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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 24 January 2022

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

It is said that a week is long time in politics, but I have also come to realise 5 days is a long time in a Covid pandemic. Thank you to those who added comments while I was away to keep the thread alive and interesting.

Today 1.23 million tests have been recorded. I wonder how many more were done but not officially recorded anywhere. If you are one of those who does not bother to report a negative test, it makes the statistics meaningless. I know from personal experience that it is cumbersome to record a negative test result and people put off doing it till later. Figures have been around 1.2 million for most of this last week but are about 200k less than the daily average in the week before. The number had been around 1.4 million.

The number positive today was 88,447. Figures are distorted a bit by the weekend and are very close to those of a week ago. Over the week as a whole, there have been 4.7k less positives than the week before. The positive rate is now 934.4 per 100k of the population, just half of the figure of a few weeks ago.

The number of deaths remain static over the week. Today only 56 were recorded, there will be a more normal figure tomorrow.

Hospital data continues to improve with 1961 people admitted on 18th January, compared with 2357 a week before that. There were 17,523 people in hospital on 21st January compared with 19,345 a week previously. The number on a ventilator is now 640 compared with 746 a week previously.

Vaccination efforts continue and there is a trickle of people coming forward for a first dose. The vaccination centres are now making special arrangements to help those with needle phobias. More time, more relaxed and more privacy should be available to help to be coaxed through the process. 36.9 million of us have had 3 doses. We cannot relax the campaign until that is 95% of the population.

There is a sub variant of the Omicron variant about now. It is called B.A.2 It surfaced in the Philippines first but there are now reported to be over 426 confirmed cases in the UK. All the cases have been confirmed by Genome sequencing. The WHO has changed its statue to a “variant under investigation “. There are thought to be about 8 thousand cases in the world at present. We still have a lot to learn about this sub variant but at present there is no need for concern, it is just another variant that is responsive to the vaccine.

Boris Jonson said that vary soon we can treat Covid like endemic like seasonal flu. The WHO responded by refuting this and insisted we are no where near being able to down grade the pandemic.

Have you noticed that the Government have stopped saying they are relying on the science. In fact, the CMO and CSO have not been heard or seen in public with a politician for some time. Maybe the PM is doing it all alone now?

Travellers to England who are triple vaccinated are soon to be able to arrive without demonstrating a negative lateral flow test on arrival.

Scotland did not report a single death today, but they still have 6,934 new cases to cope with. Night clubs can reopen as well as large indoor events.

The global statistics are worth keeping an eye on. Across the world there have been 347 million cases of Covid in almost every country of the world. A staggering 9,620 million doses of vaccine have been given. Africa is reported the least affected region, but I suspect that is because of very considerable under reporting. There is just not the infrastructure to be able to collect data from the rural areas of poorer countries.

There have been about 15 million cases in both France and the UK. Whereas the USA has seen 68 million, India 30 million, 10.9 million in Russia and 9.4 million in Italy. Germany reports 8.4 million cases.

My travelling over the last few days was successfully completed, although I found it somewhat exhausting, My Aunt was the last in my family to have served in the armed forces during the war. When we consider how terrible life has been with Covid it is helpful to reflect on conditions during the blitz on London and elsewhere in the country.

I have also looked at the 1918 flu pandemic again. We have only a tenth of the loss of life that that caused. They had and used masks and social distancing, but they had no antibiotics, no steroids and certainly no antivirals. There were no ITUs and people were only just emerging from the hardships of a world war.

We have political uncertainty at the moment. We need a stable base to rebuild all our lives. We must remember that although things are improving all the time and the economy is beginning to recover, we are only a resistant variant away from disaster once again.

I have a new plan. I will call it plan K. it is not mandated but is based on medical common sense. I urge all of you to have similar personalised plans. I will continue to wear masks in supermarkets and other crowded places such as shops or banks. I will wear them on public transport and at any other time circumstances suggest it’s a good idea. I will give everybody space. Preferably 2 metres but at a push 1 metre. If it’s too crowded, I will go away and try later. I will try and meet friends outdoors and if indoors ensuring best possible ventilation. I will still carry an alcohol based hand gel and use it when I have had to touch things I would rather not. I will offer some to others to encourage them to do the same. I will remember I am triple jabbed and unlikely to catch Covid and be seriously ill so I will not be frightened to go out and about. There is no longer a need to hibernate. I can start to enjoy myself again but will not shake hands or hug just yet.

Please have your plan and stay safe.

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