Friday 11 March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 9th / 10th / 11th March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 9th / 10th / 11th March 2022

UK Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 399,820 (average 59,117 per day)
In hospital yesterday 10th March: 11,944 (UP A LOT from 10,510 a week earlier.)
Using a ventilator yesterday 10th March: 253 (Steadily DOWN from 264 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 730 (average 104 per day)
Tests last 7 days: 4,553,814 (average 650,544 per day)
Losses of life total: 162,738 within 28 days of a positive test
People with COVID as a cause on their death certificate up to Friday 25th February: 184,458

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,341,826 (+9,125) cases and 6,611 (+21) losses of life.

World: 454,447,651 reported cases and 6,054,087 losses of life.

110322 ONS random sampling study results cases UK nations

It is 2 years today since the World Health Organisation said the word we'd all been waiting for - "Pandemic". Since then over 6 million people have officially died directly due to the effects of COVID infection.

"So far, WHO has:
-delivered 81 metric tons of supplies & is establishing a pipeline of supplies for health facilities across Ukraine
-released $10.2M from the Contingency Fund
-deployed staff to provide care to refugees.
But the only real solution to this situation is peace."
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO
“More than 2 million people have left Ukraine and WHO is supporting neighboring countries to provide health care for refugees"
(The main issues are hypothermia, frostbite, respiratory diseases, lack of treatment for cardiovascular disease and cancer, and mental health issues.)
“WHO continues to call on the Russian Federation to commit to a peaceful resolution to this crisis and to allow safe, unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance for those in need."

According to UN Human Rights and UNICEF, over 1 million children have evacuated from Ukraine to other countries, and they are among the lucky ones.
"From 24 Feb—10 March, we recorded 1,546 civilian casualties in context of Russia’s armed attack against Ukraine: 564 killed, incl 41 children; 982 injured, incl 52 children, mostly caused by shelling & airstrikes. Actual toll is much higher.." 

110322 UN Human Rights Ukraine children injured or lost to war

A new peer-reviewed study in The Lancet has estimated excess deaths due to COVID up until the end of 2021, both directly and indirectly, "for 74 countries and territories and 266 subnational locations (including 31 locations in low-income and middle-income countries)", as well as excess mortality data for 12 states in India.
The researchers took the total number of people who died, minus the number they would have expected to die in that period, and they discounted extra deaths when there were anomalies such as heat waves. They used 6 different ways of working out totals, took the range of answers, and averaged it out.
"Although reported COVID-19 deaths between Jan 1, 2020, and Dec 31, 2021, totalled 5·94 million worldwide, we estimate that 18·2 million (95% uncertainty interval 17·1–19·6) people died worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic (as measured by excess mortality) over that period."
At the country level, the highest numbers of cumulative excess deaths due to COVID-19 were estimated to be:
India 4·07 million
USA 1·13 million  (approx 179·3 deaths per 100,000)
Russia 1·07 million (approx 374·6 deaths per 100,000)
Mexico 798,000 (approx 325·1 deaths per 100,000)
Brazil 792,000 (approx 186·9 deaths per 100,000)
Indonesia 736 000
Pakistan 664 000

In England Children aged 12-15 who are especially vulnerable to COVID can now book their booster jabs online. 

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme is ending. In England if you were told to self-isolate before 24th February you can still make a claim up to 6th April.

We've seen for the last week or so that UK hospital admissions with COVID are up, and over the last week they have risen in every UK area.
Omicron BA.2 (the faster cousin of regular Omicron) is now the most prevalent variant across England, and it is pushing up case rates.
In the last couple of weeks prevalence levels in the over 70's have doubled (although from a very low starting level thankfully). 

110322 prevalence UK nations cases COVID Actuary
COVID Actuary

"Covid hospitalisations are rising across England.
It's not being talked about much, but given the existing pressures on the NHS, this is news we really didn't need right now."
Kit Yates, indieSAGE

ONS REACT Random Sampling suggests that for the week ending 5th March 2022:
England, increase to 2,073,900 people, equating to 3.80% of the population or around 1 in 25 people.
Wales, increase to 97,900 people, equating to 3.22% of the population or around 1 in 30 people.
Northern Ireland, increase to 143,800 people, equating to 7.84% of the population or around 1 in 13 people.
Scotland, increase to 299,900 people, equating to 5.70% of the population or around 1 in 18 people.

I was going to do more on vaccine safety over the first 6 months, as published in The Lancet, but there's truly nothing of note. I started writing it up and it was boring and wordy, with less than 1% of people in the VAERS/V-safe reporting system bothering to contact medical care about their side effects/adverse reactions. Possibly the best outcome we could have hoped for...
"Safety data from more than 298 million doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine administered in the first 6 months of the US vaccination programme show that most reported adverse events were mild and short in duration."

