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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 21 June 2021

The statistics for the last 3 days have remained very steady. Unfortunately, the hospital data is still not updated every day. The latest published figures are 226 new cases admitted on 15th June with 1,413 admitted in the previous 7 days. 1,316 patients were in hospital beds. The only figure to change was the number on a ventilator; 210 on Saturday and 226 today. Tomorrow’s data is normally complete. Just over 1 million tests have been recorded each day and the numbers testing positive were on average well over 10,000. The rate of positive tests has continued to rise. it is now 89.3/100k. Fortunately, deaths continue to be low with only 5 today making 74 in the last 7days, this is a slight rise on the previous week.

43.12 million 1st jabs have been given to 81.9% of the adult population. There have been 31.49 million of the second jab given so 51.9 % are now double vaccinated. You will appreciate the aim now is to rapidly progress this as fast as possible. Anybody over the age of 18 can now have their free jab. Just ring 119 to organise.

SAGE is reported to be predicting a further wave of new cases through the winter and a music festival has been given the go-ahead without social distancing. It is an outdoor festival.

There is controversy again about crowds of spectators now being allowed to watch the Olympic tournament allegedly against the Japanese scientific advice. This is going to rumble on, and I am not sure what the effects will be, but I could see teams pulling out.

In the Europa Cup, a Scottish player has tested positive today. One wonders how and why if he was double vaccinated and having regular tests. The England team will be watching their tests closely. He has now to isolate for 10 days before he plays again.

Andy Bunham, the Mayor of Manchester, is involved in a rather public spat with Nicola Sturgeon. This would seem to be because of Scotland banning their people from traveling to or from Manchester. The Mayor is trying to claim compensation for the businesses of Manchester. I fear he is on a fishing trip and is not likely to get much joy taking on Nicola!

We need to be planning by now for next Winter. As a GP I would be ordering the amount of flu vaccine I hope to use by the end of June, plans are being developed at pace to provide booster Covid jabs as well. It is going to take a number more weeks before the trials and tests are completed which shows us how and when to do it. We need to know the average length of immunity after 2 jabs. Do we have to give the same vaccine as a booster or can we mix and match? It is hoped that both vaccines could be given at the same time in different arms. It is unlikely that Covid and flu vaccine could be mixed in the same vial or syringe. We will hear a lot more of this in the next month or so.

There is always the risk of an influenza epidemic as well. Social distancing and masks may well have substantially reduced infections in the last winter. Relaxing masks and social distancing increase the risk of an epidemic this winter. Also, many will have some reduced resistance to infection. Our Prime Minister warned us today of the possibility of a rough winter ahead. In view of the many uncertainties.

There has been more pressure to stop compulsory quarantine for travelers from amber areas. In a small study recently, only 1 in 200 returning from amber list countries was found to be positive. The call is for quarantine to be replaced by daily testing for those double vaccinated.

Downing St has also denied that there is any evidence that the recent G7 conference in Cornwall was responsible for the spike of new cases in Cornwall. There is no doubt there has been a rise. It could be a coincidence, or it could be the press entourage that accompanied the conference.

New Zealand is the latest country to plan to immunise those aged 12 or over. We still are undecided on the issue.

The following is a list of the state of play in a few other countries. There is no way of knowing how accurate these figures are. There is considerable variation in the way death is defined and how cases are counted. I suspect it is considerable underreporting especially in rural areas. All the data has been released in the last week.

Country cases deaths;

USA 34,370,639 616,349

Brazil 17, 927,928 501,418

Russia 5,249,990 127,576

China 91,604 4,636

S Africa 1,823,319 58,702

Germany 3,728,121 90,877

France 5,787,311 110,767

Italy 4,252,876 127,270

Spain 3,757,442 80,652

Turkey 5,370,299 49,185

UK 4,630,040 127,976

Global total 178,433920 3,864,731

While we wait for news about boosters in the winter please just stay safe, avoid hotspots in the UK if you can, continue to support one another as much as possible, please still use your masks in shops, when on public transport, and when close to others indoors. Please also share your views and news for friendly debate and discussion. Stay safe everyone

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