Friday 27 October 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 27th October 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 27th October 2023

World COVID Statistics: 697,032,594 officially reported cases and 6,932,236 losses of life.

Hospital admissions with COVID in England have gone down for 2 weeks running. It looks hopeful this wave could have actually peaked and be on the downturn. If so, none of the newer, quicker variants have managed to get through our immunity better than their ancestors, and haven't even spread quickly enough to have an impact - whoot! The early booster roll out could also have been a very prudent move. Fingers crossed, what happens next makes a difference to what happens at Christmas.

By latest UK Government count (which is insanely behind):

New Cases 8,560 w/e 21st October

New Deaths (occurrences) 223 w/e 29th September

New COVID hospital admissions 3,367 w/e 20th October

The latest deaths data is also relatively small, with the number of people registered as dying only 1% higher than would be expected. Sadly it adds up.

"CMI calculates 204,800 excess deaths in the UK since the start of the pandemic. That total has increased by 33,200 in 2023.

Cumulative mortality rates YTD (year to date) are 5.5% of a full year’s mortality worse than 2019."

The Health Foundation charity have crunched the numbers and believe the UK NHS waiting list could expand to 8 million people waiting for treatment by the end of 2024 - or in a better scenario, it could have peaked now and be below 7.2 million by the end of next year.

The Health Foundation found (no surprises) the main problem is the ongoing chronic lack of staff and funding. Strikes by NHS workers asking for better pay have only caused an extra 210,000 patients to wait (3% of the 7.75 million backlog as of August 2023).

The longer you wait, the more serious, lengthy and urgent treatment needed, and the longer it takes to fix you and get you back to good health. This is a spiral of gloom, and it began unravelling long before COVID arrived. The NHS has run on less cash than it actually needs and waiting lists have been growing for at least 10 years - because someone (with private medical care) decided it was a good place to save money, and forgot how important health and life are to people, and to the nation as a whole.

As we're on a cheery note, 'destitution' isn't a word most of the world would associate with the UK, as it refers to being unable to meet the most basic physical needs -  to stay warm, dry, clean and fed.

Sadly a study released this week by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (based on data collected up until the end of 2022), found UK destitution has doubled in the last 5 years, and the number of destitute children has tripled:

- Around 3.8 million people experienced destitution in 2022, a 61% rise since 2019

- Around 1 million children are destitute, an 88% rise since 2019

- This is widespread - the 3 local authorities with the highest levels of destitution are Newham, Manchester and Middlesbrough, and the 3 areas it's rising fastest are London, Wales and the West Midlands.

- More than 6 in every 10 destitute people (62%) have a disability or chronic health problem.

- The foundation point out that as almost 3/4 of destitute households receive benefits, our benefits system is pushing people (including a million children) well below the poverty line, with little chance of ever clambering out.

It's notable that the increase is smaller in Scotland. Scotland doesn’t cap child benefit at 3 children, and pays low income families a weekly top up for each of their children.

"According to the Economist, the world experienced an estimated 5.3 million excess deaths in 2020, 12.6m in 2021, and 6.9m in 2022. So far in 2023, the number is 2.3m, perhaps enough to make Covid, by the end of year, still the world’s third biggest killer."

New York Times journalist David Wallace-Wells neatly summing up the latest worldwide excess deaths news this week.

The COVID pandemic is simultaneously over, and also still killing us in droves. This cat is too snarly to go back in the bag, so instead, we should all just act like we can't see it, and remember the Trump method - less testing = less COVID. Eventually, if no-one tests, no-one dies from COVID. It's a winner. 

While we're on the subject, some of us really are being told in plain English NOT to test for COVID. This week I have seen multiple emails to both UK medical and teaching staff, reminding them that they should be at work unless they are physically too unwell to function, and shouldn't be testing for COVID, as it could keep them off work for longer than necessary if the result is positive.


