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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Day 456 of self-isolation - Doubling

Doubling

We're at a point where the number of cases is doubling every ten days. So, with the current number at 8000, that would get to 64,000 by 12 July. And that's back in the dark  days of last winter.

Easing the lockdown, would obviously make that worse. That's why we aren't easing the lockdown.

It's like driving a car - you have to anticipate. If you see brake lights flaring half a mile down the road, you know that this isn't the time to put your foot on the accelerator.

Delaying the lockdown-easing will be hard on the hospitality industry, and the events industry, and on many others. But that delay will mean that we can substantially increase the percentage of us that have been vaccinated. And if we didn't delay, ,the case numbers would rise faster, and then what would we do? No-one wants to go back to the full lockdown of last year.

So what's the cause of this, after things were going so well? The delta variant, which is 60% more infectious than the alpha, which was 30% more infectious than the original.

The guilty party is evolution.



Monday, 14 June 2021

Day 455 of self-isolation - A visitation

A visitation

Brother-in-law and sister-in law visited today.  We had lunch.

The significance of the day was that we took no Covid precautions. All four of us are double-vaccinated, so we didn't mask, and we ate indoors.

Meanwhile, it looks like June 21 isn't going to bring a change to the lockdown.

 



Sunday, 13 June 2021

Day 454 of self-isolation - June 17

June 17

We're having a by-election on June 17, and we're getting flooded with leaflets. The latest is shown below.



I was thinking of voting for the "Rejoin EU" party, even though they aren't going to win. Just as a protest vote. But this leaflet has convinced me otherwise.

The Conservatives think that the Lib Dems can win. So this Tory leaflet has persuaded me to vote Lib Dem.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Day 453 of self-isolation - Going up

Going up

Throughout Europe and the USA, the numbers are going down, both new cases and new deaths. But in the UK, they're going up.

The latest number for new cases, is 8125, and we're on an uptrend. The latest new deaths number is 17, which isn't as low as it's been for the last few weeks. Hospitalisations are still low, but the delta variant is sweeping through the country.

The vaccination program is still going well in the UK, but in the USA, it has slowed down a lot. That's vaccine hesitancy.

On June 21, we're due to have another reduction of the lockdown. I think that will have to be deferred. But the government will leave the decision to the last minute.

I downloaded and installed the NHS app. It shows my Covid vaccination history, and I can make a QR code if anyone needs to see it. It also claims that I can order repeat prescriptions, but that's not working for me.

One of the more interesting capabilities, is that I can look at my medical records, which are mostly INR blood tests, but also include various other tests.

I've changed the fonts on my main workstation, to make them one point size bigger. Because I think my eyes have got weaker, especially the left eye. It's like a translucent curtain is in front of that eye. Things that I can see fairly clearly out of the right eye, are just a blur with my left. I think it's the cornea, a cataract. It isn't bad enough to warrant an operation, but it is deteriorating.



Friday, 11 June 2021

Day 452 of self-isolation - Rejoin EU?

Rejoin EU?

We have a by-election coming up in our constituency, so I'm getting lots of flyers. One of them claims that he has the solution to all the problems that leaving the EU caused.

Rejoin the EU.

This will give a huge boost to our fishing industry, will remove the problems that many of our farmers face, allow freedom of travel, freedom to work anywhere in the EU, freedom to sell goods and services anywhere in the EU (thus rescuing our financial sector) and solve the problem of Northern Ireland being in the single market while the rest of the UK isn't.

The party is called "Rejoin EU", and I think it's a brilliant solution to all the problems that leaving has caused.

They'll have my vote!

Although their web site needs work.


By contrast, there's a "Freedom alliance" which is going to oppose vaccine passports (which will mean that we can't travel outside the UK). They are against Covid vaccination. They are against "unnecessary vaccines for children", which is a bit like being against "unnecessary cakes for children". They claim that there were over three quarters of a million adverse reactions to the Covid vaccine, and I was one of those, because I had a sore arm for a few hours.

Idiots.

Also - this is the time of year for my hayfever.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Day 451 of self-isolation - Covid passports

Covid passports

It's called the EU Digital Covid Certificate. It can be digital or paper - it's a QR code. The official launch date is July 1, but people are signing up already.You'll need it if you plan to travel to or within the EU.

Currently, it's only available to EU citizens, but that's sure to open up.

No-one is forced to get one, unless you plan to travel, in shich case you'll also be carrying your ordinary passport too. Is this an invasion of privacy? Of course it is, and so are ordinary passports.

What is stored is: recent recovery from Covid-19, and negative test results -- including lateral flow, as well as PCR. It also records how many vaccinations you've had, and which vaccine.

It's free.



Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Day 450 of self-isolation - 100 per 100

100 per 100

We've reached 100 jabs per 100 people.

 This isn't quite as good as it sounds, because many people have been double-vaccinate. And it's better than that because up till now, we haven[t been vaccinating under-18s (but I think that will change soon).

 I had another book-avalanche. The problem is, I have a lot of books, and they are piled up on top of each other against the walls of my bedrook, up to more than two meters tall. But books aren't quite flat, so the piles lean a bit, like the tower at Pisa. So, occasionally, I get a book avalanche.

The one today was minor, only a few dozen books fell, so it was fairly quick to re-pile. The one before that was major, three entire piles toppled, and it took ages to sort out.

The real problem is, I find it hard to part with books.

Also, today I found out that I can avoid many hours of programming - Barclays ePDQ assured me that I fall outside of their new security "3DS" system. That's good because I'm sure that my own security system, based on a couple of decades of experience and data, is way better than theirs.




Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Day 449 of self-isolation - Project S

Project S

In the town of Serrana, Brazil, the entire town has been vaccinated.

