Tuesday 10 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update May 10th 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update May 10th 2022

UK COVID Statistics (most data, such as 'cases last 7 days' is now only updated by the UK on Mondays and Thursdays):
Cases last 7 days: 102,089 (average 14,584 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the last 7 days: Has not been updated since May 3rd
In hospital yesterday: 9,619 (well down from 12,475 a week earlier)
Using a ventilator yesterday: 214 (well down from 304 a week earlier)
Losses of life last 7 days: 1,512 (average 216 per day)
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test: 176,424
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause: 193,713
Tests last 7 days: 1,788,178 (average 255,454 per day)
Vaccinations 1st dose: 53,264,512 (92.6% of UK aged 12+)
Vaccinations 2nd dose: 49,780,389 (86.6%)
Boosted / 3rd dose / Spring Boosters: 39,345,313 (68.4%. Every time I type this I consider the fact that some people have had a 3rd jab and a booster and a Spring jab, so this percentage is meaningless now.)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,524,555 cases and 7,163 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 518,032,714 reported cases and 6,278,793 losses of life.

Young people off to uni get vaccinated photo of two hip young folk grinning at each other. His luck is in.

"I'm starting to see signs that many people (scientists included) are getting convinced that going forward, we no longer need to vaccinate against COVID-19. Why? Because infections will do the trick. That thought is as delusional today as it was in 2020. Let's not go there."
Kristian G. Andersen, Infectious diseases & genomics Professor and Immunologist at the Anderson Lab at Scripps Research Institute. 

Leader of the UK Government Opposition and future CAMRA ambassador Kier Starmer is being investigated by the police after it emerged he drank a beer and ate food with other people whilst working during lockdown. He has stated that he will resign if he is found guilty of an offence by police - however he is confident rules were not broken, and can prove that work continued late into the night. Press are saying he's swaying police opinion by offering to resign if he's broken the law, but I can't see it myself, and I do think it's the most integrity offered by any UK politician in the last couple of years (or else he's just got his fingers crossed to leave anyway as Labour performed pretty poorly under his leadership at last week's local elections). 

The UK ONS have looked more closely at self-reported disability status, and found that (up until 9th March 2022):
"The risk of death involving COVID19 remains significantly greater for all disabled people compared with non-disabled people across the three waves of the pandemic."
They used the census information to split people into non-disabled, less-disabled (day-to-day activities were “limited a little”) or more-disabled (day-to-day activities were “limited a lot”):
"The risk of death involving COVID-19 was 1.4 times greater for more-disabled men and 1.3 times greater for less-disabled men, compared with non-disabled men.
The risk of death involving COVID-19 was 1.6 times greater for more-disabled women and 1.3 times greater for less-disabled women, compared with non-disabled women."
Statistician Julie Stanborough, Deputy Director Health and Life Events, Office for National Statistics commented:
"No single factor explains this elevated risk and this analysis suggests it is down to a range of disadvantages experienced by disabled people."
We simply don't look after our most vulnerable people well enough. 

Risk of death due to COVID and disability

The UK Government blog has a mini update on the strange Hepatitis which has affected around 200 children that we know of so far. "Almost all of the cases have been seen in children under 10, with most cases aged between 3 and 5 years." They are still looking into the cause, and really no closer to finding any answers:
"Only a few of the cases have had recent COVID-19 infection, in line with what we would expect given the current trends in the UK. However, we are investigating whether there could be a link to previous COVID-19 infection.
There is no link between these hepatitis cases and the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain viruses that can grow in the human body. There were no COVID-19 vaccinations recorded in cases under 5, the age group which makes up over 75% of hepatitis cases. There are fewer than five older case-patients recorded as having had a COVID-19 vaccination prior to hepatitis onset."

