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


COVID tracking is back yeeeay! For Winter at least the UKHSA will be making an effort to track COVID.
There will be a new phase in the Siren study (2.0), which tests healthcare workers for COVID, flu and RSV, and logs infections and reinfections from random participants, whether they have symptoms or not. It monitors vaccine efficacy in a real world situation, and can spot spikes of particular variants.
We also have the temporary return of the ONS (Office for National Statistics) random sampling. It's smaller and and based on lateral flow tests rather than PCR tests (so no variant data), but until March next year, each week around 32,000 randomly chosen participants in Scotland and England will send away results. This is a great way to see just how much COVID is within our communities, and spot sudden spikes or anomalies
Wastewater monitoring is also a fantastic ongoing tool, but it can only really say "more" or "less", and what variants might be there. It can't tell us how many people that equates to, how ill they are, or who they are (e.g. school children). 

Rachel Reeves MP has announced that if Labour win the next election, they will "appoint a Covid Corruption Commissioner to recover billions lost to waste and fraud". 
Yes please. If any regular person owed the government a tenner they'd have to pay it back. On their own Tory peer Baroness Michelle Mone and her husband may have made over £90 MILLION in profits through PPE Medpro - without declaring their involvement.
That would pay for a few nurses... 

Recovery from poor mental health is not a straight line, don't feel you're failing if you have a bad day

Medical folk on Twitter are sharing an email from Shropshire NHS Trust, which reminds staff NOT to test for COVID, but just to stay off work if they're ill with symptoms, as discovering they have COVID might keep them off work for longer.
Still, at least they'll all be wearing masks when they deal with vulnerable patients, eh... eh...

There have been articles in the press this week about a study which looked at long term symptoms from acute respiratory infections from illnesses other than COVID - "Long Non-COVID".
Erm... yeah. Viruses aren't magic, they need somewhere to implant, and cells to destroy to recreate themselves. Your body fights and makes changes to see them off. This all causes damage, and it can take a long time to recover completely - and sometimes you don't.
The study found Long COVID sufferers were more likely to suffer problems with taste/smell, hair loss, unusual sweating, unusual racing of the heart and memory problems, but shortness of breath, tiredness and cognitive impairment were equally likely 4 weeks or more after any acute respiratory infection, even if the patients weren't severely ill (although severity and risk increased if you were more severely ill).  
Being poorly is not good for your health. 

131023 UK HSA COVID Weekly Winter Briefing

Variant Watch
Actually there hasn't been a whole lot of anything very exciting concerning variants over the past 2 weeks, which is how we like it. The amount of testing is still very low, so there isn't masses of data to go on, but the UK Government say that when a single care home outbreak is disregarded, they don't have enough samples of BA.2.86 (Pangolin) for it to even make the graphs - which I think we have to take as very good news.

Soooo, this week the COVID Inquiry has really shown us some belters. Each day has been more stunning than the last, and sometimes it's hard to know which emotion to use. Here are some highlights, or more rightly lowlights, from the week: 
1. SAGE were new to pandemics, what with never really personally experiencing one. They initially decided it probably wasn't worth cancelling large gatherings, because people would go to the pub instead.
2. The 'Partygate' revelations destroyed public trust in the UK Government (I don't think this is going to stun anyone, least of all the public).
3. Boris Johnson thought it was wrong to have regular meetings with Mark Drakeford (Welsh First Minister) and Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish First Minister) , even though our tiny countries are completely linked together with free movement between them, because he didn't want to look like a "mini EU".
4.  Rishi Sunak didn't talk to Sir Patrick Vallance or Professor Chris Whitty about his COVID-spreading-tastic restaurant discount plan 'Eat Out To Help Out' - he presumably thought it would be a surprise. It was.
5. Boris Johnson wrote the word "b*ll*cks" across a Dept of Health document on Long Covid
6.  Sir Pat Vallance criticised Bozza Johnson's "impossible flip-flopping" and "bipolar decision-making" over pandemic measures, and wrote in his diary "chaos as usual".
7. Rishi Sunak rejected medical advice to pay people who were forced to isolate. Lower paid workers were mostly left to survive on £94 a week sick pay (less than most people on furlough), or pretend they were just fine and go to work. 
8. The cabinet office wanted to delay lockdown because they “hadn’t done the work” and “don’t work weekends”. Boris' response to this was that they were "terrifyingly sh*t". 
9. The Government re-wrote advice, and cherry-picked which parts they wanted to use. It was Pat's view that they didn't even all understand why they were asking people to stay 6 feet apart. 
10. WhatsApp messages from Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and former Downing Street Head of Communications Lee Cain include the lines: "I was always told that Dom was the secret PM...the real person in charge is Carrie", "She [Carrie] doesn’t know wtf she is talking about either. Jesus", "We look like a terrible, tragic joke" and "I cannot cope with this"
Nope, me neither... 
  
