Tuesday 22 March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st / 22nd March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st / 22nd March 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 592,459 (average 84,637 per day)
In hospital  yesterday 21st March: 16,272 (UP SIGNIFICANTLY by 2,724 from 13,548 a week earlier. Our COVID+ in-patients are almost an extra 400 people each day)
Using a ventilator: 299 (UP by 19 from 280 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 836 (average 119 a day, up from 102 daily average a week earlier)
Tests last 7 days: 5,118,487 (average 731,212 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 91.7% of UK aged 12+
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 85.8%
Boosted / 3rd dose: 67.2%

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,390,177 (+4,024) cases and 6,664 (+26) losses of life.

World: 473,272,998 reported cases and 6,107,861 losses of life.

Who is eligible for a Spring booster jab in the UK

Most COVID restrictions in Scotland have now ended - with the exception of masks in indoor public places, which should still be worn for at least the next couple of weeks. Now that COVID is all over and we're "learning to live with it", you might be surprised to discover that yesterday Scotland had a record breaking 2,128 patients in hospital with COVID, beating the previous record figure of 2,053 recorded on 22nd January 2021.
How can this be? Well, the simple truth is that COVID didn't get the memo that it was all over and the economy wanted to reopen, and has continued just doing its own thing...

Why the sharp rise in COVID cases Susan Hopkins of the UK Health Security Agency? She gave her answer in a podcast:
"The increased transmission means more people are getting it. I think that has been associated with changes in behaviour that we can all see visibly on the streets. I think we are seeing that people have really taken away their face coverings, and one of the discussions that I've been having is that, once you get below 50% in public transport, then it almost feels unusual to be wearing it, and so you really get into that decline of the behaviours that we had very well established and people really took on-board throughout December, January and February. So I think it's a combination of increased mixing, changes in behaviour and what we're doing and everything else, alongside a more transmissible variant that has us where we are today." 

cheeky little chappy sitting on the floor, and text

The number of people in UK hospitals with COVID is soaring, and a lot are catching it as in-patients. Adele Groyer of the COVID Actuaries has been tracking this for a few weeks. We know Omicron is more catchy, and the relaxation of COVID restrictions in hospital seems to have made it almost impossible to contain. Obviously less home testing means hospital in-patients are often only discovering they have COVID because they are routinely tested, by which point it may be too late to prevent spread to staff or the rest of the ward.
Fortunately Omicron is also less deadly, but clearly it will still take some people's lives. Remember lots of things are far more certain to kill you than COVID, including a stroke or heart attack, so don't avoid hospital for fear of COVID.
If you need medical attention, get it!!! 

"The UK government's let-it-rip approach to COVID-19 is dangerous, foolish and will have far-reaching consequences for years to come. COVID-19 is not a cold. It's a multi-organ inflammatory disease from which most appear to recover quickly but some develop long-term disability."
Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care, Oxford.

"I don't think people realise quite how odd this all is. The history of medicine is one of relentless improvement in health, against seemingly improbable odds."
Dr David Berger, outspoken Australian GP. He continues to list some of the improvements he's witnessed over his 30 years as a doctor, including almost eradicating deaths from:
Meningococcal disease
Haemophilus in children
Crashing heart failure
Ischaemic heart disease
Many cancers
Catastrophic gastrointestinal bleeds from gastric and duodenal ulcers and varices
Medical error from overlooked deteriorations in obs on the ward
(Etcetera - he lists many more than this)
"The standard of care in the hospital I work in now would have been unimaginable thirty years ago and these are just a few things I have listed off the top of my head in a couple of minutes. The idea that we are now giving up and allowing a virus to run rampant, a virus against which there is no meaningful immunity against repeated infection, a virus which causes severe illness, death and long-term disability, a virus with as yet incompletely described long-term consequences, is incomprehensible to me and to many others. It goes against all the principles of medicine and public health for the last 150 years, and yet we seem to have been brainwashed to accept it with remarkable ease."

220322 Vaccine efficacy Hong Kong Sinovac Pfizer

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for emergency measures to be introduced to allow hospitals to cope.
570 patients were without a bed in Irish hospitals yesterday, and there were 1,308 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the hospital system (up 133 in 24 hours). They have asked that restrictions on elective care remain in place until at least Easter.

Good news for anyone who didn't find all of that reassuring, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid says it's fine. On BBC Breakfast yesterday he said:
“Our level of concern hasn’t changed. Although the case numbers are rising, infections are rising, and indeed hospital numbers are rising, they are still way below their peak.
It’s also important for us when we review this to understand why they are rising. And that is primarily down to the increased social mixing we are seeing, as our country has opened up, but also the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, which we know is, on the one hand more infectious, but on the other hand we know that our vaccines work just as well against this."
Basically Omicron is the least killer of all COVID variants so far, and the UK population are well vaccinated, so we're sticking with what Boris said a few weeks ago - if not now, then when? Fingers crossed Spring and the warmer weather, plus the extra jabs for more vulnerable people, halt this before it overwhelms us. 

