Sunday 12 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 12th April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 12th April 2020.

The UK added 5,288 cases today and now has reported a total of 84,279 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 282,374 people as of 9am this morning.

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 737 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 10,612 losses of life in hospitals.
(Losses of life in the community are reported by ONS with a 2 week delay.)

Total cases and losses reported are:
England 66,330 / 9594
Scotland 5,912 / 542
Wales 5,297 / 369
Northern Ireland 1,806 / 107
(The government haven't been reporting how many of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.)

Rep. Of Ireland have 9,655 (+727) cases and 334 (+14) losses of life.

There have now been 1,831,130 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 113,013. Already 416,980 people have recovered.

"We know that Coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be – particularly for those suffering with grief – light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future." Queen Elizabeth II.

easter stay home

Boris has been discharged and will recuperate at home for a while before returning to work. He's done a short video which is exactly the sort of video you'd hope from someone who just nearly died and is incredibly grateful to the NHS and it's staff for saving his life. Humble. He stresses that everyone please stay home.

The Queen has recorded her first ever audio Easter message. You can find it on Royal Family social media. It is beautifully written.

Matt Hancock led today's briefing. We have now lost more than 10,000 people, which demonstrates just how much of a threat coronavirus is.
We currently have 19,945 people in hospital and 2.295 spare critical care beds. Up from yesterday. We are increasing capacity more quickly than demand.
We haven't had overwhelming of our health services, we have so far done well. We now have a total of 9975 ventilators, and over 5000 staff have returned to work at the NHS.
42,812 NHS and social care staff and their families have now been tested.

There will be a new NHS app. which will contact trace and inform people you've spent time with, should you test positive. None of your details will be held, and in the interests of full transparency they will even publish the source code. (I'm guessing this is the collaboration with Google and Apple I mentioned yesterday).

Yvonne Doyle went through the slides, and car driving is right down. Thank you.
We are obviously still tracking Italy in trajectory, and the N.W., the N.E. and Yorkshire have the fastest rises again.

When asked about the comments from the SAGE advisor, replies were that it all depends on us. Any projections and estimates can be changed by the actions of every individual. Stay home.

Press questions were a much better calibre than usual. Matt Hancock was asked to apologise to nursing staff who have been forced with the choice of working without correct PPE or leaving patients untreated, and he was asked to promise that care home staff and residents will get tests as soon as possible. He says PPE ordering is now an average wait of 2.5 days, and quicker if the need is urgent. It has been a challenge of logistics as much as supply. He says other countries have had the same problems and he isn't wrong. I'm pretty sure every country which has had a big breakout has struggled.
Press asked if our target of losing only 20,000 people is beyond us now. Predictions are based on the behaviour of the British people and subject to change. Matt Hancock didn't have an answer. In reality we are probably very close to that, if we haven't gone over it already. Remember we see figures usually at least 2 days old, and often longer after a weekend, and all victims are not counted (see below).
They were asked about the immigrants who are being forced to leave the UK. Those who were called 'low-skilled' and earning under £25,000 a year, and on whom we are now massively reliant for our lives - nurses, care staff, shop workers, cleaners, midwives, banking staff, farm workers, nursery staff, delivery drivers etc. His answer was suitably mumbly and somewhat embarrassed. Shame they didn't ask Priti Patel yesterday, seeing as it was her original comment.

Easter services with messages of hope have been live-streamed around the world, including from Vatican City. The Pope asked for unity. He also wrote a letter which suggests countries should consider a universal basic income for all. It's very long, and very political:
"I hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the centre. Our civilization — so competitive, so individualistic, with its frenetic rhythms of production and consumption, its extravagant luxuries, its disproportionate profits for just a few — needs to downshift, take stock, and renew itself."

South Korea will test everyone who arrives from the USA.

All 50 US states have declared a disaster - for the first time in America's history.

Trajectory 120420 coronavirus cases UK government chart

The UK's daily reported losses of life are not in any way our total figure - and we are by no means unique in this:
To be reported as losing your life to COVID-19 in the UK, you need to have tested positive when alive, and died in a UK hospital.
1. We have been testing to our (really quite small, but ever increasing) limits for weeks. We haven't been able to test everyone who needs a test. By a long way.
2. We knew we couldn't test everyone, so you only usually get tested if you are admitted to hospital.
3. You only get tested if you survive long enough for a test.
4. Many people, especially those who are much older, or very ill already, will never attend hospital, so may not ever be offered a test.
5. Tests are not 100% reliable and never have been. Vast numbers of people test negative and later test positive. Virus levels also appear to go up and down in some cases, meaning a significant amount of people have tested positive/negative/positive.
6. You can still officially die from COVID-19, but still not be shown in reported daily numbers.
A doctor can give a COVID-19 diagnosis, they can even write it on a death certificate, but that has no effect on daily reported figures without a test result and loss of life within the hospital.

