Wednesday 15 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 15th April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 15th April 2020.

A good milestone today. Over half a million people have now been reported as recovered from Coronavirus.

The UK added 4,605 cases today and now has reported a total of 98,476 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 313,796 people as of 9am this morning.

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 761 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 12,868 losses of life in hospitals.

Total cases and losses reported are:
England 76,371 / 11,656
Northern Ireland 2,088 / 134
Scotland 6,748 / 615
Wales 6,118 / 463
(The government haven't been reporting how many of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.)

Rep. Of Ireland have 12,547 cases and 444 losses of life.

There have now been 2,044,221 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 131,340. Already 505,282 people have recovered.

FACTS beat fear WHO

Today's UK Press conference was hosted by Matt Hancock, Health Secretary.
He thanked us all for staying home, and thanked Captain Tom Moore! Yeeay. His 100 lap walk round his garden has now raised over £8m for the NHS.

Spare beds in critical care is now at 2,657 beds - capacity is growing faster than demand. At no point so far have we been unable to offer correct care to patients. We currently have 19,529 people in hospital with coronavirus.
We are doing incredibly well, and we can't let up now.
Regarding social care, we have given a boost of £1.6b. Today we've strengthened the rules, so every care home resident will be tested before being returned home from hospital, and any care home resident with symptoms will be tested.
Social Care staff will also be tested, this has started (over 4000 tested already).
Priority drops of PPE will happen while we roll out regular logistics via the Royal Mail.
Social Care needs more respect. It will from today have an identifiable and respected brand, and will get a lot of the benefits and discounts NHS staff currently have. We are also having a recruitment drive as we need more people in the profession.
Working with Public Health England, we are introducing new procedures so that loved ones can when possible, with the correct safety in place, be given the chance to be with a patient at the end of their life.

Prof Dame Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser went through the slides. The number of people in hospital beds fell by 1% overall yesterday, 5% in Greater London - excellent news.
She answered press questions about whether the rest of the country will peak behind London. As we all locked down at the same time, we cut off supply of 'victims' at the same time, so we aren't expecting later peaks.

Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England answered questions on us reaching our peak. We have had a long Bank Holiday weekend sadly, and he expects increased numbers tomorrow to reflect this. We do seem to be at our peak, but it is far too early to say we are 'over our peak'. We can't yet tell when that will be.
Anything we can do that will encourage people to take exercise is good, that's why you are allowed to go out for exercise. For those people who are highly vulnerable, we need to maintain shielding. We also have to manage infection control, in which case people in residential homes may be affected and unable to go outside without undue risk.

COVID is a world problem WHO

Donald Trump has put all US funding of the World Health Organisation on hold for 60-90 days, while he reviews his perceived “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”.
He said: "This is an evaluation period, but in the meantime, we're putting a hold on all funds going to World Health."

Bill Gates, whose foundation contributes almost 10% of the WHO's funding:
"Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs WHO now more than ever."
Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet medical journal:
“a crime against humanity … Every scientist, every health worker, every citizen must resist and rebel against this appalling betrayal of global solidarity.”
Antonio Guterres, UN secretary general:
“The lessons learned will be essential to effectively address similar challenges, as they may arise in the future. But now is not that time … It is also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus.”
Kai Kupferschmidt, molecular biologist, Science Magazine Correspondent:
"This is like suspending firefighters while they are trying to save your house from the flames, pending a review of whether the trucks arrived later than they should. The world needs to focus on fighting covid19 not each other and it needs WHO to do that."
There are more responses from all over the world, many more, but you get the gist.

At the WHO press conference today Dr Tedros gave his response:
"WHO is reviewing the impact on our work of any withdrawal of United States funding and will work with our partners to fill any financial gaps we face and to ensure our work continues uninterrupted"
"Our commitment to public health, science and to serving all the people of the world without fear or favour remains absolute. Our mission and mandate are to work with all nations equally, without regard to the size of their populations or economies"
"COVID19 does not discriminate between rich nations and poor, large nations and small. It does not discriminate between nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies. Neither do we."
"This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat. When we are divided, the coronavirus exploits the cracks between us."

The $1,200 stimulus cheques for as many as 70 million American people could be delayed for several days because Trump wants his name printed on them.

LEGO are making more than 13,000 face visors a day for medics at their Denmark factory.

A peer-reviewed study has found COVID-19 is even tougher than expected, and can survive the usual 60 degree C, hour-long process to deactivate it before further processing in a lab.
Professor Remi Charrel and the team at Aix-Marsellie University, France, found they had to heat the virus to 92 degrees C for 15 minutes to totally kill it.
This doesn't add any confidence to hopes it will decrease naturally in Summer temperatures.

Australia has jailed a 35 year old man for breaching isolation laws. He repeatedly snuck out of a quarantine hotel to visit his girlfriend and will spend the next month in prison.

UK police have fined 3,203 people for breaking lockdown rules.

