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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 20 Apr 2022

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

With the extended holiday over Easter it has been a week since my last report. The good news is that the situation is clearly now improving again. We can be confident that for now, at least in the UK, things are going in our favour again. The same cannot, however, be said in all parts of the world yet.

With the withdrawal of routine testing the numbers of tests being done dropped substantially. Largely speaking it is only those working in the health service that are still testing twice a week. Are any of you having to pay yourself for compulsory testing as a condition of employment? I really hope not. News is quiet about this.

The number of people being found to be positive after testing has dropped to only 174K in the Easter week, compared with 238k in the week before.

The hospital data gives a better indication. There were 13,704 admitted to hospital on 15th April compared to 15,432 on the 10th April. The number of beds occupied with Covid patients yesterday was 17,883. This compares with 19,028 on the 13th April. The number of patients seriously ill has also dropped from 355 a week ago to 336 now on a ventilator.

The ultimate indicator is the number of deaths. In the week over Easter, ending yesterday, there were 1,340 which is over 600 less than the previous week when 1,984 deaths were recorded. The death rate has fallen from 2.5/100k back to 2.1/100k.

Immunisations seem to have been maintained over Easter. All of the usual parameters have risen by 0.1%. The figures are: 92.3% have had one jab, for two jabs its 86.3% and for three jabs its now 68%. Please make sure you get your 4th jab as soon as you are eligible.

There has been a new approval for a vaccine. The Moderna vaccine known as Spikevax has been approved in the UK for use in children aged 6-11. It is an alternative to Pfizer vaccine which is also approved for children.

With airports becoming busy again after Covid, they are warning travellers that although mask wearing and social distancing are no any longer enforced by law the airports would much prefer you still wear them. Many countries do have a legal requirement for masks and social distancing. You may be required to wear them on the flight by some airlines and when disembarking at airports abroad. Please carry a mask on your person in case you need one on arrival.

I have written before about the draconian measures in use in Shanghai. There has been a slight easing of conditions with a few more people being able to go out. There has been some civil unrest over food shortages. The United Sates has withdrawn all but the most essential consular staff back to the US.

The situation in Taiwan is deteriorating again with the city expecting 1,000 more cases per day by the end of the month.

In the US there is considerable variations in the impact of Covid across the country. In Philadelphia such is the rise of new cases that they are the first major city to reintroduce mandatory face masks indoors. The Omicron B2 subvariant is now the most prominent strain in the USA.

Remember that although things are going well for the UK we are always only a new dominant variant away from it all starting again. We must retain all our safeguards. Plan k is very sensible if you are vulnerable or elderly. It is common sense still that will get us through this together with an awareness of basic hand hygiene, the use of tissues to sneeze or cough in and maintain a high degree of awareness.

Over Easter I spent some time reading and indexing some new books I have acquired for the library. As a good emergency preparedness exercise, I was reading about mass feeding and temporary accommodation for refugees. A great deal of the planning that happened during the cold war is relevant to the conditions in Ukraine today. We must not forget this atrocity and play any part we can in assisting refugees resettle here.

Keep vigilant, but relax a bit more now, as we all stay safe.

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