Friday 24 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 24th June 2022

Everything is a bit short today because I've been called back home to Derby, so this is mostly written on trains on my phone. I will come back to it once I'm back in Manchester, and properly write up anything I've had to leave for now. Sorry about that, I know you guys understand. Sometimes things are far more important.

So... COVID cases are rising still in all 4 UK nations - we are up around 23% week on week according to random sampling (so it's pretty accurate). The latest ONS figures suggest that it the week ending 18th June, 1.7m people across the UK had COVID.

Hospitalisations have a slight rise, the unfortunate North East, and people aged over 85, still struggling the most.

The World Health Organisation convened a special meeting yesterday to decide if the Monkeypox outbreak was a PHEIC - Public Health Emergency of I ternational Concern. No definite answer on that last I looked.
We now have more than 3,200 confirmed cases in at least 44 countries where monkeypox is not usually found among the wild animal population. One person has died.

On Wednesday the UK Health Security Agency declared a National Incident because of Polio.
The UK routinely vaccinated against Polio using live (but inactivated) vaccine until around 2004, when it was changed for an inert (dead) version. Some countries still use live vaccine, which can pass through the person and into their poop still alive - so it is normal to detect it in the UK sewage a few times each year. In this case a live vaccine derived Polio has escaped and linked strains have been detected in samples from different months, so it seems to have passed from person to person.
If you were vaccinated then you are well protected, but we actually have a significant number among us who have not received the vaccination - especially in parts of London.
Polio can be nasty. Check that your kids are up to date with their jabs - it'll be in their red book. If you didn't grow up in the UK, check that you were vaccinated against Polio as a child - and if not, you can contact your doctor to arrange it.

There were also reports on Wednesday of a person contracting Cholera in Spain - that is NOT true. It was a confused message and although it's a very similar condition, it was NOT Cholera. *Phew*

The first court case of someone dying as a result of AstraZeneca vaccination has received a payout. A gentleman from Cumbia died in May 2021, and his fiance has received £120,000. Obviously any sum will never be enough to replace him.

Sperm count drops by about 20% after vaccination and restores to previous levels within around 6 months. No effect on motility or volume. Sprem count often drops with all kinds of illness (your body is busy doing other stuff), including COVID infection, so this wasn't a surprise, but should reassure potential parents (there will still be millions for most people, and you only really need 1).

Moderna have partnered up with the UK Government to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing and research centre in the UK. Moderna's new Omicron-specific vaccine has performed very well in early trials, so this is a very hopeful and progressive move.

Variant watch - worldwide Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 have now taken over as the most common strains. They lead the way in the UK and are quickly taking over in the USA. Thankfully there's still no evidence or suspicion that they are more dangerous or deadly.

A new study has confirmed that while PCR testing is the best way to tell if you have COVID (because it's very sensitive), rapid testing such as lateral flow is the best way to determine if you are actually contagious and breathing out virus (aside from hugging lots of people and waiting a few days).

Trump Of The Day:
I've almost missed Trump. Almost. The January 6th hearing has released lots of documents, including documents proving that the US decided to go for  herd immunity (just like the UK) without knowing that herd immunity was possible (it isn't).

If you have a child under age 10 with a medical condition or allergies then while stocks last you can get free medicalertuk membership and an ID Tag, thanks to sponsorship by the Lions Club. I'll add more details in the comments.

Fertility rates are dropping - and while we often mention Japan when we talk about this, theirs isn't actually the lowest right now. Taiwan is averaging 1.1 live births per female, far far below the 2.1 needed to keep the population at the current level. It is dropping all over Europe and the Western world. Really the only countries where it is above 2.1 are those where infant mortality is very high, life expectancy very low, and there's nothing much else to do ever (no telly, no contraception, no universal education, no money).

A new study published yesterday has worked out how many lives were saved by COVID vaccinations. The figure is 20million. That is a huge number of family and friends who will never know how fortunate they are. Hug your loved ones - let them know you are glad they are with you.

I will write some of this up more thoroughly in a few days time, and I will be back with the next new report next Friday. Have the best weekend you can - and have that treat. You earned it.

Stay Sensible, Play Outdoors, Save The NHS.


