Wednesday, 25 March 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24/25 March

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24/25 March

The UK now have reported a total of 9,529 positive cases of COVID-19. We had in total tested more than 97,019 people as of 9am this morning.

The UK has a total of 463 losses of life.

Total cases are: England 7973, Scotland 719, Wales 628 and Northern Ireland 209. Already 135 of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.

Rep. Of Ireland have 1,564 cases and 9 losses of life.

The total number of cases worldwide is now 464,683. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 20,942. The number of people who have already recovered is 113,802.

Health Workers Stress WHO advice sheet

UK NEWS: 

At today's press conference Boris said he would talk about financial support for the self-employed tomorrow. Chris Whitty explained there is a global shortage of tests, and we are obviously falling behind. NHS workers and people in Intensive Care have priority for testing until we have an excess, then we can start testing more widely.
There was explanation about the antibody tests, which will be able to be taken a week or so after symptoms, to tell you if you definitely had COVID-19.

Boris repeated the basic message - "If you can stay at home then you absolutely should stay at home". If you have to go to work, your employer has to ensure proper safety measures are taken, including the 6 feet / 2 metre distancing rule.


Chris Whitty explained the modelling we have done relies on no social mixing except essential work that cannot be done from home. The more we break that, the more restrictions will have to be used, and for a longer time. Critical care beds are not yet stretched, but demand will rise dramatically over the next 2 to 3 weeks.

The UK is ordering millions of the 15 minute home antibody blood test, which tells if you have already been exposed to COVID-19 and created antibodies. Final quality testing isn't quite complete, but as long as it goes well, the first tests should be available in a couple of weeks. Amazon have agreed to deliver.

Tuesday's press briefing was hosted by Matt Hancock and covered health aspects, and clarified some of the advice and restrictions already given. They stressed the principle thing we are trying to achieve is to keep people 6ft apart and only mix with your family/household unit.
If one of your family gets it, unless you apply stringent measures you are likely to get it anyway, but if none of you have it, lets keep it that way.

He asked for the 250,000 NHS Volunteer Responders and announced that 11,788 ex-NHS professionals have answered the call to return to the NHS when we need you. 5,500 Final year medics, and 18,700 final year student nurses will join current medical staff and have the hardest final assessment they could ever imagine. He thanked them all and ensured they would be cared for and looked after. Thank you to all of you from me too.

Matt Hancock agreed emphatically that we need more tube trains in London. Since they were reduced they've been worse than ever and there is no chance for anyone to stay 20cm away from everyone else, let alone 2 metres.

The UK Government have have opened a new testing centre in Milton Keynes
In the last 24 hours they've shipped 7.5m pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Government keep mentioned how important testing is. Oh why oh why did we not keep going with our fabulous testing. *sigh*. They are determined to ramp it up. Good. We'll be watching. I honestly expect 20,000 cases by this time next week.

The UK are also on lockdown. You must stay at home except for:
Infrequent shopping for basic necessities - food and medicine.
1 form of exercise a day
Any medical need
To provide care /help vulnerable
Travelling to work if it cannot be done from home - including volunteering for the coronavirus national effort.
Shared custody and parental visits for children under 18

The next 3 weeks are an adventure. You are making history, saving at minimum hundreds of thousands of lives, and you get to do it from the comfort of your living room, in your pyjamas. No other civilisation got such a cushy number, so lets get on with it.

A lot of people in the UK will have received a text. Yes, the government DO have your phone number. NO, they do not have time to track and trace you, they're really super busy and you may not be as interesting as you think you are.

There are very few reasons why anyone should leave the house, but the Government have made it very clear "children under 18 can move between the households of separated parents during coronavirus restriction".

The ONLY shops that can remain open are are supermarkets, pharmacies, vets, pet shops, hardware stores, retail shops in hospitals, newsagents, petrol stations, banks, post offices, laundrettes and undertakers.

MOTs for Lorries, Buses and Trailers have been suspended for 3 months. MOT tests for cars and light good vehicles will be suspended for 6 months. The legislation will come into immediate effect on March 30.
Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into effect. Bad news for me, mine failed last week.

The army are meant to be helping ensure isolated people don't starve or go without medicines. I don't yet know how this is meant to work, but obviously it will be well reported and they have addresses/contact details for vulnerable groups, including elderly people.