Brazil as a whole, is doing very badly. But Serrana is doing very well. This spring, researchers gave the full two doses of the vaccine Coronavac to 27,160 adults -- about 95% of the city's adult population. Coronavac has an efficacy of 51%.

According to preliminary results released on June 1, the study showed an 80% reduction in the number of symptomatic cases. Covid-related hospitalizations have fallen by 86% and mortality by 95%



Monday, 7 June 2021

Day 448 of self-isolation - Dido, NHS chief?

Dido, NHS chief?

Dido Harding is expect to apply for the role of next NHS chief.

Please, no. She has overseen a stream of disasters, from the huge TalkTalk data breach to the Track and Trace system that was one disaster after another.

Surely there is someone in this country who is able to run a whelk stall?





Sunday, 6 June 2021

Day 447 of self-isolation - Low hospitalisations

Low hospitalisations

The number of people in hospital for Covid, is under 1000, and staying low. That's very good.

In Bolton, people in hospital with Covid were "a lot younger" than patients in earlier stages of the pandemic. And there were very, very few people in hospital who had had both doses of a Covid vaccine.

There are two conclusions. Young people aren't as safe from the Delta (Indian) variant as they were from the original Covid. Secondly -get vaccinated.

 




 

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Day 446 of self-isolation - Alpha and Delta

Alpha and Delta

The original Covid-19 has an R number of 3. The alpha (Kent) variant is 70% more infectious (R number = 5). The delta (India) variant is 30 to 100% more infectious than the alpha variant. So the R number is 8. This means that for people who are not immune, each person will infect about eight people, if no-one is taking precautions.

So it's not too surprising that in the last three days, the number oof new cases has been 4330, 5274, 6238. It's starting to look exponential. We've been here before.

With an R number of 8, you need 1 - 1/R = 88% of the population to be immune to have herd immunity. This probably means the we'll never get there.

Back when the R number was 3, we needed 66% to be immune, and that would likely to be reached with vaccination. Even when the R number was 5, it was maybe possible to reach the 80% needed for herd immunity. But 88%? I don't think so.

Why is 88% immunity not possible? Because there are simply too many people who are not willing to take a proven safe jab, and prefer the risk of getting the disease.

And why aren't they willing? Because to understand pandemics and how to deal with them, you need to understand maths, statistics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics and how to do research (hint, watching youtube videos isn't research). And most people don't have all these understandings. Many people don't have any of them. So all they can do, is find someone to trust who does know this stuff, and trust them.

In the UK, we're lucky; a lot of people trust the NHS. In America, and many other countries, there's nothing like the NHS, and they don't trust their own governments.

But far too many people trust Tilly on Twitter or Fred on Facebook, because Tilly has lots of people repeating what she says, and Fred has a loud voice and a confident demeanour. 

And there's people like Andrew Wakefield, the struck-off doctor, telling people that vaccines are bad. There's people claiming that vaccines are untested, or that no-one knows what's in them, or that they include a microchip.

So the outlook is bad. We beat polio, because people knew how terrible the disease was, and everyone was keen to eradicate it. We beat smallpox.  We beat mumps, rubella, pertussis. 

So what changed? People are unwilling to believe people who know stuff, and think that Wally from Whatsapp is a better source of good advice.



Friday, 4 June 2021

Day 445 of self-isolation - Half

Half

Just over 50% of adults have had their second vaccination, including me and Bojo. And 75% have had their first jab.

But the number of new cases just hit 5274, on an upward trend, three times as high as the number in early May. Our death numbers are still low; less than 10 on a 7 day average.

This upward trend in new cases is concerning - if it continues, it will postpose the expected June 21 reopening. Bedford, Blackburn and Bolton are hotspots, so if you live in a town that starts with a B, get yourself vaccinated. Hospital admissions are rising again, mostly with unvaccinated people.

I think that the June 21 easing will be postponed; we need to get more of our people vaccinated.

In America, they're offering incentives to people to get vaccinated. That makes no sense to me. What better incentive could there be than "you won't get hospitalised"? Budweiser are offering a beer to people who get vaccinate; "a shot and a beer". But, as we all know, financial incentives do work.




Thursday, 3 June 2021

Day 444 of self-isolation - Peru

Peru

Peru has revised the death numbers, they are now about three times as high as the previous estimate. Peru is now the worst country in the world, if you look at deaths per million population. 5526, compared with the UK's 1873, Peru is three times as high as the awful UK number.

This is a clear demonstration of how difficult it is to collect statistics, and it makes me wonder how many other countries are200% out in their numbers.



Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Day 443 of self-isolation - Vaccines and variants

Vaccines and variants

B.1.1.7 is the UK variant

B.1.351 is the Soutnh Africa variant

P.1 is the Brazil variant

B.1.617 is the India variant

The boxes in colour are estimates based on modelling.

This information comes from http://www.healthdata.org/covid/covid-19-vaccine-efficacy-summary

But another source gives 88% efficacy against the India variant for Pfizer and 60% for AstraZeneca

https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20210525/pfizer-astrazeneca-vaccines-indian-variant-study

And it says that one dose gives only 33% against the India variant, 50% against the UK variant.

In the UK, the India variant is responsible for 75% of new cases.

WHO has assigned new names for the variants. The UK, South Africa, Brazil and India variants are called Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

WHO is following the naming system that we devised for computer viruses, and for much the same reason.



Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Day 442 of self-isolation - Twickers

Twickers

On Monday, Twickenham Stadium was converted into a mass vaccination centre; come one, come all. Anyone over 18 could get the Covid jab. 15,000 people got the Pfizer vaccine.

The weekend numbers were, as usual, very good. Only one death from Covid.