The COVID Actuaries have been looking at international COVID-time excess mortality (deaths above what would be expected), and found that (no surprises) England and Wales have fared pretty badly. They took data from week 10 of 2020 (beginning of the worldwide pandemic) until the end of 2022. In summary:
England & Wales had excess mortality of +26% to the end of 2022 – the third highest of the twelve Western European and Nordic territories analysed and ninth highest of all territories analysed.
Of all territories analysed, Bulgaria had the highest cumulative excess mortality to the end of 2022 (+65%). Poland had the second highest (+46%) and the USA the third highest (+45%).
Of all territories with data to the end of 2022, New Zealand had the lowest cumulative excess mortality (-4%). Australia had the second lowest (+1%) and Norway the third lowest (+3%).
24 territories were analysed, and as 'excess mortality' doesn't rely on testing or other limited measures, it gives us the best overall view of how well any country (and it's healthcare system) has coped during the first 3 years of COVID. New Zealand is the only territory which has lost less people than would be expected - this is due to strict COVID measures also preventing losses of life from other things. 
If you take just mid 2021 (when vaccines became available) to the end of 2022, England and Wales are still upper mid-table, although there was small improvement, as Stuart McDonald summarises:
"Among all countries analysed, E&W has the 11th highest excess mortality since mid-2021.
Bulgaria had highest, followed by Lithuania and USA.
Sweden, NZ, Belgium and Australia have the lowest excess since mid-2021."

131023 Excess mortality graph 1 showing Western Europe and Nordic Regions

Tim Spector's ZOE app. has offcially suspended COVID live reporting, as they simply don't have enough contributors now for it to be a true picture. Going forward they'll have more of a focus on diet and gut health.
Over the past 3 years the ZOE App. has given invaluable insight into UK COVID health, early warning of outbreaks, frequency and variety of symptoms, Long COVID etc etc. It was great to have all of that data available, and itll be used for years to come. Thanks to everyone who contributed. 

131023 Excess mortality graph 2 showing other nations

Hoax Of The Pandemic:
There is an ongoing hoax that excess mortality (extra people dying) is higher in vaccinated people. However you try and look at this, it's simply not true.
A lot of times people aren't considering that we've vaccinated almost everyone in the UK, so numbers of vaccinated people dying will obviously be higher than unvaccinated. To see the truth you need to look at deaths per 100,000 people - and overall those figures are still better for vaccinated people, 3 years into the pandemic.
You need to ensure the figures you use are correct and complete, and if they aren't, you need to allow for that or forget it. Many of the hoax posts use data UKHSA took from the census and linked to NHS records for other reasons. By knowing how many people have been vaccinated, we can tell it only includes the deaths of about 93% of vaccinated, and 68% of unvaccinated people (possibly more wary of allowing sharing of their data). If someone's vaccination status was unknown, they weren't included, and people who moved house were included twice. 

The 2023 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Professors Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman. They developed the experimental mRNA vaccine technology, which was then used to create COVID jabs, and now looks very hopeful for vaccinations to protect against a wide range of other conditions, including Cancers.

131023ONS Standardised mortality vaccinated unvaccinated

Moderna have plans for the future. Chief Executive Stephane Bancel thas been talking to BBC News, and he is hoping to make the Moderna COVID jab available privately in the UK from 2024 - as long as the UK Government agree. They are also working on a joint flu and COVID MRNA vaccine for 2025, and a triple flu, COVID and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, which causes chest infections) vaccine for 2026. 

Touring artists and performers who cancel shows are regularly finding COVID clauses in their insurance mean that they aren't covered. COVID is so easy to catch, and putting on shows is so expensive, that there are fears some performers simply won't take the risk. Meanwhile others are becoming ill with mystery or generic ilnesses, and basically anything but COVID... 

Captain Sir Tom Moore's daughter is making headlines again. After his success at walking in his nursing home garden, the obvious next step was to hire him a literary agent, and knock out 3 books - which all appear to have been written 'with' other people and released after his untimely demise.
In a TV interview, his daughter explained that the books have earned around £800,000, which she has kept.
Got to pay those heating bills for the spa pool... 

Huge thanks to Norwich Football Club, who put out an amazingly powerful video for World Mental Health Week. It's heavy, and it deserves a watch to the end... it is below... 


It is the weekend. Whoever you are, wherever you are in the world, events in the past week have been horrific and have had far-reaching effects. If the news is overwhelming then try and take time away to do something else. Look after your mental health as best you can. I wish peace to all people. 

Stay Safe, Choose Humanity, Save The NHS. 

