January 27 2021

It is now one year since we began to be aware of Covid 19. To start with, we did not know what to call it. The disease has a different name to the responsible virus and people, who should know better, still refer to ‘corona virus’ which is the name for a whole class of viruses rather than the specific one causing this pandemic which has been named Covid 19.

Especially for the non-medics, look how your language has a whole raft of new words and phrases you would not normally use. Words like mutation. variant, transmissibility, quarantine and many others. There are new phrases and compound words like viral load, mortality rate, incubation period, and 7 day rolling average. We have learnt to use statistics and understand significance. Most had no idea what PPE meant.

The very high numbers of cases still keep the situation very perilous for our NHS but the statistics tonight confirm we are bang on track to get this under control.

596,845 tests have been done in the last 24 hours, with almost 4 million in the last week. We are maintaining this high level of activity every day. The number of positive tests has fallen to 25,308. This represents a 28.9% drop in the number of positive cases. The lock down is being effective by staying apart this number is coming down steadily. We must not relax we need it a lot lower yet, it does however point to the fact that fewer will need to go to hospital in the next few weeks.

There were 37,605 patients in hospital on the 25th January, with 3,082 admitted to hospital on 23rd January. 3.961 are on a ventilator. These figures are also coming down slowly; a few days ago, over 4,000 were on ventilators and nearly 40,000 in hospital.

The last of the parameters to drop is the death rate, which is still very high at 1,725 in the last 24 hours. However, it only shows a rise of 0.9 %. We will not be able to move forward until this is dropping every day,

Vaccinations continue with 7,164,387 first doses given and 474,156 2nd doses. I go for my first one tomorrow after it had been postponed a few days. There now seems to be a steady supply of vaccine for the UK but the situation in the EU is not nearly as comfortable. It would appear the EU placed their order 3 months after the UK and that Hungary brought Russian Sputnik 5 vaccine because of frustration with the EU.

The Prime Minister when addressing Parliament today confirmed what has already been widely speculated upon. British Nationals only are allowed to return home from South Africa, Brazil, the rest of South America and Portugal. Any one else will be turned back. Once allowed in British nationals will be taken to hotels for a compulsory 10 day isolation in a hotel room, this will be supervised. The passengers are responsible for costs. If they purchase a further test after 5 days which is negative, they will be released to their homes.

It also became clear that no school children will return to school before 8th of March and could well be later. In the later half of February, the position will be reviewed and it is hoped to be able to develop an exit strategy to relax the lockdown. if the effect of vaccination of all the most vulnerable has been successfully achieved, and that numbers have fallen considerably.

I agree totally that its far to early to review what went right and what went wrong. This is a vital process but should not happen until the pandemic is over and life has returned to normal.

There is a Spanish pharmaceutical company , pharmaMar which claims its cancer drug Aplidin has ‘ the potential to reduce any Covid 19 load in the lungs by 99%’ What on earth does this mean? I will be kind and say its confused by language issues. Aplidin is said to block a protein associated with the virus and prevents replication, leading to near complete eradication of Covid viral load in the lungs. The report also said the drug is also known as plitidepsin and it has ‘potent preclinical efficacy’. This is another nonsense comment; do not hold your breath about these claims. They also claim it is 30 times more potent than remdesivir. That drug was shown not to work so there is a lot of doubt about this drug.

Jonathan Van Tam has been tasked with the vital work of reviewing the evidence about whether vaccination reduces or stops onward transmission of the virus. We need this data to properly assess how we can slow the pandemic with immunisation.

Johnson and Johnson are poised to publish their phase 3 trials of their vaccine, which only requires a single dose, in the next week. They have pledged 1 million doses to the USA and 1billion for global use.

Nightly riots in the Netherland are continuing to cause their police major problems. I am concerned by reports in the evening standard tonight which suggests 20% of frontline ambulance service workers in London have not yet got a first dose of vaccine booked, let alone given. Even more concerning is that some 50 are allegedly refusing to have it when offered. I can understand the position of staff who are pregnant, although it might be that the risks of not being immunised in the front line may be greater than the risks in pregnancy. So far there are no reported problems of the vaccine in pregnancy and so the advice is to delay till after the pregnancy. The other reason not to be immunised is previous anaphylactic reactions to a vaccine not just the odd allergy. I think someone needs to grasp this and work hard to change minds. We need our very front line to lead from the front not help promote fear in others. I will look into this further, Finally, tonight I heat the bomb squad are in attendance at an Astra Zenica production works in North Wales. The area has been cordoned off whilst a suspicious package is made safe. I really hope this is a false alarm with good intent. The thought of someone trying to sabotage the production of vaccine is beyond belief.

So, settle down and realise nothing much is changing till we get the numbers down. We can and must do that by staying at home and staying apart. Keeping morale up is vital, share any ideas you have that are working for you. It’s all too easy to get irritable when we lack space to do our own thing or lack human physical contact.

Make sure Boredom is not an issue for you Remember Hands Face and Space stay at home and Stay safe, even when you have been immunised.

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