Friday 12 August 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other viruses UK and World News Update 12th August 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other viruses UK and World News Update 12th August 2022

World COVID Statistics: 
Cases: 593,567,442
Losses Of Life: 6,449,589

UK COVID stats regarding cases, hospitalisations and deaths are on the way down. According to the ONS random survey week ending 25th July for Wales and Northern Ireland, and 26th July for England and Scotland:
"The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to decrease in England, Wales and Scotland; and the trend remained uncertain in Northern Ireland."
- England, estimate 2,106,000, equating to 3.86% of the population, or around 1 in 25 people.
- Wales, estimate 108,800, equating to 3.58% of the population, or around 1 in 30 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 109,800, equating to 5.98% of the population, or around 1 in 17 people.
- Scotland, estimate 260,800, equating to 4.95% of the population, or around 1 in 20 people.

UK heat advice met office - take water, be sensible

A clinically extremely vulnerable chap named Nicholas Chavez has pulled out some exciting COVID stats for us. That's exciting as in startling rather than fun... we'll start with England’s COVID hospital admissions in the first week of August: 
2022: 6,842
2021: 4,738
2020: 411
And how about England’s excess deaths during the month of July (more deaths than average, via the ONS):
2022: 6,260
2021: 2,109
2020: −1,018
Well, that's going well then. Funny how well masks, distancing, being sensible and acting like we might have a disease worked, as compared to this year's "it's finished, we're done with that now. Move on".... 

"NHS in England to create the equivalent of 7,000 more hospital beds to help tackle anticipated intense pressure this winter. Will include temporary units at hospital sites and more monitoring of patients at home in so called "virtual wards"."
Hugh Pym, BBC news bloke.
Although 'virtual' care is pretty grim, when my partner had meningitis he was confused and kept trying to go home (naked, with no shoes or money, and on a drip), so it was decided he'd come back under my care, but report to hospital each day. It can work really well, but you need someone with the time and capability at home, so it won't be suitable for everyone. 

120822 UK HSA stats chart hospital admissions by age

UK nurses will vote next month on whether to go on strike. Obviously that's a last resort step and the worry is it could put patient's lives at risk, but that's actually a large part of why they're striking. Currently the majority of shifts are well understaffed and the remaining workers are not only shattered and suffering failing mental health, patient's lives are at risk, and there's no clear plan to alleviate the problem. They're also a bit miffed at the recent pay offer, which in England amounts to a £1,400 rise for over a million workers. After the increases:
- average nurses pay around £37,000 basic
- average newly qualified nurses pay around £27,055 basic 

Monkeypox continues to do its thing. The USA has now reported 10,768 confirmed or suspected cases, with Wyoming the only state which hasn't had any confirmed as yet. The CDC tracker says worldwide 31,424 confirmed cases have been reported, in 82 countries that have not historically reported monkeypox. This includes 2,914 in the UK; 5,162 in Spain; 2,982 in Germany: 2,423 in France and 2,131 in Brazil. 
As yet it remains that 5 people have died in countries which didn't previously have monkeypox. It is astoundingly low (1 in 6,284) and scientists were anticipating far worse. 
By comparison, this year 375 cases have been confirmed in the countries where monkeypox is endemic (found in wild animals, including rats), and 7 people have died (1 in 54, or almost 2%). 

Temperatures can be too hot to let pets outside - place your palm on the floor for 10 seconds. If it's too hot, it's too hot for paws

Aside from COVID and monkeypox, there is a newly discovered virus called Langya in China, but media reports are pretty sensationalist and we really can spend our worrying time on other things - especially anywhere but China. 
So far we're aware of 35 cases of Langya during 2021, none have been fatal, although it often causes fever and headache, and kidney, liver and digestive problems. All known cases appear to be animal to human (primarily goats, dogs and shrews), with no known human to human transmission.
Put that to one side. Moving on... 

I nearly forgot the Polio outbreak. In the UK live Polio virus continues to be detected in the wastewater in London, so clearly human to human transmission is still going on. In an attempt to stop spread, all children aged 1 to 9 in affected areas (London) will be offered a Polio vaccination or a booster.
The UK routinely vaccinates young babies with an inert, dead version of the jab, which can't escape or spread anywhere. A few countries still use live vaccine, and its suspected that's how its travelled to the UK - inside a warm freshly-vaccinated host who hasn't been scrupulous with toilet hand-washing (Polio can pass through a body remaining alive and well). Vaccination rates as low as 91.2% in some areas of London have meant it's managed to spread. Polio can be horrific, including leaving many infected people permanently disabled through paralysis. We've forgotten this, because most of us under age 60ish anywhere but Afghanistan or Pakistan can't remember a time when Polio existed, and aren't really aware of anyone who had it.
If you missed out on a Polio vaccination as a child, in the UK you can get it free of charge through the NHS. Ring your GP surgery and book yourself in.

