Friday 7 January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 5th / 6th and 7th January 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 5th / 6th and 7th January 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 14,193,228 (+178,250)
In Hospital Yesterday Thursday 6th January: 18,454 (up from 11,918 last Wednesday 29th December - 8 days ago).
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 868 (exactly the same as 8 days ago).
Losses of Life: 149,744 (+229)
Tests: 1,820,674
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 51,897,289 (90.2% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 47,600,028 (82.8%)
Boosted/ 3rd Dose: 35,066,144 (61%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 930,598 (+21,926) cases and 5,952 losses of life.

World: 301,642,122 reported cases and 5,492,986 losses of life.

How to really help the NHS - listed below

"While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as ‘mild’.
Just like previous variants; Omicron is hospitalizing people and it is killing people.
In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.
Hospitals are becoming overcrowded and understaffed, which further results in preventable deaths from not only COVID-19 but other diseases and injuries where patients cannot receive timely care."
Dr Tedros of the World Health Organisation, feeling very strongly that the words "Omicron" and "Mild" together in the same sentence are giving a lot of people a false illusion of security. 

"Well there, the unvaccinated, I really want to p*ss them off. And so we will continue to do so, until the end. This is the strategy..."
Emmanuel Macron, French President, no mincer of words, and a very strong believer that to be a part of a society, you should take some responsibility for protecting the health of others in that society.
"We put pressure on the unvaccinated by limiting for them, as much as possible, access to social life activities. I'm not going to put them in jail, I'm not going to forcibly vaccinate them. And so, you have to tell them: from January 15, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant, you will no longer be able to go out for a drink, you will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theater, you will no longer be going to the cinema… ”
“When my freedom threatens the freedom of others, I become irresponsible. An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen. ”

Long COVID to December 2021 totals 1.3 million people in the UK

Temporarily from January 11th in England (from today in Wales and Scotland) if you test positive by lateral flow and don't have any symptoms, you won't need to confirm the result with a PCR test - so you can begin your 7 day isolation countdown immediately (10 days if you are aged 18+ and aren't vaccinated).
This is so that everyone can get a move on with their lives more quickly, and it'll also help clear the massive backlog of tests.
Anyone and everyone with symptoms should still take a PCR test, and a positive PCR overrides any lateral flow test results - that has not changed. You will also need a positive PCR to claim support payments. 

Scotland have cut self-isolation for asymptomatic positive cases to 7 days, as long as you test negative by lateral flow on 2 consecutive tests at least 24 hours apart (same as England).
They have also removed the requirement for self-isolation for fully vaccinated contacts or children under 16, they can do daily lateral flow tests instead.
Other current Scottish restrictions remain unchanged. 

The UK hospital situation is not going well, and pressure is expected to increase for a few weeks after case numbers begin to fall - which is a long way off because they're still rising in almost every local authority area of the UK. On top massive staff absences mean continuing to offer a safe level of care is increasingly difficult.
Data released today shows NHS staff absences due to COVID, IN ENGLAND ALONE, were:
12,240 on December 12th
18,829 on December 19th
24,197 on Christmas Day
40,149 on New Year’s Eve
39,142 on January 2nd (almost a week ago).
This morning it was announced that 200 military troops are being immediately deployed in London hospitals, There will be 40 teams of 5, each comprising of a medic and 4 general staff, and they'll be on-site for at least 3 weeks.
32 military co-responders will also provide additional capacity to the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) - they're expected to be on task until the end of March.
I would hope the North will also get help should it request it. The North West had 7,338 hospital staff absent due to COVID on January 2nd, the North East and Yorkshire had 8,788 staff absent.

070122 daily stats UK HSA

Greater Manchester hospitals are reportedly running at 96% of bed capacity, and all non-urgent surgeries and appointments have been paused at 17 hospitals.
The total number of COVID patients in Greater Manchester hospitals almost tripled in the 2 weeks between 20th December (346) and 3rd January (1,020).

The number of children being hospitalised in England is raising eyebrows everywhere. It's incredibly unsettling, and frankly if you and I could see the potential for this all along, how on Earth did we ever get the point people like Sir Jenny Dame Harries were saying kids didn't catch COVID?
In the week ending 27th December 2021, 328 children aged 0 to 5 were admitted to hospital with COVID in England alone.
In the week from 28th December to 3rd January, 569 children aged 0 to 5 were admitted to hospital with COVID in England.
A lot of these children will have a bump, break or illness and be discovered to have asymptomatic COVID when they arrive at hospital. The vast majority of these children will go home a day or 2 later with a story for their mates and little else, but it's far too many, and we know they won't all be okay. COVID will damage some of their little bodies. They have their entire lives ahead of them, and the long term physical effects of this could be immense for a huge number of children.
Clearly cases have been rising in all age groups, and the knock on effect is a rise in hospitalisations across the board, but it is more marked in this youngest group - who aren't vaccinated. NationalWorld have done the maths for us (and have a very good, yet sobering article). The week on week increase in hospitalisations for the 0-5 age group was 73% "much higher than the average increase across all age groups of 58%".
Many scientists and medics online are asking for a rethink over vaccinations for youngsters.

