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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 26th July 2021

There has been considerable difficulty collecting the Covid statistics in the last three days. For 3 days running it has allegedly been due to difficulties with the English deaths data. On Saturday it was 8 hours late being released a few minutes before midnight. Today an hour and a quarter late. How hard is it to count something as simple and final as death? It does raise the question of just how accurate these daily figures really are.

I want to believe them as they continue the pattern seen in the last two weeks and seem to confirm the World Cup did not bring the dreadful consequences that some were forecasting. Let me be clear it is nowhere near over yet but the relaxing of rules have not brought the avalanche of cases some with doom and gloom predicted. They then condemned the Government for taking risks with our lives.

Just over 1 million tests were processed over the weekend but only 791k are reported today. This may be a weekend effect added to the fact schools have closed and school children were not tested. The numbers testing positive continue to fall each day, Saturday 31k, Sunday 29 k and today 24.9K. This slow steady decline has been for over 1 week now.

I am not trusting death figures but with 86 on Saturday, 28 on Sunday and 14 today. it is interesting that the 7-day figure is steady 447 on Saturday, 450 on Sunday and 445 on Monday. The positive rate is now 0.6 per 100k. There has not been the rise most people expected after the rise in admissions.

Turning to the hospital data, there was none published yesterday but there were 5,238 patients in hospital on 23rd July compared with a figure of 5,001 issued on Saturday. The latest single day admissions figure was 922 on 20th July.

715 people are reported on a ventilator tonight, compared with 699 on Saturday.

The number of second doses given at 37.28 million takes us past the 70% figure. With the first doses, we are at 88.1% with 46.58 million doses. We need to do a further 5 million doses by the middle of August. Just a few thousand people changing their minds could make a huge difference to community immunity. Please ensure you have all yours.

The Olympic games are preoccupying much of the news outlets at present. There is a new variant of interest, the Gamma variant. There is some concern it may not be as well controlled with the vaccine. A paper written for the CDC about miners in French Guinea involving 44 employees found 55% were infected. A few cases have also been reported in Russia.

An inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances involved when 300,000 Covid tests were lost. Allegedly more is being wasted at vaccine centres as not sufficient people are turning up for their injections.

A company called Chembio Diagnostic Systems of New York has developed a new Covid immunity test. It uses a finger prick of blood. For the scientifically minded here is the full detail as they released it “ Detection, differentiation and quantification of IgM and IgG receptor-binding domain(RBD) antibodies to Sars coV 2 “. This means the results can easily be read and stored with a semi-quantitative and a numeric value. In plain language, we can see how much immunity in terms of antibodies the patient has. They will have a special place in identifying the older patients who do not seem to produce antibodies after two doses of vaccine.

I wonder how you all feel about some of the nonsense being put forward by civil liberties groups and some Conservative MPs who object to a concept of a Covid passport on principle.

It is claimed that young people will not want to use them; it is the very same group that use an ID card to get into a nightclub or X rated film. We have driving licences before we can drive on the roads. Membership cards will gain us entry to many places. Look at the security we need for online banking and many other activities.

This is not a political debate; it’s about saving lives. A paper copy or one on the phone is an ideal solution for us all. The technophobes can still have a paper version.

For those of you who are extremely vulnerable, I realise the anxiety is produced. Only listen to reliable sources. Carry on with all the sensible precautions you have used until now, but I think you can relax a little if out in the open with fully vaccinated friends. We must all be aware of the risks of a new mutation that does not respond to a vaccine. That is a risk the whole country has to take. It is imperative that our borders are strict about testing and isolation if required.

Please share your views as always, if you have a question someone will be able to answer it.

For the rest of us, we continue to use common sense. Mask up when your risk assessment goes up because you are in confined spaces. It’s always good to stay apart. If you are worried or have symptoms get a test, they are free for everyone.

Stay safe everyone.

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