Sunday, 18 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 17th / 18th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 17th / 18th October 2020.

The UK added 16,982 cases today and now has reported a total of 722,409 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 305,315 tests on Friday (obviously they're proud of that, they've not updated it).

Hospital figures have also not been updated: 5,608 people were in hospital on Thursday 15th, with 592 using a ventilator on Friday 16th October. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 67 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 43,646 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 49,962 (+1,283) cases and 1,852 (+3) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 40,149,458 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,116,907. Already 30,017,848 people have recovered. Passing 40m cases is a grim milestone, but passing 30m recovered far less so. 

Japanese COVID advice from March 2020 1

"We do need stronger restrictions if we want the number of infections to go down," says Prof Steven Riley, Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics, Imperial College London, on the Channel 4 Lockdown Debate about 10 minutes ago. 

The English and Welsh COVID App., and most of the others, work by pinging a location every few minutes. If you pass by someone who later tests positive,  you might have 1 ping in common. If you spend 20 minutes sitting beside them,  you should get at least 2. When it finds 2 together, the app. triggers and you get a notification to self-isolate.
With the English and Welsh app. it seems to also be sending a flash alert after 1 ping, just to make you more 'alert'. If you get this, it flashes up, but when you try to find out more or do anything, it's gone. It's confusing a lot of you. This is  not a notification to isolate, you just had a close call. 

The row between Greater Manchester and the UK Government continues. After Boris gave a thinly-veiled attack implying Andy Burnham was putting lives at risk, Andy Burnham's comeback was to point out that Sir Patrick Vallance has now joined Jonathan Van Tam, Dr Jenny Harries and Chris Whitty in saying that the baseline Tier 3 measures aren't enough to bring down levels of COVID. There really does seem to be no positive evidence and no point. 

Friday, 16 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th October 2020.

The UK added 15,650 cases today and now has reported a total of 689,257 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 304,315 tests yesterday. 

5,311 people were in hospital on Wednesday 14th (up from 3,660 a week earlier), with 580 using a ventilator yesterday, 15th October (up from 436 a week earlier). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 136 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 43,429 officially reported losses of life in all settings. (57,690 people have had COVID written on their death certificate.) 

England 584,843 / 38,524
Northern Ireland 25,177 / 608
Scotland 45,232 / 2,594
Wales 34,005 / 1,703

Rep. Of Ireland 47,427 (+998) cases and 1,841 (+3) losses of life.  

There have now been a total of 39,416,753 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,106,120. Already 29,510,661 people have recovered.

160420 Banksy painted his bathroom with rats

"The new restrictions we have seen brought in this week have made little practical difference to restrictions faced by most people. Cases will continue to rise in the majority of areas.
Waiting to discover the impact of the new 2 Tier system, is allowing time for the virus to spread further."
independent SAGE advisory group. 

From 4am Sunday 18 October, people arriving in England from Italy, San Marino and Vatican City State will need to self-isolate, as they will be removed from the travel corridor list this week .
The Greek island of Crete will be added to list for England.

The University & College Union have done a tally, and this morning said that over 20,000 university students have now tested positive in the UK.
That is an awful lot of worried parents, and food parcels...

At midnight tonight Wales close the border to anyone from Northern Ireland, England's Tier 2 and 3 areas, and the central belt of Scotland. You are not welcome, you disease ridden Angles. Fod wedi mynd.
Obviously this is bad news for anyone who was hoping to take a break in Wales, and I do sympathise with you, but at the same time you can hardly blame them. Movement restrictions are one of the very best ways to contain and suppress any virus.
Welsh Ministers are also reported to be considering a circuit-break lockdown. 

Thursday, 15 October 2020

#TBCSmiles October 2020 74 Months...

 It's the 15th and the grinniest day of the month - and I think we all need that at the moment. 

How is your mental health? How are you coping? Take a bit of time to think about yourself and do a wellness check. Are you sleeping well, eating well? When was the last time you treated yourself to a few hours doing something just for you? 

It's easy to become distracted by the fact there's a pandemic, and a lot of things have had to be put on hold, but life hasn't stopped. You still need to cook, clean study, work, and likewise you still need time off. If you haven't built it into your week, try to do so - you still earned it. 

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who joined in with #TBCSmiles this month over on Instagram. It was a busy one with the return to organised chaos for parents of schoolchildren, and if you are anything like us, you've also experienced the joys of 2 week's self-isolation (and 7 days trying to get at least 1 of us tested - thankfully that situation has improved a bit). It's definitely not 'normal', it is a new and temporary normal, but we are still making those smiles. 

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 14 /15 October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 14 /15 October 2020.

The UK added 18,980 cases today and now has reported a total of 673,622 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 295,690 tests yesterday. 

4,941 people were in hospital on Tuesday 13th, with 563 using a ventilator yesterday, 14th October. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 138 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 43,293 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 45,243 cases and 1,835 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 38,947,653 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,099,641. Already 29,239,129 people have recovered.

be kind to people with covid drawing from WHO

"It is wrong to place some of the poorest parts of England in a punishing lockdown without proper support."
Andy Burnham, on behalf of the Greater Manchester local leaders. 

On Tuesday teatime, after the publication of the official SAGE meeting recommendations from 24th September, the leader of the UK political opposition, Kier Starmer MP, publicly called for more strident action against the virus immediately.
"We are at a decisive moment in the fight against the coronavirus. That’s why I'm calling for a circuit break in England - to protect the NHS, fix testing and get control of the virus."
He'd like a 3 week lockdown break around half term, and to be honest I'm still stunned that Boris didn't announce one at the press conference on Monday. Kier believes the government have lost control of the pandemic. I don't think that's entirely true, I think this is their plan, and wanted to allow younger, less vulnerable, people to be exposed purposefully in order to achieve a level of herd immunity by transmission. At some point they WILL lose control, because freewheeling down a hill with no brakes rarely ends well. It's a game with stakes that are too high for me to be comfortable. I'd like to stop playing. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Hedgeways - Eco-Friendly 2 Player Strategy Tile Game Review - Sent by Sprout & Gherkin

The people behind the gorgeous wooden tile game Sproutword are back with another equally beautiful eco-friendly wooden game. Hedgeways is for 2 players, although we've also played a light-hearted game with 4, and recommended for anyone aged around 3-99+ (best for anyone aged 6+ in my opinion). 

