Friday 1 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 30th / 31st March / 1st April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 30th / 31st March / 1st April 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 527,550 (average 75,364 per day)
In hospital yesterday 31st March: 19,575 (up from 17,440 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday 31st March: 356 (up from 302 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,116 (average 159 per day)
Tests: 4,671,510 (average 667,358 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 52,803,065 (91.8% of UK age 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,439,759 (86%)
Boosted / 3rd dose: 38,823,674 (67.5%)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,465,150 (+5,725) cases and 6,786 (+33) losses of life.

World: 489,186,080 reported cases and 6,168,935 losses of life.

010422 UK ONS COVID cases by age in England

"For the NHS, Covid is far from over. Hospital admissions now higher than the January peak. Staff sickness high. New variants emerging. But reflecting on conversations with staff today in the hospital, they aren't giving in just yet. Too much to fight for"
Luke O'Shea, Director of Innovation, University College London Hospitals, with a reminder that COVID is doing pretty much the same thing that it has been for the last 2 years. 

"Hospital admissions with COVID in England are still increasing and have exceeded the January peak. The rate of increase has fallen slightly, but admissions are up 14% in the last week."
There's the fun news from the COVID Actuaries - we are still adding to the people in hospital with COVID.

010422 COVID actuaries England hospital admissions

It's little wonder our hospitals are filling up, latest ONS figures from the random sampling show that a MASSIVE 4.9m people had COVID in the UK last week. That is staggering. It's waaay up on the previous record figures from midwinter, and amounts to more than 1 in every 13 people being infected. (We need this random sampling or we won't know this in future, partly because we no longer have free testing.)
This is week ending 26 March 2022 random sampling:
England continued increase, estimate that 4,122,700 people had COVID-19, equating to 7.56% of the population or around 1 in 13 people.
Wales, continued increase, estimate that 212,000 people had COVID-19, equating to 6.97% of the population or around 1 in 14 people.
Northern Ireland, trend uncertain, estimate 123,000 people had COVID-19, equating to 6.70% of the population or around 1 in 15 people.
Scotland, trend uncertain, estimate 451,200 people had COVID-19, equating to 8.57% of the population or around 1 in 12 people.
(If you feel like everyone has COVID, it's because everyone does have COVID.)
If it was possible to mass test all possible contacts, like China does, then last week an average of 701,271 people in the UK would have tested positive EVERY DAY.  It makes the 29,000 official figure for today look like a joke (it is). Be careful with your vulnerable friends and relatives over Easter. Remember outdoors is great fun... 

The Guardian has an article with Christina Pagel of indieSAGE, looking at why the UK has almost record numbers of new cases. She says its because we still believe 3 myths:
- That coronavirus is now endemic, and just another disease we have to live with. We just aren't quite there yet. It isn't under a good level of control like Polio, Measles or HIV. It will be, but not yet.
- "That coronavirus is evolving to be milder, and each new variant will be milder than the last until it becomes a common cold." Nice idea, but it's all dependent on many factors plus a hint of the random, and there is nothing really to give us a guarantee of anything... (it's generally considered that humans will get better and better at fighting COVID, rather than COVID getting weaker).
- The pernicious myth that we’ve somehow “finished” our vaccination programme, and there is no point in waiting to return to normal. "Unfortunately, immunity from vaccines wanes over a matter of months – mostly against infection, but also against severe disease and death.
"Boosters help, but also mean it’s more a question of whether you are up to date with vaccination rather than just vaccinated."
(From where I'm sitting it's always been generally accepted that COVID vaccinations would need to be tweaked and regular - like a flu jab.)

010422 ONS random sampling 1in13 people had COVID last week

Scotland are going to phase out mandatory face masks, starting from Monday, when they will no longer be necessary in religious buildings or at weddings. The requirement to wear masks on public transport and in shops will end on 18th April. 