COVID-19 has two parts - the 'cold or flu symptoms' and the pneumonia. The vast majority of people with symptoms only get the milder part. If you get the severe disease with pneumonia, it can make people life-threateningly ill very quickly. You can even feel okay while the pneumonia builds up, until the minute it's too much. This is commonly on your 8th or 9th day of being ill. Contact 111 if you are ill for over a week and not getting any better, or getting worse. Ring 999 if you or a household member are really in trouble at any point.

Quote of the week from Trump on Friday: "Antibiotics used to solve every problem and now one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can't keep up with it."
A lollipop for anyone who can explain to Donald why antibiotics won't work on a virus.

On the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Sir Jeremy Farrar, (director of the Wellcome Trust and SAGE government advisor) said that the UK could be one of the worst affected, if not the worst affected, countries in Europe. Sadly this is a popular opinion.
He also mentioned the resurgence/reinfections in South Korea - there have now been 100 people who have tested positive on two separate occasions.

If it proves true that a significant number of people can't or don't develop immunity, then mitigation (limit damage), suppression (push down the number of cases by preventing transmission) and eradication (starve it of victims until it dies out) is really our only hope, and the majority of the world will have already been proven wise by not risking the herd immunity option. More research is needed urgently.

Brazil's president Bolsonaro has been at it again. He claims to have tested negative, then later visited a hospital and when asked why, said it was for a pregnancy test. He then mingled with crowds of supporters, and at one point clearly wiped his nose on his hand before shaking someone else's.
(Sorry if you were eating - at least you can't see the video).

Famous people with COVID-19:
Brazilian President Bolsonaro's son.

Lost Their Fight:
NHS Nurse Gareth Roberts
Jazz bassist Jymie Merritt
Comedian, actor and one of the Goodies, Tim Brooke-Taylor
NHS Nurse Donna Campbell (39th NHS worker to die from COVID-19)

Half of the doctors, nurses and health workers in an accident and emergency unit in Newport, Wales have tested positive for Coronavirus.

The UK have pledged £200m towards fighting coronavirus with the WHO and other charities. It's vital the world works together or reinfection will always be a possibility, and pooling resources for a joint effort has to be a sensible move.

Turkey appears to be having a disaster and is a few steps behind the UK. Syrian refugees in camps along the border are faced with a stark choice - go home and hope the 2 week old ceasefire isn't broken, or stay and risk COVID-19 over-running the camps.

Some people with the hardest and most dangerous jobs are hidden. Mortuary workers and funeral directors are under extreme pressure right now, and don't get remembered often. Please spare them a thought for them too. Thank you all.

Iran is still under US sanctions and has been left with no choice but to re-open some interstate travel and other restrictions on business in order to keep it's people fed.

France's infection rate may have plateaued, numbers have finally stabilised.

According to Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, last night Australia had total 6289 cases, 57 deaths, about 80 people in ICU and around 36 are on ventilators. He said:
“No place in the world I’d rather be than Aus.”
They have a genuine chance to eradicate COVID-19.

New Zealand last night reported only 14 COVID-19 patients in hospital. Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern is quickly becoming one of my most respected people.
They have a genuine chance to eradicate COVID-19.

Some hospitals in Thailand are using miniature face shields for newborn babies. They are in fact the cutest thing you'll see this month.

Since COVID-19 first arrived in Switzerland, the town of Zermatt has projected images onto the Matterhorn. Last night they projected the Union Flag, in a beautiful and poignant show of support for the UK. Thank you.
“Dear friends from the United Kingdom, Zermatt is deeply connected to you through its history. British mountaineers first brought tourism to Zermatt, and to this day, Zermatt can welcome many visitors from the UK. Unfortunately, travelling is not possible right now. We send you a sign of hope from the Matterhorn instead.”
Everyone else is borrowing Gabriel Perens' photo, so hopefully he won't mind. It's below.

the UK Union flag projected onto the side of the Matterhorn in Switzerland
Photo Credit: Gabriel Perens

Some numbers. Different heights, sizes, ages, favourite TV shows, religions and languages, but all people born under the same sky:

Countries / cases / losses of life (some states/provinces yet to report):

USA 545,934 (+13,055) 21,474 (+897)
Spain 166,019 (+2,992) 16,972 (+366)
Italy 156,363 (+4,092) 19,899 (+431)
France 132,591 (+2,937) 14,393 (+561)
Germany 126,656 (+1,204) 2,908 (+37)
UK 84,279 (+5,288) 10,612 (+737)
China 82,052 (+99) 3,339
Iran 71,686 (+1,657) 4,474 (+117)
Turkey 56,956 (+4,789) 1,198 (+97)
Belgium 29,647 (+1,629) 3,600 (+254)
Netherlands 25,587 (+1,174) 2,737 (+94)
Switzerland 25,407 (+300) 1,106 (+70)
Canada 23,738 (+420) 674 (+21)
Brazil 21,065 (+103) 1,144 (+4)
Portugal 16,585 (+598) 504 (+34)
Russia 15,770 (+2,186) 130 (+24)
Austria 13,945 (+139) 350 (+13)


"Newborn babies given mini face shields at hospitals in Thailand"

The Pope's letter:

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