The first thing you'll notice is the box. Hedgeways is packaged in an incredibly clever all wooden box, and it instantly calls out to be wrapped in colourful tissue paper and given to someone you really like as a gift. 

Hedgeways strategy game for 2 players of any age. Sent for review.

The box is all-in-one, and you just flip the lid to open it. The front, back and hinge are created from  a single piece of wood, carefully cut and shaped, and it's really very clever, and quite special. 

Hedgeways wooden ecofriendly game locally sourced wooden box

Inside the box nothing is wasted and the entire thing is plastic-free. The instructions are very simple and printed on recycled card, and there is a cloth drawstring bag holding all of the wooden tiles. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 12 /13 October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 12 /13 October 2020.

The UK added 17,234 cases today and now has reported a total of 634,920 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 219.074 tests yesterday. 

4,367 people were in hospital on Sunday 11th (up from 2,833 the same time last week), with 507 using a ventilator yesterday, 12th October (up from 393 the same time last week). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 143 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 43,018 officially reported losses of life in all settings. 

Up until Friday 2nd October, 57,690 people in the UK have had COVID given as a cause on their death certificate. 

Rep. Of Ireland 43,351 cases and 1,827 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 38,243,553 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,088,221. Already 28,739,127 people have recovered.

UK Alert Levels MEDIUM October 2020

Remember the English Government's announcements yesterday only apply from midnight tonight, so if you are in the North West or North East, no garden visits until afterwards. 

The Nightingale Hospitals in Manchester, Harrogate and Sunderland have been put on standby, as local hospitals are starting to feel the weight of COVID cases. 

UK student exams next Summer will be delayed by 2-3 weeks to allow for extra 'catch up' tuition time. They will start on 7th June rather than mid-May. 

I was a grumpy yesterday because we've had garden visits banned since July, and now they're allowed, when my area has over 40 times as much COVID as it did in July. I agree with Chris Whitty, the measures announced yesterday by Boris do nothing to actually decrease transmission of COVID, they can only slow the rise slightly. I've always been annoyed that the English government have decided to attempt 'controlled herd immunity by transmission' among the less vulnerable population. They are playing with fire at our risk, and potentially our expense, and some areas are about to get burnt. Well done to the Mayor of Liverpool for daring to stand alone and impose Very High Tier restrictions. 

Monday, 12 October 2020

England COVID Briefings 12th October 2020

 England COVID Briefings 12th October 2020

"Within Greater Manchester, we have seen a three-fold increase in the number of patients admitted to intensive care in the last 5 weeks, and an eight-fold increase in the number of patients admitted to our hospitals. The situation at the moment is that 30% of our critical care beds are taken up with patients with COVID, and this is starting to impact on the services that we provide for other patients.....  I stress to you the importance of us taking this disease extremely seriously."
Dr Jane Eddleston, Greater Manchester Medical Lead.

the power of soap - shows illustrated hand soap bottle

This morning Jonathan Van Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, gave a Coronavirus Data Briefing, along with Professor Steve Powys of NHS England, and Dr Jane Eddlestone, Greater Manchester Medical Lead.
Case numbers are rising rapidly, and hospitalisation will follow around 2-3 weeks later. Losses of life will inevitably follow suit.
The UK picture is visibly getting worse by the week.
Steve told us The Netherlands and France are seeing record numbers of cases, around 40% of Paris intensive care beds are occupied by COVID patients. Spain has declared a State of Emergency in Madrid, around 40% of their intensive care beds are taken up with COVID patients. The situation in the UK is no better.
"We now have more patients in hospital with COVID-19 than we did when the Government announced restrictions on March 23rd."
We are reminded about the improvements in understanding about the virus, treatments and therapeutics. We are getting much better at this and saving lives.
In areas where COVID is especially high risk, NHS staff will be regularly tested whether they have symptoms or not.
The Nightingale Hospitals in Manchester, Harrogate and Sunderland have been asked to stand by and prepare for the possibility of having to treat patients over the next few weeks.
We will try to avoid delaying treatments for anything else during this wave. Go to your GP or ring 111 if you are ill, have a lump, get chest pain, etc. The NHS is open to everyone.  

Sunday, 11 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 10 /11 October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Weekend Update 10 /11 October 2020.

The UK dashboard is a bit iffy today, so not everything has been updated. 

The UK added 12,872 cases today and now has reported a total of 603,716 positive cases of COVID-19. 

3,837 people were in hospital on Thursday 8th, with 442 using a ventilator on Friday 9th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 65 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,825 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 41,714 cases and 1,824 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 37,611,948 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,079,274. Already 28,202,212 people have recovered.

wash hands new

On Friday and Saturday the number of daily cases across the world exceeded 350,000 per day - the highest figures of the pandemic. This isn't only due to the rise in cases across Europe (which is very real), but also the whole world is testing more, and finding more low or no symptom cases. 

Tomorrow there's a UK Coronavirus briefing and it's pretty certain that blonde bloke who was Mayor of the Danny Boyle Olympics will announce the Tiers Of Restriction/Intervention.
It seems likely Tier 2 will trigger at 100 cases per 100k population - so a huge amounts of England are well over, by several times in some cases - from Liverpool right over to Newcastle, plus Sheffield, Nottingham etc.
No leaks yet about exactly what triggers the next tiers will have, or what exactly it will mean for people in those areas, but hospitality WILL be closed in some places, and the government’s favourite paper-to-leak-to is reporting there'll be some restrictions on inessential movement in harder hit areas.  

Friday, 9 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 9th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 9th October 2020.

The UK added 13,864 cases today and now has reported a total of 575,679 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 285,015 tests yesterday. 

3,660 people were in hospital on Wednesday 7th, with 436 using a ventilator yesterday. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 87 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,679 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Up until Friday 35th September, we had lost 57,347 people who had COVID noted on their death certificate. 

Rep. Of Ireland 40,703 (+617) cases and 1,821(+4) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 36,950,832 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,069,577. Already 27,782,381 people have recovered.

Take a Break WHO COVID advice

"An estimated 224,400 people (95% credible interval: 203,800 to 245,700) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19) during the most recent week, from 25 September to 1 October 2020, equating to around 1 in 240 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 270 to 1 in 220).
The estimate shows the number of infections has increased rapidly in recent weeks."
UK Office For National Statistics. 

