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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 17 January 2022

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

For those who liked my Novak joke, I am told he has been selected to play cricket for England as it took the Aussies two weeks to get him out.

Even allowing for the effect of a weekend almost all the figures are continuing in the right direction.

The number of tests done yesterday were only 1.27 million, the lowest figure this year, and compares with 1.4 m in the last few days. When we look at the figures for the last complete week, we see that there has been 2.55 million less tests done in a week, a 21% reduction. The number of these testing positive has been below 100,000 for the fourth consecutive day. The figure today was 84,429. Looked at over the week, there have been over 500,000 less that the very high number the week before. It’s a drop of 41.7%. If these figures were due to lack of available tests, then they would drop at similar percentages. In fact, the positive test fall is twice as much as the fall in the number of tests. This means again we can be sure that this is real and not due to an artifact. The positive rate has dropped back to 1,082/100k from 2,000 only a week or so ago.

The number of patients in hospital with Covid as of 14th January remains below 20, 000. The actual figure was 19,345. This is 400 less than the day before. The number on a ventilator has also dropped by 40 and is now 746. The last figure for admissions on a single day was 2,357 on 11th January. This had also fallen 313 over a 7-day period.

Vaccination figures are steadily catching up, 90.6% first doses, 83.4% second doses and now 63.4% third doses. Remember this is the most important aspect of our battle with Covid. I will not stop saying this until all three figures are at 95%.

The death figures given last week remained high, even though they have dropped over the weekend to just 85 registered yesterday. This is a weekend effect, and I fear will be very much higher tomorrow. The death rate is now 2.4 per 100,000. Remember there is a lag between hospital admission and possible deaths. The number on ventilators has dropped, a number will have got better and sadly a few will have died despite every effort. If the figures follow the expected pattern we should see a drop in deaths now over the next two weeks.

This continued movement in the right direction is very welcome and would seem to vindicate the decision not to increase restrictions any further at present despite the many calls to do so. In my opinion we are not yet ready to go further with easing restrictions, but it will not be soon. I am sure Boris will tell us when we can celebrate with drinks after work or socially distanced in the garden.

Teenagers aged 16-17 can now have a booster jab if its 3 months since their second one. This will make another 40,000 people immunised with 3 doses. In addition, children aged 12-15 who either live with an extremely vulnerable individual or are very vulnerable themselves can also have a third dose.

A reminder now that the quarantine period has been reduced to 5 full days. You can leave quarantine if you have two negative lateral flow tests on day 5 and day 6.

Looking around all the countries of Europe, Germany, Italy, France and Poland have all reported more than 100,000 deaths whereas Iceland has only had just 44.

Greece have started to fine their senior citizens over the age of 60 each month they remain unvaccinated.

The USA is concerned that there is a relatively slow uptake of vaccine amongst their children. There are still over 800 thousand cases per day and almost 2,000 daily deaths. They are only 63% fully vaccinated still.

On Friday of this week I want to try an experiment. It will be your turn to write a short report. Many countries are represented in the readership, so let’s have reports from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and many others for a start. Add it on the end of the report I will write on Wednesday. I would also like a volunteer to report and perhaps interpret the daily statistics for England in the same way as I do. It will not matter at all if things are duplicated.

I will be away from Thursday till Saturday attending the funeral of a very dear aunt who was aged 99 when she died at the New Year, having just made it to her 100th year. It is going to be a bit of an adventure taking nearly 9 hours to get there by train with several long changes. Obviously, my attendance is subject to a negative lateral flow test and British rail not cancelling too many trains because of staff shortages.

Normal service will hopefully be restored a week today.

Meanwhile, stay safe, remember the basics, no parties just yet, Boris will tell us when we can.

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