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

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (plus figures added YESTERDAY in the full 24 hours until midnight GMT):

USA: 108,907,214 / 1,178,704
Brazil: 37,849,919 / 706,142
India: 44,999,438 / 531,930
Russia: 23,061,960 / 400,102
Mexico: 7,649,199 / 334,472
UK: 24,743,787 / 229,765
Peru: 4,519,976 / 222,161
Italy: 26,126,792 / 191,852
Germany: 38,512,636 / 176,289
France: 40,138,560 / 167,642
Indonesia: 6,813,429 / 161,918
Iran: 7,617,752 / 146,410
Colombia: 6,382,968 / 143,042
Argentina: 10,075,418 / 130,644



Sources: 
https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus


Images:
WHO world mental health day image
https://x.com/WHO/status/1711710542413316193?t=Ccws3ji1d8qwqW8RvSP3Cw&s=09
Carbon monoxide poisoning image
https://x.com/Depheruk/status/1711300968661364751?t=bcqHunVBUPcxitDUwDzCAA&s=09
Omicron family tree image
https://x.com/kallmemeg/status/1711089917290283228?t=2GRISyUseP7dJwB6xhqsQg&s=09
Covid memorial wall
https://twitter.com/aimes_wilson/status/1712050577864114421?t=-Hd7Z_oXRNJbPGn_bkoIuA&s=19
Image vaccinated vs unvaccinated 
https://twitter.com/ActuaryByDay/status/1709509805289730309?t=Gxd71flGMe92MMcyutF51w&s=19
Hospitalised children England
https://x.com/_CatintheHat/status/1711283033427312951?t=ZSeqxG0pa1pF0mVPBOz5Ig&s=09
Excess mortality worldwide image
Weekly Winter Briefing
https://x.com/UKHSA/status/1712510010608009654?t=hfyJmikPn3J7OHbCSmiIWQ&s=09

Norwich City Mental Health Awareness Week
https://youtu.be/tX8TgVR33KM?si=CuFl9B7R_-3EsmU-


Week 1 and a 25% increase in hospital admissions
https://x.com/chrischirp/status/1709865471820861635?t=-LApE4fkNJZ90kKoVgpvHw&s=09
Week 2
https://x.com/Kit_Yates_Maths/status/1712488057906061773?t=wgEzFn07EIdkkwhiLimsXQ&s=09
Hospital
https://x.com/doctor_oxford/status/1712711351783530735?t=CpiGY3LIZ92ilpdBb8xFRQ&s=09
COVID hospital admiss├Čons week 2 image 
https://x.com/PaulMainwood/status/1712383085310804449?t=EJ0CwM5HRRyUP51aZg49Nw&s=09
Deaths data to 29th Sept week 2?
https://x.com/ActuaryByDay/status/1711662810256593178?t=CoV4l0cu8g42NgbvUpyQUQ&s=09

COVID tracking
 
Covid corruption minister
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/nov/23/revealed-tory-peer-michelle-mone-secretly-received-29m-from-vip-lane-ppe-firm

Variants

COVID Inquiry
opening statements

Partygate destroyed trust in the government. 

Boris refused meetings with Nicola and Mark

COVID inquiry Eat Out To Help Out
https://x.com/Kit_Yates_Maths/status/1709249405902041322?t=ke93y0wL3XXxNSd31BW1Yg&s=09


COVID inquiry - kill thousands of people

Long COVID

Boris is a tit

Rejected appeal from Chris Whitty to pay people to isolate


Carrie
https://twitter.com/carolvorders/status/1712834715059720346

Shropshire NHS
https://x.com/SGriffin_Lab/status/1711477224262475864?t=OE2EWx-LDbxrTVkTpm2HoQ&s=09

Long Non-COVID
Long COVID
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370%2823%2900428-5/fulltext


World excess mortality due to COVID
https://actuaries.org.uk/news-and-media-releases/media-releases-and-statements/2023/oct/4-oct-23-international-comparison-shows-england-wales-pandemic-deaths-relatively-high/


Zoe App  


Vaccinations cause deaths
Vaccinated vs unvaccinated
https://x.com/ActuaryByDay/status/1709509785538760965?t=T1hvPGvfgcFvRsH58AXZpw&s=09
https://twitter.com/tylerblack32/status/1707864004344049897?t=E_1--66rzIau_RI8RA30wA&s=19


Nobel prize 
https://x.com/nexta_tv/status/1708794833207193610?t=cDwdyUPTVE0741Nu5fugpg&s=09
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-03046-x?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=nature&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1696241771
Nobel prizewinners couldn't get funding 
https://x.com/PaulMainwood/status/1708836911798698235?t=lqb00hsSB_bCDF290pXz5A&s=09

Moderna plans

COVID touring artists
https://x.com/OliveSiffleur/status/1711048736581779828?t=xWK32i3KJvQiDPcsa1BvNg&s=09

Captain Sir Tom Moore



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