Today's independent (not-Government) SAGE group briefing started with a warning that I think won't surprise anyone. This is "not a good news week." It was Dr Alice Roberts presenting though, so that made it a little better.
Test and Trace mislaid almost 16,000 cases, results for contact tracing are the worst ever. The time taken to receive results is longer than previously. It's not gone well.
ONS results out today show that cases are rising really rapidly, and doubling around every 2 weeks. The Public Health England REACT Study suggests doubling around 3 weeks, but with massive regional differences.
Northern Ireland has seen a very rapid rise in cases.

Happy Anyway by Jane Hanford (Sent for review) Young Adult Book Review

Happy Anyway is a self-help book especially suitable for young people with anxiety. Author Jane Hanford has sent me a copy for review, and although I'm a little older than the main target market, I can certainly appreciate the problems anxiety brings. Managing worries and fretfulness are also something that at least one of our children has really struggled with.... 

Happy anyway by Jane Hanford  book cover plain with rainbow coloured writing

The book starts with an introduction, and you can instantly feel the enthusiasm of the author. She wants to tell you everything, and has a friendly, easy to read style that won't be off-putting to a teenage reader. The main body of the book itself is split into 'chapters' or what the author refers to as "40 short insights into how your mind works". 

Thursday, 8 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 7th / 8th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 7th / 8th October 2020.

The UK added 17,540 cases today and now has reported a total of 561,815 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 254,579 tests yesterday. 

3,412 people were in hospital on 6th October, with 442 using a ventilator yesterday. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 77 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,592 officially reported losses of life in all settings. 

We have a new figure today, and that is people for whom COVID was mentioned on the death certificate. The total up until Friday 25th September is 57,347.

Rep. Of Ireland 39,584 cases and 1,816 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 36,591,174 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,063,529. Already 27,548,442 people have recovered.

Cloth masks How to wear a non medical mask safely

It may be about to get a bit harder in England, especially for people in the North. As per usual, the UK Government haven't made any public announcements, they've just leaked it to their favourite Fleet Street hamster cage liners. Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle have the highest rates of infection in the UK, and word is, the health system is beginning to feel the weight of the increased hospital admissions, so pubs and hospitality are about to be ordered to close. The affected Mayors are yet again complaining that despite meetings with government ministers this week, this was not discussed. They also found out when they read this morning's papers...  

The UK Government are thrashing out arrangements for their Tiers of Restriction/Intervention plan. We are expecting a Coronavirus Briefing any day to announce exactly what the Tiers will be, and which areas will fall under which tier.
No school will be closed except as a last resort, but it doesn't look as promising for pubs, bars and restaurants, and other hospitality and leisure. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 5th / 6th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 5th / 6th October 2020.

The UK added 14,542 cases today (the same time last week we added +7,143) and now has reported a total of 530,113 positive cases of COVID-19 (Up 83,957 since the same time last week, when the total was 446,156). We completed 273,100 tests yesterday. 

There were 2,833 patients in hospital on Sunday 4th October, with 393 using a ventilator yesterday.  (Up from 2,049 / 297 the same time last week). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 76 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,445 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Yes, we clearly have a problem. Never forget though, that we still aren't in the position we were in during Spring, when we might have only been catching 1 in every 10 to 20 cases. Now we believe we catch around 1 in 2. That doesn't mean we can be complacent, but keep it in perspective. 

Rep. Of Ireland 38,549 cases and 1,810 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 35,893,179 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,051,146. Already 26,998,272 people have recovered.

WHO children emulate stress be calm

"Our best estimates tell us that about 10% of the global population may have been infected by this virus."
Dr Mike Ryan, World Health Organisation

As we spotted when the guidance for schools changed last week, the English Government is about to bring in a Tier System, which will hopefully simplify all of the various rulings in place in England. Rather than having to refer to your local authority to find out exactly what you can and can't do, each location will be given a standardised 'Tier' and that will have restrictions associated with it.
I covered what this means for schools on 28/29 September, and further information is probably also buried within different guidance pages, but few humans have time to read them all. Further announcements are expected imminently. 

Trump seems to have relied almost entirely on testing everyone in order to 'prevent' COVID-19 ever reaching him. He rarely wore a mask, didn't socially distance, and I can't comment on whether he even washes his hands. New York Times has it in one headline:
"Trump campaign officials say his illness shows the futility of precautions, many of which he did not take."
Nailed it. 

Hexbug Nano Flash Playground Review (age 3+) Sent for review.

This Autumn Hexbug have released a whole load of clever new sets, and they've sent us the Hexbug Nano Flash Playground to take a look at. We've looked at a couple of the new sets, and the Playground really is what it says - a playground for your Hexbugs to run safely around in.

Hexbug Flash nano playground in box

Packaging is really getting much better, but still contains some single-use plastic. Inside the box are over 30 pieces, including: Hexagonal base board, 2 x ramps, 8 x jelly walls, 4 x mini wall corners, 8 x mini walls, 8 x joints, 2 x merry-go-rounds, plus 3 Hexbugs - 2 x Hexbug Nano, and 1 x Hexbug Flash Nano. 

Hexbug Flash nano Orbit set pack contents spread on table

The Hexbug Flasj nano is bigger, faster, and lights up. It isn't quite as pretty as the regular Hexbug nano, until it's running about. They move by vibrating, which moves the little legs and propels them along. 

Monday, 5 October 2020

Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit 3.0 Plus Review (Age 13+) Sent for review.

Robots are one of my favourite things, and thankfully my children enjoy them too. We've been sent the Smart Robot Car Kit to review by Elegoo, and it's genuinely a great set for any young engineer who has some very basic experience with robotics and electronics, but who wants to expand their ability and practise their skills, and maybe get more involved in programming. 

The set is recommended for age 13+, and looked quite daunting, but it actually took my 12 year old just over 2 hours from in-the-box to bathroom floor line-following robot - with very little help. Genuinely pleasing...

Elegoo Smart Robot Car Kit collage of closed box front, and completed

The packaging has some minimal single-use plastic, which would be hard to avoid, especially the static-free bags for the electrical components. It's mainly card, and is a gorgeous arrangement in bright yellow, which really feels like opening presents. 

elegoo robot car kit - boxes inside the box

There was just enough cute to stop my son feeling it was beyond him, but clearly this isn't a set for little ones. There are a lot of small parts, wires and circuits, and they've included 3 small screwdrivers, which is always very welcome (and saves hours of searching). Batteries are also included, and the main robot is rechargeable. You don't need anything aside from what's in the box. 

