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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 30 March 2022

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

A 5% total drop in the number of tests done in the last 7 days, continues the trend which began on Monday of this week, it’s a drop of 5% compared with a drop of 3% on Monday. The number testing positive has followed the trend with a drop of 44,000 compared with the previous week. The number positive was 558,732. A 7% drop. The positivity rate continues to climb. It is now 898.8 positives per 100,000 of the population.

Whilst the numbers testing have dropped, the numbers being admitted to hospital continue to rise. The number admitted in the last 7 days is now 15,658. This is 1,615 more than in the previous seven-day count. It is an 11% rise. In terms of weekly percentage rise the figure has dropped for the fifth successive count having been almost 22% a week ago. This may well be significant.

Yesterday there were 19,387 people in hospital and 365 were being treated on a ventilator. Both these figures are still rising slowly, but not as fast as a couple of weeks ago.

Of considerable concern still is the number of deaths with Covid on the death certificate, These deaths continue to rise with 1,070 reported in the last week. This is 193 more than the previous week, a rise of 22%. I have explained before the issue with counting deaths is that they are counted if they primarily die of another cause but incidentally were found to have Covid when in hospital. One of my recommendations to the Government’s Covid inquiry is that a way is found to collect statistics that can separate the numbers dying from Covid from the numbers dying with Covid. The death rate is now 1.4 deaths per 100,000 of the population.

I was asked to provide the numbers dying from influenza and cancer as well for comparison. This is harder than you imagine to get recent comparisons. What I can say is that there are no excess deaths in a month compared to the average of all deaths for the last 5 years. It is thought that influenza deaths are very low because firstly there has not been much about and secondly the precautions we have taken to avoid Covid have also reduced influenza. The number of deaths from cancers are also slightly below the normal 5 year average for this time of year. There are however real concerns that many people have not had their routine screening and so many will have a cancer diagnosis much later in the disease than normal. So, we will see a rise in deaths in due course as a result of delayed diagnosis.

The numbers having been immunised are largely static now. But there has been a 0.1% rise in the number having 3 doses. It is now 67.5%. Still a lot more are needed. I do not understand the reluctance to publish numbers of 4th or spring doses given.

Joe Biden is to have his 2nd Covid booster jab live on camera today, as the US begins to role out further boosters to most Americans over the age of 50. President Biden is one of the few world leaders that has manage to avoid catching Covid yet. Today will be used as a photo opportunity.

Sir John Bell has strongly criticised the British Government for its response and being ill prepared for the Pandemic. He cited lack of stocks of PPE and lack of capacity. This is to be considered by a detailed, wide reaching public Inquiry in the handling of the pandemic. My next few months will be taken up gathering some evidence to present to the Inquiry.

If you want to have more free test kits you have just 24 hours left. Most places have no stocks now and you will be lucky to get them. It is not clear who will get them yet but there are some free tests available in certain situations. I believe returning to work in the NHS will be one of them.

Scotland have delayed the lifting of their current restrictions until Easter Monday. Masks must still be worn on public transport and in shops until then. There is easing of restrictions for weddings, funerals and public worship from next Monday 4th April.

Remember those in Ukraine and pray for the glimmers of hope will become real and tangible as a way out of the crisis is looked for. Meantime with so many in hospital and over 1,000 deaths in a week we must continue all our efforts to stay safe and keep everyone else safe. Plan K is still the best we can do for now, Stay safe everyone

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