Friday 25 March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 23rd / 24th / 25th March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 23rd / 24th / 25th March 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 599,244 (average 85,606 per day, up from 78,885 a week earlier)
In hospital yesterday Thursday 24th: 17,440 (up from 14,671 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator on Wednesday 23rd: 302
Losses of life last 7 days: 950 (average 136 per day)
Total losses of life: 164,454
Tests last 7 days: 5,098,534
Vaccinations 1st dose: 91.7% of UK aged 12+
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 85.8%
Boosted / 3rd dose: 67.3%

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,422,945 (+9,147) cases and 6,710 (+17) losses of life.

World: 478,839,027 reported cases and 6,136,057 losses of life.

250322 ONS infection survey random sampling positives by variant of Omicron UK

"We all want to move on from the pandemic. But no matter how much we wish it away, this pandemic is not over."
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO

Wednesday was a National Day Of Reflection, in memory of all those lost over the 2 years since the UK first went into lockdown because of COVID. I didn't know about it in advance, so I didn't mention it - and I apologise to anyone who wishes they had known.
End of life charity Marie Curie has created online Walls Of Remembrance where you can leave a dedication to those you loved who have fallen victim to COVID. 

Between March 2020 and December 2021, an extra 133,623 more people died in England and Wales compared to the average from 2015-2019.
Across the whole UK up until Friday 11th March, over 186,094 people have had COVID listed as a cause on their death certificate.

On Monday Wales is dropping masks on public transport and indoors, except for in health and social care premises. 

250322 ONS infection survey random sampling positives by age UK

The UK's RECOVERY Trial genuinely has been world-leading and has saved many tens of thousands of lives, and possibly more than that. RECOVERY started 2 years ago, and is the world’s largest trial of potential COVID-19 treatments, with a massive 47,000 participants to date, and the following results:
- Hydroxychloroquine (an antimalarial drug) - no clinical benefit
- Dexamethasone - reduces deaths by one-third in the sickest patients
- Lopinavir-Ritonavir (commonly used to treat HIV) - no clinical benefit
- Azithromycin (a commonly used antibiotic) - found to be ineffective
- Tocilizumab (an anti-inflammatory treatment given by injection)- reduces deaths by up to a half
- Colchicine (commonly used anti-inflammatory) - found to be ineffective
- Aspirin (commonly used to thin the blood) - found to be ineffective
- Monoclonal antibody combination - reduces deaths in people who have not mounted their own immune response
- Baricitinib (an immunomodulatory drug used in rheumatoid arthritis) - reduces deaths by approximately one-fifth

Sadly the UK stats are all going the wrong way. Media are finally catching on that COVID isn't actually over, and actually reporting that COVID+ hospital admission rates are grim. Latest COVID surveillance released on Tuesday shows (week ending 18th March):
- Across the whole UK, hospital admissions increased 22% in the past week to 14,948 (that rise may be decelerating as it's actually less of a leap than the week before, so not 100% bad news).
- People with a need for mechanical ventilation is up 10%
- Losses of life are up 14%
- Admissions for people aged 75-84 and people 85+ are at their highest since mid-January 2021 (second wave).
- The highest hospitalisation rate is for over-85s, and was 178.3 per 100,000 last week (up from 137 a week earlier), and for people aged 75 to 84 it was 74.3, up from 59.8
- Scotland has a record number of people in hospital with COVID, and they've broken their own record day after day this week. 

250322 UK GOV HSA data cases by age group

In England:
- 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 East
- The South West has the highest amount of hospital admissions this week

This week's ONS Infection Survey estimates a really big rise in 3 of the 4 UK nations - and cases overall up more than a million on the week beforehand. In the week ending 20th March 2022:
England increase (+31%), estimate 3,485,700 people had COVID-19, equating to 6.39% or around 1 in 16 people.
Wales increase (+54%), estimate 192,900 people had COVID-19, equating to 6.35% or around 1 in 16 people.
Scotland increase (+26%), estimate 473,800 people had COVID-19, equating to a record-breaking 9.00% or around 1 in 11 people.
Northern Ireland decrease, estimate 108,700 people had COVID-19, equating to 5.92% or around 1 in 17 people.
Ladies and gentleman, those figures are not good, and all rumours are that Scotland is having a nightmare, with some hospitals really struggling to deal with patient load. 

