Tuesday 3 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update April 30th May 1st /2nd /3rd 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update April 30th May 1st /2nd /3rd 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 79,310 (average 11,330 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: 8,840
In hospital yesterday: 12,475 (down from 14,929 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 304 (321 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,175
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 175,319
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 191,277
Tests last 7 days: 1,889,966 (average 269,995 per day)
Vaccination Data is delayed, so we'll leave it for today as it's still the same as Friday. 

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,519,296 (+491) cases and 7,092 (+5) losses of life.

World: 514,254,906 reported cases and 6,264,024 losses of life.

try to stay home if you have covid symptoms and image of woman sitting on sofa

Scottish guidance on isolation has changed. If you've tested positive you should stay at home for 3 days if you're 18 years and under, or for 5 days if you're over 18 years. Day 1 is the day after you took your test.
"Stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as coronavirus and have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities."
(Probably someone should tell them COVID isn't necessarily a respiratory infection.)

I mentioned the current UK NHS ambulance collapse on Friday, and on Sunday The Independent had an article about it, "Can the NHS cope with COVID?". The answer is no - not if it carries on like this. We cannot move people out of hospitals into care homes, so they are clogging up beds, which in turn is keeping A&E full of patients, which in turn means 11% of ambulance time is taken up in handovers and waiting to pass patients over to hospital care. April is usually the quietest month for handover delays, so there is genuine worry about where this is going next.
Staff morale is incredibly low after over 2 years of COVID, both in social care and the NHS, and the mental health of people working in these professions is really suffering. On top we have COVID, which still exists and still makes people poorly. Staff sickness and burnout levels are incredibly high, and when will that pressure ease? It shows no sign of happening any time soon... 

Scottish care homes are being investigated to try and discover how many people died from COVID when it could have been avoided (hint - it'll be almost all of them). The head of Scottish Care has criticised the Crown Office investigation as being a political blame game and putting far too much pressure on care home staff. If you worked in a care home and lost residents to COVID, despite following or exceeding all of the Government advice, you carry NO BLAME. Advice was at times appalling, PPE requests far far exceeded available supply and care home residents who tested positive were sent home. Making staff feel responsible is just cruel. Over 5,000 potentially unnecessary deaths are being investigated in over 4,000 different care homes. You were ALL given bad advice. None of you were COVID experts, but the people giving the guidance were meant to be... 

A record number of people in the UK are being referred for checks for Cancer.  2.65m people were referred in the last 12 months, after a pause during 2020 due to the pandemic. The BBC reports that around 30,000 people are waiting to begin treatment. At least they are coming forward now. I'm sure I don't have to tell you guys that any lumps or bumps, puckered skin or weirdly coloured bits need looking at... 

never too late to get your jabs image of clock

The UK Government's 'Partygate' debacle continues to make the news. A suggestion that closing the bars in Parliament might be a good idea was shot down by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Sky News as being "excessively puritanical". Clearly something has to happen, the view from outside is that being a Government Minister has been a laugh a minute booze-fest, and it's certainly not how any workplace I've been involved in has ever operated. 

We've got another study (not yet peer reviewed) looking at 'cognitive changes' due to COVID, and this one focusses on people who were very ill. We know for certain now that many people (studies suggest 1 in 7) who catch COVID will suffer cognitive impairment for some months - sleeplessness, brain fog, problems concentrating, tiredness, anxiety etc. (the list is huge). The more severe your COVID, potentially the more severe your long term effects. Up to 3/4 of people who are hospitalised report cognitive problems 6 months later. Researchers from Imperial College looked closely at 46 people who received critical care for COVID-19 at Addenbrooke's hospital between 10th March 2020 and 31st July 2020 (16 mechanically ventilated) and tested their abilities an average of 6 months later. They found that:
"The lasting mental impacts of severe COVID-19 on areas like memory, attention, or problem solving, may be equivalent to 20 years of ageing."
Yowch. There is worse news:
"A trend towards reduced deficits with time from illness (r∼=0.15) did not reach statistical significance."
They did not see a measurable improvement over time.
Don't be despondent, my partner took at least 6 months after Meningitis to even become 'himself', and 9 years down the line he just won a national award at work. Brains can continue to heal for a long time - with exercise and care.
Professor Adam Hampshire is from the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London, and the first author of the study:
“Tens of thousands of people have been through intensive care with COVID-19 in England alone and many more will have been very sick, but not admitted to hospital. This means there are a large number of people out there still experiencing problems with cognition many months later. We urgently need to look at what can be done to help these people.”
Yes. Yes we do. I have always considered Long COVID will be incredibly expensive in all ways, but the UK Government don't seem to be able to see further than their next glass of wine... 

