Monday 11 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 9th / 10th / 11th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 9th / 10th / 11th April 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 281,269 (average 40,181 per day)
In hospital last Friday 8th April: 20,051
Using a ventilator last Friday 8th April: 355
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,613 (average 230 each day - that is a lot of people, a lot of friends and a lot of relatives)
Tests last 7 days: 3,239,337 (average 462,762 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,493,066 (+1,715) cases and 6,884 (+21) losses of life

World: 499,260,917 reported cases and 6,204,095 losses of life

080422 children aged 5-11 now eligible for vaccination

"The brutal reality for staff and patients is that this Easter in the NHS is as bad as any winter. But instead of the understanding and support NHS staff received during 2020 and 2021, we have a government that seems to want to wash its hands of responsibility for what is occurring in plain sight in local services up and down the country.
No 10 has seemingly abandoned any interest in Covid whatsoever. The Treasury has taken bites out of the already very tight NHS budget, while soaring inflation means the NHS settlement is now worth less. It is now unclear that anyone in the centre of government feels the unfolding NHS crisis is their responsibility.
NHS leaders and their teams feel abandoned by the Government and they deserve better.
We have been promised a ‘living with Covid’ plan yet all we have is a ‘living without restrictions’ ideology."
Very strong words from the NHS Confederation, who are well aware that COVID hasn't all finished and gone away now. In fact the UK now has over 20,000 patients in hospital with COVID.
"In the past week, around 20 accident and emergency departments in England have issued diverts, with patients having to be taken elsewhere."
They are asking for 5 actions:
1. Honesty in Government messaging, which "is tending to mislead the public and discourage them to take steps to reduce transmission".
2. "Reinvigorate" public information, be clearer about rates of infection and impact, "while encouraging people to resume behaviours that have previously been effective in keeping infections down".
3. Review NHS infection prevention control measures and educate and empower staff, to allow more non-COVID patients to be treated - safely.
4. Review "elective and other key NHS targets commensurate with the ongoing pressures caused by this Covid crisis".
5. "Additional funding from government to cover the direct costs of Covid is required given the ongoing pressure from treating Covid patients." E.g. lateral flow testing for staff comes from NHS budget.
The NHS Confederation represent the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including 1.5 million staff and more than 1 million patients a day.

The UK Government have responded to the letter from the NHS Confederation. According to Sky News the spokesperson said:
"There is no change to our guidance and our living with COVID plan still stands."
Well that's clear. 

WHO 3 factors to make safer choices - location proximity and time

“It does leave one very tired and exhausted, doesn’t it? This horrible pandemic. It’s not a nice result.”
The Queen Elizabeth II, talking to former COVID patient Asef Hussain and his wife Shamina during the official opening of its Queen Elizabeth Unit at the Royal London Hospital. Mr Hussain's brother and father both died from COVID whilst he was in an induced coma on a ventilator.

"Our Covid vaccination programme - the biggest in British history - has now delivered a record-breaking 120 MILLION doses in England, helping us live with the virus.
If you are yet to received your first, second or booster dose – it’s never too late."
Sajid Javid, UK Health Minister.

Quick look at XE - the "recombinant variant" which is growing in number. This is a mix of 2 Omicron strains, BA.1 and BA.2, and it does seem to have 3 unexpected characteristics (like when neither of you is really tall, but your child is).
There's little doubt it has extra catchiness, potentially from both Omicron strains and the unexpected mutations, so it could be even more transmissible. (Compared to original COVID, all of what we have now is far more easily passed on.) Omicron XE may also have a combination of antibody escape features that make it slightly better at getting past our defences. We already know vaccination or prior infection have limited effect regarding us catching any Omicron strain - but they are still incredibly good at preventing us ending up in hospital. Hopefully this will still prove true with Omicron XE - if it does end up becoming dominant (which looks very likely).
Interestingly the articles I have been reading about Omicron XE this morning are mainly non-English, and there are worried comments about how fast transmission is in the UK - this makes XE look really scary. I'd say it's in large part a result of our own actions as much as anything else. Aside from the personal behaviour of a minority (mainly people who are especially vulnerable and their loved ones), we aren't taking any measures to slow spread. (COVID is all over remember, we're "learning to live with it".)
Yes, XE may cause havoc in countries with low vaccination rates, but this is another example of why you can't simply compare country to country, or accurately judge what's going to happen next wherever you are in the world.

Kramatorsk Ukraine Olga Wilson Art - remembering everyone who has died
Kramatorsk Ukraine Olga Wilson Art - remembering everyone who has died

In case you are finding it too easy to keep up, the World Health Organisation has added two new Omicron sub-variants the watch list for assessment - BA.4 and BA.5. No idea yet if either are more dangerous, but they both have some interesting characteristics which could have immune-escape potential. As yet only a few dozen cases of each have been discovered, so they're just 'on the list'. (BA1.1 and BA.3 also exist, but haven't yet done anything exciting.) BA.2 is the one which is taking over currently from BA.1 - and causing a lot of the recent reinfection. 

