Tuesday 26 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 23rd - 26th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 23rd - 26th April 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 131,054 (average 18,722 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 10,386 (bear in mind many people are only in hospital overnight or for a couple of days)
In hospital yesterday: 14,929
Using a ventilator yesterday: 321
Losses of life last 7 days: 2,266 (this includes some backlog reported last week from Easter weekend - average 323 per day)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 174,144
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 190,124
Tests last 7 days: 2,310,897 (average 330,128 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,157,460
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,703,318
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,185,170

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,512,812 cases and 7,016 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 510,269,578 reported cases and 6,246,343 losses of life.

Since 1976 we have had vaccinations test and image of teenagers playing on a beach

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R.Tolkein, The Fellowship Of The Ring

Strange Hepatitis In Kids Update.
This is making all of the news, and there was an update from the World Health Organisation on Saturday. The children involved are aged 1-16, with the UK stating clearly that most cases are children aged 1-5, and almost all were unvaccinated (so anyone in any doubt can put away the tinfoil hat).
"As of 21 April 2022, at least 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported from 11 countries in the WHO European Region and one country in the WHO Region of the Americas (Figure 1). Cases have been reported in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom) (114), Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States of America (9), Denmark (6), Ireland (<5), The Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1), and Belgium (1)."
17 children have required liver transplantation; and at least one death has been reported.
"Many cases reported gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting preceding presentation with severe acute hepatitis, and increased levels of liver enzymes (aspartate transaminase (AST) or alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) greater the 500 IU/L) and jaundice. Most cases did not have a fever."
Most of the information we have available to date comes from the UK Health Security Agency (UK HSA), as we have identified substantially more cases than anywhere else. We still don't know what is causing it, but 'Adenovirus F type 41' is still the main suspect - this is a regular virus that causes a heavy cold/flu type symptoms.
"Adenovirus has been detected in at least 74 cases, and of the number of cases with information on molecular testing, 18 have been identified as F type 41. SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 20 cases of those that were tested. Furthermore, 19 were detected with a SARS-CoV-2 and adenovirus co-infection."
It is possible this has been occurring for a while, but wasn't spotted until we had normal increased circulation of Adenovirus, and increased testing now that we realise there's something going on. It has never been seen before with this Adenovirus. Obviously investigations are continuing everywhere, and a link with COVID infection can't be ruled out.
"Factors such as increased susceptibility amongst young children following a lower level of circulation of adenovirus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential emergence of a novel adenovirus, as well as SARS-CoV-2 co-infection, need to be further investigated. Hypotheses related to side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are currently not supported as the vast majority of affected children did not receive COVID-19 vaccination. Other infectious and non-infectious explanations need to be excluded to fully assess and manage the risk."

260422 uk daily update

The UK HSA information on the strange Hepatitis says:
- The cases are predominantly under 5 years old.
- The clinical syndrome often begins with gastroenteritis-type symptoms, followed by the onset of jaundice.
- From the information available, 43 cases resident in England have recovered. Seven cases have received a transplant.
- Trawling questionnaires have not revealed any obvious common exposures.
- Fifty-three cases have been tested for adenovirus of which 40 have adenovirus detected.SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in 10 of 60 patients and other pathogens are detected at lower levels. The detection of SARS-CoV-2 at this level is not unexpected given the community prevalence.
- Based on the limited available information there is no evidence implicating a new variant of SARS-CoV-2.
- Preliminary typing of the adenovirus has been consistent with type 41F where data is available from blood samples, however other adenovirus types have also been identified in non-blood samples.
The UK HSA have their theories, which match closely with the WHO:
"The leading hypothesis at present is that the hepatitis is linked to adenovirus. The mechanism of liver injury may be virally mediated or may be an immunopathology. There may be a cofactor causing a normal adenovirus to produce a more severe clinical presentation in young children, such as increased susceptibility due to reduced exposure during the pandemic, prior SARS-CoV-2 or other infection, or a yet undiscovered coinfection or toxin. Alternatively, there may have been emergence of a novel adenovirus strain with altered characteristics."

Aaaannnnnd Long COVID again, and a Leicester University study from the UK (not yet peer-reviewed) has found that only 29% of people hospitalised with COVID in the UK recover within a year. They looked at 2,000 patients who had been admitted to 39 different NHS hospitals.
Tiredness, muscle pain, insomnia and breathlessness were the main symptoms, with women, obese people and people who were ventilated worst affected. Rachael Evans, one of the study’s authors, is quoted in The Guardian:
“We found that only 25% of people who had been hospitalised with Covid-19 had fully recovered five months after they had been discharged, a figure that increased only slightly – to 29% – after a year.”
“That was a very limited rate of recovery in terms of improvements in mental health, organ impairment and quality of life. It was striking.”
This probably isn't a huge surprise to anyone who regularly reads my reports. It's been over a year since Leicester published figures showing that 70% of COVID patients weren't fully recovered 5 months after admission to hospital. 