Elegoo smart robot car kit for teenagers review box contents all displayed o table

Sunday, 4 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 3rd and 4th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 3rd and 4th October 2020.

The UK Coronavirus dashboard page has this message:
"Due to a technical issue, which has now been resolved, there has been a delay in publishing a number of COVID-19 cases to the dashboard in England. This means the total reported over the coming days will include some additional cases from the period between 24 September and 1 October, increasing the number of cases reported."

Today's report is incredibly late (9.25pm), and incredibly large, and includes the message: "An issue was identified overnight on Friday 2 October in the automated process that transfers positive cases data to PHE. It has now been resolved. The cases by publish date for 3 and 4 October include 15,841 additional cases with specimen dates between 25 September and 2 October — they are therefore artificially high for England and the UK."

The UK added 22,961 cases today (+12,872 yesterday) and now has reported a total of 502,978 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 264,979 tests on Friday 2nd October. 

2,428 people were in hospital on Thursday 1st October, with 368 using a ventilator on Friday 2nd. 


In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 33 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days (yesterday +49). We now very sadly have a total of 42,350 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 38,032 (+364) cases and 1,810 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 35,327,777 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,040,491. Already 26,294,462 people have recovered.

Protect each other and wear a face covering

"We want people to behave fearlessly but with common sense."
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister and shower-time phrase-creator, on the Andrew Marr Show this morning.
For reference, fearlessness is appropriate when doing something risky, whereas common sense avoids risk. If you're being incredibly safe and sensible, you shouldn't need to be brave about it. Possibly the best example of a UK Govt. mixed message yet. 

Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, Poland and Turkey were removed from the England travel corridors list at 4am, Saturday 3 October 2020.

Donald Trump was taken to hospital on Friday night. He is at Walter Reed Medical Center Military Hospital, and he has a suite where he can work, so as of now he's still on duty. Different medical authorities have different policies regarding COVID, plus he's the President, so hospital admission doesn't imply serious illness. 

He's been reported to be experiencing mild symptoms, including lethargy. He's also been reported as being ill, with a critical 48 hours treatment-wise. It’s also been reported he may have had some oxygen back at The White House, and on 2 occasions his oxygen levels have dropped below 93%, but he definitely wasn't on oxygen during his transfer to hospital from The White House. Unsurprisingly US journalists are complaining about confusing messages.
Donald meanwhile has been tweeting away regardless, including a 4 minute "Thank you" where he referred to drugs to treat COVID as "a miracle from God", and said the country were very happy Melania is doing well. Glad to hear it. If he can still ramble for that long, it's looking like he's okay so far. Also....he didn't have his Wotsit face on, he almost looked pink, like a real human boy. 

Friday, 2 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd October 2020.

The UK added 6,968 cases today and now has reported a total of 467,146 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 264,979 tests yesterday.

2,376 people were in hospital on Wednesday 30th Sept, with 341 using a ventilator yesterday. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 66 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,268 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 36,597 cases and 1,806 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 34,665,646 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,030,027. Already 25,778,405 people have recovered.

021020 PHE Public Health England weekly surveillance report

"It's perfectly reasonable to make the argument that we should just let the virus rip. I just think that the hundreds of thousands of deaths that would follow is not a price that anyone should pay."
Matt Hancock, UK MP for Health and Social Care, and face of the UK COVID response. 

Well, where do we even start.... 

Trump Of The Day:
"Tonight, FLOTUS (Melania) and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"
Obviously Donald liked the UK press briefing message of "togetherness". I genuinely wish both of them well - as I do any human being who is ill. Doesn't mean I won't be taking the pee though! 

UK University reopening is going astoundingly badly. Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne has just reported an eye-watering 770 students have tested positive. 78 students have symptoms (around 1 in every 10). 

Thursday, 1 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 30th Sept / 1st October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 30th Sept / 1st October 2020.

The UK added 6,914 cases today and now has reported a total of 460,178 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 255,915 tests yesterday. 

2,276 people were in hospital on Tuesday 29th, with 332 using a ventilator on Wednesday 30th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 59 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,202 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 36,597 (+442) cases and 1,806 (+2) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 34,330,504 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,021,295. Already 25,543,210 people have recovered.

011020 Test and Trace stats to date

Matt Hancock has announced that Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough are the latest places in the UK which will face extra restrictions - from 10pm on Saturday:
"We will bring in regulations, as we have in the North East, to prevent in law social mixing between people in different households in all settings except outdoor public spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality.
"We also recommend that people should not attend professional or amateur sporting events as spectators in the areas that are affected.
"We recommend that people only visit care homes in exceptional circumstances and there will be guidance against all but essential travel. Essential travel, of course, includes going to work or school."

No real surprises that the UK's Coronavirus Act was renewed in parliament with an overwhelming majority of 330 for, and 24 against. They have said that discussions and even voting will take place in future, before important national measures are enforced. 

Time's Up! Party Game Review (age 12+) Sent by Asmodee

Time's Up! Party has been sent to us by Asmodee for review, and it's another game which is great for a party or larger group, but it still works for 4 of you. Suitable for 4-12 players aged around 12+, in 2-4 teams.

It is familiar as this is a party game which is far older than you or I, but it's a genuine classic reworked, and guaranteed to create more than a few laughs... 

Time's Up Party Game Review Age 12+ Sent by Asmodee

The game is well packaged in a really sturdy box. It's not far off single-use-plastic-free, and a great size and shape for storage. Inside the box you have a sand timer, 220 cards, rulebook, biographies book and a pad of scorecards - and a drawstring cloth bag to keep everything in. 

Times Up Party Game Review box contents

This is a really quick-fire game, with a very short timer, and it leads to quite frantic gameplay at times. It's played over 3 rounds, and on each round you can answer as many cards as you can manage. (We are not doing as well as this implies, 3 is our current record!). 

Times up game review example cards to guess characters who am i

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Coronavirus UK press conference 30 September 2020

 Coronavirus UK press conference 30 September 2020 (Next report as usual tomorrow) 

Boris Johnson, sometime UK Prime Minister held a Coronavirus press conference today, along with Prof Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer and Sir Patrick Vallance,  the UK Science Chief. 

