We will start in the United States of America for a change. Dr Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the CDC reports with some concern that across the USA infection rates have started to rise again despite the rapid rise in the numbers now immunised. Having been dropping steadily since the new year, there are now 57,000 cases per day with a 7% rise in the last 7 days. Hospital admissions have also risen. Deaths which is the statistic that lags behind the other has not risen yet. There are still an average of 1,262 deaths per day.
Remember that the US is vast compared with the UK and they are catching us up with vaccination. Joe Biden says he wants to give 2 million doses of vaccine in his first hundred days in office, and is on track to do so. Currently the US has immunised 38% of the adult population whereas the UK has done 45%.
Back in Europe The European Medicines Agency (EMA the EU Regulator) announced it has approved 2 EU vaccination factories and authorised them to make AZ vaccine for the EU. There is a Halix factory in the Netherlands and another in Marburg in Germany.
Our Prime Minister has been trying to broker an end to the conflicts over vaccine, he has said he will compromise on British/Dutch made vaccine to avoid the EU making a total ban on EU vaccine being exported out of the EU to the UK.
It is of some concern that the UK R rate has risen slightly for the second time recently. Today it is between 0.7 and 0.9. This remains just below 1 so the pandemic is still slowly shrinking, If it goes up again, it is an early sign of trouble ahead.
Remember you must not travel to Europe, especially France for a holiday. From Monday we are no longer confined to our homes but we must still stay local. You will be able to meet in a group of up to 6 from two households outside, or play tennis and golf.
Today’s figures are not all good, there are some worrying features which must keep us all on our toes. There were 1,275,285 Covid 19 tests done and 6,187 have proved positive yesterday. This is a RISE of 6.4%. This could just be a statistical blip, but the trend over the last week is for this figure to be very slow to drop. If it continues to rise we will be in big trouble, with a new wave in a couple of weeks time.
There were 4,852 in hospital on 24th March compared with over 39,000 in mid-January. 354 patients were admitted on 24th March. There were 630 people on a ventilator on 25th March. Deaths are recorded as 70 which is also a fall of 28.5% and the death rate is now 0.7 /100k. I think this slight increase is probably a statistical blip due to the way deaths are recorded. I am confident it will be lower tomorrow.
The details for hospital admissions and deaths are very good thanks to our high levels of immunisation. There seem to be a growth in the numbers of primary age children catching it. They cannot reliably use masks and it may be this is a factor as children are back at school. They may account for the rise in new cases. The vaccination figures show we are approaching 30 million first jabs. The total being 29,316,130 and just over 3 million second jabs at 3,009,863.
The third wave crisis in Europe is only a short distance away from us across the English Channel. There are warning signs; I personally think it is a shame that it comes just as we are trying to get rid of the ‘stay at home’ message and replace it with ‘Stay local’.
Sadly, I do not think the mood of many of the public will tolerate lockdown for much longer. We certainly do not want more demonstrations and riots. I suggest still staying at home if you can, still work from home if you can, you must still stay 2 metres apart and wear a mask in public, especially on transport or in other public places.
Basic sanitisation should not be forgotten.
Stay safe everyone.