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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 27th December 2021

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

I trust everyone has survived their Christmas activities and that those of you who were unwell are beginning to feal a little better. When Christmas day falls on a Saturday we have the luxury of two extra Bank Holidays before work returns to nearer normal. Judging by the traffic on the motorways today many more were travelling rather than shopping for bargains.

The Covid situation remains at a critical point. The Prime Minister has apparently been briefed by his two right hand men today and has opted to keep the situation as it is in England and more relaxed than it is in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are threats of tougher restrictions early in the New Year if the figures show it to be necessary.

The main issues are that the limited figures collected over the last few days probably do not reflect a true picture of what is happening and may well be inaccurate.

The Government web site suggests the number of positive tests on Christmas Day was 119,628, and on Boxing Day 108,893. Neither of these two figures have officially been published on the Covid Dashboard. Today they published 98,515 for Monday 27th. The last published figure for the number of tests done was on 23rd December and was 1.58 million. I think we can certainly say around 100,000 positive cases are being detected every day. There may well be a lot more undetected, asymptomatic cases about.

The number of deaths reported today is 143. This is almost certainly an under-estimated. It reflects the date reported not the date it occurred. Most people would not even try to register a death today.

There is no new hospital data. Remember 1,171 people were admitted on the 20th December. This figure is a week old. No figures since have been made public. It is possible Boris was privileged to see new data but it has not been published freely yet.

As for immunisations we did not quite hit 90% of first jabs by Christmas day but its possible we will get there by New Year’s Day. There are anecdotal reports of significant numbers of people coming forward now. There is a trial scheme in Ipswich which is targeting the unvaccinated at home and trying to persuade them to bare an arm and have it there and then. I have no statistics yet but if it’s working it will roll out over the whole country soon. The booster vaccines have got to 56.5% remember they wanted to do them all by the end of the year. I doubt that will be achieved but this is still a remarkable operation going on 24 hrs a day, 7 day a week. A big thank you to the many volunteers out working on this ambitious target.

France is expected to announce further restrictions. The Congo has experienced a large fourth wave and all their hospitals are full. In countries like that full means 2-3 people hot bedding for every bed in the ward.

The United States is reviewing school closures and when children should return for next term. Greece has announced further restrictions from 3rd January after 9,284 new cases were reported today. They have also restricted their sports stadia to just 10% of their normal capacity to allow plenty of social distancing.

The US have had to cancel a large number of flights due to staff sickness. There are still many restrictions for Brits flying out of the UK. These are set to continue.

Another statistic reported today suggests that Boxing Day sales had only 41% of the normal expected crowds. If this is true it may be bad for retailers but is certainly good as far as common sense for shoppers was concerned. They must be one of the biggest risks we could be tempted to take.

We do need to keep the figure of 100,000 a day new cases in mind. We need to remember 100 deaths a day. As life comes back to some semblance of normal after the holiday festivities, wear that mask in the shops and other indoor space, especially transport. Make sure you are using it properly, breathing through your nose keeping the mouth shut except when speaking. Remember the benefit of good ventilation and fresh air. We learnt that with TB patients and with Florence Nightingale. Make sure we do not have to learn it all again. Encourage one another to have that booster . Keep Staying Safe.

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