Taiwan have one of the best records in the world at containing COVID-19, but aren't recognised as an independent country by the WHO (they are counted as a territory of China). Citizens set up a crowdfunding campaign which has raised millions of dollars, and have launched an advertising campaign:
“WHO can isolate Taiwan? No one. Because we are here to help.”
At the WHO press conference today, the WHO's legal team responded: They explained that the 194 member states have representatives and they decide any policy which is produced. They are part of the UN and don't have mandate to allow Taiwan into WHO independently. The WHO work for all people everywhere, regardless of race, country, economic status or any other factor..

India, by far the world's biggest manufacturer of paracetamol, are sending us 2.8m units to re-stock supermarkets. Thanks India! There is currently a worldwide shortage due to demand, panic buying and stockpiling.

Over 17 million personal protective equipment (PPE) items were delivered to 179 UK trusts and organisations yesterday — including 10 million gloves, 2 million aprons, over 250,000 surgical masks and 780,000 eye protectors.

Childcare at home WHO

The Chilean Health Minister says people who have died from coronavirus are no longer contagious, so are counted as recovered.
I'm really hoping this is a translation error and is going to be amended.

Lost Their Fight:
Mathematician and inventor of the Game Of Life mathematical model, John Conway
Pregnant UK nurse Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong - her baby daughter was safely delivered and is doing well.

South Korea have gone ahead with today's election - with strict controls. Still a risky move though.

A study published in Science Mag looked at how effective social distancing measures will be, and by their calculations it was not possible to control COVID-19 with one-time-only restrictions of any length.
Instead we need to concentrate on the following:
A. develop a vaccine
B. massively reduce cases, test everyone we can and isolate positives immediately
C. have a series of social distancing measures like a plane coming in for a bumpy landing - tighten, loosen, tighten etc. until the virus is eradicated.
D. All of the above
"Intermittent distancing may be required into 2022 unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or a treatment or vaccine becomes available."

A paper has been published on use of Ivermectin as a treatment and it has been used with some success in very ill patients:
"In COVID-19 illness, critically ill patients with lung injury requiring mechanical ventilation may benefit from administration of Ivermectin. We noted a lower mortality and reduced healthcare resource use in those treated with ivermectin."
"Compared to 1,918 conventionally treated patients we observed a survival benefit for Ivermectin (mortality rate 18.6% vs 7.7%)."
It comes with caveats though - patients may need a liver test first to see if they are suitable, only 52 mechanically ventilated patients were involved in the study, and it's not exactly a clinical trial. More research will happen quite swiftly I'd imagine.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced all ministers and public service chiefs will take a 20 per cent pay cut for six months.

Amplify the good The WHO

The government have relaxed their advice on leaving the home for some who need it, with specific guidance for people with Autism or learning disabilities who are going to struggle (and their carers!).
"If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so."

Plantsavers (dot co dot uk) are trying to save as many wilty plants as possible from garden centres in London and parts of the South East - they'll locally deliver you a selection of assorted plants and the compost. If that's not your area, don't panic. Lots of garden centres are doing deliveries while they're unable to open to the public.

The oldest person in the UK to recover from COVID, 106-year-old great-grandma, Connie Titchen, has been discharged from hospital.

Some people. They look like numbers, but they are all people:

USA 622,380 (+8,494) 27,548 (+1,501)
Spain 177,633 (+3,573) 18,579 (+324)
Italy 165,155 (+2,667) 21,645 (+578)
France 143,303 Not yet reported today 15,729
Germany 133,154 (+944)  3,592 (+97)
UK 98,476 (+4,603) 12,868 (+761)
China 82,295 (+46) 3,342 (+1)
Iran 76,389 (+1,512) 4,777 (+94)
Turkey 69,392 (+4,281) 1,518 (+115)
Belgium 33,573 (+2,454) 4,440 (+283)
Netherlands 28,153 (+734) 3,134 (+189)
Canada 27,557 (+494) 954 (+51)
Switzerland 26,336 (+400) 1,226 (+52)
Brazil 26,113 (+851) 1,590 (+58)
Russia 24,490 (+3,388) 198 (+28)
Portugal 18,091 (+643) 599 (+32)
Austria 14,325 (+99) 393 (+9)
India 12,320 (+833) 405 (+12)
Israel 12,200 (+154) 126 (+3)
Sweden 11,927 (+482) 1,203 (+170)


Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome:
“Viruses know no borders, as COVID-19 has proven. The only way out of this pandemic is by working together and ensuring all countries, especially lower and middle income countries, have the tools and resources to tackle this. Global cooperation, guided by the WHO, is key if we’re to end this pandemic as quickly as possible, save as many lives as possible and get the world back to some sense of normality.
President of the American Medical Association, Patrice A Harris said:
"Cutting funding to the WHO - rather than focusing on solutions - is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world."
Leslie Dach, chair of the group Protect Our Care, said the WHO weren't without fault, but:
"This is nothing more than a transparent attempt by President Trump to distract from his history, downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis and his administration’s failure to prepare our nation."
Icnarc -

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