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."

In the most recent week (ending 11 June for England, Wales and Northern Ireland; week ending 10 June for Scotland):
England, estimate 1,131,000, equating to 2.07% of the population or around 1 in 50 people.
Wales, estimate 64,800, equating to 2.13% of the population or around 1 in 45 people.
Northern Ireland, estimate 42,900, equating to 2.34% of the population or around 1 in 45 people.
Scotland, estimate 176,900, equating to 3.36% of the population or around 1 in 30 people.

170622 UK ONS random sampling cases by English area

Variant Watch:
This data only goes up to 8th June, so it is a little behind the ONS random sampling, and the situation can alter swiftly. Remember as well that this is a random UK-wide sample which will be multiplied to give an estimate, and new variants arrive in clusters and spread out, so it'll never be entirely accurate.
BA.1 is likely to have been reduced because cases were initially given a blanket 'Omicron' classification and then re-classified. We can clearly see Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 creeping in here:
Omicron BA.1 2,132,378 (-2,623) 
Omicron BA.2 478,692 (+3,272)
Omicron XE 2,072 (+18)
Omicron BA.4 1,187 (+550)
Omicron BA.5 1,688 (+972)

Average ambulance wait times in the UK are shocking. Its meant to be an emergency service, but in a lot of areas you'll get much quicker access to medical help if you ring for a taxi. This is not the fault of anyone working in the ambulance service, the NHS, the hospitals, it's not on the carers who are out there receiving people who are discharged - it's because the entire system is overwhelmed.
The ambulances can't hand over patients quickly because A& E staff are already dealing with twice the patients they should be. There aren't enough hospital beds unless we fling people out of the door the minute they can wheeze their own name, and there aren't enough people to keep an eye on them once they are out. Health & Social Care has been treated like a collection of easy lightweight jobs for unskilled people for far too long, and if we just open our eyes we can see that actually it's everything, and incredibly skilled (and tolerant!). Bankers can earn millions by gambling with other people's money, but nurses, care home workers and cleaners get a pat on the head (if they're lucky) for actually keeping people alive. I despair. Anyway... Quoting the BBC here, who have been covering the ambulance waiting times, patient handover times and A&E waiting times:
"In England as a whole, the average response for a category two emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, was almost 40 minutes in May - more than twice as long as the 18-minute target."
Waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance for someone who could be having a heart attack must be absolutely terrifying. A big hug for anyone who has been in that position. I've done it once, with my partner, and the experts were there for us in under 5 minutes, which was plenty long enough.

On that note, Hugh Pym, of the BBC:
"The Scottish Government has offered 160,000 NHS staff a 5% pay rise. This covers nurses, paramedics and hospital workers but not doctors and dentists. This follows a 4% award last year. The equivalent deal in England last year was 3%."

170622 UK ONS random sampling cases by age

You want more? NHS England's April stats show UK hospital waiting lists are up a bit further, although they seem to have cleared the backlog for most people who had been waiting for over 2 years (whoot). Almost 6.5m people are now waiting for non-urgent treatment, that's 1 in every 9 adults. 

This week I've been contacted about someone who works in a popular frothy coffee establishment, and someone else who works in a popular supermarket - both were told to go to work after testing positive, as they weren't actually feeling ill. Were infectious though. I guess this is what "living with COVID" is about. For the clinically vulnerable, people who are unable to be vaccinated or someone who will never develop immunity, this is terrifying. Please always respect anyone who is scared of COVID - you often have no idea how vulnerable they are, or who they have at home reliant on them. 

COVID is still ongoing. It's passing through millions of people and mutating at whim, and while there aren't any more dangerous variants spreading right now that we know of, infection and vaccination don't offer everyone protection, so herd immunity doesn't really exist. Even if you glance over the state of our NHS, the people still incredibly vulnerable and the dying people, Long COVID on it's own is increasingly costly and ruining peoples lives. We need better vaccination and treatment. We can't just give up, rest on our laurels and pretend it's over - that won't make it so. Encourage your children to take sciences - it's for their own good. 

Talking of Long COVID... 
A new study from King's College, London, has discovered that 4.4% of people who have Omicron develop Long COVID (symptoms 4 weeks or more after being diagnosed with COVID), compared to 10.8% of people who had Delta.
While this is excellent news, the increased transmissibility of Omicron, and lack of any preventative measures against COVID nowadays, means that far more people have caught Omicron, so overall more people have Long COVID because of it. Thank goodness it is less than half as likely to have long term outcomes... 

170622 UK ONS comparing rates now and in January 2021

The Independent have a good article about an investigation published in The Pharmaceutical Journal, which found that at least 10,370 NHS staff members have taken 12 weeks or more off work with Long COVID since February 2020 when the pandemic began.
(Shall we give them a clap? Would that help?) Hopefully they are being well looked after - most of them will have caught COVID looking after the rest of us.  

