Headline news tonight: in addition to further significant relaxation of the lockdown planned for next week there have been no deaths in England from Covid, neither were there any in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The four that are recorded were all in Wales.
I have to give the usual warning that today’s figures are influenced by weekend under-reporting.
There were 1,322,338 tests done today and just over 1 million for each day over the weekend, the number positive today being 2,357. This still shows a positive rate of 21.1 per 100k of the population.Health care figures have largely not been updated over the weekend. 1,152 are in hospital beds. 101 more were admitted on 4th May which was the last time it was counted. 163 were on a ventilator falling to 159 today.
The vaccine roll-out continues with 35.45 million 1st doses given and 17.85 million second doses. This means 2/3rds of our adult population have had 1 dose and 1/3rd have had 2 doses. Doses are now being offered to the 40 + age group but I anticipate starting on 30 year-olds next week. When fully immunised studies now show 90-95% are protected from serious illness and death.
As you know the situation is not the same in India with over 400,000 daily cases recently and 2,900 deaths per day.
An Indian American doctor who returned home to help in the pandemic has fallen ill with Covid and has died.
A very rare fungal infection has appeared in some Covid patients particularly in India. Known as the black fungus or more formally mucormycosis. It looks a horrible disease with large black necrotic areas developing often around the eye or nose. It has to be treated with expensive antifungal drugs and widespread excision and debridement leaving gross disfigurement. It has at least a mortality rate of 50%.
BioN Tech reports a net profit of 1.13 billion euros or £972 million in the first quarter of 2021.
Today at 5pm the Prime Minister spoke to the nation as he gave tonight’s briefing. The Covid Alert Level has been reduced to level 3 for the whole UK.
Boris Johnson said that the four tests had been applied to see whether they had all been met to allow significant easing of the restrictions from next Monday 17th May. The 4 tests are
1. Vaccines are being deployed successfully…………….Met
2. Evidence shows vaccines remain effective…………..Met
3. There is no surge of cases causing strain on the NHS Met
4. Assessment of new variants of concern show no major resistance or increased transmissibility. Met.
As all the tests are met the following changes come into effect next Monday morning, not today! You will find the full list on the Gov. UK web site. I am sorry if I have missed anything significant.
The current rule of 6 moves indoors, outdoors up to 30 can gather. You can eat and drink indoors so pubs, clubs and restaurants can reopen.
You can travel anywhere in the UK to visit family of stay in hotels. You can stay overnight.
Bed and Breakfasts can reopen.
Face masks will no longer be required for school children and college students and normal face to face teaching should resume in Universities and Colleges. Students will do twice weekly tests still.
Care home residents can now have up to 5 named visitors rather than 2.
The most controversial relaxation is to allow intimate touching, hugging and kissing relatives, friends and families. You must use you best judgement and take care in doing so. It may well not be appropriate if either party are not fully immunised or one party does not consent. This means doing a quick risk assessment every time you consider hugging granny or an old friend or even a new flame.
Most people would say this is using common sense. Remember that apart from close friends and family you should always still maintain social distancing and if indoors wear a mask. Your trip to a supermarket still requires you to wear a mask.
Remember being outdoors is always safer. If you have your long awaited hug indoors, open the window to improve the ventilation.
Remember this is Mental Health Awareness week so please remember to ask for or offer to help others in need. Hugs can usually be very therapeutic but for a few can cause distress. So please be careful.
The catch words are Careful, Caution, Common sense. You are very much better protected with two vaccines given, make sure you have yours as soon as it is offered;
please Stay safe.