Friday 18 February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 16th to 18th February 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 16th to 18th February 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases: 18,546,205 (+47,685)
In Hospital Yesterday 17th Feb: 11,555
Using A Ventilator Yesterday: 331
Losses of Life: 160,379 (+158)
Tests: 900,352
Vaccinations 1st Dose: 52,551,460 (91.4% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd Dose: 48,839,853 (84.9%)
Boosted / 3rd Dose: 37,945,645 (66%)

Area: Cases Last 7 Days / Rate per 100,000 population
Wales: 9,511 / 300.1
Scotland: 43,350 / 793.1
Northern Ireland: 21,505 / 1,134.5
England: 304,633 / 538.7

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,265,124 (+4,795) cases and 6,417 (+15) losses of life.

World: 421,193,766 reported cases and 5,885,389 losses of life.

180222 UKHSA Surveillance cases by age

Guernsey has removed all remaining COVID restrictions. (We are pretty much 100% expecting Boris will remove them for England on Monday.)

Vaccination passports for large events are no longer legally mandatory in Wales from today. Venues can still choose to use them if they wish. 

Rumours about what Boris is going to announce on Monday abound. People are guessing he'll remove all legal restrictions, including the compulsion to self-isolate if you test positive (and the Government responsibility to pay you to stay home if you do). Rumours about an end to free tests are rife, and come in several different shapes and sizes. Boris is likely to announce something because they want to drop the costs associated with COVID. My personal wild guess is a box of lateral flow tests will become an over-the-counter prescription charge item. Seems logical to me, and it'll save a fortune because people will treat them with more respect, plus all those £9.35's!!!! 

ONS Infection Survey (random sampling) figures suggest just under 3m people had COVID in the UK last week - down from the 3.3m the week before. Erm... yeeeay?
Still just a tadge higher than sensible really though... and as per, they can't possibly make it easy to read or compare to other weeks - "This week, we are publishing estimates for the week ending 12 February 2022 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for the week ending 13 February 2022 for Scotland". Triffic.
- England decreased; estimate 2,449,100 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 20 people.
- Wales decreased; estimate 112,600 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 25 people.
- Northern Ireland - last week's trend uncertain, prior to that 2 weeks increasing; estimate 146,600 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 13 people.
- Scotland - last week's trend uncertain, prior to that 2 weeks increasing; estimate 219,300 people had COVID-19, equating to around 1 in 25 people.
- In England, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 varied substantially across age groups, with the highest for those aged 2 years to school Year 6 at 7.60% and lowest for those aged 70 years and over at 2.23% in the week ending 12 February 2022.

The Health Security Agency surveillance report tells a slightly different story. This is based on English only test results for the week ending 13th February, and is likely to be less of a 'true picture' than the random sampling:
- Case rates are highest in those aged 30 to 39 years old and lowest in those aged 0-4.
- Case rates are highest in the South West and lowest in the North West.
- The North East has the highest amount of hospital admissions (Still! The poor North East has been at the top of hospital admissions for most of the time over the past year or 18 months.)
- Hospital admissions are still highest among those aged 85 and older.

180222 UKHSA Surveillance cases by area

Following on from Wales, both England and Scotland have announced they are going to offer COVID vaccinations to all children aged 5 to 11, and although there's not yet been official word, Northern Ireland are going to do the same. (About time - we really are falling behind the rest of the Western world with this one, and we risk a heavy price with Long COVID.)
This is following updated non-urgent advice from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), and is expected to begin rolling out around April (Easter-ish).
"...all 5 to 11 year olds of 2 (10mcg) doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech paediatric vaccine. The 2 doses should be given with an interval of at least 12 weeks between doses."

Rumour is that vaccinations for younger children in the UK will not be part of the in-school vaccination schedule, which is worrying as it means disadvantaged children will be most likely to miss out.
I wouldn't call my kids disadvantaged,  but we don't have a car, and currently the closest place where I can take my 13 year old for a jab is 2 bus rides away, and they aren't even the same bus company. I can totally see that disadvantaged kids would miss out most in this scenario...

Private Eye magazine has investigated where the UK's PPE money went, and how England compared to Scotland. Well done Scotland. England gave out money and contracts "like confetti", regularly paying over the odds and ending up with nothing or unusable products. NHS Scotland and Scottish Enterprise actually did what the English Department of Health and Social Care said they would do - they went and visited suppliers to assess quality, and worked with local producers to move manufacturing of PPE to Scotland, using Scottish firms and often Scottish resources. In essence, Scotland paid as much as 1/3 less - and is little doubt STILL paying less... as well as employing Scottish people who work fairer hours for fairer pay and conditions, keeping mileage and transportation down, and waste is managed properly. 

180222 UKHSA Surveillance hospitalisation by area

Hong Kong's nightmare is getting worse. Their hospitals cannot keep up with COVID patients, and footage is being shared showing hospital car parks with rows of patients on beds - dropped off by relatives and ambulances, and with nowhere inside to go.
In all honesty it's in many ways an improvement on the UK's lines of waiting ambulances in December and January - if a bit cold. Let's hope the weather stays dry...

