Friday 7 October 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th October 2022

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 7th October 2022

World: 625,721,313 reported cases and 6,558,291 losses of life.

UK hospital admissions with COVID are up again - this is steadily increasing guys, and the under-staffed under-appreciated NHS is already feeling the additional pressure. The 7-day average for England is up 33%, with growth across the board ranging between 22% (South West) and 47% (the East). Patients admitted to hospital is up 33%.
We've seen this trend coming, and we've also watched a rise in the number of people being diagnosed with COVID once they're in hospital. That is still rising. Adele Groyer from the COVID Actuaries:
"Another big increase in likely hospital acquired cases in the past week in England - up by 43%.
There were 3,147 such cases in the 7 days to 3 Oct. In the previous week there were 2,197 such cases.
This is the 2nd highest figure in 2022. There were 3,152 from 5 to 11 July."
Yowch. Expect to see hospitals getting stricter on mask-wearing and hand-washing again. 

071022 Chart showing England hospital bed use with COVID
Chart courtesy of the COVID Actuaries

Today's UK ONS random sampling figures for the week ending 24th September for England and Scotland, and the week ending 26th September for Wales and Northern Ireland:
"The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to increase in England, increased in Northern Ireland, and the trends were uncertain in Wales and Scotland."
- England, estimate 1,105,400, equating to 2.03% of the population, or around 1 in 50 people.
- Wales, estimate 63,400 (95% credible interval: 49,200 to 78,900), equating to 2.09% of the population, or around 1 in 50 people.
- Northern Ireland, estimate 46,100 (95% credible interval: 34,700 to 59,100), equating to 2.51% of the population, or around 1 in 40 people.
- Scotland, estimate 113,000 (95% credible interval: 92,100 to 135,700), equating to 2.15% of the population, or around 1 in 45 people.

The preliminary hearing for the first module of the UK COVID Inquiry took place on Tuesday. The inquiry is designed to look at what errors we made when we should have known better. Relatives of deceased people will be among those giving evidence.
The inquiry will be so big that it has been split into modules, the first being planning and preparedness, political decision-making and health care. The entire inquiry is expected to take months, if not years. 

Autumn booster rollout is going well. Already over 4.6 million people have been boosted in England alone.  

The "Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK" report 6th October edition is out.
"An estimated 2.3 million people living in private households in the UK (3.5% of the population) were experiencing self-reported long COVID (symptoms continuing for more than four weeks after the first confirmed or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that were not explained by something else) as of 3 September 2022."
"Of people with self-reported long COVID, 363,000 (16%) first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously, 1.8 million people (80%) at least 12 weeks previously, 1.1 million (46%) at least one year previously, and 514,000 (22%) at least two years previously."
Fatigue continues to be the most commonly reported symptom. 

UK NHS Nurses are currently or about to vote on whether to go on strike. This is the first time this has occurred in the entire 106 year history of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). 

071022 UKHSA Susan Hopkins on cases rising

The UK Government EMRG medium-term predictions for our Winter came out last week, based on data up until 7th September. They have HUUUGE 'confidence intervals' (the gap between lowest and highest estimated professional guess). They assume for most areas a small bump, and then level off below worrying levels, but they are not confident about anything - which is probably the wisest move. I've screenshot a few of the more 'bumpy uptick' charts below. 

Evushield is just not performing as it did before our current Omicron strains, so this is another monoclonal antibody treatment that has to go back for a revamp.
Monoclonal antibodies are a very targeted protective treatment given to people who can't be vaccinated, or who might never create their own antibodies. It is simply copies of a single antibody which worked, so this is a situation we could anticipate happening, and the drugs companies are already working on replacements.
Evushield is made by AstraZeneca, and has Emergency Use Authorisation in the UK, but the NHS and Government decided not to invest in large stocks until they found out how effective it was against Omicron, and whether it worked as well in younger people. Turned out to be a very prudent move. 

COVID actual and predicted hospital admissions collage June 2022 onwards

The Terrance Higgins Trust are among the individuals and agencies unhappy that it appears UK Health Secretary Therese Coffey has declined an offer to buy more monkeypox vaccines. We are seeing a decrease in cases in this current outbreak, but it's warning enough that this can happen, and the only people being vaccinated this time are high risk men who sleep with other men and aren't currently in a long term monogamous relationship. All of the other gay and bisexual population aren't due to be vaccinated, and things change over time. I know we're broke, but I don't have her confidence. Hopefully that's why she has the job and I don't.  

