Sunday 15 March 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus World And UK News 13-15 March

COVID-19 coronavirus UK and World News update 15/03

The UK added 330 cases today and now has reported a total of 1,391 positive cases of COVID-19. We had tested 40,279 people as of 9am this morning.

The UK has now reported 35 people have lost their life to COVID-19.

Total cases are: England 1,099, Scotland 153, Wales 94 and Northern Ireland 45.

18 of the UK's positive testing cases have been reported recovered.

Rep. Of Ireland have 169 cases.

The world has reported 169,149 cases and 6,494 losses of life. 76,618 people have already recovered.

Look after your neighbours WHO


Please remember we had a backlog for testing and are now testing far more people each day, so the numbers will of course be higher. Even Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, said 2 days ago that he believed there were 5-10k cases out there as yet undiscovered, and that total grows each day. It's better to know who these people are, so they can isolate from vulnerable members of society.

NHS current advice is to use the online 111 service if:
you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
your condition gets worse
your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Some scientists, and the woman on the till in ALDI, your mum, the postman and in fact everybody, have realised that the UK government COVID-19 strategy may cost more lives than the strategies suggested by the World Health Organisation and most of the rest of the world. 229 scientists have written to the government to ask them to reconsider.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, and the UK's chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, have said they intend to publish the computer models on which their strategy is based. Can't wait.

The UK Government were expected to make announcements tonight, but didn't. Anticipated actions include:
Isolating vulnerable and elderly people from the wider germ-carrying population.
Warning us that when schools close, it won't only be for a couple of weeks.
Banning more school trips

Northern Ireland's first minister, Arlene Foster has hinted on the potential longevity of this pandemic:
“I am taking my advice from the Northern Ireland chief medical officer. He is advising schools should not close yet”
“I think they will be closed for at least 16 weeks.”
A lot of you, well, okay all of you, won't want to hear this, but unfortunately it is a realistic timeframe. This pandemic is much bigger than we are.

Health Authorities in parts of the UK have advised staff to shave beards as face masks are so essential for health workers in the fight against COVID-19. The Manchester Evening News have a really clear comment from religious leaders 'the faith obligation to protect life overrides the compulsion to wear a beard'.

Universities are already taking advantage of the modern age and many have substituted face to face lectures with online including University Of Liverpool and  University of Sheffield, which had already suspended face to face lectures after a member of staff tested positive for COVID-19. University Of Surrey lectures will be online from 23rd March onwards.

It seems some of you got the guilt over panic buying too much, or maybe you just realise how well off we are really and wanted to share. Food banks are receiving record donations. They will need them. Thank you.

COVID is a world problem WHO

Rest Of The World:

At noon Saturday 14th March the borders to Denmark closed. These measures will be in place until at least the 13th April. All public institutions are also closed.

Donald Trump did as expected declare a National Emergency on Friday and said he will invoke the Stafford Act, allowing states and municipalities to apply for federal aid and releasing $42b.

Donald Trump revealed Google Verily will be making a 'National Testing Database', but got some facts a bit wrong. Google Verily say "We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time".

There are videos going around of Italians under quarantine singing together from their balconies at home. Just beautiful.

For those not in the mood for singing, PornHub has offered a free premium membership to any Italians on lockdown until April 3rd.

In the last 72 hours Jersey, Réunion, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Mauritania, Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico and Kosovo are among the territories reporting their first cases.

Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for 2 weeks.

Puerto Rico has closed all schools for 14 days and imposed travel restrictions.

The USA has extended the European travel ban to include the UK and Ireland.

Cruise lines Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC will not be sailing from the US for the next 30 days.

Germany has a problem with hoaxers who are shaing alleged research results of the "Wiener Uniklinik" about a connection between Ibuprofen and Covid19. No evidence as yet exists to support this claim. (See below)

The French are also getting quite jittery about Ibuprofen. The reason for this is could be a medical report published this week which discussed ACE2 receptors and medical drugs. ACE2 receptors are where the virus gets into the lungs. Some drugs increase the number of ACE2 receptors, which on paper looks like it could increase your chances of more negative effects with COVID-19. Problem is it's theoretical and we haven't yet seen any evidence to support it, or done any studies. I'm sure some will follow.

