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On this day in 2021...18th January

Before we start today's nitty- gritty a reminder that 'Coronavirus 2020 Vision, The Road to Freedom Day - the complete diary and events of the COVID-19 pandemic' - by Keith Wright is now available on Audible, ITunes and Amazon. Click below to listen to a sample.


Facts and figures.

33,355 new cases.

599 deaths.

Testing quarantine.

Today is the start of the travel ban on all flights from anywhere in the world. At least without meeting various criteria, the most notable being a negative test proving you had said test in the previous 72 hours and then a 10-day quarantine once you arrive.

Vaccines doing the rounds.

We awake to the good news that the over 70’s and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be invited to receive coronavirus vaccinations starting this week.

3,857,199 people have so far been vaccinated in the UK.

Vaccine chief Nahim Zahawi was doing the rounds on the news channels this morning. He said that the intention was that 24-hour vaccination sites would be piloted in London before the end of January and then decide how to expand it. He said that having all adults vaccinated with the first dose by September was achievable.

He said that currently, 140 people are receiving their vaccine every minute. He reassured those over 80 who have not been invited yet, telling them he would ‘make sure they all get that offer of a vaccine by mid-February.’

Mr Zahawi said that all care home residents would be vaccinated by the end of January 2021.

‘A race against time.’

The Metro newspaper has a headline that basically boils everything down to the reality that it is a race against time to get vaccines into arms. It says:

‘Every 30 seconds a new coronavirus patient is admitted to hospital – Every 60 seconds 140 people are getting vaccinated in UK.’

France’s health minister Olivier Veran said it is ‘on track to vaccinate one million people by the end of January.’

France has now set up around 800 vaccination centres. Still, Mr Veran said it was not the process of the vaccinations but the delivery of the vaccines, which has been problematic as it has for other EU countries. Germany and Italy have just completed 1 million vaccinations. France hopes to inoculate 2.4 million people by the end of February.

Different planet.

Having trumpeted Britain’s vaccination successes, some news is not so good. We have more deaths per million population than any other country on the planet.

The seven day averages up to 17th January 2021:

United Kingdom: 16.5

Czechia: 16.3

Portugal: 14.8

Slovakia: 14.5

Lithuania: 13.0

Sweden: 12.6

Slovenia: 12.5

Panama: 11.0

Hungary: 10.2

Germany: 10.2

United States: 10.0

*Source - Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the above, some positive news and hope emerges that the death rates will start to come down a couple of weeks after infections fall. With that in mind, we can finally see that infection rates have dropped in the bulk of areas and all regions of England.

The Press Association shows that of the 315 local areas in England, 279 (89%) have seen a fall in case rates in the 7 days to 13th January, compared to the previous week.

36 local areas (11%) have seen an increase in infections.

Deaths per 100,000 of the population in Regions:

London: 1,014 moved to 761.

Eastern England: 755 moved to 556.

South East: 688 to 530.

North East: 429 to 341.

West Midlands: 617 to 562.

East Midlands: 454 to 407.

North West: 597 to 554.

Yorkshire and Humber: 319 to 283.

South West: 381 to 348.

An odd place.

So, bearing today’s data in mind, it seems we are at an odd place, a turning point hopefully; we have the highest death rate in the world, the wheel has come off in many hospitals, yet vaccinations are flying into arms and infection rates are falling.

It comes at a time where the NHS is brimming with patients and close to spilling over. Out of the 5,503 adult critical care beds across 140 acute hospital trusts, 4,632 are in use.

Of course, the issue is not just the overall national figure, but where infections are high in different parts of the country, local trusts can become overwhelmed and run out of ICU beds.

There are ten hospital trusts with critical care wards that are at 100% and unable to take on anymore:

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Portsmouth Hospitals.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals.

University Hospitals Birmingham.


Calderdale and Huddersfield.

Royal United Hospitals Bath.

Harogate and District.

Dartford and Gravesham.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

*Source NHS England/BBC News analysis.

Fall off the radar.

There are wider issues with COVID data; we have spoken about ‘Long Covid,’ but after the 28 days, patients tend to fall off the radar, which perhaps is not showing the full picture.

Strangely, a study by ONS, University College London and Leicester University reveals that nearly a third of patients admitted to hospital with a main diagnosis of COVID-19 were re-admitted within 140 days over a period between January and August last year. The patients had an average age of 65.


Hospital readmissions were 3.5 times higher among the group of former coronavirus patients, while deaths were 7.7 times higher.