Boris was all hunched up when he came out of the cupboard, like a Tortoise on 2 legs. He needs to stand up a bit straighter, that'll be awful on his back. 

He started by reassuring university students that plans are being put in place to ensure they can go home safely at Christmas. (Presumably not that you all catch it now and then you'll still be immune in December). 

He talked about a package of measures, and says it'll take a while to feed through. (That's true, but it's already been in place a while in some areas, and I'm not seeing a big improvement yet.)

The number of new reported cases today is 7,108.

The number of people who have been reported today as succumbed to COVID within 28 days of a positive test is 71. 

He says his plan is essential, and we have to stick to it together. He reminds us we are in a better position than in March. The 7 Nightingale Hospitals are in place, with 2,000 beds available instantly, and more as required. We are on target for 500,000 COVID tests a day by the end of October. We have in place an order for 48 billion items of PPE. The UK were only making 1% of our own PPE in March, by December we will be capable of manufacturing 70%. We now have 31,500 mechanical ventilators (again, lets hope they are never needed). 

The best protection is to follow the rules wherever we live. 

He says he will be providing regular updates through press conferences, and if necessary, they will impose heavier measures, but we can avoid that, with our behaviour. 

Keep to the rule of 6 image with silhouette figures

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 28th /29th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 28th /29th September 2020.

The UK added 7,143 cases today and now has reported a total of 446,156 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 198,402 tests yesterday. 

2,049 people were in hospital on Sunday 27th, with 297 using a ventilator yesterday (28th). 

(Yes, these figures are high, please remember we often have higher figures on a Tuesday because of reporting delays over the weekend - and that's true for a lot of the world, not just the UK.)

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 71 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,072 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 382,686 / 37,367
Northern Ireland 11,269 / 578
Scotland 28,604 / 2,512
Wales 23,597 / 1,615

Rep. Of Ireland 35,740 (+363) cases and 1,803 (+1) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 33,685,747 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,008,551. Already 24,989,538 people have recovered.

FACTS beat fear World Health Organisation

Tighter restrictions come into force at midnight across Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham. Different households will no longer be able to gather in any indoor setting. (Residents cannot visit each other's homes already). 

The #cancelthecurfew campaign is asking for a re-think on the UK's 10pm hospitality closing time. Photos on social media showed chaos as every pub in Manchester kicked out at the same time, and all the revellers tried to catch the same tram/bus home. That is if they went home. Feeling like your night is incomplete is definitely incentive for plenty of people to carry on drinking at someone's house, or, as I discovered on Saturday night, hang around in the streets yawping renditions of popular Kaiser Chiefs and Oasis tunes really badly whilst drinking take out. Thanks to our local choir for that one.
Most countries choose an actual curfew - e.g. home from anything non-essential by 10.00pm - but the backlash to that in the UK might be big. It's hard to call because we know over 2/3 of people think the government should impose harder restrictions, but around 1/6 aren't impressed with what we already have. 

Sunday, 27 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 27th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 27th September 2020.

The UK added 5,693 cases today and now has reported a total of 434,969 positive cases of COVID-19. 1,727 people were in hospital on Thursday 24th, with 262 using a ventilator on Friday. 

The UK officially reported the loss of another 17 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,988 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 373,719 / 37,286
Northern Ireland 10,729 / 578
Scotland 27,576 / 2,512
Wales 22945 / 1,612

Rep. Of Ireland 34,560 cases and 1,802 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 33,183,342 reported cases worldwide. 

We pass a very grim milestone, as the number of people who have officially lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now over 1 million - 1,000,360. More positively 24,507,503 people have already recovered.

WHO Health Workers take care of yourselves

“I don’t quite understand how you can scream for freedom at protests and then freedom means that you can infect others. That is a notion of freedom and a way of dealing with illness, that I react to with deep outrage.”
Joachim Huber, Head of Media at Tagesspiegel (German Berlin press), who spent 5 weeks in a coma after contracting covid19 in March. He suffered a heart attack, pulmonary embolism and kidney failure. 

"In the last 20 years, there have been eight outbreaks of a lethal virus, any of which could have escalated into a pandemic. Bill Gates sounded the alert in 2015, five years ago he gave that amazing prediction – almost every word of which has come true – and we responded as if to a persistent Microsoft error message by clicking “ok” and carrying on.
Humanity was caught napping. We have been scrabbling to catch up, and with agonising slowness we are making progress."
Boris Johnson, in his opening speech to the United Nations General Assembly. It was actually a very good speech, I liked it - especially his admission that UK Government could have moved a tadge faster. 

Friday, 25 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 25th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 25th September 2020.

The UK added 6,874 cases today and now has reported a total of 423,236 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 245,363 tests yesterday.

1,616 people were in hospital on Wednesday 23rd (up from 1,020 a week earlier), with 243 using a ventilator yesterday (up from 127 a week earlier).

(Today it's Scotland who have a technical problem, and are unable to report people lost to COVID). In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, the UK (excluding Scotland) officially reported the loss of another 34 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,936 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland +326) cases and 1,797 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 32,564,743 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 989,815. Already 24,048,380 people have recovered.

standing 2 metres apart is standing up to the virus

"Early next week the world will cross 1m reported COVID19 deaths.
If we continue at the current pace we will end up with 1.5m reported deaths by the end of the year.
It is those 500,000 lives that we can help to save with our actions in the next three months."
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO

The Independent SAGE Group briefing today wasn't as bad as you might think. Yes, cases are going up, but there's a possibility it's slowed slightly during September. UK data is really not the most helpful, so everything is a 'possible', but what we can see implies we've gone up to 7 days  doubling time, slowed a little over the past couple of weeks, and over the last couple of days it's speeding up again. Their estimates are pretty similar to the UK Gov, in that we have an average doubling time currently of around 8 days, and are heading towards 1,000 new hospital admissions per day by mid October. (This was the point that we were at when we locked down in March).
There's a massive number of new cases in the 17-24 age group, which correlates with reopening of Universities. It's particularly obvious in Scotland.
The Netherlands opened Universities on 2nd September. Almost 40% of their outbreaks are currently in education, mainly Universities.
Testing data suggests that care homes are being prioritised, but it's hard to really tell for certain. Although cases have spread from young people to older age groups, the over 70's aren't yet being really affected - a very good thing.
ONS data suggests only 10% of people are isolating properly after contact with an infected person. We need to get support systems in place to enable people to do this, and they need to have better understanding of why they should self-isolate, even if they feel well. 

