Tuesday 29 March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 28th / 29th March 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 574,027 (average 82,003 per day)
In hospital yesterday 28th March: 19,118 (UP from 16,272 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday 28th March: 363 (UP from 299 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,051 (average 150 a day, UP from 119 average a week earlier)
Tests: 4,952,823 (average 707,546 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 91.8% of UK age 12+
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 85.9%
Boosted / 3rd dose: 67.4%

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,442,877 (+5,263) cases and 6,721 (+11) losses of life.

World: 484,179,897 reported cases and 6,153,536 losses of life.

Young woman holding a small child and text Pregnant women in hospitals must not be a target The World Health Organisation

For 2 years many publications removed paywalls for anything regarding the pandemic, and made their reporting and articles free to read and open access to all. Some of those paywalls and limits on access to information are returning. Sad times guys, but at least we got the 2 years.

Good news regarding UK hospital admissions. I say good, I actually mean bad, but much better than it was. We have been seeing a huge increase week on week, but it has slowed down considerably. Whoot!
The COVID Actuaries Response Group keep track and tell us over the past 7 days:
"Strongest growth is currently being seen in ventilator beds, and the total beds figure has risen by over 1,300 to 15,170"
Overall it seems fairly obvious more people get symptoms with Omicron, but less are severely ill, so the rise in ventilator beds and ICU admissions is a bit of a bugger. It could be due to immunity in our most vulnerable people beginning to wane already - which makes getting those Spring Booster Jabs even more important. 

11,278 people who signed up to help deliver the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme have chosen to stay and have a career with the NHS.

290322 COVID Actuaries daily hospital admissions

We were told yesterday that 20 fines were going to be imposed regarding the UK Government's constant boozing while on the job and partying during lockdown. How Sky News could possibly know what the police were planning ahead of time was beyond me (lol, no it isn't), but Scotland Yard confirmed it this morning.
The Metropolitan Police will issue at least 20 fixed penalty notices for breaches of COVID restrictions, amid an investigation into 12 events held in Whitehall and Downing Street while the country was under strict COVID-19 restrictions.
We apparently aren't going to be told who will receive a fine, which doesn't have to be the case - many forces produce daily lists of fixed penalty fines, it isn't something that has to remain secret. Rest assured whoever gets one isn't going to struggle to pay it, nor are they going to face political scandal or lose their careers.
Nonetheless, as Kit Yates (indieSAGE) says:
"The Prime Minister insisted over and over (and in the house of commons too) that no covid rules were broken. The fact the Met are issuing fixed penalty notices demonstrates that this was a lie."
Boris, lying? In the House of Commons? Surely not?...

Hospital-acquired COVID is still accounting for over 20% of all hospitalised cases in England. The predominant Omicron BA.2 variant is so incredibly catchy, and measures to prevent spread have been relaxed. This is the result.
"For the 7 days to 26 March, 22% of hospital admissions were Covid cases diagnosed in hospital more than 7 days after admission.
For the past 4 weeks, the range has been 22% - 24%
Pre-Omicron, this proportion was around 5%"
Adele Groyer, COVID Actuaries Response Group.
Hospital-acquired COVID is a massive issue just about everywhere, and has been for 2 years. It is incredibly hard to prevent spread in hospitals, especially among longer stay sick or vulnerable patients. However IF YOU NEED A HOSPITAL THEN DYING IN YOUR CHAIR IS A GREATLY INFERIOR OPTION TO THE SMALL RISK OF CATCHING COVID. Millions of people in England are admitted to hospital each week, and the vast majority will still NOT catch COVID. 