The latest ONS figures regarding suicide in England during 2021 do not show any significant increase, and will include some late reporting from 2020 because of the pandemic closing coroner's courts.
Approximately 10.5 people per 100,000 in England lost their lives to suicide during 2021.
In turn figures for 2020 were significantly lower than previous years at 10 people per 100,000. In 2019, before the pandemic, 11 people were lost to suicide per 100,000.
The pandemic has been incredibly hard, but we've all been in it together. If you are struggling - for goodness sake please ask for help. There are thousands of people waiting by phone lines to listen to what you have to say, and offer you a supportive ear, and the best advice for your situation. 

How to look after your Mental Health UK NHS 1

Remember from my last report that the UK Government on Friday published hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of data and discussion and papers relevant to the COVID response over the last 2 years. Obviously I've not read all of it, but I've had a look through. Soooo..... We had a lot of evidence, including studies, which apparently were available during SAGE meetings, but weren't discussed. There were a lot of studies about reducing household transmission, but we never had advice on that, so the UK Government must have decided It was an impossible task. There is a lot of stuff about transmission in schools - worth a read because if you can use the data to see how to reduce transmission, then you can use it to see how quickly you can potentially achieve 'herd immunity' through school children...
There is some stuff on how to run a test and trace, which is probably worth a look because literally anything would be better than the test and trace we had. Well, okay, our testing was very good in the end.
There is stuff on bubbles and networks, and how good social distancing is at reducing transmission. Can I just say right now that this has ALWAYS been the WRONG NAME. It's PHYSICAL DISTANCING - the distance your body actually is from someone else's, not how socially separate you are. You could be literally leaning on them in the pub, but never even nod at each other - that's not social, that's physical. Wave at the bloke 1/4 mile up the road - definitely social. (More than 2 years I've held that rant in.)
There were papers on whether variants of concern were more dangerous - which presumably were already out of date before they hit the meetings. Anyone remember Mu?
There were absolutely bazillions of modelled scenarios, and I imagine most were regular updates, but there might be something interesting in there? Some exotic restriction combinations? Something that gave the game away about any thoughts of herd immunity?
We can see in the early days they were looking abroad to see if weather would make a difference, and they studied the numbers coming in from China to assess risk by age. They also had modelling for reducing isolation to as low as 4 days... I am incredibly glad they got clear data on how well that would not have gone back in November 2020... 

How to look after your Mental Health UK NHS 1

Taiwan is showing signs they may be about to move away from the ZeroCOVID strategy. They have published potential plans for quarantining at home for people with mild or asymptomatic cases, including remote doctor's assessments and home deliveries.
Clearly not wanting to get into a similar situation as Shangai on the Chinese mainland...

Not from COVID as far as I know, but Mimi Reinhardt, Schindler's secretary, who prepared the lists during the Holocaust, has died at the age of 107. Proving without a doubt that good people can still live long lives. 

Kinder chocolate's nightmare continues.
"As a result of the continued investigation into an outbreak of salmonella cases linked to Kinder products, Ferrero has extended its recall to include all Kinder products manufactured at their Arlon site in Belgium between June and the present date. These include Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs, Kinder Surprise 100g and Kinder Schokobons. The new update means all the products in the recall notice, regardless of best-before date, should not be eaten."
Instead, please contact the Ferrero consumer careline on - consumers dot uk at ferrero dot com - or call 0330 053 8943 UK or +44 (0)330 053 8943 Ireland to obtain a full refund

I will be back on Thursday this week with a short (hopefully) report. Stay sensible! Better weather is coming...

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 15,424,598 (+90,928) 19,679 (+258)

Japan 7,039,563 (+47,876) 28,684 (+38)

Australia 5,107,611 (+42,726) 6,569 (+5)

Thailand 3,905,872 (+22,387) 26,191 (+105)

Russia 18,007,915 (+11,855) 371,964 (+248)

Austria 3,995,418 (+8,033) 16,242 (+16)

New Zealand 774,928 (+7,633) 469 (+12)

Greece 3,180,556 (+6,926) 28,205 (+75)

Hungary 1,872,664 (+4,657) 45,781 (+60)

Iran 7,194,768 (+3,125) 140,650 (+34)

Chile 3,514,291 (+2,271) 57,081 (+40)

Luxembourg 225,562 (+1,896) 1,050 (+5)

Ireland 1,493,066 (+1,715) 6,884 (+21)

Denmark 2,938,487 (+1,698) 5,921 (+13)

Hong Kong 1,191,590 (+1,407) 8,827 (+57)




Kramatorsk Olga Wilson Art

Risk after vaccination 18+

A million links about vaccinating children on this page:

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