“The Omicron variant is a cause for concern, not panic” said Jeff Ziets, the US President’s Covid 19 response coordinator. He continued, saying “vaccines remained our most important tool”. The USA managed to give 2.2 million shots to its residents yesterday. It also sent 9 million shots to South Africa. Cases of the Omicron variant have now been found across America. And the figure in England is at least 60, Scotland has at least 29 and Wales found its first case today.
One effect of the scare about Omicron is that in England, 25,848 people had their first dose of vaccine in the last 24 hours. A special thank you to this group for going to get one done. Please will the rest of those hesitant follow their excellent example and get one done as well. Have a jab for others. Remember the slogan “your country needs you” to have a Covid jab.
The R number has been quite stable for a while now between 0.9 and 1.1 in England. In comparison in South Africa the R number is reported to be 6. This means that every case on average infects 6 others. You can see just how quickly it will spread.
With the discussions on going about Christmas parties it is worth noting that 13 people have contracted Covid at a Christmas party in Oslo. A major supermarket has now cancelled all its staff Christmas parties, promising its staff no one will be out of pocket.
Several regions in Russia have now made immunisation mandatory for over 60-year-olds. They are struggling to get them done with only 40% double vaccinated. At least 2 cases of the Omicron variant have been found in Russia.
Zimbabwe were having about 20 new cases of Covid per day, suddenly that figure has risen to 1,042 in 24 hours. Sequencing has not yet been completed but is likely to be the new variant. Contrary to earlier reports there are now hospitalisations in South Africa both in unvaccinated children and older unvaccinated adults.
Belgium has announced that kindergarten and primary schools will break up for Christmas a week earlier than planned.
No one likes uncertainty, especially not Governments trying to respond to an unknown situation. SAGE have said today, “ It is important to be prepared for a potentially very significant wave of infection with associated hospitalisations ahead of data being available.” NERVTAG added, “With data not yet available, the subgroup cannot rule out a large wave of infections could be sufficient to overwhelm NHS capacity”.
Today’s data shows nearly 2,000,000 tests done each day. This is I am sure a direct result of increased concern. We only know what is happening if we test, and the more we test, the more accurate our findings are. Both days have found over 50,000 positives, as a result of better testing . The positive rate is now 439.7 per 100,000 of the population.
The numbers in hospital seem to fluctuate at relatively low levels. There were 7,373 in hospital with Covid yesterday and 895 on a ventilator. With 141 deaths reported yesterday the death rate is still around 1.1 per 100k. Vaccine figures still slowly creep up. 88.8% have now had a first jab, that’s over 51 million. For the second jab its 80.8% or 46.46million. Third doses are at 33.8% and that’s approaching 20 million.
Please stay concerned, but there is no need to panic. Consider carefully if you are going to be mixing socially with strangers, Do a lateral flow test first if you decide to go. If you plan to travel over Christmas is it worth the trouble and hassle of constantly changing regulations? If you decide to go make contingency plans if you get stuck either in quarantine or because flights suddenly stop. Make sure you have the money to deal with the considerable extra costs. Would waiting until Easter be easier and cheaper?
We need many more to bite the bullet and get that first jab. Remember Britain needs you fully immunised.
I realise many now are completely depressed and fed up. Let us all play our part in caring for our neighbours and friends, socially distanced of course! Be kind, be positive, find that “Blitz spirit” that the UK was so famous for. Please share your experiences and ideas as we support one another.
We will overcome…….. Just stay safe.