MedicAlert IDs, worn on pulse points, can be life-saving in an emergency or an accident for children with medical conditions. For the rest of the time, the peace of mind they provide can give your child the confidence to be more active physically and join in socially. Family members also benefit from knowing that their loved ones are safe. That is why the NHS recommends them.
The Early Start Programme provides free MedicAlert membership until your child’s 10th birthday, along with a free medical ID.
Funded by Lions Clubs, the scheme is currently open for applications. There are limited spaces available based on current funding, so don't delay

Weekly COVID statistics

NHS hospital stats - monthly


Monkeypox updates

WHO Vaccine equity for Africa

Monkeypox vaccine UK

AstraZeneca death


And this is why
"Lasting protection of omicron-specific Covid vaccine could pave way for annual boosters"
Moderna's Omicron-specific vaccine performed well in trials
Never had COVID ? Old news

Important news for people with MS.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 21st June 2022

UK COVID Statistics according to Medriva: 

Cases: 22,525,358 (+16,430)
Losses of Life: 179,706 (+105)
Cases: 22,508,928 (+36,425)
Losses of Life: 179,601 (+64)
(Includes weekend backlog - I'm guessing cases on Monday and losses of life on Tuesday)

UK Gov Dashboard:
Total  losses of life with COVID listed as a cause on the Death Certificate up to June 10th: 196,977

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,578,284 cases and 7,409 losses of life up to yesterday, 20th June. 

World: 545,221,827 reported cases and 6,342,385 losses of life.

Protect yourself from the sun - skin and eyes - WHO poster - wear a hat, sunscreen, shade, drink plenty of water, wear a t shirt

Sorry I'm late - I had to take the kitten for her jabs! 

“There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle... We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”
General Sir Patrick Sanders, new head of the British Army. Not actually saying we are going to go to war against Russia, thankfully, but clearly expressing the fact he believes there may be some potential.

Over 125 million COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered in England alone. If you have been invited for any and not yet had them, you will always be able to book in or go to a walk-in centre (if you are over 18) - it isn't too late.

Friday 17 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 17th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Friday 17th June 2022

UK COVID Statistics:
Total Cases 
England 18,908,381
Wales 875,497
Scotland 2,449,840
Northern Ireland 713,294
Lost their life within 28 days of a positive test:
England 156,186
Wales 7,517
Scotland 12,389
Northern Ireland 3,445

Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to Friday 10th June: 4,780
In hospital on Monday 13th June: 5,918

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,578,284 cases and 7,409 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 543,316,589 reported cases and 6,338,474 losses of life.

UK NHS Symptoms of dehydration

The ONS UK Random sampling (week ending 11/12 June) shows an increase, and it's big - cases are up 43% from last week.
"The latest data from our COVID19 Infection Survey show infection rates increased in all four UK countries, likely due to continued growth of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants."
(These are the variants which have battered South Africa and they are more transmissible than any others to date.)
"COVID19 infection rates increased in all English regions, except for the North East where the trend was uncertain."
Infections have increased across all age groups.
Hospitalisations are still highest in the North East (the North East has maintained a high level of hospital admissions pretty much throughout the last year, so they've suffered enough, they really don't need any more).
"COVID19 hospital admission rates increased in all age groups, remaining highest in those aged 85 years and over."
It isn't all such bad news. If you want reassurance about how well vaccinations are working at preventing severe COVID:
"Our COVID19 insights interaction tool shows infection levels are at similar levels to the Alpha wave peak in January 2021. However, during this time hospitalisations were 6 times higher and deaths involving COVID19 were over 32 times higher."

Wednesday 15 June 2022

The Silent Brother by Simon Van Der Velde Fiction Book Review

The Silent Brother is a brand new release from author Simon Van Der Velde, who sent me a copy for review. I'm glad he did, because it's been an excellent read, and actually a book which has stayed with me, as it has a depth and relevance I couldn't have seen coming, and actually a lighter ending which doesn't leave you feeling demoralised. 

Subtitled as a Literary Thriller, The Silent Brother is a life story for one fictional person, Tommy, and by the end of the book we've grown up with him, and really do know him incredibly well. 

Silhouette of young man in a window book cover

We begin with 5 year old Tommy living with his alcohol-loving Mum and her boyfriend, Daryl. Daryl is a hard man for any child to live with, aggressive, jealous, violent and a heavy drinker. I feel that he's possibly very young to be raising children and it's not where he wants to be. 

Simon absolutely nails my childhood in the 70's. Looking back now, it really was rough, so I was surprised to discover that actually The Silent Brother was set in the late 80's/early 90's. His account hit so many buttons, I'd never be able to explain it in a book review. I'm a 50 year old woman who has spent the last 3 weeks revisiting my childhood and teenage years, and the relationships I had with the people around me. 
The scene with his brother Benjy hiding at the back of a cupboard, in the space between the back board and the wall, I've been there. The fear of your adults, and the crap TV. The acceptance of physical punishment being "a good hiding", as if any "good" could ever come of it. I was hurled back 40 years to places I'd forgotten existed, and I closed the book being grateful I'd always chosen the less destructive path, glad for what I have and also a little sad, as I remember the not-so-great times. It's a sad jolt back to Earth to think that 20 years later time had stood still, and to realise that for some now, it's still just the same. Anyway, I digress...

Tommy becomes involved in crime early on in life, and in the book, and you can clearly see that he is a product of the events that occurred in his life, the people around him, and chance timing. What you realise is just how easily someone's life path can change. A single brief exchange can alter everything. 

