Weekend – a quick look at the Washington State details – and that flattening of cases looks like an uptick. :\ On the positive side – Western Washington is >70% fully vaccinated. Infographic from the Seattle Times again. In the UK the apparent duplicity of the Government around Christmas parties last year, when everything was fully locked down, has knocked Omicron off the top of the headlines. An additional 75k deaths in England alone forecast by end of Spring 2022.
Friday – UK daily cases still climbing; there is no sharp climb and spike like Winter 2020 – this is 30-60k cases per day, since June. Hospitalisation remains lower than last winter. In Washington State, the case numbers have flattened.
Thursday – Booster jabs approved in US for 16+ . UK lockdowns “Plan B” returning.
Wednesday – “Three Pfizer jabs neutralise Omicron; Moderna or Novavax after AstraZenaca provides high immunity” – boosters look to provide protection against the Omicron variant.
UK cases are still climbing, and 50k cases per day; 300k+ per week.
Tuesday – “stealth omicron variant difficult to sequence as omicron by PCR tests” is a concern, I think this means PCR tests show positive, but not which variant. May just be some process iteration and tweaking to improve that. Still hope that current vaccines (and boosters) are effective.
Monday – Omicron all the time in the news. More transmissible, large R0 in unvaccinated.
This time last year – massive cases in Washington, the US and around the globe. 3000+ deaths per day in the US.
Weekend – A great weekend away in BC, vaccination proof being looked at for all indoor bars and restuarants, masks being worn everywhere. Limited protests.
Weekly data from The Seattle Times shows a worrying uptick in positive cases in the last few days; but that could be related to Thanksgiving travel.
Friday – BC vaccination app is everywhere; proof of vaccination, QR code on phone, links to live “vaccinated or not” backend system. No real protests, and it felt much like Washington State in many respects.
Thursday – for the first time since the start of this pandemic, a trip outside the US. Land travel to British Columbia, Canada. ArriveCAN for entry, proof of vaccination, proof of negative test. Long lines at the border heading into Canada. We were worried that the omicron variant would close the border into Canada, or require additional testing while there, or for return.
Wednesday – Omicron variant was “in Europe, weeks ago”. Positive cases everywhere; including the US.
Tuesday – Boosters may protect against Omicron; they may not; a new vaccine may be needed; new vaccine within 100 days. Much not understood yet. Saw long lines for student booster shots in Capitol Hill, Seattle last night.
Monday – the news is all Omicron variant. South Africa being both vilified and held up as a great model of healthcare. Certainly testing and sequencing got early data out. Still lots of unknown factors. WHO says “very high” global risk.
This time last year – the start of the discussion about vaccinations, and breaking through the antivax rhetoric. WA Notify – the Washington State Notification App launched.
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 – “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