The r number has dropped a point and now stands at a healthier 0.8 -1.0.
61,014 total deaths.
224,060 total hospital admissions.
1,705,971 total cases.
The first stocks of the Pfizer vaccine are now on British soil and at a secret location. Ferry owners Stenna Line and P&O offered their services for free to help in getting the vaccine over to us. However, the first lorries came via Euro Tunnel. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers says the vaccines will have reached the hospital hubs in sufficient time to begin the vaccinations on Tuesday.
There are the first hints at over promising by the government already. After initially saying that we would have ten million by the end of the year, the business secretary Alok Sharma has told Sky News that we hope to get ‘some millions’ and would not commit to ten.
‘We’re starting with 800,000 and then let’s see where we end up by the end of the year in terms of the number we acquire.’
He told Kay Burley,
‘But of course, what we also said is the vast majority of this vaccinisation (sic) programme will take place in the New Year.’
Author’s note. Ah!
The USA’s virus expert Dr Anthony Fauci has backtracked from his petulant reaction to the news that the UK had authorised the Pfizer vaccine too quickly. He told the BBC,
‘I have a great deal of confidence in what the UK does both scientifically and from a regulator standpoint. Our process is one that takes more time than it takes in the UK. I did not mean to imply any sloppiness even though it came out that way.’
Author’s note. Bearing in mind Dr Fauci has spent weeks preaching how important it is to heighten confidence in taking vaccines to enable as many people as possible to take it, his initial response was disappointing and unhelpful.
Since the election, President Trump has scarcely mentioned the virus, concentrating on his claims that the election was fraudulent and ‘stolen’ from him by mail-in voter fraud and the misuse of the Dominion voter system switching votes from Trump to Biden.
In the meantime, the USA is in COVID turmoil with seemingly little cohesion between the States and the Federal government.
No sin to take vaccine.
There has been another unexpected development, this time with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. In England and Wales, the Catholic Church has stated ‘one does not sin’ by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Why? Because it turns out that a cell strain in this vaccine was derived from a foetus in the 1970s or 80s which was used to propagate the virus for vaccine albeit these cells do not make it to the final product.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales put a statement out saying,
‘Each of us has a duty to protect others from infection with its danger of serious illness, and for some, death.’
The statement refers to the vaccine originating from the cell-lines of an aborted foetus, apparently cultivated in 1983. It goes on to say it was okay to have the vaccine in good conscience, in grave circumstances,
‘provided there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action. In the COVID-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine.’
Author’s note. Question. If it didn’t have such a ‘distance’ would they let Catholics die?
Answers on a post card.
Today at 6 pm, further restrictions come into place in Wales. Indoor venues, such as cinemas, museums and galleries, will be forced to close. Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be banned from serving alcohol and limited to takeaway services in the evenings. Those in Wales will be allowed to travel into parts of England with Tier one and Tier two restrictions. (It is unclear what you might do if you have to drive through a tier 3 area to get to a tier 2 area)? Answers on a postcard.
A rather strange twist has emerged at Abbotswood Nursing Home in Ballasalla, Isle of Man, where police have arrested five people as part of an investigation into the deaths of 20 residents with COVID-19. The police have interviewed the suspects about, ‘criminal and /or health and safety offences,’ and have bailed them until mid-February 2021.
Author’s retrospective note. 23.4.21. There is no update for this. I note an interesting report in ‘Care Home Professional’ on 13th May 2020, which outlines that the residents at Abbotswood had to be moved en-masse from Balsalla in the Isle of Man – a decision taken by the Isle’s department of Health and Social care which has been managing the home since 13th April 2020.
I also note that there were 17 deaths (Some reports say 20) at the home in April 2020 caused by a COVID-19 outbreak. At least 47 of the care home’s residents tested positive for COVID-19.
The five were bailed to mid-February and my feeling is that this will have been extended as it is likely to be a protracted enquiry.
It seems I am not alone in my contrary approach to the government over the Christmas festivities. Rather than loosen measures to avoid contracting the virus we are tightening them in this household with no visitors inside (although we are meeting outside at a distance).
Italy too has taken an approach at odds with the British government’s relaxation of measures and has unveiled tough new restrictions for Christmas after suffering their highest ever number of deaths at 993 over 24 hours. They had 23,225 new cases on Thursday.
Italians are being urged not to invite any guests to their homes during the Christmas period, movement between towns is forbidden on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and a curfew is in place on New Year’s Eve between 10 p m and 7 am. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is also being banned.
Quote of the day.
‘Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point.’ – William Hazlitt.
SATURDAY 5th DECEMBER 2020
Facts and figures.
17,272 new cases.
Coronavirus vaccine clinics have opened across Moscow, in Russia, with health workers and teachers being at the top of the list to receive their jab.
President Vladimir Putin has ordered a large-scale immunisation programme starting with two million doses of their vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ being made available this week.
The vaccine has still not completed the phase three trials, yet the Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that 100,000 people had already been given vaccines. Russia has had one of the highest numbers of infections, with 2.4 million recorded since the pandemic began.
On Saturday, 28,782 new cases were reported, 7,993 being in Moscow. They have registered an overall total of 42,684 deaths so far.
Since the lockdown was released, the first Saturday looked like any other Christmas on the High Streets of major cities with tens of thousands shopping, many without masks. Whether you were in Tier 2 or Tier 3 seems academic as the streets were crammed full of people. At the Christmas market in Nottingham pictures emerged of thousands rubbing shoulders with each other. The same in London, Manchester, Birmingham and York. It is expected that £31.5 billion will be spent on Saturday alone.
GP surgeries have been told to prepare to start staffing COVID-19 vaccination locations to be ready for 14th December 2020 to book in vaccine candidates. They have been told it will be,
‘one of the greatest challenges the NHS has ever faced.’
Vaccines at Hospitals are due to begin on Tuesday.
Today thousands watched Premier League football matches inside the ground for the first time since the pandemic broke in March 2020.
Tier 1 Premier League clubs could host up to 4,000 supporters.
In Tier 2, Premier League grounds are allowed to have socially spaced supporters of up to 2,000 in number.
Matches in Tier 3 locations must continue to play behind closed doors.
Quote of the day.
‘Xmas trivia: Before it became a major shopping holiday, Christmas is believed to have had a ‘religious’ meaning.’ – Andy Borowitz.