Tuesday 1 February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 31st January / 1st February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 31st January / 1st February 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 17,428,345 (+112,458)
In Hospital: 15,669
Using A Ventilator: 511
Losses of Life: 156,875 (+219)
Tests: 1,217,791
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 52,360,487 (91% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 48,440,773 (84.2%)
Boosted: 37,342,083 (64.9%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,187,216 (+4,208) cases and 6,136 losses of life.

World: 379,822,966 reported cases and 5,694,569 losses of life.

Severeley immunosuppressed can now book boosters online

"Firstly I want to say sorry. I am sorry for the things we simply didn't get right and sorry for the way this matter has been handled.... It’s no use saying this or that was within the rules and it’s no use saying people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone."
Boris Johnson, Head of the Downing Street Wine Appreciation Society and UK Prime Minister.

Sue Grey's report into the Conservative Government's use of Downing Street as a members only pub and club has been published. Most important bit is this:
“As a result of the Metropolitan Police’s investigations, and so as not to prejudice the police investigative process, they have told me that it would only be appropriate to make minimal reference to the gatherings on the dates they are investigating.
Unfortunately, this necessarily means that I am extremely limited in what I can say about those events and it is not possible at present to provide a meaningful report setting out and analysing the extensive factual information I have been able to gather.”
We may never see the full report - or we may have an incredibly long wait.
16 events fell under the investigation, 12 of which are now being investigated by the Met police, including 3 which have not previously been reported.
In precis the report says they sure had the parties, they daytime drank far more than would be anticipated in any working office, they didn't have clear leadership, there were failures of judgement, employees took the pish, and we can't really discuss a lot of that in any more detail yet because there are actual crimes involved.
So that went as well as expected... 

Tragically for the Conservatives, the first victim chosen to chat to the press at teatime yesterday was Nadine Dorries, and if she wasn't bladdered/inebriated/under the influence then she should be an actress, because she does an excellent impression of someone who had far too much Dutch courage before answering questions - and she didn't seem able to stand still or stop shaking her head. 

"From Monday 31 January, UKHSA has begun including data on possible reinfection episodes in its coronavirus (COVID-19) dashboard – the UK’s main source of information about the virus."
Yeeeeay!! Finally.... (although Scotland and Wales might take a few more days yet)
"Positive tests for any variant of COVID-19 within a 90-day time period are now considered part of the same case episode, and positive tests outside those parameters are now considered as reinfection episodes."
The updated totals for ENGLAND as of 31st January are:
14,845,382 episodes of infection
588,114 (4.0%) reinfections added
"The new data shows that reinfection rates averaged around 1.4 percent of cases until 16 November 2021, when a spike in infections took place following the emergence of the Omicron variant. Following that increase in the number of people infected, reinfections rose – with reinfections now representing around 10% of episodes per day."
This is a massive change, 10% of cases is a lot - although as we aren't counting anything as a reinfection unless it's at least 90 days later, I know a lot of you guys will already be shaking your head... 

choosing to wear a face covering can be sensible

"Since Omicron was first identified just 10 weeks ago, almost 90 million cases have been reported to WHO - more than were reported in the whole of 2020. We are now starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths, in most regions of the world.
We’re concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of Syringe, and because of Omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible, and no longer necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.
More COVID19 transmission means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone.
It’s premature for any country either to surrender, or to declare victory. This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation. 

The Government have stepped back from implementing mandatory vaccinations for frontline NHS staff by April 1st. Around 77,000 haven't had a single jab yet, so would need to have had their first dose by February 3rd (this Thursday).
Yesterday Sajid Javid told MPs there will be a consultation on ending vaccine mandates for staff in health AND care settings in England - meaning social care staff who had left their employment will be able to go back. 

"Merchants of herd death oversold immunity. People are being reinfected immediately again after Omicron infection. We have the data: Both laboratory experiments and actual cases."
Yaneer Bar-Yam - analyst researcher bloke President of NECSI (New England Complex Systems Institute). A very strident sentence indeed! But sadly pretty much true - herd immunity does seem to have been oversold in the case of COVID.
Evidence from a couple of studies this weekend is showing "immunity based upon “mild" Omicron infection is weak for Omicron reinfection, and limited for cross immunity to Delta infection".
So a mild illness with Omicron doesn't leave us with as much immunity as we'd like, and it isn't very broad, so it won't cover us for as many future possible variants as we'd like..
Damn you Omicron *shakes fist*

But hang on! We are being reminded just how fabulous vaccines are.
Another study found “results indicate that Omicron infection enhances preexisting immunity elicited by vaccines, but on its own **may not induce broad, cross-neutralizing humoral immunity in unvaccinated** individuals.”
Don’t risk catching Omicron if you aren't vaccinated, because you could go through all of that and still catch it again just as badly at any time afterwards. However with vaccination you get good protection against reinfection.
Ahhhhh. That's better... 

And more vaccine stuff:
"A double-vaxxed 70 year old infected with Omicron has the same risk of ICU admission as an unvaxxed 40 y/o infected with Delta
A boosted 70 year-old infected with Omicron has just a QUARTER of the risk of ICU admission as an unvaxxed 40 y/o infected with Delta"
Oliver Barnes, Health and Science Reporter at the Financial Times, with a lovely clear comparison. 

