Making sense of Covid-19 with Silman: my blog

What do the numbers mean !

Does Covid-19 increase the risk of diabetes in children

A study published a few days ago from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suggested that Covid-19 can more than double the risk of the new development of diabetes in children.  This study adds to the information from extensive research since the start of the pandemic that Covid-19 is bad news as far as […]

A 4th vaccine dose: is now the right time to consider?

The announcement this week that Israel was starting on a programme of providing a 4th dose of vaccine to those over 60 has stimulated a debate as to whether the booster now being rolled out will be enough to contain the pandemic of Omicron, or indeed other variants that may follow.  What is the evidence that other […]

Are self-testing rapid antigen (lateral flow) tests for Covid-19 accurate enough

The dramatic rise in the number of cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant has led to an increased use of self-testing kits for the virus.  The results from these tests are used to guide personal behaviour.  Many people are confused about how their own results should be interpreted and acted on, with varying guidelines and differences in […]

Omicron and hospitalisation: new data on the protection from vaccines

Released yesterday (22nd December) are data from a study which has examined the rate of hospitalisation following infection with Omicron addressing the questions (i) does it differ from the rate following Delta infection and (ii) what is the influence of vaccination on this rate The study In this very rapidly produced report* (data was collected as late […]

Omicron: emerging data on transmission, severity and protection from vaccines

Since the start of the Omicron story, there has been an unprecedented focus by national authorities on collecting the data to answer the key questions. English data are now available and although there is much to be learnt and the analyses are very preliminary, there is information emerging about this variant How quickly is Omicron […]

Will vaccines protect against Omicron: what, when and how we will know?

The big question worldwide is ‘will current vaccines be effective against Omicron?’  In the absence of any real hard information, news media are reporting on every expert utterance and each new case.  In this post I will try and provide a foundation for how to interpret the emerging information.   Let us be clear on the important questions! […]

The new variant: how much of a concern?

Worldwide, media ran the story this morning of a new variant of the Covid-19 virus from South Africa which is causing anxiety and leading to travel restrictions.  We may remember  previous headlines about the India-Delta variant as well as other variants that hit the news: Brazil – Gamma, South Africa – Beta, that also led to travel bans […]

Rising cases in Europe: what is going on and why

The news from Europe in recent days has been dominated by the almost exponential rise in the number of Covid-19 cases across several Western European countries.  What is the size of this problem and more importantly why is it happening? Is it too simplistic to focus on vaccination rates? What is the data on cases In the […]

Another game changer – or not? 

Could a 5 day course of pills from your local pharmacist make Covid-19 a minor illness? In the past month, the  drug companies Merck and Pfizer have both issued a press release about a new anti-Covid-19 pill.  These suggested that for newly diagnosed patients with Covid-19, a short course of these pills can substantially reduce – and in […]

What we need to know about flu and its vaccines 

When the Covid-19 pandemic started, earliest thoughts were that Covid-19 could be considered like a version of flu, indeed much emphasis was given to the fact that the number of hospitalisations and deaths during a ‘bad flu season’, especially in the most vulnerable,  were known to be substantial.  Many authorities were slow to accept Covid-a9 was different! […]

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