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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 29th September 2021

Inspired by reading my National Trust magazine for Autumn which has just arrived, I read that “Research has revealed that time outdoors boosts self esteem and encourages calmness.” So I was up and out early in the sun this morning to have some lungs full of fresh clean air and a large dose of the bountiful wildlife we have here in the fens. The result was my posting earlier today. Judging by the amazing response to it many of you were rejuvenated by my observations alone. I think I am normally quite calm in response to crisis, but I was juggling thoughts about a possible Covid contact and wondering where my next diesel would come from.

I came back and reread the article which explains how we can benefit from walking amongst trees. You do not have to hug them to find your pulse rate slows, the blood pressure drops. The blood levels of glucose, dopamine and cortisol stabilise but most intriguing of all is the exposure to phytochemicals, chemicals released by plants to help them resist infection. This helps our immune system by boosting it and increasing our natural killer cells that enable us to fight off disease.

It would seem that enjoying open spaces, parks gardens and forests is a form of preventative medicine. We all know prevention is better than cure. It is natural aromatherapy, which is freely available, has no known side effects and requires no prescription.

We have known that fresh air is a very useful way to prevent Covid. It may be that thinking about it can be beneficial too. Do your best to get out over the next few days and record what you see, if for whatever reason you cannot get out enjoy what you can online.

The statistics continue to be consistent but with minor day to day fluctuations. These smooth out when looked at a week at a time. Yesterday we dropped to 861 thousand tests, the first time below a million for a week or so. The number positive was 36,722 today. Looked at weekly that’s nearly 11% more than the previous week or 25,000 cases, the positive rate is now 354.2 per 100k of the population.

The number of people admitted to hospital continues to drop slowly 705 on 24th September and 659 on the 25th. 886 fewer people were admitted in the last week compared with the week before. Less than 7,000 are in hospital on the 28th September (6,976) and only 826 are on a ventilator.

So case numbers are up but fewer are needing hospital. You will see later that this is true of other countries as well. As for deaths, Tuesday saw 167 and today 150. Over the week there have been 70 less deaths or a fall of 7.2%. The death rate per 100k of the population has fallen back to 1.2 today. With immunisations the two figures edge closer. 48.79 million first jabs or 89.8% . the second jabs total 44.83 million or 82.5% of those needed. Still a way to go.

We have no data released yet about booster jab uptake but the first data evaluating the third dose programme has come from Israel and is published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). It showed that two weeks after a third dose people had become 11.3 times less likely to become infected with the Delta variant than those with only 2 shots. The study was based on 1,1 million in Israel over 60 who have had a third dose. This is pretty impressive evidence as to why third doses are a good idea.

I mentioned recently that Pfizer were soon to submit evidence to the American FDA seeking emergency approval for the use of its vaccine in children over two years of age. I understand the evidence was submitted today.

I understand that there is a very sophisticate hoax in circulation purporting to be from the NHS concerning consent for school children to be immunised. If you have received this, be very careful and check where it came from. To involve children in such scams is preposterous.

The East Surrey Hospital in Redhill Surrey has had to declare an ongoing critical incident today because of unprecedented demand. All out-patient appointments are cancelled, and non-urgent surgery postponed. A spokesperson said it was not due to Covid cases or staff absences, but just general pressure. This does not look good for the winter coming. If the fuel crisis continues key staff may not be able to get to work making matters work.

Looking around the world Russia saw its highest peaks of covid deaths yet with 852 yesterday and 857 today with 22,400 new cases. In the USA, after the numerous false claims about the use of Invermectin to treat Covid the vets are reporting widespread shortage of the veterinary form which is vital in the treatment of worms and other parasites in horses cattle and pigs . Farm animal cannot enter the food chain without being treated. Vets are very worried they may have to slaughter pigs unless they can be treated. It is thought that thousands of doses are being hoarded in the USA. They are no use to humans and overdose could kill you. If you have it stored just in case, please give it to a vet.

Figures on cases in the USA show California the worse hit state with 4.44 million cases and 66,000 deaths . Texas is second with 3.7 million cases and 58,000 deaths. Florida is third with 3.41 million cases and almost 47,000 deaths. New York is 4th with 2.38 million cases and 55,000 deaths. These are all heavily populated Sates and the total population in the USA is about 5 times greater than the UK.

In Germany and France figures are reported differently. For Germany they currently have 137,491 people infected. 136,056 have it mildly and only 1,435 have it seriously or critical. Of over 4 million people infected 98% are cured and recovered and only 2% died.

France reports a very similar picture, 135,537 active cases. 99% are mild and only 1,435 are serious or critical. Again overall 98% of people recover and only 2% die in France.

To summarise although there are still large number of cases right across the globe the number requiring hospital care is much less and so the number dying is beginning to fall. I started this report on a very positive way of achieving well-being and I will continue it in the same way. Our approach is proving effective. 5 million more adult vaccinated would make it a certainty. I still hear the argument that the vaccine was rushed and not tested properly. There has never been a vaccine that was fully tested , proved safe and had to be subsequently withdrawn.

With Covid the need for a vaccine was very important and the drug industry invested many millions of pounds in doing the tests simultaneously rather than one at a time. Usually, in order to save money, they complete one stage of tests before moving to the next. A vaccine could fail at any step. With the Covid vaccine miraculously all the tests were done as thoroughly as usually and thankfully all were passed easily. With over 40 million doses given in the UK alone, there have only been a handful of significant problems. It is a very safe, thoroughly tested and effective vaccine.

I am glad the nature tour of my garden inspired so many positive comments. I cannot compete with Denise B with floral displays, our dogs made sure of that ! Try it for yourself. If you do not have much garden try the parks or National Trust properties. Most of the grounds are now open. Keep a log of what inspires you and please share it. All other comments or suggestion for topics to discuss are always welcome.

Please stay with plan B and stay safe.

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