Tuesday 15 February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 14th /15th February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 14th /15th February 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 18,393,951 (+46,186)
In Hospital on Monday 14th Feb: 12,304 (DOWN from 13,793 a week earlier)
Using A Ventilator on 14th Feb: 393 (DOWN from 443 a week earlier)
Losses of Life: 159,839 (+234)
Tests: 888,781 (that's really low - potentially partly because of school holidays, but also because less people are needing to test)
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 52,522,201 (91.3% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 48,777,079 (84.8%)
Boosted: 37,818,285 (65.8%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,255,571 cases and 6,291 losses of life.

World: 414,932,355 reported cases and 5,848,854 losses of life.

Vaccine inequity is a moral failure UN

The Good Law Project and the Runnymede Trust have been to court this morning against the UK Government and won.
Ex Health Secretary Matt Hancock broke the law by appointing Baroness Dido Harding as 'Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection' and Mike Coupe as 'Director of Testing'. Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke the law by appointing Baroness Harding as 'Chair of Test and Trace'.
By making those 3 appointments without any competition, they breached the Public Sector Equality Duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. This legislation exists to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity in the United Kingdom.
Basically, no-one else even got a chance to apply. I've said it many times. I could have supplied an inadequate and not fit for purpose Track and Trace for far less than 36 billion British pounds. In fact, pay me 20 grand and I'll fit you one in tomorrow morning.
And what will happen now? Will they be imprisoned or penalised like any regular person?... seems unlikely. 

Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann yesterday announced an end to remaining legal restrictions, although 'work from home if you can' does remain.
Mask mandates, limits on indoor gatherings, Track & Trace information for hospitality, and COVID certificates for nightclubs end today.
He reminded the population that COVID isn't actually over, so don't be getting lary, the legal stuff is now replaced by guidance to be sensible. 

The Guardian and other media are reporting on what may be in Boris Johnson's Living With COVID Strategy next Monday, and they say sources have confirmed COVID testing, the Test & Trace system, and payments for isolation will start winding down, in England at least.
Just rumours for now, we will find out on Monday 21st. 

150222 UK Daily stats

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has "undertaken a rapid evidence review" looking at the effects of vaccination against long COVID or post-COVID symptoms. They've examined 15 UK and international studies.
"An estimated 2% of the UK population have reported symptoms of long COVID or post-COVID syndrome, which can last for more than 4 weeks after their initial infection. The 3 most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle or joint pain."
8 of the 15 studies looked at the effect of vaccinations prior to infection, and they found that:
- people with COVID-19 who had received full vaccination were about half as likely to develop long COVID symptoms lasting more than 28 days, compared to people who only received one dose or were unvaccinated
- vaccine effectiveness against most post-COVID symptoms in adults was highest in people aged 60 years and over, and lowest for younger participants (19 to 35 years)
- studies looking at improvement in Long COVID symptoms after vaccination are a bit jumbled, and time elapses naturally, but overwhelmingly more people report improvement.

“We are not preventing the right of people to protest legally. The act is to be used sparingly and as a last resort.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act.
"It will be specific, limited, responsible and reasonable."
The Canadian anti-vaccine-mandate truckers convoy has turned into an anti-anything-COVID (and sometimes anti-government) sit-in, with various assorted people and vehicles blocking roads, bridges and town centres.
It is effectively disruptive, but it's beginning to turn ugly in places, and peaceful protest is in places being hijacked by people with more extreme political opinions. Some locals are fighting with protesters (often because of the 24 hour a day noise), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta have intercepted and seized a truck full of firearms. Some of the funding for protesters has been proven to be coming in from abroad, and people hoping to join in with protests are being turned away at the border with America.
The Emergencies Act has never actually been used before, and gives the central Canadian Government some really strong temporary powers for the next month. They can do what it takes to ensure essential goods and services are unhindered, including ban gatherings, freeze assets, order tow trucks to remove vehicles, close down crowdfunding sites, impose fines and prison sentences, and even call in the military if deemed necessary.

The hashtag CanadaHasFallen is trending. Not quite chaps... lol.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's Prime Minister, is confounded by truckers there protesting vaccine mandates for border crossings - although that also has expanded to encompass anything related to COVID. She says she thinks it must be an "imported protest", as she has seen Canadian flags and Trump flags.
New Zealand is potentially the only Western nation to have seen a rise in life expectancy during the pandemic. Despite incredibly hard lockdowns and strict measures, even the suicide rate in New Zealand has fallen.

Long COVID comments by Mary Ramsey

Vietnam will fully resume all flights for international travellers, beginning today, 15th February. 

Hong Kong is struggling, with isolation beds for COVID patients around 90%. Administrator Carrie Lam has said she will be working with mainland China to try and reduce cases and keep up with testing. 