Barking/Havering/Redbridge NHS trust are beginning to feel the pressure. They've postponed all routine, planned surgery and outpatient appointments except where a patient may come to immediate harm.

The National Union Of Students are very much on the side of renters. Among their demands to parliament are:
- student landlords must offer a no-penalty release from tenancy contracts.
- ban all evictions for the duration of the crisis.
- renters who are financially impacted by the coronavirus have their forthcoming rents subsidised, significantly reduced or waived during the crisis.
- a universal freeze on all rent increases for the next 12 months.

A previously healthy 21 year old woman with no underlying health conditions has died from COVID-19 in Buckinghamshire, reinforcing the message that no-one is immune to it's effects.

Your chance of winning the UK lottery is 1 in 14 million. Your chance of dying if you catch COVID-19 aged 10-49 with adequate healthcare is 1 in 500 (using age/mortality figures from 71,000 cases in China).

Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College today told the Commons Committee that to be entirely free from any remaining restrictive measures depends on finding a vaccine. Current measures are entirely designed to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed (and therefore losing several times more patients), irrespective of long term social/economic consequences.

Matt Hancock asked for 250,000 people to volunteer to help fight coronavirus and  you answered. By 9am this morning 170,000 people had signed up, by 5pm 405,00.

The COVID-19 symptom tracker has been created by a team including Kings College Hospital, Guys and St.Thomas and Wellcome Trust. Download it and start tracking straight away so that we can have a better understanding of what we are up against and what early symptoms are. The more numbers they have, the more the scientists can find out.

We will have a 4.000 bed military hospital 'NHS Nightingale' ready to accept patients by next week. It will have 2 wards of 2,000 people each and be erected at ExCeL in London. It will have 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen.

150 military personnel are being trained to drive oxygen tankers to support UK hospitals.

London City Airport (next door to ExCeL) has temporarily suspended all commercial and private flights.

Good news for many of the grown ups - off licences have been added to the list of essential shops which can remain open in the UK.

Prince Charles and Kirstie Allsopp are both under fire for catching COVID-19 and then redistributing it around the country by taking to to their holiday homes - which is specifically against government guidelines. This is selfish and endangers communities which may have escaped. It also places excess pressure on health services designed to cope with the local permanent population.

Older adults advice sheet WHO

Rest Of The World:

Multimillionaire President Donald Trump is coming under criticism for his expressions of worry over America's finances. He feels a 2 week lockdown in parts of the USA is a scary prospect for the monetary health of the nation, and after one day is already twitchy wanting it to end. I think a lot more people are currently bothered about the increasing number of cases already filling hospitals and morgues.

Wuhan in Hubei, China was where COVID-19 very first broke out. Restrictions have begun to lift and after 5 days with only 1 new case reported (a doctor), residents have been given a date when travel restrictions will lift and they will finally be allowed to leave the city if they wish. April 8th. Slightly bigger than London, the 11m Wuhan residents have been on lockdown since January 23rd. Lifting of restrictions is not true for everyone though. Families or individuals who contracted coronavirus still have to stay inside their homes until they are given an official all-clear.

Malaysia have extended their lockdown to April 14th.

Public Health experts have, unsurprisingly, hit back at Donald Trump's suggestions to relax restrictions as soon as possible to pull back the economy. The main reason is the estimated 2.2m Americans it would definitely cost.

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has yet again stunned the world with an amazing address to his nation. He attacked state governors for lockdowns and work stoppages, and stated that only over 60s are at risk, but not him, because he is "an athlete" and coronavirus wouldn't affect him. 21 of the country's 27 state governors are co-ordinating the efforts amongst themselves and ignoring the president.

South Africa will enter a 21 day lockdown on March 26th.

Spain are 1 of at least 3 countries currently with overwhelmed health authorities, and yesterday reported 738 deaths in one day. 272 of those deaths were in Madrid. They have now lost more people to COVID-19 than China, and no doubt have several horrific days or weeks ahead, before the effect of their lockdown is felt.

Italy is still out of it's depth and within a few more days we should see a big fall in newly reported cases. Sadly we can expect the number of patients lost to COVID-19 will remain high for longer.

Canadians who break quarantine have a maximum $300,000 fine or 6 months imprisonment.

Russia's President Putin has declared next week a holiday from work due to coronavirus. The state will pay for one week of leave for workers.

The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for 1 year.

