Sunday 6 March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 5th / 6th March 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 5th / 6th March 2022

World: 445,921,999 reported cases and 6,017,821 losses of life.

"Sorry, but we can't stay silent on this one, it's just far too cynical. What Russia is doing in Ukraine is slaughtering innocent children, women and men for its own gain. It's definitely not "fighting Nazism". Shame on anyone who's falling for this. (Sadly, we're kinda experts on Nazism.)"
The German Embassy in South Africa.

Healthcare is not a target World Health Organisation

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday that Wales will end all Covid restrictions and free PCR testing from March 28th.
Although mask wearing and self-isolating will no longer be legal requirements, people are advised to continue.
Free lateral flow tests will no longer be available from the end of June, when contact tracing will end, and self-isolation advice will change.

Hong Kong is STILL struggling. STILL short on hospital beds, STILL unable to keep up with influx of patients and they are STILL desperately short of oxygen. It's a nightmare over there, and a reminder that COVID isn't over. We are incredibly fortunate to be so well vaccinated in the UK, in Hong only around 75% of people are fully vaccinated, and that decreases in the very oldest populations.
The Omicron BA.2 variant is being blamed for levels of COVID that are simply beyond them.
The Chinese mainland has sent temporary isolation facilities and mobile labs, which should hopefully ease the situation soon. 

Michael Worobey, a leading world expert in viruses and pandemics, and  Professor and Head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, is part of a very distinguished team who have just released 2 studies looking into the origins of COVID. I haven't been able to read through it all, but the titles really give away their findings:
1. "The Huanan market was the epicenter of SARS-CoV-2 emergence"
2. "SARS-CoV-2 emergence very likely resulted from at least two zoonotic events"

South African Embassies Ukraine and Nazism

A physicist named Wiesendanger previously accused the virologist Christian Drosten of deliberately misleading the public about the origin of the corona virus. Wiesendanger says it was man-made, which has huge political implications. It went a step too far and Drosten has had enough. He is reportedly taking legal action against Wiesendanger and the media publication Cicero who published the allegations.

And while we're on animals, a white-tailed deer in Canada may have passed COVID to a human. The not-yet-peer-reviewed study found that previously the deer had very similar virus to local humans, suggesting the humans passed it to the deer. Mutations occurred in the virus among the deer population, and now a human has been shown to have those same mutations in their COVID genetic sequencing. It is'nt known if the human caught it from the deer directly, or if it passed through another animal, such as mink, on the way.. 

There are some signs that COVID infection may rarely be linked to Spontaneous Psychosis. Researchers are on the case, but we are already aware that some people with Long COVID show neurological damage, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility. We'll hear more on this one... 

Children’s hospitals across England put on extra clinics on Saturday to help address COVID backlogs.
Teams at Great Ormond St gave tours around the operating theatres to prepare younger patients for surgery.  (I think a lot of adults would also appreciate that.)

Sajid Javid announced some plans regarding the English backlog of adult patients today. I admit I glanced over it, but the main feature appeared to be the right to choose to force the NHS to pay privately for your operation. 


How to look after your Mental Health UK NHS 1

Good news if you catch Omicron - Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 offer reciprocal protection, so if you catch one of them, you have protection against the other. Thank heck for that. There had to be some good news. 

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia will stop the war only if Ukraine surrenders, and meets Russia's demands.
He also said that Russia is ready to negotiate after “all known Russian demands are met.”
(I'm failing to see where any there's any room for negotiation there.)

Over 1.5 million regular Ukrainian people have already fled their country, with millions trying to escape. Even if the fighting ended right now, many more people have lost everything they had. There are lots of peaceful ways to offer help:
- Collect locally. Thousands of local groups across the UK, Europe and further afield have been collecting toiletries, food, pet food, clothing and other essentials you might need if you left your home with little more than a carrier bag full of your most precious things.
- Fight the information blackout in Russia. Literally millions of people worldwide are using the website 1920 dot IN to be given a random Russian phone number, which they then text in Russian using Google translate. Texts say something along the lines of 'we aren't angry with you, but your government is attacking Ukraine and bombing civilians, so we are angry at them. Stay strong, refuse to fight. Peace.' Police in Moscow have been seen stopping people and checking their text messages, so this appears to be having an effect, and no wonder. This afternoon over 3 million texts had already been sent.
- Air BnB have waived all fees in Ukraine, and average income over there is under £4,000 a year, so booking and paying for a property at an average £5-£10 a night really does have an impact - and no-one profits except the householders.
- You could also buy whatever you want from Ukrainian small businesses, and tell them not to send it.
Sadly there are always people who will exploit the charity of others. Don't answer requests for money from individuals. It's more secure to give cash directly to businesses or official charities.
- The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is a group of 15 of the big UK aid charities (including the British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International and Save the Children UK) and are focusing on providing food, water, medical care, protection and ongoing care of people who have escaped traumatic situations. Other charities already working in Ukraine include the World Health Organisation, the UN Refugee Agency, People In Need, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
- You can write to Priti Patel and tell her that you are more than happy for the UK to offer safe haven to our share of Ukrainian refugees, including family of people who are already living and working in the UK - because you'd hope if the situation was reversed, you'd find sanctuary and compassion for yourself and your loved ones. 

Peace for Ukraine

I have been a bit busy having COVID for the past few days, which has shifted my focus away from news and more towards sleeping. A massive thank you to everyone who has sent wishes, or checked how I am - and I am okay.
I might not be asymptomatic, but at this point it hasn't come close to how poorly I was with flu 3 years ago, so I'm still considering myself lucky, and I am incredibly grateful for my 3 jabs. I'm also very grateful for the 17 quid CO2 monitor we bought 2 years ago, because when you do feel out of breath, it's good to know you're okay.
Excitingly my partner has tested positive today, which gives us forewarning of how next week might go - so that makes me incredibly grateful for free lateral flow tests. It is a real shame they are going to come to an end...

A big hug to anyone else who has recently developed symptoms or tested positive. I hope you aren't too poorly and feel improvement swiftly.

No numbers today because I'm done and my brain is mush. Normal service will hopefully resume sometime next week...

Stay sensible, look after your head as well as your body.






* Image Health workers are not targets

• Image Ukraine

• Image Russian and German embassies in SA

Origins of COVID

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