The UK ONS has published an "excess deaths analysis plan". From 4th March they'll be including information about 'excess deaths' in regular weekly publications, as well as looking more closely at 'trends', including the effects of vaccination on young people 

Child mortality is a ridiculously hard thing to have to talk about, but the COVID Actuaries have done a very clear and incredibly sensitive job. They have an article looking at how many children have died from COVID, with COVID, or with COVID as a contributory cause. They have also examined child deaths from all causes - which are DOWN:
"Among children aged 1-14 there were around 970 deaths each year on average in England and Wales between 2015 and 2019. The worst year was 2015 with 1,028 deaths and the best was 2019 with 934 deaths.
Both 2020 and 2021 had significantly fewer child deaths, with around 820 each year. That is a reduction in child deaths of around 15%. That is despite an increase in the number of children aged 1-14 from 9.6 million in 2015 to 10.1 million in 2020."
Lockdowns, masks and other measures protected our children significantly from things like flu, pneumonia, infections, being hit by a car - COVID and the restrictions and changes that occurred because of it, have to date saved more children in England and Wales than they cost.
Google COVID Actuaries Deaths In Children or see sources below to read the article.

Canada has announced they're relaxing entry rules for fully vaccinated travellers, who from 28th Feb can use rapid test results rather than PCR for entry. Amusingly the Canadian truckers are complaining the relaxation doesn't go far enough. Erm yeah... I don't think it was meant for them... 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing a lot of criticism for invoking the Emergencies Act and coming down hard on the Canadian truckers and their supporters - who are opposing vaccine mandates for border crossings. It's very mixed this one, and there's a lot of anger out there between people who think he's right, and those who think this isn't how Canadians behave, non-violent protest should be allowed to continue. 

COVID actuaries child mortality UK England and Wales

There is some pretty grim fighting in the Ukraine between pro-Russian and pro-NATO/EU citizens. On Thursday a kindergarten was among buildings which were damaged by shells and bombs.
Western military intelligence claims Russia has not removed any troops from the border areas, despite assertions from Putin that some have returned to base.
Tragically word was that around 5pmGMT today  sirens began sounding in Donetsk, an area of the Ukraine which is heavily contested, and mainly populated by pro-Russian populations. Russia is also reporting a car bomb, and other sources also report explosions. Civilians have been offered shelter if they evacuate to Russia. Pro-Russians are mostly claiming Ukrainian forces are about to invade, pro-NATO/EU are claiming this is a ploy so that Russia can have an excuse to invade Ukraine. Either way, it'll be the everyday folk who bear the brunt, not the people sitting in offices many miles away. 

Health authorities in Malawi have declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 after a case was detected in a young child in Lilongwe. This is the 1st case of wild poliovirus in Africa in more than 5 years, and is believed to have been imported by a traveller from Pakistan.
COVID or Polio, we aren't safe until we're all safe... 

Storm Eunice has unfortunately claimed the lives of at least 2 people in the UK so far. It has also destroyed (among other things) part of the roof of the O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome) in London, and St Thomas church spire (formerly featured in the movie Hot Fuzz) in Wells in Somerset.

Dr Derren Ready says get vaxxed UK HSA quote

The African mRNA vaccine hub which was established last year has produced their first COVID vaccine, and will be ready to begin trials towards the end of this year. It is a 'copy' using a vaccine which is already available.
While Moderna have filed for a vaccine patent in Africa, Pfizer's CEO Ugur Sahin told Reuters:
"Our goal is not to keep others from using our technology. Our goal is rather to actively see to it that our technology is available on all continents as safely and as widely as possible."
Good man. Hopefully Moderna will take a similar stance, patent or no patent.
The aim of the hub is to train experts from African nations, supply them with any necessary licensing and tools, and then they can make their own mRNA vaccines at a fraction of the cost of those already available. This goes way beyond COVID, with potential to create vaccines for other diseases including Malaria and Tuberculosis.
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation yesterday:
"Today I’m delighted to announce the first six African countries that will receive technology from the hub to produce their own mRNA vaccines: Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia." 

By heck we've had some weather, and it's not over yet for everyone. Amber weather warnings are in place for much of the UK until at least 9pm, and there are warnings in Europe too. One of our grown up kids is trapped in Amsterdam for the next two days because all of the trains were cancelled from this afternoon, and even if they'd made it to a port or airport, services were in short supply because of cancellations and diversions, so tickets are like gold dust.
Please be sensible and as safe as possible - your life is far more important than anything which can be bought.
My thoughts are with everyone with no power or damage to their property. I hope your night is warm and dry, and everything does look clearer and better in the morning.

It is the weekend! Well done to everyone having to work around the kids, hopefully you get a couple of days off now - and your treat! Don't forget to spoil yourself, just a little. Something for you, not for anyone else, because you've earned it.

Stay Safe, Remember To Ventilate, Save The NHS.

Some people. They might look like numbers here, 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 15,020,573 (+180,071) 343,957 (+784)

S. Korea 1,755,806 (+109,828) 7,283 (+45)

Japan 4,241,800 (+95,603) 21,198 (+244)

Germany 13,237,493 (+82,952) 121,561 (+114)

Indonesia 5,089,637 (+59,635) 146,044 (+216)

Italy 12,377,098 (+53,662) 152,596(+314)

Netherlands 6,012,521 (+49,283) 21,465 (+16)

UK 18,546,205 (+47,685) 160,379 (+158)

Vietnam 2,685,463 (+42,439) 39,358 (+80)

Ukraine 4,672,198 (+34,938) 104,106 (+282)

Chile 2,783,458 (+34,117) 41,067 (+131)

Denmark 2,401,310 (+33,699) 4,250 (+43)

Austria 2,424,742 (+31,166) 14,537 (+34)

Australia 2,992,940 (+25,862) 4,834 (+36)

Poland 5,519,282 (+23,990) 109,509 (+304)

Mexico 5,366,405 (+21,565) 314,598 (+470) 





"Hong Kong's hospitals buckle under omicron surge"


Storm Eunice

COVID ACTUARIES Children's Mortality:


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