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COVID-19

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So are we going on holiday?

% of Tests positive
See the above at Our World in Data

All the news at present is about Passports

It seems that all the news at present is about COVID Passports and where are we going for our Summer Holiday. We have been in lockdown here since early January and been vaccinating as fast as we can. So, our infection rate in the population has decreased from a high of 11.2% to 0.5% on the above graph.

Meanwhile all the countries that we go to for our holidays are going the other way and look like they are entering a new “wave”

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but should we be talking about holidays where the infection rate is above 5% (1 in 200) ? After all this was the benchmark last year for the governments Red List?

It has cost the country Billions to get the infection rate down to where it is. Should we now run the risk of re-introducing a new variant like the new Brittany Variant ? We saw the Panic over the Brazilian Variant when it was discovered. Or is the Test and Trace System now “World Beating“? Or are we confident that our European cousins now have things in control.

alone in a window

When you heart is feeling sad

Jane saw this on BBC Breakfast Today. A Poem by Helen Smith called “When your heart is feeling sad” and wanted to have the words. So I thought you might like to have them as well.

When your heart is feeling sad and the tears fall from your eyes,
look outside your window and look up to the sky.
Their presence is all around you, they’re protecting you from above,
they’re watching over all of you and sending you their love.
They’ll visit you in your dreams to let you know there still around,
they’re the birdsong and the beauty and the feathers upon the ground.
So though you’ll miss them dearly please know this to be true that they will live on in other ways and forever be with you.

When you heart is feeling sad
by Helen Smith, who lost her dad to COVID-19.
BBC Breakfast

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EU Flag

Read the contract!

EU export threat

According to the BBC The EU is threatening to withhold vaccine supplies to other countries. Why should supplies of vaccines made in the EU be exported to other countries when those same companies can’t supply the EU?

The answer seems to be in the small print of the contracts.

The UK Contract

In the UK contracts, signed early on, mostly paid upfront, at a premium price, and to be paid even if the vaccine didn’t work, we specified delivery dates or schedule.

The EU Contract

In the EU contracts, signed at the last minute, to be paid on delivery, at a bargain price, but not if the order was taken up, they just specied a quantity to be delivered with no schedule.

So which contact is better

I know if I was a Supplier of vaccines, I know which customer I would rather support. Of course I am slightly simplifying the argument, but then so is the EU!

Oximeter

An Oximeter could save your life

What is an Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter slips over your middle finger and shines a light into the body. It measures how much of the light is absorbed in order to calculate oxygen levels in the blood.

Oximeter
An Oximeter that clips onto your finger

Why it is important to have access to one.

One of the mysteries of Covid-19 is why oxygen levels in the blood can drop to dangerously low levels without the patient noticing. It is known as “silent hypoxia”.

As a result, patients have been arriving in hospital in far worse health than they realised and, in some cases, too late to treat effectively.

A normal oxygen level in the blood is between 95% and 100%. If oxygen levels drop to 93% or 94%, then people speak to their GP or call 111. If they go below 92%, people should go to A&E or call 999 for an ambulance.

Studies, which have not been reviewed by other scientists, have shown even small drops below 95% are linked to an increased risk of dying.

With Covid-19 still to be around for some time to come it is important that all families in Stinchcombe have access to one in case of catching the virus.
I have one at home – unused and in the box. So if you come down with the virus, just drop me an email. – Richard

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The Race to Vaccine

It’s Not a Race

In one breath we are told “it’s not a race”. However, in the next we are told how well the UK are doing compared with others. So which is true?

On the Bloomberg opens in a new window website they have launched a Covid Vaccine tracker opens in a new window. This is gives information in real time tracker and of course is USA biased. However, scroll down to the section titled “Race to End the Pandemic” (remember it’s NOT a race) and you get the interesting stuff.

This how many doses given and more importantly what percentage of the population. As of Jan 05 2021 the UK had vaccinated 1.95% of the the population. Which I think is quite laudable and we should the the UK Government it’s due for this.

The Global Vaccination Campaign
The Global Vaccination Campaign from Bloomberg.com

It will take time

We must however realise that it will take time. The UK Government is aiming to give 2M doses a week. There are 65M people in the UK. Each Vaccine needs 2 doses. That’s 65 weeks needed to vaccinate everyone….

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The story of the Oxford vaccine

A fascinating read

I read a long article on the BBC website this week on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. How it came into being and how quick it was off the mark. The problems encountered to find funding. The false stories put about on social media and what impact this had. And finally the problems with production and testing.

Written by Fergus Walsh, the BBC’s Medical editor I recommend the article for anyone who would like to get an insight of what it is like to try and develop what could still be the worlds number#1 vaccine next year for the Coronavirus pandemic.

The article is titled Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: Bogus reports, accidental finds – the story of the jab

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Needle

The Big Question

When do I get my Vaccine?

Now that we seem to have successful vaccines coming on line very soon, the one question we all want answered is “When do I get my COVID-19 vaccine?” It goes along with “When will life return to normal?”

The UK Government is talking already about mass vaccinations but unless they know something that I don’t, we are all going to have to wait.

At present Pfizer is planning to produce 50 million doses by the end of 2020 and Moderna 20 million and let’s say they both get approval and let’s say the UK gets 10% (my guesstimate) of the production, that would be 7,000,000. This would be enough for everyone over everyone aged 80 and over.

Next year, 2021 Pfizer is planning to produce 1.3 billion and Moderna 500 million. Britain has ordered 40 million from Pfizer. So this would give us in the UK a further 35 million by the end of 2021. Enough to vaccinate everyone over 35 years old.

The Big Unknown

The Vaccine that could change everything is the Oxford vaccine by the University of Oxford (Vaccitech) and AstraZeneca which is still three months away. It is a different vaccine and made in a different and easier way. 2 billion doses could be made next year in the UK alone. This could easily satisfy our requirements. Let’s hope it passes all tests.

Tentative Conclusion

This is my suggested timescale for Vaccinations for different ages:

  • 80 plus very late 2020 / early 2021
  • 35 plus in 2021
  • Under 35 in 2022.
  • If the Oxford works and is released in Feb / March, then all bets are off.

References


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