I am now convinced that we have been too hasty in stopping testing for Covid. I understand the costs they were incurring, but with the financial hardships due to the fuel crisis, many in the population will not be able to afford them and will just ignore their infection risk to others and go to work.
We know from the REACT study that about 1 in 16 Britons are still Covid positive. Yet only 389,368 tests were positive in the last week. The number has dropped by 169,000 in a week a fall of 30%. The total number of tests done has dropped below 4 million and is now just 3,968, 701, 907k less than the previous week.
I think these figures are now quite misleading so I will not publish them after the end of this week, unless there is a change in the rules about testing.
There has been a very slight drop in the number admitted to hospital in the last week. 16, 419 were admitted in this last week. The number in a hospital bed remains significantly high, although has dropped back slightly to 20,396. The number on a ventilator is up slightly, just 13 more than 2 days ago
The number of deaths in the last week has just risen by 20 compared to the previous week. It is now 1,194. The death rate is now 2.2 per 100,000 people.
The immunisation statistics remain unchanged. Remember it takes 100,000 to raise the figures by just 0.1%.
In China, Shanghai is in serious trouble. 38,000 medical personnel have been moved there to combat the severe outbreak. A strict lockdown is in place. Monday saw 8,500 cases and by yesterday there were 13,000 more new cases. Chinese officials tried to remove Covid positive children from their parents yesterday but today have given in and allowed parents to care for them. Men in full protective gear, known as the whites are enforcing the lockdown. There is no messing about with them, these men are feared. They will take you out the house and beat you for breaking the rules. There are no £50 fines! If we were at war with Covid this would be a war crime. I think we can all be glad not to live in Shanghai at present. The severe lockdown continues until further notice.
Air travel is suffering from staff absences and numerous flights are being delayed or cancelled. This is going to impact on those trying to get a holiday over Easter. If it could affect you please keep checking the flight details and in your planning consider having to camp at an airport.
It might be helpful to remind everyone that with the dominant strain being omicron people are mostly infectious from 2 days before the onset of symptoms to 3 days after the symptoms. with the earlier alpha and delta variants the infection could last for longer. Most people will test negative again between 5 and 10 days after catching it. Some people continue to test positive for a long time but they are not infectious. A PCR test can be positive for months but do not get concerned you will not stay infectious.
Long Covid does not seem to be any more infectious than Covid and we still do not have much idea why some people are affected and not others. I hope you looked through the information pack produced by Long Covid Kids, it has excellent well researched information for both children and parents. It has many good tips about talking to children about a difficult subject. Misinformation and misunderstanding have caused many to be really afraid of catching it.
I notice Germany has back tracked on easing restrictions as well now.
Here in the UK the most vulnerable should still take great care when out and about. Stay at least 1 metre apart when you can. Wear a good fitting clean mask when in crowds or in shops or on trains. Hand washing is basic and still important to help prevent infection. In doors improved ventilation helps, so leave doors and windows open and put the extractor fans and air conditioning on. If you are not vulnerable yourself someone near you may be. So follow the guidelines, wear a mask to prevent others catching it from you.
The government wants us to get back to a near normal way of life by acting responsibly. It is possible to do so. There is no need to hide indoors anymore, just stay safe.