Friday 2 September 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update Friday 2nd September 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update Friday 2nd September 2022

UK COVID Statistics: 
England (to 31st August) ~
Total cases: 19,833,314 (last 7 days +24,674. Obviously this figure is affected by how many people can actually access testing)
Losses of life: 164,624 (last 7 days +419)
Scotland ~ 
Total cases (to 31st August): 2,091,313 (last 7 days +3,612 - again, influenced by how many people can access testing)
Losses of life (to 28th August): 15,592 (last 7 days +41)
Wales (to 28th August) ~
Total cases is a little cleverer. Wales use the ONS estimate, as well as telling us how many people actually test positive. ONS estimate +2,067. PCR test +9, Lateral Flow tests +53.
Losses of life data is not so clever, clear, or up-to-date. 
Northern Ireland ~ 
Don't really seem to be bothering collecting any data nowadays, they just use the ONS random sampling estimate (see below). 

Rep. Of Ireland as of Wednesday 31st August: 1,656,956 cases (+75 ) and 7,839 (+19) losses of life.

World: 609,026,757 reported cases and 6,499,352 losses of life.

Students get your jabs before you go to uni - image of young adult woman with travel coffee and a smile

The UK's COVID Alert Level has been downgraded to Level 2 - "COVID-19 is in general circulation, but direct healthcare pressures and transmission are declining or stable".
Bet that's a relief eh. Nah, I'm joking. Did anyone even remember the COVID Alert Levels existed? Has anyone told the NHS that pressures are declining or stable? 

This week's UK monitoring from the UK Health Security Agency suggests "a decrease in most indicators" with highest hospital admissions in the West Midlands, and still in people aged 85+. 
Aside from hospital admissions, the ONS random sampling is a little more up to date and a whole lot more accurate. It also has good news - huzzah! - which you'd hope for really during the Summer holidays. For the week ending 23rd August 2022:
"The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to decrease in all UK countries except Northern Ireland, where the trend was uncertain."
- England, estimate 893,300, equating to 1.64% of the population, or around 1 in 60 people.
- Wales, estimate 47,300, equating to 1.56% of the population, or around 1 in 65 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 35,800, equating to 1.95% of the population, or around 1 in 50 people.
- Scotland, estimate 96,000, equating to 1.82% of the population, or around 1 in 55 people.

COVID is not over, although a lot of people do seem to be pretending it is. Sadly not. In fact, in England, more children have died from COVID in the 8 months already this year, than died in those 8 months in 2020 AND 2021 ADDED TOGETHER. 
In Jan to August 2020 we lost 26 children, in 2021 it was 36, and this year so far in England we've lost 61 children to COVID.
An identical situation is occurring in Denmark, who had 49 children admitted to ICU with COVID in 2020, 56 in 2021, and so far in 2022 have seen 98 children admitted. 
i'm not sure how that is going in other countries, it doesn't appear to be occurring in the USA.
Those numbers are still incredibly small, but each 1 means everything to their family. We have spent 2 1/2 years learning, and we seem to have just ignored and dismissed the basics. We are idiots.

The Financial Times have been crunching some UK NHS numbers regarding long term effects of COVID.
There really shouldn't be any surprises here, I have harped on about long term effects for over 2 years now, but it's not the most positive of findings. They've titled it "The growing evidence that Covid-19 is leaving people sicker". Blunt.
"In the 40-64 age group, heart attack deaths increased 15% in 2021 compared with 2019."
Researchers found that "rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from Covid than in similar people who had not been infected." Previous research has also shown you are at greater risk of being diagnosed with Diabetes. 
The sheer numbers of infections, and multiple infections, means these long term effects will impact a huge number of people. Huge, vast, potentially even everybody. Either directly yourself, or because it occurs to someone you look after, know or work with. Is there even anyone in the UK who doesn't know someone with long term problems since catching COVID? 
Grim stats, but a good article and free to read. We have yet to find out just how long on average these health impacts last. 

WHO We don't use behaviour enough we need to understand personal health choices

While we're on Long COVID or long term effects, or ongoing symptoms, or damage, or whatever you personally want to call it, the UK ONS have released this month's report. 
"An estimated 2.0 million people living in private households in the UK (3.1% of the population) were experiencing self-reported long COVID (symptoms continuing for more than four weeks after the first suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that were not explained by something else) as of 31 July 2022."
- 253,000 (13%) reported they first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously
- 1.7 million people (83%) at least 12 weeks previously
- 892,000 (45%) at least one year previously
- 429,000 (22%) at least two years previously
The most common symptoms reported are:
Fatigue (62%) 
Shortness of breath (37%)
Difficulty concentrating (33%)
Muscle ache (31%)
The people most likely to suffer are "people aged 35 to 69 years, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, those aged 16 years or over who were not working and not looking for work, and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability".

