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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 1 February 2022

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Last night’s data was not published until nearly 11pm and today’s has been delayed an hour. Boris may get it, but I cannot see any substantive changes in the data and there are no unexpected differences.

Today it is reported that 1,217, 971 tests were completed yesterday, of which 112,468 were positive. It is only the second time in a week that the figure has topped a 100,000. Normally, Tuesdays reveal the highest figures of the week. Overall, in the last 7 days there have been 14,000 less positive tests, a drop of 2.2%. The positive rate has risen slightly and is back over 1,000 at 1,033.2 per 100k of the population.

The hospital data is very encouraging. The number admitted on the single day of 28th January was only 1,472, whereas most days recently it was over 1,700. It is a drop of 11% over the last week.

The total number in hospital with Covid has dropped to 15,669 yesterday. Only 511 people were on a ventilator. A week ago, we were seeing 17,000 or more people in hospital.

Tuesday’s death figure is always high as well and reflects catch up after a weekend. There were 219 deaths recorded today compared with over 400 a week ago. Over the last week the number of deaths recorded has dropped by 226 or 12.3%.

The vaccine figures are almost unchanged. The number for 3 vaccines completed has reached 37.34 million, compared with 37.10 million a week ago.

Liz Truss is the latest member of the cabinet to go down with Covid. I was sorry to see in a packed House in Parliament that very few of the cabinet were wearing masks. Even they are still recommending ( not enforcing) the wearing of masks in crowded indoor spaces. I was, however, pleased to see almost 100% mask wearing in Tesco where customers were being politely asked to continue wearing them to protect their staff.

I understand Covid has now been confirmed in 37 people amongst the Olympic personnel.

Russia has reported 621 deaths in the last 24 hours. The Canadian Premier Justine Trudeau has also contracted Covid.

Beijing has reacted to 2 cases in different communities by effectively locking them down and isolating them.

The Canadian police are investigating a group of antivaxxers who have desecrated a series of monuments.

There is now talk of dropping the requirements to be fully immunised against Covid if you work on the front line in the NHS. What do past and present NHS colleagues feel about this? I worked a few years for a hospital occupational health service. Almost everybody wanted to be protected against Hepatitis B . We immunised the whole community. Anyone being employed willingly had an immunisation. There was no refusals. Similarly, we protected everyone against TB. It made sense. I fear today’s refusal by so many health staff is a civil liberties issue. I really do not know how a Hospital Occupational Health Service can be told not to immunise those who do not want it.

As many of you have noted JVT resigned and the other two senior medical and scientific advisors have been side-lined. The PM clearly thinks he knows it all now and can give medical information with impunity. Sage has not been even mentioned in the last week or so.

I am sure you can see we are moving in the right direction but we have to consider the pandemic globally not in isolation. It is not over yet and those of us with common sense or with any medical knowledge will appreciate this and continue to protect themselves and others in a careful way.

I was asked what plan K was. It is a plan aimed at giving the maximum freedom and protection at the same time compatible with the present stages of the pandemic. The details can easily be adjusted up and down depending on circumstances. Continue the good practice of frequent hand cleansing with an alcohol-based cleanser. It helps protect from many other infections as well. Wear a face mask in crowded places out-doors and definitely in crowded shops and public transport. Keep your distance from other people and forget shaking hands or hugging for a bit longer. Above all have all 3 vaccines. I recommend still doing LFTS for a while longer.

Remember we are only a nasty variant away from massive problems. We do not have 95% of the population fully vaccinated to claim herd immunity. Some places in the world have less than 5% protection. There is a long way to go to keep us all protected, but plan K aims to keep you as safe as possible.

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