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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 3rd November 2021

I went out to lunch today and did not get back until late, so this is why this report is later than usual. I was alarmed to hear people talking about our Covid pandemic as though it was all over. There was not a mask insight for neither guests nor staff.

Our champion of Boston United football Club, known by everyone as JVT, was on TV this morning stressing very strongly that this is far from over and we are heading for tough times by Christmas. We could well need extra precautions by then in the form of the Prime Minister’s plan B. For many of us we have continued to follow most of the guidelines for plan B despite the absence of formal restrictions.

Look carefully at the statistics today. We are still doing about 200,000 less tests each day. Half term might be playing a part, but many are just not bothering. The person I sat next to explained he had been found to be positive after a routine LFT. He could not believe the fact he had no symptoms. This is the issue now. We are pleading for people to continue testing, as many people especially those immunised at least twice are not showing any symptoms at all. We call this asymptomatic transmission. The vulnerable and the elderly can easily catch a life-threatening infection from a carrier with no symptoms. The number of positives has reduced a little because of people not testing.

868,999 tests were done on 2nd November and 41,299 tests were positive. This is still 416 infections per 100,000 people. Deaths yesterday totalled 293, with a further 217 today. I have explained before that we see the highest deaths on a Tuesday because it’s catch up day for deaths that occurred over the weekend, but not recorded. There are now well over 1,000 deaths per week. The death rate is now 1.5 per 100,000 of the population. Put another way 3 people are dying for every 200,000 of the population.

There is some day-to-day variations in the hospital statistics, but the general trend is still upwards we saw over 1,000 people admitted on the one-day 29th October. Today 9,517 are in hospital with Covid. And 1,024 are on a ventilator.

8.62 million third or booster doses have now been given, that's now 15% of the total. We must push very hard to get many more done as quickly as possible. In the USA the final step has been taken to immunise the 5-12 year olds. No such decision has been made for the UK, and I think it will be only a last resort. There are also no plans yet to give the 12-16 year olds a second dose. There is at least a month before this decision is necessary. For now, in this age group the first dose is the most important. It significantly reduces both deaths and serious illness requiring hospital admissions.

Nearly all the deaths being recorded are in unimmunised people. There are still some 5 million people who have not had even one dose.

This pandemic is not over. Borrowing one of JVT’s football analogy we are just starting extra time. The NHS is hanging in there thanks to the enormous efforts of the health staff and the fact that Influenza has not really started yet this winter.

It was also apparent to me at lunch that people are quite depressed and desperate for life to be back to normal. I am afraid it will not be this year or into next year. We need to accept this and do all we can to support those who are struggling. Be proactive and ask friends neighbours and family how they are coping and be prepared to support one another. If we can lean on one another, no one falls over.

Please share your ideas and comment freely. Above all, stay safe. I will produce a fuller report for Friday.

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