Strange Hepatitis in Kids Update:
The UK HSA update was published not long ago, and...
"Since our last update (9 June) we've identified a further 11 confirmed cases bringing the UK total to 251"
Good news is it is slowing, implying the more rapid increase in numbers we saw a couple of weeks ago was people 'putting 2 and 2 together' and realising they had a case that fit the description. 
"Of the confirmed cases, 180 are resident in England, 32 are in Scotland, 17 are in Wales and 22 are in Northern Ireland. While new cases continue to be identified across the UK, there is an apparent overall decline in the number of new cases per week.
The cases are predominantly in children under 5 years old, who showed initial symptoms of gastroenteritis illness (diarrhoea and nausea) followed by the onset of jaundice.
No child resident in the UK has died. A report of one further liver transplant is included in the update, bringing the total number of children who have received a transplant to 12, since 21 January."

Monkeypox Update:
WHO are going to rename monkeypox, as they feel the name is misleading and has negative connotations historically. Monkeypox can in fact infect a range of rodents, primates and other mammals - including rats, mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits, dormice - we actually have no idea how many in total. Potentially the range is mahoooooosive, and that's why any country is unlikely to ever get rid of it once it's established. As soon as it has passed to wild animals, it's beyond our net. We can't vaccinate all of the mice and rats. Round 1 to them. Luckily, if it does become a real problem anywhere, we can vaccinate all the humans and companion animals. Game to us.
Monkeypox is endemic in some African animal populations, but has never yet become endemic among people - presumably the folk in Africa aren't daft enough to get naked with someone who has scabby spots... (looking at you, Spanish adult sauna monkeypox cluster people).
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected 46 additional cases of monkeypox in England, 3 additional cases in Scotland and 1 in Wales.
Totals as of 16th June: UK 574, England 550, Scotland 16, Northern Ireland 2, Wales 6.
Our World In Data has a tracker with a worldwide total of total 2,093 confirmed cases in non-endemic countries (countries where it didn't exist until now), as of yesterday. 

170622 monkeypox by daily cases worldwide and uk

The US FDA have voted unanimously to authorise COVID vaccination for youngsters aged 6 months to 5 years. They said yes to both Moderna and Pfizer's applications. 

Did you drink enough water today? Cool, refreshing, sparkly water. Why not go and get a glass. I'll wait for you...

The European Medicines agency have started a rolling review of a version of Spikevax COVID19 vaccine which is adapted to provide better protection against specific variants. 

North Korea really is having a nightmare. Not only do they have a COVID outbreak in what we are guessing is complete freefall, they are now reporting an outbreak of “an acute enteric epidemic” in the Haeju city region. This seems to be an intestinal illness such as dysentery or typhoid, but the suggestion is that they don't yet know the cause. It is plausible it could all be COVID-related, because we know COVID regularly causes gastric upset (around 1/3 of hospitalised patients have diarrhoea on admission), although outbreaks of infectious diseases are far more common in poorer nations than we are used to in the West. Whichever it is, I hope their situation calms down swiftly. 

Famous People With COVID:
Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the US President and 81 years old. It's his first time testing positive, and last I heard he had mild symptoms. You won't be surprised to learn he is fully vaccinated. 

UK NHS additional risks for dehydration

It's never too late. Scientists believe they may have located where the Black Death originated, and the current winner is North Kyrgyzstan in the late 1330s. I say current winner, because they may one day find an even older grave with a body that has teeth containing plague DNA. They decided to check this one out because records showed a spike in deaths in 1338 and 1339. (Thank heavens they weren't using computers, because it'd be on a granite memory card and no-one would have a PC that could read that now).
The Black Death reached England in 1348 - virus travel was slower back then because there were less business meetings and ski holidays. It killed 40-60% of the entire population. Some estimates suggest London's population dropped from 100,000 - 20,000 in a single generation. It hasn't always seemed like it, but we were very lucky with COVID....  

It is the weekend! Huzzah! The weather is getting cooler. Boo. Typically it isn't forecast to be as nice tomorrow as it has been the last couple of days, but it should still be nice enough to play out. Don't forget your treat over the weekend - something YOU want, not anyone else. YOU.

Drink Water, Stay Cool, Save The NHS... 

Some numbers. They all look up to the same sky and stand on the same earth.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life YESTERDAY up until midnight GMT:

World 543,058,895 (+569,772) 6,337,971 (+1,299)
Germany 27,095,988 (+89,151) 140,292
USA 87,861,132 (+76,023) 1,037,928 (+170)
Taiwan 3,135,526 (+63,182) 4,714 (+168)
France 30,028,853 (+53,081) 148,996 (+49)
Italy 17,774,507 (+37,316) 167,617 (+64)
Brazil 31,644,703 (+32,934) 668,892 (+199)
Australia 7,723,888 (+32,347) 9,217 (+71)
DPRK 4,558,260 (+26,020) 73 (+1)
Japan 9,092,521 (+16,555) 30,963 (+28)
Chile 3,857,643 (+12,975) 58,171 (+36)
UK 22,460,449 (+12,538) 179,472 (+61)
India 43,270,577 (+10,970) 524,817 (+14)
Finland 1,125,342 (+10,769) 4,771 (+57)
Mexico 5,843,190 (+9,452) 325,271 (+29)
S. Korea 18,256,457 (+7,978) 24,407 (+8)
Greece 3,525,056 (+7,158) 30,057 (+8)
Austria 4,312,525 (+7,093) 18,720 (+5)
New Zealand 1,260,441 (+5,881) 1,308 (+13)


Dehydration images

Strange Hepatitis:

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