250322 UK GOV HSA data cases by area

Funding for free COVID treatment and testing for uninsured Americans came to an end on Wednesday. This affects over 30 million American people. 

Moderna announced interim results on Wednesday for the trials of vaccine with children under age 6. Two 1/4 sized doses provoked a similar immune response to two full doses in adults aged 18-25. It's a win. 

Hoax Of The Day /Trump Of The Week:
Chinese diplomat and Counsellor of Department of Information, Li Yang, who shared an article claiming Moderna created COVID.
For reference, no, they didn't. Did you really believe that? PolitiFact fact-checked this one, because someone had to, and they found it was hokum.
This is true = "a portion of genetic code found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is a match for a part of code found in a gene sequence vaccine-maker Moderna filed a patent for in 2016 for cancer research"
What isn't true = that portion of genetic code is so rare it proves COVID was made in Moderna's lab.
Even the main guy doing the study, eye doctor Bala Ambati, doesn't make that claim. He says he just wanted to make people think. Well, think on this. Your genetic code is 50% the same as a banana.

After the freak high temperatures in Antarctica over the past fortnight, a section of the Conger ice shelf that is as big as New York City has collapsed. They did mention it on the news - but if you blinked, you may have missed it. 

10 members of the UK Emergency Medical Team have travelled to the Solomon Islands to support their COVID-19 response and share their wealth of knowledge and experience. 

250322 UK GOV HSA data hospital admission by age

Limited places are available at Australia's Melbourne Museum next Saturday and Sunday for 5 to 11-year-old children to get vaccinated – with free entry for themselves and their family. Family members aged 12+ must have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to join in. 

The World Health Organisation are warning African countries against dropping restrictions and testing for COVID too quickly. They are asking everyone to be cautious, and keep a foot over the brake... 

In the not-COVID news: 402,000 Ukrainians, including 84,000 children, have been taken to Russia. Russia says they were rescued and evacuated. Ukraine says they were forcibly taken. The only thing they agree on is the numbers, and that is one heck of a lot of people. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is missing out and clearly wanted to join in with the bombing currently occurring. He test fired his new missile system, and it just about landed in Japanese territory, so some feathers have been ruffled. Mr Kim filmed a staggering video about the launch, where he appears to be playing the hero - channelling Top Gun in a leather jacket and shades. In one scene he removes his shades and points off into the distance. All the ladies swoon at that, obviously.

Hackers are targeting Russian and Belarusian computer users with "protestware".Computer programmes are just a huge list of instructions. Lots of instructions repeat - use English alphabet, make a webpage, show a photo, play a game online, have boxes for comments, animate this, etc etc. Over the years programmers have published tons of code online for other people to use free of charge - "Open Source". You'll have used tons of it, because there is no point rewriting something from scratch each time. Often it updates automatically to keep up with changes and defend against new hacks... Some developers are taking advantage of this and updating their open source code to leave anti-war or pro-Ukraine messages on the screens of Russian or Belarusian users. 

mom I see war Agata 14 Mykolaiv
Mom, I see war (Instagram page). Agata age 14, Mykolaiv, Ukraine. 

Scientists have found microplastics in human blood for the first time ever. 17 out of 22 blood samples from healthy adults contained measurable plastic particles. 1/2 contained PET (like drinks bottle plastic), 1/3 contained polystyrene (food packaging) and 1/4 polyethylene (carrier bag plastic) Omg microplastics not now! We'd all forgotten about you. Tragically COVID has led to literally millions of tons of billions of pieces of extra plastic-infused waste being incorrectly disposed of... 

The World Health Organisation are incredibly unhappy that they are completely unable to get any medical aid into Mariupol, in Southern Ukraine. Over 100,000 people have been without water or power for weeks, the main hospitals and maternity hospital have been bombed, as have a theatre and an art school which were being used as shelters by residents. The situation there is dire. It is reported that people are beginning to starve to death. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is just piling on the pain for poor countries which haven't had time to recover from hard COVID restrictions. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that food prices are really going to cause struggles, because prices already soared during the pandemic: "In Kenya, bread prices jumped 40%. In Brazil, gasoline prices are up 19%. In Turkey, there was panic buying of sunflower oil." 

