Saturday 7 March 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus World Updates 5th to 7th March

A milestone we didn't want to reach as the total number of cases in the world goes over 100k. The current total is now 104,094. Losses of life is 3,526. A massive 58,559 people have already recovered.

The total number of cases in the UK is now 206. There are currently 189 cases presumed to be in England, 11 in Scotland, 2 in Wales and 4 in Northern Ireland.

Rep. of Ireland now have 18 confirmed positive cases.

The UK

The UK were a bit late with their 2pm figures on Thursday, but they have revealed a shiny new chart and table with geographical location, plus a chart which is 24 hours behind showing number of cases in each local authority. They said Wednesday that they were going to release locations only once a week on a Friday, but have backtracked on that. It really wasn't a very popular suggestion, and if anything caused UK wide concern, which I don't think they were expecting.

Can you believe people are stealing hand sanitiser from the ends of beds when they visit people in hospital? Seriously why? You honestly think you really need it more than they do? Once you've removed it you can't even take it back. It's not just B&M who have run out, our NHS is in danger of running out too. SOAP AND WATER IS JUST AS GOOD. Handy handwashing guide from the World Health Organisation below.

How to wash your hands properly from the World Health Organisation

I've praised the UK government so far, because actually they've done a surprisingly good job. We have been testing, tracking and notifying far, far better than many countries. I have been told today that we may have a temporary backlog on testing for lower risk individuals in my area at least.

I guess it was obvious we'd have a lot of people come forward for tests right now, but bear in mind the existence of COVID-19 doesn't mean every other bug and germ has taken a break. By Friday the UK had tested 20,338 people, of which 20,175 were confirmed negative and 163 were confirmed as positive. That's 0.8%. Your cough, for now at least, is probably not COVID-19.

Two British Airways baggage handlers have tested positive for coronavirus.

The UK government have just announced a new £46 million package specifically to fight COVID-19. It includes funding for "urgent work to find a coronavirus vaccine and develop a rapid test for the disease". Eight possible coronavirus vaccines under development (out of 20 that I know of) are receiving UK backing. Today’s additional support will bring the UK’s investment into COVID-19 vaccine research to £65 million.

Starbucks have stopped refilling cups for the foreseeable future - in an effort to protect employees rights I'd imagine. An employer cannot knowingly potentially expose their staff to a Pandemic virus with a mortality rate of 2+, it's not allowed, and morally correct. Great Western Railway did the same thing, but only for a few days before reverting. There's a brilliant comment on the BBC website from passenger Amy Slack, who thought it was absolutely absurd because trains are a germ hotspot anyway.

A Scotland Women's 6 Nations rugby player has tested positive for COVID-19. You'll not be surprised to learn that the match due to be played against France today has been postponed.

Rest Of The World

Over 45 countries reported new cases in the last 48 hours, but still the massive majority are from South Korea (total cases 7,041), Iran (total cases 5,823) and Italy (total cases 4636 - yet to report today).

France and Israel have banned gatherings of more than 5000 people. Switzerland of more than 1000 people. Japan are adamant the Olympic Games will go ahead as planned.

ComicCon in Seattle has now been cancelled. 100,000 visitors anywhere right now isn't entirely wise.

The Lebanon's most recent case has been imported from the UK. Let's hope we don't ever compete with Italy, who must have exported COVID-19 to about 40 other countries.

Dr Sterghio Moschos, of Northumbria University, UK, is leading the development of a breathalyser test for COVID-19, as the virus is exhaled in breath and should be easy to detect. Meanwhile in India, BJP leader Tajinder Bagga is calling for Delhi police to stop breathalyser testing for drunk driving during the COVID-19 outbreak for much the same reason.

Now that they have 716 confirmed cases, France is closing schools in some areas from Monday.

South Korea is setting the gold standard for testing worldwide. By Friday they had tested more than 140,000 people already and confirmed 6,593 cases with 43 succumbed. This is a mortality rate of just 0.65%. The US discovered their first COVID-19 infection on the same day, and had only tested around 1500 people, with 236 positives and 14 lost lives. Currently S.Korea has 7,041 cases, 48 losses of life. The US currently has 335 cases and 17 losses of life.

The Who's guidance on when to wear a mask

The Australian government is putting $100m into a fund to tackle coronavirus, but anticipates it may cost $1b in the long run. Current case total 64.

President Trump has just signed a $8.3 billion coronavirus emergency spending bill

Switzerland now has 268 cases after adding 148+ new cases in the last 48 hours. It's too early to tell if they are brilliant at rounding up contacts of infected people, or have a big breakout in progress, but it's not looking great.

Iceland has declared as state of emergency. The tiny population of only 364,260 people have 45 cases of COVID-19.

While Australians continue to battle over the last loo roll, and one of their newspapers even printed extra sheets this morning for emergency use, the UK have gone a little insane for hand sanitiser. I know everyone keeps saying it, but really, didn't anyone ever wash their hands until now? Unless you rub hand sanitiser into every part of your hands, it's less effective than soap and water.

