I am often told my Twitter timeline is too negative. So, happy Monday everyone, and here are some genuine positives from the last year of the COVID pandemic.

First published in March 2021.

COVID-19 is now being suppressed globally – but influenza is being absolutely flattened. 5,445 influenza samples sent last week, and 0% positive.

The natural R of influenza is 1.3, while COVID-19 is 4-5 now. So, whatever reduces transmission of COVID-19 will CRUSH the flu.

Weekly national Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report. | Public Health England

Percentage of respiratory specimens that tested positive for influenza. | WHO

Lockdowns have also reduced other respiratory diseases.

Weekly national Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report. | Public Health England

For children, this has seen HUGE drops in respiratory intensive care admissions in the Southern Hemisphere, by 80-90%.

Other diseases are also likely to have significantly reduced.

HIV is primarily spread by those who are recently infected themselves, like a continuous wave. Lockdowns in the UK may have broken this, meaning new HIV infections could be GONE soon.

Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) might also find themselves massively suppressed. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea especially.

For young people and children, the commonest cause of death is trauma – road traffic accidents are way down. Excess deaths in the first lockdown in these groups has been NEGATIVE in these groups, meaning less young people dying in the UK at this time.

Analysis of death registrations not involving coronavirus (COVID-19). | ONS

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a very new technology utilising RNA – what we have learnt from the global effort to deploy and use these could revolutionise disease treatment (infectious and non-infectious) in the next century.

And lockdown measures benefited the environment – reducing air pollution by up to 25%. This will lead to tens of thousands of saved lives over the next few years from air pollution related diseases.

Lastly, we have spent a year really relishing human contact. A hug with a distant loved one has never been more valued.

May we never forget the importance of those connections again.

So, it has been a shitty year, and tragic in so many ways, but there are slivers of genuine good – and on the horizon, real hope.

We are so nearly there now. So, have heart, and hold on.

Happy Monday everyone. 

Going Further:

Dr Dominic Pimenta, Doctor. Writer. Researcher. Chairman of HelpThemHelpUs.co.uk. Active NHS campaigner.

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 1 March 2021 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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