March 27 2021

Weekends come and go very quickly in these times of almost empty diaries and for most of us spare time on our hands. The statistics are affected by the weekends as data collection and recording tends to be different. Yesterday 1,257,285 Covid 19 tests were done and 4,715 were found to be positive. This is a rise in the number positive by 4% . The rate was 57.3 positive per 100k of the population. The number of positive cases has gone up for the second day running, its only a small amount but it is in the wrong direction. There are a number of possible reasons for this. Firstly, new infections are coming from the continent where a third wave is now established. Secondly, we are detecting more asymptomatic cases in the non-immunised under 50 year olds. There is usually a two weeks delay before new cases translate to hospital admissions. They are at present coming down as anticipated.4,560 patients were in hospital on 25th March with 363 more admitted. This figure is much lower than recently and continues to drop at around 20% per day, we must watch this figure carefully to see what happens in 10 days-time. These figures are not usually updated over the weekends.

Deaths were recorded as 58 within 28 days of a positive Covid test. This figure has fallen by 31.6% and I think confirms the slight rise yesterday was not significant.

The vaccine figures are still rising steadily. There have now been 29,727,435 first doses given and 3,293,518 second doses given. Still way ahead of the rest of Europe although the USA are catching us up.

Both Reuters and the Independent report news from Tanzania. A Covid 19 variant has been found in travellers from Tanzania to Angola. The WHO have been informed by a local expert that this new strain has several more mutations together than any version of the disease seen so far. Little is known about Covid in Tanzania. We do know that their President who was a Covid sceptic, died earlier this month. The only data we have about Tanzania comes from May 2020 when they reported 500 cases and 20 deaths. This situation needs very careful watching. Tanzania is one of a significant number of countries who are not making their status known to other countries. The situation needs very careful watching and verifying. The new President is a lady, Samia Saluha Hassan. It remains to be seen what her approach to the Covid pandemic will be. There is much speculation as to whether or not the President died of Covid.

Spain is the first European country to announce plans for a 4 day working week. They have announced a 3 year project using 50 million euros from the EU Covid Virus recovery Fund. Money from this fund will compensate 200 medium sized companies as they revise and reorganise their work forces. The only condition is that it leads to a net reduction of working hours whilst maintaining full time contract salaries.

Boris Johnson says the UK is still on track for lifting the Covid restrictions as planned in his pathway out of lockdown. He does however recognise that we could be hit by a third wave sweeping across Europe. He says he is looking forward to a hair cut and going into a pub for a pint. If all continues in the right direction he will be able to do that on April 12th.

Arlene Foster received her 1st vaccine publicly this morning, another way to try to show those still uncertain that the vaccine is safe.A new study from Pfizer confirms what we already know, that one dose gives excellent protection against catching Covid 19 severely. After the second dose the protection is even stronger. This small study looked at 237 Health Care workers and looked specifically at the development of T cell immunity. In a group of patients who had suffered a Covid 19 infection before they were immunised, they developed a higher antibody and a higher T cell response compared to the group who had not been infected before being immunised. The difference was significant with antibody levels 6.8 times higher and the T cell response 5.9 times higher.

In the group who had one jab, but had not been infected first, the antibody and T cell response was very similar to those who had the disease but no vaccine. Although this study has not yet been peer reviewed it seems to validate other findings in previous studies.

There is now a Global Travel Task Force which is to review the whole issue of the use or abuse of a Covid Passport. It was due to report on 12th April but Boris Johnson says it will be ready a week earlier and will announce its findings on 5th April.

Worrying signs about the rise in new cases, so far, they have not translated to hospital cases and thanks to the vaccination should not do that unless we have a new resistant mutation appear. We must keep our eyes open for this anywhere in the world. We must remain isolated as an island as much as possible until all the vaccines are given.

The way to deal with this now is in our name United. We must remain United, work together, encourage one another, stamp out bad practice together and have our vaccines in a united way

United we stand but divided we fall.

Please stay safe everyone.

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