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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 15th November 2021

With the terror threat raised in the UK after yesterday’s car bomb explosion in Liverpool and the WHO declaring Europe is now the epicentre of the pandemic, the Prime Minister went on to warn of the blizzard from the East, meaning no one can be in any doubt that the Covid Pandemic remains a significant threat to us all in the UK. Europe is the only area where there is significant growth now. I have been mentioning places like Austria, Sweden and Romania as well as problems in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The UK has now some of the lowest restrictions in Europe but should this be the case? We know that our Health Service is on its knees. We were promised tougher action if it becomes necessary to protect our Health Service. Is it necessary to act now to protect our Health Service. There are no extra staff available now, it takes many years to train doctors and nurses. We cannot just steal them from other parts of the world. There are few left to be recruited, we have no option but to continue with our underfunded, under-resourced service, but we can make an effort to protect it from further pressure.

We can protect the NHS by continuing the precautions we have used already. Now is not the time to relax. Remembrance Day and its associated services are rightly very important to us all but especially for the older generations who lived through the last War. Watching the services from the Cenotaph and elsewhere it was rare to see masks being used and social distancing just did not exist. Should we allow our veterans who braved bombs and bullets for us, show how brave they are now, by discarding masks. I think not. I dread to think how many caught Covid because many of us did not remember to protect one another wearing masks and keeping our distance. I am sure we will see the result in 2 weeks time.

Statistics are much reduced over weekends and Monday still reflects Sunday. There were less than a million tests done each day, between 900,000 and 1 million. The numbers testing positive has increased again and today was 39,705. There have been 30,000 more positive cases in the last 7 days which is a significant 12.5% rise. The case rate is creeping up again and is now 364.6/100k.

The number of deaths is never reliable over the weekends. There were 1,083 deaths in the last 7 days, 108 less than the previous week. The death rate remains at 1.4 per 100k of the population.

There have been 50.55 million first doses given, that is 88% of the population. There have been 46.02 million second jabs which has now reached 80%. For third and booster jabs almost a quarter have been done, that’s 22.4% or 12.86 million.

More changes in immunisation arrangements have been announced today, the JCVI have announced they are rolling out boosters now to the 40-49 age group as well as offering second doses to 16-17year olds 12 weeks after their first.

Everyone agrees that vaccine is our best tool to combat the pandemic. There is enough to go round and everybody needs to have at least 3 doses eventually. We know it’s not 100 percent effective but is at least 90%.

The government has confirmed they are looking to add booster doses to the NHS app and to Covid passes.

Meanwhile Israel has started immunising 5 year olds in the same way as the USA. Wales are now requiring Covid passes for cinemas, theatres and concert halls . I am sure we will be asked to use them in England sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile DEFRA have announced an out-break of bird flu on a farm near Preston in Lancashire. All birds on the farm are to be culled and a large surrounding area are under special restrictions. The PM reassured us our turkey was safe for Christmas, but he was referring to the work force require to prepare them. Five thousand workers from the EU have been given entry permits to help. In my view if turkey farms are hit with bird flu this could still be a problem. I just hope many are already in freezers.

In a sad story from Cambodia, seven labourers have died after drinking “alcohol” they had been given to use to disinfect a Covid quarantine camp. It has not been confirmed yet but I suspect it was likely to have been the poisonous methyl alcohol they were using. This error regularly claims lives. We must try to ensure people understand the difference between ethyl and methyl alcohol.

The message from me remains; please get immunised if you are eligible. Help the extra people invited to get theirs and still try to persuade the reluctant that it is both very safe and very sensible to have theirs. Face masks and spacing remain very important in confined spaces or large crowds.

Please continue to feed back your thoughts and comments on what I write. I would like to hear from all of you but especially this week from those who have caught Covid despite being double vaccinated. What were your thoughts and feelings, were you able to work out how it got to you despite vaccine protection.

Please all stay very safe by being very alert and using your masks and social distancing.

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