During the week ending 31st December 2021, in England alone, the ONS (Office for National Statistics) estimate that  3,270,800 people had COVID-19, around 1 in every 15 people.
Wales, 157,900 people, around 1 in every 20.
Northern Ireland, 72,900 people, around 1 in every 25.
Scotland, 238,000 people, around 1 in every 20.
COVID-19 infections continued to increase in all age groups (highest in age 15-24) and across all regions of England, with the highest percentage testing positive in London (1 in 10) and the lowest in the South West (1 in 30).
There were some early signs in the last few days of 2021 that infections may no longer be increasing in London, but it is currently 'too early to suggest if this is a continuing change in trend'.

From 4am this morning fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England or Wales no longer need to take a test before they start their journey or self-isolate on arrival. From Sunday 6th they don't need to take a Day 2 PCR Test, instead they can just take a Day 2 Lateral Flow Test, saving around £60 per person. These changes are due to the fact the UK is currently Plague Island and you're more likely to catch COVID when you land here than anywhere else on Earth.
You are reminded that you are stiĺl advised to avoid inessential travel. 

070122 changes to travel testing for the UK

The UK ONS has released latest figures on Long COVID, and it's grim. Put it this way, other countries are all sharing and discussing - and they are particularly concerned about how this is going to impact our young people.
"An estimated 1.3 million people living in private households in the UK (2.0% of the population) were experiencing self-reported long COVID (symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after the first suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that were not explained by something else) as of 6 December 2021."
Of people with self-reported long COVID in the 4 weeks to 6 December:
▪️ 21% first had/suspected COVID19 less than 12 weeks ago
▪️ 70% first had/suspected COVID-19 at least 12 weeks ago
▪️ 40% first had/suspected COVID-19 at least one year ago.

The Financial Times has a fascinating and pretty stark free-to-read article on Long COVID. Studies suggest around half of all people hospitalised still suffer symptoms a year later, and even though vaccinations may reduce instances of Long COVID by half, that is still a heck of a lot of people. 

Also on Long COVID, and research by NIH (US National Institutes of Health) out at the end of last year (not-yet-peer-reviewed) has found that the COVID virus can linger in the body for months. They carried out autopsies on 44 people who died with or from COVID, and looked at 85 different areas of the body. COVID virus was found in 79 of the areas studied. It really can spread out and infiltrate almost anywhere...

070122 over 90% of eligible people aged 50 or over have been vaccinated

Almost 5% of care home residents in Greater Manchester had confirmed COVID or were showing symptoms by Wednesday, up from 0.9% before Christmas.

On Monday 3rd Jan the USA became the first, and hopefully only, country to report over 1 million new COVID cases in a single day.

India has reduced self-isolation for positive cases from 10 days to 7. Individuals must not have had a fever for at least 3 days and must have mild or no symptoms.
Cases are massively on the rise in India with the arrival of Omicron, and they are very concerned about the number of workers who might end up isolating.

The US FDA has extended recommendations for 3rd COVID booster vaccinations to age 12 or over, and to speed up the entire process citizens are eligible for boosters from 5 months after 2nd vaccination.

From January 8th to 21st Hong Kong is banning flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Philippines, UK and USA.
They are also temporarily closing swimming pools, sports centres and leisure/ cultural facilities, bars and clubs, and barring indoor dining after 6pm. Cruises have also been banned... 

In France a cluster of 12 people have been identified with a new COVID variant with even more mutations than Omicron. IHU or B.1.640.2 has 46 mutations and potentially has been imported from Cameroon, but unless it escapes into the community and is spreading, it isn't a danger. Remember new variants will be born EVERY SINGLE MINUTE, but the vast, VAST majority will never leave the host body where they were created, or will only infect a few people and peter out.
Despite the exclamation mark filled headlines, IHU was first spotted around the same time as Omicron and has still only been detected less than 30 times in total - while Omicron has taken over the world. 

Famous People With COVID:
Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the UK Labour Party - for the 2nd time.

Lost Their Fight:
Famous French TV twins Grichka and Igor Bogdanoff. Neither were vaccinated because they believed their healthy lifestyles would protect them from serious illness. 

Unvaccinated world No.1 men's Tennis player Novak Djokovic joyfully announced he had been given exemption to play in the Australian Open, but media and the public jumped on it. Within hours Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that if he didn't have a legitimate medical vaccination exemption he would be on the first flight home.
Officials were waiting for him to arrive, and he wasn't allowed through customs because he doesn't have the 'evidence to meet entry requirements'. He remains in a quarantine hotel while he appeals the decision.
Then the Australian officials announced checks on the status of other competing tennis players. Within hours, Czech player Renata Voracova said she had to leave, and officials have announced someone else is going home too.
Heartbreaking for the players and the teams involved, but they knew there was a pandemic, and they are aware there are rules. The moral of this story is "there are still places on the planet where being rich and famous doesn't automatically get you whatever you want".

get your flu jab

Luxury Cruise News:
"Every U.S. cruise with passengers has coronavirus cases on board. The CDC has opened investigations into 92 ships."
Headline courtesy of The Washington Post, and really it covers it very succinctly. According to CNBC, Cruise ships operating in U.S. waters reported 162 COVID cases in the first 2 weeks of December, and around 5,000 between December 15th and 29th.