290322 Adele Groyer COVID Actuaries chart showing around 20% of hospital admissions for COVID are potentially hospital-acquired

If you've been reading my posts for any length of time then you'll know I've always been concerned about Long COVID. We still don't have any real understanding of just what effect the long term and permanent damage caused by COVID is going to have on society and the individuals within it. I know that some people who have had anosmia (loss of sense of smell/taste) for over 2 years are beginning to be told it's probably going to be permanent, and potentially other damage may be too.
COVID affects the kidneys, and we are beginning to get some long term research results. It's not great.
A really huge US study looking at the database of veterans has compared historical results (what used to happen pre-COVID), a contemporary (now) group who haven't tested positive for COVID, and another group of around 180,000 people who caught COVID and survived.
Compared with the contemporary control group, people who had COVID-19 had an increased risk of diabetes at 12 months - 1.4 cases for every 1, which is an extra 13.46 people per 1000. There was also an increased risk of "incident antihyperglycaemic use" (needing new drugs to control sugar levels) at 1.85 for every 1, which is an extra 12.35 people per 1,000.
"Risks and burdens of post-acute outcomes increased in a graded fashion according to the severity of the acute phase of COVID-19 (whether patients were non-hospitalised, hospitalised, or admitted to intensive care)."
This doesn't mean you are going to develop diabetes, it means what we are seeing is an average 40% increase in the number of people developing diabetes a year after they've had COVID. So if 100 people would have been expected to develop diabetes during that year, instead 140 will. It's a big difference, and the risk is really varied  - it's far greater if patients were severely ill when they had COVID and needed intensive care. Other risk factors include being over 65 years old, ethnicity (being black), having a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 or 30+, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia (including high cholesterol) or being prediabetic.
The researchers suggest that ongoing diabetes checks are a very important part of post-infection care. 

Hong Kong citizens are quietly complaining that the new Government COVID response has been ineffectual, panders to the wealthy and frankly changes it's mind every 5 minutes. They were told a location-tracking COVID mobile app would only be used voluntarily, but it is now a requirement, even for some supermarkets. Schools were told with 2 weeks notice that they'd be closing for Summer in mid-March (rather than July), and there wouldn't be remote learning because premises would be used for mass testing, but then private international schools were allowed to stay open.
The population have lost faith in democracy, as they feel Beijing (Chinese mainland) will rubber stamp whoever and whatever they want, protest has been barred under the new security laws, and independent media has closed. There's basically no-one left to investigate or call out the Governance on their failures.
We might not really get anywhere by complaining that Boris and the UK Government have made mistakes, but at least we can moan about it.
Apathy can have a huge effect on how a population deals with an epidemic, so it may well have a part to play in the current disaster Hong Kong is having... 

Scot Gov COVID sense fresh air

Moving on to mainland China, and that spillover from the outbreak in Hong Kong has persisted in the Shanghai region. China are still attempting zero COVID, so all 26 million residents living in Shanghai will be tested multiple times.
The Pudong financial district and nearby areas will be locked down until Friday and mass testing has begun. The testing is in two phases, so the downtown Puxi area west of the Huangpu River will start its own five-day lockdown on Friday. Roads and bridges linking the two areas are closed.
During the lockdowns citizens have to stay at home, with deliveries left at checkpoints to ensure there is no contact with the outside world. All inessential business and public transport will close.
China has reported the loss of less than 10 people to COVID since mid April 2020, but for the last 2 weeks has been reporting around 2,000 new cases a day - mainly asymptomatic. Best of luck...  

Taiwan is also having a bit of a COVID case explosion right now, and they're reporting over 100 new cases a day.
In an effort to curb spread, they're cracking down on 'licensed adult entertainment venues' - including nightclubs, dancehalls, pubs, hostess clubs, karaoke bars and massage parlors.
Customers and employees will have to show proof of three COVID-19 vaccine jabs (full course plus booster), and customers will have to register their phone numbers on entry. Anyone with symptoms won't be admitted. Staff will also take a weekly test at least until the end of April. 

UNHCR Charity for Refugees help in Ukraine

Famous People With COVID:
Elon Musk for the second time. He missed a SpaceX launch last time, proving however much money you have, COVID can still ruin your plans. 