Asia has a problem with hoaxers claiming heat kills COVID-19, and implying taking super hot baths will destroy it. Only if it was hot enough to burn you to death, so no.

China have been reporting tiny figures each day, and have admitted they aren't including asymptomatic people who test positive, until they begin to show symptoms in quarantine. Even so, their control of COVID-19, even with figures that might be a bit cheeky, is astounding. At a price - there are rumours of some civil unrest in areas where people have been locked down for many weeks.

Pakistan's Prime Minister and former international cricketer Imran Khan has imposed a series of measures:
- no visitors to prisons for 3 weeks
- courts close for 3 weeks
- all large public gathering and conferences barred
- all schools and colleges close for 3 weeks
- western and southern borders closed for 2 weeks

Sweden has decided not to test patients unless they are already in hospital. They believe it's not important to know numbers and have already received criticism from a few other countries for appearing to have 'given up' the fight. Diagnosis currently has no real effect on treatment patients receive for their symptoms, but lack of any control allows much of the population to catch it at once and massively overwhelm health services.

Prayers in Kuwait are to be held at home. Mosques will not host the daily prayers until further notice.

Poland has closed it's borders.

Austria have banned gatherings of more than 5 people. Time and again reports come through of parties or meetings where 2/3 of the people present later test positive.

Ghana has barred visitors from all countries with more than 200 cases.

Kazakhstan will enter a state of National Emergency from tomorrow until April 15. Apart from diplomatic personnel and international organizations invited by the Kazakh government, borders are closed.

Germany will close its borders with France, Switzerland and Austria on Monday, except for business purposes.

In an interview in AD, Dutch professor of intensive care medicine, Diederik Gommers, revealed that of the 40-50 Coronavirus patients in intensive care, "more than half of those patients are under fifty years old... There are also young people". The youngest patient is a 16 year old boy.

The Swedish people don't panic buy. They are all given Emergency Preparedness leaflets with suggestions for what you should always have stocked and handy in case of any emergency. They were ready before we even woke up.

Amazon has taken a firm stance against price gouging and profiteering from the pandemic. Items at up to 70 times the regular prices were removed from sale and accounts deleted. Ebay has taken an even harder line, with US Ebay barring sale of hand sanitizers and masks completely. There are photos of a bloke with 17,000 bottles of hand sanitiser and nowhere to sell them. Point and laugh.

Spain is on lockdown and France has closed all non-essential public sites including shops except food, pharmacies and fuel.

There is a heartbreaking video online showing the difference in obituaries in an Italian daily local newspaper, from 3 columns in mid February to 10 pages in mid March. It really demonstrates the loss of life, and the grief of their loved ones.

The Chinese chanted, the Italians sing, and now videos are appearing of Spanish people playing bingo from their apartment windows and balconies.

New York is in imminent danger of collapsing under the weight of new cases within the next week according to some epidemiologists. It isn't the only place in the USA which is in trouble. The USA have now reported 3,533 cases and 63 losses of life.

Italy continues to suffer worse than any other country by far.  They added another 3,590 cases today for a total of 24,747, and they lost 368 patients, for a total of 1,809 succumbed.

Recently Iran started to pull back from Italy with numbers, but sadly their outbreak hasn't slowed. They added 1,209 cases today for a total 13,938 and have added 113 lost souls, for a total 724 succumbed.

I've mentioned several times that Europe's infection has spread in waves. Italy is the first wave. Spain, Germany and France the next wave. The UK and Netherlands are in a wave together which has for several weeks followed a pattern of being around 4 days behind.
Spain 7,798 (+1,407) deaths 292 (+96)
Germany 5,795 (+1,196) deaths 11 (+2)
France 5,423 (+924) deaths 127 (+36)
UK 1,372 (+232) deaths 35 (+14)
Netherlands 1,135 (+176) deaths 20 (+8)

Tonight weed smokers in the Netherlands found out with 45 minutes notice that they were going on lockdown, and all coffee shops would close, causing a massive rush and long queues of people facing potentially weeks stuck at home.

A popular Chinese lockdown joke: 
Man bangs on the ceiling: Can you stop that banging up there? My daughter's doing an online Math lesson.
Woman shouts through the floor: Sorry, but my son's got PE!

Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo both reported their first cases in the last 24 hours. COVID-19 will be utterly devastating to countries already shattered by Ebola and with very little access to any medical facilities. 

WHO advice taking a hot bath

Whole World News: 

On Monday Emmanuel Macron will host a meeting of world leaders which only makes this seem even more like a movie plot:
"Following my call with Donald Trump and all G7 leaders, we agreed to organize an extraordinary Leaders Summit by videoconference on Monday on Covid-19. We will coordinate research efforts on a vaccine and treatments, and work on an economic and financial response."

Trials are ongoing for many different drugs and therapies, including using platelets from recovered patients. Over 20 different vaccines are on the verge of starting human trials - which takes a minimum 9-12 months.

A second newborn baby has tested positive for COVID-19. Reports from China of newborn or very young babies with coronavirus are all very positive. As yet there isn't a single reported case of a baby or child under 10 dying from COVID-19.

COVID-19 causes a persistent dry cough that comes from your lungs rather than your throat.
When they say persistent, they mean it doesn't come and go, or just affect you at night, it's there all the time.
Sore throat is only a symptom for a few people.
It's not chesty - phlegm and runny noses aren't really a factor either. The virus sits within the lungs.
Obviously when you catch any virus your immune system is working hard, so you are more likely to catch other bugs too, but the main symptoms of COVID-19 are feeling pretty poorly, a high temperature and dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Most people seem to recover within around a week.

Famous people with COVID-19:
Former NATO secretary general Javier Solana.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez's wife, Maria Begona Gomez Fernandez.
Indonesia’s Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi

UNESCO have been keeping track of the children who aren't in school because of COVID-19 and worldwide there are around 391 million of them. 30 countries had closed schools at the time they reported. (Many more by Monday!).

Some figures I haven't posted recently:
A study of some of the earlier cases in Italy had only 1% losses under age 60, and South Korea last week had no fatalities under 30. Chinese data from 44,000 cases put all people age 10-39 at a tiny 0.2% risk of dying.
If your medical facilities are overwhelmed, your risk of death increases - including if you have an accident or other medical emergency aside from COVID-19. Protect the vulnerable and protect everyone.

The World Health Organisation have published guidance for countries on when to quarantine people. Their advice includes:
"For contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases WHO recommends that such persons be quarantined for 14 days from the last time they were exposed to a COVID-19 patient."

Who are these people? 
Professor Chris Whitty has been the UK's Chief Medical Officer since October. He is a medical doctor and an epidemiologist and is the lead in our response to COVID-19.
Sir Patrick Vallance has been the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government since 2018. He is a medical doctor and a specialist at research and development for pharmaceuticals.
Matt Hancock has been the UK Health Minister since 2018. He is an economist and economic advisor.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been Director-General of the World Health Organization since 2017. Born in Ethiopia, he is a malaria specialist and was the Ethiopian Minister for Health from 2005-2012, cutting infant mortality from 123 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 88 in 2011.

The debate over whether people should avoid taking high doses of Ibuprofen (and possibly some other anti-inflammatory drugs) continues. The Irish and French ministry of health have advised against. Some French medics say younger COVID-19 patients without other conditions who end up in hospital seem often to be taking ibuprofen - but were they taking it because they were ill, or did they become more ill because they were taking it? There is no control and no scientific evidence as yet.
If you are taking prescribed Ibuprofen for any reason, don't panic and don't just stop without medical advice. Research and a statement from the UK government will be forthcoming very quickly.

COVID-19 Timeline:
- January 19: 100 cases
- January 24: 1,000 cases
- January 28: 5,000 cases
- February 12: 50,000 cases
- March 6: 100,000 cases
- March 14: 150,000 cases

Unless eradicated COVID-19 will almost certainly mutate. Coronavirus do, and scientists are tracking different strains of COVID-19 around the world using the teeny tiny mutations that have already occurred. At some point it will become unrecognisable and we will need fresh immunity. Scientists fully expect a vaccine long before that has a chance to happen.

Sources: - Obituaries video - jean Parnell list of home resources for quarantine

1 comment:

  1. The rest of the world certainly seem to be going more than we do x


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