Tuesday 4 January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus English Briefing With Boris 4th January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus English Briefing With Boris 4th January 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases INCLUDES BACKLOG from N.I. and WALES: 13,641,520 (+218,724)
In Hospital on Friday 31st December: 14,126
Using A Ventilator: 883
Losses of Life: 148,941 (+48)
Tests: 1,703,612
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 51,820,652 (90.1% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 47,482,789 (82.6%)
Boosted: 34,363,986 (59.8%)

vaccine effectiveness against omicron chart

Boris did a virtual press conference from Downing Street today, to address the fact that several NHS hospitals and trusts have declared critical incidents due to high demand, staff absence and rapidly rising COVID admissions.
Among the hospital trusts which are reportedly struggling are:
Lincolnshire (includes Lincoln, Boston and Grantham)
Morecambe Bay (includes Lancaster and Kendall)
Great Western (Swindon)
Plymouth (includes Derriford)
Gloucestershire (includes Cheltenham)
West Midlands Ambulance Service
North East Ambulance Service
Whole Norfolk and Waveney (including ambulance, community, hospitals and social services)
West Suffolk

040122 daily stats

Boris was flanked by newly-Sir Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) and Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Adviser) and started by running through the current situation:
"This is a moment for the utmost caution" but Omicron is different. It's milder and we have less people seriously ill in hospital, and we have vaccinated and boosted the vast majority.
"We have a chance to ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once again. We can keep our schools and our businesses open, and we can find a way to live with this virus.
But the weeks ahead are going to be challenging, both here in the UK and across the world. There is no escaping the fact that some services will be disrupted by staff absences."

He says this is nothing compared to the disruption we face with a lockdown, and if we work together, we can do this.

The Government have identified 100,000 critical workers in areas from food processing to transport, border force etc, and from 10th January they will roll out lateral flow testing for all of those workers on every working day.
Qualified teachers have been asked to come back and temporarily fill absences, and all secondary students and staff will be testing.
NHS capacity will be built on with temporary Nightingale hubs at hospitals - and 2,500 'virtual beds' where people can be safely treated at home.
We have purchased more antivirals per head than any other country in Europe.
We are mobilising the volunteers - the territorial army of the NHS - and are identifying which trusts are more likely to need assistance.
"As our NHS moves to a war footing, I will be recommending to cabinet tomorrow that we continue with Plan B, because the public have responded and changed their behaviour - changed your behaviour - buying valuable time to get boosters in arms and help the NHS to cope with the Omicron wave." 

040121 UK Briefing COVID cases

Work from home if you can
Wear face coverings
Take a test before seeing people you don't usually meet (especially vulnerable people)
Get that booster

At best we've administered over 900,000 boosters in a single day. The freedoms we've been able to maintain have been due to people getting boosted. Boris thanks everyone involved, including NHS staff. Almost 9m people are eligible for a booster and haven't had it.
As many as 90% of people in intensive care haven't had their booster.
Over 60% of people in intensive care with COVID haven't had any vaccinations (approx 61% apparently).
There are 2m booster shots available this week alone.
"The best way to contain this virus, help our NHS and keep our country open is to get boosted. So please get boosted now."

040121 UK Briefing COVID cases in the community percentage of pop positive

Chris with the slides. (Everest on the right hand side of every graph)..
1 in every 25 people in England had COVID in the week ending 23rd December, and that will have risen since then.
Data DOES demonstrate lower rates of hospitalisation, but there are still considerable numbers of people going to hospital. London has been ahead of the rest of England, but clearly numbers are rising everywhere.
In slightly better news, it is possible Omicron is showing signs of slowing in London IN YOUNGER PEOPLE. Its not going down, but the line could be beginning to tip over slightly into a curve. (You simply can't infect millions of people week on week without beginning to run out of bodies.) There are fears that we've mainly infected younger age groups, and the older age groups will follow.
Chris talks about artificially high/low numbers because of bank holidays. Despite this, we are not seeing huge rises in numbers of people who are losing their life.
In every age band people are significantly protected by vaccination.
Chris is so jittery! He mumbles and stumbles over his words a lot. 

