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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 5th November 2021

As we come to the end of another week, its only 6 weeks until the daylight hours begin to last longer, and Christmas gets closer. Cop 26 and racism in cricket are way ahead of Covid in the news coverage. People are bored with Covid and want to move on. It is so important to realise that despite what we all want, it’s still very real and there are tough times ahead.

The number of tests being done has been marginally higher but still about 100,000 less being done every day compared with before half-term. Corresponding with doing less tests the number of positive tests has also dropped but are still very high. 37 k tests were positive yesterday and 34k positive today. Many schools have still been on half term this week so I do not think this drop is as good as some would have us believe. The next couple of weeks is crucial to see how the trend goes.

The last two days have shown over 1,000 admitted to hospital each day, a rise over a week of 3.5%. The total number in hospital remains at over 9,000 and 1,034 are on a ventilator. There are some day-to-day variations, but the general trend is still slowly increasing.

Deaths are concerning, with over 200 deaths for 5 of the last 6 days and only just under 200 today. Remember Sunday and Monday figures are always lower and Tuesday’s the highest.

It is encouraging to see the figures of 3rd doses reaching 16.3% or 9.37 million, still a very long way to go.

Avian flu is back in the news and a “Bird Flu Prevention Zone “is now in place throughout the UK. This does not pose a risk to human health, but it is very important even if you only keep 2 chickens in your back yard. There are requirements to enhance biosecurity, to wear dedicated footwear in chicken runs and to regularly disinfect. If an owner has over 500 birds much more stringent measures are required. Multiple outbreaks in wild birds have been identified. The biggest threat to humans is if the Christmas turkeys are affected as they would have to be destroyed.

The mayor of Los Angeles has been attending the climate change conference in Glasgow. It is reported he has tested positive for Covid and has gone into self-solation.

Prof. Michael Peak has commented strongly on the unanticipated consequences of the Covid pandemic. He feels that very large numbers will die as consequence of missed scanning appointments for routine screening and the numbers of delayed operations that are now too late to be curative. He is of course right, and we must do everything we can to support the NHS to be as proactive as possible. Clearing the back log will take at least 5 years. Goodness knows how many unnecessary deaths will occur.

France has topped 10,000 new cases in the last few days, its highest figure since early September. 3 different French Regional Departments have made face masks compulsory in schools again.

The Saudi Federal Drugs Agency has followed the USA in approving the vaccine for the 5-11 years old children.

There are frequent stories in the media about problems travelling with the right Covid documentation. I suspect there are many more not getting publicity. Please make sure if you are travelling that you check and double check both the entry and exit requirements. Check the requirements for pre and post travel requirements are. What fully vaccinated means exactly in that country and which vaccines are acceptable and whether they can be different. Ladies particularly if your journey takes you in or through France. Apparently in France Vaccine certificates are written using your maiden name. You will not be allowed entry if your passport shows a different married name to your vaccine pass.

New Zealand, having got off to an excellent start is now suffering . They have had just 2 deaths but 163 new cases yesterday was the highest daily figure yet.

There is good evidence of efficacy on the new drug Molnupiravir from Pfizer which is excellent. When used by patients in hospital, it helps to prevent severe infections and death. Claims of 87-90% reduction in deaths are being reported.

We tend to forget the freedom of speech our journalists and others enjoy, there is a young female journalist in jail in China because of her reporting the response to Covid in Wuhan . The ONS say there are currently about 1.1 million of us affected today by Covid and around 200 deaths per day. I could not report this from China. I would not do well in jail. Any one can see this is far from over. We may want it to be, but we delude ourselves if we persist on not taking simple steps to minimise risk. Call it plan B, I call it a no brainer, and is only common sense. Please use masks and stay a social distance apart. Why are we taking steps to keep our turkeys safe but not willing to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe? Please take care and stay safe

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