Weekend – I predict it’s all Omicron until the end of the year. Two cases sequenced in the UK; also Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Hong Kong. R is about 2.
Meanwhile, locally, cases are still trending down; we’re back to August levels of cases and hospitalisation.
Friday – that moved quickly. From sequencing, to reporting, to variant of concern, to travel restrictions in Europe and the US. B.1.1.529 is now the “Omicron variant”. Concerns around transmissibility and evasion of immunity.
Thursday – Thanksgiving here in the US. Thankful for vaccines, boosters and a local view that masked and vaxxed is the route back to some semblance of normal. Rumblings of a new variant from southern Africa (B.1.1.529) – first sequenced mid-November.
Wednesday – that multi-month long run of 30-40k cases in the UK is really concerning. That’s 4.5MM+ people in the UK who have had COVID since July, in a country with almost 70% fully vaccinated. The long term effects are unknown. Pictogram from The Guardian
Tuesday – new COVID cases rose by 32% in children under 18 in the US. Back to school, masks, slow vaccination. It’s the new vector for transmission. CDC/NIH approve vaccinations for kids 5+ now.
Monday – booster shots approved for all US adults.
This time last year – records being broken, the accelerating climb to the winter peak. 20% of tests returning positive in parts of Washington State. Looking back – this really was the worst period locally. Lots of cases, lots of illness, too much hospitalisation and death.
Weekend – quite a miserable weekend of news. Bright spots in the local trends, and behaviours (masking, vaccinations, high rates of vaccination).
Friday – looking ahead just a few months, when the calendar rolls around again and into the third year of the pandemic. What to do? Continue daily updates? It certainly seems that after 20 months the pattern is: vaccinations, mandates, protests, cases and lockdowns.
Thursday – continuing the theme. Restrictions on the unvaccinated (Europe, some of the US), bans on vaccination mandates and testing (some of the US). Maddening.
Wednesday – it has been a while since looking at the JHU dashboard; this was go-to-reading at the start of the pandemic. Clear
Global cases show a clear fourth wave building.
Tuesday – in Europe, more cases, more lockdown, more restrictions on the non-vaccinated. In the US – law suits against all of these.
Monday – heading towards Thanksgiving and the holiday season. King County has >76% vaccinated; close, but still breakout cases.
This time last year – the leap in local, positive cases. 20% positive test rates. Huge pre-Thanksgiving test lines.
Monday (16 Nov 2020) – talking with friends about the last 36 weeks about “lockdown”: no school (all from home), no work (all from home), seen friends twice (socially distanced, wearing masks, outside), been outside the town a handful of times (to collect flour and visit Orcas Island for some isolated time away). This has not been normal, it’s not been with people. Our bubble of four has has had near zero contact with anyone else.
Weekend – vaccine mandates are on, off, on again – with court cases across the US and Europe. Meanwhile CDC moves away from getting to herd immunity – meaning breakouts, variants and Covid becoming an endemic disease.
Weekly update from The Seattle Times.
Thursday – case numbers plateauing in Washington State; rising elsewhere in the US again. Austria discusses “lockdown for the non vaccinated”, The Netherlands warns of new lockdowns. Continued legal challenges against vaccine mandates for staff.
Wednesday – the roll call of cases and deaths continues across Europe and Russia.
Tuesday – US Government (via the NIH) and Moderna arguing around patents.
Monday – this week I’ll get a booster, as will the eldest child. Moderna for both – so Pfizer-Pfizer-Moderna. International travel restrictions into the US start being lifted.
This time last year – post election, lots of new cases, folk urged not to travel for Thanksgiving. 1M new cases in the US per week.
Weekend – US rollout of vaccine to kids starting.
Friday – European restrictions on vaccine requirements landing – similar to much of the US and other parts of the world
Thursday – slowly, slowly the UK hospital and death rates are ticking up; slow following the wave of positive cases. Graphic from The Guardian.
WHO: “Europe at center of pandemic” with >500k more deaths to follow.
Wednesday – US to start vaccination of children aged 5-11.
Tuesday – UK death rates climb, multiple European countries reporting new peaks of cases.
Monday – “vax” is the OED word of the year. JHU estimates “at least 5M deaths from Covid”. Australian border re-opens after almost 20 months.
This time last year – US hitting a million new cases per week; this was the build up to the massive, pre-vaccine, spike. Election day. Masks and politics.
Weekend – Negative covid tests here in the house; putting the last few weeks to rest.
Meanwhile – cases continue to decline in Washington State and across the US. Cases continue to surge in the UK.
Friday – non-vaccinated refusers, vaccine mandates, protests.
Thursday – back to the list of locations where cases are surging. Singapore and across SE Asia, much of Europe and especially Eastern Europe.
Wednesday – AY.4.2 variant is now >9% of UK cases; not unexpected to see variants emerge from the vast pool of positive cases in the UK; this one is of concern. Meanwhile >43k cases in the UK, cases surge in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Tuesday – Those UK numbers are still terrifying. Planning a trip to England later this year to close out some business; and I am wondering about the safety and wisdom of such a trip.