The COVID inquiry hasn't been quite as explosive over the last 2 weeks, but we did find out Professor Angela McLean (now Patrick Vallance's replacement as UK Govt Chief Scientific Adviser), described Rishi Sunak as “Dr Death the Chancellor” (Muhahaha). She also referred to an unknown person as a "fu€k₩it". Naughty.

On a more serious note, Sir Patrick Vallance has asked that all of his diary entries aren't made public, because he wrote all kinds of brain dump in there, and his mental health is suffering at the idea we might all read it, and Professor of infectious disease modelling and Government advisor John Edmunds made a blistering testimony:

"As I explained to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, we either lockdown now and control the epidemic, or it will force you into a lockdown later, when you'll have to lockdown harder and longer. 20,000-25,000 people died. Some would have, but there's no reason for that many people to have died at all.. There was no strategy, no long term thinking."

Guess what's back? Yeeeay, mask wearing in hospitals!

In fact it's only a few UK health authorities and buildings (inc in Sheffield, Worcester) which at this point have asked staff and service users to wear masks.

Hospitals and clinics are literally swarming with sick people, vulnerable people, and staff who don't want COVID every 4 months for the rest of forever. What a mix. It always seemed ridiculous that mask-wearing was universally dropped - although don't forget that air purification has stepped up massively. 

Sad news for the Captain Tom Foundation charity, as it is closing down. They just aren't getting many donations, and it's probably not covering the staff bill. The late Sir Captain Tom's daughter is currently going through an appeals process to keep her illegitimately built home spa pool from demolition. (Thoughts and prayers. Maybe a slow handclap.)

As the charity is coming to an end, a person who worked on the launch has done media interviews. She says she helped set everything up, was in line for loads of industry awards, and then was told she was no longer needed and she couldn't talk about her involvement. Nice.

Captain Sir Tom Moore raised a fortune for the NHS while he was alive. He has his own legacy, and his daughter has hers.

The world's first vaccine against Malaria is doing astoundingly well! Big handshake to all involved in this one. Over 4 years of vaccinating children under 4 years in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, it has cut deaths from Malaria by 13% - saving 1 in every 8 of the children who would have died, and preventing hundreds of thousands becoming seriously ill.

In 2021, malaria killed an estimated 468,000 children under age 5 in sub-Saharan Africa, so if the vaccine can be rolled out across the entire area, it should mean over 58,000 children's lives saved, and make a massive difference to available healthcare services. 

It is the weekend again! Huzzah! Most of our young people go back to school on Monday, so if you've been juggling work from home and everything else - you made it. The world news is all a bit grim right now, so it's even more important to treat yourself to something nice. You've earnt it, you deserve it and it's good for your mental wellbeing. I'll be having a board game afternoon with my kids, with snacks and pop, because they've earnt it too.

No numbers tonight because I'm travelling, and it's a long one already! Back in 2 weeks... 

Worry About What You Can Change, Find Ways To Work With The Rest. Save The NHS. 



Images hospital stats

Week 1 stats

New Cases 8,560 w/e 21st October

New Deaths (occurrences) 223 w/e 29th September

Deaths data


Addendum to covid stats re scotland

And precis and image

Health Foundation

NHS underfunded Democide


Covid is over, and not. Less testing.

Teacher guidance - don't test.

COVID inquiry

Boris bollocks

150 partygate fines

Mask wearing Sheffield

Worcester did a month ago

Captain Sir Tom Moore:


Friday 13 October 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 13th October 2023

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 13th October 2023

World COVID Statistics: 696,503,623 reported cases and 6,925,559 losses of life.

In England during the month between 1st and 29th September, 866 babies and children were hospitalised with COVID.
That is an increase from 476 during August and 276 during July. 

COVID hospitalisations are rising across England (Scotland is a more mixed picture). Last week there was a 25% increase, and this week a 12% increase. We are still at a relatively low level, but it's been rising fairly steadily since the end of June, despite the fact we aren't routinely testing anyone any more. 

131023 Hospitalisations children and babies chart