Additional Luxury Cruise News:
US CDC guidance on cruise shops has been updated. It basically says "Don't. However vaccinated you are". 

A teacher from Long Island is in huge trouble for giving her son's 17 year old friend a COVID vaccination in her own home. Not only is she not qualified, she isn't supported by medical professionals and had no way to deal with any allergic reaction, it was Johnson&Johnson, a vaccine not legally authorised for people under 18 in the USA.
She has been quite rightly arrested. 

Bird Flu anyone? Someone in the South West of England raising their hand there. Congratulations to the individual who is the first in the UK to be known to have contracted H5N1 Avian Flu, and very rare worldwide. The affected person has had long term close contact with birds in and around their home, and sadly all their birds have been destroyed.
As a reminder, right now, DO NOT TOUCH any sick wild birds or dead birds - contact DEFRA, who will deal with them. 

Residents of Singapore will be able to collect their 5th free reusable mask over the next 3 weeks from vending machines. Distributed by the Temasek Foundation, the latest masks have N95 grade filtration and can be rinsed weekly up to 30 times. 

iNews are reporting that The Virion Device - which claims it can detect COVID in a sample of saliva in under a minute - has been submitted to the UK regulators for approval. The device is intended for high volume areas such as airports and schools, and takes up the same space as a desktop computer. 

050122 uk variants to date

84 year old retired Indian postal employee Brahmadev Mandal is apparently so delighted with the COVID vaccines that he can barely resist them. He was caught while going for his 12th dose. He's quoted as saying:
“I benefitted a lot from the vaccine. This is why I have been taking it repeatedly... The government has made a wonderful thing.”
Did your parents never tell you that you can get too much of a good thing Brahmadev! 

According to Frontline19, who supply free wellbeing support to NHS staff, here are the things we can do to help SAVE THE NHS:
1. Amplify real NHS voices. Share and repeat what actual NHS workers are saying.
2. Cancel appointments you don't need or can't attend.
3. Get Boosted, and Wear A Mask.
4. Only use emergency services if you really need them.
5. Please Be Patient.

It is the weekend! Huzzah! Actually, it's been a short week, so a nice easy gentle return for most of us. I can't complain at 2 alarm clocks in a week, definitely an easy one. We still haven't had our PCR test results (5 days), but my 24 year old is still testing positive by lateral flow (day 7), and the 2 adults here are still testing negative, so we are continuing in our limbo with the windows open. Either way, my ear infection seems loads better, so COVID or not, I'm currently a winner...

Keep your head down and stay sensible. This time will pass. Don't forget your treat, the world is in several ways going a bit crazy around us, so we all deserve it, and I think we need it. It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. An hour in the bath, a face mask, a cake, a walk, read a book, have a movie night, play a game, enjoy some cheese and wine, have a massage. Just something for YOU. You earnt it.

Wear A Hat! Let The Fresh Air In Regularly, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. All people on this rock we call home:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life in the full 24 hours until midnight GMT. The Omicron effect is very clearly visible. Unbelievably these countries all reported over 20,000 new daily cases yesterday:

World 300,764,871 (+2,546,124) 5,489,855 (+7,161)

USA 59,564,116 (+751,512) 855,843 (+2,143)

France 11,183,238 (+261,481) 125,013 (+204)

Italy 6,975,458 (+219,434) 138,474 (+198)

UK 14,014,978 (+179,727) 149,515 (+231)

India 35,226,386 (+117,100) 483,178 (+302)

Argentina 6,025,303 (+109,608) 117,386 (+40)

Australia 684,227 (+72,121) 2,301 (+12)

Turkey 9,787,274 (+68,413) 83,231 (+156)

Germany 7,399,003 (+56,787) 114,207 (+305)

Brazil 22,395,322 (+44,218) 619,730 (+171)

Canada 2,437,822 (+43,132) 30,584 (+60)

Portugal 1,539,050 (+39,074) 19,054 (+25)

Greece 1,422,020 (+33,711) 21,185 (+70)

Belgium 2,179,710 (+27,796) 28,429 (+22)

Switzerland 1,462,985 (+26,013) 12,419 (+11)

Netherlands 3,247,900 (+24,575) 21,041 (+12)

Denmark 896,566 (+23,968) 3,333 (+11)

Ireland 908,672 (+23,817) 5,952

Colombia 5,242,672 (+23,039) 130,191 (+51)

Mexico 4,029,274 (+20,626) 299,805 (+94)




"Call for Covid jabs for young kids after sharp rise in hospitalisations"

"50-second Covid test designed for schools and airports submitted to UK regulator for approval"

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