Sunday 30 January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 29th / 30th January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 29th / 30th January 2022

There is no case data from Northern Ireland today. Some Scottish data may also be missing, and from tomorrow we get reinfection data - because at the moment most cases only count if they are a first time for someone.

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 16,468,522 (+62,399)
Losses of Life: 155,698 (+85)
Tests: 1,285,156
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 52,331,601 (91% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 48,385,074 (84.1%)
Boosted: 37,263,317 (64.8%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,169,645 cases and 6,136 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 374,079,792 reported cases and 5,678,233 officially reported losses of life.

from 3rd feb covid pass for younger teenagers

"30 January 2020 - two years ago today, WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern to alert the world to the dangers of COVID19.
A Public Health Emergency of International Concern is  WHO’ s highest level of alert under international law."
The World Health Organisation. 

Happy Anniversary to all of us... 2 years ago I was mostly a games and young adult books reviewer who loved STEM and kids science, and in a previous life used to teach people for the NHS. I certainly cannot believe I'm still here...
Sometimes life makes plans for us.  

From 3rd Feb the UK NHS digital COVID pass will also be available for children aged 12-15.

This weekend the UK's vaccine programme was rolled out to vulnerable children aged 5-11. Children with conditions including diabetes, learning disabilities or immunosuppression will be offered 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine 1/3 the size of regular doses (10mcg), 8 weeks apart.

The UK Government released a lot of technical information on Omicron sub-variant BA.2 at the end of the week. It is all early days and there is a lot of estimating.
UK Health Security Agency Epidemiologist Meaghan Kall summarises that it suggests BA.2 is potentially up to 30% easier to spread, more people will infect their households, vaccines can stop as much severe illness with Omicron BA.1 as they can BA.2, and it's no more dangerous. Early days, but it could look worse. She also believes it will take over and become the dominant strain, but so many people are fully vaccinated and boosted in the UK and/or just had Omicron BA.1, that even a brand new BA.2 wave wouldn't be the same as the Omicron BA.1 wave at all.
Basically, nothing to panic over in those figures, but we are in a fortunate position in the UK. Let's sit and watch what occurs in London, where it is beginning to take over first. 

300122 daily stats uk

I've always been concerned we don't take Long COVID seriously enough, and finally it is getting some headlines and consideration.
A new UK study (not-yet-peer-reviewed) has compared lung function in 3 different groups:
- 11 people with Long COVID and breathlessness who had not been admitted to hospital when infected
- 12 people who had been admitted to hospital with COVID but did not report as having Long COVID
- and 13 healthy people.
By using xenon gas, which is visible on an MRI scan, they were able to clearly see lung abnormalities in both of the COVID groups when participants were breathing. These can't always be seen on regular scans, so this is really important proof of what exactly might be going on inside.
The first news about lung damage from COVID came 2 years ago from China - we have ignored this at our own risk. 

We are being warned not to rely too heavily on Long COVID studies which have questions such as "Have you experienced any of these symptoms over the past year". It isn't how we'd identify premenstrual tension or a broken leg. We should always pay attention to things like symptom groups and timing.
We know Long COVID follows distinct patterns e.g. breathlessness eases more quickly than brain fog or tiredness, which may not even be an apparent symptom at first. 

The US CDC have released tons of data on rates of vaccination in patients who lost their lives to COVID.
"In 25 U.S. jurisdictions, decreases in case incidence rate ratios for unvaccinated versus fully vaccinated persons with and without booster vaccine doses were observed when the Omicron variant emerged in December 2021. Protection against infection and death during the Delta-predominant period against infection during Omicron emergence were higher among booster vaccine dose recipients, and especially among persons aged 50–64 and ≥65 years."
Frankly that deserves a medal for the LEAST READABLE THING EVER!!!
Gordon Bennett.
So, they looked at what happened in 25 different areas. More single or double vaccinated people caught COVID when Omicron came along, however boosted people were much less likely to catch COVID or die from it, especially those aged 50 or over.
When Delta was the biggest variant, compared with fully vaccinated and boosted people:
- unvaccinated people were 13.9 times more likely to catch COVID
- unvaccinated people were 53.2 times more likely to die from COVID
(4.0 and 12.7 times the risks compared with fully vaccinated, but no booster).

