Friday 8 April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th / 7th / 8th April 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th / 7th / 8th April 2022

UK Daily Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 333,347 (average 47,621 per day)
In hospital yesterday 7th April: 20,331 (UP from 19,575 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 357 (thankfully static, 356 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,475 (almost as many who died on the Titanic, and an average 210 a day)
Tests last 7 days: 3,629,226 (average 518,460 per day)
Vaccination data isn't going to be quite right just now, as the UK give totals, but don't separate 3rd jabs and booster jabs, and give percentages out of people aged 12+, but we are now vaccinating children aged 5+, so none of it is very precise at the moment. 

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,487,164 (+2,843) cases and 6,863 (+20) losses of life.

World: 497,032,257 reported cases and 6,197,139 losses of life.

Spring Boosters hit 1 million doses already UK NHS

ON Wednesday the UK Health Security Agency added a massive 2,714 people to England's losses of life from COVID:
“Due to a data processing error, a number of people who died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test were not reported in a timely manner.”
Remember kids, nothing to see here... and no fudging of numbers ever, nope.

The final ever REACT Study has been published. Funding for the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission has ended. A huge thank you to everyone who made it happen - including all of you who took part in regular random sampling to assess how many people in the community actually had COVID.
It's the Trump method of reducing cases and problems - don't test and don't count. Voila, the problem went away.

Damn. The problem didn't go away. Over the past few days we have had critical incidents, no beds, closed A&E's and an ongoing nightmares at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, South Central Ambulance Service, Hospital trusts across West Yorkshire, Harrogate in North Yorkshire... any more?

In fact the final REACT Study is going out on a literal high. It tells us that:
"...based on almost 110,000 swab tests taken between 8 and 31 March, around 1 in 16 tested positive during this period, or 6.37% of the population. This is more than double the study’s previous findings when 1 in 35 had the virus as of 1 March, or 2.88% of people, and 40% higher than the first Omicron peak in January."
The REACT Study is what keeps an eye on variants for us too, including that pesky Omicron sub-variant BA.2, which seems to have taken over very successfully - its little wonder people infected by regular Omicron around Christmas are being infected again:
"As of 22 March, the team estimated that 94.7% of the samples were BA.2, which is double the study’s previous estimated figure from 19 February (47.2%). In January, 0.8% were BA.2."
Good news really regarding the recombinant variants - the mixtures of 2 variants. It's early days, but none are as yet looking especially powerful or fast:
"A very small number of recombinant Omicron variants were also detected (five XE and three XL), which are hybrids of the original BA.1 Omicron strain and BA.2."
We have hopeful notes that we may have finally peaked in our younger population, not so hopeful for our oldest people:
"Compared to previous data infections have risen in all age groups and remain highest in primary school-aged children, with almost 1 in 10 (8.81%) 5-11-year-olds testing positive. However the most recent trends show that the rate of new infections is likely slowing or falling in the younger age groups aged 5-54. This was not seen in older people above the age of 55 where infections were found to still be rising, having almost tripled to 4.61% in the oldest age group, aged 75+."
A reminder to go for those Spring Boosters if you are among the more vulnerable groups being invited... 

080422 ONS case numbers in England by age

The most accurate ongoing measure of how many people in the UK are currently infected is the ONS weekly random sampling - the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey. In the week ending 2 April 2022:
- England, remained high, estimate 4,141,600 people had COVID-19, equating to 7.60% of the population or around 1 in 13 people.
- Wales, continued increase, estimate 230,800 people had COVID-19, equating to 7.59% of the population or around 1 in 13 people.
- Northern Ireland, trend uncertain, estimate 113,900 people had COVID-19, equating to 6.21% of the population or around 1 in 16 people.
- Scotland, decrease (woohoo!), estimate 396,800 people had COVID-19, equating to 7.54% of the population or around 1 in 13 people.

The ONS have published "Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK : 7 April 2022":
"An estimated 1.7 million people living in private households in the UK (2.7% of the population) were experiencing self-reported long COVID (symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after the first suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that were not explained by something else) as of 5 March 2022."
Yeeeeeay.... noooooo. Nopety nope. 1.7m people... and that won't include all of us who are just a bit tired and emotional... 1.2m people said they'd had symptoms for at least 12 weeks, and 784,000 (45%) said it was a whole year. 74,000 people (4%) said they'd had symptoms for over 2 years.
This is self-reported, and people respond to a survey, rather than coming from doctor's lists or any clinical diagnosis, so it doesn't include everyone in the UK.
There is an interesting breakdown on variants:
"Of people with self-reported long COVID, 561,000 (33%) first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 before Alpha became the main variant; this figure was 253,000 (15%) in the Alpha period, 470,000 (27%) in the Delta period, and 334,000 (19%) in the Omicron period."
1.1 million people (67%) say symptoms adversely affect their day-to-day activities
322,000 (19%) reported their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities had been "limited a lot"
51% said they had fatigue
34% shortness of breath
28% loss of smell, and
24% muscle ache

