Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 21 March, 2021

 

I had a minor epiphany this morning.  I’d just finished reading an article about travel to Europe this summer seemingly becoming more problematic, and was looking at the chart below and the encouraging steep lines showing increasing vaccination numbers in both the UK and US (and the much flatter lines for other regions) and decided that it is likely to be feasible to consider travel to Britain but perhaps not to Europe, with later in summer offering a better probability of the least amount of possible confounding factors that is the case earlier in the season.

As a result of this epiphany, I’ve decided to offer three tours to Britain between mid August and mid September – my expectation being they are likely to be able to proceed and offer tour members a good experience.  The first tour is to Wales, the second to Scotland, and the third to England.  You can combine them if you wish, because the dates run consecutively after each other.  If you do both the Scotland and England tours, you also have a chance to do the famous “From John O’Groats to Land’s End” journey all the way from the south westerly point of England to the north easterly point of Scotland.

I’ll have detailed pages and itineraries up on these three tours later in the week, and wanted to mention it now because August isn’t really all that far away.

Yes, I’ll be limiting the tours only to people who can show vaccination certificates.  I’ve noticed this looks like becoming the standard practice for cruises these days, and while not an absolute guarantee, seems a prudent and appropriate measure to adopt.  Which I guess means I’ll have to step up and get the jab myself.  Well, I’ll wait another month or so for that….

I’ve created a new chart.  As you may have noticed over the last few diary entries, I’ve been increasingly focused on our daily case rate – is it going up or down each day?  There were of course extended periods in the past where the answer to that question was very obvious, including the time, as you can see, from 11 January through to 21 February where there was a wonderful and strong drop every day.

But since 21 February, the changes have become more subtle.  Accordingly, I’ve created this new chart that shows two different sets of data – a seven day rolling average for daily new cases reported, and the percent change in that rolling average each day.  The second data – the orange colored line – shows very clearly when the numbers go above or below the 0%, more so than simply looking at each day’s bar line.

I hope this helps give you a perspective on what is happening from day to day in the US.  I’m still playing with the format of the data presentation, and once I’ve “locked” it in, I’ll start tweeting this every morning (along with the daily tweet on changing air passenger numbers).  You can follow my tweeting here.

There’s been a lot of talk about vaccination side effects over the last week or two – both in the concept of the extremely rare blood clotting side effect that may (or may not) be associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and more broadly in general.  Here, for example, is an article talking about how the side effects seem to be stronger after the second vaccination (if you’re taking a two-dose vaccine) than the first.

But there’s one thing that few if any of these articles make clear.  The side effects are vastly less unpleasant than a dose of the virus itself, directly!  Don’t let concern over side effects such as a sore arm or headache for a day deter you from the vaccination.

Current Numbers

There were no changes in ranking in the US.

In the small country list, it is interesting to note that Gibraltar has now vaccinated its entire adult population.  That might seem impressive, but to put it into perspective, Gibraltar’s total population is a mere 33,684.  I see their case count is currently 4,270 (and 94 deaths), and has been at those numbers for several days, and it has moved down another place in the rankings.  It will be interesting to watch its numbers.

We also have a new country at the bottom of the small country list – Saint Barthelemy, a tiny island in the Caribbean with a population of 9,899 and a French “collective”.

Talking about France, it moved up a place in the major country list, as also did the Netherlands.

There were no changes in the death table.

US Best and Worst States

Rank Cases/Million Deaths/Million
A week ago Now A week ago Now
1 Best HI (19,959) HI (20,322) HI (319) HI (321
2 VT (27,068) VT VT (343) VT
3 ME ME AK AK
4 OR (37,844) OR ME (539) ME (542)
5 WA (46,297) WA (46,978) OR (551) OR (560)
47 IA (117,451) IA (118,458) MS (2,319) MS (2,337)
48 UT (118,024) UT (119,037) MA (2,415) MA (2,447)
49 RI RI RI (2,423) RI (2,450)
50 SD SD NY (2,529) NY (2,555)
51 Worst ND (132,504) ND (133,389) NJ (2,691) NJ (2,722)

 

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Andorra (145,646) Andorra (148,887)
2 Montenegro (133,243) Montenegro (138,845)
3 Gibraltar (126,559) San Marino (128,186)
4 San Marino Gibraltar (126,766)
5 Slovenia Slovenia
6 Luxembourg Luxembourg
7 Israel Israel
8 Panama Aruba (81,901)
9 Aruba (78,396) Panama
10 Lithuania (76,197) St Barth (78,291)

 

Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (130,475) Czech Republic (137,042)
2 USA (90,509) USA (91,822)
3 Portugal (80,019) Portugal (80,345)
4 Sweden Sweden
5 Belgium Belgium
6 Spain Netherlands  (70,011
7 Netherlands (67,430) Spain (68,687)
8 UK (62,499) France (65,506)
9 France (62,282) UK (63,053)
10 Brazil (53,757) Brazil (56,159)
11 Italy (53,364) Italy (55,902)
12 Poland (50,417) Poland (54,435)

 

Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

Rank One Week Ago Today
1 Czech Republic (2,166) Czech Republic (2,300)
2 Belgium (1,929) Belgium (1,948)
3 UK (1,842) UK (1,851)
4 Italy (1,691) Italy (1,738)
5 USA (1,646) USA (1,671)
6 Portugal (1,640) Portugal (1,648)
7 Spain (1,545) Spain (1,559)
8 Mexico (1,497) Mexico (1,523)
9 Peru (1,467) Peru (1,507)
10 France (1,383) France (1,412)

 

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Items below include another new anti-viral drug, this one being able to be taken orally, and a new vaccine being developed that can also be taken orally, Dr Fauci has gone in a year from being an anti-masker to now advocating two masks, even if you’ve been vaccinated, a look at the uptick in cases in Europe and South America, some of the US states with highest vaccination rates are also showing high new case growth rates, more on vaccine passports, plans for the Olympics, the US/Canadian border status, and disagreements about the value of vaccine passports.

SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

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END OF SUPPORTER ONLY CONTENT

Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Thursday.

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Covid-19 Diary : Sunday 21 March, 2021”

    1. David Rowell – Seattle, WA, USA – New Zealander now living in the United States.

      Thanks, Gary, you’re completely correct! Good job I’m not the driver of the coach, isn’t it!

  1. lifegotinteresting

    Two questions, both vaccine-related.

    You mentioned you will take it in a month or so. Any updated thoughts on which you would take, if you have a choice?

    You mentioned thinking of requiring proof of vaccination for your UK tours. I don’t pretend to know what the state of international travel would be then, but say, if a traveller meets national entry requirements (multiple negative tests and quarantine), if UK didn’t require vaccination for entry at that point, would you feel comfortable having stricter requirements? Than the general population you will be interacting with? Even if vaccinated can be infected and infect? The vaccine passport bandwagon seems to be growing. Just wondering. It’s a complicated issue.

    1. David Rowell – Seattle, WA, USA – New Zealander now living in the United States.

      Hi, Peter

      It is a change to have you asking questions rather than volunteering your own excellent insight. 🙂

      My current thinking is leaning to the J&J vaccine. One shot instead of two is a big plus for a needle-phobe such as me. On the face of it, the J&J seems to offer weaker protection, but who really knows – there is no universal statement of efficacy or standard measuring. Heck, we can get MPG statements on cars without too much fuss, but getting a similar standardized measure for vaccines seems to be impossible, and more is the pity/shame for its absence.

      It seems that the J&J vaccine may be better against new variants than the other two (Pfizer and Moderna). That’s an important plus, because it seems the new variants are steadily displacing the earlier variants and becoming more common, and likely to have totally replaced earlier versions, until such time as they in turn mutate on further.

      Which points to another reason for delaying. Waiting to see what the shape of the virus risk becomes, and learning more about the respective efficacy of each vaccine. Or perhaps not – “learning more” implies ongoing and comparative studies, and I’m not sure there are any of those underway.

      As for a vaccination certificate, yes, I’d feel 100% comfortable with that requirement. Negative tests are 100% useless – they report on a person’s condition, several days before the test was conducted. They don’t report on a person’s condition at the time of the test, and they surely don’t predict the person’s condition one hour or one day later. In a case where there are still infected people in the community at large, and where we’ll be sightseeing around, there will be risks a-plenty every which way, and there’s no way I want to unknowingly have a person become infected on my tour, and then pass that infection on to others on the tour.

      Sure, vaccinated people can still become infected, although the understanding about that is evolving, suggesting they are less likely to be infected. But if they do become infected, they have a mild not severe case. And, equally, it is possible they can pass it on, although perhaps less effectively than an unvaccinated person.

      So vaccination seems to both prevent (minimize) and cure (ameliorate) the virus. Tests do neither.

      I’ll pack plenty of HCQ and IVM to take with me, too! And urge others to do likewise.

    2. David Rowell – Seattle, WA, USA – New Zealander now living in the United States.

      Hi, Peter

      I’m absolutely comfortable requiring a vaccination and absolutely uncomfortable with multiple negative tests and quarantines.

      The thing is, the vaccination is for the protection and convenience of everyone on the tour. Social distancing doesn’t really work on a tour or on a tour coach, and I’m not going to mandate wearing masks.

      Sure, there is a diminished chance of still getting an infection and still passing an infection on, but hopefully, the infection will be more akin to a common cold rather than anything more serious. And, ahem, sensible use of things such as HCQ/IVM and even Vitamin C/D, zinc and so on can help at that point.

      The multiple tests and quarantine is fine for ensuring that people don’t bring new infections into a population, but useless for stopping the uninfected person from then contracting an infection, short of then imposing strict social distancing and mask wearing requirements. That’s what most countries are doing at present – once you get through quarantine, you’re then in an environment where you must socially distance and wear masks, and where there are limits on opening times and capacities, and so on. That’s not a pleasant way of enjoying a vacation.

      I want to offer an experience that is both pleasant and safe. The vaccinating seems the best way to achieve this.

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