Thursday 16 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th April 2020.

The UK added 4,618 cases today and now has reported a total of 103,093 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 327,608 people as of 9am this morning.

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 861 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 13,729 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 79,489 / 12,395
Northern Ireland 2,201 / 140
Scotland 7,102 / 699
Wales 6,401 / 495
(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 2,129,355 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 142,707. Already 539,000 people have recovered.

How to survive quarantine The World Health Organisation

"If the goal is to get society back to normal, you don’t announce a date and then try to justify it.
You set conditions that must be met, and then try to meet them."
Dan Froomkin, Press Watch.

Today's UK press conference was led by Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary. SAGE say we have a mixed and inconsistent picture, but the R value (see below) is below 1 in the community. Any change in our social distancing measures would risk an increase in cases (if we get out too early, there will be masses of infected people, all stepping out into the community at the same time). No surprise he officially said the lockdown isn't ending just yet. It is extended for at least 3 weeks.
We need to be satisfied in 5 factors before anything changes:
1. Protect the NHS' ability to cope. We need to have ability to treat everyone.
2. See a sustained and consistent fall in the death rates, so we have confidence we are over our peak
3. SAGE information must suggest we have a manageable situation
4. Testing capacity and PPE need to be there
5. Any adjustments must not risk a second peak which overwhelms the NHS.

If we do this wrong, it'll be more expensive in lives, jobs and money overall.

Sir Patrick Vallance, UK Science Chief went through the slides. Car use is up. The numbers of people in hospital is decreasing in most areas of the UK, and nowhere is rising dramatically. They have added losses of life in all settings - they are trying to be honest and transparent. I respect that.
Patrick Vallance talked about our lockdown exit strategy. He wouldn't and couldn't give definite plans. (Lets watch other countries first.)
He assured us that in the long term we are not going to be locked down in the way we are now. This won't be us for the next forever months.

Prof Chris Whitty, CMO England talked about needing to know how many people have had COVID-19 and who has any immunity, as it will be important in months to come. Our antibody testing (did I have it?) is delayed because the antibody testing we bought proved unreliable. (The UK weren't the only ones stung by that). We are moving as fast as we can, with constant progress, but we aren't there yet.
He mentioned 'excess mortality' and said more people than we'd expect died from other causes in the community, and we need to know why. Did they have COVID too? Or did they have a medical emergency and didn't go to hospital. GO! We want to save lives, not have you at home dying in your chair when you should be in hospital. Ring 999 for an ambulance if you know you are in trouble.
Every loss of life because COVID exists is a genuine loss, and we want to prevent as many of them happening as possible.
He talked about risk factors and said 90% of patients who have succumbed had at least one other comorbidity (disease or illness). Age is the main risk factor. Being male is also a risk factor (3F/5M). We aren't sure yet, but it's possible ethnicity is also a risk factor.

Press asked 'are we nearly there yet?' on the very first question. OMG. Help me. She was told by Dominic Raab that if he gave her a timeframe or date it would be irresponsible. He is so right.

The NHS Nightingale Birmingham hospital was officially opened today, in the most bizarre episode of Dr Who we've ever seen, featuring Matt Hancock as Big Brother. Photo below - no photoshop, it's totally genuine, and as someone on Twitter said "A single picture that nails the absolute $^@&ing weirdness of The New Now."

Matt Hancock plays big brother opening of NHS Nightingale Birmingham

In a report by the US CDC, of those who gave their profession, 19% of people positive with COVID-19 were Health Care Workers.
It's a bit misleading because they're more likely to give their profession in the first place, but still shows a clear problem with effectiveness of PPE.

The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has apologised incredibly sincerely to Italy: “Too many were not there on time when Italy needed a helping hand at the very beginning.”

Germany have announced plans for their lockdown exit strategy. Literally no-one has a clue how best to do this, so I hope the UK don't rush. Germany have decided:
Social distancing measures in place until May 3rd.
Schools for pupils with exams reopen May 4th.
Small shops can reopen.
Face masks strongly recommended, but not mandatory.

Face coverings or masks are now mandatory in New York when in a public place, when physical distancing is not possible or unlikely.

The World Health Organisation have warned about the dangers of drink. It's a downer people, don't drink when you're really struggling, it won't help. Alcohol  also "compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes".

Over 5,000 patients have now been recruited to the NHS RECOVERY trials, testing different therapeutics to see i they speed up recovery. Fingers crossed.

It's far too early to tell anything for certain, but a recent pre-print study suggests that some of the patients, especially with the severe form of COVID-19, aren't entirely recovered, and may never be. SARS is notorious for causing long-term or permanent lung damage, and we are seeing some normal differences in the blood of ill patients, but which don't always go away immediately when recovered. It is an unchecked study and too early to tell for sure, but a few patients in the study show possible heart or liver damage.

