377 - Covid in Winter 2021/2 | Scoins.net | DJS

377 - Covid in Winter 2021/2

Covid in Nov & Dec


Our blasé attitude in Britain may well come back to bite us. The goldfish-bowl responses from parliament continue to place many short-term immediacies before long-term health. We have no appreciable movement on those things, sick pay being an example, that would cause behaviour of the public to generally improve. We're told that we ought to have a jab but the proportion that continues not to be jabbed is extraordinary. These, the un-jabbed, form something like half of those in hospital with covid (figures hard to find).

The South African variant, omicron, means that the media managed to miss ε to μ. (𝜈 was ignored, sounding too much like 'new'). It is easy to believe that many think omicron is the last letter of this alphabet and one suspects that there is a worry of a cry of "Wolf!" such that we react so that next time—I and sure there will be a next time—we react less or not at all.

Of course there will be variants. Of course they will spread rapidly. We have already learnt (except we haven't learnt) that by the time we have identified a viable variant it has already spread in the population. What is reported as counted is (of course) significantly less than there will be, so we are comparing bad figures with bad figures and we assume that the competence of reporting is constant, when it is probably out by a multiplicative factor of around four, much as in early 2020. So all state reactions are going to be slow. This is very much not helped by the media's implied interpretation of what the experts say. An expert is asked about numbers and says, quite honestly, that it is too soon to tell, that we must wait a week or two for the figures to tell us whether to be worried. But by then, if we should be worried, we have spent the interval behaving in ways that only help the spread; those who recognise wee might go into lockdown still decide to squeeze in another visit, another party, whatever, only assisting the spread.

We must also recognise that the 'rich' nations are making sure their own populations are relatively safe. But this means that much of Africa, which is unvaccinated, acts as a reservoir for variants to cultivate and, no surprise, here we are with what may well be a virulent strain spreading quickly across Africa. We continue to encourage travel and so of course Europe is already well dosed with enough initial cases for omicron to spread easily at this time of year. We have been repeatedly told that we should be making and providing vaccine to other nations. It was clear as soon as we had a vaccine that, whatever volumes we had for ourselves, we needed several times more to export for others (and, self-interest declared, that we wanted this to happen so as to not have new powerful variants developing. Yet here we are, much as the doomsayers said we would be.

Have we learned? Will we learn? Somehow I doubt it. The selfish behaviours rule.
I think we're also headed to acceptance of endemic covid.     I found a Nature article agreeing. 

Doubling for omicron is 2-3 days, some of which is better testing (20211207W), finding cases. This reduced to two (even worse) just before Christmas and then stretched to more like four by the end of the month.

By the time we reached late December  We have endemic covid, which I think we are merely adding to the 'flu' collection. We continue to have testing available for free, some—those that can afford to—take ten days of isolation as necessary, some of us wear masks, most of us are vaccinated - and still we have it, at now 50,000 new cases a day, 50-100 dead each day, definitely far too many—8000—in hospital, almost all of whom are unvaccinated.

Mid-December Make that 60,000 new cases per day, 150 daily deaths. Cases seem to be moving up the age-groups and it is the oldest that are hit hardest, so we should expect a change in the death rate.

Public health England https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/  UK dashboard.  Also Blue and purple isopleth around 6th Dec high and on the right.

Go to Covid dashboard @ Guardian for the current position.

Vaccinations  I do not understand what the reluctance is, nor the inaction. The politicians are pushing third jabs and boosters (one is a half-dose). Moderna on top of A-Z seems to give very good cover. So does having had covid. Footballers are a stand-out group of refusniks.

Local Area  Compare with the earlier page. Mostly in London, 16-18Dec. State of emergency declared.

Waiting lists - NHS issues - links



https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/pressures/pressure-points-in-the-nhs  source of next two charts.

These four charts above and below have not changed since mid-November.

This chart  below left goes some way to explain the UK attitude. I've left Bulgaria in as a demonstration of, relatively speaking,  failure in health care. Of course, one has to trust what is being reported and this is the big problem in comparisons between states. Updated 20211206 and 1228, log scale. 

The moving average chart link is this, which I found difficult to rediscover; the huge volume of cases in the UK and the low death rate is shown by the fantastic drop in case fatality rate.

To the right is a chart for the last four to six weeks for a selection of nations, left linear to keep the lines spread. My subsequent comment in this space has changed as the month progressed and the selection too has changed. My observation at month end is that France, Spain and Italy are having a surge (Germany and the Netherlands are not, to the same extent, such that Europe as a whole is showing growth in case numbers. The Christmas break shows clearly.

DJS 20211206 and 1228

As yet, I still cannot be bothered to read these:





https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/apr/28/crime-against-humanity-arundhati-roy-india-covid-catastrophe?utm_source=eml&utm_medium=emlf&utm_campaign=MK_SU_SOINewsletterCanvas&utm_term=Email_RC_UK&utm_content=variantA When I got around to reading this, it proved worthwhile if you have any distant interest in India. From which I observed again that they need a better way to do cremation, but I may be projecting western views of what is feasible. It's a bleak read.

Case count omicron—and this can only be discovered cases— shown to the right. The table and chart are mine, from UKHSA twitter account data, with the assumptions that this was consistently collected and that growth has been regular and exponential. This says doubling was indeed between 2 and 3 last week, but it is now going faster. It goes faster because we're doing better at finding cases, so we're catching up with the reality. If the increase was 35% a day, then 1.35ⁿ=2 so n=log2/log1.35 = 2.31, a doubling time of just over 2 days. Should this be maths we all understand? At Dec 28th we can see the hiatus in recording caused by Christmas holidays and that the exponential curve is beginning to flatten out – it is still growing at an alarming rate but not so quickly and the days to doubling has itself doubled, to more like four days than two. At the same time we are now told that omicron is the predominant strain, 90% of all new cases. We're also told that 90% of hospitalised cases are unvaccinated.

Covid            Email: David@Scoins.net      © David Scoins 2021