Professor Gabriel Scally, Royal Society Of Medicine, talked about a paper he's recently released called "A Deliberate Population Immunity Strategy Before A Vaccine - Why It Wouldn't Work And Why It Shouldn't Be Tried." I think you get the gist already... It's not just about the thousands of people who would die. He mentions long-term effects and says we simply don't know what they will be, and it's even possible that people whose brain is affected now may suffer decades into the future. We have no idea. It's too risky. He's quite blunt. "We haven't really tried to suppress this virus." (Tell it like it is!) Then he talked about Sweden, which made me feel smug, because last night I wrote up the paragraphs about Sweden which you'll find below... 

Thursday, 24 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23 /24 September 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23 /24 September 2020.

The UK dashboard is 'experiencing technical difficulties' today, so the information is incomplete. 

The UK added 6,634 cases today and now has reported a total of 416,363 positive cases of COVID-19.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 40 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,902 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 33,994 (+318) cases and 1,797(+3) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 32,246,557 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 984,180. Already 23,783,826 people have recovered.

240920 Flu JAB eligibility UK

"For the next 6 months at least, the virus and restrictions are going to be a fact of our lives."
Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor. 

There was a 3pm UK briefing with Rishi Sunak. His style is the opposite of Boris, and he belted through his speech in just over 90 seconds. He announced 5 new measures today to support business and people's jobs:
- Job Support Scheme will start in November and last at least 6 months.
- Extending the self-employed scheme
- Pay As You Grow - up to 10 years to pay 'bounce back' loans.
- Extra time to pay deferred taxes
- Cancelling the planned rise in VAT for hospitality and tourism
The big one for employees is the Job Support Scheme - and the BBC and others made a right mess of trying to decipher this earlier, so fingers crossed I don't. . .
Under the scheme an employee has to be working a minimum of one third (33%) of their usual hours, for their regular pay from their employer. The government and employer will then each pay 1/3 of the shortfall in usual wages (and the employee will lose 1/3 of their shortfall). What this actually means when you sort out the maths is:

If an Employee works 1/3 of their usual hours (33%).
Employer pays 55% of their usual wages
Government pay 22% of their usual wages
Employee receives 77% of their usual wages (just over three quarters).

*If an Employee worked 1/2 their usual hours (50%)
Employer pays 67% of their usual wages
Government pay 17% of their usual wages
Employee receives 83% of their usual wages (just over four fifths)

Hope that makes sense!
The government contribution is capped at £697.92 a month.
He basically acknowledged that they can't just support all businesses forever, when we don't know what the future holds. This scheme is for 'viable business' - for example your employer can't be making redundancies and applying at the same time.
The Autumn budget has been cancelled. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Big Potato P For Pizza Family Party Game Review (age 8+) Sent by Big Potato

Big Potato have got some brand new games this Autumn, and they've sent us a bunch to take a look at. The first is P for Pizza - and as usual there's no lengthy set-up time, it has easy instructions and anyone can play. 

P For Pizza is suitable for 2-4 players aged around 8+. It's a fast-paced game and you'll need to be pretty quick to be in with a chance of winning! It's far more funny than seriously competitive though... 

P for Pizza game resting in grenn shredded paper with card saying get it while it's hot

Big Potato have amazing modern design, and their packaging is always bold and really attractive. P For Pizza is no exception, and naturally it's shaped like a Pizza slice. EVERYTHING is plastic-free, the cards are even held together with paper during transit (nice one). 

Included is a sheet of cool little stickers, which we did fight over (so hide them before you show anyone else)....

Contents of P for Pizza game box displayed on table

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21/22 September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21/22 September 2020.

The UK added 4,926 cases today and now has reported a total of 403,551 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 188,865 tests yesterday. 

1,319 people were in hospital on Sunday 20th (up from 972 a week earlier), with 181 using a ventilator (up from 106 a week earlier).  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 37 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,825 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 33,121 cases and 1,792 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 31,633,884 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 971,881. Already 23,227,439 people have recovered.

Manchester restrictions explained GMP with pretty drawing of 2 people

"We know this will be a concerning news for many people. Please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this."
Joint statement from the 4 Chief Medical Officers for the UK nations. 

“Unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.”
Ouch. Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister and social gadabout. 

Boris will be addressing the nation at 8pm - that's too late for me (my family would be starving). I'll add any salient points below. I'm hoping I've actually covered most of what he'll be saying anyway (as it was leaked to the press and then he told parliament this lunchtime).

The UK have now moved back up to Level 4 in the COVID Alert Levels. Cases are rising across all 4 nations, and the Government can no longer pretend we are at level 3. If we are brutally honest, we never quite managed it anyway. We were always at 3+ caveats.

Monday, 21 September 2020

Hexbug Junk Bots Large Dumpster Review (Age 3+) - sent for review

We've not reviewed a lot of toys this year, but the latest additions to the Hexbug range are always welcome, and we've been sent Hexbug Junk Bots and Hexbug Nano Orbit to review. Both are suitable for age 3+, and while the Orbit opens up a new world for familiar Hexbug Nano bots, the Junk Bots are something entirely new and different... 

Hexbug Junk Bots Large Dumpster review collage of photos from post

Both the Junk Bots and the Nano Flash are collectibles which can expand with more sets. They are available in different sized packs at different prices, with different features included. You can find my Hexbug Nano Flash Orbit review here... 

Hexbug Junk Bots review Age 3+ dumpster full of really exciting  trash

Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit Review (Age 3+) Sent For Review.

This Autumn Hexbug have some new products, including Hexbug Flash Nano - and we've been sent the Orbit set to review. New Hexbug are always welcome here, they're very well played with. Suitable for age 3+, the Orbit opens up a new world for familiar Hexbug Nano bots, and the brand new super-sized Flash Nano Bot...

Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit package showing bots through little window

The Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit Set (£12.50rrp) is a great 14 piece set with 6 walls, 6 joints and 2 bots - 1 regular Hexbug Nano and 1 new Flash Nano. The Flash Nano Bot is really big, really fast, and lights up, so it is a bit special. If you haven't seen Hexbugs before, they are small powered robots with plastic legs, and they vibrate in such a way that they run about like little robotic bugs. 