South African scientists are studying the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, and in a study (not yet peer reviewed) released last week they found that vaccination offers better protection against the sub-variants than previous Omicron infection - at least in a lab. Test tube/petri dish tests showed blood samples from fully vaccinated AND recovered people were around 5 times as effective against BA.4 and BA.5 than from people who were recovered but unvaccinated. They are hoping to increase rates of full vaccination in South Africa, where it currently stands at about 30%. 

Drawn image of pregnant person

Yesterday I stumbled upon a post by a mother whose daughter has been fired from Wagamama (in Scotland) for refusing to go to work when testing positive for COVID. Other people shared similar stories. I cannot confirm any of these are true, but if it isn't in the news by now, journalists aren't doing their job. Shame on you Wagamama. I love your food, but I prefer my meals without a communicable disease - and I prefer companies who pay sick people to stay at home. 

The UK Health Security Agency is cutting its staff of 2,000 by around 40%, and according to The Guardian some of those 800 staff losing their jobs have already been given 2 week's notice to leave. The Guardian also claim that the asymptomatic testing budget for hospitals and care homes will only last 6 months, so it will be cut or there'll be nothing left for Winter.
Sounds safe... what could possibly go wrong? 

The UK's Rosalind Franklin lab at Leamington Spa is floundering a bit. It wouldn't cope alone if the UK has a huge wave of COVID (and actually tests people), but is still operating at just 20% of full promised capacity, and has already cost twice the estimated budget. It's not quite as shiny as it first looked, and instead now it just looks a bit expensive, neglected and wasteful. 

We are being reminded that the mysterious Hepatitis in children has no link to vaccinations. People are already using it as reason to avoid jabs - it is not. The vast majority of the 'around 200' known cases are in children under 5 who have not received any COVID vaccination. COVID is far more likely to be the link, so that's what you want to avoid...  

India has authorised more vaccines for use in children/younger children. The recent rise in cases is affecting younger age groups and they do not want to overwhelm healthcare again. The vaccines given emergency use approval are the Indian vaccines Covaxin from Bharat Biotech (increased to children age 6+) and Zydus (ZyCoV-D) from Cadila Healthcare (12+), and the American Corbevax from Biological E (age 5+).

2 people playing on a beach

CNN have a big article talking about China's continued use of disinfectant, both indoors and outdoors, suggesting they are focusing on the wrong things and wasting their time biologically/scientifically in order to continue a political stance of zero tolerance to COVID. Quite honestly a lot of their street disinfecting might be pointless and not stop a single case, and it could be a danger as regards contaminating water sources if they keep it up for any period, but when any other country has massively outperformed you regarding dead people and long COVID, saying they're doing it wrong is probably not wise. I'm pretty sure China will be laughing at this article.

Meanwhile citizens living under lockdown in Shanghai are still expressing discontent, and while the food situation appears to have improved, we are still seeing footage of people being removed aggressively and without warning to lockdown facilities. Now the political and professional commentators have stepped in, and they're talking about "what did really go wrong with Shanghai's lockdown". Well, people are all humans for starters, and I think that basic fact was overlooked. 