Hoax Of The Day / Trump Of The Week:
Sir Christopher Chope, the Tory MP for Christchurch.
He's obviously the kind of guy who has probably agreed to store some money for a Nigerian prince, and gave us a good snigger earlier with his genuine question to the House Of Commons...
Sir Christopher: "Mr Speaker, does my right honorable friend accept that there is another NHS treatment disaster in the making, in the fact that there may be 10,000 or more people who have suffered serious injury or even death, as a result of adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccinations, and can he give us his assurance that there will be justice for these people immediately, rather than having to wait for decades?"
Mr Speaker: "Sir Christopher's normally better than that. I think that's a poor effort from him. Let's move on..."
And he has such a lovely speaking voice too! But that's a fairy story. The Independent had a quote from a spokesperson for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, which tells the truth, and I think very clearly shuts down Sir Christopher's mathematics:
“Every loss from either Covid-19 or the vaccine is a complete tragedy, however the ‘10,000’ figure Mr Chope cites is a discredited conspiracy theory.”

Okay, so lets look at the ACTUAL numbers. According to the Gov dot UK website, up until 31st March 2022:
"The MHRA has received 738 UK reports of suspected ADRs to the COVID-19 Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine in which the patient died shortly after vaccination, 1,251 reports for the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, 43 for the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna and 43 where the brand of vaccine was unspecified. The majority of these reports were in elderly people or people with underlying illness."
That adds up to 2,075, and for most of their loved ones sadly it'll be impossible to ever know if their heart attack or epileptic seizure or stroke or DVT or whatever else occurred was a direct result of the vaccination or would have occurred anyway. A week earlier than the report (to allow time for adverse reactions to occur):
52,754,119 first vaccinations, 49,341,160 second doses and I don't have the exact number for boosted/3rd dose, but it's definitely over 38.2 million. So roughly 140,295,279 vaccinations. (One hundred and forty million).
Just as important to note:
"At the time of this report, over 164,531 people across the UK have died within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus."

Any especially vulnerable people reading. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU MATTER. YOU COUNT.

010422 UK ONS COVID cases by region of England

From today, free COVID19 testing will only be available in England for people with symptoms if they are:
- patients in hospital
- eligible for treatments because they are at higher risk of getting seriously ill
- living or working in high-risk settings such as care homes or the NHS
For everyone else, you'll have to pay.
Lateral flow rapid tests are available at most major pharmacies at around £2 each:
Lloyds - £1.89
Superdrug - £1.99
Boots - £2
Tesco - £2
Morrisons - £1.75
PCR Testing is also available at some of the bigger stores and online stores and prices vary massively, from around £20 to £60, so shop around. 

Parking fees for NHS staff working in hospitals in England were reintroduced today. That's so grim. I honestly can't believe you guys have to pay to park at work, especially any staff who have to come and go, and pay multiple times. 

The UK Government have published research into "The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent mental health". The results are really important going forward, but thankfully it could have been far worse. Most of their main findings are obvious, and I think mirrored by the majority of older people. We've all found it to a degree scary, isolating, and hard:
- The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased adolescent depressive symptoms and decreased life satisfaction
• If the COVID-19 pandemic had not occurred, estimates suggest that we would observe 6% fewer adolescents with high depressive symptoms which is a difference of 1.6% in prevalence (27.1% to 25.4%)
• There was no overall effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent externalising difficulties
• Girls’ mental health may have been more negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic than boys
Although we may all have similar struggles, the younger you are, the more of your life has been affected by COVID, and for young people just beginning to find themselves and make their mark in the world, 2 years is an incredibly long time. 

Special Military Operation and Peace Book Cover pun

A reminder, in case you ever needed one, that we have other vaccines saving lives every day:
"Today, WHO delivered 300 vials of immunoglobulin to Lviv, Ukraine for treatment of up to 150 severe diphtheria cases.
The best way to prevent diphtheria is timely and complete vaccination for children and adults." 

Taiwan reported 104 local COVID19 cases today, the highest since last June. There are new cases in 10 different counties across Taiwan. Sadly this may be related to the outbreaks in Hong Kong and mainland China. Omicron really is mopping up a huge number of the countries which have managed to avoid COVID for 2 years. On a much smaller and more local scale, Omicron is mopping up a lot of the people who have avoided COVID for 2 years - myself and my partner included (last month). I'm seeing no end of people in the UK saying "well, finally it's my turn..."