52 doctors and nurses from Cuba have arrived in Lombardy, Italy, to help with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in the USA have closed

Justin Trudeau has been in isolation at home since his wife became ill and tested positive for COVID-19. Not only is he running his country, he's also looking after his 3 kids and wife, as his staff haven't been going into the house.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a complete lockdown for India's 1.3 billion people, lasting for a minimum of 21 days, and applying to all 36 states and territories.. He warned that "many families will be destroyed forever" if the disease is not brought under control.

Health Workers look after yourselves WHO advice sheet

World News: 

On Saturday we reached the 300,000 cases worldwide milestone. Merely 3 days later, we have passed 400,000. We will have half a million by Thursday.

Researchers in four countries are going to start a clinical trial with the BCG Tuberculosis vaccine according to reports in Science Magazine. Although TB is a bacterial disease, "the BCG can rev up the human immune system in a broad way", hopefully helping it to fight the coronavirus, and maybe even help prevent infection with it altogether. A team of 1000 health care workers in the Netherlands will kick off the first of the trials this week.

Fact check website Snopes has been overwhelmed by requests for COVID-19 information to be checked and is asking people to be patient and understanding, check on the CDC and World Health Organisation websites before you share anything you don't know to be fact.

World demand for ventilators is now at 10 times the production rate.

Famous People With COVID-19:
Heir to the British throne HRH Prince Charles
TV decorator Kirstie Allsopp's family
Linda Lusardi and her husband, Sam Kane.
Greta Thunberg and her father
Nigeria's Bauchi State Governor, H.E. Bala Mohammed
UK Comedian Lee Mack

Lost their fight:
African saxophone legend Manu Dibango
Deputy British ambassador to Hungary Steven Dick

Plague Inc game creators Ndemic have a collaboration with WHO (World Health Organisation), to offer a mode in which players save the world from a pandemic. Players to find a balance between strengthening health measures and spreading the disease, managing screening, social isolation, quarantine and the shutdown of public services. Ndemic have also donated $250,000 in assistance to fight COVID-19 and fund research for various vaccines.

Some of what we know about COVID-19:
People with no symptoms may account for somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3 of cases.
Once you catch it, you may take 2-27 days to show symptoms. Most people show symptoms around 5.2 days, and 95% have symptoms within 8 days.
It is a virus that has 2 parts, mild and severe - over 80% of people with symptoms will have a mild case, feel ill for around a week and not need medical attention.
Main symptoms are a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Some people without any other symptoms lose their sense of smell, so everything tastes bland.
If you are feverish, short of breath and not improving or getting worse after a week you most likely have the severe form and the pneumonia can make you seriously ill. Contact 111 online or by phone for advice.
A few people who get the severe form may even begin to feel better after a week, but only for a couple of days. After that they may become ill quickly - so pay attention after recovery - just in case it isn't.
If you ever have a genuine medical emergency and life is at risk, ring 999.

Luxury Cruise News and VERY BAD news regarding how long this virus lives away from a host body. The coronavirus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Blood plasma from recovered patients has been used to treat a few patients in China and the results were encouraging. Now doctors in New York City are about to try it too. Available immediately and not in short supply, the antibodies it contains aren't expected to be a miracle cure, but every little helps to free up ICU beds more quickly.

McDonald's are thinking ahead. They asked which song they should re-open to. The result was almost entirely unanimous. Looks like one-hit wonder Mark Morrison will be up for a surprise payday, 24 years after Return Of The Mack was a hit.

The New York Times have put together a collection of photos from around the locked down Earth. Poignant. It makes you realise how tiny the world is, and how we really are in this together. perfectly titled, it's called The Great Empty. (Link below in sources.)

Since lockdown began in Spain on 14th March, 926 people have been arrested for breaking the rules.
Since lockdown began in Italy on 9th March, over 40,000 people have been charged with breaking the rules.
Since lockdown began in the UK on 21st March, only half the population seems to have noticed.

Dr Who Jodie Whittaker has filmed a quick video which might help your kids or Dr Who fans feel a bit more secure. She tells us "darkness never prevails". Tell jokes, be kind, listen to science and doctors because they've got your back. "You've got this".

