379 - Covid in January | Scoins.net | DJS

379 - Covid in January

UnknownWe have moved to a predominance of Omicron over Delta. Omicron seems to be milder in effect but it spreads far faster and we have yet to see—I expect we will see during this month—the extent to which omicron puts people in hospital. One statistic of interest is the proportion of the hospitalised who have had no vaccination, currently at around 25% (of omicron, and ministers are telling us that it is 90% of the hospitalised who are unvaccinated. I expect the situation to become clearer and to change as the new variant reaches the older age groups. I also expect that, since  omicron spread first among the young, say 15-35, that the holiday break will have caused this to move up a generation.

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/  dashboard for the date, 20220102... The link is going to be more up to date than my screen dump.

By the end of January (date) all UK restrictions were lifted, which does not mean anything is over, just that this phase is considered over. Looking at the figures on the 24th, it doesn't look at all over to me.

The graph is mine, based on data published here, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-omicron-daily-overview. I see the trend is flattening out, so we're now well below the earlier exponential growth. That graph's source ceased at the end of 2021 so it will go no further. This is the source that tells us that 25% of the hospitalised with omicron are unvaccinated, in England. Note that the figures are most 'robust' in London, where the figure  is 39.3% of hospitalised cases in London were unvaccinated. There is an SGTF+ indicator, which is 'suspected omicron' (I think it is a quick test more easily managed than the implied full-blown & expensive omicron test). An early report suggests that not only is omicron far more transmissible, it is much more likely to cause death with co-morbidities (than delta, 1.67x), rising rapidly with more comorbidities. I have inserted one twitter post about this; VOC is variant-of-concern (assume omicron, B.1.1.7, and assume non-VOC means delta).


Go to Covid dashboard @ Guardian  for the current position. The one chart on the Guardian page I think worthy of concern is the hospitalisation one, copied on the right here in pink, though I've also copied (left) the case rates by age group because I think it may prove to be a good predictor for the more severe reactions.

If, for many of us, a dose of omicron is little more than a cold, then this will rapidly become ignored. If so, then spread will be faster still so there is some middle ground to be discovered where (in which) we collectively agree at the 'right' level of response to respiratory illness. I suspect that the governing factor will continue to be the NHS loading. It is quite clear to me that, if we had a (far) higher degree of compliance with vaccination, we would in turn have a far lower incidence of people occupying NHS beds. I suspect that the 'well', being largely selfish, will indicate by action that it is the duty of those with morbidities to protect themselves; that would work if the state looked after these folk, but it doesn't do that well (or not well enough for them to be sorely disadvantaged). I think, these days, that balance of advantage is something that needs to be seen to be done. 

If we are to have a society in which we care about the consequences of our actions (indirect as well as direct ones) then we need to have a better general level of bio-security enacted by everyone – and we need to be able to afford the extra time that takes. I am concerned that the impetus to 'get back to normal' will override many opportunities for  that increased care and caution.  For example, some of my banding colleagues are happily posting pictures that indicate that they have a far lower concern about infection than myself (despite me being younger, fitter, more healthy); I am uncertain if that ought to affect the way I interact with them subsequently (like, are they as safe to be with as I have been assuming?).

No UK reactions do very much about exporting vaccine elsewhere. What I think I'd like to see is that we 'adopt' a nation to look after; let's say the UK adopts the Gambia (among others) and then is seen to do something significant about making vaccination occur there. Yes, that's possibly escalating to noticeable interference, but I think we need to explore some radical positions. One of the simpler changes would be to reinstate the overseas aid budget.

The one other place to review change is the ONS site, since it collects data a different way. The 20220115 report says that some 3 million people in England, 1 in 20, tested positive that week, with similar ratios in the other nations. Generally this was an improvement, but for Y2-6 children, with return to school.

DJS 20220102 

... with edits and updates done 19th, then 25th and 31st.

I looked up (gov.uk coronavirus site) vaccination take-up for where I live, 2nd Jan. Utterly pathetic: 1st dose 72%, 2nd dose 64%, booster/3rd 43% - that's at MSOA level. At UTLA, which is Blackpool, 80%, 73% and 53%, which is still awful, indicating a whole 20% who haven't taken the first step towards vaccination. I despair at my fellow man. 

16 days later those figures have risen by 0.3%, 0.5% and 3%; I still see this as pathetic.

At the month end, Blackpool's [utla] figures were 80.6%, 74.2% and 56.7%. At MSOA level, 72,9%, 65.2% and 46.6%. Messing with hunting at MSOA level, how about Knightsbridge, central London; 62.4%, 51.7%, 33.4%? Stamford Hill South (Tottenham, north London): 47.8%, 41.7%, 21.5% Again, every city centre has areas like this, 3rd dose around 30%, 1st and second doses around or under 50%.

[1]   https://theconversation.com/faroe-islands-superspreader-event-why-transmission-among-the-triple-vaxxed-shouldnt-alarm-you-174301?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20January%206%202022%20-%202166421453&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20January%206%202022%20-%202166421453+CID_bbf2f6a1a5c7ee565894b9f75f9c64fa&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=despite%20everyone%20being%20triple%20vaccinated  an interesting read.

I added a little maths page Vaccine effectiveness using only low level maths.

General issue here about making vaccination mandatory. There is solid argument on both sides, though I find the anti-vaxxer position difficult to support. I recognise that there are a few people for whom there are solid medical reasons for not being vaccinated. I have less patience with those who say, for example, that they refuse to have injections of any sort ("my body is a temple and I won't allow you to foul it" sort of content). For these, whose resistance amounts to a religious one I'm afraid I come down in support of there being consequences such as denial of certain spectra of jobs. To me that is making having up-to-date vaccinations the same as having a driving licence and perfectly valid from an employer's viewpoint. You have the freedom to refuse to have the vaccination but there can be consequences. I do not think we need vaccination to be mandatory at a national level, but we do need it to be strongly recommended and for the population to be informed and encouraged. The gov't has been muttering about requiring all NHS workers to be vaccinated by the new financial year, in which case Feb 4th is the last date on which staff could have their first jab. It looks as though the gov't will fold. The NHS is doing better than the population as a whole but still there is 5.4% completely unvaccinated [2] across the whole of the NHS (1.6 million workers). The smart move would be to redeploy these people, moving them to places where that lack of vaccination has a lower effect on the patients. This is 2.2% better than the position in September. The biggest rate on the unvaccinated lies among those classed as “health associate professionals,” which includes acupuncturists, homoeopaths, and reflexologists, had the highest rate of unvaccinated staff at 19%. [2, obviously.]

[2] https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj.o192 Worth a read; sensible content throughout.

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/02/covid-anti-vaccine-smoking/622819/

An opinion offered at [3] is that, since the risk of death from covid is 68 times (in  the US) greater in unvaccinated, that this is therefore a matter of choice much as choosing to smoke (or not) is. So, the argument runs, that makes covid (henceforth) more like smoking than like the 'flu. I take the points made but persist in thinking that the worry is of contracting long covid. Some of my friends are two years into a reduction of function; if recovery is occurring it is very slow and, to date, the effect is not som much life-changing but certainly life-modifying. There is a range of vigorous activity simply removed. Thus, to someone active, that very activity is largely denied – reduced in function and ability to an entirely different place, not very different from adding twenty years of physical decay.

Implicit throughout that piece is an assumption that vaccination is on offer, and free.

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