Tuesday 15 March 2022

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

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

UK Daily Statistics are a mess today again.
"No update to hospital data in England"
"Newly-reported cases, deaths, tests and vaccinations for Scotland cover several days"

Cases last 7 days: 492,103 (rising average 70,300 per day)
In hospital yesterday 14th March: 13,548 (UP by 2,230 from 11,318 a week earlier, which is an extra 318 a day, and they appear to be saying that's incomplete)
Using a ventilator yesterday 14th March: 280 (up slightly on 268 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 714 (steady average of 102 per day)
Tests: 4,799,199 over last 7 days (dropping average 685,599 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 91.7% of UK aged 12+
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 85.6%
Boosted / 3rd dose: 67%

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,353,733 cases and 6,624 losses of life (not yet reported today)

World: 460,953,747 reported cases and 6,069,945 losses of life.

Marina Russian TV lady No War

“In the name of God, let the cries of those who suffer be heard and let the bombings and attacks cease! Let there be a real and decisive focus on negotiation, and let the humanitarian corridors be effective and safe. In the name of God, I ask you: stop this massacre!”
The Pope

"There are hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine in need of emergency assistance.
Supplying hospitals with medical equipment is also an urgent priority.
I appeal for passages to be open and kept safe so that people can get lifesaving aid and escape to safety."
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Pfizer are going to donate all proceeds from sales in Russia for humanitarian aid to Ukraine. They won't halt supplies to Russia (and rightly so), because it would jeopardise patients' lives.
"Pfizer has committed to maintain a humanitarian supply of medicines to Russians, and effective immediately we will donate all profits from our Russian subsidiary to causes that provide direct humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine."

"All remaining Covid legal restrictions will end on Monday. Only exception is a short extension of requirement for face coverings on public transport and certain indoor places, to help us through current case spike & give extra protection, especially to more vulnerable people."
Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister.
Face coverings will continue until at least April 4th.

Scotland wear a face covering

Grant Shapps, UK Transport Secretary, with the travel news:
"All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on 18 March.
These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter."
Freedom? Really? It was hardly incarceration Grant. Obviously this is only of benefit to those who can afford a foreign holiday over Easter, and can take the time off, and it applies to all 4 UK nations... 

"Living with cholera" meant changing the sewage system in every city in the world. If you think "living with COVID" means pretending it doesn't exist, I've got some bad news."
A comment by a not-at-all-famous American bloke on Twitter, Michael Coyle. But he's pretty much right... 

The UK is scrapping our REACT random sampling COVID surveillance. Because it's all over now, obviously. How stupid of us to think it carries on, and we might want to have an idea of how bad it is. With no free universal testing, case numbers won't be anything like accurate - we can already see this as testing is winding down - so we genuinely won't know how many people in the community have COVID, and won't have any prior warning of sudden increases in numbers. Flying blind... isn't that an exciting option... 

Sajid Javid has been on Sky News and in The Guardian saying the UK should brace ourselves for a rise in COVID infections... eh, what? But it's over Sajid, surely? And how would we ever know now that we're using the 'Trump method' to bring down case numbers... (less testing= less cases) 

150322 UK Hospital admissions by age UK

Hospitalisations for COVID in England are rising in all age groups.
(Ah... I think we may have a sneaky way to tell if we have a rise in infections)
"Hospital admissions are still increasing rapidly - up by  25% over the past week. And these large increases in admissions are happening at all ages - between 22% and 26% increase for all age groups 18+."
Adele Groyer of the COVID Actuaries Response Group.
"The growth rate is fairly consistent between regions, all up by between 19% and 31%."
This is admissions, which I don't always tell you - purely because I can't include all the stats on everything, all the time. Although our figures are rising by an average 318 per day, over 1,000 patients are actually admitted and over 1,000 are discharged every day. If you were cynical you might say someone is trying to hide this data from us, because "Hospital Admissions" on the dashboard hasn't been updated since last Thursday, when it was 10,315 for the last 7 days - an average of 1,473 admissions per day. 

After OFSTED complained last week that UK kids are still having too much time off, I may have spotted another reason for it (aside from 2 years of lockdowns, stress and no holidays)...
"Kids in my class are on their 3rd infection in 6 months. Half the staff on their 2nd. In primary we still have no mitigations, no masks, no vaccinations for kids. Why is government repeating the lie it's a respiratory infection when it's vascular disease causing long term harm?"
Anonymous Teacher on Twitter (and echoed by many teachers and parents I know). There hasn't yet been a "return to normality" in schools, and pupils (and staff) haven't stopped catching COVID. Repeatedly. 

UK homewares stores Wilko's managed to confuse everyone by (at the very least) implying that staff with COVID should go to work. The whole idea wasn't universally popular with their staff or customers, and they've issued a very clear statement that it is NOT the case. All staff who test positive or have symptoms should stay home. 

Wilkos announcement covid and staff going forward

Austria was the first European country to implement mandatory COVID vaccinations, and the only one to make them mandatory for all adults, but they are now removing that law. They faced a lot of protests and were due to start imposing fines next week, but have decided to review the position in 3 months instead. 

