Monday 3 January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st, 2nd, 3rd January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 1st, 2nd, 3rd January 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 13,422,815 (+157,758)
In Hospital on Wednesday 29th, which is a LONG time ago : 11,918
Using A Ventilator on Wednesday 29th: 868
Losses of Life: 148,893 (+42 - which is really not the true figure, sorry guys).
Tests: 1,507,040
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 51,800,798 (90.1% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 47,451,922 (82.5%)
Boosted: 34,205,472 (59.5%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 845,897 (+16,986) cases and 5,912 losses of life.

World: 291,008,224 reported cases and 5,462,688 losses of life.

get boosted 2022

"To achieve my No.1 New Year's resolution, we need all governments, COVID19 vaccine makers and partners to ACTogether to vaccinate 70% of people in every country by July 2022,
With VaccinEquity, we can end the pandemic.
But we must start now: The clock is ticking."
Dr Tedros, head of the World Health Organisation, with a reminder we in the UK are in a very privileged position. Only 8.5% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

“I would say to everybody looking at the pressures on the NHS in the next couple of weeks, and maybe longer, looking at the numbers of people who are going to be going into hospital, it will be absolute folly to say that this thing is all over now.
We’ve got to remain cautious. We got to stick with Plan B. We’ve got to get boosted.”
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister. He's utterly determined no more restrictions will be implemented, but simultaneously kind of serious and realistic. Mixed messaging at it's finest. Oh yeah, and get boosted. 

Some of the UK COVID team have been awarded plaudits in the New Year's Honours.  Congratulations Dame Jenny Harries, Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Jon Van-Tam.
Not universally popular choices, some people go so far as to suggest this may be a thank you for toeing the party line.  I couldn't possibly comment... although as I recall "children don't transmit COVID" (we needed schools open for people to go to work), "masks don't work" (we didn't have any), "COVID can't travel further than 2 metres" (it made it easier to keep everything open).

132 million COVID vaccinations in the UK

inews is reporting that lab workers are saying up to half of all UK test results are positive. They are working around the clock to try and keep up with demand, but it's proving almost impossible, especially as lots of their workers are also off with COVID.
Remember that any delays to testing or reaching limits of capability will mean we aren't seeing true numbers.

Anyone who is struggling to get COVID testing, Nadhim Zahawi has a fix. He says keep refreshing the Web page. That'll do it...
To be fair to him, I have managed to order PCR tests and some lateral flow tests over the past 3 days, so he's not entirely wrong - more are genuinely becoming available during the course of the day. 

Nadhim also reiterated the Government messaging - 3 or 4 English MP's over the past 24 hours have informed us that 'the data does not support further restrictions'.
Let's hope that confidence is right... The next time they are due to return to parliament after the Christmas/New Year break is this Wednesday. 

take lateral flow tests

According to The Sunday Times, almost 1 in every 10 NHS staff was off work on New Year's Eve.
Wales' Morriston Hospital in Swansea was only able to provide limited emergency services over the New Year weekend.
The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust on Monday declared a "Critical Incident" and in emails shared by ITV told its sites that it is "unable to maintain safe staffing levels", which will ultimately lead to "compromised care". Extra staff are being drafted in from elsewhere, but as this is likely to happen in many places, so you can see how this has the potential to tumble.
Buckle up, DO NOT run on stairs with scissors. No using power tools you don't know the name of. If you regularly rely on any medications, please don't forget to take them - think of things like blood pressure medications, epilepsy meds, insulin, heart or blood medications. Look after yourself first. 

let fresh air in

Face coverings will make a return to UK secondary school classrooms. People are already complaining "think of the kids". Well, I have 2 of my own, and they have friends, and a quick straw poll shows no-one I've spoken to is remotely bothered. So, erm...  yeah. (remember it's stranger for you than it is for them, because you had substantially more years without masks than they did.)
This is not even intended to protect young people as much as it is the staff - because if we don't have staff, the school shuts anyway.
In order to prevent school closures, Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi is also suggesting "utilising all your available teaching and non-teaching workforce to maximise on-site education for as many pupils as possible while you flexibly deliver provision either on-site or remotely to some pupils".
One suggestion is merging classes into larger groups, which is herd immunity in action - it's basically a chicken pox party. Other options are a lot safer for unvaccinated or vulnerable students. Many countries have gone for part-time in-school tuition, which really does seem a sensible way to have just half of the virus-sharing bodies present, while still safeguarding vulnerable students and having that physical contact. 

