreasing
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,483 (also steadily decreasing)
Tests last 7 days: 2,335,846 (average 333,692 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,041,898
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,762,640
Boosted / 3rd dose: 39,073,635

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,498,834 cases and 6,932 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 505,431,852 reported cases and 6,225,614 losses of life.

UK Gov call 111 for medical advice ridiculous image of child about to fall off a skateboard

"Long Covid will haunt us…We have the right to demand higher performance from vaccines…Vaccines can do more if they are adequately boosted, revised."
Dr Peter Hotez, co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Covid-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics Task Force, in an interview with the Indian Express.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon forgot to put on a mask when entering a barber's shop on Saturday - naughty! It's hardly Westminster level rule-breaking, more forgetful lack of care. (I personally twice walked into shops without a mask when it was the law down here, and I'm sure most of us have slipped up on that one.) Disappointingly she didn't suddenly realise and slap a mask on, in fact the entire barber's is heaving with bare-faced people. Tsk... The police were informed. Luckily for Nicola, they decided "no further action" was necessary - and possibly that had something to do with the fact that Scotland's face mask rulings came to an end at midnight on Sunday anyway. She appears to have escaped with a telling off, and has apologised.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 12th / 13th / 14th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 12th / 13th / 14th April 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 238,938 (average 34,134 per day)
In hospital yesterday 13th April: 19,028 (DOWN from 20,331 on 7th April / 19,575 on 31st March)
Using a ventilator: 355 (static for the last 2 weeks)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,984 (average 283 per day - UP and really a lot of people. Hopefully it'll start to slow down soon, as hospitalisations are now falling and deaths lag by around 2-3 weeks)
Tests last 7 days: 2,901,904 (average 414,557 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 52,978,585 (92.1% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,592,843 (86.2%)
Boosted / 3rd dose: 39,028,451 (67.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,498,834 (+1,924) cases and 6,932 (+13) losses of life.

World: 502,498,972 reported cases and 6,215,965 losses of life.

World Health Organisation Celebrate safely ventilate, play out

"It did not occur to me that this might be a breach of the rules"
Mr Thicky McThick, the most vacuous man in Britain, explaining how he didn't understand that "no gatherings" during lockdown meant people shouldn't gather.
Oops, no, my error. It's Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, the man who created the rules and then stood at a ridiculously expensive podium and told us all about them - repeatedly. He is either as clever as a house brick, or a complete liar. You choose.