People are campaigning for the COVID Memorial Wall in London to be made permanent. The 1st anniversary of the wall was on Wednesday. For those who haven't seen it, the hefty whitewashed stone wall is around 400 metres or 1/4 mile long, runs along the South Bank of the River Thames, and is covered with around 150,000 red painted love hearts in all sizes up to around 30cm, mainly around 7cm across. Some have names or messages, and each heart represents someone lost to COVID. 

Empty Ukrainian Stand at Bologna Children's Book Fair, with large wall writing that says a book may be all that's left of home

The World Health Organisation have published their 3rd (and hopefully the last!) Strategic Preparedness, Readiness & Response Plan for COVID19. They see 3 possible scenarios based on what we know now:
- Most likely scenario is the virus continues to evolve, but the severity of disease it causes reduces over time as immunity increases due to vaccination and infection. Periodic spikes may occur as immunity wanes, and requires regular boosting for vulnerable populations (I like to call this boring dystopia).
- Best-case scenario, we may see less severe variants emerge, and boosters or new formulations of vaccines won’t be necessary (the Hollywood ending).
- "In the worst-case scenario, a more virulent and highly transmissible COVID19 virus variant emerges. Against this new threat, people’s protection against severe disease and death, either from prior vaccination or infection, will wane rapidly" (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). 

Bloomberg has an article "Are some people super-immune to COVID?". Well obviously the answer is yes. I'm firmly of the entirely unscientific opinion that you can probably find someone who is immune to just about anything. We are all humans, but we are very different. We collect different antibodies throughout our life, and that immunity soup will affect how we respond to any threats which later come our way. Some people  will never test positive for COVID, and indeed, finding out why could help us find out exactly how to beat it. 

Scot Gov COVID sense fresh air

It is the weekend! A lot of young people and teaching/support staff will have broken up today for Easter - hurrah! The weather is a bit iffy, but play outdoors when you can, lets break the transmission of COVID a bit. And don't forget your treat, you've earned it again this week. There's a lot going on at the moment and it can be incredibly stressful, so be kind to yourself, and ask for help if you need it.

And if you still haven't done that meter reading, do it as soon as you're able, because it'll cost you money for every day you delay, but you aren't ever going to be too late. Just like you can never be too late to go for your COVID jabs...

Play Outdoors, Wear A Cardi, Save The NHS.

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 13,375,818 (+280,187) 16,590 (+360)

Germany 21,421,914 (+193,849) 130,290 (+245)

Italy 14,719,394 (+74,350) 159,537 (+154)

Australia 4,578,752 (+64,545) 6,010 (+16)

Japan 6,552,920 (+48,047) 28,097 (+87)

UK 21,216,874 (+29,825) 165,570 (+191)

Thailand 3,656,726 (+28,379) 25,225 (+92)

Austria 3,854,405 (+23,357) 15,905 (+40)

Netherlands 7,881,011 (+21,788) 21,993 (+9)

Greece 3,051,531 (+21,102) 27,571 (+61)

Russia 17,862,089 (+19,164) 369,064 (+342)

Belgium 3,851,048 (+15,386) 30,826 (+30)

New Zealand 672,712 (+13,537) 314 (+15)

Czechia 3,822,035 (+6,495) 39,692 (+7)

Chile 3,476,914 (+5,978) 56,637 (+57)

Switzerland 3,490,876 (+5,968) 13,711 (+2)

Finland 889,626 (+5,950) 3,178 (+34)

Hong Kong 1,163,238 (+5,823) 7,945 (+120)

Slovakia 1,716,638 (+5,754) 19,368 (+16)

Ireland 1,465,150 +5,725 6,786 +33




Mr Speaker:

Image Ukraine SitRep:

Bologna Children's Book Fair:

WHO / Ukraine

"Campaigners call on Covid Memorial Wall to be made permanent on one-year anniversary"

There's your quote:

Hospitalisations in people aged 65 or over.

War and peace

What is war? Image


"Nicola Sturgeon delivers COVID-19 announcement for Scotland"

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