Around 500,000 of the UK's 16 and 17 year olds aren't yet vaccinated. (Pssst kids. You aren't immune, ignore what Lord Sir Jenny Harries said.)

Kids at secondary school or college

Teaching Unions and the Labour Party are all a bit miffed that just 7,000 extra air cleaning units have been supplied to cover all of the UK's early years facilities, schools and colleges. As ideally you'd need one in every classroom, that's over 293,000 short. You might need a re-think on that one chaps....

France has followed the trend and reduced to 7 days self-isolation for contacts and people who test positive, dependent on negative test results and /or full vaccination.
They are reporting over 200,000 new cases a day, and have increased some other measures - including making masks mandatory in public indoor spaces for anyone aged 6 or over. 

Taiwan has rejected the US CDC decision to cut self-isolation to 5 days for positive cases. They have called them out - saying that people with Omicron regularly test positive for up to 12 days. 

Well, we have a funny story about that. See, our London 22 year old got 3 negative tests in a row (day 6 and 7), came up here for New Year and then tested positive twice in a row (day 8 and 9). As our 24 year old tested positive at the same time, barely hours after the 22 year old arrived, it didn't have the gravity it might otherwise have done.
Highly likely they're both Omicron... so how we laughed... well, once we'd had a little New Year tipple at least. We are now waiting on PCR test results... again. We basically had our own unplanned chicken pox party.
How blessed are we that we are vaccinated and boosted, and can afford to laugh... 

wear a faCE COVERING

Eventually we will have to just go for it, remove restrictions, put up with COVID and treat it like flu blah blah. In case you hadn't realised, that is EXACTLY what we are attempting right now in the UK.
If you are fully vaccinated and boosted, your chance of ending up in hospital is miniscule, less than 1/5th of what it was before. For people aged around 40 or less, it's likely to be 1% or less.
Your chance of becoming seriously ill is likewise reduced to around 1/5th of what it was, PLUS extra because we have antivirals, antibodies, and all kinds of fun treatments. Your chance of dying from COVID is dramatically reduced from where we were at the start.
Evidence suggests Omicron attacks the bronchus, not the lungs. It is likely to cause less severe illness, less permanent damage.
If you were a government determined to go for it, now seems a good time - but do not forget that PEOPLE WILL DIE in pretty large numbers.... this will have a lasting effect on our mental health, our psyche, our communities, our emotions. We won't forget this time, even if it proves "successful". 

Disaster at the Belgian-run Princess Elisabeth Polar Research Station in Antarctica - at least 16 of the 25 staff have tested positive.  The first case was discovered on 14th December - a staff member who had returned from South Africa a week earlier. Despite evacuating 3 positive people on December 23rd, COVID has continued to spread. Luckily they have 2 doctors, the ability to do their own PCR tests, and everyone is double vaccinated with mild symptoms... 

Kuwait is the latest country to advise against travel to the UK, telling citizens to delay trips and even return home if they are in European countries hit hard by Omicron - particularly France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.

WHO mild COVID for health professionals page 2

Remember folks, Omicron likes to reproduce in the bronchus rather than the lungs. Instead of going deep into your lungs and causing pneumonia and a dry cough, it is more likely than other variants (but definitely not always) to make a home in your bigger pipework, your throat and nose, giving you a wet phlegmy cough you can't quite clear, and making you sneezy, snotty and congested, with a sore, muggy head.
Excellent news as regards the pneumonia and potential lung damage, but a big part of why Omicron is easier to catch and spread. 

