July 28 2021

The UK is now exporting vaccine to poorer countries. 9 million doses of OAZ vaccine will be delivered this week. This is additional to the £548 million in cash given to support Covax.

Following the Government’s decision to allow testing to slowly replace track, trace and isolation. So far only 200 centres have been established. Thousands more are promised by the end of next month. The idea is that in certain key and emergency occupations staff that have been pinged and then been told to socially isolate will now be advised to test themselves daily but do not have to isolate and can continue to work. That is assuming they have had both doses of vaccination and the second one was more than two weeks ago. This will apply to lorry drivers who maintain the delivery of food stuffs to ensure the is no shortage due to delivery staff absence. It will also apply to Police and Ambulance staff that are on the front line. I anticipate this being a safe and effective way of keeping people at work. I think once it is seen to be safe and effective, I expect it to be rolled out much more widely. There are already reports of people failing to notify positive tests to avoid causing their friends to have to self-isolate. Even more worrying are those refusing to recognise a positive test and are carrying on normally.

The Australian Prime Minister has been coming under extreme pressure in his Parliament and the media. New South Wales has had a very high level of Covid cases now despite more than 4 weeks severe lockdown in the Sydney area. It seems this is happening in many countries, it is not just our PM under pressure.

The travelling rules are changing, most double jabbed US and EU travellers will have their vaccine status accepted at the UK border and they can avoid isolation. One notable exception is France from where travellers must still isolate. The vaccine they have received must have been approved by both the US and EU medicines regulator. Children under 18 are not required to be vaccinated and can still enter the country. It would seem that the reciprocal agreements with the US are not working and that non-American citizens are still barred from travel from the UK to the USA.

According to Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, who is himself recovering from a Covid infection, he estimates vaccination has prevented 11 million infections, 57 thousand hospital admissions and 37 thousand deaths. I am not sure of the source of this modelling, but it seems a fair analysis.

We now need to begin to see a fall in the number of hospital admissions and then later a fall in the numbers on ventilators and lastly a fall in the number of deaths.

There has been considerable difficulty with the Government collecting and publishing data. We know that relatively few of the deaths recorded on one day actually occur on that day. They can have happened up to 4 weeks prior to the day they are officially recorded. And few are recorded at weekends. This is why I remain very sceptical about an individual result being accurate for a specific day. Sometimes the result is carried forward to the next day. It is far better to see a trend from a seven day rolling average.The number of tests done each day has dropped to around 800,000. This is due to the school holidays.

It is still almost 1 million in the last week. Few children are still being tested regularly. The number of tests found to be positive yesterday followed the downward trend with 23,511 positives. However, today’s figure shows a slight rise, it is 27,734. It is difficult with one figure to come to any conclusion. It could be a quirk in the collecting and reporting data and therefore may not be significant. We must see a few more days’ data to assess the trend. The rate of positive tests has still fallen 417 per 100k yesterday to 376.5 per 100k today.

The death figures of 131 yesterday and 91 today are both higher than expected and as I have suggested may hopefully be due to reporting errors. The seven-day rolling average show 480 in the last 7 days ending yesterday and 498 in the seven days ending today. We can conclude there continues to be a slow rise in deaths exactly as anticipated.

The hospital data is also slowly rising in keeping with what is expected, 945 admissions reported yesterday and 825 today. There is now a total of 6,021 in a hospital bed and 848 of these are on a ventilator, a small rise of just 28 from yesterday.

46.65 million first doses have been given, 88.2% of those eligible. For 2nd doses it is 37.45 million or 70.8 % of those eligible. Every jab will count, we need up to 5 million more by the end of August.

I experienced first-hand the current problem of sickness absence today when I travelled into town to go to the bank. I discovered that due to staff absence they had been unable to open.

You know the rules to keep you safe, you will not cross paths with a policemen for not wearing a mask in crowded shops or trains. Common sense suggests wearing masks still remains sensible. There are encouraging signs of an end in the distance but for now the threat remains real.

Please stay safe.

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