Sad news about the UK's ZOE Symptom Study app - it has NOT had it's funding renewed. Lead Tim Spector:
"I'm disappointed to share that the ZOE COVID Study hasn't had its funding renewed by UKHSA. But we're carrying on and looking forward to the next steps, looking at a whole host of health conditions as well as COVID."
He has an idea why he's been 'cancelled'...
"Thanks for all your letters of support! We are not giving up! One reason we at ZOE have been shut down is seen in this graph - where the true infections are five times more than the official dashboard and going up fast- thanks 4 logging!"
Ermmmmmm.... oooch. Remember kids, COVID is all over now, nothing to see here. 

At least the booster jabs seem to be long lasting. John Robert's of the COVID Actuaries sums up latest ONS antibody measuring data:
"The latest antibody study from ONS (to 20th Feb) shows little change, with very high levels at all ages, and no signs of the waning in older ages we saw after the second dose."

110322 Tim Spector ZOE app antibody data compared to test positive GOvt dashboard cases

"Three weeks ago I outlined why I was concerned about Denmark having "Endemic Delusion".
I was immediately attacked by SSI (Statens Serum Institute, Denmark) and pundits for "misinformation", "not understanding the data", etc.
Fast forward three weeks, and Denmark just reported its highest number of COVID-19 deaths."
Kristian G Anderson, world-leading infectious disease and immunology expert, attempting to warn everyone to keep their eye on the ball, and their plans for repeat/annual vaccinations up-to-date for a good while yet... 

Virologists from L’Institut Pasteur in Paris have sequenced the genome of genuine “Deltacron” variant. It appears to have been circulating in several regions of France since early January. Remember it is still 'one to keep an eye on', but it's a hybrid of Delta and Omicron, so it doesn't actually have any magical scary features. 

We have more (not-yet-peer-reviewed) evidence that vaccination appears to have no significant impact on 'post-acute sequelae of COVID' (PASC) or what we'd call "Long COVID" symptoms - neither positively nor negatively.
Not a surprise really, as we are pretty sure Long COVID is mainly caused by damage, which isn't going to be fixed by a vaccination:
"The study included 453 COVID-19 patients with PASC, of which 324 (72%) were vaccinated between the baseline and 6-month visit. Unadjusted analyses did not show significant differences in the baseline to 6-month change in anosmia, respiratory symptoms, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or quality of life (p > 0.05 for all comparisons) among vaccinated vs. unvaccinated patients."

A US NIH (National Institutes for Health) funded study has found definitively that masks work. They compared more than 1.1 million students across 9 states, and found that:
"Schools with mandatory masking during the Delta surge had approximately 72% fewer cases of in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2 when compared to schools with optional or partial masking policies."
Obviously we now have Omicron, which may not behave exactly the same, but it's more similar than different. 

leaflet in English to Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland
Information leaflet given to Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland (English version). 

Hoax Of The Day:
There are some blinding war hoaxes being shared, so here's a quick run down of a few of the most prominent - some of which have been shared by official sources who later retracted them. In times of war, it can be very hard to complete all the checks, and emotions can get in the way...

1. Actor Steven Seagal is NOT fighting in Ukraine. He DOES have joint Russian/US/Serbian nationality, and he has worked as a genuine Law Enforcement Officer / Deputy Sheriff in the USA, but he's not 'random man with a moustache' on the frontline.

2. New world order is a phrase that has been used at least twice by people with English as a second language, and they didn't always mean it with the same context I would mean it. Remember it's incredibly easy to lose, or gain, meaning in translation. 

3. Ukrainians and Russians have telly too - you may be watching a scene from a popular drama or movie, or the make up or rehearsal for that scene.

4. Ukrainians and Russians also play computer games. Some widely shared footage is from flight or war simulator games - it often looks impressively real, but if the camera angle is floating in from the sky or perfectly follows the action, it's probably too good to be true. 

5. Ukrainians and Russians didn't form their armies 2 weeks ago. Nor have they lived in a world completely filled with unicorns and rainbows. You may be watching footage of parades, training (including with wooden and cardboard guns), previous fighting from back around 2014, or random other battles or terrorist incidents. 

6. Ukrainians and Russians have also protested in the past - yep. Really. There are however many genuine anti-war and anti-occupation protests currently.

7. Images claiming to be Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska on the frontline are from a military parade, and it's clearly not her.

8. The 'Ghost of Kyiv' has not single-handedly brought down 47 Russian planes.

9. Hacking group Anonymous do NOT ask for money, nor do they steal or take from individuals. They will NOT be raising funds or cleaning out Russian people's bank accounts. They do not have an official website either. 

10. Zelenskyy did not hold up a football shirt with a swastika - that's photoshopped.

11. The British Royal family have NOT been removed from power due to historical Russian links (bet Liz is relieved about that one)

12. Actor Leonardo Di Caprio does not appear to have actually donated $10m to the Ukrainian war effort (at least not publicly, we have no way to actually know what he's done privately). Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher HAVE raised over $2m - Mila's family is Ukrainian. 

13. Ukraine DOES have biological labs - it's 2022, everyone does. The vast majority have absolutely nothing to do with creating weapons of war. Where do you think they created the COVID vaccines or your biological washing powder? In someone's kitchen?