In a somewhat surprising move, Hong Kong on April 1st is lifting a ban on flights from 9 countries deemed high risk for COVID - U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines. Countries will no longer be categorised by 'risk level' and hotel quarantine for arrivals will be halved to 7 days.
They have also announced a decision to be less reliant on testing going forward, including pausing plans to mass test. Most social-distancing measures will be gradually eased from April 21st - when restaurants will be allowed to open after 6 pm and people will be allowed to gather in groups of 4. Schools will resume in-person after the Easter break. 

220322 Vaccine efficacy Hong Kong Sinovac Pfizer risk of death

Excitingly we have the slides from Hong Kong's latest COVID briefing (huge thanks to journalist Joel Chan). Aside from anything else, they showed how protective against Omicron the two most common vaccines in Hong Kong are in real life. They are the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer BioNTech (BNT) and a more traditional inactivated virus vaccine from Sinovac CoronaVac (CVac).
The results are very similar to those found in the UK, with 2 doses not preventing infection for most people, but 3 doses bumping that to 71% (BNT) and 42% (CVac) protection in people aged 20-60.
Protection against severe infection needing hospital care with 2 doses in people aged 20-60 is very good -  95%  (BNT) and 91% (CVac)
Protection against death with 2 doses in people aged 20-60 is very high at 96.4% (BNT) and 94% (CVac), but a bit lower for older people over 60 years at 92.3% (BNT) and 77.4% (CVac). Again, this is bumped up with that 3rd booster dose to 98.1% (BNT) and 98.3% (CVac).
Worth getting that booster dose, especially if you are older. Hong Kong are a bit behind the UK, because they started vaccinating later, so you can see why the UK are now ready to re-boost our more vulnerable population. 

There's yet more data from China regarding these two vaccines, as modellers attempt to work out when the current wave in Hong Kong will end. Results show very clearly that risk of severe illness and death is far, far greater in the unvaccinated and less vaccinated populations. 

Vaccinations Hong Kong China vaccinated unvaccinated

Disney resort Shanghai is temporarily closed due to the record numbers of COVID cases locally.

"WHO verified 6 additional reports of attacks on health care in Ukraine yesterday. As of 20 March, we had verified 52 attacks on health care - in 25 days. That's more than 2 attacks per day.
This is unacceptable. Health care must always be protected."
World Health Organisation.

Healthcare worker standing staring into the lens and looking frustrated and angry and a bit scared

In the USA Seattle students have staged a walk out, demanding that mask mandates are reinstated. The group of student activists that organized the rally have named themselves... drum roll... the Seattle Student Union. Nice.
Their main complaint is that decisions are not based on health, but politics:
“[The district] would rather have our family members die and have us deal with this for another five years than deal with some conservative parents complaining about how their mask itches.”

Russian journalist, TV presenter and editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov, was jointly awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."
In light of the fact freedom of expression and peace has evaporated, it is very sad, but very fitting that he has donated his medal to an auction for the benefit of refugees from Ukraine.

First they came for the journalists

If you have Instagram, and you fancy having an excuse for a bit of a cry, there is an account called 'Mom, I See War' who are collecting children's drawings.

Stay sensible, keep everything in perspective. Back Friday...

Some people. Very much like you, and me, and those we care about.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life YESTERDAY in the full 24 hours until midnight GMT (bear in mind there will be some missing data due to weekend reporting affecting Monday's totals):

S. Korea 9,582,815 (+209,169) 12,757 (+329)

Germany 18,866,226 (+182,939) 127,541 (+109)

Vietnam 8,089,761 (+131,713) 41,949 (+69)

UK 20,319,434 (+55,476) 163,679 (+56)

Japan 6,102,134 (+40,195) 27,119 (+74)

Australia 3,943,245 (+40,132) 5,736 (+6)

Italy 13,895,188 (+32,573) 157,904 (+119)

Netherlands 7,543,318 (+31,921) 21,796 (+3)

Austria 3,498,075 (+31,872)15,432 (+23)

Russia 17,611,401 (+28,709) 364,901 (+409)

Finland 812,017 (+25,705) 2,881 (+98)

France 24,161,339 (+24,179) 141,085 (+152)

Greece 2,812,182 (+23,528) 26,995 (+58)

Thailand 3,377,410 (+23,441) 24,337 (+88)

Malaysia 4,010,952 (+17,828) 34,463 (+63)

USA 81,448,402 (+16,435) 998,840 (+232)

Turkey 14,708,850 (+14,933) 97,347 (+80)

New Zealand 497,731 (+14,509) 163 (+12)

Hong Kong 1,061,758 (+14,068) 6,119 (+223) 



"This is not a military rescue operation. This is a crime against humanity",Agatha, 14 years old, Mykolayiv. c/o Mom, I See War on Instagram







Ukraine image


Image Ukraine:




Healthcare is not a legitimate target for warfare


Covid image:


Spring booster image:



COVID UK hospitals 



Journalists image 


Immunizations for kids image


Susan Hopkins




Spring booster images





"Hong Kong is going to lift the overseas flight ban, puts mass Covid testing on hold" 




And more Chinese data on the effectiveness of Sinovac vaccine




Ukraine Images


Freedom of the press worldwide



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