Friday 26 January 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 26th January 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 26th January 2024

World COVID Statistics: 702,382,516 reported cases and 6,973,669 losses of life.

"In the week ending 12 Jan 2024 (Week 2) of deaths registered:
▪️ 17.7% involved influenza or pneumonia (2,425 deaths)
▪️ 2.8% involved COVID19 (388 deaths)"
UK ONS (Office for National Statistics). 
These figures are higher than a normal week in part due to delays from Christmas and New Year, and a lot of people are unhappy that many folk hospitalised with pneumonia are not even being tested for COVID, nor is it considered relevant to these stats if they tested positive a couple of weeks or more previously.
The good news is that alongside preliminary figures since then, we don't seem to have quite as many people sick with COVID as this time last year. 
The bad news is that we already have a lot of people in hospital with flu, and significant pressure on the NHS, causing 'critical incidents' in several trusts (including Leicester). Unusually we have had 2 flu waves and may not be at the peak of this one for hospitalisations, so fingers crossed that tapers off.
If you are ill, whatever it may be, please stay home if you can.

WHO Measles is one of the world's most contagious diseases

Hospital consultants in England will continue with strikes, after rejecting the latest pay offer by a whisker. 51.1% voted against accepting an overhaul of contracts and 0-13% pay rise on top of the 6% they'll get from April.
For cl\arity in case any Government negotiators are reading, 13% good, 0% bad. 

"As the nation stood at their doors clapping, our frontline NHS workers risked their lives while caring for patients, without proper protection.
Thousands contracted the virus themselves, and many have since developed long COVID.
We are committed to seeking justice for those who were exposed to an unnecessary risk of infection while working on the front line."
Sara Stanger, director and head of clinical negligence and serious injury claims at Bond Turner.
Long COVID Doctors For Action are suing the NHS. They were given inadequate PPE (plastic aprons, blue surgical masks etc), worked incredibly long shifts on the frontline, and they've been left disabled and struggling to survive financially. 
In an emergency you stand up and give what you can, and they really did. 
Some people saw the pandemic as a quick way to take what they could. Some people made an eyewatering amount of money. Some people partied all through lockdown. Some people lied about how bad it was, how easy to catch, how likely it was to cause you physical damage. And all the while those Doctors were out there risking their lives and watching patient after patient die. 
No-one who worked on the frontline through the pandemic and became ill as a result should have to struggle. They should be heartily thanked and looked after well. They gave their mental and physical health to keep us and those we love alive. If an NHS worker died, their family received money, but there has been nothing for those who survived. 

Talking of people who took what they could from the pandemic, Baroness Michelle Mone and her husband have had £75million of their assets frozen at request of the National Crime Agency, who are investigating the £232million they were paid for mainly substandard and unuseable PPE. They made around £60million profit from the deal, and the UK taxpayer got landfill. A cheque for the full refund will be fine thanks.
(Fingers crossed this scapegoat doesn’t make everyone forget that other companies with Government connections and no track record also won lucrative contracts.)

260124 UKHSA Stats

Measles is running rampant. The World Health Organisation are now very concerned because cases in Europe were 45 times higher last year than they were in 2022. In 2022 there were 941 cases reported across Europe, and in 2023 there were 42,200.
Bear in mind that around 1 in every 5 unvaccinated patients will need a hospital stay (8,440 out of 42,200), 1 in every 20 will get pneumonia (2,110), 1 in every 1,000 will get potentially damaging brain swelling/encephalitis (42) and 1 to 3 in every 1,000 will die (42-126).
From 1st January to 30th November 2023, there were 209 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. That figure rose throughout the year, and 43 of those new cases were in November.
In England last week alone it does look like there were over 110 cases and suspected cases reported. This is really disturbing news. 
Measles is super catchy, far easier to pass on than COVID, but vaccination is incredibly effective at preventing you even catching it, and if you do, you have hardly any chance of becoming very ill.
In England right now, only around 85% of 5 year old children have had both doses of their MMR. In some areas vaccination rates are as low as 50% (e.g. Hackney in London), and rates are around 75% in cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and London. That isn't enough to shut down transmission, and protect those who can't be vaccinated because they are already too sick, or too young.
Parents in England who haven't yet taken up vaccinations for their children may be getting a letter inviting them in, and Jenny Harries of the UK HSA is organising pop up vaccination clinics. If you or your child missed their vaccination due to COVID, or misinformation, or for any other reason, please at least discuss it with a healthcare professional - in the UK you can catch up your MMR jabs at any age (and you can request a vegan jab called Priorix if appropriate, as the regular jab has a miniscule quantity of pork-derived ingredient). You are more likely to become seriously ill if you are under 5 or over 20. Dying from Measles is horrific, and so can be brain damage, blindness, deafness and other permanent damage. 

More about Measles I'm afraid, but also COVID... 
Measles is a nasty virus, but immunity to it is fabulous and incredibly effective. The specific problem with immunity via catching Measles (aside from risk of permanent injury) is that to create that great Measles immunity it erases other immunity, leaving you more susceptible to viruses you caught in the past. 
COVID infection is also repeatedly proving it can leave us more susceptible to other illnesses. It is associated with a higher risk of streptococcal infections for up to a year following infection. COVID leaves us with increased risk from RSV (causes chest infections). We have 3 times the risk of pneumonia or flu, and we are twice as likely to suffer from antimicrobial resistance (where antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics don't work). 
Fun times. Probably best not to catch it too often... 

