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.

UK Gov Get boosted in bold modern text

The big story in England today should be no huge surprise to us because we've been keeping an eye on hospital admissions - although it is bigger than anticipated - 942 - up 43% on last week. 
In-patients are also up - 24% since last week -  from 4,602 to 5,726 COVID patients yesterday, and that has apparently just gone above 6,000. At the beginning of the month we had 3,800 people in hospital with COVID. This is using latest NHS England data, and it's up until yesterday/this morning. 
Huge thanks to the COVID Actuaries Response Group for keeping tabs on this.

The COVID Actuaries Response Group are also watching losses of life due to COVID. Deaths lag behind hospitalisations by around 2-3 weeks, but now that we've had a steady increase in hospitalisations for a while, we also have a rise in deaths - 11% above the 2019 figure for week ending 10th June - although because of the bank holiday, figures do include some backlog. For a more reliable figure, CARG inform us that "The last 6 weeks total is 9% above 2015-19 average".
The Continuous Mortality Index total is 122,400 excess deaths across the whole UK since the start of the pandemic. This figure is lower than the 'deaths due to COVID' because some people would have naturally succumbed over this time, and had their last days, weeks or months cut short by COVID.

210622 COVID Actuaries hospital admissions England to 19th June
Courtesy @John_Actuary

In a tribunal this morning a caretaker has successfully claimed that Long COVID is a disability. He was sacked after a mild bout of COVID left him with headaches and tiredness and he didn't return to work for 9 months, and the tribunal has ruled in his favour - that he's been sacked because of a disability. 
This could become truly massive news. If Long COVID is taken as a disability then not only will it bring employee rights, but it could have serious repercussions for anyone 'put at risk' while at work or school, or in any other situation when they should have been better protected because the person with the power knew there was a risk.
Say, for example, you worked in a children's home and everyone there had COVID, but your employer insisted you had to come to work or lose pay... or you were forced to work in PPE that you knew was not up to the job (binbags)... The fact is Long COVID for a significant number of people IS a disability. It IS disabling people, in some cases severely. Expect appeals, and they may be heavily co-financed by important people who do not want to end up with millions of employees wanting to go to court... 

The UK's SIREN Study (SARS-CoV2 immunity and reinfection evaluation) celebrated its second birthday yesterday. For 2 years they have been testing and evaluating almost 45,000 NHS healthcare workers:
"The SIREN study has provided valuable evidence on immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination and provided surveillance data on infection and emerging variants. This evidence has played a critical role in informing the national COVID-19 response."
The SIREN study hasn't just given the UK the data it needs to respond, it has informed people the world over, and you'll be glad to know it doesn't stop there. The study is still ongoing, and we are still learning from it. 

210622 Over 25 million COVID vaccine doses administered in England

Scientists are examining COVID reinfections to see what your chances are of developing severe illness or long term problems. The bad news is that you do seem to roll that dice each time. A new US study (257,427 single infection, 38,926 with 2 or more infections, and a non-infected control group of 5,396,855), which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, found that:
"...compared to people with first infection, reinfection contributes additional risks of all-cause mortality, hospitalization, and adverse health outcomes in the pulmonary and several extrapulmonary organ systems (cardiovascular disorders, coagulation and hematologic disorders, diabetes, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney disorders, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and neurologic disorders)."
They found continued risk from reinfection in unvaccinated, part vaccinated and fully vaccinated/boosted people. When they were reinfected, people had  had a risk of becoming severely ill, and a smaller risk of long term symptoms, but if they did get long term symptoms (Long COVID), most people still had those symptoms at 6 months after reinfection.
"Compared to non-infected controls, assessment of the cumulative risks of repeated infection showed that the risk and burden increased in a graded fashion according to the number of infections."
Just like running across a busy road, you roll the dice every time. There are several comments under this asking "how long before we are all living with ongoing symptoms from COVID reinfection?". 
The study authors end with a cautionary note that we simply are NOT doing enough for our long term health security:
"Reducing overall burden of death and disease due to SARS-CoV-2 will require strategies for reinfection prevention."
Yes it will... 
Quebec in Canada has reported 132 confirmed cases of monkeypox - 3 people were hospitalised, but are now well, and no severe cases have been reported. Many can be traced back to a superspreader event at the end of April, when a traveller to Montreal managed to infect several other people. ALL of their cases are men, and most say they have had intimate relationships with other men. In response, to try and keep the outbreak contained and prevent spread to more vulnerable populations, Montreal are going to offer vaccination to ALL men who expect to have sexual contact with other men in Montreal this summer. Quebec has 40,000 vaccine doses in hand, and it's anticipated 25,000 doses should cover the target population (over 3,000 have already been administered to close contacts of confirmed cases).
Toronto in Canada is also offering vaccination to close contacts, as well as men who have intimate relationships with other men and have other risk factors - including those with 2 or more partners in the last 3 weeks, those who have recently caught an STI, and people who work at 'bath houses'. 

