January 7 2021

Several times recently I have been asked exactly who key workers are. Here is a list of those people considered to be key workers:

Workers in the following key sectors are deemed critical to the coronavirus response.

Health and social care

This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers, as well as specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector, and supply chain.

Education and childcare

Childcare workers, support and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professionals are all critical workers.

Key public services

This includes those essential to running the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering vital frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those delivering the coronavirus response, or essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

Those involved in food production, processing, distribution and delivery – as well as those essential to the production of other key goods – are classed as key workers.

Public safety and national security

This includes police, support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel, fire and rescue service staff, National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff, and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

Staff needed for essential financial services provision, the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors, information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies, waste disposal sectors, postal services and delivery, payment providers, and those working in civil nuclear, chemicals and telecommunications are also included.

Do both parents need to be key workers?

No – they do not. Children with at least one parent who is classified as a key worker will be allowed to remain in school A skeleton network of schools and nurseries will remain open for the children of key workers where they will be supervised during the day.

The statistics today are not good. But I believe we may see a down turn in the number of new cases only in about 5 days-time. Hospital admissions and deaths will go on rising till the middle of February, and then begin to fall. 557,441 tests were done on 6th January and 52,618 were positive in the last 24 hours. The positive case rate is still rising and is 581.6/100k a 33.8% rise over 7 days.

Deaths amount to 1,162. This is a rate of 6.2 per 100k and twice what it was only a few weeks ago. It means almost 5,000 have died in the last 7 days.

30,451 people are in hospital as of 4th January, with 3,600 admitted on 3rd January.2,645 people are on ventilators.

On the good side 1.3 million have been immunised by 3rd January. I hear on the grape vine that supplies are still not getting through and several vaccine centres are idle waiting for more supplies. The Prime Minister has been talking about the massive combined effort to get 13 million of us at least the first jab by mid- February. I do hope the supplies can be maintained. I am confident the health arrangements will work.

The Moderna vaccine has already been approved now in the EU and in the USA. It is expected to have approval in the UK by next week. However, the 7 million doses ordered by the UK will not get delivered until April as we are no longer part of the EU. You will remember it is made like the Pfizer vaccine and stored in the same way.

When asked Matt Hancock confirmed that there is a plan to cope with a new variant of the Covid 19 virus which does not respond very well to the vaccine. He was reassuring and confirmed a lot of work was happening right now. It was likely the Covid Vaccination would be modified regularly in the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine is each year.

Two new drugs are to be included in the treatment protocols for Covid patients. The names to look out for are Tocilzumab and Sarilumab. Both are already on the market for use in some forms of rheumatoid arthritis. Both drugs if given to patients in hospital are claimed to reduce the severity of the illness and the length of stay by up to 10 days. They would be given in addition to dexamethasone or similar steroid, they are given by a single or two intravenous injections and will cost up to a £1,000 per patient.

I know it is cold and bleak outside at the moment. It also seems cold and bleak in our hospitals at present, but there are already signs of spring with bulbs pushing up and a few snowdrops peeping up. Spring is coming soon for us all. We must just hold tight, stay at home and encourage one another in whatever imaginative ways you can think of. We will turn the corner in only a few weeks now.

Please share your stories, both good and bad, ask for help if you need it.

Above all be kind and caring to every one as you strive to stay safe.

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