Hong Kong and New Zealand both remained almost entirely COVID-free for 2 years, and then Omicron arrived and the situation changed. Tragically it has resulted in a nightmare for Hong Kong, and when we look at New Zealand, it seems likely it could have been avoided.
Right now they both have over 100 new daily cases per 100,000 people, but in New Zealand around 1 in every 1,000 (0.1%) is dying. In Hong Kong it is an horrific 47 in every 1,000  (4.7%).
John Burn-Murdoch (who does the numbers at the Financial Times) is pointing out that the glaring difference is that in New Zealand only 2% of older people are not vaccinated, and in Hong Kong when Omicron arrived 66% of people over 80 were not vaccinated.
The older population in Hong Kong were really reluctant to be vaccinated because of bad press around side effects, and claims the vaccinations didn't work in older people. That negative press is proving incredibly expensive as regards human life, and it really does show just how effective the vaccinations are... 

The Hong Kong COVID spillover into mainland China is not improving. Lockdown has just been imposed for entire Jilin province, and it's population of a staggering 24 million people. Jilin reported 895 locally transmitted COVID19 cases, & 131 asymptomatic carriers on Sunday, and the Mayor has been fired for this 'failure'. 

150322 Eric Topol wasterwater sampling USA

The USA may be about to experience a surge in cases due to Omicron BA.2. Watewater monitoring (poo) shows SARS COV 2 is sharply rising across the US, or plateauing and no longer falling, and it is identical to what happened in Europe a few weeks ago (see image above).
"Wastewater surveillance of Covid is relatively sparse in the US, but 62 (15%) sites have a >1000% increase in viral RNA detected in the past 15-day period."
That's a hefty and sudden increase. All hopes that the less vaccinated areas do not have the same experience as Hong Kong... 

Sajid Javid has done a summary of his NHS Reform Plans.
"My priorities for NHS reform and modernisation are based around 4 P’s:
I was hoping it wouldn't just scream "pay private companies to do it". Sadly it did.
"Health needs the revolution that has already come to other sectors like banking and shopping. With much greater patient choice, innovation, tech and AI - meaning more convenience, lower costs and reduced health disparities.
My vision for reform will start what will be one of the most significant transfers of power and funding from the State to individuals and their families in decades."
"I want to put more power in the hands of patients and their loved ones - giving long-waiters the “right to choose”. We know that when healthcare is personalised, built around the person and their family, it works better."
He has a link to a paid for article for further explanation about the 'right to choose', which is ironic really, as I believe it is about 'the right to choose to go to a private facility' if you have waited a long time for treatment (likely to be 18 months-2 years or over.)

Oksanadrachkovskaillustration on Instagram Ukraine

The 'basket of shopping' which is used to measure how much the cost of living is going up has been reshaped by the pandemic. The pessimistic part of me thinks this is yet another way to fudge figures (simply replace things with prices you aren't happy about), but the logical part of me knows consumer spending has altered.
We aren't so keen on wearing restrictive clothing and we are doing more sports, so formal suits are out and leisurewear is in - including sports bras. People have more time for home cooking, and meat eating is decreasing, so some foods are being nudged aside and vegetarian sausages now make the list. Single serving desserts and hand food for lunch aren't being bought in such large numbers, we're eating more at home and buying multipacks.
We also have far more domestic pets than 3 years ago, so pet collars have been added to the list.

When you're ever talking about individual acts of bravery, the last 24 hours have to go down in history.
Today the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša went to Ukrainian capital Kyiv as representatives of the European Council, to meet with President Zolodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in a show of unity and support.
You can't buy balls, you can grow them, but you either have them or you don't.
Although Kyiv has not been completely taken over by hostile forces and is not entirely surrounded, parts are embattled and under fire, and 3 journalists have been severely injured or killed in the last 72 hours. It's not a pleasure trip... 

150322 Human rights lawyer Anton Gashinsky

Biggest spheres of the week go to Russian TV Producer/Editor Marina Ovsyannikova, who until yesterday worked for prime time Russian TV at Channel 1. She found her moment, and stepped on screen during the live teatime news broadcast holding a giant sign which read "No War"in English, and in Russian "Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here." It ended in English "Russians against war”. She was also shouting her message, which could still be heard even when the visuals had cut to a pre-recorded film.
She was missing after being arrested, which worried human rights' agencies, but we are told appeared in Russian court this afternoon (a bizarre comfort), and there is a photo (above) with her lawyer to prove it (well-known human rights' lawyer Anton Gashinsky). She's been found guilty of organising an illegal protest and fined fined 30,000 Rubles (currently £214) for filming an explanatory video BEFORE she took action on live TV. Emmanuel Macron has offered to speak to Putin and give her "diplomatic protection" in France.

Over 100,000 people have already applied to sponsor Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK, and have them come and live in your house. Humanity is not lost.

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 7,228,550 (+362,328) 10,888 (+293)

Germany 17,520,804 (+178,453) 126,516 (+271)

Vietnam 6,552,918 (+175,480) 41,545 (+68)

Italy 13,489,319 (+85,288) 157,177 (+180)

Netherlands 7,266,972 (+52,897) 21,725 (+12)

Austria 3,225,272 (+37,125) 15,261 (+40)

Russia 17,412,919 (+36,678) 361,902 (+558)

Japan 5,808,242 (+35,846) 26,262 (+108)

Australia 3,656,931 (+34,047) 5,616 (+25)

Greece 2,684,916 (+26,620) 26,686 (+51)

Turkey 14,600,683 (+24,614) 96,735 (+115)

New Zealand 399,342 (+21,657) 102

Switzerland 3,156,380 (+21,296) 13,425 (+3)
















Image of peace

oksanadrachkovskaillustration on Instagram





Travel news:


Michael Coyle




Wilko staff with COVID policy 





Hong Kong

















USA Wastewater 











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