In Russia - cases are around 100,000 a day and restrictions in various areas include some that are very different to those in the UK:
- businesses must have at least 30% of their workers work from home
- teenagers are not allowed in shopping centres without adults
- In Moscow the transport cards for people who are over 60 years old and chronically ill have been blocked
- a ban on smoking hookah pipes has been introduced in cafes

Joe Lycett, softly spoken UK comedian, has written the most amazing letter about his friend, who died during the 2020 lockdown - while the UK Government were apparently busy partying.
He speaks for many thousands of other people in similar positions.
Joe, I am truly so very sorry you have lost him.  

Joe Lycett my friend died in lockdown while the UK Government partied

Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister is isolating after his child tested positive for COVID. This has led to lots of online name calling and tutting, as Canadians believe he may be telling a white lie in order to avoid the "Freedom Convoy" of truckers. He and his family have been temporarily removed from their official residence.

And the "Freedom Convoy" did in fact arrive in Ottawa on Saturday. Nothing like the 70,000 trucks and 1.4m people from the most exciting rumours, but still quite a few. I've only seen reports that a couple of thousand vehicles had been expected, videos with tens of trucks and bags of rubbish left behind, it's been a very successful media blackout, or a damp squib - you decide.
The protest is mainly against vaccine mandates and COVID passes for travel, and really a lot of the more extreme hangers on did not help their cause at all. 

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's Prime Minister, is isolating after being identified as a close contact - she was on a domestic flight with someone who has tested positive.

The price of fear is high.
Two nurses from Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville, Long Island, have been arrested for selling fake COVID vaccine cards. They kept hand-written ledgers showing that at $220 for adults and $85 for children, they had made around $1.5 million dollars just between November 2021 and January 2022. 

Famous People With COVID:
Actor and Billie Piper's Embarrassing Ex-husband, Lawrence Fox. He is a vocal anti-vaxxer and COVID-sceptic, and says "I'm so happy to be joining the natural immunity club". Additionally he informs us he'll be taking Ivermectin de-wormer. 

Hoax Of The Day:
It's a long stayer this one - and it's parasite-killer Ivermectin. This will swiftly deal with worms and other internal parasites in a selection of mammals, but the FDA, CDC, WHO and other agencies with 3 letter acronym names all agree - there's nothing to suggest it helps with COVID. Even the manufacturers say so.
You can't prove a negative, so no-one can ever prove it definitely doesn't work, but when you look at the figures for trials, there's just nothing there guys. I wish there was because it's cheap as chips. In the meantime it continues to be the under-the-counter randomly-selected drug-of-choice for people who refuse to take a tried-and-tested proven vaccine. Please don't self-medicate, and don't take anything in quantities designed for a horse. 

Researchers earlier this month published the peer-reviewed -  "Indirect effects of the covid-19 pandemic on childhood infection in England: population based observational study".
This looked at Children aged 0-14 years admitted to an NHS hospital with specific childhood infections from 1 March 2017 to 30 June 2021.
They found restrictions and measures in place to curb COVID had a very marked effect on some other ailments:
- influenza dropped from an annual average of 5,379 paediatric hospital admissions to just 304 (1st March 2020 to 28th February 2021). A 94% reduction.
- bronchiolitis dropped from an annual average of 51,655 to 9,423 - an 82% reduction.
- meningitis dropped by 50%
- mumps dropped by 53%
- measles dropped by 90%
"Reductions were seen across all demographic subgroups and in children with underlying comorbidities. Corresponding decreases were also found for the absolute numbers of 60 day case fatalities..."
There was a warning that "More recent data indicate that some respiratory infections increased to higher levels than usual after May 2021", but despite some valid concerns we didn't suffer an especially big epidemic of respiratory infections over 2021.