120822 Mary rAmsey about COVID going forward

The US CDC have relaxed their recommendations regarding COVID. Really this does signify a new chapter, because they've removed advice about social distancing and quarantine for healthy people, and testing for school pupils. Instead they focus on reducing "medically significant illness". The reasoning is that we have managed to reduce severe illness and death massively by use of vaccinations and treatments such as anti-virals, and the vast majority of the US population have been vaccinated and potentially even encountered COVID virus, so almost everyone has some degree of immunity. 

No official news, but hackers appear to be trying to sell the personal records from 48.5 million Chinese citizens in the Shanghai region, as stolen from their COVID app.
Yowch, big oops....  

While the UK and Europe melts in the heat, parts of Europe and America are burning out of control - 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in the Gironde and Landes region of France, where hundreds of fire staff and vehicles from Germany, Romania, Poland and Austria are helping fight a massive fire. Other areas have been deluged by our missing rain, including "once in every 1,000 years" flooding in the driest place on Earth - Death Valley. 
We really have to start taking climate change seriously and actually make the changes needed for our grandchildren's future - now.

World Health Organisation Flooding advice
WHO Flood Safety Advice for affected areas

According to the ONS, average UK full time wage with any bonuses is currently £604 a week, or £31,408 a year. Average retirement income is £304 a week, or £15,808 a year. Average rent in the UK is now £1,127 a month, or £13,524 a year. And the estimate for next year's average fuel bills is over £5,000.
Averages - all averages. Minimum wage is actually only £9.50 per hour for people over age 23, or £380 a week, which is £19,760 a year. And that's before you even pay your National Insurance and income tax.
Anyone spotting the problem yet? 
If you don't want to eat, wear clothes or do anything other than sit in a darkened room, you might be okay. 
Traditionally throughout history, this is the point where governments intervene, or rioting and insurgency takes over. 
We need windfall taxes on the billions of profit energy companies have just paid to shareholders, and we need energy and rent caps, otherwise the only people who can afford to live will be those who own their own home and are already doing well financially, and crimes of all types will shoot through the roof because of necessity, disenchantment and boredom.

Last Saturday at 6pm around 80,000 tourists found themselves trapped at China’s resort city Sanya, after a snap lockdown decision to try and curb a local COVID outbreak. All tourists had to stay put for at least 7 days and have 5 clear COVID tests before they can leave - at the earliest that'll be tomorrow. I can think of worse places to be stuck...

It is the weekend! Hurrah. We had an epic trip back from Derby yesterday as we attempted to beat the worst of the heatwave, but got delayed and delayed, and then stranded by melted tramlines. Still we were home by 11pm (just) and it was an adventure. We had water, but had to buy more because we ran out - if you have to be out and about expect delays and take at least a litre of water per person (and if you need to buy more, then a multipack of 6 small bottles is usually cheaper than 2 singles). Avoid being outdoors in the worst of the heat, and make sure you don't attempt your usual levels of physical exertion. When it's hot overnight our brains and organs don't get a chance to cool down properly, so slow yourself down, make the most of cool showers and foot baths, and watch those around you in case they start to suffer. 

Don't forget your treat, you did it again, you earnt it. Have a good weekend.
Wear A Sun Hat, Play In The Shade, Save The NHS. 

COVID stats. 
Some people. They are shown as numbers because I can't spell all of their names. 

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

Japan 14,861,375 (+243,104) 34,323 (+248)
S. Korea 20,983,169 (+137,196) 25,441 (+59)
USA 94,479,779 (+79,145) 1,061,346 (+290)
Germany 31,489,484 (+49,839) 145,561 (+167)
Italy 21,428,602 (+28,423) 173,701 (+130)
Brazil 34,124,579 (+27,644) 681,025 (+173)
Russia 18,796,472 (+25,815) 382,954 (+52)
Australia 9,737,209 (+25,238) 12,653 (+85)
France 34,169,281 (+24,312) 152,990 (+80)
Taiwan 4,824,512 (+22,871) 9,342 (+44)
India 44,223,557 (+16,561) 526,928 (+49)
Mexico 6,890,549 (+14,841) 328,525 (+88)
Chile 4,344,910 (+13,494) 59,896 (+51)
Peru 4,002,949 (+10,221) 214,818 (+3)
NHS stats
"Langya virus infects 35 people in eastern China, no deaths reported"
Met office image heat

Pet safety in heat

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