The price of food oil has risen over 40% since September 2020. As Ukraine accounts for more than half of the global exports of sunflower oil annually, that isn't going to improve any time soon. (Ukraine and Russia together supply around 2/3 of traded sunflower oil.) 1/4 of global wheat exports come from Ukraine and Russia, as well as 1/5 of global maize, and barley.

Half of all Ukrainian children have been displaced since Feb. 24:
“Since the start of the war a month ago, out of every boy and girl in the country, one out of two now has had to flee their homes,”
UNICEF spokesperson James Elder

Image of adult and child holding hands and walking against light snow. The adult carries a house on their back

28 days of war
64 verified attacks on health care
18 million people affected"
World Health Organisation (WHO)
“Attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law, but a disturbingly common tactic of war – they destroy critical infrastructure, but worse, they destroy hope. Health care is not – and should never be – a target.”
Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Ukraine

A newspaper clipping with 1918 flu pandemic prevention advice is being shared online. The clipping is from Douglas Island News (Alaska) on Nov 15, 1918 and found on Newspapers dot com, and includes:
- Wash your hands before each meal
- Live in an abundance of fresh air
- Avoid crowds
- Do not neglect your mask
- Do not disregard the advice of a specialist just because you don’t understand
- Do not think you are entitled to special privileges
- Do not think it is impossible for you to get or transmit influenza
- Keep your hands out of your mouth
I'm liking it. I think it's all very sound advice, I'm sure you'll agree... 

Who is eligible for a Spring booster jab in the UK

After being pretty hardline for 2 years, Singapore is easing more COVID restrictions.
From March 29th fully vaccinated people will no longer have to wear a mask outdoors, groups of 10 can meet, and 75% of staff can return to the office.
Low-risk children with Covid-19 no longer need to be hospitalised, and can recover at home.
Quarantine and testing for travellers is being relaxed, and restaurants and bars will be allowed to sell alcohol after 10.30pm. Cheers! 

Psst. You people who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, or who can't develop robust immunity against COVID. You're still important. Don't ever think you aren't.

Quick reminder again that the NHS will not ask for payment or card details for you to book a test - if you get a test of email which says this, it's a hoax. Report at phishing dot gov dot uk or by forwarding texts for free to 7726.

It is the weekend - and the weather is looking gorgeous across most of the UK, so hopefully you have sunshine and warmth! Lovely, lovely free warmth. Lovely free fresh air! We do have masses of COVID in the UK, and you probably don't want to be repeatedly ill, even if your chance of serious illness is incredibly slim. Get outside, throw open the windows and blow away the cobwebs - and don't forget to treat yourself. You've made it through another week. Well done, because it hasn't been plain sailing. If you have COVID or you are recovering, remember and be kind to yourself - it's exhausting! Take time off.

I'll be back Sunday. Play Outside, Choose Peace, Save The NHS.

Some people. They look like numbers here, but each one is a unique human being, with a name and a face, and a favourite piece of music.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life yesterday in the full 24 hours up until midnight GMT:

S. Korea 10,822,836 (+395,589) 13,902 (+470)

Germany 19,741,719 (+305,592) 128,457 (+261)

France 24,636,311 (+148,635) 141,443 (+124)

Vietnam 8,599,751 (+120,000) 42,145 (+70)

UK 20,651,198 (+83,415) 164,282 (+159)

Italy 14,153,098 (+81,811) 158,436 (+182)

Australia 4,122,142 (+63,184) 5,824 (+35)

Austria 3,627,093 (+41,607) 15,579 (+49)

Netherlands 7,665,726 (+39,086) 21,851 (+15)

Brazil 29,767,681 (+37,690) 658,367 (+300)

Japan 6,189,816 (+36,605) 27,356 (+110)

USA 81,565,957 (+31,709) 1,002,259 (+649)

Thailand 3,450,980 (+27,024) 24,582 (+82)

Russia 17,690,008 (+25,387) 366,220 (+418)

Malaysia 4,079,242 (+24,316) 34,664 (+64)

Spain 11,427,378 (+24,297) 102,279 (+113)

Greece 2,884,100 (+22,107) 27,125 (+42) 



Health care is not a target

State of healthcare in Ukraine

Moderna vaccine in kids

Moderna created COVID

"Programmers hit Russia with ‘protestware’ code supporting Ukraine"

"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

Excess mortality data

UK COVID Hospital admissions

Kim Jong Un in missile propaganda film

Plus image:

UNICEF aging image:

More images:

1918 clipping

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