040121 UK Briefing COVID hospitalisations

Public ask at what level would the Government implement tougher restrictions?
Boris runs through the current restrictions and now he's stumbling over his words. He takes a 2 second break at one point. He lists extra NHS staff who have been pulled back to work. He says how sad it is that people aren't vaccinated. He talks about damage to economy and mental health, and  does NOT give an answer to the question. 

Public asked how we can use lateral flow test results on day 6 and 7 to show people are no longer infectious, when previously we were all told tests might not work accurately for 90 days after you have COVID?
Chris says PCR tests are more sensitive and they will be less accurate after you've had COVID, but the lateral flow are good for this job... 

040121 UK Briefing COVID hospitalisations by area England

Press asked is it highly likely or highly unlikely we'll have restrictions again. Boris nearly answered, and then changed his mind. He says "we have a good chance to get through the Omicron wave", including without a lockdown.
Patrick says it's now clear that there is a reduced chance of hospitalisation, plus massive protection from vaccination, but we don't know when the peak will be. We do expect more hospitalisations as older age groups are more affected.
Chris says ICU pressure won't be as it was before, but Ambulance/A & E / GP etc will be under massive pressure. Workforce problems because of staff absence will also mean less people to care for patients.  It'll be patchy across the country, some areas will have real issues over the coming weeks.
Patrick reminds us testing is also stretched. 

Press ask if they are confident ALL patients will be cared for in the coming weeks? Boris says he's "confident we'll get through it". He says lockdowns have other consequences. "We think the balanced approach we're taking is the right one."
He did NOT answer the question. 

Press asked Chris how he felt as a medic that beds were being taken up by people who had refused a vaccine?
Boris answered first "how absolutely crazy it is".
Chris says "I'm rather saddened. The great majority aren't 'anti-vaxxers'" He says they aren't vaccinated because they don't feel they need it, don't think it works, or worry about side effects. He's sad that they are being misled.

040121 UK Briefing COVID hospitalisations by reason England

This morning Andrew Pollard of the JCVI said we can't keep giving people jabs every 6 months. Press asked if the panel agreed with this?
Patrick replied. With each vaccination you actually broaden your protection for more variants, and parts of that protection are very long lasting. He agrees it's not the long term aim to give EVERYONE a jab every few months, although it may be handy for vulnerable people. It's likely we will end up with an annual COVID jab, the same as flu.
He says what's happening with jabs and boosters now is temporary... "we need that because it's the very early stages of this disease..." (no expectation we'll get rid of COVID for a decade or two then...). He says this'll settle, the same as other infectious diseases. 

Boris answered questions on booster jabs and COVID passes. If you have COVID then you have to wait a month (or 3 if you are a teenager) to get a vaccination. If you wish to go somewhere abroad before this can happen, and they won't allow you entry, there's nothing Boris can do. He says he will avoid making unfair COVID pass decisions in the UK.  

Press asked has it reached a peak in London?
Unanimously the answer is NO (sorry guys).
Chris and Pat both say that until the wave has gone through all of the age groups, London hasn't peaked. It is only just beginning to affect older and more vulnerable people, and we aren't sure exactly how this is going to go. Sensible behaviour has kept hospitalisations low so far, it needs to continue. 

040121 UK Briefing COVID hospitalisations by vaccination status

Message of the day is, 'GET BOOSTED'. The data is really clear. It's also not a good time to take up chainsaw juggling or sushi making.

Please please please let me reiterate that emergency services are there if you need them. Hospital beds are there if you need them.
Declaring critical incidents may mean cancelled holidays for staff, shipping patients from one area to another, having to make your own way to hospital, cancelling out-patient appointments, no-one having any sympathy for you if you're drunk. That sort of thing. If you need medical attention then seek it. Ring 111 if you need help or advice, or 999 if a life is in danger. Always. 

040121 UK Briefing COVID deaths

I should be back on Friday with the regular report - and I am waiting on a PCR test result (yet again), and sneezing like a goodun. So we shall see...

A soothing word for anyone struggling to get back into a regular routine this week, especially if you've been ill or are ill. Please look after yourself, and take it easy. COVID is almost universally exhausting, and you'll recover much more quickly if you are kind to yourself...

Stay Sensible, Ventilate, Save The NHS... 









"'We can’t vaccinate the planet every six months', says JCVI chief" https://twitter.com/i/events/1478270409577361409?t=CHHqV5fPAsHEu3mBidb9EA&s=09









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