Friday 21 July 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 21st July 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 21st July 2023

World to date: Officially reported COVID cases 691,770,965, losses of life 6,901,646

The final witness has testified for the first phase of the UK COVID Inquiry. There's a lot to sift through and evaluate, so an interim report is expected next year, and it'll be a long time before the final document. By then it'll likely be another degree warmer, fish will contain too much plastic to count as fauna, and no-one will really care about a report stating the obvious inadequacies we all lived through. They hope. 

measles is common abroad get vaccinated and image of holidaying family climbing steps onto a plane

A recent UK study has looked at just how many children have been hospitalised with COVID in England. 
• Between July 2020 and February 2022, 3,226,535 children and teenagers in England tested positive with COVID for their first time. 
• 29,230 (0.9%, almost 1 in every 111 of those who tested positive) needed hospital admission - some were tested on arrival to hospital with various other ailments, but 21,000 (around 3 in every 4) were taken to hospital and admitted specifically due to COVID. 
• 1,710 (5.9% or 1 in every 17 of those admitted to hospital) involved paediatric critical care.
• 70 deaths occurred in which covid-19 or paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome was listed as a cause.
•  8,415 (28.8% or more than 1 in every 4) of those children admitted to hospital were aged under 1 year. 

Babies can become seriously ill very quickly, so may be more likely to be admitted through caution (the mortality rate is actually on a par with other ages of children), but their immature immune systems can need help against COVID, especially as regards breathing.
Studies have shown that babies whose mothers are vaccinated get a real benefit, and if that jab or booster jab is given after 20 weeks of pregnancy, babies really seem to gain extra protection (both in the womb and from breastfeeding). It is possible, once this has been safely studied some more, that pregnant people may eventually be offered a pregnancy COVID booster.
It's not just about baby, COVID is exceptionally hard on a pregnant body. I would advise any of my own children to speak to their health professional if they were planning a pregnancy and behind with jabs.
(For more information, IndieSAGE covered babies and hospitalisation in detail last week.) 

Image of silhouette people in a doctors office chatting

There are signs a measles outbreak is attempting to take hold in London,where in some areas the childhood MMR vaccination rate is only around 67%. This leaves the whole population, including tiny babies and 'unvaccinatable people', unprotected by herd immunity. We have been fortunate to be able to forget that measles can be nasty. 
According to the US CDC:
"For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia..."
Around 1 child out of every 1,000 will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which "can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability".
If you delayed your child's vaccinations or had appointments cancelled due to COVID, or if you are just unsure, chat to your medical professional. 

The UK weren't the only ones throwing money at vaccine companies and placing massive advance orders to try and beat the queues, Germany bought far more COVID vaccines than it can use. Since the beginning of last year, they appear to have thrown away approximately 83 million doses, and according to Politico, have another 120m in stock and more on order.
This really was inevitable, but it's so disappointingly grim when there are still huge populations living with the same risk we had back in 2020. 

The new UK Government plan to protect against climate change has been leaked.
In typical style, they're citing examples which are already in place, and "ta-dah, already did that" to prove how good they are. They may as well say "we've moved people from coal fires and asbestos insulation". Whoot. 
There is lots more in it, much with timeframes which will easily outlive more of us than is reasonable. 
The Guardian has a piece on this, with comments from some of the professionals who have spent years studying climate change. Spoiler - they don't seem very impressed.
Another spoiler - most UK and many other European and more Northern hemisphere homes are designed to keep heat trapped inside. We need to have real changes in how we live if we want to remain comfortable in the future. 

WHO food safety chart showing main things e.g. don't eat 2 day old chicken that's been stored on a radiator

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a special press conference on Thursday last week, to announce that the Government had come to a FINAL decision on a range of (striking) public sector worker's annual pay increases.
It seems this is due mostly to the fact that they've decided to accept the recommendations of independent pay review bodies. (Well, if you aren't going to accept their recommendations, why even employ them?) The offered increases are all at least 6% (although still nowhere near current inflation rates, as that wouldn't help encourage inflation back down to a more manageable level).
Police 7%, NHS 6%, Junior doctors 6% + £1,250, Prison Officers 7%, Armed Forces 5% + £1,000, Teachers 6.5% (fully funded).
It's had a mixed response... 
Teaching unions immediately said "Thanks, 6.5% increase, which we aren't meant to magically pull out of our current budgets, is enough to call off proposed strikes". (And all the working parents and carers said "huzzah!")
The British Medical Association said "nice try, but it's still well below where it would be if Junior Doctors had had fair pay rises most years anyway, so we aren't impressed".
Senior doctors are currently on strike. 
Mpox vaccinations in most of the UK are set to wind down over the next week. However, if you are in a high risk group, London-based appointments will still be available. Find out more at mpx dot shl dot uk

Mpox vaccination deadlines UK.jpg

Trump Of The Fortnight:
It's Boris Johnson, who yet again places us in the dilemma of wondering if he: 
A. Simply cannot say a true word
B. Is really, really stupid
C. A mix of the above.
He didn't hand over his phone to the legal team from the COVID Inquiry, despite a legal ruling he had to, because he says he can't remember the password and it will delete everything if he uses the wrong one. His COVID-times phone hasn't been used since last year, when it became clear his phone number had been available online for 15 years. Despite it not being how phone numbers work, that physical telephone was switched off and locked away, like an ancient cursed relic from unexplored Mexico, never to harm anyone again. That phone now needs to be safely opened to preserve the contents, and Government technicians are 'working on it'. Sheesh. 
(You wanna get yourself down Bury Market mate, there's a bloke there can unlock anything for 20 quid.) 

Bird flu watch:
Birds are now allowed outside, but Bird Flu hasn't actually ended. Two new human cases have been detected in poultry workers in England. They were caught by random testing and had no symptoms at the time. One seems to be a true infection, but the UK HSA are quoted by Sky News as saying the other may just be someone who had inhaled the virus before exhaling it during the test, but luckily wasn’t actually infected.
(That's why you blow your nose before a COVID test... plus the bogies.)

Look out for people who struggle to stay cool

I hope you lot are doing fine, looking forward to Summer and getting yourselves some vitamin D and a break. I'm now 3 months past my operation and everything seems grand (I can walk a whole 1.3 miles on flat ground now). I'm allowed out a bit more - which was just in time for my daughter's uni graduation a couple of days ago. Couldn't have been better timing, and a fabulous treat and a half for me (although I'll always be a bit sad that one of our young people didn't get a graduation ceremony at all during lockdowns). Don't forget your own treat - it may not be big and memorable, but sometimes a nice hot chocolate or a lazy bath is just the thing to give you the boost you need. Do it for you. You've earnt it. I'll be back in a couple of weeks... 

Gather Up Joy From The Small Things, Take Advantage Of The Outdoors, Save The NHS. 

Some people. They look like numbers here, but they are all people.

Countries / Officialy Reported COVID Cases / Losses of life:

France: 40,138,560 / 167,642
Germany: 38,428,685 / 174,352
Italy: 25,897,801 / 190,868
UK: 24,641,596 / 228,144
Russia: 22,971,107 / 399,772
Spain: 13,914,811 / 121,760
Netherlands: 8,610,372 / 22,992
Poland: 6,518,058 / 119,632
Greece: 6,101,379 / 37,089
Austria: 6,081,287 / 22,542
Portugal: 5,595,211 / 26,957
Ukraine: 5,557,995 / 112,418

Measles images
Image for food safety
Anonymous press deflection image

Covid Inquiry

Vaccination and pregnancy


Vaccination surplus Germany

Climate protection 

Public sector pay rises

Johnson and partygate

Bird flu 

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