March 21 2021

“ Nobody is safe until we are all safe “. It is partial immunity that will drive mutations. There are large swathes of our global population that remain un-immunised. These could act as a reservoir where mutations can emerge and therefore cause previously immunised communities to become reinfected with a resistant mutation.

We are seeing a form of ‘vaccine nationalism’ immerging where the more developed countries are ignoring the vulnerable in other neighbouring countries. The best way forward for planet Earth is to develop a far better global cooperation and support, developing innovations to provide better vaccination world-wide.

The WHO Director says there is an urgent need to protect against vaccine nationalisation. He went on to say its understandable to want to do your own first, but we must not stop there, the response to the pandemic has to be collective. The squabble about the short supplies of the OAZ vaccine is very regrettable say the manufacturers, but the behaviour of some countries towards others has been quite unacceptable.

There has been a recent study of hospital acquired infections with Covid 19 during last December. 64% of patients who died or who had critical care became infected in hospital. The average during the pandemic was 30%. The authors argue that hospital acquired infections need to be an additional factor in modelling. Something to me is not quite ringing true with this. They excluded all patients in care Homes for a start. So, the next biggest groups of the elderly are in hospitals. Because of the widespread use of PPE, the number of circulating influenza and upper respiratory virus infections has been kept to a minimum. Therefore Covid 19 was the most likely infection. To keep hospitals free of infection was extremely difficult and various methods were tried including having red or infected zones and green non infected zones with no mixing allowed. A significant number of non-Covid patients on admission were beginning to incubate the illness and became positive 2-3 days after admission. I think we should be aware of these findings but not unduly concerned. Clearly, we want to avoid spread in hospitals; our best bet is prevention with immunisation of 100% of all adults.

There are an increasing number of Covid free zones developing around the country where there have been no new cases for a month. The number has doubled in the last week. This is a very encouraging development. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases.

There have been 6 Covid deaths in a hospital in Jordan due to a shortage of oxygen. This has caused widespread rioting and demonstrations forcing their Minister of Health to resign.

If all goes well, I can book a haircut in England after April 12th. Its not yet clear whether my beard will be done as its difficult to do safely with no mask on. We shall see. My hair has never been this wild!

I see the all-important R number in England has dropped still further and is now between 0.6 and 0.8 this means the pandemic in England at least is in retreat and numbers continue to fall.

It does not look so bright in other parts of Europe where there are worrying signs of a new rise in cases with new tough measures being started.

Hungry as a country has done extremely well with its vaccination programme, yet still is seeing a surge of new cases. 9,011 cases were positive yesterday and 130 new deaths. They have over 8,000 in hospital from a population only a fraction of ours. In Budapest the underground system may have to close due to lack of staff. All schools are closed until after Easter. There is an 8pm to 5am curfew. Almost all the cases are the Kent variant.

France is facing a very tense situation with president Macron trying hard to avoid a third lockdown. I fear he will have to give way very soon.

Over 1.6 million covid tests were done in the last 24 hours, with 5,534 being positive. This is a 5.5% drop in the rate of new cases and the rate of new cases is 59 per 100k. This is still a drop but the rate of drop is slowing. This must alert us to the possibility we are again facing a crisis point, we must get more vaccinations done and not relax our stay at home and stay apart policy. You have been warned we could be 2-3 weeks behind some other places in Europe. Deaths were only recorded as 121 today which is 32% drop in the last week and the rate is now only 1.5/100k. remember it’s a weekend. As for patients in hospital the last count on 11 March was 8,079. And now only 1,110 were on a ventilator. The last daily admission figure is 570 on 9th March. We continue to do well with vaccinations, 23.68 million first doses and 1.53 million second doses.

You can see the effect of a single dose of vaccine is pushing hospital admissions and deaths down steadily but the number of cases still about is not dropping as quickly.

It is good news but we just must not let our guard down. There are far too many people out and about. we cannot afford to return to the conditions in Hungary, France or Italy to name just a few. We need our borders super secure with no loopholes. No one in the UK should be travelling abroad for the time being and nobody coming home unless with compulsory quarantine.

Please Stay at home. Stay apart and above all Stay safe.

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