I have concerns tonight that we are beginning to see a change in the data suggesting that the number of new cases may be rising again. It comes at just the right time after the relaxation of all the rules. Today I was in Tesco’s wearing a mask, where they very politely request that we continue to wear masks to help protect their staff. I would estimate that some 50% of those in the store including some staff are no longer wearing them.
The philosophical question must be does it matter that cases are rising again? The number of deaths and those on ventilators continue to fall suggesting that for most people the illness is relatively trivial if you are fully immunised. Her Majesty seems to have made a full recovery, even if she is left more frail than before. She has resumed face to face audiences today. Is 100 deaths a day acceptable? Can we learn to live with that ? At the same time the threat of potential nuclear war is with us again. I am sure those in the Ukraine would choose Covid any day.
In the last week, the number of tests being done remains stable with over 4,375,155 tests done in the last week with only a slight drop of 263,000 or 5.7%. It is pleasing to see significant numbers still being done. The concern comes when we see that despite less tests being done there have been 300,017 positive results in the last week which is 65,000 more than in the previous week. A rise of 28%.
There is, as you would expect, a corresponding rise again of the number admitted to hospital for treatment. In the last 7 days 8,143 were admitted, which is 131 more than the previous week. Remember people need hospital admission usually in the second week of the illness, so we should expect the number to rise further this week.
On the 4th of March 8,143 patients were in hospital, 50 more than the previous week. The number on a ventilator is now just 257. If we are going to see an ongoing rise of cases, this figure will be higher again next week.
The number of deaths in the last week was 707, which is just 46 less that the previous 7-day period. We must hope this figure does nor rise very much while the disease remains largely mild. The death rate is now just 0.9 per 100,000 of the population.
The vaccine data shows 91.6 % have had a 1st jab and 66.7% have had their third dose.
Worldwide, the number of deaths from Covid passed the 6 million mark over he weekend. The greatest loss of life in a single country is 950,000 in The USA. In the UK over 10 million people have had Covid. Some more than once, this means that about 1 in 5 of us have had the infection. If I turn this around it means 4 out of 5 of us have managed to avoid it by being immunised and following the guidelines as to how to avoid infections. That sound so much better. I wish I could do the same with the toll of war in Ukraine, Ther are no words to describe it.
Hong Kong still has a major problem with Covid. It is a very crowded area with a population of 7 million. They are seeing over 100 deaths per day. they have the highest death rate in the world at 17.8/million of the population. Latvia have 10.7 deaths per million and Georgia 9.05/million population. In comparison the UK has only 1.67 per million of the population.
SAGE has been formally stood down and will no longer meet regularly, but could be recalled quickly. We have seen in recent weeks the caution applied by SAGE has been down played by the Government.
Science has played a great part in the war against Covid. The excellent guidance from the experts, the development of vaccines, the genomic sequencing of mutations have all contributed greatly. Let us not forget that for most of the last two years we have been led by the science.
I know some of you have asked me to stick to Covid, but I find that almost impossible. The harrowing scenes on TV and the internet cannot but distress you all, some are replacing the fears of Covid with fears of an atomic threat. Please do all you can to support the people of Ukraine and those in exile in this country from Russia and Belarus as well. I commend the Disasters Emergency Committee or DEC as a charity to donate funds to help the efforts to care for displaced persons and Refugees, As we keep ourselves safe from Covid let us pray for all those affected by or helping with this humanitarian disaster.