February 18 2021

Another day when there is relatively little new information to report. I think this will be quite common for the next 4 weeks as we sit at home and wait for the numbers to drop to a point where slight relaxation is possible. It is certainly a case of no news is good news.

The React Study, one of the largest UK studies now is reported as showing that in the UK currently 1 person in every 196 are infected whereas a while ago when checked it was found to be 1 in 63.

Yesterday 578,844 tests were done to detect Covid 19, There were 12,057 of these found to be positive. This is a further 20% reduction in the last 7 days. It means the rate per 100k of the population has fallen to131.8/100k.

However, there are still 20,156 people in hospital with Covid 19 on the 16th February, with a further 1,531 admitted on Valentine’s Day alone. This is again, a 24.8% drop over the last 7 days. This figure needs to come down a lot more before any easing of restrictions is possible. There are still a large number on ventilators as well; at the last count 2,614.

Deaths remain far too high. Today’s numbers are 454. This has also fallen by 26.9% over the last 7 days. The death rate from the disease is also now reduced to 5.7 per 100k of the population.

As for vaccinations, 16,423,082 1st doses have been given and 573,724 2nd doses. A remarkably good effort to get them done so efficiently and quickly.

PHE confirm that the disease prevalence has dropped in all age bands. The group with the highest prevalence is now the 30 to 39 year olds. This group have not been vaccinated, unless a key worker, and they represent those largely going out to work daily and therefore more at risk. This again demonstrates the need for lockdown measures to continue. For the senior citizens, being vaccinated and staying at home has contributed greatly to the drop in numbers of cases in the over 80s.

There is news of variants still popping up all over the place. The South African variant has been isolated in Leeds and a mass testing programme stated for all residents from the post code area LS8. Every body whether symptomatic or not should be tested in the next few days. For details of how and where to go see local information on line.

In Finland , the Helsinki Vita laboratories hade discovered yet another variant. Although found in Finland they do not believe it mutated there because of the current low rates of infection. There have only been 51,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 723 deaths. It has been found in the south of the Country and is said to be difficult to detect with a PCR test. It is different from both the South African variant and the British Kent variants. It has been named Fin796H. It is not a major concern at present and I do not think this will cause us any problems.

The First Minister for Wales will make an update tomorrow lunchtime. The Stormont Executive have announced they are extending the Northern Ireland lockdown until at least 1st of April. However, School pupils in years 1-3 can return to school on March 8th, and years 12-14 will be able to return on the 23rd March. I am sure many of you like me are beginning to be a bit impatient to get this all done and dusted. We just must not let this happen, not doing things properly now would be catastrophic for us all, both in terms of illness and death but also in terms of economics.

Our PM will give us the road to recovery next week. We must be sure we give him figures continuing to fall in the right direction. So, there is likely to be a lot more news soon, we must ensure it stays positive. Do encourage and support one another, make that phone call, or send some welfare messages. If we all just make 3 welfare enquires a day, we would achieve an amazing amount of encouragement. If you know you are flagging make contact with someone and share your stress. The quicker these numbers come down the quicker we will be able to relax.

So please stay at home whenever possible, only go out if essential and stay safe at all times.

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