Old painting showing Edward Jenner vaccine pioneer immunising a child while a mum looks on
The late Edward Jenner, vaccine pioneer

The Times had a column from political editor Steven Swinford on Monday entitled "Gray report 'so damning Johnson will have to quit'". Which probably tells us most of the important bits. Sue Gray's report into Lockdown Partytime at Downing Street is expected to be leaked any day now.

Also in The Times - the UK NHS has a nightmare with bottlenecks of care home residents who can't go home because of a shortage of social care staff. Not surprising really. Your average person working in a care home outside London earns less than £10 an hour, and they've been treated like expendable dirt throughout the pandemic. They can earn more working in retail or hospitality, and the conditions and hours are better. Worth also mentioning all the migrant workers who fled the UK because they wanted to be near family or don't want to repeatedly catch COVID and watch all of their charges die. (Too much? I think not.) Apparently the UK now has around 160,000 Social Care vacancies - 1 in every 10 posts. 

It is 36 years today since the Chornobyl (Chernobyl is the Russian pronunciation translated) nuclear power plant disaster. For anyone aged about 48 and over - bet that makes you feel old. 

Test and image of 2 young people in school uniform

Turns out Jacob Rhys-Mogg is even more of a Richard than we thought. He has been leaving notes on the desks of civil servants in Whitehall who are working from home. They say "I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon."
*Shudder* Passive aggressive much? That would be a deal-breaker for me. No-one likes to be bullied at work.
Rachel Johnson, sister to the head of the Downing Street Party Massive agrees with him.
 "It's holding up people's lives because people are sitting at home working from home. They're on their pelotons, they're not on their bikes trying to find jobs, they've got jobs, but they're on their pelotons, they're watching Netflix and they're home working."
Rachel is apparently frustrated because she personally is waiting for probate to clear. Always easy to say other people aren't working quickly enough on your problem. It must be hard for the incredibly wealthy when throwing money at something doesn't just make it happen instantly. Poor Rachel.
My commiserations to everyone else waiting for probate - especially people whose lives will actually be changed by it, but I pretty much guarantee it isn't because everyone is at home sitting on an exercise bike... 

Panic buying is clearing the supermarket shelves in Beijing, after it became apparent the COVID situation there is ramping up. Residents are very worried they'll end up in lockdown for an unspecified length of time, and don't want a repeat of the lack of food people have faced in Shanghai. 

INews and other agencies are warning that the lockdown in Shanghai (Which was originally intended to be 5 days, but has lasted almost a month now) will lead to supply chain issues. Container ships are backing up in the harbour, which will obviously lead to delays - and it all has to be rearranged, because some things are more time sensitive than others. 

Also in Shanghai:
"Nationwide, 80% of the 264mln Chinese aged 60&above had two shots, at least that was official data by mid-March. Only 50.7% of the 35.8 million at 80+ had 2 jabs and 19.7% of them had 3. In Shanghai, some vaccination sites opened up yesterday.."
FAN Wenxin, reporter at the Wall Street Journal.
Those vaccination rates are shocking, and really if China want to avoid filling their hospitals with sick very elderly people they have to consider refocussing at least some of their efforts. 

Protect your children from MMR UK NHS Image of toybox cart with soft toy virus inside

And over the water in Taiwan, the length of time contacts of infected people have to quarantine has been cut from 7 days quarantine and 10 days monitoring, to 3 days quarantine and 4 days monitoring - that's a massive change. It'll be very interesting to see if it makes a sudden difference. They do currently have an outbreak - which is unfortunate and small surprise given what is occurring in China. By the end of March Taiwan were reporting around 200 cases a day, which has risen sharply. By April 18th it was 1,500 a day, by the 21st it was 3,000, and today 6,339 new cases. The change in policy to coincide does clearly suggest a complete change of attitude, and really signifies they do not expect to continue with their Zero COVID policy. 