The US FDA have just authorised a 2nd booster of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people aged 50 and older. The shots can be given 4 months or more after the first booster dose.
(Expect to see the Spring Booster Jabs in the UK expanded to more people once they get underway.)

Researchers from Sweden have been evaluating their COVID response.
Officially, the Swedish strategy was centred around individual responsibility, and not overwhelming healthcare systems. Many anti-lockdown protestors cited their response as sensible and something other countries should follow, and Government Ministers the world over gave it as an example to relax restrictions. "The aim was to protect risk groups (including elderly) and to limit the consequences for the individual and society—a so-called mitigation strategy."
Although they never actually said they intended "herd immunity", they were expecting it to occur as a side effect.
It didn't exactly go to plan...  During 2020 Sweden's COVID-19 death rate was ten times higher than neighbouring Norway, and as we've seen in the UK, herd immunity can't occur with a disease you can keep catching repeatedly.
Controversially herd immunity for a large lump of the population, via schoolchildren, who seem to be less at risk of death and permanent harm, was discussed in emails. (Naughty... although I make no secret I believe this was also what the UK Government was thinking.)

Supportive of Ukrainians street art 2

"As of 29 March, WHO has verified 74 attacks on health care in Ukraine, that caused 72 deaths & 40 injuries. The sanctity and safety of health care must be respected."
The World Health Organisation in Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian delegations met face-to-face for the first time in 3 weeks today, in Istanbul, Turkey. There does appear to have been some progress, and Russia’s military have said that they'll cut back operations near the capital Kyiv (Kiev) and the northern Ukrainian city Chernihiv. There are also some suggestions that they've moved closer to a potential discussion between Putin and Zelenskyy. There have been lies before, so let's hope it's a positive sign. 

Estimates are that almost 4 million refugees have already left Ukraine, and more than 6.5 million people are internally displaced.
Worldwide at the end of 2020, an estimated 48 million people were internally displaced. Unable to return to their own home as it was not safe to do so. By crikey humans can be cruel...
Humans can also be awesome.
- Poland has taken in almost 2.3 million Ukrainian refugees, and it hasn't created a single refugee camp. They are all in available accommodation - mainly other people's homes. Poland's population last month was around 48 million people.
- Moldova has taken in almost 384,000 refugees from Ukraine. Their population last month was just over 4 million people. That's the equivalent of the UK taking in 6.5 million people, yet Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. 

The new energy price cap comes into play from April, so for goodness sake take a meter reading on Thursday because it's the 31st March (or do one now if you won't remember), and importantly pass that reading onto your supplier. If you don't then they'll take the next reading whenever, and average out what you've used since your last reading, and you will almost certainly pay more. You want as much as possible to have been registered as being at the lower price. Then it's cardigans and fluffy slippers all round...

I shall be back with a COVID update on Friday... Stay sensible.

Some numbers. All humans.

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

World 483,323,843 (+1,035,626) 6,151,655 (+2,910)

Germany 20,465,072 (+214,035) 129,106 (+159)

S. Korea 12,003,054 (+187,213) 15,186 (+287)

Vietnam 9,274,849 (+83,376) 42,358 (+52)

Austria 3,747,582 (+49,071) 15,706 (+41)

Australia 4,326,294 (+46,957) 5,897 (+6)

UK 20,905,515 (+46,571) 164,671 (+73)

Japan 6,377,719 (+43,565) 27,767 (+68)

Italy 14,396,283 (+30,710) 158,877 (+95)

France 25,059,028 (+29,455) 141,821 (+149)

Greece 2,957,810 (+27,489) 27,341 (+73)

Thailand 3,553,720 (+24,635) 24,883 (+81)

Netherlands 7,775,347 (+21,462) 21,908 (+10)

Russia 17,783,843 (+21,101) 367,686 (+335)

USA 81,658,973 (+16,886) 1,004,244 (+215) 














Downing Street Partygate






Hong Kong



Shanghai lockdown



More tea Putin


Proof of COVID vaccination bars and clubs Taiwan


Hospital Acquired COVID














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