Commentary

Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 14 March 2022

Yet again the data was late, it finally was posted at 5 30pm, but lacked a lot of detail from Scotland. It is supposed to be released at 4pm each weekday.


4,700,764 tests have been done in the last week which is 325k more than the previous week and is a rise of 7.4 %. It is encouraging to see tests still being done. The British public have not abandoned them. Common sense is prevailing.


The tests have revealed 444,201 positive results in the last week, 144,000 more than the previous week. This is a 48% rise in the number of new cases in a week and proves beyond any doubt that cases are on the rise again. The positive rate is 671.6 per 100k of the population.


There is evidence that once again the elderly are being affected more than the younger generations. There are more cases of the subvariant BA.2 which seems more highly transmissible than the first subvariant of omicron.


The hospital data has not been updated for a few days. On 10th March 11,944 were in hospital and on the 11 March 254 people were on a ventilator. Just one more than a day earlier.


Deaths continue at just over 100 per day, there were 726 in the last 7-day period, a rise of just 15 from the previous week.


Vaccinations continue and the number having a first jab has increased by 0.1% of a million, (that’s actually 1,000) to 91.7%, it shows it’s never too late to change your mind and get immunised. The number of second doses is now 85.6% and third doses 67% .


By the end of this month everybody over 75 years old and everyone considered vulnerable should be called for their 4th or spring dose. It is vital you have yours as soon as you are offered it. This is particularly important as the current sub variant is attacking the elderly more than before. Fortunately, serious illness is rare if you have already had 3 doses. However, a few are still serious, and we have over 100 deaths per day still.


I was most concerned to read a report today that the employers Wilko have told staff that if they test positive for Covid and feel well they can continue at work. Although mandatory self-solation has been stopped you are still advised to self-isolate and this will apply until 1st April. The company are out on their own advising against current Government guidelines. Moreover, I consider we have a social duty not to put our fellow workers at risk by going to work when clearly infectious.


Around the world in areas like the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy cases are rising. China is seeing several severe local outbreaks and South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are recording new surges of infection.


It is now impossible to get an accurate picture about the prevalence of Covid in Ukraine. The WHO are working hard on the ground to ensure as much public health as possible remains available to everyone. Thy have just produced the second health report published on the 11th March. They state the Priority Public Health concerns are conflict related trauma and injuries, exacerbated by the increasing intensity of violence and the lack of access to health facilities as well as a general lack of medicines and other life-saving equipment.


They report a risk of excess illness and death from non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer due to a disruption of normal medical supplies.


The WHO have serious concerns about the risks of emergence and spread of infectious disease such as measles, polio, Covid 19, and other respiratory infections including tuberculosis / HIV Aids, and diarrhoeal disorders due to widespread destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure. There is inadequate immunisations, population movements and over-crowding all contributing to the problems. The one good thing is that it is still cold there which slows the spread of things like diarrhoeal disease.


Risks to mental health due to the significant stress from the conflict as well as living with Covid for 2 years. There are major safeguarding and protection issues, with risks of human trafficking particularly for unaccompanied children amongst the refugees.


Risks to gender-based violence as women and children are travelling without the men of the family.

Finally, there is a serious risk to maternal health due to lack of obstetric care leading to rises in both maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. 80,000 births are expected in the next 3 months.


The WHO are taking all possible action to coordinate efforts to reduce the effects on those in Ukraine.


It follows that we have a duty to help in any way possible not only in the conflict zone but with refugees and with taking care still to minimise the effects of Covid.


Please continue to isolate if you find yourself positive for Covid. And use all your common sense to minimise risks to you and your loved ones.

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