Famous People With COVID:
Lionel Messi, Juan Bernat, Sergio Rico and Nathan Bitumazala - and presumably by now some more of the Paris Saint-Germain football team.
Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip of Liverpool’s Premier League football team.
Footballers. All the footballers! 

Trump Of The Day:
Republican Representative for Georgia Marjorie Taylor Greene. She has repeatedly shared COVID misinformation, and on January 1st Twitter announced she had her 5th strike and permanently suspended her account. Happy New Year! 

Potential bad news for anyone who is a fan of the double nostril lateral flow tests. Omicron may possibly be more easily detected in the throat - anecdotal reports are suggesting several people have tested negative in the nostril and positive in the throat.
As it doesn't really matter to us, I now insist my family do mouth first for any lateral flow tests, especially as we have COVID in the house again, and it's very likely to be Omicron. 

COVAX December 2021 900 million doses delivered

EVERYTHING in the UK is going to suffer from staff absences. We are in that worst case scenario where "everyone catches it at once", which we've tried so hard to avoid for 2 years. It won't only fill our hospitals. Whatever you are hoping to achieve may be delayed, and we are all going to have to have patience for the next couple of months.
When everyone at the nut and bolt factory is ill, and the drivers aren't there to transport stock, and the flour isn't being delivered to the biscuit factory, and the cleaners can't get to work because the busses aren't running... it all very swiftly collapses...
However frustrated you are, you aren't alone, and you can't change it. Be kind, everyone else is in the same boat. Now is when we need to work together. It's temporary, it will pass... 

'If that was the Omicron variant, I think it's really good that everybody has it and we build up immunity.'
Rachel Johnson, recently COVID positive and sister of Boris.
Let me remind you that my own very healthy and fit 22 year old daughter was ill for 12 days, with oxygen levels of 90%. Rachel seems to think that if she ran across the road and was fine, everyone would be. That isn't true. There is a risk. It may be much reduced, but there will always be a risk.

Happy New Year! We are into 2022 and in the UK about to resume "regular life". It's a scary prospect and no-one is under an obligation to do anything that terrifies them. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. If you cannot cope with a return to in-person work or education, speak to the people in charge. Your boss or your head teacher may be able to put your mind at ease, or bring you back more slowly. If you're too scared to function, you're probably over-reacting, but just saying that doesn't make it better, and you'll be useless if you are forced to mix. You need gentle care and compassion, and anyone in charge should appreciate that. Take a deep breath, explain your fears, and I hope you will receive humanity in return. We are ALL a bit scared, but for the vast majority of us, it WILL be okay.

I hope 2022 brings you all the things you wish yourself.

Some numbers. All deserved to have a better 2022:

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

USA 56,142,175 (+185,122) 847,408 (+162)

UK 13,235,401 (+137,583) 148,851 (+73)

Italy 6,328,058 (+61,028) 137,646 (+133)

France 10,250,358 (+58,432) 123,942 (+91)

Canada 2,254,663 (+35,127) 30,369 (+30)

India 34,922,882 (+33,750) 481,893 (+123)

Turkey 9,552,801 (+33,520) 82,635 (+129)

Australia 462,928 (+32,216) 2,259 (+6)

Argentina 5,694,930 (+20,502) 117,204 (+23)

Russia 10,537,966 (+18,233) 310,518 (+811)

Greece 1,258,495 (+17,633) 20,910 (+61)

Netherlands 3,165,793 (+17,478) 20,957 (+6)

Ireland 828,911 (+17,071) 5,912

Vietnam 1,763,040 (+16,948) 32,831 (+221)

Germany 7,208,790 (+12,636) 112,878 (+52)

Colombia 5,181,173 (+11,318) 130,026 (+40)

Portugal 1,424,016 (+11,080) 18,990 (+14)

Mexico 3,988,916 (+9,193) 299,525 (+97)

Switzerland 1,357,807 (+8,130) 12,330 (+5) 





"NHS struggles as sickness takes out 1 in 10 staff"


WHO images for home care workers:

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