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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 29 Apr 2022

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

As the latest bank holiday weekend begins we can be pleased to see improvements in all the markers as Covid has much less of an impact at least in the UK. Life is slowly returning to a new normality. This is not yet the case everywhere, with South Africa poised for a new 5th wave and parts of China under severe restrictions still.

Testing is no longer an accurate indicator. The number of tests being done are now only just over 2 million and the number positive only just over 100,000. A drop of 43% over the previous week.

The drop in the numbers needing hospital admission is the reliable marker now. In the week ending 25th April only 9,493 were admitted. Almost a thousand less than the previous week’s figure.

Yesterday a total of 13,027 people were in hospital. a full 1000 less than 2 days ago. The number on a ventilator has fallen by 22 in the last 2 days. The number yesterday was just 302.

The death figures have also now improved. a full 20% drop to 1,560 in the last 7 days, whereas it had been over 2,000 per week in the previous 5days.

There is a steady increase in the vaccination data which if you look back over last few reports you will now see follows a pattern, there is a 0.1% rise in the numbers of 1st and 2nd doses, The figure for the third remains steady. 92.5% of the population have now had a 1st jab. These very high percentages have been responsible for keeping us relatively safe.

In South Africa, where the immunisation rate is still only 44%, there are all the signs of a 5th wave beginning. There are now 2 subvariant strains of Omicron called BA.4 and BA.5 responsible for the situation in Africa. There is no suggestion its virulence has become any worse.

There is a new publication in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine indicating how successful The relatively new technique of ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, was compared to tradition methods such as endo tracheal ventilation. The study only looked at the most ill patients with Covid that needed ventilation. Using ECMO they only lost 26% of the patients compared with 44% of those treated more traditionally.

Beijing has closed all schools again indefinitely in a desperate attempt to control what is a relatively small increase in cases. They have as you know used draconian measures often enforced with considerable brutality.

Scotland drops its requirement for self-isolation over this weekend.

We know the death rate in the UK is now around 2.2 people per 100,000. There is a new figure released suggesting that the overall chance of hospital admission with Covid here in the UK is just 12.35 per 100,000. Extrapolating from this it means if you have to go into hospital with a Covid infection some 75% will get better and come home.

It is worth occasionally looking at the cumulative world figures. Up to April 2022 the world has seen 510 million cases, some more than once, with 6.2 million deaths. In the UK there have been 22 million cases and 174,000 deaths. Of these 18.5 million cases were in England and 151,000 deaths.

Whilst these figures look dreadful it is worth reminding ourselves, that in the 1918 influenza pandemic and earlier plague pandemics the numbers of cases and deaths were very much higher.

There is unlikely to be any further statistical data released by the Government until Tuesday of next week. I therefore propose omitting my report for Monday and reporting again on Wednesday next week. I will then decide whether or not to report on Friday or reduce to weekly.

Please all enjoy a pleasant weekend. Remember its not over yet but we can feel much safer if we remember the basics, keep avoiding crowded places and wear a mask if you are vulnerable. We can all stay safe.

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