Had a longish chat to @markaustintv earlier on @SkyNews on this latest Omicron Covid wave. Covered: this wave, seasonality, "living with it", long covid, vaccines and my frustration at this cycle of repeated waves...

First off - yes we're in a wave 1/6
Secondly, Covid spreads perfectly well in summer. Yes, it tends to be worse in winter but it certaily has had no problems causing large waves in summer (whether northern or southern hemisphere).

Thirdly, the way we are trying to "live with covid" just... isn't really working out very well is it?

and yes we can do something about it. (clip is ventilation but also sick pay, supported isolation, addressing inequalities, global vax). 3/6
Fourthly, each wave is leaving more people with long covid and some are badly enough affected that they can't work - whether for weeks, months or years.

That's not sustainable. 4/6
Fifthly, we need more than vaccine tweaks - we need more research into even better, longer lasting, vaccines that are better at preventing infection.

In the meantime, we should stil take up all the vaccine doses we are offered. 5/6
Finally, this wave will pass but another one will come. Candidate variants are already being tracked. Quite likely there will be another wave in early autumn... we need to stop acting like each wave is the last. 6/6

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More from @chrischirp

Jun 10
🧵THREAD: a new wave has started in England (and likely about to or has in rest of UK)

TLDR: this will be 3rd wave within 6 months. Long covid an increasing issue - particularly in overexposed professions.

We don't need a UK ventilator challenge we need a ventilation one! 1/xx
5 weeks ago I said a new wave might be on its way in a 4-6 weeks.

I think it is now here and cases will go up from now. Let me show you why I think that..! 2/xx

After 6 months of Delta dominance, last weekend would have seen BA.2 lose its dominance - overtaken by a combination of BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1 & BA.5.1 3/xx
Read 21 tweets
Jun 1
🧵 Short Thread on state of Covid in England:

TLDR good news on new infections, admissions & deaths, bad news on Long Covid, unclear what will happen with latest variants (BA.4, BA.5 & BA.2.12.1 all on the up).

Firstly variants... We can see that dominant Omicron variant BA.2 that caused the March surge is falling back now.

But its decline seems to have slowed a bit - I thought it would have lost its dominance by now but that is likely at least a week or two away still. 2/11
3 Omicron subvariants on the up: BA.4/BA.5 (dominant in SA & Portugal) & BA.2.12.1 (dominant in US) - risen from 0.5% each to ~5% each in 3 weeks. Portugal & US seeing a new moderate surge in admissions. From US looks like BA.4/5 will win out over BA.2.12.1 eventually. 3/11
Read 12 tweets
May 27
🧵THREAD on why covid was and remains a more serious threat than flu for society.

Based mainly (but not only) on the most recent ONS report on deaths from Covid vs those from flu and/or pneumonia 1/7

People say "winter flu deaths" but they really mean deaths from either flu *or* pneumonia. Pneumonia covers a whole host of things - inc complications from flu but also many other infections.

So that's point number 1!

AND Covid was and remains more of a thread than both 2/7
The number of deaths due to Covid in 2020 and 2021 were far higher than annual number due to flu and/or pneumonia in every single year since 1918/19.

Particulary, flu/pnuemonia deaths lower this century due to more widespread flu vaccination. 3/7
Read 7 tweets
May 25
Browsing the Sue Gray report - the stuff going on in Dec 2020 when London was in Tier 3 was totally outrageous. Full on Christmas parties! This is pre vaccine and Alpha was surging in the SE and hospitals feeling the strain already 1/7
There were *two* raucous leaving parties that carried on till 1am on 17 December, which ended by joining up after midnight. Remember - "reasonably necessary for work" 2/7
On Fri 18th Dec the press office held a Xmas party with secret santa, alcohol and Quiz - was this the party Allegra Stratton was joking about & resigned over?

they sent the invite twice replacing "wine & cheese evening" with "meeting with wine & cheese".
How fucking funny. 3/7
Read 8 tweets
May 17
Quick thread on long covid & workforce & why it matters:

Today UK report lowest unemployment for 50 years - fair to say there is a labour shortage here right now.

But part of low unemployment is simply that we have *fewer* people to work cos of long term ill health 1/8
Long term sickness is higher than expected (350,000 people) and the Bank of England last week particularly highlighted Long Covid.

Women more likely to be not seeking work cos of sickness than men - consistent with Long Covid which affects women more often 2/8
The 350,000 people reported by the Bank of England is very similar to the 346,000 people ONS estimates as living with Long Covid that affects their day-to-day activities a lot. (it won't be a direct overlap though) 3/8
Read 10 tweets
May 16
We've never had less data in the face of rising new variants. 🧵

The European CDC designated Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 as variants of concern on Friday. They expect a new wave in Europe in the next 2 months. 1/4

In S Africa, where BA.4/5 are causing a wave right now, there is much less testing going on than previously. Admissions are going up, but are also lagged and have jumps (that may or may not be real).
SA *may* be close to peaking but v hard to tell... 2/4
BA.4/5 variants are growing fast here too (as is BA.2.12.2, causing a wave in US) but there is so little PCR testing happening now. This is the first new variant takeover where we are flying so blind.

We will only have limited warning this time. And who knows for next time. 3/4
Read 4 tweets

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