Commentary

Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 16 February 2022

The number of tests being done have dropped significantly this week with only just over 880,000 on each of the last two days. The drop may be due to the fact people are on half term holiday and therefore not testing. It is equally possible that people have got fed up with testing and have either stopped doing them or not bothering to report the result.


Inevitably the numbers testing positive have also dropped, just over 54,000 today and 46,000 yesterday. Again, at first sight it seems good news, but I fear lack of testing may well artificially reduce the number testing positive.

If the figures can be relied on the positive rate has now dropped to 614.2 per 100,000 of the population.


Hospital data continues to fall every day. This is a measure of the severity of the disease not its prevalence. There are now only 12,092 in hospital with Covid and only 354 on a ventilator.


Deaths are still too high. 199 were reported today, but over the last 7 day period the number of deaths has dropped by 440, or almost 29%. The death rate is now 1.6 per 100,000 of the population.


The vaccine statistics show 91.3% have had a first dose, 84.9% have had 2 doses and 65.9% have had 3 doses. The number having four is not being recorded. Both the Welsh and Scottish Governments have authorised the immunisation of children aged 5-11 years old. I anticipate England will follow them with a similar decision based on advice from SAGE. It will not be mandatory but will be sensible if they are vulnerable or are part of a family with vulnerable adults in, either because of their work or underlying health problems.


Looking at the global use of vaccine, Cuba comes top of the league when looking at the number of jabs given per 100 people. Cuba have now given 307 doses per 100 people. Chile comes second with 247 per hundred people. England comes 22nd in the list, with only 204 doses per 100 people. Israel who had been out in front have now dropped back and are not in the top 22.


One poor man in Turkey has been test positive a total of 78 times!


2 people in Birmingham have been charged with selling fake Covid tests.


A new trial co-ordinated from St Georges hospital London but also involving 24 other hospitals has started. They aim to recruit 3,000 volunteers . Half will be given the Moderna 4th dose and the other half will be given Biontech’s new vaccine which is DNA based and contains genetic material specific to the Omicron variant.


Switzerland plans to remove virtually all restrictions tonight. Meanwhile the WHO has urged the UK to continue wearing masks even though there is no longer a legal requirement.


Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, who with others developed the Covid vaccine which has saved thousands of lives, has the quote of the day. “ I think it would be beneficial if we are still taking care of those around us.” As simple statement with a profound meaning. There are very many vulnerable people in our community. It behoves us all to care for and protect them. As the WHO says the best way to do this is to wear a mask when in a closed environment with strangers and to keep 2 metres apart. You will know this as part of plan K.


I saw a classic example of how not to use statistics. There was a report that the number of patients with Covid in a local ITU had risen by 25%. That sounded alarming but what had actually happened was that the number in he ITU was 4. One further patient was admitted, making 5. The statistics were correct but should never be used when dealing with small numbers. Maybe it was aimed to give the wrong impression. The news media love to scaremonger.


Please continue to make your comments and have healthy caring discussions. I know many of you reading this have health challenges themselves, lets ensure we keep the supportive caring network around us.


Listen to the WHO, Sarah Gilbert and SAGE, they all have a profound understanding of what is happening. Let’s keep one another safe.

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