Batches of children's cough and cold syrup exported from India to Gambia are suspected to have been accidentally contaminated with Ethylene Glycol or Diethylene Glycol (anti-freeze or solvent). At least 66 children had already succumbed by yesterday morning, and many more have kidney damage. 
The manufacturing factory was immediately placed under investigation by local authorities. We have yet to discover the root cause of the contamination, or indeed the exact cause of death of the children, but direct poisoning with contaminant appears highly likely. 
"The loss of these young lives is beyond heartbreaking for their families.”
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO.
It is highly unlikely you will purchase these products outside Gambia, but they may have moved overseas via markets and travellers. The products you must avoid are manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited:
- Promethazine Oral Solution
- Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup
- Makoff Baby Cough Syrup
- Magrip N Cold Syrup

071022 UKHSA heatwave excess deaths

COVID Actuaries don't just exist in the UK, and I've been reading a report from Australia this week. Huge thanks to Karen Cutter for her summaries.
Australia is struggling with high excess deaths - 11,200 in the first half of 2022 (13%), around 1/3 to 1/2 due directly to COVID. They have had an early flu season, but don't expect high levels of flu. Best of luck guys, your Summer is on it's way. 

And we have some French figures too, courtesy of Nicolas Berrod of Le Parisien. The analysis of COVID by age group is doing something very striking in France right now. The rate in children went up dramatically when they returned to school after Summer break, rising for around 2 weeks, before turning over and going straight back down. At the same time the rate in children has dropped, the rates in adults have risen, so that they're higher now than younger children were at peak. Best of luck to you guys too. Sadly Summer is now over. 

The UK ONS (Office for National Statistics) have published joint analysis with the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) analysing the impact of the summer heat-periods on deaths.
"A heat-period is defined as day(s) on which a Level 3 Heat Health Alert is issued and/or when the mean Central England Temperature is greater than 20°C".
They estimate that:
"During the five heat-periods between June and August 2022, 56,303 deaths occurred in England and Wales and were registered by 7 September; this is 3,271 deaths (6.2%) above the five-year average."
From just 10th to 25th July there were 2,227 excess deaths (10.4% above average). 
Very interestingly, over those heat periods:
"...there were 5,017 deaths above average in those aged 70 years and over, compared with 1,749 deaths below average in those aged under 70 years". 
Being super hot, sticky and tired, and wanting to do nothing more than laze around at home is apparently good for younger people... no-one tell my kids... 
They do note that for a few days after each heat period, far less people died:
"...this suggests a short-term mortality displacement, where deaths among vulnerable individuals are ‘brought forward’."

The UK (and much of the world) is currently experiencing it's worst ever Avian Flu outbreak, and it could affect the price of eggs, and whether or not you get your Christmas turkey or duck. Bird flu can infect humans, but this is incredibly rare and only usually occurs with people who work with birds directly. This outbreak is really nasty, and if a bird tests positive the entire flock is destroyed. The UK has culled 3.1 million farmed birds already. Avian Flu doesn't only affect farmed birds, in the last few months it has killed millions of wild birds, including at least 1/3 and possibly as much as 1/2 of the world's entire population of Great Skua.
I've said this before, but if you do find sick or dead birds, DO NOT approach or move them. If you suspect Avian Flu then call DEFRA and report it - it is a notifiable disease, so you mustn't ignore it - and they'll organise local collection. 
It is the weekend! Hurrah. I hope you get some time off. I'm hoping for a successful car boot sale with my sister again, dry would be a welcome bonus. Whatever you are doing, get some fresh air and sunshine if you can, and don't forget to treat yourself to something nice - just for you, because YOU want it, and you've earnt it. 

Let The Fresh Air In, Wear A Cardi, Save The NHS.

Some numbers. They each have a favourite song.

Countries / Cases / Losses of life YESTERDAY in the full 24 hours up until  midnight GMT:

Germany 33,826,367 (+174,112) 150,406 (+117)
France 35,705,236 (+65,537) 155,369 (+50)
Taiwan 6,731,885 (+46,430) 11,337 (+57)
Italy 22,692,912 (+44,849) 177,356 (+56)
Japan 21,460,295 (+33,440) 45,248 (+91)
USA 98,474,755 (+30,873) 1,087,350 (+281)
S. Korea 24,911,497 (+28,603) 28,573 (+29)
Russia 21,141,674 (+23,045) 387,887 (+108)
Austria 5,210,285 (+14,233) 20,794 (+15)
UK 23,735,273 (+8,917) 190,888 (+82)
Brazil 34,750,108 (+6,510) 686,759 (+119)
Singapore 1,936,270 (+6,208) 1,625 (+1)
Australia 10,265,395 (+4,528) 15,316 (+19)
Hong Kong 1,787,655 (+4,318) 10,200 (+6)


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