Monkeypox Update:
I don't want to call dinner before it's on the table, but we may just have moved quickly enough on this one. Fast worldwide information sharing, public education and targeted vaccinations have all played a major part, and new cases are steadily going down in the UK and worldwide. 
The UK total stands at 3,239, of which 41 are known to be women. "There is no robust evidence of sustained transmission outside some sexual networks of GBMSM" (gay, bisexual or men who sleep with other men).
The US has reported a total of 19,465 cases (as of 1st September). New York state (3,367) and California (3,629) have most confirmed monkeypox infections. 
According to the US CDC tracker, the world has reported 52,090 cases in countries which have not historically reported monkeypox, and 6 people have died. If this outbreak had behaved in the way monkeypox has behaved before, then we would expect between 520 and 5,200 people to have died. The mortality rate is staggeringly, and consolingly, low - yet still a tragedy for everyone who has lost those 6 people. 
Well done to everyone who has played their part, keep it going a bit longer. Lets get rid of this. 

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer - unusual bleeding plus any from a list of others

Hoax Of The Week:
People are saying Denmark has actually made it illegal to vaccinate children against COVID. That's simply not true. Their medical board has changed their recommendations to say people over age 18 should be vaccinated, but it doesn't say those under 18 shouldn't. A GP can authorise vaccination for a person of any age 5 or over.
"Children and adolescents only very rarely have a serious course of illness due to covid-19 with the omicron variant, which is why the offer of primary vaccination for children between 5 and 17 years will not be a general offer, but can be given after a specific medical assessment."   

New research (not yet peer reviewed) from China has examined the incubation time of different COVID variants - the time between catching the virus and testing positive. They took data from 142 studies with 8,112 patients in total. The pooled (average) incubation period was 6.57 days and ranged from 1.80 to 18.87 days:
Alpha -  5.00 days
Beta - 4.50 days
Delta - 4.41 days
Omicron - 3.42 days
Children and older people, on average, take longer to become ill than the rest of us:
Patients aged 60 or over - 7.43 days
Children aged 18 or less -  8.82 days
Most disappointingly it can't give us any 'warning' about how ill you are about to become (these 2 groups were matched for age, sex, comorbidities etc. and are mainly older, which is why it's a higher than whole population average figure):
Patients with non-severe illness - 6.99 days
Patients with severe illness - 6.69 days

The first 1.1m people in the UK will have received a cost of living payment today - if you are inordinately poor, check your bank.

The USA has become the latest country to okay the new Omicron-boosters. A CDC panel voted in favour of both the Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (12+) reformulated booster jabs.
Why did the UK only go with Moderna so far? Because we have a deal to produce them... 

The Australian cabinet have voted to reduce COVID isolation. From 9th September anyone testing positive only has to isolate for 5 days, unless you work in a high risk setting or still have symptoms, in which case it is 7 days.

In the UK there is an ongoing listeria outbreak linked to ready-to-eat smoked fish. The current advice is that if you are over 65, pregnant or have weakened immune systems you should thoroughly cook ready-to-eat smoked fish before you eat it. 

COVID vaccination is safe for you - image of a pregnant lady

Second Hoax Of The Week:
Still with pregnant people, and hopefully I can put your mind at rest. A VERY OLD screenshot is being shared which said there wasn't enough safety data to vaccinate against COVID during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It's from 2020! It's from back when there wasn't a lot of data about anything. 
1. Advice was changed in April 2021 to say vaccination in pregnancy or when lactating had now proven safe in trials and real-life experience, and there has been nothing since to suggest otherwise. 
2. By the time the vaccine was given purposefully to anyone pregnant or breastfeeding (clinically vulnerable pregnant people and pregnant healthcare workers were mainly given it first). By that time, hundreds of people involved in trials had already had surprise pregnancies and nothing of note had happened.
3. By the time any knowingly pregnant people were jabbed in the UK, thousands of  'jabbed during the pregnancy' babies had already been born in the world and nothing of note had happened. 
4. COVID is incredibly rough on you if you are pregnant. It attacks the organs which are already doing far more work than usual. It can affect your heart, your lungs, kidneys, blood, brain, and all kinds of other systems. If you develop serious illness and you are pregnant (especially heavily pregnant), you have a far greater chance of being very ill, and a bigger chance of dying. At the very least, talk it through with your midwife or doctor.
5. Everyone who has not been effectively vaccinated has a slightly higher level of risk than back at the very beginning. Most of them don't have any option medically, so it's our job to help protect them. 

