March 7 2021

Are you living in one of the thousands of homes getting ready for school tomorrow? Trying to find that bit of homework set 2 months ago, that new set of pencils you had for Christmas. Perhaps the school tie has gone AWOL, nobody has seen it for weeks. Secondary children will need masks. How many per day are you going to give them? What advice will give about disposing of them? There is such a lot to think about there are bound to a few teething problems as schools get underway again. Do share anything interesting with us.

One plan under consideration is to make school days longer and holidays shorter to create more teaching time to help catch up all that’s been missed. What do your children think of this and what about teachers’ views?

Covid has now killed 140,000in the UK since the start of the pandemic. To start with it was rare for anyone to know somebody with the infection. A year on, we all know friends who have been infected, most will know of someone sadly dying. Many of us have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Reflect for a minute how things have been for you in this last year. What have we learnt about ourselves, our resilience and our vulnerabilities? As hopefully the next few months will see us emerge from this nightmare, what have we learnt about ourselves and others? How will you change your view of life for the coming months and years? Reflective learning can be a very powerful tool.

3 men have been arrested after a lorry load of lateral flow tests destined for schools tomorrow has been stollen.

A GP in Leicester, became very concerned when he saw the number of eligible patients who were refusing their first Covid vaccination. There were 224 on his list alone. His practice was in an area of social deprivation and had a high number of BAME residents. He decided to telephone each one personally to discuss their anxieties. 128 of them changed their minds, once reassured, and have now been vaccinated. I am sure this personal approach could significantly improve the take up of the vaccine. I would urge all practices to do the same.

In Austria vaccination has been suspended with the OAZ whilst a death and an unexplained illness are investigated just in case the problems were associated with the vaccine. One patient died following a blood clotting failure in a patient. And the other had a pulmonary embolus. Neither are likely to be found to have been caused by the vaccine and I anticipate vaccination being resumed very soon. This is a normal procedure and should not cause alarm.

PHE say we should all consider how we will prepare for next winter, which could be tough with a lot of winter colds, and seasonal flu which was suppressed this year by masks and distancing, as well as some outbreaks of covid 19 still. Wearing masks and social distancing could become normal in the winter to keep these illnesses down in numbers.

Israel has opened its bars, cafes, and restaurants again. Any member of the public can use them on production of a green pass. The pass indicates they have been fully vaccinated against Covid 19. It’s simple, and easy to keep a check on it. I can see no reason why we cannot do something similar.

In a kind gesture, police arrested the organiser of a demonstration about nurses pay who refused to stop or to give her name and when she continued to be uncooperative they arrested her and issued a £10,000 fine for organising an illegal event in Manchester. Later she changed her mind gave the police her name and address and apologised. The police de-arrested her, cancelled the £10,000 fine and instead gave her a £200 fixed penalty fine for the illegal gathering, the same as other demonstrators.

There appears to be more data problems tonight. The number of deaths are recorded as 0 for the UK and there is an apologetic explanation. Soon I shall be able to say there have been no deaths for real. Would anyone like to guess when that will come? There is a figure just for hospitals in England today of 90.

There have still been 5,177 tests in the last 24 hours which is a 31% drop in the last 7 days and the positive test rate is 69 per 100 k of the population.

There has been no new hospital data, and no new data for the number of tests being done. 4.7 million tests have been done in the last week.

Vaccinations continue to be done at a pace with 22.2 million first jabs and 1.1 million second jabs.

Remember you still have to stay at home and stay apart. School can start again but you cannot! The only exception relates to visitors to a care home and meeting one other person for a picnic or a coffee in the park. I have explained all this very recently.

Please stick to the basic rules; stay at home, stay apart and stay safe.

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