Tuesday 31 May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 31st May 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 31st May 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Cases last 7 days: 57,602 (average 8,228 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to May 24th: 3,946
In hospital Thursday 26th: 5,584
Using a ventilator on Sunday 22nd May (this is the latest number): 175
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test up to 22nd May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause up to 20th May: 195,962
Tests last 7 days: 1,546,244 (average 20,892 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,561,632 cases and 7,271 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 532,349,235 reported cases and 6,312,535 losses of life.

Image of gent sitting in a chair donating blood, with text and large red blood droplet

"UKHSA has procured over 20,000 doses of a safe smallpox vaccine (called Imvanex, supplied by Bavarian Nordic) as part of our rapid response to rising monkeypox cases."
I see the UK Health Security Agency are determined to beat everyone else to this vaccine too. Vaccines for smallpox, unlike COVID vaccines, are still useful once a person has been exposed, so close contacts of confirmed monkeypox cases in the UK are being vaccinated already (and the same is true in many/most affected countries, including the USA).

Up until now, any UK Prime Minister found to break UK law would be expected to resign with immediate effect. In fact any UK Minister at all who breaks the law has been expected to resign. Boris HAS broken the law, and it's specifically the Coronavirus Law he enacted himself, and repeated regularly. More than 80 of his employees, ministers and other ensemble have also broken the law, so Boris has re-written the Ministerial Code in order to make it clear that no-one has to automatically resign. 

Many people are pointing out that rewriting the rules so that you retain your position of power is very much a fascist move. (Imagine it happening anywhere else, and what it would make you feel about their government.) I think we are still just about living in an oligarchy - we are ruled by a small group of people who are mainly concerned with preserving their own power.
The saving grace is that the Ministerial Code still has the wording “ministers who knowingly mislead parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the prime minister”, so lying isn't going to become the norm... (we hope).

The UK Variant Watch data is a couple of weeks old, and we won't get another update for a week, but BA.4 and BA.5 are beginning to make a mark. These are the more contagious forms of Omicron which took over in South Africa, so they have an advantage on original Omicron. That's not the full story though, because BA.2.12.1 has a transmission advantage over them. The UK lumps it together with standard BA.2, which means we don't actually know how prevalent it is now. We can see cases overall are still going down at least.
Omicron Original BA.1 2,175,580 (+3,165)
Omicron BA.2 469,309 (+17,200)
Omicron XE 2,009 (+270)
Omicron BA.4 298 (+183)
Omicron BA.5 219 (+139)

310522 UK Variants to 18th May 2022

The latest cases, as of 30th May, bring the total number confirmed in England since 7th May to 183. There are currently 4 confirmed cases in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 1 in Wales, taking the UK total to 190. They still say:
"The risk to the UK population remains low, but we are asking people to be alert to any new rashes or lesions, which would appear like spots, ulcers or blisters, on any part of their body. Although this advice applies to everyone, the majority of the cases identified to date have been among men who are gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men, so we are asking these people in particular to be aware of the symptoms, particularly if they have recently had a new sexual partner."
No major changes, except case numbers. We are still in the period of time where we are finding all the hidden cases, where people might be thinking "hang on, maybe that wasn't chicken pox?", and if so, then case numbers should begin to calm down next week. If they continue to rise, it means monkeypox has escaped into the community and it'll be harder to find all cases (for goodness sake let local teams do contact tracing) and stop it. MONKEYPOX IS NOT LIKE COVID. It's caught in similar ways to chicken pox, and much of the world's older population had the smallpox vaccine and will still be protected. In the UK that's anyone aged around 53 or older, because routine smallpox vaccination of pre-school children ended in 1971.

There are now 15 confirmed monkeypox cases across 8 US states. The next European CDC update is tomorrow, and the BNO country by country monkeypox tracker has a total of 625 as of today. 

Stat News has a great article on monkeypox, and the fact we should have known this was inevitable and prepared for it. Nigeria has been suffering from an extended and unusual outbreak for the last 5 years, and before these cases, it had been exported by travellers 8 times (the US, UK, Israel and Singapore). Pure luck is what prevented any onward transmission human to human. Makes you realise just how easy it is for anything to travel and find a willing population to infect... and it also makes you realise all of the different factors and chance events that come together to prevent that happening most of the time. 

