Perhaps the best news of the day is that the reproduction number R has officially dropped below 1.0 in England, the reported figure is 0.7 to 0.9. This means the virus is officially in retreat. The R number has remained above 1.0 since July of last year.
France has reacted to yesterday’s news I told you about only a single shot of vaccine being needed for people who have already been infected by Covid 19. France is to adopt this protocol in an attempt to get more 1st doses done. They are a long way behind in their vaccine programme compared to the UK.
France has also begun to do saliva based testing for Covid in school children. They have set themselves a tough target of 200,000 tests a week by mid-February.
A man has been remanded in custody after allegedly charging £160 to an elderly lady whom he had apparently conned into accepting a Covid vaccination from at her home in Surbiton. The case was adjourned until August.
Yesterday I reported that 4,600 hotel rooms had been identified for the quarantine of people arriving in the UK from a list of red Countries from where quarantine was mandatory. This is an effort to keep the new variants out of the country. I questioned yesterday whether there would be enough beds. Today it transpires that 1,220 passengers per day are expected. You do not need to be mathematician to realise that we will run out of beds on the 4th day! The original planning required 28,000 beds and 1,400 a day. The Government have yet to announce where these beds are coming from. If nothing happens there will be a crisis by Thursday of next week.
Prof. Ferguson suggests that this should be the last lockdown and that as restrictions ease from next month we will back to 2 tiers by May. I think this is probably realistic but things will not be back to normal at all. The Prime Minister is expected to set out his detailed plan for an exit strategy on the 22nd of February. We know everyone is keen to get school children back to school as quickly as possible. We are promised 2 weeks notice, so the earliest they could return is March 8th. However, most school teachers are under 50 years old so few will be immunised. I fear we are likely to see the same problems all over again. It is difficult to make an impartial assessment of keeping children off school. The Government are keen to have over 50s all immunised at least one by May. It seems to me that then efforts could be directed at school teachers and police officers. It should be possible to immunise them all in 2-3 weeks. Then Schools could all return to normal by mid-May.
As the summer months return so will various anti-government demonstrations. Having police officers more protected will considerably improve their ability to respond effectively.
In Scotland the Government have reminded people about the rules around funerals, A maximum number allowed to attend is 20 including children and no wakes or similar gatherings are allowed. Apparently too many people are turning up at funerals and organisers are asked not to advertise them on social media in an attempt to control attendees. It is possible now to have the service videoed and made available online for a month to allow others to watch the proceedings. The police are reluctant to break up funerals for the obvious sensitive reasons, funerals are a time when people find it very difficult to resist the desire to hug, creating a worrying risk of transmission.
A total number of 730,223 Covid tests were done yesterday. Only 15,144 were positive today The number has fallen by 26.3% in the last 7 days . The rate of positive cases is 177.7/100k. The total number of positive cases since testing began passed 4 million today.
There are still 24,352 patients in hospital with Covid on 10th February . 1,908 more people were admitted on 10th February. Whilst these figures are falling it is still very slow. We jut cannot afford to relax in any way until these figures are decimated. It is the compliance with all the rules followed by vaccination that is the only way to get this down.
Deaths amounted to 758 which is falling week on week ,27% in the last week. The death rate is 7.5/100k of the population.
Over 14 million 1st doses of the vaccine have been given and over half a million 2nd doses have been given.
We must continue, we are on the final furlongs of this race. The most important issue right now that is slowing our exit is the high number of patients in hospital still and the number of deaths. The only way to stop this is to stay apart. Stay at home whenever possible. Follow all the rules, do not go out to socialise, exercise once a day if you must but stay local in a quiet place. Wear your mask when away from home and keep up the regular sanitization. If you stay apart you cannot meet a virus so this is always the best approach.
Stay cheerful, encourage one another and stay safe.