210622 Monkeypox cases worldwide Our World In Data Screenshot

The monkeypox outbreak is almost entirely still affecting men who have intimate relationships with other men, but let me once again stress this is a fluke happenstance in the early months of an outbreak, and it spreads into other populations when it gets a chance. Like chicken pox or scarlet fever, you need close contact or a period of time together in the same space to pass on monkeypox, and sleeping in the same bed or having sexual contact is ideal for that, but so is sitting in a playhouse together reading stories. We are lucky that it's currently spreading mostly through our "healthy, single, party animal, men who sleep with other men" demographic, because other groups (such as young children and pregnant people) are more vulnerable to severe symptoms. Most countries are vaccinating close contacts in an effort to prevent spread - and unlike COVID vaccination which takes about 3 weeks to take full effect, monkeypox vaccines hit the button almost immediately. They still help to reduce severity of illness, scarring from spots and onward transmission, even after you've had the close contact and potentially caught the virus yourself - and unlike COVID vaccination, it should offer long-lasting protection.
Worldwide we are currently adding around 140 new cases per day, so you can see it's slow-moving. The total reported since the outbreak began stood at 2,680 as of yesterday. Personal risk for the vast majority of people remains very low. 

While the situation in North Korea (DPRK) seems to be calming down, Germany have a nasty COVID wave going on. Cases are also on the rise in parts of Europe and Australia - but losses of life are a fraction of where they were before vaccinations and better treatments for severely ill people. Taiwan is still struggling to get their outbreak under control, but the time they bought by delaying for 2 years has saved them the huge loss of life we experienced in Europe and the USA. It's hard to tell where a lot of countries are in reality, because universal free testing no longer exists in several places, including the UK - where the random sampling suggests we actually have around 200,000 new cases each day.

June 2022 UK Govt call for evidence regarding mental health

That's it for today - and the UK Government crapboard dashboard is only going to be updated weekly from next week - that may not be as big a leap as it should be, as the updates have been getting ridiculously behind and out-of-date. It might be time for me to go weekly too - so I'll be back on Friday, and then 'on Fridays' - as long as nothing too exciting happens in the meantime. We know where we are now - we are aware of the ways we can help protect ourselves and those we live with and around. We know how to minimise risk, and in a lot of ways we are living differently to 'how it used to be' without even noticing. We have a 'new normal', and it will still have to adapt in order that we don't all end up with lung damage and other permanent symptoms, or a raft of overly-exciting variants, but we can get on with our day to day without COVID invading all aspects of our lives. It's not yet the end, but it's definitely the beginning of the end... told you we'd make it.
Some numbers. They are all people.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (since midnight GMT. In larger countries,  such as the USA, Germany and India, some states /provinces might not have reported yet today):

Germany 27,334,463 (+122,597) 140,357 (+65)
Italy 17,959,329 (+62,704) 167,842 (+62)
Taiwan 3,387,061 (+56,404) 5,480 (+115)
Australia 7,854,839 (+31,569) 9,445 (+58)
DPRK 4,657,190 (+17,260) 73
UK 22,525,358 (+16,430) 179,706 (+105)
Greece 3,562,524 (+12,580) 30,115 (+16)
Japan 9,159,940 (+10,207) 31,045 (+13)
S. Korea 18,289,373 (+9,283) 24,463 (+12)
Austria 4,341,493 (+7,281) 18,738 (+6)
New Zealand 1,283,444 (+5,876) 1,350 (+13)
Netherlands 8,137,275 (+4,798) 22,347 (+2)
Switzerland 3,708,891 (+3,918) 13,979
Morocco 1,189,656 (+3,059) 16,087
Russia 18,403,427 (+2,500) 380,577 (+60) 

England hospital/deaths

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