South Korea are to give shopping coupons and gift certificates to households to help them cushion the economic fallout.

The UK Government have confirmed that, as long as your contract allows, furloughed workers can take farm work. It's essential work, so you can drive there and you qualify for childcare. They are actively encouraging furloughed workers and students to apply to fill the 70,000 seasonal jobs which would usually be filled by workers from abroad. Physical work which can be long hours - search "Feed the nation" if you are interested.

Cameroon's President Paul Biya hasn't even been seen since March 11th, let alone mentioned Coronavirus. The opposition leader Maurice Kamto has called on the speaker of parliament to seize the Constitutional Court.

Lost Their Fight:
Lourdes (Des) Campbell, NHS Health Care Assistant
Climbing legend Joe Brown

Melinda Gates announced last night that: "The Gates Foundation will commit an additional $150 million to the global response to COVID19. We have a responsibility to meet this global crisis with global solidarity."

Japan are extending their state of emergency to the entire country until May 6th.

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (Quantum Chemist and Research Scientist - my kind of gal) explained really incredibly clearly during a German press conference how much importance the 'R' or Reproductive number has:
"The curve has become flatter. It needs to be so that it doesn't overwhelm our health system."
"We're now at reproduction factor 1, so 1 person is infecting another 1."
"If we get to the point where (on average) each person infects 1.1 people, then by October we will reach the capacity level of our health system."
"If we get to 1.2 people, so everyone is infecting 20% more (out of 5 people, 1 infects 2 and the rest 1) then we will reach the limits of our health system in July. And if it gets up to 1.3 people, then in June..."
"So that's where you can see how little the margin is...and the whole projection is based on the assumption we have an infection figure we can track"
"...a fragile situation or one where caution is the order of the day and not over-confidence."

Quebec, Canada, has put out an urgent call for Health Care Workers. With many falling ill or isolating, they barely have enough staff for care homes.

Apparently Timpson's is shut. I was sure they would be key workers.

Australia have extended their lockdown for at least another 4 weeks. Their reproductive number is below 1 in all states except Tasmania. Some schools are closed to all but keyworkers, and when open, parents have a choice whether to send their children or not.

Manchester United have lit up Old Trafford in bright blue - for the NHS. Cleverly they also lit up just the 'NHS United' in the name too. And it does indeed look gorgeous (I am originally from Derby, I have no local football loyalty).

Banksy has obeyed the lockdown - he's been working from home.

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Captain Tom Moore of Keighley has completed his 100 laps of his garden, ahead of his 100th birthday and well over his original £1,000 target. He has raised a staggering £15 million for the NHS, and for his final lap this morning, he was given a guard of honour.
JustGiving added £100,000 to the total themselves once he had completed.

Captain Tom Moore: "We shall get through this difficult time so please remember that tomorrow is a good day and that we should all get through it in the end."

I'll have a whoop and a clap for you Tom tonight at 8pm, as well as for all of the carers out there keeping us safe, and every person going out to work to keep the country moving - thank you to the lot of you.

Turkey are very much in trouble. The US does look like it has peaked, as does the UK. France has plateaued. Cases are dropping in Germany, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Italy, Iran and Spain. We will get there.

Some numbers. Each one of them represents a person very much like you:

USA 654,343 (+6,195) 33,490 (+902)
Spain 182,816 (+2,157) 19,130 (+318)
Italy 168,941 (+3,786) 22,170 (+525)
France 147,863 Not yet reported today 17,167
Germany 135,663 (+910) 3,867 (+63)
UK 103,093 (+4,617) 13,729 (+861)
China 82,341 (+46) 3,342
Iran 77,995 (+1,606) 4,869 (+92)
Turkey 74,193 (+4,801) 1,643 (+125)
Belgium 34,809 (+1,236) 4,857 (+417)
Netherlands 29,214 (+1,061) 3,315 (+181)
Brazil 29,165 (+555) 1,764 (+7)
Canada 28,923 (+544) 1,048 (+38)
Russia 27,938 (+3,448) 232 (+34)
Switzerland 26,732 (+396) 1,281 (+42)
Portugal 18,841 (+750) 629 (+30)
Austria 14,462 (+112) 393
India 12,759 (+389) 423 (+1)
Israel 12,591 (+90) 140 (+10)
Ireland 12,547 not yet reported today 444
Sweden 12,540 (+613) 1,333 (+130)
Chile 8,807 (+534) 105 (+11)


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