Friday 9 June 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update catch up 9th June 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update catch up 9th June 2023

World COVID Statistics: 690,078,591 reported cases and 6,889,524 losses of life.

Hey up! Remember me? I'm finally regaining use of my faculties after having my abdomen wall reconstructed, and dipping back in to the COVID news between naps and 'exercising by walking round the block at the speed of a UK Government Renters (Reform) Bill'. 
I get a 6 month sicknote, so recovery is all going to plan, just veeeery sloooow. It's been 6 weeks, so there are quite a few headlines you might have missed - here are some of them.... (as always source links are at the bottom of the page, so you can find out more if you wish). 

Mpox vaccination deadlines UK

Let's start with ex UK PM Boris Johnson. Turns out (aside from his other crimes) his diary said he had a sleepover with his mates during lockdown. He has been referred to the police, who are investigating - again.
The Westminster Lockdown-Breaking Inquiry asked why they hadn't had the diary, and anything else COVID-related that was missing? The sitting Government said 'none of the rest is relevant, you can't have it. I'll sue you'. Boris said 'families of the bereaved might be hurt if they read the messages, it would be bad to share' and has apparently reluctantly handed some more information over.
Still not going so well for him really...

Nor for current UK PM Rishi...
“As far as I am concerned, it was a spectacularly stupid idea and an obscene way to spend public money.”
UK Government SAGE member Professor John Edmunds, talking about Rishi Sunak's COVID-sharing 'Eat Out To Help Out' scheme - which unsurprisingly appears to have been decided without scientific advice, and is heavily featured in the inquiry into the UK Government handling of the pandemic.
Scientific studies out over the past couple of months are not entirely the rosiest bunch...
*A US study has found that over 70% of household COVID spread was started by schoolchildren. (No flipping surprises there Sherlock. Anyone with school kids knows that's how most bugs arrive in the home - microscopic or not...)
*Several studies have been looking at permanent damage to the brain due to COVID infection, and where it might take us in 10, 20, 30 years time. There are signals we may be more prone to dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinsons, and they may arrive earlier. Time will tell. 
*There's more evidence that people with Long COVID can have ongoing low grade brain inflammation (which at least gives us a starting point for potential treatments). In fact, a study of patients who had a mild to moderate illness by University Of Pittsburgh showed that AI could tell whether you've had COVID or not just by looking at your brain imaging. The good news with this study is that there was no ongoing decline (in the 12 months post illness).
*Another study found SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Central Nervous System triggers downstream effects. It causes a build up of crystals, which affects nerve messaging and control, aggravating diseases such as Alzheimer's.

In brighter study news:
*Babies born during lockdown are reaching their developmental milestones a little later, as you'd expect when you hardly meet anyone or do anything for a couple of years, but they are not as behind as folk feared. A Canadian study  found that 90% meet normal developmental milestones, and really the biggest lags were in communication (talking), big movements (running, jumping, climbing) and mixing with other people, which are all areas that benefit massively from a little help and encouragement.
*A study of risk factors associated with Long COVID found that you have an increased risk if you are female, older, heavier, a smoker, ill or less robust, or suffered severe COVID illness - however SARS-CoV-2 vaccination with 2 doses lowered your risk of developing Long COVID by 42%. Nice.

A team of insurers spent 2022 closely watching how mortality has changed over the pandemic, and how the pressure on the UK NHS has affected that. These are real numbers experts and their study has very valuable insights. It's not pretty. 
- NHS pressures likely contributed to 200-500 additional deaths per week through 2022.
- The highest relative increase in mortality of any age group is in young adults, who usually very rarely die, but in 2022 took more drugs and drank more than before the pandemic. 
- Without 'catching up' the backlog of patients and speeding up diagnosis and referral, they estimate a 10% increase in demand for NHS services between 2018 and 2028.

Now that the 'COVID Emergency' is over in many countries, some health officials are being more... what's the word? Hmmm, I'm going with 'honest'; now that their boss (Government) doesn't have to pay for whatever they suggest.
The US CDC have updated their COVID advice, and tell us that room air should be changed at least 5 times an hour, and the 2nd sentence on the page about ventilating schools is "Wearing a well-fitting, multi-layer mask helps prevent virus particles from entering the air or being breathed in by the person wearing a mask". 

310323 1st and 2nd COVID jabs will end for most on 30th June

Novovax and other vaccine manufacturers are asking governments to honour pre-orders and pay up, or they will struggle to survive. In the scramble for jabs massive orders were placed with multiple companies, and now demand has dropped, they're no longer required. 

The UK figures are going down nicely (although we have stopped testing everyone who goes into hospital, so cases data is even less meaningful). It's not true everywhere. It is harder to get clear information these days, but word is that COVID is causing issues in areas of India, China and Brazil, with some exciting new variants threatening to make themselves world famous. 

On 14th May it was 1 year since the Mpox (previously Monkeypox) outbreak was detected. The populations affected have done a sterling job of being sensible. From the beginning of the year until 14th May there had only been 10 new cases in the UK, and on 12th May the World Health Organisation declared the global emergency over. Well done guys. 
If you are in the UK and eligible, you can still book vaccinations (by 16th June). 

"This is what COVID19 has taught us: that pathogens have no regard for the lines humans draw on maps, nor for our politics, religions or anything else that we use to divide ourselves from each other.
To pathogens, we are all one, and that’s how we must see ourselves: one people, sharing one planet, working together with one purpose – the highest attainable standard of health for all people".
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO, addressing the 75th World Health Assembly. We are all people. 

A final goodbye to the English and Welsh COVID app., which bid bon voyage on 27th April. The NHS response is stepping down, and from 30th June NHS England COVID cases will be reported just the same as any other disease. 

Use 111 online in the first instance a nurse may call you back

Even more exciting, the outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease in Equatorial Guinea ended today - with no new cases reported over the past 42 days after the last patient was discharged from treatment. Nice work everyone involved - that really is a great example of how you do contact tracing. 

I intend to be back again in 2 weeks, but whatever happens, I'll always keep the COVID posts to early Friday evening. No numbers today because I am shattered! Have a great weekend - play outdoors if you can, but don't get sunburnt or blown away! And remember that treat... 

Wear A Hat, Drink Water, Save The NHS


Boris Johnson lockdown breaches:
Sky News:
Boris - holding back WhatsApp messages from Bereaved Families


Schoolchildren. We teach young kids to share, and they do...

COVID brain health
One year imaging can be sorted by AI -  have had COVID or not. 
No significant decline 1 year
"SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Central Nervous System triggers downstream effects altering Tau function, eventually leading to the impairment of neuronal function."
It causes a build up of crystals and affects nerve messaging and control,  aggravating diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Good science news
Pandemic babies

vaccine long covid protection

nhs pressures - insurers group report

Why they couldn't advise before



COVID app gone, downgrade of emergency UK



Mpox uk vaxx

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