March 2 2022

Today is the third day of data being produced in 7-day chunks. Data for tomorrow is collated by adding the most recent days figure and subtracting those of a week ago, so producing the latest 7- day average. It is too early to say if these figures are any more accurate. We were told that the testing data for yesterday was incomplete, and that the missing data will be included in today’s information.

As there is no requirement to test it is human nature not to bother, I wonder how many tests are stashed away in peoples’ homes? I have about 7 left but I know of people who have hundreds of tests unused.

Surely, we need a system of returning undamaged and unused tests so that they could be recycled and used where they are still needed.

Officially, in the last 7 days 4,380,375 tests were done. This is 19.1% or over 1 million less tests than the previous 7 days.

Paradoxically for the first time in a while the number testing positive in the last week has risen slightly compared to the figure produced yesterday, but we know yesterday’s was an under-estimate which probably explains it. The number expressed as a positive rate continues to drop and is now 371.1 per 100,000 of the population.

There were 651 deaths in the last 7 days reported, a drop of 290 from the previous week. This means for the first time the death rate has dropped to less than 100 per day. The official rate is now just 1 death per 100,000 of the population.

Today 10,733 patients were reported to be in hospital on 1st March with Covid. Of these 278 were being treated on a ventilator. 7,799 people have been admitted in the last week, which is 6.4% less than a week ago.

Vaccine statistics only move very slowly with 91.5% having a first dose and 66.5% now having 3 jabs. Remember if you are invited for a fourth or Spring dose, as its to be called, please make sure you have it if offered to you. They help all of us to stay safe.

I have reported before on Covid being found in a herd of wild white deer near Ontario in Canada. With 300 deer sampled 17 were found to be positive. The researchers have also found a human case that they are certain came from an infected deer. This is a world first and something to watch carefully.

I quote from a WHO press release issued today; “ 2 March 2022 – In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization (WHO) today. The brief also highlights who has been most affected and summarizes the effect of the pandemic on the availability of mental health services and how this has changed during the pandemic.

Concerns about potential increases in mental health conditions had already prompted 90% of countries surveyed to include mental health and psychosocial support in their COVID-19 response plans, but major gaps and concerns remain.

“The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health.”

Loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones, grief after bereavement and financial worries have also all been cited as stressors leading to anxiety and depression. Among health workers, exhaustion has been a major trigger for suicidal thinking. Young people and women are worst hit.

The brief, which is informed by a comprehensive review of existing evidence about the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and mental health services and includes estimates from the latest Global Burden of Disease study, shows that the pandemic has affected the mental health of young people and that they are disproportionally at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviours. It also indicates that women have been more severely impacted than men and that people with pre-existing physical health conditions, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease, were more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders.”

I have quoted quite a large chunk because I think it so important we consider this carefully. Almost all of us have made major life changes in the last 2 years. We know that many are struggling to get back to a more normal way of life. Many are still reluctant, even terrified, of leaving the safety of their own homes.

I know I have promised to stay focussed on Covid but it is impossible not to make comparisons with the colossal effects of the Russian invasion. Home is not a safe haven in Ukraine. People are forced to leave their homes for the safety of the underground shelters. There, its crowded with no personal space or privacy. The death toll is rising in thousands every day. The psychological stress is almost due to an opposite cause compared to Covid. For both its very real.

Please reach out to those still frightened of Covid and for your neighbours from Eastern Europe struggling in such a ghastly way. It’s relatively easy to stay safe from Covid. We can see a way out. Not so for Ukraine. Please stay safe but offer what ever you can whether in donations of food, clothing etc for refugees or money to support the work.

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