Some thoughts about Nu and bad timing, benefit of delaying spread & what we should do... 1/5
First timing: a new dangerous variant arrives just before millions of people across world start travelling internationally for Christmas holiday period - not good.

Millions of people travelling within and to US this week for Thanksiving just as variant announced - not good. 2/5
Second: Delaying spread: UK won't keep it out forever. But delaying has large benefits.

We're currently boosting almost 2.5 million people every week. Even a few weeks delay is millions more vulnerable adults with extra protection. That matters. 3/5
Then too it gives us time to learn more about Nu - how infectious is it? how vaccine evasive? how virulent?
It gives precious time to tweak existing vaccines if necessary.
It gives time to ramp up response capability like intensive testing and contact tracing. 4/5
Third: what we should do?
Reduce transmission now!
Delta arrived in UK during lockdown - it still spread but harder for it to infect others.
Right now very easy for a new variant to spread - let's make it harder with e.g. masks & home working & HEPA filters indoors. 5/5

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More from @chrischirp

26 Nov
Very quick thread on UK covid situation:

TLDR: boosters going well now, cases rising particularly in children, admissions & deaths dropping 1/5
First vaccination: boosters now in about quarter of population - NI is a bit behind other nations.

Very good booster coverage in over 70s - would be great to get it higher.

Significantly lower uptake in more deprived areas.

Teen vax ongoing (slowly). 2/5
Second cases: cases climbing in UK. Over 50K again today. By date of test, climbing in NI & England and falling (a little) in Wales & Scotland. But positivity rates falling in NI so could be more testing.

Slightly diff picture from ONS with nations either rising or flattish. 3/5
Read 5 tweets
25 Nov
THREAD on the new variant B.1.1.529 summarising what is known from the excellent South African Ministry of Health meeting earlier today

TLDR: So much uncertain but what *is* known is extremely worrying & (in my opinion) we should revise red list immediately.

This is why: 1/16
The South African Ministry of Health had a live streamed briefing today on the new variant detected there.

The variant was identified this week and has been found in three countries so far: Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong (returning traveller). 2/16
In South Africa it has been detected in Guateng province - positivity rates in Tshwane (part of Guateng) have increased massively in the last 3 weeks from less than 1% to over 30%.

3/16 Image
Read 17 tweets
24 Nov
THREAD on Europe and whether UK is a good position for winter...

TLDR: Much of Europe in v difficult circumstances.
But UK has been in difficult circumstances since June with much more total illness and death, and still is. 1/17
Concentrating on W Europe where vax rates & context are more similar - E Europe is in its own world of pain, mainly due to population with high existing health problems and low vax, particularly in vulnerable. 2/17
Many countries in W Europe going through bad Covid surges - in both cases and deaths - each for their own combo of reasons of measures, behaviours, vax rates, waning.

They have similar vax rates to UK but are later in boosting (but also vaxxed later so waning later). 3/17
Read 18 tweets
21 Nov
Some personal thoughts:

Husband and I have just recovered (mostly) from Covid... no idea how we got it since we've been super careful and not done much. Shopping or swimming we think.

I am left grateful for masks & vaccines - here's why: 1/8
Firstly vaccines: having Covid sucked but I am sure it would have sucked much worse without being vaccinated. I am grateful that I had the chance to get that protection first.

I'm annoyed that I got sick a few weeks before my booster was due, but that's life. 2/8
Secondly masks: the first symptoms were so innocuous it was only obvious later what they were. I was 100% convinced we didn't have Covid cos we'd been so careful.

The weekend before symptoms and 1st day of, we were in *a lot* of shops.
Read 10 tweets
15 Nov
🧵The line from Boris Johnson that Europe's Covid wave might come here is *arrant nonsense* - just convenient cover if cases climb this winter.

We've been having this wave ever since end of June.

It's driven here - as elsewhere in Europe - by local context not importation 1/5
National Covid trajectory is determined by combo of:
1. public health measures (masks, ventilation, which venues are open, vax passports, testing, isolation etc) & behaviours,
2. vax rates (inc boosters)
3. levels of prev immunity

If it's spreading, combo not enough. 2/5
England relied basically on 2 since June and it's not been enough. We've now got 2 and (sadly!) 3 & it's still not bring cases down.

E Europe has nowhere near enough 2 (hence high deaths too).

Germany & Austria are lower on 2 and 3. NL, Belgium stopped 1 (esp in schools). 3/5
Read 5 tweets
15 Nov
Quick THREAD on cases & admissions in England & schools...

Cases fell in England for about 2 weeks but started going up again last week.

Some of this increase will reflect more testing again since half term (and positivity rates have fallen a little). 1/9
Reductions were driven by steep drops in school age kids (esp 10-14 yrs), which started week before half term.

Apart from less testing, chains of transmission were broken with continued fall week after half term.

Recent uptick tho, esp 5-9 unvaxxed.

60+ fall, boosters? 2/9
Plausible that 10 days is approx the time it takes for new chains of transmission in school to take hold & drive cases up again. Despite high prev infections.

Leicestershire schools had term & half term week earlier & they are seeing sustained increases in school kids again 3/9
Read 11 tweets

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