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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 22nd October 2021

There’s trouble ahead!

I predicted 50,000 daily cases on Wednesday and the very next day that figure was exceeded and now even 100,000 daily cases seems distinctly possible again. I was quite forceful in my wording of the last report and most of you supported my sentiments. I will start with some good news I have been able to book my own booster jab for a week’s time. The promised invitation to book never arrived and I spent a lot of time chasing it this morning.

Slightly higher testing numbers again, both days being over 1 million, but the number of positive cases hit 52,009 yesterday and 49,298 today. That’s a rise of 50,000 more cases in just a week. Or an 18% rise. The positivity rate continues to climb and is now 465.4/per 100k of the population.

The number admitted in a single day is back over 1000 people admitted to hospital with Covid on 18th October. The total number in hospital was 8,238 yesterday and 892 were on a ventilator. A 19% rise in admissions over just 7 days.

The number of deaths recorded today was 180, with almost 1,000 in the last 7 days. This is a rise of 15.8% week on week. The death rate has risen another point to 1.3 /100 k of the population.

Vaccinations continue to be reported with 49.6 million first doses that’s 86.3% and 45.48 million second doses or 79.1%. we must be concerned that the figures are not getting closer. There are still 4 million without a send jab.

For the first time some details of the booster vaccines have been published. In England 4,524,517 doses had been. This means only about 1 in 9 eligible people have got a booster.

There is quite a lot of regional variations ;

England 11.9% of 3rd jabs

Wales 14.2%

Scotland 11.1%

N Ireland 3.5%

In England 53% of over 80 year olds have got the third jab and only 39.8% of those aged 75-79.

I have not seen any figures for the group most needing the jab, that’s those who are very vulnerable with poorly responding immune systems.

Remember as you digest these figures 1 million people are known to have Covid in the UK tonight. There are probably many more we, and they, do not know about, as they are completely without symptoms and so are going about their business completely unaware they are so contagious.

I listened to Gillian Keegan MP, the Care Minister this morning say that the death rate remains “very low” despite 912 deaths in a week. I agree it is much lower than it would be if we did not have a reasonably high immunisation rate now. However I take issue with her that 912/week is “extremely low” It will very soon be back at over 1,000 a week. The minister was talking very vaguely about what the Care sector can do to fill staffing vacancies and reducing the number in NHS beds waiting for a care home place , the so called hospital bed blockers, Staff in Care homes are dwindling rapidly due to many factors. Poor pay, heavy exhausting work and burn out, poor training, Brexit, and the requirement to be immunised have all played apart. This is a disaster creeping upon us. I just do not know how to prevent this without enormous cost sand drastic actions. One course might be to effectively nationalise the service, so we have a National Care Service to run along -side the NHS. The older readers will remember the large Local Authority Care homes of the past. As for staff the only option is to allow foreign staff back, train them to have the right skills and pay them accordingly.

The WHO estimate across the world 180,000 Health Care workers have died from covid. Many of us have lost colleagues and friends. That’s a very large number of jobs to fill in the present crisis.

I anticipate that the Covid passports, which would seem to be inevitable, will have to include booster vaccines. I hope someone is working on the logistics of adding that.

The new Delt variant I have been commenting on has now been upgraded to a variant of concern. It has a new official name VU1-Oct21- 01. The good news is that the vaccine is still effective against it. The genome testing of all positive cases show there are now 15,000 cases in the UK.

I will not repeat all the measures you need to take now as I mentioned them last time. Implement plan B now. Please share any comments or suggestions you might have. Be kind and supportive to one another. Remember that the virus needs contact with another human to spread. Where possible consider postponing parties until next summer.

We have no option but to take the heat out of the fire now with our plan B plus. If we let the fire become an inferno, we will need much tougher measures for much longer, and will have greater losses.

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