COVID does still exist, a fact that Japan and South Korea know very well. Asia is bearing the brunt at the moment, with Taiwan also reporting over 20k daily cases. 
Across Europe, with the exception of Russia, Germany, Italy and France,  cases are pretty low and either well-controlled or rarely reported.
Cases in South America are low, although notably Brazil is reporting around 20k cases a day. In North America the US is reporting around 65k daily cases - far from it's own highest figures.
New Zealand are reporting around 2k cases a day, and Australia fairly steady on a slow downwards curve at around 10k daily cases. 
The African continent has thankfully seen it's peak and new cases there have dropped dramatically, with even South Africa on just 300 a day. The exception there is the tiny French-governed island nation of RĂ©union. The population is less than 870,000 people, and their mid-January outbreak has left waves which are still affecting them. On January 10th they'd only reported 86,000 cases in total - 1/10th of the population. Now almost half the population have tested positive at some point.
Tonga, which had avoided COVID until they needed aid following their volcano, has calmed down. Over 15,000 people caught COVID after the aid deliveries, and thanks in part to more swift aid and vaccinations, a very low figure of 12 people died.

How to support breastfeeding

If you've missed it, Pakistan is suffering horrific floods right now. Around 1/3 of the country is under water and somewhere between 33 and 50 MILLION people have had to evacuate their homes. Over 1,100 people have already been confirmed to have died. 
The flooding has been caused by an especially dry and warm period which baked the ground, followed by especially heavy seasonal rains and melting glacial waters. This IS climate change. It isn't coming in the future, it's here now. We all did this. 
The World Health Organisation have so far set up 4,500 medical camps. My thoughts with everyone affected. 

Thanks for all being kind to me last week. I am still trying to juggle kids on holiday, big kids visiting, clearing my mother's house in Derby, train strikes, and I had a tummy bug Tuesday-Thursday. I make notes throughout the week, but I mostly write it up on Friday - as long as I realise it's actually Friday! Winged it. 

If you are off to university then please, PLEASE get your meningitis jabs first. You young people off out into the world are the group most at risk from meningitis, and it can be devastating. My partner had it 9 years ago. He's currently asleep, and he will always sleep more than previously. He will always have pain when he walks any distance, he will never recover the years of memories he lost, and remembering things that aren't in front of him will always be a problem. Don't risk it. With bacterial meningitis you can succumb within hours. Never ignore a headache which lasts for a long time and keeps getting worse, and if you feel like you have the worst hangover ever, but you didn't have a drink, always check you can touch your own chin to the top of your chest. Don't. Risk. It. 

It's the weekend! (Now that I only report on Fridays it's always the weekend, but I wouldn't complain about that.) For a lot of people it is the final couple of days before schools go back, so get the uniform hung up and the bag packed today, and take the weekend to spend some quality time together (probably running around trying to find last minute shoes). Don't forget to take some time for yourself - you have earned it, and we all need nice things sometimes. 

Some people. They look like numbers here, but they are all people, and much more like you than not like you.

COVID Totals To Date: Countries / Cases / Losses of life reported YESTERDAY in the full 24 hours until midnight GMT:

Japan 18,939,344 (+167,340) 39,880 (+316)
S. Korea 23,327,897 (+81,499) 26,876 (+112)
USA 96,465,126 (+65,815) 1,072,125 (+272)
Russia 19,578,730 (+49,761) 384,441 (+95)
Taiwan 5,342,064 (+34,076) 9,950 (+36)
Germany 32,218,483 (+33,930) 147,642 (+148)
Italy 21,888,255 (+20,498) 175,663 (+68)
Brazil 34,492,171 (+19,492) 684,203 (+174)
France 34,547,847 (+18,646) 154,134 (+41)
Australia 10,042,859 (+11,710) 13,957 (+54)
Hong Kong 1,551,389 (+10,586) 9,701 (+11)
RĂ©union 463,155 (+7,014) 874 (+13)
Chile 4,515,370 (+6,948) 60,508 (+57)
India 44,442,507 (+6,168) 527,932 (+21)
Mexico 7,027,252 (+5,654) 329,494 (+38) 


Incubation Periods:




Hoax Denmark:
Hoax Pregnancy:
Actual pregnancy hoax itself
UK Government safety pages: Breastfeeding and pregnancy

Long term health impacts:


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!