Friday 23 September 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update September 23rd 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update September 23rd 2022

Oops - I'm so late. I am sorry! It's another post on my phone sadly. I do have my laptop, but it's decided not to play 'hotspots' this week and there's no Internet at my Mum's house. We soldier on. 

World: 619,365,299 reported COVID cases and 6,537,109 losses of life.

"We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic - we are not there yet, but the end is in sight."
Dr Tedros, Head of The World Health Organisation - whoop!
Losses of life to COVID have dropped to their lowest levels since March 2020, and although we'll probably never be rid of COVID, we have it under a level of control. Worldwide figures are dropping nicely week on week, so fingers crossed that continues as we head into Winter for the Northern hemisphere.

UK figures are a bit iffy. Hospital admissions are up 17%, but from a fairly low level, so it's not time to worry just yet - keep an eye on it.


The new UK Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey has announced plans to fix the NHS. It seems to involve asking more of GPs and pharmacists, and doesn't even mention the fact we are short of 40,000 nurses. They don't just do bedpans Thérèse - we really need them.
In more positive news, she has announced a £500m fund to help pay for the discharge of medically fit hospital patients who need help at home. Around 13,000 of our 100,000 hospital beds have people in them who could go home - with assistance. Where the £500m is coming from is anyone's guess for now... 

Awww. Remember Margaret COVID? Margaret Ferrier is the Scottish MP who Nicola Sturgeon twice accidentally misnamed live on camera, when poorly Margaret went home by train after testing positive. She's been sentenced to 270 hours of community service to pay for her daft error.

Some longer term ONS data on the UK's 'Excess Mortality' has been released, and Adele Groyer of the COVID Actuaries has deciphered it for us.
From March 2020 to June 2022 the ONS estimates 137,447 excess deaths in England & Wales (people who died over the expected average). "However excluding deaths involving Covid, there have been 31,397 FEWER deaths than expected."
COVID takes the weakened and the elderly, meaning less people die from other causes. 

Hot on the heels of the excess mortality, putting COVID to one side - what are we dying from? Well, irregular heartbeat is claiming more people than usual - as are ischaemic heart diseases, diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer's.
It's hard to tell if this is entirely unrelated to COVID, as all of those conditions are seen in people post-COVID, but failing to access prompt medical help can also be a factor in these cases. 
If you need medical assistance - it is there for exactly that reason. Don't be slow to contact your GP or 111 if you have a problem.   

Canada is dropping COVID19 vaccine requirements for international travellers and making their COVID app optional on September 30th. Masks will remain mandatory on planes and trains. 

The World Health Organisation has removed recommendations to use antibody therapies sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab to treat patients with COVID-19, as they just don't seem to be effective against Omicron variants. 
Remdesivir and other treatments are still advised and do still work, so it certainly isn't all bad news.

China is still pursuing zero COVID, and last Sunday there was a terrible bus accident on the way to a quarantine facility. 27 people died. As a result there was a massive online protest against enforced quarantine. "We're on that bus too."

Not COVID, but researchers trialling a new treatment for Motor Neurone Disease have revealed excellent results from trials lasting the last 6 years. One patient was interviewed by Sky News and told how the monthly injections had reversed his progressive muscle weakness so much that he went from needing a wheelchair, to being able to manage at home without even using sticks to walk. 
At the moment it works best on the 2% of patients with a specific (usually inherited) gene mutation, and sadly doesn't have any effect with some other patients, but it really offers hope to all sufferers, and potentially the technology could be used elsewhere, so it is a massive breakthrough.

Another breakthrough, and researchers in Shanghai have developed a mask which can detect incredibly small quantities of COVID in the air, and alert the wearer via their smartphone. Obviously in China it's a bit harder to test it "in the field", so we only have lab results so far, but it can also detect swine flu and bird flu, and can be adapted to detect any other novel repiratory viruses that may arise in the future. This could be incredibly useful in confined spaces such as meetings, transport, lifts etc.

Although overall COVID cases are dropping, we still have to keep an eye on variants, just in case any become bothersome. There doesn't appear to be anything particularly bad making headway, but interesting variants of note include Centaurus and BF.7 - two Omicron strains which seem to be a bit quicker to spread, although neither have made much of a dint in our regular Omicron BA.5 at the moment. 

It is the weekend. I'm meant to be doing a car boot sale, so fingers crossed for some good weather, and my treat might have to wait until I go home - but I'll have earned it. I'm sure you've earned yours too, so don't forget to do something nice for yourself. Not for anyone else, just for you. Have a good weekend! 

Stay Sensible, Get Your Flu Jab, Save The NHS.



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