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Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 8 Apr 2022

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

According to the Government web site, the number of tests done in the UK in the week ending today was only 3,629,2226. Over a million less than in the previous week. Of those tests 333k were positive. 184 thousand less than the week before. We know just by looking around us that these figures are inaccurate and are being quoted by some in the media as proof things are getting dramatically better. They are not significantly better, although as you will see thinks do now seem to be levelling off and hopefully by Easter there will be a downward trend again. I will not be reporting these figures in the future unless the rules around testing change again.

Boris clearly hopes things are getting better again as do we all. There was a note of realism in a speech today when he admitted he cannot rule out the need for a lockdown again in the future.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) are now perhaps more helpful. The figures for the last 7 days released on 2nd April show that rates are rising in those over 70 years of age. One in 14 people over the age of 70 currently have Covid. That is 7.2%. At the other end of the age range in the two - six year olds, the rate is falling a little. In the seven to eleven age band, it has levelled off. In the twelve to twenty- four age band it is still rising a little. One in twelve aged twenty-five to thirty -four are positive, that’s 8.3% of that age band. For those middle aged, between 35 and 70 years old, cases have levelled off at about 1 in 14.

I am not quite sure how these figures are being derived. I imagine there is sampling in each age band. I need to check the population size to assess how accurate these figures can be.

Another good pointer that things are at least levelling off is the number of people admitted to hospital in the last 7 days it has dropped for the first time for a while and stands at 16,407. Ninety less than in the week before.

Similarly, the total number in hospital yesterday was 20,331. This is nearly 100 less than in hospital the day before. There are also 4 less people on a ventilator. The number now is 357. These hospital figures should be accurate proving each hospital is reporting correctly having done a daily head count.

The number of deaths is not yet showing any improvement but is always the last to do so. When this starts to fall consistently, we can be sure its all improving. There were 1,475 deaths in the last 7 days . the death rate is 2.3/100,000 of the population.

The immunisations statistics have not changed much, although there is a 0.1% rise in the number of third doses given. A fourth vaccine is the way to protect our elderly and most vulnerable. Please make sure you do not miss out if eligible.

I notice the Nancy Pelosi, the US Speaker is the latest high profile American to catch Covid. The actress Sarah Jessica Parker is the second key actor to go down with Covid in a Broadway show in New York. The shows are cancelled now until further notice.

A large study of Covid in the African continent has just been published by the WHO. It covers the period six months ago now. We knew that less than 15% of the population had been immunised but by measuring antibodies they determined that 65% of the population had antibodies because they had been infected. The reported death rates are low, but how complete or accurate they are is anybody’s guess.

The obvious reason that deaths are low is because Africa is a young continent. 42% of the whole population is under 15 years of age. Only 3% are over the age of 65. The co-morbidities associated with age, namely diabetes, obesity and hypertension are a lot lower in Africa. If follows therefore that a lot fewer would be expected to die of Covid. In summary it’s the high levels of antibodies after contracting Covid that are protecting the population of Africa. Immunisation has only played a small part. In the last week the “state of disaster” has been lifted in South Africa and Ghana has reopened its borders.

A federal court in the USA has reversed a decision which had blocked President Biden’s attempt to mandate that federal workers must be vaccinated. This will now be law once more.

Try and have a relaxed and enjoyable weekend. There are definite promising signs things are about to improve in the UK. We must still continue the common sense or Plan K approach to Covid. Think how you can reduce your fuel and energy costs. We have had to do it before in shortages. If you have not turned down your heat by 1 degree now is the time. See what you can do to help the humanitarian aid flowing to the Ukraine. I am conscious a number of you have been unwell and some are still in hospital I hope you continue to get better. Please stay safe.

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