Sky News are reporting that "just 435 people" were jabbed at a four-day festival held between 30 July and 2 August last summer at Langdon Park in Poplar, Tower Hamlets, London.
The event was promoted as "come along, get jabbed and enjoy live music", and hoped to attract some people who might not otherwise get their vaccination. Tower Hamlets is populated by mainly people from higher risk groups who are more likely to become seriously ill, yet less likely to come forward for vaccination. It was a really expensive do, which cost £237,235 according to the London Advertiser, and that amounts to £535 for every jab administered.
That's a heck of a lot of cash, but hang on... I used to work with the NHS in the community, and we looked at ways to prevent people becoming ill. For an example, it's well worth spending millions to build a park in an estate, because it'll save you a fortune in the long run. With COVID it costs thousands each time someone is admitted to hospital, and they can be in there for several weeks even if they go home fit and feeling great, so if you can decrease that risk and remove a few people from having to go through that, not only could you save lives, but you can recover the cost of a festival astoundingly quickly... 

080422 Percentage testing positive for COVID ONS

1 million of the most vulnerable people in the UK have already had their Spring Boosters

In today's episode of 'You couldn't make it up' the UK Health Security Agency have a warning:
"We’re asking parents and carers to be vigilant for symptoms of jaundice in children as we’ve detected higher than usual rates of liver inflammation in children. We are working with NHS and public health colleagues around the UK to investigate.
Hepatitis is a condition that affects the liver and may occur for a number of reasons, including several viral infections common in children."
Gosh. I wonder what virus could be causing that then? Give. Me. Strength. (Hint - we know COVID affects the kidneys, heart, lungs and other organs. Just a guess... )
Don't panic as only about 60 cases have as yet been identified, but be aware. Symptoms include:
- dark urine
- pale, grey-coloured poo
- itchy skin
- yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
- muscle and joint pain
- more general symptoms of illness such as temperature, sickness, tiredness and tummy pain.

On Wednesday there was an announcement that Spain was allowing entry to all British visitors regardless of vaccination status, as long as they had a negative pre-departure test. And then they announced it wasn't happening... remember that other countries can, and will, amend their COVID restrictions and regulations without warning at any time. 

The head of Manchester Airport has been enjoying the flights fiasco so much that she's quit. All week people have been reporting absolute mayhem trying to check in and actually get onto a plane, with folk regularly queueing for 4 or more hours and watching their half empty aircraft leave through the windows. Fun times. It isn't only Manchester affected - its everywhere. The cause is a huge increase in travellers now that COVID measures have been dropped, and a corresponding huge increase in COVID among staff who have pretty much lived in safe bubbles for 2 years. Lots of airline staff also left the profession during COVID, and recruiting now everything is suddenly reopening hasn't gone as well as they'd hoped. 

080422 children aged 5-11 now eligible for vaccination

The UK Government have today published hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of data and discussion and papers relevant to the COVID response over the last 2 years. No coincidence that it's a Friday afternoon just before everyone goes on holiday for a couple of weeks... expect revelations - probably around a week on Wednesday...

More Long term effects of COVID, and this is a not-yet-peer-reviewed study on blood clots from Umea University in Sweden. They looked at data for over a million people who tested positive from February 2020 to May 2021, compared to over 4 million who didn't.
In the 30 days following positive test, risk of a first bleeding / clotting event (rather than a pre-existing condition recurring) was:
5 x greater for deep vein thrombosis (401 COVID patients - 0.04%, compared to 267 without COVID - 0.01%)
33 x greater for pulmonary embolism (1,761 COVID patients - 0.17%, compared to 171 without - 0.004%)
2 x greater for risk of bleeding (1,002 COVID patients - 0.10%, compared to 1,292 without - 0.04%).
Those risks remained for most people for 6 months. You can clearly see those risks remain small overall, but very significant, especially if you were one of those affected. Yet again it supports the careful watching and possible use of preventative medicines in people who are at a higher risk.

080422 WHO records over 100 healthcare attacks in Ukraine

Among Hong Kong's unvaccinated people over age 80, the mortality rate from COVID is 12.12%. I in every 8. And with really high levels of testing, that's probably pretty precise.
If the COVID outbreak in Taiwan took off in the same way, it could lead to 20,000 deaths.
Older people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China have a really low vaccine uptake rate. Misinformation and misunderstanding led them to believe vaccines weren't very effective in older people, so weren't worth having. Coupled with very low rates of COVID up until now, it meant older people felt safe and happy to carry on without bothering. That situation is now looking a lot more tenuous.

South Africa has finally ended its "State of Disaster" after over 2 years. Most restrictions are being lifted, just a few remain:
- masks must be worn in indoor public spaces.
- Sports venues can now have 50% capacity crowds - ticketholders must show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old.
- International travelers must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old.

