Friday 24 November 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 24th November 2023

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 24th November 2023

World COVID Statistics: 698,216,394 officially reported cases and 6,942,772 losses of life.

WHO loneliness causes illness image of man with risk factors in thought bubbles eg. dementia

According to latest NHS figures and reported by COVID Actuaries, hospital admissions with COVID in England decreased by 12% in-week. Biggest decrease NE & Yorkshire (-22%) and the NW (-20%). Acute bed occupancy is down by 10%, on top of a 15% drop last week (although at the end of October England had less than 4,200 beds unoccupied in total, so really needed that decrease).

The CMI weekly update of age-standardised mortality shows an excess of 3% in comparison with 2019. This takes the excess in 2023 to 5.6% of a full year's mortality.
The CMI (Continuous Mortality Investigation) to 3rd November "calculates 205,000 excess deaths in the UK since the start of the pandemic. That total has increased by 33,400 in 2023, with most of the excess deaths registered in the first 3 months".
Much better than last year, but we are still losing more people than we'd expect to each and every week.  

241123 hospital beds occupied England COVID Actuaries

The World Health Organisation has issued a statement regarding "reported clusters of respiratory illness in children in Northern China". They want more information from China.
Chinese authorities attribute it to flu, RSV and COVID (the same 3 virus which are causing pressure on healthcare all over the place), also adenovirus and the lifting of COVID restrictions. Their surveillance data shows nothing exciting - no mutated nasties, new moulds or anything other than a general increase in being ill, including 'undiagnosed pneumonia'.
WHO believe this is plausible, as does Professor Francois Balloux, director of University College London Genetics Institute. He says 3 years of hard COVID lockdowns in China has decreased immunity to bugs which pass around all the time. He feels the UK had a wave of increased respiratory illness during our first "new normal" Winter, and China is going to have it's own larger wave for theirs. 
Now China locked down hard and wide, but it's been 3 years. They just weren't locked down for all of that time. Christina Pagel of indieSAGE points out China were so good at zero COVID, most of the country wasn't locked down at all for about 18 months after the initial outbreaks. It was only when they started to relax international restrictions that notable lockdowns began again - and flu and RSV did not stop circulating throughout that time, so it's reasonable to assume most virus and bugs were also circulating. 
That said, and they didn't study data from China so it could have no relationship whatsoever, a recently updated paper has looked closely at a common respiratory infection called Mycoplasma Pneumoniae. 
Mycoplasma Pneumoniae is unique (at this point) in that it took far longer than just about everything else to re-emerge after COVID restrictions were lifted, and hasn't even now come back normally in several places (including Germany, Finland and Norway). It causes infection in your respiratory tract, and regularly leads to pneumonia. The study authors are concerned that herd immunity will be lowered, so it may cause a notable outbreak when it comes back into circulation. They have a valid point - it appears Mycoplasma Pneumoniae may be the culprit behind a recent rise in pneumonia cases in children in France. The longer before it re-emerges, the worse that outbreak may be. 
Whatever the cause of the children's pneumonia in China, be it Mycoplasma pneumoniae or other immunity debt (we skipped it for a couple of years, but it'll catch us all eventually), damage from COVID, licking strangers for a social media challenge, changes to everyday behaviour or something else - we know China will be all over this. Fingers crossed it vanishes as quickly as it arrived. 

241123 hospital admissons England COVID Actuaries

With the resignation (sacked) of UK Home Secretary Cruella Braverman, after she decided to illegally deport people seeking asylum to Rwanda, demanded homeless people be relieved of their tents, and incited a riot involving gangs charging through London on armistice day to 'protect the cenotaph' (mostly by fighting with the Metropolitan police), there has been another reshuffle of the UK Government Cabinet. They're getting so short of volunteers who fancy giving it a bash and can spell their own name, that they did everything but resurrect Thatcher. Botherer of deceased pigs and ex-PM David Cameron is back. He wasn't even an MP, no-one has voted him into anything at all, so he had to be immediately given a lifetime peerage in order to be appointed new Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron of Chipping Norton. (Eh what? Most bizarre thing is no-one even seems to care any more.) Fingers crossed he'll at least sort out the mess he left when he walked out last time, and "get Brexit done". 
New Health Secretary is Victoria Atkins - her hubby is in charge of British Sugar, and owns the biggest medical cannabis farm in the UK - so no conflict of interest there at all. Never fear, she's said it won't be an issue, she just won't deal with anything cannabis, obesity, diet or sugar-related. Ermmm, yeeeeah. Possibly not the ideal candidate for the job, so maybe she was the only applicant.

UK Gov supporting mens health

The UK COVID Inquiry... some of the big hitters were testifying this week...

Sir Patrick Vallance (previously Chief Scientific Advisor) testified. He kept all of his notes - and has asked they aren't all disclosed to the public to protect his mental health. I write all sorts in my notes too Pat, I understand. Among Patrick's disclosed notes this week were a few times he had taken down comments someone else said. Among those is when Rishi Sunak (previously UK Chancellor) said it was more important to fight the scientists than to fight the virus. Yowch.
October 25th 2020 seems a striking day. Among Pat's notes are:
“PM (Boris) meeting – begins to argue for letting it all rip. Saying yes there will be more casualties but so be it – ‘they have had a good innings’.”
“DC (Dominic Cummings) says ‘Rishi thinks just let people die and that’s okay’. This all feels like a complete lack of leadership.”
Boris Johnson: “Most people who die have reached their time anyway.”
Pat says he'd be very surprised if Rishi hadn't known scientists were worried about the  Eat Out To Help Out post-lockdown COVID-spreading idea.
In spoken testimony Pat said: “Up until that point, the message had been very clear, which is interaction between different households and people that you weren’t living with in an enclosed environment with many others was a high-risk activity. That policy completely reversed it.”

Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer, renowned expert in disease and tropical medicine) when asked if he knew Boris Johnson in 2020 and part of 2021 did not believe Long COVID existed:
"I was aware."
What is very obvious from Chris Whitty's evidence is that he was desperate to bring COVID to full Government attention by the end of January 2020, and so were official Government advisory committee SAGE, and other top notch experts, including Jon Van Tam. No-one in a position of Government power took (COVID seriously) charge until mid-February, and we missed the crucial window to prevent COVID entering the country. The February half term break in England saw disaster develop in Italy, and tens of thousands of people return from holiday to pebbledash the UK in virus. Then we closed the borders and introduced quarantines.  

Jon Van-Tam (previously England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer) gave evidence of a more sobering variety. He was advised to run and hide with his family after receiving death threats, and considered resigning.
He saw COVID coming as early as mid-January, and “did not like the look or feel of this”. He is clear he was not asked for opinion about Eat Out To Help The Virus:
“I would have said this is exactly encouraging what we’ve been trying to suppress and get on top off in the last few months, so it didn’t feel sensible to me.”

At Prime Minister's questions this Wednesday, Rishi was asked to clarify the COVID inquiry evidence regarding his 'Eat Out To Spread COVID' plan, seeing as he says he did “not recall any concerns about the scheme being expressed during ministerial discussions”. Rishi repeated that they all knew about it and "the government took advice from scientific advisors".
Not my place to decide who is lying Pinocchio. 
Maybe it was just one of those times when you assume it must be a joke, and then they actually set fire to the lounge, because they really are that stupid. 
WHO HPV vaccination is effective at preventing cancers

What do we want? Another infectious disease! When do we want it? Now apparently, based on immunisation levels for measles in some places.  
The UK currently has measles outbreaks in London, Wales and Leicester.
People reach the point they forget how bad a disease was, start wondering if its worth vaccinating, and voila - you get to find out how bad it was.
Measles starts with heavy cold symptoms and a temperature, then a tiny pimply rash all over the body (often including inside the mouth). It regularly causes ear or chest infections, and can cause extreme temperatures, fits, deafness and brain injuries.
Around 1 in every 10 children with measles develops an ear infection, 1 in 20 develop pneumonia, around 1 in every 1,000 develops encephalitis (brain swelling).
A report by the World Health Organisation and the US CDC found global deaths from measles increased by 43% between 2021 and 2022.
In 2022, out of 9.2 million (9,200,000) worldwide reported cases; 136,200 people died.
Vaccination with 2 doses is around 95% effective at preventing you even catching Measles - the sort of figures we can only dream of with COVID right now. It's a no-brainer.

measles up to date with vaccinations UKHSA

While we're on childhood diseases and vaccinations, the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), have advised that UK youngsters should be given the Chicken Pox (Varicella) jab, in 2 doses at 12 and 18 months. They also recommend a catch up programme for older children. 
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will now discuss the recommendation.
Some other countries (Australia, USA etc) have vaccinated against Chicken Pox for decades, so there is a wealth of information out there, and newer research shows it protects throughout adulthood and doesn't leave older adults more susceptible to chicken pox or shingles, as was previously feared. 

US CDC advice on ventilation

"Improving ventilation can help reduce the risk of COVID 19 spreading at your holiday gatherings. You can keep windows open, use exhaust fans, and use air purifiers. A breath of fresh air for a safer celebration."
The US CDC with advice for the upcoming indoor seasonal gatherings, and in a rare move they actually focus on ventilation - something Governments are often shy to talk about (presumably because if they compel business and public buildings to upgrade ventilation, it'll become very expensive).
Ventilation helps blow away some of the virus and bacteria you'll inadvertently take to Grandma's house - so even if you pass it on, they'll have a better chance of fighting it off swiftly. When the room is warm, crack open a window and another in a different part of the house, and let the fresh air run through. As a bonus it'll help keep you awake for the post-meal round of charades and Advocaat. And get a taxi home or stay the night - treat yourself. 

UK NHS become a plASMA DONOR Loads of smiley people and text

It is the weekend, it's getting colder and Christmas is waving at us from the sidelines. Always remember that your company is the best gift you can give to anyone this Christmas - expensive presents don't even come close.
Don't forget to slow down and take time to relax over your weekend - treat yourself to something nice and forget about the wider world for a while if you can. You've earnt it, and it's good for your own wellbeing. 

No numbers today because my laptop is refusing to connect to the internet for more than 5 minutes at a time, and so I think for my own mental wellbeing, I shall remove everything from it and declare it deceased. It'd be quicker to write everything on paper and post it to every reader... 

Play Well, Ventilate Regularly, Save The NHS.



Covid Stats UK
CDC seasonal gatherings and image
Measles images:
UK Gov Mens Health image
Vacant hospital beds image
HPV vax image
Loneliness kills people early
Loneliness WHO IMAGE
Image give plasma


Stats and data
COVID Actuaries week 1
CMI week 1

Pneumonia outbreaks in China
China WHO
Mycoplasma Pneumoniae

UK Health Secretary 

Chris Whitty COVID Inquiry
Pat Vallance

Measles warning amid 'devastating resurgence' of life-threatening diseases UK
Measles worldwide and stats CDC

Chickenpox vaccine UK 

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