Trump Of The Day:
Tennis-player Novak Djokovic has said he'd rather miss out on winning any more tennis trophies than be compelled to get vaccinated.
I think you can have that wish Novak.
He has also stated in an interview with the BBC that he shouldn't be associated with the anti-vax movement, because he just wants people to have a choice. That wish might be harder to grant Novaxx, what with the whole "giving up my career rather than have a COVID vaccine" thing...
Words can just be sounds coming out of your face, actions tend to matter more. In fact, Dominic Wilkinson a Professor of Medical Ethics (and Member of UKRI Pandemic Ethics Accelerator) at the University of Oxford is in the media and very concerned about Novak's comments. He feels that others, especially less fit and healthy people, could genuinely be harmed because Novak is very influential, and is setting a worrying example. His personal non-vaccinated risk is not equal to the risk of a lot of his fans.

Deltacron in London:
When we went ahead and allowed over 3m new weekly cases, smiled and said "it'll be fine", we were taking a risk. Scientists have spotted cases where Delta and Omicron variant have recombined to form a single variant with features of both, and bizarrely I mentioned this very possibility last Friday.
It usually occurs when a single person catches both variants at once, and both viruses break into a single host cell at the same time. Kind of like 2 sperm, 1 egg - which creates semi-identical (or sesquizygotic) twins, and is incredibly, incredibly rare.
Good news is, what are we actually going to worry about? We already know Omicron is more catchy, quicker - Delta is very slightly more deadly, but neither variant is particularly worrying, the UK already has heaps of both, and we can already catch Omicron after Delta (and vice versa). And in fact we can even catch Omicron B after Omicron A.
Both can bypass vaccination or prior infection so that we catch them, but our antibodies offer really good protection against hospitalisation or death. You could end up with a different variety of symptoms, so you could get the pneumonia and the headache, or the rash and the cough, or any mixture, or all, or none, but still mortality shouldn't be massively affected - they are mostly annoyances more than heavy burdens on a sick body.
A recombinant virus sounds properly scary, but in this case, certainly for now, it's mostly an exciting headline, and another variant to keep an eye on in case it turns out to have any special features.
Truth is there's very little extra there to worry about that the UK doesn't already have.


Famous People With COVID:
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall - a few days behind her husband, Prince Charles Windsor. 

Russia's defence ministry has shared video of tanks and troops on the move, and says some are now returning to base after large scale military training exercises. Putin meanwhile has been chatting with German MP's and has very clearly said that 'Russia does not want a war in Europe'.
They're worse than kids, all this willy-waving and antagonising each other.  Russian forces have never left their own country, Putin repeatedly said he wasn't going to invade the Ukraine, and the West looked so keen to start scrapping it really was embarrassing. I'm sure this isn’t the end of it yet, but hopefully the situation might calm down a little. 

UPDATE: Wales will be offering jabs to all children aged 5+ - they say this is JCVI advice which hasn't yet been published, and therefore it is likely to be adopted by the whole UK 

Lots of the UK Government people are on holiday, so potentially we may have a quiet week and nothing exciting will happen - and if it does, we probably won't know about it until next Tuesday, so we can all relax. I'm off to create my own mini banner to take to the People's History Museum later this week. If you are at a loose end with kids, don't forget your local museums and art galleries, many of which are FREE and packed full of exciting stuff - and among the facilities which have really struggled over the last 2 years. They also tend to have high ceilings and really good ventilation...

Back Friday... stay sensible.

Some people. All floating around on a big rock in the sky.

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 14,480,596 (+166,631) 341,635 (+704)

Italy 12,205,474 (+70,852) 151,684 (+388)

Japan 3,975,779 (+63,581) 20,494 (+135)

Germany 12,574,787 (+60,260) 120,792 (+82)

S. Korea 1,462,421 (+57,175) 7,163 (+61)

Indonesia 4,901,328 (+57,049) 145,455 (+134)

Netherlands 5,842,989 (+53,506) 21,414 (+12)

UK 18,393,951 (+46,186) 159,839 (+234)

Denmark 2,288,628 (+40,778) 4,139 (+30)

Vietnam 2,572,087 (+31,814) 39,122 (+85)

Ukraine 4,572,417 (+29,724) 103,255 (+305)

Austria 2,324,406 (+25,177) 14,427 (+35)

Iran 6,860,255 (+25,034) 134,053 (+167)

Australia 2,946,681 (+24,983) 4,668 (+50)

Chile 2,677,692 (+22,845) 40,698 (+32)

Poland 5,438,029 (+22,267) 108,515 (+378)

Romania 2,596,269 (+21,885) 61,880 (+195)


















"PM Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act in response to ongoing protests" https://twitter.com/i/events/1492674034143690753?t=If_QZysc-z63lZ0ieLm-ow&s=09


The federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act. Here's what that means











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