UK NHS catch up with Measles vaccinations any time

Have we cracked Long COVID? A team from the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Sweden think they've found the cause, and it's your own body. 
They studied 113 patients for up to a year after COVID infection, alongside 39 healthy controls. At 6 months, 40 of the COVID patients had Long COVID symptoms (more than 1 in every 3).
The study is titled "Persistent complement dysregulation with signs of thromboinflammation in active Long Covid".
Sounds tricky, but we can break that down. "They found several differences in the blood of people with Long Covid compared to those without it, including an imbalance in proteins involved in blood clotting and inflammation. This was linked to increased activation of the complement system."
Your complement system is part of your immune system, and works to support antibodies by marking invaders for destruction, launching inflammation, tidying up rubbish and other jobs. In the Long COVID patients it was altering the way blood coagulates (clots) and injuring healthy tissue - “thrombo-inflammation”.
"People with long Covid symptoms lasting six months or more had reduced levels of some proteins involved in the complement system and elevated levels of others, compared with fully recovered or healthy participants. Interestingly, those patients who initially had long Covid but whose symptoms ended within six months found their complement systems returned to normal."
So it's definitely not all bad news. If this follows, in future we can simply look at someone's blood and diagnose that they have Long COVID (and for anyone who has had trouble getting others to take you seriously, that is a huge win). Your body can definitely correct itself, and we have a clear starting point for more research into medical treatments and cures.  

Long COVID has been very much in the news this week, and US Senator Bernie Sanders opened the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee Meeting on Long COVID by stating that 16 million people in the US are currently living with the condition. He reminded the committee that it is a syndrome with symptoms which include brain fog, memory loss, language problems, fatigue and more. 
“Long COVID can affect anyone…It poses a severe threat to public health.”
In his testimony, Ziyad Al-Aly MD reminded us all of the obvious, but easily overlooked:
"The burden of disease and disability from Long COVID is on par with the burden of cancer and heart disease.
The best way to prevent Long COVID is to prevent COVID in the first place. There is no Long COVID without COVID."

260124 Paul Mainwood Twitter Measles by week England
Paul Mainwood on Twitter - link below in sources

The UK COVID Inquiry continues, and Nicola Sturgeon (previously Scottish First Minister) is the latest Government official to lose her WhatsApp messages. Cleverly she seems to have been able to retrieve most of hers from whoever she sent them to, including Liz Lloyd (previously Chief of Staff).
Liz gave evidence to the COVID Inquiry this week, including the revelation that when Boris was live on telly announcing the second (October) national lockdown, both Liz and Nicola were unimpressed with how he did it, calling it "excruciating" and with Nicola referring to Boris as "a f¥&%ing clown".
(Shocking. I'd never have used those phrases myself. In print.) 

No numbers tonight because I have a poorly teenager to watch a movie with, but overall COVID is ticking along and nothing serious is appearing to leap about - even with our exciting new variants. Your chance of death, serious illness or Long COVID is substantially lower than it was back in 2020 - as is your chance of testing positive or even recognising you have COVID - but we all generally care about our long term health, and risks do remain, so it's still best avoided when you can. Stay sensible, and stay home if you are ill - some things are best not shared. 

Image of number of people walking and text explaining how to help prevent transmission of flu

The UK just had 2 storms on top of each other, there are floods, fires, volcanoes, snowstorms and earthquakes all over the place, and in Spain and Australia we have record high temperatures. Just about everyone has had some overly exciting signs of nature's power in the last fortnight, so you deserve a break, and you have earnt something nice. Treat yourself. It doesn't have to cost, it doesn't have to be hard work or fancy, but make sure you do something especially for you. I'll be back in 2 weeks... 

Stay Sensible, Wear A Hat, Save The NHS. 


COVID or flu - with or because of/for image 
Image stats measles England
Image catch up MMR at any age UK 
Measles image WHO

This weeks stats
COVID hospital admissions and extra image

Hospital consultants

Covid and flu critical incidents
Critical incident Leicester hospitals

Long COVID doctors for action
Michelle Mone

Dive into figures
Measles Jenny Harries
Updated to last years figures - below 80% 
Measles UK 2003

Science lady Liz 
Measles erases immune cell memory
"Our findings suggest that COVID-19 contributed to the 2022 surge of RSV cases in young children through the large buildup of COVID-19-infected children and the potential long-term adverse effects of COVID-19 on the immune and respiratory system."
Many studies
"..prior COVID-19 infection was associated with a significantly increased risk for RSV infection..'
Al-Aly, High-dimensional characterization of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19: 
Supp. Table 2:…,
1-year hazard ratio for viral infection: 4.42x.
Pneumonia: 3.28x
Flu: 3.01x
Antimicrob. Res.: 2.00x
Surprise: 0x.

Long COVID causes Study
Complement system

Ziyad Al-Aly MD before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Bernie Sanders
And repeat with video link

Covid inquiry Nicola Sturgeon 
Video and text

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