February 11 2021

Tonight’s statistics show 763,311 Covid tests have been done in the last 24 hours. From this large number only 13,494 were positive. These positive tests continue their downward trend with a 28% reduction over the last 7 day rolling average. The positive test rate has fallen to 185.5 per 100k.

As the number of cases drop so do the number in hospital. 25,621 people are currently in hospital. A further 1,842 were admitted on 7th February. 3,132 are on a ventilator.

Although numbers are dropping steadily, they are still worryingly high and continues to stretch the NHS to its limits.

Finally, deaths on the 7th February were 678. That is a fall of 22.5% over the last 7 days. The death rate from Covid is now just 7.8 per 100k.

Vaccinations continue on target. There were 13, 509,108 1st doses given in total by 10th February. Additionally, 524,447 people had a 2nd dose.

The NHS has built up a huge waiting list again with over a quarter of a million people waiting more than a year for investigations and procedures. It will take a long time to catch this up again, Probably 3-4 years.

There are very encouraging findings in a trial of a drug called TOCILIZUMAB. This drug is currently used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. It is manufactured by Roche. Given in conjunction with the steroid dexamethasone there was a significant drop in the number of deaths with quicker recovery from severe disease.

A British study shows the infection risk drops by 2/3 a few weeks after the 1st dose the vaccine.

An American study has shown that use of the vaccine in pregnancy is safe and it is now being given to 10,000 pregnant patients with no red flags noted. The WHO have also changed their approach after reviewing the evidence and now consider it safe to vaccinate pregnant women.

Jeremy Hunt did not read my caution last night and unfortunately fell on the ice first thing this morning and has broken his wrist. We all wish him well.

Further evidence from the USA suggests that once you have had a full course of vaccine ( 2 doses) you can avoid the standard quarantine for 14 days after exposure, as long as they remain asymptomatic.

We need to watch carefully the discovery of yet another mutation in the Bristol area which is known as VOC202102/02. It is officially described as a variant of concern. It has very similar changes to the South African variant. it seems to be a variant derived with an extra area of mutation from the Kent variant known as E484K. So far 21 cases have been identified with 14 in Bristol, 4 in Manchester and 3 others isolated across the country. Public Health England are confident the existing vaccines will work adequately to deal with both this new variant and another one, the Liverpool variant.

The AZ vaccine is now being mass produced. The company aims to provide 100million doses this month, rising to 200 million in April. They plan to adapt and reformulate the vaccine, which is produced now at 25 sites in 15 different countries. They have a target to make 3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Remember, remarkably, all this vaccine, to support the whole world, is being provided at cost price with no profit for the company.

Let’s all keep going and see the end of this pandemic this year. It needs our close attention to keep to the rules. We must not relax. Far too many are still in hospital, we cannot afford to take our eye off the target of no patients in hospital and all the adults of the population protected with two doses of an effective vaccine.

Stay at home if at all possible and stay apart. Share any novel ideas you have heard about how to keep people happy and resilient.

We know many are depressed and uncertain, we must do all we can to encourage and support them

A reminder again not to slip on the ice. Stay warm and stay safe.

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