300122 Omicron BA.2 Risk Assessment UK HSA

When did COVID begin? Where did it begin? Big questions with no answers, and some more mystery from Norway this week, where researchers have found COVID in a 4 blood samples taken from pregnant women, before the first known European cases in France in February 2020. In fact the earliest Norwegian sample was collected on 12th December 2019.
Samples are stored anonymously, so where she caught it will always be a mystery... 

Olympic Hopefuls:
It is long-standing tradition that condoms are available to athletes at the Olympic Games, and despite even hugs being discouraged in Beijing, free Olympic-themed condoms are being supplied for the participants. 

German busses have a great sticker in the front to show who can travel - it says "3G" - which in German stands for tested, vaccinated, recovered. That's not even the funny part. It has images of a lateral flow test, a syringe and health symbol. People are pointing out the lateral flow test in the picture has two lines - it's a positive... 

Joni Mitchell, 1960's singing starlet and eco-warrior musician, has joined Neil Young and asked Spotify to remove all of her music. Now if you want a reminder of Big Yellow Taxi you'll have to find it elsewhere. Other artists are reportedly saying they're also going, but as yet I haven't seen anything official, and this world is such a mess that most of them don't even have the rights to say that about their own songs because they sold them years ago! 

The UK made big changes to the Highway Code this weekend - they apply to England, Scotland and Wales. Drivers of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in a collision now have the greatest responsibility to protect others. Pedestrians, horses and bike riders are given priority (in that order), and drivers of motorised vehicles follow on (in size order).
This gives respect back to all the lower income people, disabled people, younger people and kids who don't have the option to drive, and it's more in line with the hierarchy of road users in a lot of Europe.
I've seen a lot of comments saying the changes are dangerous - and lots more saying "only if you aren't paying attention".
If you are driving 2 tons of highly powered metal, you should be fully aware of your potential to kill people at any minute. Likewise, if you are riding a bike or crossing a road, you should be aware of your own risk - all the laws in the world aren't going to be any consolation to your loved ones if you are a crumpled bloodied heap. 

highway code new rules Jan 2022

Chinese New Year begins on the 1st February, and it's the Year Of The Tiger. I will be back Tuesday all being well, but my best wishes to all of you tigers out there - including my youngest child.
Xīnnián hǎo 新年好
Gong hei fat choy
Or as Abba would say - Happy New Year!

Some people. They look like numbers, but they are all people:

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):

Russia 11,737,007 (+121,228) 330,728 (+617)

Italy 10,925,485 (+104,065) 146,149 (+235)

Germany 9,760,540 (+92,921) 118,377 (+42)

Japan 2,584,596 (+82,159) 18,729 (+43)

Netherlands 4,320,257 (+75,164) 21,272 (+2)

UK 16,468,522 (+62,399) 155,698 (+85)

Poland 4,852,677 (+48,251) 105,161 (+23)

Mexico 4,916,143 (+42,582) 305,762 (+522)

Australia 2,570,523 (+36,373) 3,718 (+86)

Peru 3,196,488 (+35,756) 205,347 (+235)

Israel 2,794,156 (+35,125) 8,669 (+11)

Denmark 1,640,162 (+34,141) 3,738 (+21)

Chile 2,137,743 (+28,480) 39,684 (+31)

Austria 1,828,167 (+27,127) 14,091 (+14)

Ukraine 4,042,469 (+24,508) 100,125 (+94)

Iran 6,344,179 (+21,996) 132,424 (+44)

Romania 2,196,394 (+19,668) 59,984 (+51) 





Joe Lycett - image

"Joni Mitchell removes her music from Spotify, joining Neil Young in protest"

Childhood illness:

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