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Doc Hines - Covid News and Views - 20th October 2021

There seems to be an increasing clamour for England to return to the plan B the Prime Minister outlined some weeks ago, he has repeatedly said he will not hesitate to do so if it becomes necessary. However, those around him are denying it’s necessary. As regular readers of this report will know I have been saying that we should be using all the tools available to us to prevent further infections by following the plan B guidelines for the last few weeks. All the warning signs are there, I cannot understand why the Cabinet Members do not see this now. The Science clearly says there is a problem now. Why is politics not following the science? The early warning signs are that despite less tests for Covid being done, well below a million today at 870,223, The number of positive tests continues to be very high with 49,139 reported today, the highest since March. We will see 50,000 positives a day very soon. That’s more than the figures from Russia.

Although there is now a disconnect between community and hospital figures the hospital There seems to be an increasing clamour for England to return to the plan B the Prime Minister figures are also creeping up but not at the same rate, with 223 deaths recorded yesterday and a further 179 today. It amounts to a 21% increase over the last week. The death rate has risen again to 1.2 /100k of the population.

Admissions on a single day were 921 reported on 15 th October and a further 869 on the 16th October. The total number in hospital now stands at 7,891 on 19th October and 850 are on a ventilator. Last week the figures were lower. Vaccination figures show today 49.5million first jabs, that’s 86.1% and for second Jabs 45.43 million or 79%. I am sure the drive to do the vaccinations has slowed down as there are a large number of outstanding vaccinations to do for teenagers and so far, a relatively few third vaccines have been given to senior citizens. Not only have I been kept waiting, so have thousands on others. Only a third of teenagers have had their first jab which may be why 110,000 children are off school with Covid. South West England now have some of the highest rates of Covid in the Country with seven Local Authorities in the top eight. Bath and North Somerset are the worst affected followed by Cheltenham. This is the area where 43, 000 false negative tests were erroneous. This means they were not isolated and spread the virus with ease. Add to this, a new sub-variant of the Delta mutation is said to be “expanding in England” It is known as the AY.4.2 mutation of the Delta variant. Some 6% of the UK isolates are of this sub-mutation and it is thought to be 10% more transmissible that the ordinary Delta Variant. I know reintroducing control measures will prove unpopular, and the Government is concerned to be aware of popular opinion. We cannot move into winter with 200 deaths a day and 50,000 new cases a day. As well as considering a possible flu epidemic and the huge backlog for the NHS in screening and cold surgery. I now many NHS staff are on their knees already. To illustrate this, I quote a story of a senior nurse who went home after a late shift so exhausted she went straight to bed. She realised after being in bed for 10 minutes that she was still wearing a mask! I strongly recommend we do not wait for this Government to act but to start plan B with immediate effect. Start wearing masks again when out in public, remember the two-metre rule, bring it back into your daily thinking, get out your alcohol based antiseptic sprays and gels, use them on your hands and frequently used surfaces. Always use a mask on public transport and in shops and supermarkets. Remember the mask protects others even more than it protects you. Try and avoid night clubs, pubs and other large public gatherings. Wear a mask and respect distances again when in church. If you can work from home its well worth doing it again whenever you can. Enlightened employers should encourage this and discourage the unvaccinated from going to work at all. I heard of a tragic case this week, a young student, brother of a doctor, who refused to be immunised is now in hospital seriously ill with Covid. His family and friends pleaded with him to get immunised with no success. The best protection we have is still full immunisation. 4 million of us have not had a second jab. Many more are waiting for booster doses and our youngster often do not see the need for them. Every one of us now needs to campaign to increase the number of vaccines being given very day. We may need to recall the retired NHS staff that turned out at first but have been stood down. There does not seem to be a shortage of vaccine, so we need to double the daily immunisations being given.

England has the greatest problems of the 4 UK nations but the least number of controls. I think the time has come to swallow our collective pride and bring back some mandatory controls before things get out of control completely. I would like to think someone in Government will now take action. I know this report is read widely. At a high-power emergency conference in Albania, Six people from different countries were reading it regularly and were seated together for dinner. Spread it far and wide, try to influence others. Engage with your local MP if you can, you are welcome to share my thoughts with anyone, but above all use your common sense with Plan B now so that you and your loved ones stay safe through what is widely predicted to be a tough winter

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