A decision has to be made over the next few days about whether Freedom Day as some people call it can happen on June 21st. Whatever decision is made it will not bring freedom from Covid. That will only happen when there is global eradication as we had with smallpox some years ago. There is no possibility of that happening with Covid any time soon.
Consider this simple equation;
Increased Social Interaction + More Transmissible Variant = Increased Daily Cases.
We have watched this unfold over the last two weeks now. The R number has risen to 1.3 in the UK. The Delta variant is now responsible for 90% or more of the new cases. It is known now to be 60% more transmissible than the original virus. The current vaccine is not 100% effective. In the last few days there were 1,917 new symptomatic cases of Covid in those who have had at least one dose of the vaccine. This is a rise of 89% compared with this study done a year ago. Professor Spector reports that the figures are now the highest since late February.
The statistics are clearly going in the wrong direction.7,393 new cases confirmed yesterday and 8,125 today . There have been 45,895 new cases in the last 7days.Hospital Admissions are rising. 173 admitted today compared with 153 yesterday. 1,058 people are currently in hospital as of 9th June and 158 are on a ventilator. ( This has risen by 50% in the last week.}Deaths number 17 today compared with 6 yesterday. They will drop over the weekend due to technical reporting difficulties, but I am sure will rise again by next Tuesday.
At the G7 Conference the UK has pledged 100 million doses by the end of next year. The G7 nations have promised 1 billion doses for the rest of the world. Many condemn the British contribution as too little too late. This is politically difficult. Others will argue charity begins at home and we should immunise every one first. There is only a finite supply of vaccine and we cannot do both approaches at the same time.#
Giving vaccines away when they are needed in the UK will never make political sense and any government is dammed if they do and dammed if they do not.60 million doses of the J and J vaccine has had to be destroyed after a violation in procedures made them unfit for use. They were being manufactured in the Baltimore plant which has been closed for the last two months after previous manufacturing violations. It is not clear whether it will ever reopen.
A very famous Indian yoga Guru who has publicly opposed the idea of vaccination has changed his mind and now says he will have the vaccine and is encouraging his followers to do the same. Let us hope his influence will encourage many of those hesitant to change their mind. It is only a very high level of herd immunity achieved quickly that will help to stop this pandemic.
Just for a change from Covid , two cases of Monkey Pox have been found in Wales. Both victims are from the same family and have recently returned together from abroad. Congratulations are due to the Public Health lab that isolated this and established the virus. It is normally seen in monkeys, squirrels and rats. The first cases in the UK were found in 2018, although the disease was first discovered in 1958. It is most commonly found in tropical West and Central Africa. It can spread from animals to humans but only rarely from human to human. The differential diagnosis is between Monkey pox, Chicken pox and Smallpox. It is characterised by large number of vesicles / pustules all over the body as in chicken pox. It is usually a relatively mild illness in humans, but there are the occasional fatalities. The risk to others in Wales is minimal and the outbreak is contained and isolated.
If the hospital data shows a rise over the weekend and this may not be apparent immediately because it is not released, and if the community cases continue to rise as much as they have next week, we are reaching the point where we just dare not relax any further. Be prepared to see the relaxations postponed. It is also possible to see further restrictions. I am glad not to be a politician and glad not to be a medical advisor. What can you all do? Make sure everyone is immunised that can be, persuade anyone you know to have it as well if they have avoided it. Do not relax any of the rules yet. This is especially true in the dozen or so hot spots around the country, do not travel in or out of hot spot areas without good reason. Limit your shopping and eating out still. and use a mask whenever required.
Please continue to support and encourage those in your family and friends who are really struggling to cope at present. I am keeping my straw poll going so please leave a comment if you have any views about whether children should be immunised , or for that matter any other issues or ideas you might have.
Stay safe as always.