Omicron is also definitely slightly milder than Delta - it does send fewer people to hospital overall. Ahhhh, nice. We needed that. 

WHO COVID exposed gaps in waste management

The US FDA have finally finished the full paperwork on the Moderna vaccine and it has full authorisation. Imagine if we'd had to wait on that for all of this time? 

After losing Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and a raft of other popular music performers (and tons of listeners), because they did not remove COVID misinformation, Spotify have clarified their position on COVID.
Basically they say they don't want to censor anything, but they can see in this situation that a content advisory is the way to go. As per their long-standing rules, anything illegal, misleading or provably masquerading as something it isn't, isn't allowed anyway.
There are a lot of official agencies and individuals pointing out that Spotify are taking a less strict stance than other social media, and their $100 MILLION deal with anti-scientist Joe Rogan might be colouring their decision a little...

A pregnant New Zealand journalist who has been all over the media the last few days has been given an emergency slot in a quarantine hotel, so that she can go home.
New Zealand's system for nationals to re-enter has been called a lottery, because so many people apply each month for the few thousand possible quarantine hotel rooms. They do have a system for emergency and urgent returns though, so it's possible the journalist wasn't applying through the most appropriate channel for her situation.

Japanese pharmaceutical company, Kowa, have said that in a test tube they have found de-wormer Ivermectin demonstrated an "antiviral effect" against Omicron and other COVID-19 variants.
As I've said before, I'd love for this to be true, but no-one has managed to get any useful results yet in real live humans - and that's where we need this to work.
Best of luck to the Japanese team with some human trials. As Ivermectin is already authorised for human use for parasites, we have safety data on those doses - and this won't even be the first human trial for COVID. Hopefully the Japanese team spot something others failed to. 

WHO PPE essential and non essential

Disaster Down Under:
Tragedy in COVID-free volcano-ravaged Tonga. 2 community cases of COVID have been detected. Both people are double vaccinated, asymptomatic, worked together at a wharf, and have immediately isolated.
The entire nation will enter lockdown as a precautionary measure from 6pm Wednesday (5am GMT). 

Olympic Hopefuls:
Disaster in Beijing. 119 competitors and officials tested positive between Friday and Monday morning. Most tested positive on arrival at the airport, and there is a very strict entry bubble system, so they shouldn't be able to infect the wider population - but devastating for so many athletes who have spent years training for this. 

Famous People With COVID:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The timing is insanely handy, as the Canadian truckers (and US truckers and various assorted hangers-on, anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists) stayed in Ottawa for the weekend and continued to rally and do speeches  - and he wasn't there. 

Hoax Of The Day:
Also Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He himself is real, but a hoax is claiming yellow TV people The Simpsons predicted the Canadian truckers rally. We all know The Simpsons has predicted lots of things, but that isn't one of them. It's actually just careful cropping and splicing together of 2 different Simpsons episodes - 1999's Maximum Homerdrive and 2020's D'oh Canada!

NHS VAccinate team

Measles is in danger of making a comeback, because around 1 in 10 UK children starting school haven't yet had their jabs. People have been putting it off, or forgotten about it, or didn't want to bother their healthcare workers, but it's important. Measles is nasty. The US CDC summarise really well:
"Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles."
The disease has been around for over 1,000 years, but the MMR jab was introduced in the 1970's and is 97% effective at preventing cases. Talk to your medical professionals if you have any concerns.
Get it booked.

I will be back on Thursday this week, because on Friday I'm off to Derby to work with the Derby Tourist Board and be a thoroughly spoilt visitor for the weekend! (I honestly can't tell you how excited I am, it'll be awesome. The idea of not cooking for anyone is exciting enough on it's own, but visitor attractions too! Sorry about the news and all, but sadly I have other work... muhahaha).

Stay sensible...

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

Countries / Cases / Losses of life yesterday in the full 24 hours until midnight GMT:

USA 76,222,215 (+274,266) 910,104 (+1,153)

India 41,469,499 (+167,059) 496,268 (+1,218)

Russia 11,861,077 (+124,070) 331,349 (+621)

Germany 9,896,344 (+119,696) 118,527 (+147)

Brazil 25,454,105 (+102,616) 627,365 (+442)

Turkey 11,619,882 (+93,261) 87,416 (+182)

UK 17,315,893 (+92,368) 155,754 (+51)

Japan 2,669,638 (+85,042) 18,764 (+35)

France 19,140,730 (+82,657) 130,931 (+348)

Israel 2,900,576 (+70,415) 8,805 (+80)

Spain 9,961,253 (+60,707) 93,225 (+87)

Italy 10,983,280 (+57,879) 146,586 (+370)

Hungary 1,553,405 (+45,047) 41,405 (+176)

Argentina 8,378,656 (+43,472) 121,273 (+285)

Netherlands 4,432,535 (+36,278) 21,277 (+5)

Belgium 3,128,267 (+33,955) 29,024 (+32)

Australia 2,545,036 (+33,653) 3,758 (+42)

Poland 4,886,156 (+33,482) 105,195 (+34) 

















Omicron Immunity:













Sue Grey:




















Japanese Ivermectin



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