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. 

Despite being discussed and agreed in principle last December, the Proposed WHO Pandemic Preparedness Treaty is making the news, with a cohort of people shouting about WHO taking away our rights and freedoms.
The World Health Assembly established “The World Together”, an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB), to draft and negotiate the treaty, which is intended to "strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response". The draft was due to be presented and debate begin this week (although the WHO page says it's been delayed, so I'm not sure if it will happen just now or not). Regardless, no-one is committing to anything until after it's been debated and amended to suit everyone - and this isn't expected until the 77th World Health Assembly in 2024. Even once the treaty is thrashed out and signed, I think we can see from the global vaccine sharing that countries will for the most part just do whatever they want anyway. The shouting is a bit premature and most likely unwarranted, but at least it gives the complainers something to do... 

The Guardian has been interviewing UK Doctors who caught COVID early on, have been left with Long COVID, and have run out of sick pay. They are struggling to be able to get any disability payments, despite being unable to return to work for reasons such as incontinence, being unable to stand for longer than 5-10 minutes, being unable to prepare their own meal or dress themselves. (Would a good doorstep clap help?)
If Doctors can't get disability for Long COVID then there's little hope for anyone else. 
The All Party Parliamentary Group has asked for the assessment for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) to be given an overhaul to take Long COVID into account, and also for additional compensation for healthcare staff. (Any overhaul of the UK disability assessments can only be a good thing.) 

Collage of 6 images showing 3 people wearing masks wrong and 3 images labelling actual accessories

From doctors to nurses - and the UK Nurse shortage is being corrected by nurses who shouldn't be here - because they're needed at home. 
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) say that since the general election in 2019, the number of nursing recruits coming from 14 of the countries on a "red list" has multiplied by 10 times. The red list comprises 47 countries who themselves have a shortage of healthcare professionals, and even the UK government says we shouldn't actively recruit there. Over half of the new recruits in 2021 were from overseas, and Brexit has exacerbated this issue, because it's now no easier or quicker to recruit from Europe than it is from India, Egypt, the Philippines etc. 

Monkeypox Update:
The EU is buying monkeypox vaccines. They've announced they've ordered nearly 110,000 doses to be given to member states most in need.
The BNO News tracker actually stopped updating on 11th June, with a total of 1,576 confirmed and 44 suspected cases. As yet no-one has succumbed, which really is excellent news, although it can leave people with nasty scarring and they can be poorly for 2-3 weeks. Fingers crossed that zero continues. 
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has added another 104 cases in England, bringing the total number confirmed in the UK to 470, as of 12 June.
There are currently 452 confirmed cases in England, 12 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 4 in Wales.

In the past Monkeypox has rarely caused an outbreak by spreading from human to human, but occasionally it has. In a 2013 outbreak in the Congo, 104 possible cases were detected. It is quite tricky to pass monkeypox onto a stranger in the street, but importantly the 'household attack rate' was 50% - meaning that half of the people living with infected people became infected themselves. Monkeypox is spread mainly via the spots, so it's essential anyone infected uses separate towels and bed linens, regularly wipes down surfaces, door handles etc, and keeps their hands really clean. The average incubation period between infection and illness/symptoms was 8 days (range 4–14 days). Interestingly they also tested 60 patients for Varicella (which causes chicken pox, and can look very similar) and 5 were positive. 

Talking of virussusses which aren't doing what they normally do... COVID-19, or our measures to prevent it, are making lots of other virus behave differently - and it's all weird. Washington Post is reporting that Winter virus such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are not only affecting people in Winter, American children are being admitted to hospital with up to 7 different virus at once, and some virus (such as rhinovirus - common cold) which usually wouldn't ever send people to hospital, are knocking them for 6. 
Are our immune systems exhausted? Are they hibernating from 2 years of lockdowns/masks? Is it a backlog of cases we would have usually had over the last 2 years? Whichever is true, doctors are having to re-think their assessments of new patients, and assume the unusual is possible.

