Well, the glimmer of light I mentioned yesterday is still there and even a tiny bit brighter. For the second day running there has been a small decrease in the number of daily new cases testing positive. There were still 47,525 new positive cases in the last 24 hours. This represents a 7.2% drop in the seven- day rolling average. There was a total of 584,760 tests done in the last 24 hours. The positive rate is now 614.8 per 100k.
This is exactly what the scientists have been hoping for. The effects of lockdown are now beginning to impact the number of new cases. It is very early days yet, but good early signs are most welcome. It usually takes two weeks from contracting the disease to need hospital admission and a small percentage of those go on to die. I am sorry but this means hospital data and deaths continue for the time being to go up and up and there is little we can do about it now. There were a further 1,564 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, a rise of 54.7% in the 7day rolling average. The rate is now 8.2 per 100k.A total of 36,489 patients are currently in hospital as of 11th January. The latest daily admission for 7th January being 4,753. There are 3,496 patients on a ventilator.
Looking at these figures it starkly confirms why our NHS is almost on its knees. ITU beds are hard to find in Greater London and patients are being moved around to wherever there is a bed. Kings College Hospital, (the one with my initials KCH) in Denmark Hill, South London is now relocating some patients that cannot be discharged, often because they are homeless or still require low tech sitting care, to a local hotel owned by the Great Western Chain.
There are early reports of a new variant being found in Brazil, I can find no reliable details yet, this will continue to happen as the virus is capable of mutating all the time. We are reassured that if the vaccines have to be rejigged to be effective with a new variant this should be possible quite quickly, within 40 days. The supply of vaccine to the large number of vaccine centres continues to be a concern. We are assured that this will correct itself quickly but the target to get all the top 4 categories done by the 15th of February looks to be getting harder to reach. There is little point in staffing them for 24 hours a day if they are going to run out of supply. The Government are now releasing daily vaccine figures. As of today, 2.6 million first doses have been given and 428k have had a second dose. Remember it takes up to 3 weeks to build some immunity after the first dose, so many who have only had their first have a while to go to get immunity and must continue with all the precautions. There have been some people incubating the disease on the day they were immunised and then developed the disease a few days later.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is expected to seek EU approval in the next few days.
Asda in Birmingham have closed the George clothes section of the store and turned it into a vaccination centre and plan to go live on 25th January.
The debate about whether or not we still need to tighten the rules continues. I think we may well see that happen as people see the effect on hospitals worsen in the next two weeks. An optimistic estimate is another 10,000 deaths before they begin to drop again.
The mental health and emotional well-being of all of us is clearly suffering and I can see that in the tone of some of your comments and questions. I recognise I have been blunt today. Most of you know the position we are in and are playing by the rules. This is why you read this far every night.
Four more weeks to go and 15 million doses of vaccine will reduce our risks by 88%, We can and must do this. We owe it to our families and ourselves, so stay at home, hibernate, give up exercise if you wish to, it’s not compulsory, but for those that benefit do it locally in a quiet place. Only shop if you have to, use the delivery services where you can. Carry on using your spare time creatively or with new hobbies.
When this is all over, we will have a lot to share.
Stay safe everyone and hide behind a face covering if outside your home.