China’s lockdown of Shanghai hasn't been entirely smooth. Initially it was to be just for 5 days, but it has been extended indefinitely and people are running out of food, and not always able to organise resupply. Scenes of people breaching barriers and running away are either actual breakouts, or possibly people reaching the end of quarantine and running to be the first at the shops. On Tuesday night there was footage of drones flying over apartment blocks where people had been singing protests on balconies. The drones are equipped with speakers and issuing messages to the residents: “Please comply with COVID restrictions. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing.”
Hello dystopia... 

And more about China, as Human Rights Watch have criticised their treatment of the citizens in Shanghai. In their aim for ZeroCOVID they have overlooked basic human needs. Anyone testing positive has been removed for quarantine, initially separating even toddlers and infants from their parents - thankfully yesterday it was announced negative-testing parents could accompany small children to quarantine.
“Authorities should treat the health of citizens as the end goal, not a zero-Covid infection rate.”
As case numbers keep rising and the situation gets worse, the immense numbers of people now in quarantine facilities are not being supplied with essentials adequately - which has led to fighting over basics such as bottled water, food and blankets. People with serious non-COVID illness have been denied access to drugs and medical treatment, and tragically there are reports of people dying.
Grim China, grim. We all watched with some shock when the initial lockdown back in early 2020 meant people were locked into their apartments, but this is a mess, and the sheer volume of videos being posted on WeChat and Weibo social media means we are all able to see the carnage unfolding. 

Enjoy Ramadan safely

Special message for anyone who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, or is especially vulnerable to COVID - YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU MATTER.

"A grim milestone has been crossed in the war in Ukraine – WHO verified over 100 attacks on health care since the start of the war on February 24. The attacks so far have claimed 73 lives and injured 51. Health workers, health facilities are Not A Target."
The World Health Organisation 

The Kinder Surprise recall has been expanded. It refers to Belgian-made products, and now includes ALL of those listed below:
- 20g Kinder Surprise eggs with any best-before date up to October 7 2022
- 100g Kinder Surprise packs with a best-before April 20 2022 to August 21 2022
- Kinder Mini eggs 75g packs with a best-before April 20 to August 21 2022
- Kinder Egg Hunt Kits 150g with a best-before April 21 to August 21 2022
- Kinder Schokobons 200g with a best-before April 20 to August 21 2022
If you have any of these products then DO NOT EAT THEM. More than 60 people in the UK have now been confirmed as having been infected with Salmonella, and quite obviously they are mainly young children - including the daughter of one of my partner's workmates (I hope she is all better now!)
Most cases of Salmonella mean a tummy ache/ diarrhoea and/or vomiting, and occasionally, especially if someone is already weakened, it can be very serious. Worldwide billions of people die from an upset tummy every year. 

Ukraine street art Sasha Corban image of arms in combat clothing sewing a torn Ukrainian flag back together
Ukraine street art by Sasha Corban

Good news yesterday personally for me, as it looks like I'll be able to negotiate a longer time period before I have to move home. We actually slept last night. It was awesome. Weekend beverages, popcorn and a movie will be very welcome tonight. Make sure you get some time off and a treat for yourselves too. We are still in a pandemic, and a lot of people have been ill - if that includes you, be kind to yourself. COVID is exhausting, don't expect to be back to full fitness instantly. If you are celebrating Ramadan with more vulnerable people - ventilation is your friend. Have fun sensibly. 

I'm going to skip Sunday's report unless anything incredibly exciting happens, and instead spend the time taking things to the tip and wondering how best to pack about 3,000 books. I shall be back on Monday and Thursday next week - and I'll take the Easter weekend off for my family.

Make Smiles, Choose Peace, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. Each number represents a unique person, with a talent you don't have.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life YESTERDAY in the full 24 hour period up until midnight GMT:

S. Korea 14,778,405 (+224,761) 18,381 (+348)

Germany 22,364,607 (+200,547) 131,805 (+289)

France 26,549,263 (+158,792) 143,017 (+105)

Italy 15,106,066 (+69,596) 160,973

Australia 4,911,725 (+64,000) 6,495 (+33)

Japan 6,832,377 (+54,142) 28,456 (+69)

Vietnam 10,070,692 (+45,886) 42,733 (+21)

USA 81,988,278 (+32,659) 1,011,096 (+409)

UK 21,508,546 (+29,229) 169,412 (+317)

Brazil 30,094,388 (+27,139) 661,035 (+253)

Thailand 3,807,908 (+26,081) 25,791 (+91)

Canada 3,552,283 (+16,891) 37,935 (+85)

Austria 3,950,161 (+16,479) 16,141 (+44)

Russia 17,955,120 (+14,355) 370,889 (+287)

Netherlands 7,960,952 (+12,810) 22,066 (+8)

Mexico 5,683,288 (+12,144) 323,403 (+85)

Malaysia 4,292,585 (+11,994) 35,228 (+36)

New Zealand 741,987 (+11,702) 426 (+22)

Greece 3,137,714 (+10,858) 27,968 (+76)

Belgium 3,915,732 (+10,610) 30,997 (+27)




Olga Williams art

World Health Organisation enjoy Ramadan safely

COVID 3 monkeys Image

Image Street art by Sasha Corban


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