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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 28 January 2022

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

After another confusing week of politics, we are still none the wiser. Most of the plan B restrictions have been removed now and we revert to the old plan A. There has been absolutely nothing publicly, from the Chief Medical Officer or the Chief Scientific Officer or from Sage. These decisions have come direct from the Prime Minister. There is no doubt from a Public Health and common-sense perspective precautions are still necessary. I have already shared my plan K response and many of you have similar personal plans. Everyone else with a Public Health perspective agrees.

Today we have seen 1,285,156 new cases done compared with 1,446,064 yesterday. Less tests are done on Fridays both for work and schools, so this drop is expected. Figures remain around this level week on week. It seems a stable situation. it remains to be seen if less people will bother now restrictions have eased. There were 96,871 positive tests yesterday and 89,176 today. There have been 17,000 less positive cases over the last week which is a 2.7% drop. I really hope this figure does not exceed 100,000 again. I cannot stress the importance of everybody reporting their test results whether positive or negative. If these figures are not accurate it is pointless me giving a commentary on their interpretation. The positivity rate is now 954.2 positive for every one hundred thousand of the population.

Only 16,149 are now hospital inpatients as of yesterday and only 546 are reported as needing a ventilator. This is perhaps the most encouraging statistic because it should be fairly accurate. The number in hospital has steadily dropped from over 19,000 a week ago. It is also reported that for the first time more than 50% of those in hospital have covid as a secondary diagnosis. This means for example they were admitted with a broken leg after a fall and were then found to be positive for Covid, or another example someone admitted with a stroke or heart attack subsequently being found to be positive. Of those with primary Covid the vast majority have been not fully vaccinated or still non-vaccinated.

The staff sickness absence in the NHS seems to have improved quite a bit this week. Many staff remain exhausted and were they not committed health care workers would have been off sick for a lot longer. They continue to go the second mile to keep our NHS on its feet.

The immunisation figures show we are still at just 90.9% having had a first jab. It has been stuck on this figure fore a few days. 84% have had a second jab and 64.6% have had a third dose. Across the World some 3 billion people are yet to have a first jab, compare this with the 4 million in this country. There is no absolute shortage of vaccine in the world. Do you think now is the time for the UK to change its focus? Do you think we should stop chasing the 4 million and turn to help the WHO give doses to the 3 billion others who would like one? There is no system or infrastructure to give them but with enough volunteers the Aid Agencies could make a big difference.

The risk rate is calculated to be 0.7 -0.9 across England but there a few quite localised hotspots. It is not clear to me why these areas do have more cases at present. As people return to work and travel on buses and trains social contact will inevitably increase for many. If social contact increases, then the risk of infection will increase and case number will be rise but, will largely be mild thanks to our high levels of immunisation.

There is a new drug coming on-line next month. It is made by Pfizer and is called PAXLOVID. In trials it is said to cut the need for hospital admission by 88% if administered in the first 5 days of the illness showing symptoms.

The situation in other parts of the world continues to be critical. We cannot afford to be complacent. We still are seeing around 300 deaths a day. This number has dropped by just 50 in the last week. I would like to think my job will be done when we have a day perhaps in the summer when there are no deaths to report.

For now, It is not party time, but it is time for those of you feeling very vulnerable and frightened even to leave home, to venture out into the fresh air. There are signs of spring around. If you are fully vaccinated your risks of serious illness are minimal if you stick with plan K. Ask for help from family or friends who have common sense but are more confident about getting out.

As always share your thoughts and comments What about stop wasting time on the antivaccers and changing tack to help those who want a vaccine?

As always please stay safe.

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