Monday – out of isolation. First booster (Moderna) in the house. Looking back – just four months ago, in June 2021, I was wondering “when to stop the covid blogging“. With over 80% vaccinated locally then, and >93% 12+ fully vaccinated now – it certainly felt like the beginning of the end. Locally the mask and vaccination mandates are enforced; but there are still lots of under-vaccinated areas of the county and state.
This time last year – on the rapid climb into the winter infections wave of 2020, pre-vaccine and huge numbers of cases, hospitalisation and sadly deaths.
Weekend – slight uptick in cases in Washington State; but a good 6-8 weeks of downward trend now.
Friday – Plenty of reports on mixed boosters – anecdotally it looks like “MMM”, “MMP”, “PPM” in order are the most effective. One of the house is getting Moderna booster (“MMM”) next week.
Thursday – boosters, mixed boosters – both approved by the CDC and FDA. Children 5-11 will soon be eligible. That’s another big vaccination target to remove transmission vectors. If there can be >80% vaccination Covid will move from being a pandemic to endemic. As noted last year – that means an annual “covid shot”, probably in conjunction with a flu shot, targeted at the current variant of concern. In the UK >50k cases, much discussion about the real, non-symptomatic rate being above 100k. What this looks like (plans B and C) for winter isolation and protecting NHS and other key workers). New variant “AY.4.2” more infectious than delta.
Wednesday – 3% of Washington State employees are gone after not meeting the vaccine deadline. In context – that’s less than the “normal” attrition rate through retirement or moves. School north of Seattle closes because of Covid outbreak.
Tuesday – Washington State University fire their high profile football coach. Multiple Washington State Patrol staff leave WSP.
Monday – Tests for all of the family. Two positive, two negative. Isolating in the home.
This time last year – Continuing ramp of European cases, stable in Washington State.
Weekend – positive test for the house member. That’s thoroughly annoying. I’ll save my rant for private.
NZ hosts “vaxathon” – over 2.5% of the population jabbed in a single day.
Cases in Washington State trending downwards.
Friday – Uh oh – a house member has been exposed to COVID through a potentially unvaccinated co-worker. Off to get tested in an abundance of caution.
Thursday – US travel restrictions lifting. Still >40k daily cases in the UK.
Wednesday – Russia >30k cases. Still generally high transmissions around the globe.
Tuesday – Moderna to join Pfizer in approval for booster shots. Mixed boosters also to be considered.
Monday – Cases still dropping in Washington.
This time last year – European wave, looking forward to Thanksgiving being a super-spreader event.
Weekend – we’ve been out a few times in the last month – and every time it’s been to vaccination required, masks required venues. Bands, movies, sports. This is going to become the new normal; and it’s been made easier with the higher vaccination rates in the Seattle area.
In Washington State, positive cases are declining. In King County >80% adults and around 70% of all residents are fully vaccinated.
Friday – Good numbers coming from US CDC about vaccination numbers – but it’s still very skewed.
Thursday – flu shot. Good line of folk getting first, second or booster Covid vaccines.
Wednesday – flu shot booked for tomorrow, reported shortages.
Tuesday – UK still at >30k cases per day, 100k kids off school.
Monday – Russia urging vaccinations. Booster shots live in the US.
This time last year – the beginning of the massive Covid ramp in the UK.
I wrote this week retrospectively; so shorter notes.
Weekend – “Worst to come” for UK. 5% of secondary school pupils in the UK had Covid last week. Locally case rates are trending down quite dramatically.
Weekly graphic from The Seattle Times.
Friday – UK continues to see >30k daily cases.
Thursday – we went to our first in-cinema film in over 18 months. Vaccinations required, masks required. Many bars, restaurants and venues are requiring the exact same protocols. This is going to become the “new normal”, and the sooner there is a standardised, non-paper vaccination record the better.
Wednesday – vaccine mandates are controversial; but United Airlines sees >99% vaccinated.
Tuesday – vaccination sites in Seattle and King County are re-opening for vaccine boosters. Lockdown and travel restrictions easing in Auckland, NZ.
Monday – good commentary on the US vaccination program and why it stalled.
This time last year – Trump had COVID, 200k deaths in the US, 1M globally
Weekend – Washington State cases are down, deaths are up.
Friday – Booster shots are back on the table in the US; over 65 – get a top up.
Thursday – On one side: Portugal fully vaccinates 85% of adult population; on the other: health care system collapse in Alaska, Idaho and other states.
Wednesday – many of the protections from the last 18 months are being unwound; eviction protection, furlough, quarantine pay. In the UK – UK Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, tells MPs that most transmission is currently in children: “There is definitely substantial transmission happening in this age group.”
Tuesday – super local – bunch of Issaquah High School kids positive, and spread at a football game. Waiting for these numbers to grow quickly – and then what? Back to distance learning? Data from ISD Covid Dashboard.
Monday – “Pfizer vaccine safe for kids 5-11” – emergency use authorisation soon, close followed by 6mo – 5. US to allow vaccinated non-citizens from UK and EU to visit from November
This time last year – the start of another wave in Europe; bleach as cure for Covid