Friday 22 March 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 22nd March 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 22nd March 2024

World COVID Statistics: 704,308,357 reported cases and 7,007,032 losses of life.

"We cannot allow the cycle of panic and neglect to repeat.
We cannot forget the trauma of the pandemic, and the painful lessons it taught all of us.
I urge all Member States to work together on the principles of solidarity and equity to find common ground, compromise and to give all of us an effective agreement, and a safer future"
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation, talking about the ongoing discussions around the 'Pandemic Accord' - a collective agreement on how the world's Governments should act and react to the next pandemic, using the lessons learnt from COVID.

220324 UK NHS waiting lists falling text only

On 20th March 2020 all UK schools closed to most pupils. Gyms and other leisure facilities closed, and we were all asked to avoid inessential mixing. 
4 years and 2 days ago our lives changed forever. 

In the week ending 8th March 2024 in England and Wales, 11,577 deaths were registered. 168 primarily involved COVID. (1,823 deaths primarily involved influenza or pneumonia.)
Using the new ONS formula overall weekly death registrations were 601 (4.9%) lower than the expected number. 
(Using the old ONS formula it would have been considered 73 deaths higher than the expected number.)
In the last 4 years a total of 232,112 people in the UK have had COVID listed as the primary cause of death. 

The science of mRNA vaccines UK HSA NHS

Latest monthly data shows the NHS England waiting list continues to fall "with January data showing it is down by 27,761 from the previous month (7.58 million in January versus 7.60 million in December) with a total decrease of 192,659 since September (7.77 million)". 
It's not a huge drop, but it's going the right way. Well done to everyone involved, lets hope that backlog keeps clearing - and not just because patients die waiting... 

A massive 98% of Doctors In Training (Junior Doctors) in England have voted to continue taking industrial action over pay. They are unhappy that any Government pay offer so far still leaves them behind where they would have been if wages had kept up with inflation (since 2008 compared to inflation wages have fallen by 26%).  
Around half of the UKs medical workforce are Doctors In Training (which in itself shows we have a massive problem with staff retention and morale). The British Medical Association believe the last 12 months of strikes have already cost the NHS more than £3 billion.

Signs of Ovarian Cancer UK NHS

"Immunocompromised individuals accounted for around 4% of population, but 24% of COVID deaths in a large UK population sample in 2022. Even immunocompromised with multiple vaccine shots remain at increased risk for severe outcomes."
Hannu Rajaniemi, founder of HelixNano.
Good news ahead for immunocompromised people. Researchers have just received approval to start a Phase 1 human clinical trial in Australia to test a preventative COVID treatment to suit you. immunocompromised and immunosuppressed people used to have some protection from COVID via AstraZeneca's Evusheld, but sadly it became ineffective against later variants, and simply isn't much use now. HelixNano have developed HN-0001, which uses mRNA and other technologies to 'turn up immunity' and in both healthy and immunosuppressed animals it works very well. The trial will compare HN-001 to approved mRNA vaccines, and offers real hope to the millions of people who have all but been forgotten over the past couple of years. Fingers crossed. 

Not COVID, but scientists from the University of Southampton have discovered 6 clear markers which show whether someone is almost certainly infected with TB (Tuberculosis). It's hoped that this can be used in future for a quick and simple blood test, and maybe eventually a rapid test similar to those used for COVID. TB is caused by a bacteria which usually attacks the lungs, but can move to other parts of the body, including the brain.
Around 1 in 3 people who catch TB don't show symptoms or ever become ill, but can carry and spread the bacteria. For the other 2 out of 3 who catch it, TB can make them incredibly poorly, with a fatality rate of around 5% after successful treatment (1 in 20) and a shortened life for many of those who survive. Without treatment up to 65% of patients die.
Although TB is usually found in developing countries, around 5,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK each year. Being able to find and treat the millions of people worldwide who are carrying the bacteria could save thousands of lives, as well as the associated medical costs and time. 

