I am pleased that today’s figures confirm the optimism of a couple of days ago was justified. We need a few more days data to be sure that the return to school has not caused a rise in cases.
The number of tests done today is still a very significant 1.41 million but, is actually the lowest number this year. Looked at over a 7-day period it is still 5.9% more than the week before. This could be due to the shortage of LFTS widely reported, but equally could be due to less people feeling the need to test or again due to people not bothering to report a negative test. I cannot tell from these stats.
The number testing positive is now 129,587, and 120,821 yesterday. When looked at weekly There have been 243,000 less positive tests which is a drop of 19% over 7 days Exactly one week ago there were around 200,000 positive cases each day. The rate of positive tests has fallen from a peak of almost 2,000 per 100k a week ago to 1,736.8 per 100k of the population today.
The number of admissions on a single day has dropped every day this week. The latest figure is 2,049 admitted on 8th January.
The number of inpatients is currently 16,737 yesterday, which also has dropped now for the first time with over 19 thousand reported on 10th January. The numbers on a ventilator have also dropped to 793. I have now spoken with ITU staff who confirm they are now using non-invasive ventilation and high flow oxygen techniques much more frequently. These techniques have greatly reduced the requirement for intubation. This means this statistic is no longer an indicator of the business of an ITU. The newer techniques require special training and there is now a considerable shortage of people able to perform this type of care which can not be done by the military or by doctors and nurses transferred from other work. This must be considered a serious issue of concern for NHS staffing.
The death figures are not so encouraging with 379 reported yesterday and 398 today. The death rate based on the last weeks figures is now 1.9 per 100,000 and there has been a 44% increase in this last week compared to the week before. This may be just a quirk of statistics, we know that first, the number of cases begin to fall, it takes 2 weeks before we begin to see hospital admissions fall, and another 2 weeks before deaths fall. We may have to wait a while for this lag to show itself properly.
The vaccine data is still very slowly improving Now 90.4% of first jabs and 62.5% of third jabs. I know I say this in almost every report, but this is still the best way out of this pandemic.
I am also pleased to see a significant drop in the figures coming from South Africa where this Omicron surge began and it looks as though we are following the same pattern.
With our domestic news tied up with the definition of a party or with whether a tennis player should be deported. Here is some more important Covid news round up from around the world.
Germany has 80,000 more cases every day. France report 370,000 new cases with 3,969 in ITUs. The German Chancellor has spoken in favour of compulsory vaccine for all adults. Little Austria is swamped with 18 thousand new cases per day. Switzerland has halved its quarantine period from 10 to 5 days. There certainly is clear evidence it can be cut to 7 days. This cut to 5 days will be watched very carefully.
Things in Greece are interesting with over 32 thousand more cases on Tuesday the restrictions in bars and restaurants have been extended until 24th January. There is a requirement to wear double masks in supermarkets and public transport. Almost nobody wears a mask correctly, can we expect those with 2 can do any better?
In the USA they are suffering from transportation difficulties resulting in some local food shortages. This is leading to heated debates about whether school should remain open.
China has apparently agreed to provide 10 million more covid vaccine doses to Zimbabwe over this coming year.
An interesting development in Spain after a court case. Doctors will get up to £49,000 compensation for having to work with Covid patients without the benefits of PPE in the early months of the pandemic. I very much doubt that could ever happen here, but I doubt UK doctors would expect it either.
So I remain optimistic, we have a long way to go, but Omicron is just beginning to fade away and as yet there is no sign of any new variants causing any problem. The one found in France is not causing any concern.
Let’s get 95% of all over 12 years old triple vaccinated and we could see this revert to endemic by the end of 20222. In the meantime, keep going with your safety measures, be kind to yourselves and others. The days are getting longer again. Please stay Safe.