Signs of lung cancer UK NHS

Strange Hepatitis In Kids Update:
On Friday evening (just after my last report went live) the World Health Organisation gave an updated situation report.
650 probable cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children have been reported to WHO from 33 countries in 5 WHO Regions as of 26th May 2022 (since 1 October 2021).
"The aetiology (origin) of this severe acute hepatitis remains unknown and under investigation; the cases are more clinically severe and a higher proportion develop acute liver failure compared with previous reports of acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children."
Out of the 650 probable cases, at least 38 (6%) children have required transplants, and 9 (1%) deaths have been reported to WHO.

The New York Times has a report on a survey of 362 school counsellors in the United States, which found that students were stuck, socially and emotionally, at the age they were when the pandemic started.
Every time anyone mentions this kind of delay to our kids, you have to consider who they'll be up 'against', who they'll need to compare to. The answer is usually 'millions of other kids who had the same interruption in their lives'.
I used to work with very young children with communication delays. Being unable to communicate at 3 years old affected all areas of their lives, but by 5 most of them were well on the way up there with their peers socially and emotionally. Likewise all of our kids (of all ages) will 'catch up' substantially within the next couple of years. In the meantime we have to make sure we don't push too fast and too hard, and don't simply expect their achievements and milestones to be exactly the same as kids of their age 3 years ago. Be proud of who they are and how well they've coped. 

Famous People With COVID:
The Archbishop Of Canterbury Justin Welby. He will miss the Jubilee celebrations, but hopefully someone will at least save him some cake. He's actually not very well at all, and has pneumonia. I wish him all the best. 

Image of older man with two young children all grinning in the sunshine through the window

South Africa have banned the use of Ivermectin de-wormer for COVID patients. They don't mess about, and they're probably fed up with people who have a bad case of worms being unable to access timely and cheap treatment. EVERY SINGLE STUDY SAYS DEWORMER IS NOT HELPFUL for COVID patients. 

Remember there are still people out there who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or who will always be especially vulnerable to COVID. It hasn't gone away entirely, it still exists, and for them it's far more scary than for most of us. For their housemates, family and friends is can be more scary than for most of us. Be respectful of others if they still want to leave space or wear a mask. You don't know their story. 

Bank holiday nightmares await anyone attempting to leave the UK, especially by air - and also when you return. There are huge queues at airports, notably Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow and Heathrow, where people are regularly waiting 4 hours to go through customs, and in some fresh hell, 4 hours to collect their bags on arrival either at the holiday destination or in the UK. What fun. 

Thompson Reuters Foundation News are reporting that COVID has helped sex workers in Belgium to get proper employee rights. During lockdowns they were unable to work, and because brothels, pimps, organised collectives and the like were illegal, they only occurred in a dodgy way. This meant there was no facility for unemployment, sickness pay or furlough. The workers had to turn to their Government and charity for help, which drew attention to the poor conditions they worked under. From June 1st they will enjoy the same rights as other workers, and next year should roll out a new Labour Code which will guarantee their rights to a pension, paid holiday, sickness and maternity leave. 

There's a bank holiday weekend coming up in the UK, there won't be any UK Gov releases until next week, and it seems an ideal time for me to go through the contents of my loft (with tasty snacks and cold beverages, and good music). I shall be back in a week's time - which feels like the longest time I've had between reports since COVID first began! Whatever you are doing this weekend, whether you are celebrating Elizabeth II being on the throne for 70 years or having an alternative event, or just seeing the people you usually see and packing nostalgia from the loft, have fun, make some smiles and be sensible. 

 Wave Flags, Eat Cake, Save The NHS... (and no licking strangers!)

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):

DPRK 3,645,610 (+96,020) 70

Taiwan 2,032,983 (+80,705) 2,255 (+90)

Germany 26,358,840 (+48,546) 139,182 (+113)

Australia 7,276,144 (+33,302) 8,523 (+54)

Italy 17,421,410 (+24,267) 166,697 (+66)

Japan 8,830,300 (+18,686) 30,582 (+24)

S. Korea 18,103,638 (+17,176) 24,176 (+9)

New Zealand 1,162,499 (+8,553) 1,128 (+16)

Spain 12,360,256 (+8,498) 106,493 (+38)

Greece 3,453,229 (+5,291) 29,845 (+17)

Chile 3,702,941 (+4,274) 57,892 (+5)

Thailand 4,450,457 (+3,955) 30,022 (+21)

Russia 18,331,363 (+3,526) 379,117 (+88)

Austria 4,252,143 (+1,903) 18,652 (+1)

Netherlands 8,085,869 (+1,341) 22,322 (+4)

Switzerland 3,657,546 (+1,190) 13,958

Vietnam 10,719,379 (+1,010) 43,079 (+1)








Bozza et al:







Monkeypox worldwide:





Hepatitis in kids:












Sex workers in Belgium


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