363 - Covid in Autumn 2021 | Scoins.net | DJS

363 - Covid in Autumn 2021

Covid in August and September


I for one am not at all happy with the way this is going. To me the risk of long-term covid is significant and scary and signifies a likelihood of quite life-changing damage. The articles in adjacent pieces about the way the devolved nations (not England) behave differently (better, in my head) remain pointed (at, to be read and thought about). As you can see both Scotland and N Ireland are having issues in early September. Meanwhile we are apparently happy at having typically 35000 new cases a day, 7500 (and still rising) in hospital with covid and that deaths are steady at 100 or so per day. Meanwhile in New Zealand, which was still at lockdown 4 on 4Sep, their 7-day average is 39 new cases. Data source. Auckland remains on lockdown level 4 with around 39phut, which you can compare with Corby, the worst in England today at 536phut (while a lot of Scotland is over 700 phut). On cases per million the US and UK are about the same (see) at the moment and it is only the case fatality rate that makes the UK look a little competent. (Bottom of this page and here, setting the metric as case fatality and interval as 7-day rolling average.)

Covid through November

Late in the month, South Africa reported on a new variant with many mutations taking root—more accurately, having bee discovered to be doing that—in their population. Various sensible people pointed out that: the RSA has a significantly different population, mean age 26 rather than the UK's 41; the new variant had not yet been shown to be any more transmissible and that whatever we thought was observed in the RSA population, that didn't necessarily translate to something the same in the UK population; that the level(s) of vaccination in the two countries are very different; all of this therefor did or did not mean that we should leap into action and slam back into lockdown. The growth from very small numbers to larger numbers caused the politicians to react as they had not back in Jan or Feb 2020 so that the 'red list' was revived and several souther African countries were put on it. Of course this did nothing to stop the virus arriving here, it only put a valve on the rate of delivery. Three days later, 20121201, we have found 22 cases of this variant in England, 10 more in Scotland, with a positive sample dating back to 1109. The nine cases in Scotland all relate back to the same single private function. Again, sensible voices point out that, if Omicron has been here a while, it is not competing well with delta, by far the most successful variant in the UK. As we learned through 2020, we won't know if we've (re)acted correctly in a couple of weeks. This might be a cry of "Wolf!!" and thus the next time we will revert to our blasé inaction. Inevitably we hear the moans that amount to claims that someone is stealing Christmas. I really do not care; if your attitude is that some sort of selfish reward is due and/or that there are expectations that must be satisfied, then I could hope for the uppance to come (soon), but at the same time I'd not like them to be so ill that he NHS gets even more work. The waiting list was at 2 million in Jan 2009 (which was peak), 4 million in Feb '20, passed 5 in May  '21 and a recent prediction (above) points at a staggering 13 million. Within the several models explored there is a common peak in the summer of '22 the least bad of which is at 8 million.

By the time we reached late November, we have endemic covid and are used to it. We continue to have testing available for free, we take ten days of isolation as necessary, some of us wear masks, most of us are vaccinated - and still we have it, at 40,000 new cases a day, 150-200 dead each day, defintely far too many—9000—in hospital, almost all of whom are unvaccinated.

Go to Covid dashboard @ Guardian for the current position

From the PHE source, covid health data

Here is the prediction of hospital resource used.

Daily infections and testing - and the prediction of how that will change...

Next, observed and predicted mask use (right);  left, social distancing and the prediction.

This chart perhaps goes some way to explain the UK attitude. Given the difference between policies in Australia and the UK, the fatality rate is, to my mind, the wrong way around. 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 1122.

Adding to this mid-September, we're about to have an announcement of a policy on vaccinating the 12-15 age group, the new daily cases continues to be over 30,000 and those in hospital is now past 8000. Vaccination rates vary with the denominator; it is the BBC who are using the version I agree with, the possible numbers in the right age-groups. This BBC report explains quite well.  The ONS estimates that in mid-August more than 90% of adults had covid antibodies.  We seem to have stuck at this point, that the last 10% are the anti-vaxxers, for whatever variety of reasons. Identification of those reasons —and therefore how to reduce this number, one each reason is identified, does not appear to be occurring. Reliable information repeatedly expressed is what we need.

DJS 20210913 and 0916  Updated charts 20211101 and 20211122

Added 20211122: Austria went back into lockdown at the end of last week; Austria is 9 million people and represents central Europe. Their action illustrates the wave of infection crossing Europe in the late autumn and I have built a chart from OWiD, using the two-week average and a log scale. The least rise is the UK, already at a high level, then Bulgaria. It is the rise since the end of September that is disconcerting. Austrians distinguish (now) between jabbed and unjabbed and are thinking about loss of privilege for the unjabbed. As a public health issue—and given the preponderance of those in hospital unjabbed and with covid issues—this is entirely understandable. The position in the UK looks as though some determined action is needed; we have a growing lists of businesses at which you cannot work if unvaccinated. Which of course the press turns into permission to work from home or as a loss of human right, but never in a reasonable, maybe-we-should-do-this attitude, couple with a 'here's why you should be vaccinated'. Snafu, at a time when some of us thought at least we'd learned to be clear about data, facts and truth.

Found 20210928, but as yet cannot be bothered to read these:





The last two weeks in October was half-term. We made the grave error of going away and it would appear we almost immediately —we now realise—caught covid, perhaps from Band the Friday night before setting off. Persistent brain fog, oscillations of hot and cold, copious paracetamol consumption, always wanting to cough but to no effect, loss of taste and smell (3 days C, 8 days me). Tested positive on return, C perhaps 3 days behind D. As of Nov, testing negative but both still wanting to cough all of the time, as if the lurg has dropped to the lungs. Separate beds for another week and no band until returned to running – which event seems a long way off at the moment, 20211101. Worse, we have given covid to those we visited and we now see that what we should have done was abandon the holiday very early on. Unwise at the time and very little wiser later on. Booster jabs rendered irrelevant but not due for quite some time yet.

20211109 Spotted this morning Human-to-deer and deer-to-deer transmission are believed to be driving the rapid spread of the disease within white-tailed deer populations across the US. This is particularly apparent during the early months of 2021 when COVID infections were spiking in the human population. Previous studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 can be passed from humans to domestic and captive animals including cats, dogs, zoo animals and, most notably, farmed mink. But, until now, the disease had not been shown to spread in wildlife species. source. What next? Culling US deer for much the same reasons we cull badgers in Britain? White-tailed deer are the most abundant large mammal in North America with a range extending from Canada to South America. The US population alone is estimated to number 30 million animals.  Watch this space.

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