August 16 2021

We remain in the midst of a pandemic, which is the worst the world has seen for over 100 years and yet other important developments in Afghanistan continue to push it away from the headlines as there are no dramatic changes in our situation in the UK. In other parts of the world however there are still significant problems.

The number of Covid tests done have remained at just over 800k each day of the weekend but are down today by over 100k. The count was only 674,479. I anticipate it picking up again tomorrow. The numbers testing positive each day have remained below 30,000 each day with 28,435 done today. Over the last 7 days there has been only a 4.8% rise and the rate remains at 294.6 cases per 100k of the population.

Death figures have dropped, 93 for Saturday, 61 on Sunday, and only 26 per day. Tomorrow it will rebound to a more normal daily figure. The number of deaths in the last 7 days only shows a 1.6% rise.

Little or no health data is released at weekends. There were 5,894 in hospital on 12th August, a figure that is remaining quite static. The last number of admissions in one day was 10th August was 882. 882 were recorded as needing a ventilator on 13th August. Tomorrow we will have a more accurate position.

As for immunisations they are still slowly creeping up, we now have 47.33 million first jabs done or 89.5% of the target. 40.70 million have had a second jab, that’s 77%; this means 23% of our adult population are still not protected.

We now know that 16-17 year olds in England will be called for their first jab beginning on Monday next.

Around the world there are still many problems. Moscow has reported more than 800 cases per day for 4 days in a row with 816 yesterday. Russia has a population of 146 million but only 20% or 30 million are double vaccinated.

Phoenix Arizona reports 3,000 Covid cases per day for the last two days. Vaccines are on the move. Poland have sent 1 million doses to Australia who have only 28% of the population fully immunised. Norway has sent 280,000 doses to Uganda so they can begin immunising.The ethical dilemma about whether we fully protect ourselves before giving vaccine to other struggling counties is a tough one. I think we need to base our decisions purely on saving lives. and we must think globally. There is no point in sending vaccines to struggling countries when there is no infrastructure to distribute and administer them, and from past experiences this is a real issue.

A compromise may be that we should give booster vaccines to our vulnerable and oldest members of the community and first doses to vulnerable children or those children with vulnerable carers. Then hold fire with routine boosters to see if we can raise general immunity in the rest of the world.

A British vaccine mega factory is reported to be making good progress developing a combined vaccine with both Covid and Influenza in one shot. If successful, this may be a way forward in the future.

Fans will not be allowed to watch the Para Olympics starting in Japan on 24th August. Japan has extended its state of emergency until September. They are struggling to immunise the population and so far only 36% are fully immunised.

As from today in England there is no need to self-isolate if you are fully vaccinated with both doses of an approved vaccine when you are told about a Covid contact. Instead, you should wear a mask at all times, and have a PCR test at least 5 days after the contact. We join Scotland and Wales who have already implemented this change.

Another announcement today says that Europeans coming to the UK from Amber countries must have had two jabs, both of which must be from the same manufacturer. The manufacturer must be approved by the MHRA, EMA, Swissmedic or FDA approved. I am not sure about how much this decision is based on science and how much on politics. As I understood things, mix and match has shown it can give higher levels of immunity.

Please comment on today’s News and Views, it is very helpful to see what is causing concern. Stay alert, use your masks when in shops or crowded places. And remember the benefits of social distancing.

You can relax these rules, but you do not have to.

Be vigilant and stay safe

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