It seems a bit ironic that today when the number of deaths from Covid 19 has broken the record for the second day running that there is very sparse news: the world’s media are all taken up with the Presidential changes in the USA and with our national preoccupation with the weather.
Let’s deal with Storm Christoph. It is expected to bring atrocious weather with significant risks of flooding. Plans are being made to evacuate several thousand residents. Remember to prepare to be evacuated. Pull together a bag with essential documents, spare clothes, money, credit cards passports etc do not leave it till the last minute.
There is some interesting new data released from the Office of National Statistics, it is based on antibody testing on volunteers. They now believe that I in 8 adults in England have antibodies due to exposure to the virus. In Wales it is 1 in 10, 1 in 13 in Northern Ireland and 1 in 11 in Scotland. Within the regions there can also be significant variations. These statistics were for adults living at home and does not include those in Care Homes or hospitals. Parts of London show 16.4 % of residents have Covid antibodies, whereas parts of eastern England only have half that number.
The WHO plan to approve several more Covid 19 vaccines soon as it plans to roll out the vaccines to poorer countries. The global scheme run by WHO is known as COVAX. The WHO want to roll out at least 2 billion vaccines across the world this year with at least 1.3 going to poor or low-income countries. The UK is generous in its financial support to Covax, but WHO is facing a shortage of vaccines as larger more prosperous countries have booked large volumes of tests.
The roll out of vaccine continues but there are increasingly areas which are doing poorly compared to others. It is not clear why the London area have often barely done half of the over 80s and Care Home residents whereas in other areas it is near 100%. The absolute numbers may be a limiting factor. Most of you in the over 70 age group should get your invitation letter in the next few days. If you have not received an invitation yet it is worth checking you are registered with a GP and that they have a current address. If you are concerned ring 119 for free and check you are registered.
Sir Patrick Vallance, our Chief Scientific Officer, has been talking about the scientific and medical advice given to the Government. He explained his advice about dealing with lockdown at all stages was to go earlier than you really want to. Go harder than you really want to and go broader than you want to, really wise advice when so often it seems to be too little too late.
The Lincolnshire Care Home I mentioned last night are all excited tonight as all patients and all staff had their first dose of vaccine today.
Further work from Pfizer suggests they are satisfied that the Kent mutation with the B1,17 mutation was going to be fully preventable with the current vaccine. There are several other mutations being tested. Both the South African and the new Brazilian variants both hold the same mutation E484K which is thought to change the shape of the spike protein. Studies on these continue but the vaccine is thought likely to help. It may well be we will have annual booster immunisations with different variants of the vaccine each year, in the same way we do with seasonal influenza.
We know that we think we have hit the peak of new cases and that admissions will be the next to begin to fall and then followed a week or so later by death figures. The absolute number of new positive cases does show a slight rise today, this may well be due to mass asymptomatic testing that has just started. 38,905 tested positive over the last 24 hours. It is still a drop of 21.5% in the 7 day rolling average . The rate being 462.1/100k. A total of 579,194 tests were performed, a 1.7% drop in the rolling average.
Deaths are the highest ever today and may well go on breaking records until it begins to fall in a further week or so. The death rate has risen to 10.9/100k or 14.8% in the 7 day rolling average. 39,068 people were hospital inpatients on 18th January, 3,947 were on a ventilator. The daily admission data has not been updated for a week.
4.6 million people have had their first jab and 406, 625 have had their second as well.
Please hang on, we are getting nearer and nearer to beating this virus. We can and must minimise any further deaths by following all the rules and staying at home. Hopefully you will all be protected from flooding.
Stay Safe Everybody.