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Doc Hine - Covid News & Views - 02 August 2021

Even though the last two days have been a weekend, the trend in the data continues to go in the right direction. The number of positive tests continues to fall, 26K on Saturday, 24k on Sunday, and 21.9k today. Around 830k tests were done each day over the weekend and only 670k today. The positive test numbers for the last 7 days show a drop of some 68,000. The rate of tests being positive also continues to fall regularly. 306.9/per 100k on Saturday, 291.8 on Sunday, and 283.8/100k today.

Death figures at weekends are so inaccurate as to hardly be worth reporting. 71 on Saturday, 65 yesterday, and 24 today. The rates per 7days actually show a rise, all be it very slight. Today 535 in the last 7 days compared with 486 on Saturday.

No health data was published over the weekend as usual. 911 people were admitted to hospital on 30th July compared with 927 on the 27th July. The total in hospital on 27 July was 5,943 (this figure published today) compared with 5,916 the day before.

A reflection of the numbers seriously ill is to be seen in the daily count of the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation. There were 889 on 30 July compared with 869 on the 29th July.

As far as vaccinations are concerned, we are very slowly pushing forward still. There have been 46.87Million 1st doses given to 88.6% of the adult population. With second doses the figures are 38.46Million or 72.7% of all adults.

There is plenty of talk about 3rd or booster jabs being given from September but still no official policy decision announced. Interpreting the data is quite difficult at present, there remains concern that it is not necessarily complete or accurate.

The figures show a downward trend of new cases now for a while with a small hiccup where they rose for 2 days. The effects of easing the lockdown regulations should have begun to show by now if we are to see a rise in cases. This is very good news It seems to me that the effect of vaccination and the fact that others have immunity after catching Covid means that much of the community has some protection. Therefore, this downward trend should continue.

On average once someone catches Covid it takes two weeks before the most seriously ill have to be admitted. So when we look at hospital data there would be expected to be a two-week delay. There has been a very small decrease in the numbers being admitted to hospital for the last few days, and a slight rise in the total number in hospital beds. So we can at least say this is flattening out and we may be at the peak of admissions.

In the next stages, ITU admissions and sadly deaths have still to peak but have only risen a little. I expect to see this flatten at the end of next week and the number of deaths will then begin to drop.

Let me be very clear, it's not over yet by a long way. Several things could wreck our progress very easily. The threat of a resistant variant which is very transmissible means we must secure our borders very tightly. Every case needs genome sequencing now to be sure a new variant does not show its face. Our immunisation rates are impressive but could still get a lot better, 27% of adults need to be brave enough to go to get their jabs.

There is a risk of falling immunity for those who had both jabs more than 6 months ago. Decisions must be made about this soon. The same applies to vaccine use in children. We need a policy decision on this very soon.

Brisbane in Australia went back into lockdown on Saturday following a new outbreak of the Delta variant. I was surprised to find Australia has only managed to fully immunise 14% of Australians compared to our 72%.

Travel vaccination requirements have changed yet again today. Please check very carefully before you get on an aircraft. As far as I can make out USA citizens and EU citizens can now travel to and from the UK without the need for quarantine if the country they come from is on the Amber list. Some countries are not recognising the makes of some vaccines for this scheme. Do check carefully. There are no restrictions for Green list countries, but if it's on the Red list you have to go to and pay for an isolation hotel.

A recent study published today concerned air sampling and swabbing at 4 major railway stations. They report that no evidence of the Covid 19 virus was found. Rather than be proud of the findings, I would be looking for flaws in the study design!

Please try and stay positive, remain vigilant, continue all the precautions you can as life begins to open up more for us all. Your thoughts, comments, and ideas are always very welcome.

Remember the basics, It’s common sense really; do stay safe.

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