June #TBCSmiles 94 Months

It's Summer! Well, it feels like it just now anyway, and the UK is promised a heatwave this weekend, which has given everyone something to talk about, even if some of us aren't as excited as others (I'm not built for hot weather!). It'll also mean lots of playing outdoors, getting together with friends and relatives, and hopefully a lot of smiles.

MY partner blowing out the candles on his 51st birthday cake which is being held by our 12 year old - who looks nervous to have such an important job

We've had a few bonfires, a trip to the cinema and a birthday, but mostly spent the last month continuing to sort and pack, take stuff to the tip and send it away with other people who want it or can use it. We never seem to get anywhere close to actually finishing! I guess a surprise move after 15 years and 7 kids really does mean you have no choice but to go through all of that stuff you have been putting off for far too long. 

For us it's meant the rediscovery of tons of treasure, and a million memories. Going through all of the kid's old toys takes you back in a way photographs never can. It doesn't give you a snapshot, it releases all of the stories and the moments. The times things went wrong, or right, the conversations and debates, birthdays and holidays. The daft things they said, pet names and misheard sentences. The precious reminders that make something costing pennies into something so valuable that you can never imagine letting it go.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 14th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update Tuesday 14th June 2022

Official UK COVID Statistics are mostly up until 19th May, which is ridiculously old, and I'm not reporting on any of them. The only data updated during June is:
In hospital on 6th June: 5,237
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause to 3rd June: 196,643
(The UK data in the table below is from Medriva, who say they get it from UK Gov. Ermmm, pass.)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,570,519 cases and 7,383 losses of life (not yet reported today).

World: 541,250,865 reported cases and 6,332,926 losses of life.

Irish Government do it all to prevent spread and protect against COVID

"I can understand entirely where doctors, nurses and everybody who works in health and social care are completely knackered..."
Humza Yousaf, Scottish Health Secretary, telling it like it is. 

In Collaboration with Maqio | Top ideas for a fun playroom

Top ideas for a fun playroom

When you are lucky enough to have a designated playroom in the home, you may really want to make the most of this space. Your children might appreciate having an entire room they can use for fun and games, and it can also help to minimise the number of toys left elsewhere in the home. You might want to think about the ways that you decorate this room to really maximise your children’s enjoyment, while still keeping costs as low as possible.

Wonderworld Eco-House with Playmobil characters included

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Letts Key Stage 2 SATs Study Books

Friday 10 June 2022

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

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

Latest UK Govt. COVID Dashboard Statistics:
Cases in the 7 days to 19th May: 57,625 (average 8,232 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to 3rd June: 3,624
In hospital Monday 6th June: 5,237
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test to 20th May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause to 27th May: 196,418
Tests in the 7 days to 19th May: 1,546,244 (average 220,892 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,570,519 cases and 7,383 losses of life.

World: 539,390,879 reported cases and 6,328,761 losses of life.

WHO Do it all collage of images showing masks, wash hands, space, ventilate etc.

""Hospital admissions with COVID are rising again across England, up 10% week-on-week."
Welcome to the next wave."
Professor Kit Yates, Mathematical Biologist and IndieSAGE member, quoting yesterday's COVID Actuaries Response Group (CARG) weekly report. The UK Government might be releasing figures in the least understandable way ever, but that doesn't mean we can't see through it.
Admissions rose last week in all English regions except London, with the fastest increase in the South East, which is up 28%. Nationally bed occupancy is up by 8%.
Hospital deaths with COVID are still falling, down 9%, but as we are well aware, any increase in hospital admissions will inevitably be followed by a rise in the number of people succumbing.

Tuesday 7 June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th June 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th June 2022

UK COVID Latest Govt. Dashboard Statistics:
Cases in the 7 days to 2nd June: 57,615 (average 8,230 per day)
Admitted to hospital with COVID in the 7 days to Sunday 29th May: 3,652
In hospital Thursday 2nd June: 4,891
Total losses of life within 28 days of a positive test to 20th May: 177,977
Total losses of life with COVID listed as a cause to 20th May: 195,962
Tests last 7 days: 1,546,244 (average 220,892 per day)

Rep. Of Ireland: 1,565,970 cases and 7,347 losses of life up until yesterday.

World: 536,108,391 reported cases and 6,321,883 losses of life.

World Food Safety Day WHO advice to avoid food poisoning

“What we are detecting now is not the new transmissions that are happening, new transmissions are happening that we don't know anything about. And that really worries me."
Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, Cameroonian medical doctor and clinical researcher, talking to Kai Kupferschmidt, science journalist about Monkeypox. It has a very long incubation period, which makes it stealthy. Average is 7-14 days, but it can be 3 weeks before an infected person develops any symptoms.