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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 10 September 2021

There are no surprises in the latest statistics published. The slow steady rise in the figures continue. As a result, Covid has almost entirely been pushed off the news by the situation in Afghanistan, which is more newsworthy. Many parts of the world remain much more at risk than the UK and immunisation levels are very low particularly on the African continent. Because it is not making headlines it does not mean the risks have gone away. There remains 20% of British citizens not fully vaccinated. There is always a risk of new mutations which could be resistant to new strains of the virus appearing or a new variant arriving. I do still need to monitor carefully what is happening.

Over the last two days about 1.24 million tests have been done each day and around 38,000 have been positive each day. There has been an 11.5% increase in the number of positive cases, and it is in the community as 392 cases for every 100, 000 people.Deaths seem to have settled at around 150 per day, 147 today and 167 yesterday. The weekend will distort figures now until Tuesday. The death rate is very low for the number of cases at 1.2 per 100,000 cases. This shows that todays Covid illness is generally less severe thanks to cases being younger and often part immunised. It has been argued that the drop in deaths is because the disease has changed. This interpretation is not true as a comparison will road accident deaths will show. After the introduction of seat belts there was a dramatic drop in the number of people killed in road traffic accidents. We were told that up to 80% of those being killed were not wearing a seat belt to start with, as people complied so the death rate dropped. The campaign was effective. Now many years later almost everyone wears a belt routinely. If a study were done today on deaths from motor vehicle accidents. It would show that in fatal RTAs some 90% of victims were wearing seat belts. I hope its obvious that seat belts do not cause deaths. The number of total deaths has fallen greatly, and they have saved many lives. There were 863 people admitted on 5th September and this rose to 1,063 on 6th September, this is a 3,6% rise but may not be a continuing trend, The other hospital data is strange like we saw last week. The data is basically the same on each day suggesting it has not been updated, Thirteen new patients were added to the total in hospital without changing the recording date of 8th December. The number on a ventilator remained at 1,060. The number of first immunisations done is now 48.37 million or 89% Second doses have now reached 43.8 million or 80.6% We must go on pushing these figures higher. Because of the concerns about patients’ self-treating for Covid in Australia. The drug Ivermectin has been banned for all off label use. This means it can be prescribed as an anti-parasitic drug but not use to treat Covid. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has taken this step following another death due to overdose of the drug. It can be quite toxic. It may be used by some of you to treat dogs for worms. Here in the UK I believe there are safer more effective drugs for humans and many dogs react to it. The FDA and the WHO also strongly discourage the use of ivermectin. Another drug used by many to self-treat called hydroxychloroquine or just chloroquine, is also considered ineffective and is not recommended for Covid patients, even if given with Azithromycin. In the UK the large Kingdom recovery trial and several other trials failed to show any benefit. The emergency use was blocked right back in June 2020 when they showed it had no benefits.

There are a range of drugs still in use and this is why, even if remaining at home, you should be monitored regularly at home and the appropriate drugs prescribed by a doctor. We remain most fortunate that the disease is relatively quiet, at the moment, it could be resting prior to re-emerging in a much more dangerous form. So please continue to be vigilant, keep your eyes on the bigger picture as well. Take sensible precautions remember the Hands Face and Space, please do not be encouraged into self medication, stick with conventional advice and stay safe.

We await news still on both immunising children and giving boosters to the vulnerable and elderly. If a booster is offered. please have it. The problems, in many countries are not just available vaccine but people trained to organise and administer the vaccine. Just maintaining the cold chain can be a major problem, Beware the drugs getting into the black market and being sold randomly. Giving our surplus vaccine to the third world may not be as easy as one might hope. Too much could be wasted it may save more lives to use it here for the most at risk. Stay safe everyone.

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