The leader of the Italian Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti, has tested positive. Two Councillors in Lombardy, France also have COVID-19.

I thought we had finished covering Luxury Cruise News, but 21 people on the Grand Princess have now tested positive. It's moored off San Francisco and has 3500 passengers and crew from more than 50 countries on board. Donald Trump has said he'd prefer them all to stay on board.

China's numbers continue to fall, and on Friday they reported no new cases outside Hubei. This is fantastic news, but a massive price to pay. Schools and workplaces start to go back on Monday...fingers crossed it continues.

A state of emergency has been declared in the occupied West Bank, Palestine and Bethlehem is in lockdown after 16 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the city.

Japan announced they will quarantine any travellers from China and South Korea for 14 days, which infuriated South Korea, who counter-measured with the same sanctions on Japan. South Korea are accepting help and advice from outside, testing by the thousand and being very transparent. Japan meanwhile have had criticism from agencies worldwide for behaving as if COVID-19 isn't a real threat, and testing very few citizens. They are still adamant the Olympic Games will take place as planned from 24th July.

From Friday 6th COVID-19 testing in Japan is automatically covered by their national health insurance, and doctors will be able make the decision themselves whether to test patients. Until now doctors needed the approval of local public health centers to release funding. Coupled with a lack of necessary equipment, this made testing a painfully slow process and there are many anecdotal reports of patients being turned away instead. Remember, they are adamant the Olympic Games will be going ahead... Total number of cases in Japan is currently 435 with 6 losses of life.

South Korea now have travel bans or restrictions from over 90 other countries.

Delhi, India has ordered immediate closure of all primary schools until March 31st "As a precautionary measure to prevent the possibility of spread of COVID-19 amongst our children". India currently have 34 confirmed cases.

On Monday in the US, Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said “by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed”. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence promised that “roughly 1.5 million tests” would be available this week. After 4-5 days of proper testing it appeared that the USA had only tested 1895 people for COVID-19.

Iran logged a massive 1,234 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, taking the total across the country to 4,747. Much better news is that only 17 more people succumbed, bring the total to 124. Current total is 5,823.

A Canadian who travelled to Las Vegas for an international conference has tested positive for COVID-19. This could spell temporary disaster for such a busy city which is so heavily reliant on tourism. Los Angeles and Seattle are also suffering the effects of COVID-19 already.

Vatican City has reported their first positive. It's understood The Pope is recovering from his illness and does not have COVID-19.

Italy have a current mortality rate of 4.25%, which implies they have at minimum 5000 undetected cases, and if mortality rates were as low as South Korea is finding (0.65%), they have another 26,000+ infected people to find.

The Whole World

At the WHO press conference they reassured us they are still looking into the possibility that pets may be able to catch COVID-19, but still there is only 1 dog who appears to have tested positive.

The WHO's head Dr Tedros had a big telling off for some people on Thursday:
"We’re concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough, or have decided there is nothing they can do. We are concerned that in some countries the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face. This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops. Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans"

Disinformation is spreading worldwide and some countries have a real problem with masses of paid 'influencers' sharing slurs against other countries, in an effort to bolster the economy of their own. I'll always fact check and will tell you if something hasn't been verified. If I make an error, it's a genuine error, and you are welcome to let me know! (I'm sure you will!).

The new countries reporting their first cases show very clearly that COVID-19 is a worldwide issue, and has spread across Europe, Africa and South America. First case countries include Bhutan, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Serbia, Slovakia, Vatican City, Togo and Malta.

97 countries or territories have now reported positive tests for COVID-19

In the WHO conference on Friday Dr Tedros reiterated the importance of delay:
"Slowing down the COVID19 epidemic saves lives, and it buys time for preparedness and for research and development.
Every day we slow down the COVID19 epidemic is another day:
-hospitals can prepare themselves for cases
-governments can prepare their healthworkers to detect, test, treat & care for patients.
-closer to having vaccines & therapeutics, which can in turn prevent infections & save lives".
(I think you'll find I have a fabulous infographic to show this visually).

Dr Tedros also reasserted the position that "we’re all in this together, and we all have a role to play. Facts not fear. Reason not rumours. Solidarity not stigma". He called on private health care companies to assist governments in ensuring the necessary equipment was available to treat patients. One world. He's a dude sometimes.

Scientific opinion is divided on whether the Northern hemisphere will see COVID-19 naturally diminish in the Summer, in the same way as other viruses such as flu. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) president Dr Nancy Messionnier said "it is premature to assume that the virus is seasonal".

When people compare Covid-19 to flu, it's complete naivety.
On January 31st Italy reported that since October they'd had 3.6m people laid up with flu, of which 191 had to be admitted to Intensive Care and 39 had died.
In less than a month, Italy has reported 4636 people with Covid-19, 462 in Intensive Care and 197 losses of life.

New CDC guidance says people at higher risk (older people and those with existing health problems) should "stay at home as much as possible" and avoid crowds.


1 comment:

  1. Another interesting update. I do love all the links to read further into it. Thank you for doing this xx


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