Also in Shanghai, and it's emerged today that a person was placed in a body bag and sent away in a hearse while still alive. This has erupted on social media, and the chaos there in being blamed. Clearly someone has to take the blame for this one. The patient is apparently now stable in hospital. 

The New Zealand Government has lost a court case to citizens who couldn't go home during the pandemic. Their hard lockdown may have saved tens of thousands of lives, but closing borders denied entry to New Zealanders living elsewhere. Anyone wanting to enter New Zealand had to apply and each month only a limited number of people were allowed entry. In effect it was a lottery, and some unlucky souls waited a very long time to be named as a 'winner'. 

Collage showing break in supply for HRT and explaining shortages

The UK currently has severe shortages of some HRT drugs. In order to try and relieve the shortages for now, some prescriptions will be limited to just 3 months supply. Menopause messes with your head as well as your body, so I have massive sympathy for anyone struggling to maintain supply of their usual medication.

In case anyone was unsure, Denmark are still offering COVID vaccinations, they've just paused the general vaccination programme and associated promotion, as they consider coverage high enough (82.5% double vaccinated) and transmission low enough to do so. They reported 913 new cases today. 

Sea levels in certain parts of the world are rising twice as fast as previously thought - not a good sort of surprise. New predictions suggest parts of Auckland, New Zealand, will see annual flooding within 18 years due to a 30cm rise in sea levels. Up until now it was believed this wouldn't happen until around 2060, and it doesn't allow much time for looking into solutions...
Obviously the sea is quite big and stretches further than just around New Zealand, including areas of the world where it has already forced populations to move 'inland'. If we thought the world had a refugee crisis already, just wait until some of the huge populations become displaced because of flooding...

Up to 40% of animals in some deer herds were found to test positive in North America. Britain's deer are being monitored for COVID, and we are also monitoring foxes, mink, badgers and bats. COVID can obviously jump from animals to people, but it's far more likely to go from humans to other animals in most cases. 

Image of small child of African descent being vaccinated

The WHO's Dr Mike Ryan is reminding us that COVID isn't over (it's not even close for millions of people), and he had a message for the UK and others taking the same sort of track...
"Going from testing everyone to testing nobody is really silly. Really, really silly and it will be very counter-productive because it will make us blind at the very moment that we need to be really aware that this virus is still out there... Lets not project success and declare victory in a fight before it's actually over, because it isn't over. But at the same time I really don't want people to feel that, at the end of 2.5 years, we're where we were before. We're not. We're so much better off than where we were before."
We really have come a very long way - never forget that. Back at the start mortality was around 2% across the whole population, and about 1 in every 6 of the severely ill people hospitalised didn't come home. We've been through at least 3 increasingly dangerous variants since then, but we are losing far less people than ever before. We still haven't vaccinated the world yet though. Only 15.7% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose...

Some numbers. They might have been born anywhere in the world, 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):

Germany 24,919,473 (+128,283) 136,135 (+188)

Italy 16,586,268 (+62,071) 163,889 (+153)

S. Korea 17,346,753 (+51,020) 23,007 (+49)

Australia 6,029,879 (+37,731) 7,310 (+40)

Japan 7,925,130 (+23,197) 29,631 (+30)

Taiwan 173,942 (+23,139) 876 (+5)

Thailand 4,281,536 (+9,721) 28,781 (+77)

New Zealand 952,697 (+9,269) 731 (+18)

Russia 18,201,074 (+5,466) 376,292 (+125)

Austria 4,154,244 (+5,240) 18,183 (+13)

Greece 3,335,550 (+4,262) 29,249 (+44)

Vietnam 10,659,358 (+2,709) 43,044

Switzerland 3,619,035 (+2,034) 13,865 (+3)













"Care workers have taken their own lives due to a 'shameful' Crown Office probe into Covid care home deaths" 




























Shanghai: https://twitter.com/BBCWorld/status/1521508487217430537

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