The study has yet to be peer-reviewed but covered 47,780 people and showed that those who recovered from the virus had a greater propensity for increased rates of respiratory, cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

29.4% of people had been readmitted to the hospital, and 12.3% died within 140 days of discharge.

Author’s note. This will account for some of the excess deaths not put down to COVID mentioned recently as they are outside the 28-day parameter for recording by the government.

12.3% of 47,780 who died within 140 days is no small number. Extrapolating that figure on to the current total would make an extra 9-10,000 deaths on to the governments’ tally.

It’s complicated.

Compared with the general population, people who suffer severe complications from COVID-19 are more likely to be over 50 years old, male, living in a deprived area, overweight and a former smoker.

Author’s note – sadly, this description could be taken from my bio.

A study of 1,200 patients by Edinburgh University showed that 55% of all sufferers showed heart abnormalities.

All relative.

Daily deaths in Portugal reached a record high on Monday. They had 167 deaths in one day, making the total 9,028.

It is all relative as this is such a small country with only 10 million people. With such a small country it can impact more, as everyone knows family or friends who have had the virus. Portugal also recorded the most ICU hospital admissions since the crisis began, with 664 on critical care. The hospitals in the country are, like many, struggling to cope with the volume of patients.

Daily news.

World Health Organisation head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the,

‘prospects for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are at serious risk’ and ‘the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure.’

Sophie’s choice.

Number 10 has said that the JCVI will guide it on whether shop workers, teachers and police should be elevated in the pecking order to receive vaccinations. Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi implied he would be in favour of retail workers joining a priority group.

Number 10 seemed less sold on the idea,

‘We’ve always said we want to ensure that those who are most at risk, most clinically vulnerable, receive the vaccine first, and that is what we are doing.’


As if key workers and shop assistants didn’t have enough to worry about. Neurologist and Neurophysiologist Dr Margarite Griesz-Brisson has given her view on wearing face masks.

‘The re-inhalation of our exhaled air will, without a doubt, create oxygen deficiency and a flooding of carbon dioxide. We know that the human brain is very sensitive to oxygen deprivation. There are nerve cells, for example, in the Hippocampus that can’t be longer than 3 minutes without oxygen – they cannot survive.’

Author’s note. I’m sure this is true, but you are taking in new air when you wear a mask; no one is holding their hand over your mouth. How do nurses and surgeons and paint sprayers survive?

5 pm Press Briefing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Professor Stephen Powis national medical director for the NHS, Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser to NHS Test and Trace.

Highest since the pandemic.

Mr Hancock said that there were 37,475 people in hospital due to COVID-19, which is the highest since the pandemic began with someone being admitted to hospital every 30 seconds.

Author’s note. I’m sure you are aware that this is a huge amount. Previously Professor Whitty has said that 30,000 patients would be an absolute maximum it could cope with.

As of midnight, last night 4,062,501 people have been vaccinated. Ten more vaccination centres are opening this week. The vaccines are on track.

Dr Susan Hopkins said that more than 37,000 cases had been detected over the last ‘few weeks’ using lateral flow testing.

Suck don’t blow.

Mr Hancock encouraged people to stick to the measures, wash their hands and observe social distancing.

‘Do not blow it now. We are on the route out. We have to stick at it.’

No news is good news.

Police in Basingstoke, Hampshire, broke up a party and were told by those attending that they didn’t watch the news and so didn’t realise there was a pandemic. Seems legit.

Among the many other illegal gatherings were a car meet in Nottinghamshire and a baby‘gender reveal’ party, presumably so they know what ward to put them on in ICU.

Family life.

Essentially ‘non-essential.’

It looks like the government are supporting the idea of having retail workers vaccinated in phase two, which might be good news for Jackie, although she is caught in the no-man’s land of being a ‘non-essential’ shop worker but still required to work and be in contact with customers with their click-and-collect and online returns. How does that work?

Daylight robbery.

We had a conversation with Jackie and me about the distribution of vaccines. She had spoken to Callum on the phone, who works in that world, and he said that the problem with distributing it to pharmacies is security. The batches have two security guards with them. There have been attempted robberies at knifepoint, and criminals are trying to get their hands on empty vials so they can put anything in it and pass it off as the vaccine.

The vaccines are the most valuable thing on the planet, and people with money would pay big bucks to get their hands on them.

Quote of the day.

‘Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.’ – Dennis Waitley.

If you enjoyed todays update and would like to purchase copies of the 3 part series (Book 4 is underway now) please click on the button below to begin with PART ONE.

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