Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Look What Science's Anti-Covid Vaccines Have Achieved

At the moment, the UK is experiencing something of a surge in SARS-CoV-2 cases, yesterday reaching over 6000 confirmed new cases – double what it was just a week ago - almost certainly due to the 'Indian' or Δ-variant currently responsible for a surge in the Bolton/Greater Manchester area and elsewhere in the UK.

This variant is calculated to be some 40% more infectious than the ‘Kent’ variant. Admittedly on a higher level of routine testing, this is approaching the levels that prompted the first major lockdown in April 2020, as this chart shows:

Daily confirmed new cases
However, if we look at the hospitalisations and deaths then and now, we see a very different picture today from when the NHS was in danger of being overwhelmed and the army were building 'Nightingale Hospitals' in a frantic attempt to increase the capacity, although the Johnson government appeared to have forgotten about staffing them. After years of NHS under-funding by successive Tory governments, we had barely enough staff and doctors for the regular hospitals, let alone the 'Nightingales', so they were used neither for Covid-19 patients or the routine non-Covid patients requiring post-operative intensive care. Instead, waiting lists grew to record lengths. But that's by the way. What This is about is the marked difference between then and now, as the next charts show:

Daily new hospital admissions
Covid-19 patients in hospital
Deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test

To put that into tabular form, taking the data for the day (April 30, 2020) in the first wave when new cases went over 6000, and the latest avialable data today:

Comparison of UK first wave and current coronavirus wave
DateNew
Cases
New
Admissions
Hospital
Patients
Deaths
April 30, 20206032144315164634
June 8, 2021604812695713


It should be clear from these figures that there is a mjor difference. This difference is not due to social distancing and wearing face-masks, important though those have been, but which are much more relaxed now than they were in the first wave. There is clearly a major change in the population. What this is, is made clear in the following chart:

Anti-Covid-19 vaccinations in UK.
76.6% with at least first vaccine; 53.29% fully vaccinated.

Very clearly, the massive vaccination drive by the NHS have broken the link between infections and hospitalisations and deaths. However, what is not clear yet is whether it has broken the link between mild to moderate illness and the so-called 'long-covid', where pateints, especially younger ones, have long-term complications following on after they have recovered from the viral infection itself. Only yesterday, as I reported here, we had the finding from a Birmingham University team that showed there may be a link between infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and an auto-immune response lasting for up to 6 months.

The message from the UK then, is get a vaccine! It will hugely reduce your chances of dying from Covid-19, even if infections rates remain high in your locality. Vaccines do what they were designed to do - they stop you dying or being seriously ill and placing an intolerable burden on the health services.

Vaccines work!









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