For the first time for 20 days the number of Covid tests done in the previous week has dropped, this week’s total 5,023,854 is over 113,000 less than the week before. Of course, if you do less tests, you will get fewer positive results. In the last 7 days 587,721 have tested positive. That is 20,000 less or a drop of 3.3%. The positive rate, however, is still climbing and is now 901.8 per 100,000 of the population. It is 24 days since we last saw a drop in the weekly number, when it was less than half today’s figure.
If this change continues this week, it will strengthen the view there are early signs this wave of infections, at least in the UK, has reached its peak. Friday’s data raised the possibility of some respite from Covid.
This view is supported by the hospital data. 14,684 people were admitted to hospital in the last week, a smaller percentage rise than recent figures. The total number in hospital on 25th March was 17,685, only just over 200 more than on 23rd March. The number being treated on a ventilator was 334 on the 25th March, a rise of 30 or 10% since the last count on23rd March.
The number of Covid related deaths in the last week is at 998. This is a substantial rise of 27%. At 1,000 deaths per week there is no way we can claim we are beating the disease. Deaths are always the last figure to decline if we are reaching the peak of this wave. We have to await further figures this week. The death rate has now risen to 1.3 per hundred thousand. This should not cause alarm because it remains a very small rate.
The immunisation rates show a 0.1% rise across the board. 91.8% have had 1. 85.9% have had 2 doses. 67.4% have had 3 doses. Please have a fourth as soon as you are offered it. It not too late to start having jabs if you have not done so.
The Omicron variant BA.2 is now dominant in the UK with Scotland having the highest prevalence. Scotland has not released all of the Covid restrictions yet and have postponed doing so.
The Office for National Statistics report now that 99% of the UK population have antibodies against Covid 19 as of the end of February. For children aged 12-15 it was 96-97% protected with antibodies and with children aged 8-11 years, 77-81.6% protected. Research shows those with antibodies are less likely to contract the disease.
In France, about a third of French territories now have an incidence above 1,000 cases per 100,000 of the inhabitants. Martinique has the highest with more than 1,700 cases per 100,000
Since March 16th Covid 19 immunisation has been compulsory for nursing and health care staff in Germany as well as for doctors and their practice staff. This seems as controversial in Germany as the suggestion of similar action here.
In Austria, the government have announced that FFP2 masks must be worn indoors again.
In Italy there were 197 deaths on one day on March 22, with almost 100,000 new cases. As in the UK the rate of increase in new cases has been dropping in the last few days. The Italian government have announced they intend to close the pandemic on April 1st. The Director of the WHO has expressed his deep concern about this development here and in other countries.
Portugal is now publishing their covid data just once a week, whereas it had been daily.
The USA are adamant they want to down grade the situation to Endemic New York City is planning to lift the mask wearing mandates. Hilary Clinton is currently suffering from Covid.
Brazil is planning to end the state of emergency in public health which has been in place since 2020, probably in June.
In Africa, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, are all reporting high numbers of cases still, but numbers are now declining. Mauritania is the only African country showing a resurgence of the pandemic.
China has a severe outbreak of the omicron variant. there have been up to 4,000 cases per day, The industrial city of Shenyang was placed under lockdown completely. Nine million people confined to their homes.
Across the world now there is a common will to get rid of Covid from our lives and return to some sort of normality. We will achieve that over the course of this coming year almost everywhere. The combination of vaccines and antivirals will make this possible. Remember though there is a small risk of a mutation creating havoc all over again.
Let us remember at the same time the humanitarian crisis close to home in Eastern Europe. Please do whatever you can to support the plight of refugees in any way you can financially or in kind.
Covid is getting easier but please do not give up protecting others as well as yourselves, Please, carry on wearing your mask when nobody else is bothering. 1,000 deaths a week is just not acceptable. Please stay safe.