March 31 2021

The number of tests done is lower than usual today at 695,477. The numbers do fluctuate because of twice weekly testing of school children. Of these only 4,052 were positive. By measuring the seven- day rolling average we can avoid the peaks and troughs. Figures then show an 11.5% drop in the last week and the positive rate is now only 55.4 per 100k of the population.

The number of deaths from Covid also continues to fall steadily with only 43 recorded on 31st March.

Hospital data is similarly all going to plan. There are now only 4,176 in hospital beds with 268 being admitted on 27th March. The UK has never published its hospital discharges but clearly we are sending patients home now at quite a significant rate. Ventilation is not required very often now, there are only 568 people on a ventilator.

Vaccines are still being done steadily, although as expected, we have done more second doses than first doses today. 30.9 million first jabs and 4.1 million second jabs.

One of the best Covid restriction enforcers is actually the weather. Many areas of the country have been hit hard by sunseekers converging on beaches and parks and making life very difficult for local residents. Rain is forecast together with a big drop in temperatures for over the long Easter weekend. Please stay at home and keep warm. In many areas Local Authorities have already closed the parks because of no social distancing, brawls and the build-up of rubbish.

With the anger in the air against politicians and the police, Local Authorities are being sensible to close potential flash points ahead of trouble.

I noticed an Evangelical Christian satellite TV channel has just been fined £125,000 for harmful airing of conspiracy theories and continuing to do so after warnings in January.

Following the announcement by Pfizer that their vaccine is 100% effective in vaccinating 12-15 year old children and similar findings are expected any time from other producers, I think it will raise some ethical issues for us to consider. I would really like your thoughts on this issue, please make a comment so I can see how close we are to any consensus.

Firstly, do we need to immunise children? Severe infection is very rare in children but can occur. Significant numbers of children are having chemotherapy or transplant immunosuppressives, and so are more at risk. They can still transmit it to the elderly who may have slipped through the net.

Secondly, do we need explicit consent to give it, as in a parental signed note, can an older child consent if parents are not bothered or even refuse to allow it to be given. What if parent’s consent and child shouts and screams and refuses. Can it be given by force in those circumstances?

Can the presentation of an arm with shirt rolled up be sufficient to give implicit consent, without the need for it in writing?

Thirdly, should it remain voluntary, or can or should it be required compulsorily subject to the usual exceptions?

Fourthly, should there be an untoward event where does the liability fall and what about compensation?

Finally, there is a difference in emphasis between this vaccine and the other common childhood vaccines. In the latter all the benefit of protection is for the child. With Covid vaccine, a lot of the value in immunising children is to create herd immunity so that parents and grandparents benefit as well if a child is immunised. Should that affect our thinking in any way?

When the media, the civil liberties groups as well as the anti vaccers realise what is coming we will have a big problem to deal with. Let’s talk about it calmly and sensibly as we try to find the right answers. I am sure this will cause a problem and it will be very good to stay ahead of the game.

You will remember a few rules were relaxed today. The most important is that stay at home is replace with Stay local.The rule of 6 has been very confused it now would appear that up to six people from different households can meet up outside, socially distanced for a walk or a chat. A second rule that any two households can come together in the same way and if the total number in the two households exceeds 6 then more than six can get together but only from two households. Confused? Many are but I think that is now the consensus opinion.

The situation in much of the world and as close to us as France and Germany is critical. Sweden have just postponed easing of restrictions. Germany is seeking more vaccine from Russia but does not seem to be making much progress getting it into arms.Things are looking good here but stay out of harms way over Easter, remain very vigilant, go away if the place you want to go to is very busy.

As a nation we are a bit irritable, we have all had enough, the end is in site, we must just help everyone else to make this work without new mutations and more cases.

Just stay safe everyone.

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