Doc Hines - Covid News & Views - 9 July 2021
The statistics show we continue to do around 1.1 million tests per day. Today there have been 35,707 positive cases compared with 32,551 yesterday. This means over 200k more cases in just the last 7 days. this is a rise of 30.7%. The national rate is now at 277.3 per 100k of the population. Deaths remain fairly static, 35 yesterday and 29 today, but if you look at the 7-day figures it is up by 53 in the week. The death rate is overall 0.2 per 100k.
The number of patients being admitted to hospital in a single day is climbing. 509 were admitted on the 5th July compared with 456 the day before. Passing the 500/day milestone is sad and it will rise still further all the time 35% of the population are not fully vaccinated. There are 2,731people in hospital on the 8th July and now 417 of those patients are on a ventilator. It is this last figure which reflects the pressure on the intensive care units.
The immunisation numbers are only very slowly rising, 45.69m 1st doses and 34.34m 2nd doses. The percentages are 86.8% and 65.3% respectively. It is the second percentage we must watch carefully. It is imperative that this figure is pushed towards 90% as quickly as possible. The R number has risen to 1.5. Remember this means for every 10 people infected with Covid they will between them infect 15 others.
The evidence from Scotland suggested that crowds gathering for football contributed to the rise in cases in Scotland, but it was short-lived and cases are falling back again slowly. Sunday’s Cup Final will almost certainly bring a small peak 5-6 days later. It entirely depends on people’s behaviour as to just how great it will be. The behaviour of a few fans left a lot to be desired at the semi-final so I fear there may be a significant burst of new cases, even though the regulations have not yet been relaxed in any way.
By Tuesday, thank goodness it will be all over. Life and behaviour can return to more normal levels. Tokyo is facing a severe lockdown until after the end of the Olympics. The Government there have been decisive in banning all spectators from any events in Tokyo and greatly reducing attendance at other venues away from the city. This will cause much distress to many Japanese people and businesses. Can you imagine the furore if fans were banned from Wembley on Sunday?
Pfizer are to seek authorisation for a third vaccine shot to be given as a booster. Meanwhile, Australia has secured a deal that means 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week, rising to 2.8million at the end of July and 4.5million in August. Surprisingly for Australia, they are way behind with their immunisation programme.
A new study on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine does suggest that there is a very small increase in the incidence of heart inflammation after vaccination. The numbers seen after the OAZ vaccine do not vary from the normal background rate. Myocarditis or endocarditis are potentially life-threatening conditions but so far vaccine-induced cases are generally milder.
We know that serious illness and deaths are rare in children with Covid but can and have been fatal. This is complicating the issue of vaccinating children over 12. The scientist and statisticians are still assessing the risk versus benefits against the Heath Service view of “first do no harm.”
The NHS waiting list numbers have hit a new record high for the second month running. This is so disappointing as before the pandemic hit last year the waiting lists had all but been irradicated. I fear it will be several years before the waiting lists can reduce to almost zero again.
What happens now is in the hands of the football supporters and those who still not had even one dose of vaccine. There are virtually no reasons for not having it. The 13% who still say no are the main reason the number of daily jabs being given is beginning to tail off. All the vaccine centres have spare capacity.
If, and when booster doses are offered, please have one. It is also very important that if you are eligible, have a flu jab this winter. With the number of cases being low for the last two years thanks to masks, isolation and social distancing, a large surge of flu is expected once these barriers are removed. This will put the NHS under pressure once again.
Watch the football on Sunday, support your team but ideally from the safety of your own living room. We may lose a lot of atmosphere for the occasion but is surely better than losing a life.
I very much enjoy reading your varying and diverse comments, please keep them coming. I have a plea from one of the readers who works in a Covid centre.
Please remember to take your NHS number and your Covid record card with you. Write the number on a piece of paper, it saves a great deal of time if you have it ready.
If our Government’s Covid plan is going to work, we will have to accept a significant rise in new cases and more hospital admissions on a much smaller scale. Some deaths are sadly inevitable. It's our duty to keep this to the minimum. Make sure you have both jabs and, still, for the time being, wear your masks and keep your distance.