220324 COVID stats UK HSA

Lost Their Lives:
Paul Alexander, the last person to live in an iron lung has died from COVID. He contracted Polio in 1952, aged 6, and was left paralysed. The iron lung breathed for him, expanding his chest to take in air, then deflating his lungs to push the air out. Sadly he was infected with COVID by a caregiver at his Texas home. 
The USA held a Long COVID Awareness Day on 15th March. This was in part led by Senator Bernie Sanders, and really does show a change in attitude towards those people who are suffering. It ISN'T imaginary, made up laziness, it is a genuine after effect of COVID infection which we can see in scans, x rays and blood tests.
As many as 17.6 million Americans currently have Long COVID symptoms after a large surge in infections over Winter - 6.8% of the population, or 1 in every 15 people. 
Many millions of people worldwide are unable to function to their fullest, and relying on Governments to fund research into causes and treatments. 

While we're on Long COVID, research is coming thick and fast now. 
- Researchers from Philadelphia examined the data of 50 children hospitalised with COVID from April to July 2020, and found that they ALL had "elevated biomarkers for blood vessel damage". Blood vessel damage can mean higher risk of blood clots, poor blood flow, poor removal of waste, and even conditions such as COVID Toe, where fingers or toes swell up and change colour, and can become infected, sore and/or itchy. 

Opposite sex marriaged England showing COVID effect Stuart Mcdonald COVID Actuaries

Scientists from Cork in Ireland have been looking at children born during the first 3 months of the pandemic, and they have found that the beneficial bacteria in the gut are higher in these children. They are far less likely to have been given antibiotics and far less likely to have developed an allergy - only 5% had developed a food allergy by the age of one, compared to 22.8% of babies born before the pandemic.
Have we have been too quick to give our tiny infants antibiotics? Is it because they weren't exposed to as many people, places and pathogens while they were tiny? This one really does need looking into, because food allergies have been increasing at a very alarming rate for years, and they can severely impact a person's safety and health for their entire life. 

A new study by scientists at the University of New South Wales, and published on the Society for Risk Assessment site 'Risk Analysis' has concluded that COVID most likely leaked from the labs in Wuhan by accident. They used scientific methodology to come to this decision, but it basically hinges on some known facts, including:
- The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (WHCDC) moved premises to it's location 280 metres from the market on December 2nd 2019
- Several employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were hospitalised in early November 2019 with 'COVID-like symptoms'
- Several of the first known cases didn't ever visit the market
- There were clear instances of 'poor biosecurity' at the WIV (e.g. some employees had been bitten by bats they were working on).
- There's no clear evidence of an 'intermediary host' - the animal which passed COVID from bats to humans at the market.
- A WIV database was for unknown reasons deleted in September 2019. It contained information on 20,000 specimens.

Occams Razor or 'the law of parsimony' is the theory that if you have 2 or more possible explanations for something, you should probably just go with the simplest one first. 

UK HSA Signs of Scarlet Fever

The UK Government are reporting that travel-associated infections have returned to pre-pandemic levels. In 2023 a total of 1,637 people brought home malaria, 634 returned to the UK with dengue and 8 people were diagnosed with Zika.
They are asking travellers to please take proper precautions (insect repellent, nets etc) and try to only bring home actual souvenirs.

It's Friday, and for quite a lot of us it is the beginning of the school holidays hurrah! Over the next 2 weeks most of the English-speaking and European countries have Easter holidays, so I'll be back in 3 weeks (which will handily align me back with more up to date UK statistics because at the moment I'm on alternate weeks to the UK HSA reports). I hope you all have a good break, don't eat too much chocolate, and manage to do something nice. For everyone who doesn't get a break, thank you for looking after us and keeping everything going, please do remember to spoil yourself regularly, you've earnt it and you deserve it. Until next time...

Play Outdoors, Ventilate, Save The NHS... 


Topol and Al-Aly Long COVID image
UK HSA weekly update
Mixed sex marriages england and wales image Stuart McDonald 
Ovarian Cancer image UK NHS
NHS England waiting lists down
Science of mRNA 

Latest flu and COVID figures 

UK NHS England waiting list dropping

Junior doctors strikes

Immunocompromised treatment trial


Iron lung man died of COVID
Modern iron lung 

Long COVID Awareness Day 15th March

Pandemic babies

Long COVID Queensland CMO opinion, not a peer-reviewed study
Goes against the science 
And compared to flu
And how its going in America 
Statement by Al-Aly

COVID lab leak theory Risk Assessment

Travel associated infections

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