It's official - again. Unvaccinated people increase the risk of getting COVID for vaccinated people as well. Although with Omicron you definitely are not guaranteed to avoid catching COVID, you are far less likely to be ill,  coughing and spluttering and spreading virus to everyone else. A Canadian study just released (not yet peer reviewed):
"We found that as like-with-like mixing increased, attack rates among vaccinated people decreased from 15% to 10% (and increased from 62% to 79% among unvaccinated people)."
So in a randomly distributed population (they used Ontario as a model) around 15% of vaccinated people can expect to catch COVID, and 62% of unvaccinated people, but when you split these people up to be with like-minded people or similar demographics (e.g. young unvaccinated schoolchildren), only 10% of vaccinated people caught COVID and 79% of unvaccinated people. Obviously there are a myriad of other factors at play here, but it makes logical sense and adds strength to any arguments to vaccinate people who mix with our most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, sick or immunosuppressed. 

Get your COVID vaccine in world immunisation week test and drawn rough image of person being vaccinated

Luxury Cruise News:
(How I've missed you). The Ruby Princess cruise ship arrived dock in San Francisco 2 weeks ago with 143 confirmed cases of COVID-19 aboard. (An extra gift with their trip to Hawaii.) In March more there were more than 70 cases after a cruise to the Panama Canal, and back in January 12 confirmed cases returned from a Mexican cruise. I don't know about you, but I feel like this is another way of measuring transmissibility of new variants. I'm calling Delta in January and Omicron by April.
COVID loves a cruise. 

Student loan interest rates in the UK are set to rise from 1.5% to 9% for graduates earning less than 49k, and from 4.5% to 12% for those earning £49,000 or more. That really stinks. Who, at age 24, would even contemplate taking out a loan of 75k or more at 9% interest? And it's not even to buy a house you can't afford? That's not just off-putting, it's entirely broken. Being born into wealth does not make you more intelligent, a better Doctor, an Engineer, Scientist, Teacher or anything else. It just makes you born into wealth, and apparently more privileged by the week... These decisions were made by people who themselves had free university tuition, and in a lot of cases a student grant to cover living expenses. We will deter huge quantities of people with natural talents and excitement about learning, and create a society where young people think of money as just numbers too huge to comprehend or worry about. It's not a clever move... 

Antonov plane Mriya Ukrainian stamp

Ukraine's next postage stamp "Українська Мрія" (Ukrainian Dream) features a drawing by an 11-year-old girl who won a competition before the war broke out. The stamp shows the Mriya plane, which was destroyed a few weeks ago when shells fell on Hostomel's Antonov Airport. It was the world's biggest airplane, and the last commercial mission flown was at the beginning of February, when it collected almost 90 tons of Covid-19 tests from Tianjin, China and delivered them to Billund in Denmark. 

Image of child of African descent being held ready for vaccination

It's World Immunisation Week. The vast majority of you reading won't know anyone disabled by Polio, you may not even know anyone born deaf because of German Measles, or anyone made sterile by Mumps. You don't have to panic about Tetanus each time you cut or scratch yourself, and if you want to go somewhere exotic abroad, you can be protected from rabies, malaria and yellow fever. Most of you will never understand how damaging Meningitis can be, and our daughters may be the first young adults to live in a UK free of HPV and virtually free of Cervical Cancer. Vaccinations are what we would wish for if magic was real.

I shall be back on Friday with the next update - stay sensible.

Some numbers. They are all people.

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

World 509,942,507 (+383,308) 6,245,317 (+1,804)

Germany 24,227,680 (+86,980) 134,817 (+171)

Japan 7,660,012 (+38,450) 29,308 (+24)

USA 82,733,863 (+34,908) 1,018,582 (+141)

S. Korea 16,929,564 (+34,370) 22,243 (+110)

Australia 5,720,127 (+30,750) 7,002 (+13)

Italy 16,161,339 (+24,878) 162,781 (+93)

Thailand 4,180,868 (+14,994) 27,902 (+124)

France 28,317,915 (+13,984) 145,257 (+197)

UK 21,978,198 (+10,582) 173,693 (+114)

Greece 3,285,970 (+8,413) 28,933 (+66)

Russia 18,144,788 (+7,651) 375,061 (+159)

Vietnam 10,571,772 (+7,417) 43,021 (+8)

Canada 3,706,887 (+7,204) 38,847 (+64)

Brazil 30,355,919 (+6,456) 662,777 (+76)

New Zealand 890,039 (+5,750) 644 (+8)

Taiwan 61,683 (+5,218) 856

Israel 4,062,278 (+4,506) 10,673 (+3)

China 203,334 (+2,680) 4,776 (+51)





"Hospitals face bottleneck as care homes run short of staff"


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Luxury Cruise News:

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