Friday 5 July 2024

COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 5th July 2024

 COVID-19 Coronavirus and other virus UK and World News Update 5th July 2024

“The NHS saved my life. Now I’m determined to save our NHS. That work starts today.”
Gawd bless him. High hopes Wes, high hopes. Don't let us down. 

Hands up who stayed up all night watching the election results? Thank heavens there isn't a huge amount of news to share, because I am not my most productive self today. I'm not even sure if I'm actually still awake, but I'll do my best. Overall I think a very positive night for the UK, and a clear message that we aren't best pleased with politicians or parties who serve themselves rather than the people who put them there.

Stuart McDonald COVID Actuaries BMJ vaccinations compared to excess deaths

The UK election results saw the end of several key players in the UK COVID response, including the Conservative Party itself. The new Health Secretary has been appointed, and it is Wes Streeting. He was applauded as he arrived at the Department of Health. Hope returns. 

"10,455 deaths were registered in England and Wales, week ending 21 June 2024 (Week 25):
· 4.7% lower than the expected number (521 fewer deaths)
· 13.4% involved influenza or pneumonia (1,403 deaths)
· 1.5% involved COVID19 (153 deaths)"
The UK ONS (Office for National Statistics) with the latest data, which is kind of good news/bad news really - fewer deaths is great, but a reminder flu and COVID don't actually disappear because they aren't in the news... 

I'm not seeing much COVID news at the moment, so we'll start with Avian (Bird) Flu H5N1: 
Wastewater scan has reported 2 positive samples of H5N1 Avian Flu from San Francisco, and two more from other sites in California. California has not detected any infections in cattle herds so far, although they have reported infected bird farms. 
Bird farm infections don't usually tend to feature in scans of wastewater, whereas infections in humans and dairy farms are more likely to show up - humans poo in toilets, and dairy farms use massive quantities of water for cleaning equipment and cattle sheds.

According to latest US CDC and FDA data, there are now 140 cattle herds affected by H5N1 Avian Flu across 12 states. 

The 4th human infection with the bird flu virus via cows is in Colorado. This is another farmworker with severe conjunctivitis. The US CDC is currently investigating which exact strain it is, and will presumably then map where it came from.
As a reminder, genetic sequencing suggests all affected dairy herds began with a single cow infected by a single bird. There is still no suggestion any human to human transmission has occurred. More human infections do however seem inevitable, and each time you roll the dice regarding mutations.

Michigan has decided to be more proactive regarding H5N1 Avian Flu. They aren't going so far as to find currently infected farm workers (because that would be crazy, obviously), but they are testing a large number to see if they've previously been infected. Blood tests will determine if workers have been exposed, and if so, which particular workers and work roles are most at risk.
(Really the ideal outcome would be that they all have antibodies and H5N1 is substantially less dangerous for humans than anyone suspected.)
We await the results... 

As of 3rd July, the total number of confirmed cases of E-Coli from the UKs recent lettuce outbreak is 288. All currently confirmed cases had symptom onset dates before 10th June. 
Confirmed case totals:
191 in England
62 in Scotland
31 in Wales
4 in Northern Ireland (evidence suggests that they acquired their infection in England)
Based on information from 263 cases to date, 49% were admitted to hospital.

The US CDC has updated their COVID information page to stress that:
"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have peaked during the winter and also surged at other times of the year. These periodic surges are due in part to the emergence of new variants and decreasing immunity from previous infections and vaccinations. Because the evolution of new variants remains unpredictable, SARS-CoV-2 is not a typical “winter” respiratory virus."
They advise that people aged 6 months or over receive the 2024–2025 COVID-19 vaccines when they become available this Autumn, and continue to recommend measures to protect yourself and others, including masks, regular hand washing, staying home when you are ill, etc. 

The US CDC has issued a Health Advisory regarding Dengue. Cases are up substantially on last year. More common in warmer climates, and spread by mosquitos, with adequate healthcare Dengue tends to have a fatality rate below 1%, and your 2nd infection is likely to be your worst.
Around 1 in every 4 infections shows symptoms, and around 1 in 20 of those will become very ill. 
From the beginning of the year until 24th June countries in the Americas reported twice as many infections as in the whole of 2023, and Puerto Rico has declared a public health emergency. 
Although a vaccine is available and is being given to previously infected children aged 9-16 in high risk areas (including Puerto Rico), manufacturer Sanofi has discontinued production citing 'lack of demand', and stocks will run out by 2026. Vaccination is not recommended for travellers. 

In possibly the most disastrous PPE deal the UK Government arranged during COVID, Full Support Healthcare (25 staff, based in Wellingborough) won orders totalling £1.78bn for face masks, respirators, eye protection and aprons. Full Support Healthcare don't seem to have done anything wrong. The PPE meets quality standards, and this is a company that existed and supplied the NHS with PPE long before the pandemic. 
After repeated FOI requests by the BBC, the Dept for Health & Social Care’s PPE procurement partner, SCCL, has admitted almost all of it (around £1.4 BILLION worth) will never be used.
Several tonnes of this unused PPE was dumped in the New Forest last year. An investigation by Jon Ironmonger of the BBC has discovered that it was auctioned off cheaply to a 3rd party, and eventually disposed of due to being a fire risk. 
It's unclear why this PPE wasn't distributed and used, or why we've paid over £100 MILLION to store almost half of it - which is also likely to end up being incinerated. Something has gone very much awry and it's our money that's been thoroughly wasted. 

Bad news if your late father was a 100 year old COVID national treasure and your name is Hannah Ingram-Moore. 
2 years after the Charity Commission began investigating what they were spending Captain Sir Tom Moore's charity money on, his daughter and her husband have been disqualified from being charity trustees. The investigation has not yet concluded. 
As a reminder ALL of the millions of ££££s raised by Capn. Sir Tom walking 100 laps of his garden was safely handed over to NHS Together charities. , The investigation only involves the charity created in his name (after he died from COVID on his return from a Caribbean press trip). 

It is the weekend. Hurrah! It's been a long and exciting week for me, and I need to spend some quality catch up time with my bed. No regrets though, it was definitely a good week, and a night worth staying up for. 
Next week I'm treating myself and my teenagers/partner to a trip to sunny Sheffield to see our favourite dentist (my daughter) and it'll be awesome. I hope you treat yourself to something nice, and can organise something to look forward to for the Summer. Crikey we've all earnt it. 
Some of you may be celebrating today... just remember to alternate alcohol with water, and don't assume you can balance on a table because you're drunk - you can't... 

I shall be back in a couple of weeks - and I'll have slept! 

Play Outdoors, Hold Your Politicians To Account, and Wes, Please Save The NHS... 


NHS Square One image 

Skint Dad school uniform sales image 

Early signs of Meningitis - Meningitis Now

Free lunch at Morrisons image

BMJ misinformation paper Vaccinated vs excess deaths image 


Wes streeting

Wes streeting

Wastewater scan H5N1 

Bird flu in humans
H5N1 update Wednesday 3rd July 
"added 2 Colorado dairy herds to its list of #H5N1 #birdflu infected farms today, bringing its total to 139 in 12 states since testing first started in late March. It is still missing 2 herds, 1 each in Iowa & Minnesota. And the day is young"

Latest bird flu states and herds

Michigan H5N1

E-Coli update 

CDC change COVID guidance - year round threat and masks 

Government destroys £1.4bn of PPE from one Covid deal
A huge amount of Full Support Healthcare PPE was found in the New Forest last year


Capn sir Tom

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