Canadian government COVID advice with 6 sections the 'do it all' mask wearing wash hands ventilate etc

Human Challenge Trials are studies of a disease or pathogen which is given to humans on purpose. It can seem redundant when half the population has caught something anyway, but it isn't, because we can watch what's occurring right from the start. 
The results from the first human challenge trial for COVID found that, of 34 healthy volunteers aged 18-29 (with no previous infection of vaccination), 18 became infected when given a low dose injection of original wild COVID. Viral load (the amount of live virus) peaked at day 5. Virus was initially found in the throat, but that was overtaken by the amount of virus in the nose, which could still be found until day 10. Most of the infected people had mild to moderate breathing/respiratory symptoms and anosmia (loss of sense of smell - 12 participants). 6 patients were given the antiviral Remdesivir, which didn't alter any results, so no-one else was given it. After 180 days (6 months) 5 of the 12 participants with anosmia still had anosmia, although it was improved from where it was originally.
Word is that today Canada will announce an end to vaccine mandates for domestic travel on planes and trains, as well as for people leaving the country - but any foreign nationals hoping to enter Canada will still have to be vaccinated.

China is still not able to get their outbreak under control, and Beijing has what they have called an "explosive outbreak" centred on a bar. Shanghai meanwhile has a new outbreak centred on a hair salon. Some areas will now remain under lockdown or return to lockdown for the foreseeable future.

Hoax Alert.
Justin Bieber has Ramsey Hunt Syndrome, caused by the Varicella virus - the same virus that causes chicken pox and shingles, and occasionally meningitis (as in the case of my partner).
COVID infection is a known cause of Bell's palsy - a different condition that can look similar to us laypeople, but it is not the same thing. COVID vaccination can also cause Bell's palsy, but your risk is 6.8 times greater from infection than from vaccination - and it's all very rare. A US study in June 2021 found that of 348,088 people with COVID, 284 (0.08%) were diagnosed with Bell's palsy within 8 weeks, and just under half (47%) had a history of the condition. Facial Palsy UK say:
"It is well recognised that both viral infections and vaccinations may affect the immune system and can lead to Bell’s palsy. Currently there is no strong evidence that the numbers of reported cases of Bell’s palsy are higher than would be expected in the general population. However we are monitoring the situation continuously and will update this information as further evidence comes to light." 

Hoax Alert 2
I've mentioned this a few times, and it's doing the rounds again. The NHS will not message you to say you've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Omicron. They do not care, and they'd have to message literally everyone except a single hermit living on a remote Scottish island. They will also never ask for any card details or payments. If you actually want to buy COVID tests, go to a chemist, they're around £2 each. 

Hoax alert the NHS will never ask for your payment details or tell you that you've been in contact with someone with Omicron

Since we first discovered COVID we've known it can jump from animals to humans - that's how it started - although it's usually the opposite way around. A study from the US CDC has potentially the first documented case of a human catching COVID from a companion animal, and it's a cat. There is no mention of anyone becoming very ill, so I think we can laugh at this, and I hope they can too.
A father and son from Bangkok were taken to hospital with COVID, and their cat was taken to a vet, as it had been sleeping on their beds. The father and son are labelled Patients B and C. The cat seemed fine (even though it wasn't given a label), and these are the words from the actual study: 
"Patient A retrieved nasal and rectal swab specimens from the cat while patients E and F restrained it. During the nasal swabbing, the sedated cat sneezed in the face of patient A. All 3 veterinarians were wearing disposable gloves and N95 respirator masks without face shields or eye goggles at the time. The entire veterinarian–cat encounter lasted ≈10 minutes."
Patient A, the vet, began to experience symptoms 3 days later. Genotyping found her COVID was distinctly the same family tree as the cat, the father and the son (who lived some distance away), and it was different to the local strains...
You're welcome...

Back Friday...

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):

Germany 26,969,546 (+83,099) 140,292 (+79)
Taiwan 3,003,501 (+66,189) 4,403 (+123)
DPRK 4,502,330 (+32,810) 72
Australia 7,660,547 (+25,589) 9,089 (+31)
UK 22,422,611 (+12,028) 179,363 (+89)
Japan 9,061,936 (+10,204) 30,910 (+19)
S. Korea 18,239,056 (+9,768) 24,390 (+2)
New Zealand 1,248,852 (+6,355) 1,286 (+19)
Chile 3,834,020 (+4,901) 58,119 (+10)
Austria 4,298,563 (+4,242) 18,706 (+7)
Netherlands 8,110,818 (+2,887) 22,336
Russia 18,382,380 (+2,797) 380,137 (+61)
Switzerland 3,684,270 (+2,669) 13,975
Staff are knackered 
Monkeypox household attack rate 
Human challenge trial
Indian government mask image
Irish government mask image 
Justin Bieber / Bell's palsy

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