14. Footage of people who are very definitely not dead lying in body bags is from a climate change protest in Vienna

15. The heavily pregnant and very angry and upset looking lady shown standing outside and walking down stairs in photos of the maternity hospital in Mariupol IS very well known Ukrainian beauty blogger Marianna Podgurskaya, and she WAS very heavily pregnant. She's also exactly the person who would be at her local maternity hospital right now, rather than at home or underground in a Metro station. Just because you are famous doesn't mean you aren't real, and it doesn't protect you from war. 

16. Last night around 10pm, Marianna gave birth to a baby girl. Mother and baby were both doing okay, despite going through an absolute nightmare. (They have constant bombardment, no heating, no water, no power, and it is below freezing out there.) 

17. The pregnant woman in the stretcher was not Marianna in different clothes, with a different hair colour, face and boobs. Be realistic.

18. Mariupol hospital wasn't closed to patients - they were publicly asking for help with fuel as recently as last week. According to a very angry World Health Organisation:

"WHO has verified 26 attacks on health care in Ukraine between 24 Feb-9 Mar, incl. the maternity hospital in Mariupol; In total, 12 people died and 34 have been injured. More incidents are being verified. WHO strongly condemns these attacks"

19. Used Russian tanks are NOT being sold by Ukrainians on ebay. You'll have to wait for bargain artillery, or buy it from the UK Government like everyone else.

20. This one is unbelievable, but it isn't a hoax. Russia have set up their own "Fact Check" website, and are basically just filling any readers with garbage. It's insane, and very tragic. I shan't tell you what it's called (it has an English name) because the more clicks it gets, the more people will see it - although I am pretty certain it'll be blocked and you will never find it through Google. 

Huge thanks to Shayan Sardarizadeh (BBC Monitoring), Marc Owen Jones (CNN, Independent, Washington Post), Daniel Dale (CNN), Madison Wong (Toronto Star), HoaxEye, Bellingcat, Snopes, Full Fact and others for their continued efforts to sort fact from fiction.

110322 ONS REACT random sampling study results over time

A special message for anyone who is especially vulnerable to COVID - particularly people who will never develop good immunity, however many jabs you get, or however many times you catch COVID. YOU ARE STILL IMPORTANT. Don't think we've all forgotten you, we haven't.

Two years! Although we started a while before WHO called a pandemic, so it's 2 and a bit. It seems somehow right that I just had my own time with COVID. I'm pretty much recovered now, although I'm a bit husky and I'm super tired. My partner is a couple of days behind me and seems to have got off very lightly (a win all round!). My 13 year old was ahead of us both, and is back to school as normal. It wasn't anything like as scary as COVID was 2 years ago, and my chances of dying were substantially lower. Massively lower. My chance of becoming very ill was far lower, and my chance of any long term or permanent damage - lower. We've come a really long way with treatments and vaccinations, and it's very easy to forget that.

Now, all we need to do is manufacture and fairly distribute enough doses to treat and vaccinate the whole world...

It is the weekend. Do me a favour and take some time away from news. Watch movies, read a book, play a game, do some gardening, have a kitchen disco. Whatever you do, allow yourself time away from the world, and have a treat, because you have earned it. Something special for you. One person's suffering and hardship does not turn someone else's into nothing. You will ALWAYS be able to find someone worse off than you. Indulge yourself for once.

I know the people of Kyiv and the whole of Ukraine feel especially worried tonight, I hope they are wrong.

Peace to all. Stay Sensible. Save The NHS.

Some people. They 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):

S. Korea 5,822,626 (+282,976)

Germany 16,814,655 (+178,049)

UK 19,530,485 (+72,828) 162,738 (+114)

Netherlands 7,055,814 (+69,186) 21,688 (+13)

Japan 5,609,096 (+62,825) 25,697 (+211)

Italy 13,268,459 (+53,127) 156,649 (+156)

Russia 17,242,043 (+50,743) 359,585 (+674)

Austria 3,071,402 (+49,323) 15,163 (+27)

Australia 3,535,620 (+34,886) 5,551 (+31)

Thailand 3,136,649 (+24,792) 23,578 (+63)

Greece 2,604,626 (+21,260) 26,473 (+49)

Finland 734,262 (+21,159) 2,653 (+80)

New Zealand 328,836 (+21,033) 91

Switzerland 3,058,800 (+18,374) 13,366 (+2)

Chile 3,269,062 (+18,326) 43,659 (+132)

Indonesia 5,864,010 (+16,110) 151,703 (+290)







First 6 months safety data:

COVID Actuaries had a peep at this to try and see if they could spot what was happening, and hospital-acquired COVID is going up.

UK antibody surveillance


Vaccination and Long COVID

WHO in Ukraine

 "How to verify information involving the war in Ukraine, according to fact-checkers and experts"

"The government has been accused of 'outright lies' after telling Ukrainian refugees to take a train that doesn't exist"

Children and war

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