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

The statistics continue to show a rather static picture, Covid is still very much with us, just not in the news! Over one million tests have been done on the last three days, and over 30,000 have been positive. Today 37,960 have been positive. That is about 28,000 more in this last week compared to the previous week. It amounts to a rise of 13.4% over the week. The positive case rate is now 341 per 100,000 of the population.

I have heard of several completely asymptomatic cases recently in people fully immunised. This probably means that unless you have a test done you would not know you were infected and continue spreading it at large. In immunised people the disease is normally very mild. The danger of immunised people carrying on their daily work whilst infected is very real especially if they work with someone unimmunised, who then gets a severe infection.

The take home message is if you think you could be infected, take a test. If you are seeing someone very vulnerable, either do not go or do a test before you go.

There was no hospital data released over the weekend, but there is an encouraging downward trend. 775 people were admitted on the 21st September. This is 16% lower than the figure a week before. On 24th September there were only 6,865 people in hospital with Covid 19 and only 878 were on a ventilator. This means that although there are plenty of cases still, much fewer are ending up in hospital, as for the majority, it is a milder illness compared to last year.

Death figures are as usual distorted by reporting problems at weekends Only 40 were reported today which has brought the weekly figure back down below 1,000. This was a reduction of 3.5% and the rate is steady at about 1.3 per 100k of the population

The cumulative count of immunisations continues to creep upwards. 48.73 million have had a first jab, that 89.7% of the target population and 44.76 million have has a second one, that’s 82.%. This means only 4 million people are still to have their second dose, that gap is reducing every day.

Fuel shortages and the usual panic buying are foremost in people minds today. It’s time people realise that to deny shortages is always certain to lead to panic hoarding. Remember toilet rolls and before that pepper.

I think I am going to announce that there is not a shortage of syringes to give the vaccine. That would be a sure way of getting people to come forward for their jabs, (providing of course they have fuel to get to a vaccination centre).

I was reviewing the number of countries still on our Red list for travel. I was struck by the number of countries from South America on the list. Very little information is coming out of those countries. Here is what I found. The first case was in Sao Paulo Brazil on 26th Feb 2020. By 16th July over 34 million cases have been documented and over 21 million deaths. The true figures are likely to be much higher but limited medical facilities means many have no medical attention and not counted.

Five counties in South America have reported over 1 million cases, with Brazil the biggest and worst affected.

Pfizer report that any time soon they will be asking the FDA in the USA to approve its vaccine for use in children aged 2-12 years of age. It would seem that across the USA an average of 266 children in that age group are being admitted every day according to the CDCP, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is another respiratory virus that attacks young babies and the elderly. It is known as RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. it is round most years in local outbreaks. It can cause havoc in special care baby units. There is a warning that significant outbreaks are a possibility this winter. There are no vaccines available to deal with this.

There is another vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia which is available on the NHS for senior citizens. It is only one injection and is well worthwhile if you have chest issues, ask your GP or practice nurse about it. It is being forgotten at the moment.

Remember I need feedback that these reports are still what is required. I will keep going for as long as it takes for the pandemic to be down-graded to an endemic, which I hope will be in about a further year. Please stay safe.

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