The latest figures released continue to show substantial improvement across the board. Less than 100, 000 people have tested positive in the last week for the first time for many months. We know most cases are asymptomatic, so this figure does not indicate how the pandemic is going. Only 63,296 positive cases in 1.6 million tests. The other statistics more than justify the removal of official testing as the UK tries to pull itself back into a more normal post-Covid way of life.
The number of people with Covid admitted to hospital in the week ending 10th of May was only 5,776 compared to the figure for the week ending 3rd May which was 6,905. This is a remarkable 17% reduction.
The total number in hospital with Covid on the 16th May was only 7,613, whereas on 9th of May it was 9,619. A huge drop of 2,000 less people in hospital. The number requiring a ventilator continues to fall and is now only 189 on 16th March.
The number of deaths in a week have fallen right back to less than 1,000 per week. For week ending today the figure was 986 compared with 1,512 on the 9th May. A fall of 32 %. The death rate is only 1.2 per 100,000 now.
Turning to the immunisation figures. A further rise of 0.1% to a total of 92.7% for the numbers having a first vaccine. There was a similar 0.1% rise in the second doses to 86.7%. With the 3rd dose, it has risen 0.2% to 68.6%. It is never too late to start your immunisations. 7% need to come forward still in the UK. It is disappointing to see that the Government do not see fit to publish the number of 4th or spring boosters that have been given. As you become eligible, please step forward. There is a danger that people will think its all over and stop bothering to get jabbed. It is nearly all over only because so many are fully protected. Please do not stop having boosters or we will see a flare up again.
Sadly, this week has seen the first conviction in the UK for a Covid related murder. It happened back at the height of things when a paranoid tenant attacked his two landlords over Covid security.
Sajid Javid, our Health Minister, speaking at a meeting of G7 Health Ministers discussed the need for much better information sharing at the start of a potential pandemic. He suggested secrecy in China in the initial stages contributed to the very slow global response. If it had started in the UK, USA, or a European country the response and information sharing would have been much quicker. He went on to support plans from the G20 for a financial fund aimed at supporting pandemic preparedness. The UK are still 3rd behind the USA and Italy in the rankings for per capita deaths. That is if you trust the reliability of the statistics from elsewhere.
Critics of the UK suggest we were too late to lock down, but we have received much praise and credit for the efficient and swift vaccine roll out and being one of the first to lift restrictions. The WHO now consider the Zero Tolerance policy in China and Hong Kong was not sustainable.
Javid concluded that no country got it all right, but a key lesson was to learn to focus on a pharmaceutical defence and not societal restraints.
One country that seems to have got it all wrong seems to be North Korea. They have declared a National State of Emergency after finally admitting they are affected by the pandemic. Nobody in North Korea has been immunised, they have none of their own and have refused offers of vaccine. There is also a very limited medical infrastructure. The President has allegedly executed 2 people for Covid related crimes. These included a customs official who did not officially follow the prevention rules while importing goods from China. Many of the residents of North Korea are malnourished. Adequate food has been scarce for many years. Up to 2 million people are thought to have died in the great famine of the 1990s.
The question now is whether they will accept any help. Even South Korea has offered help. They will need all the international help and support they can get.
A total of 47 countries have now scrapped all Covid travel restrictions. Remember if you are travelling abroad make sure you check the current situation online especially with regards to entering and leaving other countries. The rules are changing all the time. Renewing passports is taking a very long time. Some countries require at least 6 months nonexpired time. Make sure you check now for planned late summer holidays.
Eric Clapton has recently tested positive for Covid after his performance at the Royal Albert Hall on May 8th. He has cancelled two upcoming gigs in Europe. He is now aged 77 and a critic of vaccine and any pandemic restrictions. Sadly, his views have finally caused him to have the infection. I wish him a speedy recovery.
A dramatic and substantial improvement for us in England, a potentially devastating situation in North Korea where it could delay the whole world from recovery. The mutations and variants are still quiet with nothing worrying to report.
The British people are showing they can use common sense, they are following the guidelines. If you are very vulnerable or not immunised still take great care. The rest of us can steadily bring back the normal behaviours of the past. Somebody told me they thought the practice of shaking hands will stop. I really hope not. I certainly do not want to bump elbows in the future. A good firm handshake will do me. What do you think? Do you want to stop shaking hands?
Stay safe everybody.