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  • Writer's pictureRichard Cree


17th March 2022

UK COVID Deaths – Daily average 107

Total UK COVID Deaths within 28 days – 163,248

Total UK Deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate – 185,273 (up to 4 Mar)

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 818

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 100

James Cook Critical Care

COVID cases – 0

Non-COVID cases – 48 (22 ventilated)

Well, it had to happen. COVID finally caught up with me. Ten days ago I became unwell and tested positive, both on lateral flow and PCR testing. I was expecting a very mild illness, and was surprised at how unwell I felt. Fortunately I’m now feeling much better and I’m due to return to work tomorrow when my period of isolation finishes.

The last time I wrote was after Nicky’s ‘false-positive’ lateral flow test. With hindsight it looks like it might have been a genuine result after all and perhaps her PCR test was inaccurate. I suspect my family went on to infect each other sequentially. After Nicky had started to recover, my youngest daughter, Sophie, became unwell. Her lateral flow tests were consistently negative and we believed she had caught the same non-COVID illness as Nicky.

However, the following week, my eldest daughter, Millie, had to undergo a PCR test as she was due to have some crowded teeth removed at the hospital. What with the pandemic, she’d been waiting over two years for her operation and we were relieved that it was finally going ahead. Alas, her pre-op PCR test came back positive despite Millie being completely asymptomatic. Looking back, it seems more and more likely that both Nicky and Sophie' infections had been due to COVID.

My parents had been due to come and stay with us the day after Millie’s operation. Obviously, with Millie testing positive we warned them off and rescheduled. Unfortunately, they arrived just as I developed symptoms and tested positive. Not surprisingly, they both went on to catch it. After spending the last two years ensuring that my parents stayed safe and COVID-free, it was horribly ironic that I was the one who finally infected them.

The only family members who remained seemingly unaffected were my son, Jamie, and the cat. Jamie’s lateral flow tests stayed negative but he may well have had an asymptomatic infection like his sister. The cat didn’t take too kindly to being lateral flow tested and so we’ll never know whether he was infected or not. Fortunately, everyone has now recovered which is a huge relief and I’m beginning to feel less guilty about infecting Mum & Dad.

For the past three weeks, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has, understandably, knocked COVID well and truly out of the news. However, the last few days have brought reports of rising infection rates, increasing numbers of people being admitted to hospital and the proliferation of the more infectious BA.2 Omicron variant. There are also ongoing reports of ‘Deltacron’ variants that have emerged in several countries. Fortunately, there is no evidence that these variants are capable of causing more severe illness than regular Omicron and so there is no cause for alarm.

Given that all of England’s remaining COVID restrictions were lifted on 24th February, a rise in cases was inevitable. Infection rates are increasing more in the elderly and there is some concern that this is due to waning immunity. This may well be partly to blame but I suspect a lot of infections are a result of the older population gradually returning to a more normal life.

Fortunately, we are still seeing very few sick COVID patients at the hospital. Omicron does not cause lung inflammation and respiratory failure in the way that its predecessors did. It does not cause secondary pneumonias like other viruses do. Simply put, Omicron doesn’t do what original COVID did. That’s not to say that a highly infectious coronavirus isn’t still a concern if you are particularly frail, elderly or at risk, but for a lot of patients, their COVID infection is not the reason they are in hospital.

The fact that Omicron is less severe is best illustrated by taking a look at Critical Care. Our units are similar to many others across the country - we don’t have any COVID positive patients. Not one. This is the first time our ICU has been COVID-free since September 2020. Things are far from quiet, but we are no busier than we would normally be at this time of year.

There are other signs that the hospital is slowly returning to normal. Patient visiting is now allowed for the first time since the pandemic began and we no longer have to wear facemasks in non-clinical areas when seated. Out of an abundance of caution, we are still required to wear full PPE when looking after COVID-negative patients on the ICU, but many of us are hopeful that this should stop soon.

When I return to work tomorrow, it will be two years to the day that the hospital admitted its first COVID patient. I remember how worried we all were about what was coming and what a difficult time it was. But remembering just how bad things were back then only makes me realise just how much better things are now.

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27 commentaires

08 avr. 2022

It makes my blood boil, deaths are rising way too much, cases are down because they aren't testing, it's beyond comprehension.

143k excess deaths since the start of the pandemic, it's only lower than Covid deaths due to flu being suppressed ... I feel for everyone this xmas, Jan, Feb and March, it won't be good for the NHS who are under huge pressure now let alone a Covid and Flu mix.

The impostors in gov need to go asap.


29 mars 2022

Hi Richard,

I am pleased that you and your family are recovering well from Covid. It must have been a big worry for your parents.

It's 12 days since this post and I notice deaths are increasing again. ONS data shows that we are only 0.6% below the 5 year average.

I have been surprised to see the death rate below the 5 year average, I expected it to be higher due to delays in health care plus Covid itself.

It's very sad to see Covid deaths rising. People are acting like it's all over.

Everyone thinks Covid is reducing in severity in a linear way. That is just how it looks but it's not a given and a worse…

Richard Cree
Richard Cree
01 avr. 2022
En réponse à

I’m glad to hear that Peter. Take care, Richard


20 mars 2022

It seems like everyone I know has come down with Covid in the past week or two! Including me and my partner after avoiding it all this time. As a 70 something year old with underlying conditions I’ve been very careful but it caught up with me a week ago. Started feeling ill last Sunday and a PCR on Tuesday confirmed it. For me it’s been like a bad cold with rather more fatigue thrown in. Although it triggered my asthma it hasn’t infected my lungs which is what I was worried about. Started feeling a bit better yesterday and today my LFT is negative :) So one more negative test and I’m free! So glad I’m fully vaccinated and…

31 mars 2022
En réponse à

Good news. I am pleased you haven't been hit too hard. Fortunately for many, Covid isn't a final sentence.

I hope you bounce back fast.


19 mars 2022

It's caught me aswell Richard...2 years of avoiding any infection and I not only get floored by it, but halfway through my first trip abroad I'm stuck in Austria isolating in a hotel room.....

31 mars 2022
En réponse à

How are you doing? I hope you are coming out the other end. Best wishes to you.


19 mars 2022

welcome to club covid richard :)

quick question for you, is it the norm that these coronaviruses start off spreading not so easily but are very serious if contracted but become more infectious but less harmful?

31 mars 2022
En réponse à

It's perfectly likely a more virulent and contagious variant can appear. Covid is linear, it just looks that way. Recombinant variants are also a thing.

It would of course be ideal if it eventually fizzled out or if vaccines stop any coronavirus variants.

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