Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 13th September 2021
The UK seems to have settled into a new normal way of life now, with half the country following the advisory guidelines and the other half largely ignoring them. Covid 19 clearly continues to take its toll. There was a child death over the weekend in a family who did not wish to be vaccinated.
Looking first at the statistics. Nearly one and a quarter million tests are being done (less yesterday because it was a Sunday). The number positive has been between 29.1 thousand and 30.8 thousand, so quite steady, after allowing for variations on a day-today basis.
Death reporting is always affected by the weekend. 156 reported on Friday but only 56 on Saturday and 61 on Sunday. Looked at over 7 days there have been 198 more deaths than the week before. The death rate is 25.1% higher.
No hospital data is published over weekends. The latest figures we have are that 1,076 people were admitted to hospital on 7th September. On the 10th. September 8,256 people in total were in hospital beds. 1,055 of those were requiring a ventilator. The ventilated figure shows an insignificant drop from 1,060 on a ventilator on 8th September.
The immunisation statistics show 48.39 million first doses or 89.1% and 44.04 million second doses or 81 %.are now given.
As the figures will show, that 19% is key to the number of further deaths Covid is going to claim. We can and indeed should still do all we can to overcome vaccine hesitancy.
For the first seven months of this year from 2nd January to 2nd July there were 51,281 deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive Covid test. Only 1.2% of those deaths were in fully vaccinated people. Put another way 98.8% were not fully vaccinated. These deaths should not have been necessary. Catching Covid when not fully immunised exposes you to a 11 times greater risk of death.
The Chief Medical Officers of the 4 nations of the UK have unanimously agreed to offer vaccine to the children aged over 12. They have looked long and hard at the issue. They are not in any way at odds with the JVCI who said on balance just to save lives that it was not worthwhile. Because the brief of the CMOs was much wider they came to the conclusion that the beneficial effects on education would be worthwhile. The immunisation programme would be run by the school immunisation programme. Children have capacity to consent and any disagreements will be negotiated to ensure no undue pressure is applied to get it done. Protecting the vulnerable and elderly in the family is another clear indication. If you are unsure about what to do my advice will be to go for it.
Tomorrow it is expected that Boris Johnson will address the subject of boosters. It is widely expected he will recommend third doses to the elderly and the vulnerable. Again, if you fall into the category where it is offered, I encourage you to go for it.
The argument that doses should be used in the third world first is strong but sadly experience shows that there is still a very inadequate infrastructure to ensure they are distributed and given equitably. Too many will find their way to the black market or just be wasted. The world must unite to find ways around this quickly. We need to finish eradicating polio as well.
The UK has cancelled its order of vaccine from Valnerva. Apparently, Prague has 45,000 doses of the OAZ vaccine about to expire in October, it would seem nobody wishes to use it. Czech Radio reports that as nobody wants it will have to be destroyed.
Several countries are beginning to review what went right and what went wrong in the management of the pandemic. It is something the UK will do in due course. France on the other hand has already announced that their former French Health Minister is under formal investigation.
If you are fully vaccinated your risk of death or very serious illness from Covid is greatly reduced, but not completely eliminated. Give yourself the best chance possible now. 100 deaths a day is far too many so stay vigilant, use your common sense, do a mini risk assessment, and use appropriate precautions so you can stay safe. That includes a flu jab and a booster Covid jab if eligible. Boris will tell you about that tomorrow.