March 16 2021

Some days we seem to have been testing nearly a million extra tests which represent the mass testing of children and perhaps this is the reason the number of new cases is very steady and is not dropping as we want it to. I cannot find any statistical breakdown by age of the positive tests. We do need these figures provided to correctly interpret the results we are seeing. 1.57 million tests were done yesterday with 5,294 being positive. This is only a 1.9% fall in the 7 day average. It is equivalent to a rate of 59.1per 100k. We know that positive lateral flow tests are checked using PCR tests. Does this mean there is some double counting? What about false positive tests, just how many please are we seeing? One study published in the Telegraph, but with little detail ,suggests as many as 7/10 are false positive results. PHE has to release more data to avoid speculation and to avoid misleading us all. If despite all the above possibilities the number has stopped falling it must be of concern, on the other hand the remaining statistics are very encouraging, it’s getting rare to need hospital and deaths are now very rare. There were 110 deaths in the last 24 hours, this is the lowest Tuesday figure for a long time. It is a 32% drop over 7 days and the death rate is only 1.3 per 100k of the population.

As for hospitals there were 7,281 patients with Covid 19 in hospital on the 14th March with 464 being admitted on 12 March. Only 1,016 are being treated on ventilators.The highest case rate is in Corby with 132/100k of the population and the lowest rate is in Torridge with only 4.4 cases per 100k.

Professor Clare Gerada, a former President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, has full confidence that the vaccine is safe. She fears it is being weaponised. She went on to explain it will soon not just be the OAZ vaccine but all vaccines. She continued that there have problems from the start with the OAZ vaccine with the European leaders. All vaccines are slightly less effective in the elderly, but only the OAZ manufacturers admitted it and released data. The European regulators and the UK regulators have strongly reassured us about its safety and recommend it to all age groups. At the moment thousands of doses are sitting idle because no one wants it. It is being given to Germany’s homeless people. We have people queuing desperate for a jab and many countries around the world are still dreaming that one day they will have vaccine. There is no doubt in Dame Clare’s mind that this is a political and not a scientific issue. I was encouraged, having stuck my neck out further than usual yesterday, that Dame Clare presents an equally strong view today as the past President of the Royal College of which I am a member.

We will not break this pandemic until we have global herd immunity. So go get either vaccine as soon as it is your turn. Please do not worry about microclots in blood samples. They are a common finding. Covid can be long lasting or fatal, DVTs and Pulmonary Emboli can be treated relatively easily.

A new Covid variant has been detected in Brittany and has been named the Breton variant, I understand 8 cases are identified in one hospital. It is of interest because the PCR tests were negative and it was only identified by genomic sequencing. The Pasteur Institute says it does not seem more transmissible or more deadly. It is really a new strain as it has at least 9 variants on the spike protein and others in other viral regions. It does not seem to be causing concern.

Scotland are to lift stay at home rules and replace with stay local on 2nd April. Stay local means do not normally travel outside your local Authority area. Hairdressers and nonessential shops can open on 5th April. From 26th April there can be up to 50 at a wedding or funeral.

Wales have made changes already so hairdressers are open but you must still stay local

Northern Ireland, up to 6 in 2 households can meet outside from 1st April , but you must wait till 12th April to go out but stay local

If you are desperate to go out and protest you can do it in a Covid secure way from 29th March without breaching the restrictions. Pictures from Central London show this foolishly being widely ignored. Most countries in the world would resort to water cannon. Do we really want that? At least its one way of sanitizing the law breakers! Mostly encouraging figures, a few important questions to answer and still some regulations we all need to follow and respect. We could still waste all our efforts if we let the pandemic escape now.

Let’s be certain we do not have a third wave by Staying at home, Staying apart, and Staying safe.

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