Friday 12 January 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 12th January 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 12th January 2024

World COVID Statistics: 701,603,634 officially reported cases and 6,967,340 losses of life.

Hello again after my longest break in 4 years - and Happy New Year to you all! I hope your festivities went well and you spent time with people you love. Glad to have you with us... 2024 off we go... 

"We are entering the 5th year of the pandemic and we are certainly in a different phase.  This phase is marked by an evolving virus (with the XBB and BA.2 sublineages circulating and JN.1 becoming dominant).
It’s marked by reduced impact compared to the peak of COVID19 a few years ago, but it’s still a global health threat and it’s still a pandemic causing far too many (re)infections, hospitalisations, deaths and long covid when tools exist to prevent them."
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID technical lead for The World Health Organisation (WHO), trying very hard in her end of year message to remind us that the COVID pandemic isn't over, and we should all do the simple stuff like stay home when you are ill, and wearing masks when in busy enclosed spaces. 

120124 UKHSA Stats

Over the past 3 weeks the UK Health Security Agency and mainstream media have avoided saying "COVID" as much as possible. We've had warnings about Flu, RSV, seasonal illness and 'cold weather making lung conditions worse', but if you can find COVID mentioned, it usually isn't in the headlines. 
The Guardian ran an interesting piece about a surge in English hospital admissions due to flu, with "an average of 1,313 people in hospital with the virus each day during the week ending 31 December", but read on and you discover "an average of 3,929 people in hospital" with COVID each day during the same week. This is despite very little testing, even reportedly in people admitted to hospital with obvious symptoms. 
You just can't make something go away by pretending, however hard you try.

Small decreases in the UK Health Security Agency stats this week, which is good because the previous 2 weeks it was on the way up. It's a small drop and it's welcome, but no-one get overly-excited, because these figures will be affected by the Christmas break, and we can realistically expect to see higher numbers over the next couple of weeks as paperwork and admin backlogs catch up. 

120124 Hospital admissions by area England

Looking at the amount of COVID in wastewater (poo) in the USA, around the new year and last week, each day around 2 million new people caught COVID. 

We are starting to get a feel for how dangerous variant JN.1 (Pirola Jr) is, and I think it's probably fair to say it isn't sending less people to hospital. It's really hard to judge what percentage of cases actually end up very ill, because we aren't testing very often, and that's true of most of the world. What appears to be the case is that more folk are being hospitalised, especially younger people and children, but younger age ranges are least likely to test, so it could just be that it's the same percentage and infection rates are massive.
Evidence from Ile-De-France (shared by JP Weiland of Newsweek) gives some clues. They had a massive wave of COVID admissions which began in November, just after JN.1 took over. Positive test results have not increased at the same rate (but again, unless you test everyone, you can't use this to prove anything). More concerning, levels of COVID in wastewater have not increased at the same rate as hospitalisations - which does suggest more likelihood of serious illness from JN.1.
Mortality figures don't really give anything useful, except to say JN.1 clearly isn't wiping people out at pace.
My gut feeling is slightly more hospitalisations, it is hitting kids, young people and the under 50's harder, but we can still be hopeful it isn't actually any more deadly. 

Victoria Atkins Jr Doctors Strikes comment

English Doctors in Training (previously Junior Doctors) have just held the longest strike in NHS history. They say a real terms pay cut of 26% since 2008 does not reimburse them for long hours of high pressure making life or death decisions on very little sleep. 
I say when Doctors in Training account for almost half of your medical workforce, and even they aren't happy, you are doing something terribly wrong. Imagine if half the staff in any other occupation were trainees, because most people ran away as soon as they got their certificates. Something is very broken, and no-one in a position of power seems to even want to try and fix it. 

A COVID outcome which is becoming hard to ignore is heart problems. For the last 4 years we've known that COVID can cause heart abnormalities such as swelling, and as more data comes through, we are repeatedly finding heart issues are affecting children more often than lung problems - when the opposite appears true for older adults. A recent study which looked at the autopsies from 86 people (aged 6 months to 83 years) who succumbed to COVID has recommended that physicians should carefully assess the cardiac function of their very poorly younger patients. 

