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Doc Hines - Covid News and Views - 3rd August 2021

The figures for today have included the young people aged 16-17 for the first time, however numbers are relatively small, with the change not obviously apparent, but it is more accurate.

As the children have returned to school and to regular testing again, so the number of daily tests has increased again. There were over 1 million done yesterday and 1.15 million today. Sadly, the number of positive tests has also risen over 42,000 positives today and over 38,000 yesterday. Looked at over 7 days there has been 945 more positive tests representing a rise of 0.4%. There are now 351.9 positive cases for every 100,000 of the population.

Death figures remain high, 178 reported yesterday and 121 today. Over the last 7 days there have been 798 more deaths than the week before, a rise of 5.6%. The overall death rate remains at 1.1 per 100,000 of the population.

The number admitted on a single day is still creeping up, 848 on 29th August and 985 on 30th August. There are 7,541 people in hospital on 2nd September and of these 1,038 are on a ventilator. The number in hospital dropped by just over 50 since 1st December. Eight more patients required ventilation. These figures are too small to be significant, but the overall trend is upwards.

The numbers immunised continue to hover close to 88.6% of first jabs and 79.4% for second jabs. They now reflect everyone over the age of 16 years.

It has been announced that many of our scientific advisors and some members of SAGE have been sent offensive messages and several have received suspect packages. The police are taking extra security measure to protect them.

It has very quietly been released tonight that the JCVI do not want to recommend routinely immunising well children between 12 and 16. They have, however, recommended that all children with chronic ill health including heart, lung, liver, or kidney and neurological conditions should be immunised. That is considerably wider than previously and includes all chronic conditions and not just those with impaired immunity. It is around 200,000 children. They advise the Government that they can seek further expert advice from paediatricians. It is a finely balance judgement with the risk of death from Covid in this group about 1 in 2 million. This balanced a similar risk of about 1 in 2 million of getting a myocarditis from the vaccine which could also be fatal.

As we debate immunising children, the Americans have started to immunise animals. At the Detroit Zoo they have started to immunise tigers, lions, chimps and gorillas. I do wonder how they obtained consent?

In the last report I mentioned the new Mu variant found in Colombia. Today it has been confirmed here in the UK. It remains a variant of interest and does not seem to pose a threat. The EU and Astra Zenica have resolved their long running row. AZ have agreed to supply 200 million doses of their vaccine to the EU. The EU say that some will be sent outside the EU to ease global supplies. It does a bit sound as though we won’t use it ourselves but will give it to others. At least it will be gratefully received in many countries who cannot afford it. Across the EU 437 million doses of Pfizer BioN tech vaccine have been given, 92 million doses of the OAZ vaccine and 77 million Moderna doses.

As schools get back into the swing of things, I fear we will see rises in cases again. It is crucial that the extra approved age groups and those with chronic ill health get immunised as quickly as possible. I can understand those calling for the PM to take action now to protect all teenagers and at the same time respect my peers who do not want to get their advice wrong. It is often said that there are lies, dammed lies and statistics. You can only have accurate advice if you can have accurate figures to work with.

We must all continue with the now voluntary restrictions on our life if we want to get through this winter. Follow all the guidelines, do nothing you are not happy doing.

Let me have your news and views as well. Above all stay safe.

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