Hexbug Nano and Nano Flash side by side on top of instruction leaflet

Packaging is very much card, with a small amount of plastic, and it's great to see that Hexbug are making that change. You can pop the window out and use the box for storage afterwards. 

Contents of Hexbug Nano Flash pack cardboard packaging

Sunday, 20 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 19th / 20th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 19th / 20th September 2020.

The UK added 3,899 cases today (+4,422 yesterday) and now has reported a total of 394,257 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 233,199 tests on Friday

1,081 people were in hospital on Thursday 17th, with 138 using a ventilator on Friday 18th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 18 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days (+27 yesterday). We now very sadly have a total of 41,777 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 32,933 (+395) cases and 1,792 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 31,113,280 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 963,293. Already 22,713,152 people have recovered.

How to self-isolate UK Government Coronavirus advice

Exciting news - for me at least. I managed to get 2 of us tested. I went for a "last attempt" late on Friday night and was offered a walk-in appointment a far more reasonable distance away. It meant an 8am trip to Darwen - where they had a really a slick operation going, and were a really nice bunch. 5 minutes and we were back on the way home. No results as yet, but we're all doing okay anyway, which is really the important thing. 

The fact I was sent to Darwen, which has a far lower incidence of positive cases than my own local authority, does make me wonder just how much lack of local availability skews the figures... 

This is a biggie, and I don't see it making big news as yet, but it will do.
"From 28 September people will be required by law to self-isolate, those breaking the rules face fines starting at £1,000, increasing up to £10,000.
A £500 Test & Trace Support payment will be available for those on lower incomes who can't work from home."
This is a huge move to the English Government and probably indicates that in the next 10 days, they'll actually start clamping down. Supporting people on a lower income is fantastic news (although you do not have to be claiming benefits to be unable to manage if you lose 2 weeks pay).

Fines are hard, and don't only apply to the person self-isolating - pay attention to this bit:
"New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.
For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work, sending a clear message that this will not be tolerated."
Quite obviously the government want to keep the economy open as much as possible, and allowing spread will just hamper that.
All of a sudden, they've grown up in their approach and started doing up their laces.... 

Friday, 18 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 18th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 18th September 2020.

The UK added 4,322 cases today and now has reported a total of 385,936 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 233,199 tests yesterday.

1,020 people were in hospital on 16th Sept, with 127 using a ventilator yesterday, Thursday 18th Sept.  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 27 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,732 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 332,984 / 37,054
Northern Ireland 8,943 / 575
Scotland 23,776 / 2,502
Wales 20.233 / 1,601

Rep. Of Ireland 32,023 cases and 1,789 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 30,549,837 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 953,029. Already 22,206,538 people have recovered.

The NHS is OPEN for any complaints or ailments

"There's no question, as I've said for several weeks now, that we could expect (and) are now seeing a second wave coming in."
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister. 

Turns out some members of the UK SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) have asked for a second national lockdown in October. This was reported yesterday as including Chris Whitty, retracted, and re-reported. 

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock was on telly this morning talking about it:
"We'll do what is necessary to keep people safe, and the first line of defence is that everybody should follow the social distancing... hands, face, space....  The contact tracing system, which is working very well. That is the second line of defence.
After that these local lockdowns, and the last line of defence, is full national action, and I don't want to see that, but we will do whatever is necessary to keep people safe in a very difficult pandemic."
Errrrrrm..... yeah.... about that contact tracing.... 

"Birmingham Nightingale Hospital (which had been mothballed) is now on “higher alert” which means it can be ready to go within 48/72 hours"
Becky Johnson, Sky News. 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th / 17th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th / 17th September 2020.

The UK added 3,395 cases today and now has reported a total of 381,614 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 236,219 tests yesterday. 988 people were in hospital on Tuesday 15th, up from 837 the previous week. 124 people were using a ventilator yesterday, up from 80 the previous week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 21 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,705 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 32,023 (+224) cases and 1,789 (+1) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 30,234,786 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 948,320. Already 21,940,164 people have recovered.

Take a Break WHO COVID advice

"The issue of testing is one, that we have gone from a disease that no-one knew about a few months ago, to nearly a quarter of a million people a day can be tested. The Prime Minister is expecting that to go up to half a million people a day by the end of October.
And instead of this endless carping, saying it's difficult to get them, we should actually celebrate this phenomenal success of the British nation."
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of 'Commons', who can literally lift his finger and be supplied with as many tests as he wants, instantly, and will never know the joy of getting through after 20 or more attempts, followed by the deflation of being offered a test 61 miles away. Twice. 

There are unconfirmed reports that in the absence of comprehensive testing, the English Government estimate we have around 38,000 new cases a day, and Chris Whitty is pushing for another 2 week national lockdown. He's an epidemiologist, I honestly wouldn't expect him to be calling for anything less with those figures. It's literally his job to advise to prevent spread.
There are people now saying that Chris has denied the comments, and the figure is misquoted - although no actual word from Mr Whitty, and no-one seems to agree on what the actual figure really is (but it seems likely it's under 10k, possibly between 3.8k-7k per day). I'll leave you to make what you will of that...  

"Singapore and Thailand to be added to the England travel corridor list at 4am Saturday 19 September 2020. Guadeloupe and Slovenia to be removed from the list at 4am Saturday 19 September."
(You won't need to quarantine on return from Singapore and Thailand, but you will on return from Guadeloupe and Slovenia.)

Today Baroness Dido Harding said the latest English daily testing capacity figure is 242,000. Demand for tests is outstripping capacity 3 to 4 times - implying that up to a million people a day are attempting to request tests. Requests for tests for children under 17 have doubled.
Yes, that doesn't bode well, but before you go into a complete panic:
-  I personally have tried at least 50 times over the last 3 days (and although I wanted to test more than 1 person, I don't want to test 50).
- It wouldn't really be a surprise to discover that about 1 in every 68 people has a cough, or a fever - even in places where there are many cases, only a relatively small percentage will actually have COVID.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 14/15 September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 14/15 September 2020.

The UK added 3,105 cases today and now has reported a total of 374,228 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 227,075 tests yesterday. 972 people were in hospital on Sunday 13th, with 106 using a ventilator yesterday, 14th September. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 27 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,664 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 31,192 cases and 1,784 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 29,617,178 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 935,946. Already 21,419,484 people have recovered.

