Friday 1 September 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 1st September 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 1st September 2023

World COVID Statistics: 694,630,525 reported cases and 6,911,550 losses of life.

Hospital admissions with COVID in England are up among all age groups, but from 3 people per 100,000 population overall, to 3.37.
Up, but it's not a really dramatic increase, and could simply be a reflection of us spending more time indoors as the weather cools or more people returning to work after holidays, or something else seasonal.

Meningitis jabs for uni students

Current UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay has offered a 6% pay rise to England’s hospital consultants, and an average 8.8% rise to England's Junior Doctors. He says these offers are final, and is very disappointed that they aren't being accepted. 
Strike dates are planned, including for the first time ever, consultants and junior doctors striking at the same time - 20th September 2023. They will also be on strike simultaneously from 7am 2nd October until 7am 5th October. Many thousands of appointments will not go ahead as planned.
Junior Doctors in Wales are planning future strike action after refusing a 'final offer' last week, and Junior Doctors in Scotland will not be striking, as they have accepted an offer of 12.4%. 
Variant Watch:
Mutation laden COVID variant BA.2.86 is causing a flutter of fretfulness worldwide. This variant is now also unofficially known as Pirola. After Omicron in the Greek alphabet we have Pi and Rho - neither of which would be used alone to name a variant because they have other meanings.
With approximately 33 distinct mutations Pirola may be a great, great-grandchild of Omicron, but it's different enough that general opinion is it should be given a whole new branch of the family tree. (WHO aren't being very quick to make these decisions, so other people are doing it for them.)
Pirola has been spotted in at least 10 countries already, despite being first detected about 3 weeks ago. It is still so new that it is almost impossible to say what effect (if any) most of those mutations will have, but this thing could be quicker than shoop off a shovel.
COVID testing and especially genomic COVID testing are so rare now, that we can be absolutely sure all we are seeing a teeny tiny snapshot of what is actually happening. 
Countries which have detected Pirola already include Israel, Denmark, the UK, the US, South Africa, Canada, Portugal, Thailand, Switzerland, Sweden.

Pirola antibody escape effects

Because of concerns about how BA.2.86 is going to affect the number of people catching COVID, and uncertainty over whether it might make more people poorly, plus the fact there haven't been any COVID vaccinations for a while, NHS England are going to roll out Autumn boosters and flu vaccinations earlier than planned. 
Smart move in my humble opinion. Jabs will start on 11th September, and they hope to have boosted most eligible people by the end of October. 
As a reminder, eligible people in England includes anyone aged over 65, older care home residents, people aged 6 months or over in clinical risk groups, household members (age 12 years +) of people with weakened immune systems, frontline health and social care workers and unpaid carers.
You will receive an invitation when it's your turn, and presumably the plans UK-wide will be very similar.

010923 Stuart McDonald COVID Actuaries

People in the US, Biden's team inform us that your 'new' vaccinations, which are designed especially to particularly combat XXB variants (especially XXB.1.16 Arcturus), will be available from mid-September.
This bus is a bit late, but well worth catching. Really XXB looked like it had scary potential a few months back, but then along came EG.5 Eris, and blew it off the stage like an impudent toddler. Eris is now dominant variant in the US - although they are both still part of the same Omicron branch of the family tree, and so targeted vaccinations should still be very effective. 

Numbers man Paul Mainwood has been studying the ONS stats for all-cause mortality in England, by vaccination status. 
For the purpose of these stats, you are considered vaccinated from day 1 after your first dose (which for most people was a couple of years ago). Consistently throughout the past 2 years, unvaccinated people have been dying in greater numbers, although that gap has closed significantly as time has gone on ... possibly because more and more unvaccinated people have gained COVID antibodies by recovering from infection. Image below.

Paul Mainwood ONS COVID stats

Catching COVID and getting better gives your immunity a boost and helps protect you from reinfection, right? 
Well, it seems not always. We have a genuine study now from Canada's McMaster University, which found:
..."retirement and long term care home residents infected during the first Omicron wave were 20 times more likely to get reinfected by the virus than those who avoided a prior infection".
This huge difference was visible in blood tests, so it can't just be down to behaviour and chance. 
We know COVID can very often cause long term damage that takes your body a lot of effort to repair (whether you know about it or not), but in some of the patients studied, the body simply didn't create effective antibodies after infection, leaving the patients even more vulnerable than they were before they first caught COVID.