The latest UK ONS figures on self-reported Long COVID have been released (up to 3rd April 2022):
"An estimated 1.8 million people living in private households in the UK (2.8% 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)."
Of those people:
- 382,000 (21%) first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously
- 1.3 million people (73%) at least 12 weeks previously
- 791,000 (44%) at least one year previously
- 235,000 (13%) at least two years previously
(Expensive in all ways... )
"Long COVID symptoms adversely affected the day-to-day activities of 1.2 million people (67% of those with self-reported long COVID), with 346,000 (19%) reporting that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities had been "limited a lot"."
Most common symptoms are still fatigue (51% of those with self-reported long COVID), followed by shortness of breath (33%), loss of sense of smell (26%), and difficulty concentrating (23%).

The WHO the other day gave an amended total for excess deaths during the pandemic. They estimate a figure of 14.9 million extra people lost during 2020 and 2021 'because COVID exists', as opposed to the officially reported deaths due to COVID (which stands at 6.28 million today). The COVID Actuaries Response Group have double checked their figures and think they have spotted a couple of errors, mainly involving longer term trends in data which the WHO didn't account for (e.g. a 15 year gradual drop in population would be more important than a 2 year rise which might just be a blip). Using their figures, they estimate that (for example) Sweden's 'excess mortality' was in fact an extra 9% of their total, rather than 6%, but Germany's was only 3%, rather than the massive 11% according to the WHO figures.
These people are all world class experts, and I think what this mainly shows is that a/ maths at this level is super tricky, b/ there are always several different ways of estimating and c/we'll never actually be certain.

100522 share of people vaccinated against COVID world nations

The best news today is new UK research which has looked at 166 people who got the 4th COVID jab. They were mainly extremely vulnerable and older, with an average age of 70. In the vast majority of people whose protection had begun to wane, it boosted to levels of COVID-fighting antibodies and T cells to average levels higher than the 3rd jab. Again it took a couple of weeks to get the full effect, and it does peak massively high at that point, so it will drop off - but we'll have to wait to find out how quickly that happens.
I said a couple of years ago that the UK could easily manage jabbing everyone every 4 months if necessary. COVID hasn't proven to need that, and every 6-9 months (or less) for our most vulnerable is very certainly doable. Importantly no severe adverse events occurred in relation to the jabs.
Participants had received either 2 x Pfizer or 2 x AstraZeneca, followed by a Pfizer 3rd dose. They were given either Pfizer or a 1/2 Moderna dose for their 4th vaccination. Pfizer 4th vaccinated people had a lower average increase in antibodies and a higher average increase in T cells than the 1/2 Moderna group.
A few rare people had retained a high level of protection after their 3rd jab (or because they'd recently caught COVID), and for them it didn't do so much, implying there is a 'ceiling' of protection beyond which you won't go. That shows we are correct not to vaccinate people just after they had COVID anyway, and it has implications for who will actually need boosters in future, and how regularly. It may not be as many of us, or as often, as we might have previously expected. 

In South Africa almost 30% of COVID tests carried out are coming back positive. That's 1 in 3, and really high, and it's been like that now for a good few days. Cases overall are also going up, and Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are leading the increase. (Omicron just keeps making more and more easily and/or quickly transmissible variants.) Whereas in the UK we are in the main blithely going about our business with huge transmission figures, in South Africa only 30% of the adult population have even had 1 jab. South Africa has already lost 100,000 people, and this has health officials very concerned as to where it'll lead. 

Almost 36.5 thousand babies have been born in Ukraine since the Russian invasion

Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang said last week “We will not lock down the country and cities as cruelly as China”. It's got to be a hard decision to give up on Zero COVID, but sadly it's probably more realistic. China are really struggling and have not managed to contain it thus far, doubling their total cases in the last 2 months, with an average of around 2,000 cases a day.  Currently the total is 220,397 (+357). Taiwan meanwhile, with their lighter hand, have gone from just 27,000 total cases a month ago, to 448,323 (+50,828) today. Before this outbreak began in mid-April, their highest ever daily count was back in May 2021 at just under 550 cases.

