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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 1st October 2021

There is no covid data available yet as there are delays. I will start my report in the hope I can add the details at the end.

I was particularly sad to hear of yet another devastating hospital fire in Constanta in the East of Romania as I had worked there as an NGO during the crisis of the early 1990s helping their paediatrician. It was a fairly modern hospital but 9 people were killed in this fire on the Covid ITU. There are pictures on the net showing the evacuation of patients into the grounds. I must say the level of equipment has improved enormously since my time there.

Romania has the second lowest vaccine rate in patients. Over 12,000 cases were reported yesterday and all ITUs are at capacity. The worst vaccination rate in Europe, surprisingly is Switzerland, where only 58% of the population of 8.7 million have had two doses of vaccine. As a new incentive every person who get immunised now is asked to nominate one person who influenced their decision to get a vaccination. The person then nominated will receive a gift voucher for 50 Swiss Francs which can be used in cinemas and restaurants. Do you think this incentive would work if tried here?

India has announced that any Brits arriving in India must do Covid tests before travel and after arrival when they will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine for 10 days. This seems a tit for tat requirement after the UK imposed similar rules on travellers from India.

A new oxygen generation plant has been opened in Mogadishu Somalia. It is capable of producing 1,000 cylinders per week. I do hope its Health and Safety requirements are strict. At the same time in Somalia a covid ward in another hospital was destroyed by the al-Qaida like, Shabab extremist group.

A robust study from Israel only detected 9 cases of heart inflammation in 1.5 million people who had a third Pfizer injection. This entirely supports previous findings.

In Syria the situation is described as critical by Save The Children. The health service is collapsing. in the Idlib region alone there are over 1,000 new infections per day. On 28th September there were 1,151 deaths bringing the total to over 71,000.

Today in the UK , a new body called the UK Health Security Agency oy UKHSA becomes fully operational. I await with interest to see how effective it is compared to predecessors.

The drug company Merck claim they have the first pill ready to market against Covid, so far they have all been by injection or infusion. The drug is called MOLNUPIRAVIR. It is a tablet which must be taken within 5 days of the onset of Covid symptoms. It is claimed to halve the rates of hospital admission and deaths. Merck will submit their evidence to the US FDA in the next few days. The submission is based on a study of 775 adults diagnosed with mild to moderate Covid. Half the group were treated for 5 days with a Molnupiravir and 28 or 7% were hospitalised. In the placebo half ,53 were hospitalized. there were no deaths in the drug group but 8 in the placebo group. I have seen no indication of costs yet.

Back at home , according to the ONS 1 in 20 children in secondary school had Covid last week that is 4.6% of all secondary children. For people living in private households 1 in 85 had Covid in the week to 25th September, compared with 1 in 90 the previous week. There has been a significant fall in cases since the previous week. It is now 1 in 90 affected, but back last August it was 1 in 30. This of course is thanks to this group now eligible to immunised.

I have the statistics for yesterday. 1.115 million tests were done on the 29th September and 36,480 were positive yesterday. There have been almost 15,000 more in the last week a rise of 6.5% The positive rate is now 356.5 per 100k.

Hospital admissions continue to fall. Only 657 on 26th September aa fall of over 800 or 13.7% from a week previously. 6,853 were in hospital on 29th September and only 813 on a ventilator. Deaths reported were 137, or 859 in the last 7 days that is 139 or 13.9% less than the previous week. It is very clear now that despite high levels of Covid in the community most do not end up in hospital. This is thanks to good immunisation rates and a younger age group now being infected. 89.8% of first doses are now given and 82.5% of second doses. We need to see the number of third doses being given as well now but no sign of that happening yet.

There are still no signs of today's statistics, almost 2 hours late. I do not anticipate any startling results so I will post this and add the rest if and when they are available.

My message remains the same ensure you have all the vaccine you are entitled to. Share any comments or suggestion and continue your safety measures of hands face and space if you feel you need to. Stay safe everyone.

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