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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 19 July 2021

It is somewhat ironic that today of all days we find the Prime Minister and the Chancellor both in 10 days self-isolation as Covid contacts and the Health Secretary also isolated at home with a Covid infection. We wish Sajid Javid a speedy recovery and hope he remains minimally affected.

The statistics for the weekend and today continues the pattern we are now used to as we progress through this third wave. The number of tests done were around 1.1 million over the weekend but have dipped today to 1.05 M today. I suspect this is due to a combination of the extreme heat and the weekend effect.

The numbers of positive tests were 54,000 on Saturday, 48k on Sunday and just short of 40K today. At first look, this is exciting and I do hope it is the beginning of a trend. More likely though it’s a weekend effect with the extreme weather putting off people from going to be tested. If I am right tomorrow and Wednesday with figures above 50k again. I fear we are still about 4 weeks from this next peak.

Daily deaths have dropped as well, Saturday 41, Sunday 25, and Monday 19. Again, I wish it was significant, but it is due to the difficulty officially registering deaths at the weekend. There have been 283 deaths in the last 7 days. the rate hovers between 0.3 and 0.4 per 100k of the population.

Health data is sparse at weekends. the latest figure for the number of inpatients in hospital beds is 4094 on 16th July, and 742 were admitted in one day on 13th July. 572 patients are being treated on a ventilator.

The number coming forward for immunisations is falling off which is a bit disappointing. I think it reflects that from those eligible we have now vaccinated the vast majority who were willing and we are now down to those who are hesitant. 87.9% of eligible people have had their first vaccine. This is a remarkable figure, but we can still do better, we should aim for another 5%. With the second vaccine, we are at 68.5%. We should be able to catch up with the number that has had the first jab. Please as a top priority ensure you have both jabs.

It looks as though a decision about children being immunised is about to be made. Various official leaks suggest that those within 3 months of their 18th birthday will get one as well as children over 12 who are designated vulnerable or are living in a household with those vulnerable. The vaccine appears very safe, but there is the possibility of about a 1 in a million risk of significant side effects. no one wants to take a risk but on balance I believe this is a sensible risk to take to protect vulnerable children. These jabs are likely to start soon.

Booster Covid jabs are coming soon and so is seasonal influenza which will be given to all adults over 50 and children between 12 and 16. This will most likely be done through GPs. Autumn is going to be very busy which is why we need to deal with covid issues sooner rather than later.

I think it should be perfectly possible to stop the 10s of thousands having to self-isolate now. Providing the person involved can prove that have had both jabs and the second one more than 14 days previously. They should now remain at work and do lateral flow tests regularly for 10 days.

Many businesses, especially much of industry cannot get going again. The NHS needs all its staff at work even Government needs its Ministers at work in their offices rather than stuck at home. There are many ongoing trials that demonstrate this would be quite safe. To my mind, this is the next most important step.

I have no desire or need to go tonight clubs or discos. I went shopping in the supermarket as normal this morning and it was no different to last week. Mask wearing all round and excellent trolley courtesy. Long may it last.

Remember now we no longer rely on the police to protect us from Covid, but one another. If you do not feel safe walk away. Wear a mask to protect me and others. In other circumstances wear it to protect yourself.

I always give learner drivers extra space especially if behind them on a hill start. We should do the same for the elderly and frail, keep apart as much as possible. It's ideal weather to meet your guests outside in the shade.

Stay safe everyone and show we can use common sense. I appreciate all your messages and comments, I have also been told I am preaching to the converted. If that is so, it's great these reports have worked, So go out and share them with the hesitant and the sceptics. And keep sending comments and suggestions to me.

Keep safe and watch out for sunburn and heat exhaustion.

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