It's not scientific at all, but I'm realising virtually everyone I know or have heard about, who has struggled in a big way with COVID, was first infected during the initial (pre-vaccination) waves. 

"The entire UK economic narrative — post-pandemic — has just been revised away.”
Simon French, chief economist at UK investment bank Panmure Gordon, as quoted in the Financial Times. 
Yep, the UK ONS (Office for National Statistics) have issued revised figures, as summed up by the FT:
"The changes mean that by the end of 2021, the UK economy was 0.6 per cent larger compared with pre-pandemic levels instead of 1.2 per cent smaller, as previously estimated."
Well, that's awesome. Great to know it was all just tickety boo and fine.
Is it believable? Are you confident? Are we watching revisionist history in action? Thank heavens I mainly focus on health and wellbeing, not money and business, and I don't have to try and decipher this one... 

Uni students and freshers - don't forget that you are the group of people most likely to develop Meningitis, and it'll kill you if it gets chance. 
Get your vaccinations, learn the symptoms, and move fast if you or your mate could be affected. Far better to find out it's flu, or Norovirus, or just a bad hangover, than to have life-changing permanent injuries. 
Never ignore someone who suddenly behaves completely unexpectedly or has some symptoms of severe illness - if they won't wake up as you'd expect, unable to communicate as usual, listless, floppy, high fever, mottled or clammy skin, rash that looks like blood spots or pools under the skin, dislike of bright lights, headache that will not get better, unexplained persistent vomiting, confusion, or cannot touch their chin to their own chest. Be the hero.

010923 Paul Mainwood COVID stats England hospital admissions

Not a huge amount of news this week, and thank goodness, because the local internet mast exploded the other night. That was exciting! 
I did mention last year that our landlord wanted to sell up. What I didn't mention was that we've spent the last 17 months trying to rent a new home, and didn't manage to win that particular raffle in Bury or anywhere nearby. We've moved, and we've left England behind. We didn't go very far, sadly we aren't in Mauritius or Bermuda, but somewhere equally beautiful - we went to Scotland. And by crikey, it's great to avoid homelessness (huge thank you to my partner's parents for all of their help)... My sincere and honest commiserations to anyone in a similar position in the UK, where in several areas there are 30 or more families applying for every house that comes onto the market. It's a game you are less likely to win if you have pets and teenagers, and it really stinks. Rents for 2 and 3 bedroomed houses in our area had gone up by around £400 a month over the last year alone. There is a genuine housing crisis, and Rishi, you need to sort it out, because it won't fix itself. 

So, from my new home North of the border, have a good weekend. Do not forget to treat yourself to something nice. I have absolutely no doubt you've earnt it, and by crikey I have! It does look likely COVID will interrupt our Autumn, but for now, shhhhh... and enjoy the quiet while the kids go back to school... I shall sit back and enjoy the Galloway view...

Stay Sensible, Book Your Jabs When You Are Invited, Save The NHS. 

Some people. They always look just like numbers, but they all have a name, and a face...

Countries / Cases / Losses of life:

World 694,630,525 / 6,911,550
USA 108,087,321 / 1,173,655
India 44,997,167 / 531,930
France 40,138,560 / 167,642
Germany 38,428,685 / 174,352
Brazil 37,771,706 / 705,313
S. Korea 34,436,586 / 35,812
Japan 33,803,572 / 74,694
Italy 25,940,840 / 191,211
UK 24,671,491 / 228,707
Russia 22,989,632 / 399,983
Turkey 17,232,066 / 102,174
Spain 13,914,811 / 121,760
Australia 11,747,594 / 22,581
Vietnam 11,622,858 / 43,206
Taiwan 10,241,520 / 19,005
Argentina 10,061,739 / 130,568


HPV vaccination
Shingles vaccination
Image Latest stats ENGLAND

And image:

Pirola image

Latest stats ENGLAND

Strikes - Jr doctors and consultants

Toronto reinfection study

Updating stats ONS

Variant watch UK and US

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