Images of one person urinating on another, with and without trousers, to demonstrate why we should wear masks

"As we often say, there is no zero risk. But with the right combination of measures, we can keep our kids safe and teach them that health and education are two of the most precious commodities in life."
Dr Tedros, Head of the WHO.  

I completely forgot to mention these, so I am sorry if it affects you:
"French Polynesia, Hungary, Portugal and RĂ©union removed from the travel corridors list at 4am Saturday 12 September 2020. Sweden added to the list at 4am Saturday 12 September."
Confusingly that means you DO need to quarantine if you come back from French Polynesia, Hungary, Portugal and RĂ©union, and you now don't when returning from Sweden. 

English COVID Testing is now in an even worse mess. Lab capacity is so overwhelmed,  we've been sending tests to Germany and elsewhere, and it appears all of them won't be making it safely home.
Personally I know someone who's been waiting on a COVID result for 9 days and been told there's no-one available to chase lost results (it's clearly never coming). My kids have temperatures and despite trying for 2 days, we haven't been able to book anyone a test. Far worse than our situation, NHS workers can't even get tested, so they're at home when they're really needed.
Expect an announcement very soon about rationing tests, because they're trying to play catch up with time-sensitive samples, and they're falling further behind by the day. 

TBCSmiles... 73 Months September 2020

Usually at this time of the year I'm feeling a bit quiet and missing the noise of the Summer holidays. The kids are back at school, shattered, and the morning rush to be ready is something all of us are pleased to have done with. This year it's different... 

My kids are already doing school-at-home, and self-isolating, after a mere week back, which followed the longest holiday most people will ever get. Yet this year I wasn't so glad to send them back to school, It was accompanied by a lot of doubt, and a little worry. In fact, most parents in the UK felt nervous about sending their children in (we aren't alone). It's our job to worry, it goes against nature to turn it off. 

Coronavirus is putting all of us into positions we didn't expect, and we may not enjoy. It's out of our control and for a lot of people, it just looks like more and more to come. It seems endless. It's disappointing, frustrating, upsetting even. It makes us scared for ourselves, scared for our families and friends... it makes us see what is actually important. 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 12th / 13th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 12th / 13th September 2020. 

The UK added 3,330 cases today and now has reported a total of 368,504 positive cases of COVID-19. We reported 3,497 yesterday. Last Saturday and Sunday we reported 2,593 and 2,988. It's up by almost 1/3. 

884 people were in hospital on Thursday 10th, with 79 using a ventilator on Friday 11th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 5 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,628 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 318,121 / 36,964
Northern Ireland 8,314 / 568
Scotland 22,679 / 2,499
Wales 19,390 / 1,597

Rep. Of Ireland 30,730 cases and 1,784 (+1) losses of life. (Not yet reported cases today.) 

There have now been a total of 29,107,970 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 926,910. Already 20,947,030 people have recovered.

Children mental health WHO advice

"We may not get back to our normal lives until the end of 2021."
Dr Anthony Fauci, US COVID lead, being very brutal and honest about when it's likely the US, and a lot of the world, are going to be able to put the face masks away, or go to a packed theatre etc, without risk of catching COVID. 

Hope school reopening is going well for you. We had 3 cases already in my 2 sons' schools by close of play on Friday. Awesome. My kids however were delighted to be back. 

The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine trial has resumed. Whatever adverse event the UK patient suffered - and they can't really tell us because of patient confidentiality laws - independent scrutiny has found it not to be a reason to stop the trial, or consider the vaccine unsafe. Good stuff. 

Friday, 11 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 11th September 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 11th September 2020.

The UK added 3,539 cases today and now has reported a total of 361,677 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 227,465 tests yesterday. 863 people were in hospital on Wednesday 9th, up 120 on that time last week. 78 patients were using a ventilator yesterday, up 2 from the previous week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 6 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,614 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 30,360 cases and 1,781 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 28,497,524 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 916,620. Already 20,462,599 people have recovered.

how to wear face coverings safely UK govt shows illustrated person head side on with mask

6 months ago today, on 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation finally called the COVID situation a 'pandemic'. They had already, back on January 30th, declared their highest state of emergency - a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). 

The R number in England and Wales is now officially above 1. No kidding! We all understand R numbers now, don't we? It's the Reproductive Rate.
If 3 cats have 1 kitten each, who in turn has 1 kitten, who has 1 kitten etc etc, you do have a slight increase in the number of cats initially, but only for a short while, and then it'll reach a plateau and never go above that. If 1 cat has extra kittens, the number will go up, and if all of the cats in each generation have 3 kittens, it'll get exponentially bigger. Likewise, If any 1 of the 3 cats doesn't have any kittens, the number of cats will begin to drop.
The number of cases is rising, so therefore the R rate in England and Wales has to be above 1 on average.
Official SAGE (government advisory group) figures put the current R rate at between 1.0 and 1.2, but the IPSOS MORI / Imperial College data says it is 1.7, with cases doubling every 7-8 days.
Sadly I know which one I personally trust the most... 


Thursday, 10 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update September 10th 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update September 10th 2020.

The UK added 2,919 cases today and now has reported a total of 358,138 positive cases of COVID-19. Tests completed has not been updated since last Wednesday - when the total to date was 17,619,897. 837 people were in hospital on Tuesday 8th, with 80 using a ventilator yesterday.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 14 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,608 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 30,360 (+196) cases and 1,781 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 28,214,209 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 911,165. Already 20,221,164 people have recovered.

Health Workers Stress is not a sign you can't do your job

"I don't believe the UK is exceptional. My personal belief is we're two to four weeks behind what's happening in continental Europe… I think that community transmission is going to increase over the coming weeks... The next six weeks are going to be absolutely critical..."
"Nobody should be under any illusion: This infection is not going away. This is now a human endemic infection.”
Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust. He also had plenty to say about vaccine safety:
"It's absolutely critical that we assess these vaccines robustly. That it's done in an independent way without political interference. That the regulators are absolutely in control of assessing that data, and that the nature is transparent and shared with people... The first generation vaccines will not be perfect in my view, but an imperfect vaccine can have a major impact on reducing transmission and preventing severe disease. The second generation vaccines will inevitably be better."