Commentary

Doc Hines - Covid Summary - 21 May

The daily statistics continue to follow the predicted pattern in the UK.

The number of new cases continues to creep up slowly. There have been over 2,800 on each of the last two days. The number of tests done each day hovers around 1 million. 0.98 million were done today and 1.18 mission yesterday. The overall small rise in cases is almost certainly due to the last lot of relaxation of the rules. This is now also beginning to impact on the number of hospital admissions, which after falling consistently have stopped falling and are now showing a small rise. There were 894 patients in hospital with covid yesterday and 913 today. 101 people were admitted today compared with 77 yesterday. The number on a ventilator is probably statistically much the same. 122 yesterday and 123 today. The death figures are so small that statistics are not a great help. There were 7 deaths recorded yesterday and 9 today, they will fall over the weekend due to reporting issues. The weekly figures are more important There have only been 42 deaths in the last week. Vaccines are still being administered as fast as possible, 37.51 million first doses and 21.65 million second doses have been given. These figures are as I have suggested are following the predicted pattern. However, we are only a mutation away from a third wave of cases. Everyone will be following the statistics carefully. The numbers of people with confirmed Indian variants are now over 3000 cases, a rise of 600 in the week. Further estimates on the increased transmissibility suggest now that it may only be 30-40% more transmissible rather than the original worries of 50%+ The first UK trials of booster immunisations has started. Three thousand volunteers have been recruited and they will be given one of 7 approved vaccines as their third or booster jab. We are not certain that booster doses will be necessary, but modelling suggests we will need it between 6-12 months after the first dose. The UK plans to be ready to provide boosters with a range of different vaccines. There is growing discontent in the 15,000 volunteers who have had the Norovax vaccine. Because this was a clinical trial, the results are not eligible to be posted on the NHS App. This means they cannot demonstrate their vaccine status and may be disadvantaged if they cannot have it on the NHS App as their Covid Passport. Surge testing has begun in 5 West London Boroughs, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Brent, Harrow and Ealing following a new cluster of Indian variant cases in several households. Surge immunisation has also been increased as an attempt to pick up those who remain vaccine hesitant. It would seem a personalised approach to individuals is beginning to be more effective. Manchester has also begun to offer the vaccines to 16-year-olds who live in vulnerable households as part of its programme to reach every adult. In vulnerable household the eligible adults are much more likely to have missed their jabs.

There still seems a great deal of confusion about foreign travel, and despite the best efforts of the politicians and the travel industry, confusion remains. If in doubt don’t, is still the loud and clear message. If you have a compelling reason to travel, you can but weigh up the pros and cons and the risks you take. Remember the added costs of testing and isolation, especially if you are going to a red listed country. Remember the categories could suddenly change whilst you are out of the country, and you unexpectedly have to isolate. Holidays in Amber listed countries are not sensible, no matter how desirable. Spain have said all English holiday makers are welcome again, Remember though, you cannot return home without self-isolation and repeated testing. There are concerns that self-isolation is not being done properly with too many people bending the rules. There are to be random visits to check you are self-isolating where you say you will be.


June 12th is getting nearer; I still am cautious about this date not having to be put back a week or so. Remember it only needs a tiny change in a spike protein to create a resistant variant that could cause massive repercussions worldwide. It's not over yet so please play your part stay safe, use an abundance of caution and common sense.

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