I'm seeing more and more medics starting to discuss "long-term sequelae from repeated infection/exposure that may not be apparent in the short-term". Basically not so much Long COVID, which follows on directly from infection, but damage which is going to become apparent in the future. We know that our brains can age when we get COVID, and there are suggestions that may come back to bite us in the form of earlier onset Dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimers, MS etc, but it will be another 20 or 30 years before we see exactly what happens. It might well also be another 20 or 30 years before we truly see what COVID has done to the heart, lungs, gastro-intestinal system, immune system etc.
Something to look forward to... 

I cannot stress enough that if you have young people off to University this Autumn, they need to get vaccinated against Meningitis before they leave. They are the biggest at-risk group, and Meningitis is nasty. It's also worth ensuring everyone had their MMR and other jabs when they were younger. 

UNESCO There is no Planet B The Earth from space

Luxury Cruise News:
The US CDC has a monitoring system which they recommend for cruise ships in US waters, so that potential passengers can be informed before they travel.
92 cruise ships have currently opted in, and none have opted out. 91 ships are labelled 'highly vaccinated' (over 90% of passengers fully vaccinated) and 1 has "Vaccination Standard Of Excellence" (when I investigated this further, it turns out it currently has no passengers).
There is also a traffic light system for outbreaks of COVID on board:
Green = No Cases
Yellow = Cases, CDC is monitoring
Orange = CDC has started an investigation and the ship is under observation
Red = This is very bad
Currently, of the 92 ships, 16 are green, 11 are yellow, and the remaining 65 are all orange... So that's going well then. (COVID loves a cruise...)

Not COVID, but the Taliban have ordered all women in Afghanistan to wear the face-covering burka in public. They also went back on promises they'd allow young women and teenage girls to attend education. Grrrr... 

No lockdown, but the streets are empty in India, as it struggles to cope with the heat. Temperatures have been higher than usual for some weeks now, and there are worries it will not only lead to deaths, but also reduce crop yields - which are already short worldwide due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Buckle up, we are about to see food prices go up again, but it's much worse news for nations which can't afford to just go elsewhere to get their food. 

Talking of which, thoughts today with the people of Sri Lanka, which is facing economic disaster and civil unrest. With no money left in the coffers, interest repayments to foreign nations have been suspended, the President has offered his resignation and mass violence and protests have broken out on the streets. I wish peace and a working solution to you all. 

Symptoms of a heart attack vary in women

The UK has had shortages of some HRT medicines for a while, and next with potential supply chain issues are blood pressure medicines, non-opiate painkillers and possibly some anti-depressants. (It's all going terribly well isn't it...) Alternatives will be available if it comes to it, and stockpiles aren't empty yet, so don't panic because it might never happen, but bear it in mind and don't let yourself run out...

Some numbers. Each one understands how it feels to be alone in the dark.

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 25,469,045 (+83,338) 137,186 (+166)

Italy 16,872,618 (+56,015) 164,731 (+158)

Taiwan 448,323 (+50,828) 943 (+12)

S. Korea 17,614,895 (+49,896) 23,462 (+62)

Australia 6,334,600 (+47,724) 7,559 (+43)

Japan 8,133,197 (+33,664) 29,843 (+30)

New Zealand 1,005,674 (+9,257) 826 (+14)

Greece 3,371,051 (+6,453) 29,444 (+27)

Thailand 4,337,568 (+6,230) 29,199 (+53)

Russia 18,237,227 (+4,531) 377,150 (+101)

Austria 4,189,700 (+4,022) 18,271 (+22)

Vietnam 10,681,214 (+2,855) 43,058 (+1)

Chile 3,583,227 (+1,853) 57,642 (+3)

Switzerland 3,631,881 (+1,740) 13,882

Netherlands 8,063,029 (+1,586) 22,281 (+3)

Estonia 573,922 (+1,490) 2,556 (+8)














Herd immunity














Image vaccinated young people








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