You may have had a BCG as a child, sadly though the effect wears off. A lot of babies are still automatically given one in many countries. For places like Africa and parts of Asia that could turn out to be a massive bonus. Rosemary E Weir, BSC of Infectious Diseases says:
"BCG vaccination in infancy and adolescence induces immunological memory to mycobacterial antigens that is still present and measurable for at least 14 years in the majority of vaccinees, although the magnitude of the peripheral blood response wanes from 3 months to 12 months and from 12 months to 3 years post vaccination". Not going to help me then!

Today the World Health Organisation, the UN,  UNOCHA & UNICEF launched the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. The aim is to help the most vulnerable countries in their fight against COVID-19, saving potentially millions of lives and benefiting the entire world.
"History will judge us on how we responded to the poorest communities in their darkest hour. Let’s act together, right now!"- Dr Tedros (Head of WHO).

US ER Doctor Craig Spencer has written up his day on Twitter.
"...For the rest of your shift, nearly every hour, you get paged:
Stat notification: Very sick patient, short of breath, fever. Oxygen 88%.
Stat notification: Low blood pressure, short of breath, low oxygen.
Stat notification: Low oxygen, can't breath. Fever.
All day..."
"You reflect on the fact that it's really hard to understand how bad this is - and how bad its going to be - if all you see are empty streets.
Hospitals are nearing capacity. We are running out of ventilators.  Ambulance sirens don't stop."
"We were too late to stop this virus. Full stop. But we can slow it's spread. The virus can't infect those it never meets. Stay inside. Social distancing is the only thing that will save us now. I don't care as much about the economic impact as I do about our ability to save lives."

Astronauts have shared their tips on how to stay sane during isolation. Scott Kelly had recommended making a schedule and allowing time for fun and hobbies. Chris Hadfield suggests making goals and trying something new (not chainsaw juggling!!).

Techinsider have made the best COVID-19 video I've seen and it's full of tons of information in an easy to understand format. I think all they missed was that some people may feel better days 7-9 and then suddenly seem to develop severe symptoms. (Link below in sources.)

Those countries with high numbers of cases and low numbers of succumbed are testing a lot of people. Current figures for asymptomatic cases (those who don't become ill) range from 30% (China, Japan) - 70% (Vo in France).

Some numbers: Every number is a human being, and those who succumbed did so mostly alone under quarantine.

Country / Case / Losses of life
China 81,218 (+47) 3,281 (+4)
Italy 74,386 (+5,210) 7,503 (+683)
USA 64,563 (+9,707) 908 (+128) All states report separately.
Spain 47,610 (+5,552) 3,434 (+443)
Germany 37,323 (+4,332) 206 (+47)
Iran 27,017 (+2,206) 2,077 (+143)
France 25,233 (+2,929) 1,331 (+231)
Switzerland 10,897 (+1,020) 153 (+31)
S. Korea 9,137 (+100) 126 (+6)
UK 9,529 (+1,452) 465 (+43)
Netherlands 6,412 (+852) 356 (+80)
Malaysia 1,796 (+172) 20 (+4)
Poland 1,031 (+130) 14 (+4)
Iceland 737 (+89) 2
Dominican Republic 392 (+80) 10 (+4)



Sources:

https://twitter.com/BashirAhmaad/status/1242479926793523206
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/world/canada/justin-trudeau-coronavirus.html
https://www.ndemiccreations.com/en/news/175-plague-inc-gives-a-quarter-of-a-million-dollars-to-fight-covid-19
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/can-century-old-tb-vaccine-steel-immune-system-against-new-coronavirus?utm_campaign=news_daily_2020-03-23&et_rid=60658150&et_cid=3256069
https://twitter.com/WilliamYang120/status/1242422346528378881?s=19
https://twitter.com/Craig_A_Spencer/status/1242302400762908685?s=20
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/18/italy-charges-more-than-40000-people-violating-lockdown-coronavirus
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/uk-coronavirus-mass-home-testing-to-be-made-available-within-days
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00895-8
https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2020-03-24/nyc-travelers-should-isolate-singapore-bars-shut-virus-update-k86itudi?__twitter_impression=true
https://twitter.com/michaelreid52/status/1242562077929152518?s=19
https://twitter.com/euanmarshall/status/1242598016110014464?s=19

TechInsider Video
https://twitter.com/georgiendirangu/status/1240507216718958593?s=09
The Great Empty
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/23/world/coronavirus-great-empty.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur
BCG effectivity over time
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18221509/

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