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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 25th October 2021

Only minimal facts and figures are released at weekends which makes comparison quite difficult. I cannot see any sign of improvement on the horizon. It is tomorrow and Wednesday when fuller more up to -date figures are released. The Government have added a rider to today’s statistics, apparently there are no figures from Wales in the UK figures published this evening. We can assume the true UK figures are a little higher than I can report. The number of daily tests being done was around 1 million but dropped yesterday being a Sunday to only 785,553. The number of positive cases were 36,567 today which again is a weekend effect. the figure for Saturday was almost 44k. I anticipate tomorrow we will be back around 50k. The positive test rate which is a more accurate picture continues to rise steadily and is now 486.9 per 100k of the population. Registering deaths at weekends remains difficult and the numbers of deaths reported each day do not reflect the day of death. With 135 recorded Saturday, 72 on Sunday and 38 deaths today. You might at first thought see these as encouraging figures, but I fear tomorrow figures will be more realistic and disappointing. There is never any hospital data at weekends. The number of admissions on a single day is strange. I have noticed a pattern with the figure released on a Monday. It is always two more than the figure given for a Sunday but has the same date. So this weekend 1,065 admitted on 18th October. 1,080 admitted on 19th October, reported on Sunday and then 1,082 also admitted on 19th but reported today. This casts doubt on the validity of the data and suggests to me some estimations and creativity. The immunisation statistics continue to move very slowly in the right direction. Figures now stand at 49.71 million first doses given, that’s 86.4% of the total due. Second doses remain 4 million or so behind with 45.54 million or 79.2% . It is accepted by everyone that our best weapons against Covid are very high levels of vaccine use. We need much more still. There has been some acceptance now that the rate of vaccine provision has dropped. It now requires a united big push to get them done during half term. I have heard from friends in France that their Covid paperwork from England is not being accepted in restaurants and they were evicted from one for having the wrong paperwork. If travelling abroad over half-term, please make sure you have all your papers in order. There seems to be some official leakage that consideration is being given to insist all NHS employees are immunised against Covid before being allowed to work. I understand that 7% of the NHS workforce is not fully immunised. I am sure that were it to be made mandatory in the same way smallpox vaccine was when I joined the NHS, some would reluctantly get immunised rather than lose their jobs. In principle this is a good idea and essential for staff. However, can we risk losing 3-4% of the work force when we need to increase it by 10 %. In my opinion we can insist all new employees are immunised with immediate effect as they join. If we then only awarded an annual incremental pay rise to those fully immunised, we would lose many less staff and they have the option to get immunised and have their incremental pay increases restored. For those that are not immunised and refuse to change attitudes there is a job waiting if they retrain as lorry drivers ! They would also not be allowed to work in the Care sector either.

I note Tim Spector of the Covid app is the latest voice to strongly criticise the Government’s refusal to tighten restrictions at least to plan B. I did not expect to see any reaction over the weekend, but we can hope for a reaction this week, remember we will lose 1,000 lives for every week we delay. I have not given details of the Covid situation in other countries recently so here are some facts. Russia has now had 231,000 deaths in 8,27million cases. At present there are 37,930 new cases today and 1,069 deaths. France has had 117,467 deaths and 7.12 million cases Spain has had 87,132 deaths and 4.99 million cases. Italy has had 131,826 deaths from 8.77 million cases USA has had 736,000 deaths from 45.42 million cases Finally, the UK has seen 139,743 deaths from 8.77 million cases Remember there are widely different population numbers in these countries and widely different population densities. This makes comparison between countries almost impossible. Countries with a diffuse population will be less badly hit than a densely populated island like the UK. Finally, we have no idea just how accurate these published figures are. There are reasons for both inflating figures as well as minimising them. Remember to be kind and supportive, help combat fear, and encourage immunisations, especially boosters. Please let me know of issues you come up against or ideas you might have. Use the plan B carefully and hope the politicians listen to the science this week. Please stay safe.

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