Around 90% of infants will catch RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus) before they're 2 years old. Most will be fine, but in the UK around 30,000 babies and toddlers a year will end up in hospital with breathing problems, including chest infections or pneumonia. Testing of a new antibody jab Nirsevimab suggests it can prevent chest infections due to RSV for up to 6 months, and reduce admissions to hospital for infants by as much as 83%. It is already being used in the US and Spain, and health officials are currently discussing rolling it out in the UK. 

Measles Image 1 in 5 need hospital visit

Lost Their Lives
Derek Draper, UK political lobbyist and advisor, author and psychotherapist, and husband to telly person Kate Garraway, has died. He contracted COVID in March 2020, spent over a year in hospital and never recovered. He needed full time care, and returned to hospital in December 2023 where he succumbed after a heart attack.
Mr Draper was a COVID ward hospital patient alongside author Michael Rosen, who still suffers, and writes about, the effects of Long COVID almost 3 years down the line. 

Good news if you are attempting to avoid Long COVID and have had your booster jabs. A Swedish study released at the end of last year found that having one COVID vaccination dose reduces chance of Long COVID by 21%, two doses reduce it by 59%, and a third dose (booster) reduces it by 73%.
Once again I feel people who caught COVID way back at the start really did get the very rough end of the deal, as do those children who missed out on COVID vaccinations entirely. 

UK HSA STROKES Act FAST Face Arms Speech Time

The daughter of pandemic NHS mega-fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore did not mount a High Court challenge to try to keep her illegally built spa pool, so it must be demolished by February 7th.
Sadly greed has seen an end to not only her home swimming, but also the entire Captain Tom Foundation.

Party animals of the pandemic, the UK Government, have defended the £27,000 they spent on wine during 2020- 2022. Apparently every drop was drunk "in strict accordance with Covid-19 restrictions", and obviously we'd expect nothing else from them, what with their scrupulously squeaky clean history.

WHO advice on dementia

Vietnam don't mess around with Government corruption. They just held a 10 day 'Viet A' trial, after Government officials pocketed $$$$s in backhanders for paying 3 times the market value for COVID tests. Most of the 38 defendants were found guilty of bribery, abuse of power, mismanagement of funds or other offences, and many have received jail sentences. The former Health Minister has been given 18 years, former Hanoi Mayor 3 years, and the CEO of the company supplying the test kits has been given 29 years for bribery among other things. 
According to the New Straits Times, in a crackdown on COVID money mismanagement and profiteering, more than 3,500 people have been indicted (formally accused of a crime) since 2021. 
If only the UK was as swift and effective in resolving our mis-spent money... 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who wished us a happy Christmas and a merry New Year - I did believe I replied to everyone, but apparently they were those magical Facebook replies that disappear when you click refresh, so I'll go back and have another try after tea. I hope your Christmas was the best it could be, and involved some great smiles, whatever situation you were in. My best wishes to all of you for a peaceful and happy 2024 - with less COVID and more laughter. 

I'll be back in 2 weeks, until then take care, and be gentle on yourself - Winter can look long and hard, so ease yourself through it, and if you have been poorly, don't expect too much of yourself until you've had time to recover. 

Wear A Hat, Be Kind, Save The NHS. 

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

Countries / Total Officially Reported COVID Cases / Losses of life:

World: 701,603,634 / 6,967,340
USA: 110,462,560 / 1,191,815
Brazil: 38,230,814 / 708,739
India: 45,020,942 / 533,412
Russia: 23,798,457 / 401,543
Mexico: 7,702,731 / 334,947
UK: 24,812,582 / 232,112
Peru: 4,524,326 / 222,161
Italy: 26,671,165 / 195,139
Germany: 38,790,256 / 180,956
France: 40,138,560 / 167,642
Indonesia: 6,821,940 / 161,954
Iran: 7,625,463 / 146,757
Colombia: 6,387,632 / 143,113


Maria says wear masks
Don't say COVID

Images ukhsa stats

Ukhsa stats 

US wastewater

Pirola Junior
Heart problems in younger people
Junior doctors longest strike in NHS history

RSV jab could cut baby hospital admissions by more than 80%

Derek Draper death

Vaccination prevents long covid Sweden

Sir Tom 




Stroke act FAST

Long COVID kids image 

Measles image UK HSA

WHO image cervical cancer 

Who image dementia

WHO image Cervical cancer

Victoria Atkins Jr Docs Strikes Image

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