Let’s start with the good but rather slow progress being made to bring to a close this current wave of the pandemic.730,233 Covid tests have been done yesterday and only 13,308 were positive. This represents a fall of 27.3% over 7days and the positive rate has dropped to 167.6 per 100k of the population.
Just as there are fewer cases in the community, so fewer patients are being admitted. At the last count, a few days ago, there were 13,308 in a hospital bed. 2,943 of those are on ventilators. The latest figure for admissions in any one day was on 9th of February and was 1,741.It follows that if the numbers in hospital and the numbers on a ventilator are falling then the death rate will also begin to fall. There were 621 deaths reported yesterday. This is affected by the week end more than the other figures, but it suggests a 26.1% drop in the last 7 days. The death rate has fallen to only 7.3 per 100k. This means that treatment is also helping to reduce the number of deaths.
We have just about reached the target number of vaccinations being done. The cumulative totals of 1st jabs are 14,556,828 and a further 534,869 2nd jabs have been given. This means the UK can formally move to the next priority group right across the Country. There are some 3.5 million in the group aged 65-69 who will be now booked in for a jab. Some areas are ahead of others and have already started. Remember if you are over 70 and have previously declined a jab, or have not been offered one you can ring 119 and make arrangements. If for some reason you are not registered with a GP this could be a reason you have not been called. You should fix that as well.
Irish tourists appear to be getting around the Country’s travel ban on holidays by booking dental check-ups on the Spanish island of Tenerife. They then produce a letter at Dublin Airport to show officials they are not travelling for the good of their health but to have their teeth given the once over. The Island dentists became suspicious when they started getting requests for written confirmation for appointments and then no one turned up. The Airport officials also became concerned that 40% of travellers to Tenerife were travelling for dental check-ups! The scam has been exposed and dental check-ups are no longer a valid reason for travel. There are threats of prosecution now if you try that trick.
There are still rumblings, largely from European politicians, annoyed by their vaccine allocations, that the OAZ vaccine is not suitable for the elderly. All sensible scientific opinion is strongly in favour of its full use in the elderly. The MHRA, the WHO and the EMA have all declared it safe and effective. The politicians are still trying to deflect any concerns away from their bad management of the purchase of vaccine within the EU.
Germany has closed its land border with both Austria and the Czech Republic in an attempt to keep out the Kent variant of Covid. This comes into effect tomorrow but is almost certainly too little, too late.
A big operation is underway using surge testing for Covid in Hampshire, Middlesborough and Walsall in an attempt to contain and isolate those with the South African Variant, now prevalent in those three areas.
Boris Johnson is said to be optimistic about easing a few of the lockdown requirements when he sets out his agenda from the 8th of March. We know he wants as a top priority to get schools open again. I hope he will not be tempted to move too quickly. I was amused to see a Government video for public information with a large number of celebrities repeating my daily message to you all about staying at home if you can. The truth is far many more could stay at home if they chose to.
Tomorrow maybe a special anniversary for many of you. For others it will be just another day stuck at home.
What ever it feels like it will be one day nearer the end of our problems. Please continue to stay apart, use the phone, or computer to stay in touch with loved ones.
Stay apart and stay safe.