Wednesday 22 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 22nd April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 22nd April 2020.

The UK added 4,451 cases today and now has reported a total of 133,495 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 411,192 people as of 9am this morning.

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 759 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 18,100 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 99,137 / 16,271
Northern Ireland 2,874 / 220
Scotland 9,038 / 985
Wales 8,124 / 624
(The government haven't been reporting how many of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.)

Rep. Of Ireland have 16,671 cases and 769 losses of life.

There have now been 2,605,771 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 181,476. Already 712,324 people have recovered.

"The Earth will not & cannot go back to the way things were. There must be a “new normal” – a world that is healthier, safer and better prepared"
Dr Tedros, WHO

How to survive quarantine The World Health Organisation

Today's UK briefing was with Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary. He started by saying we are following scientific and medical advice throughout. We are making progress, but easing restrictions too early raises the risk of a 2nd peak, and longer time in lockdown over all. He thanked carers again, and also thanked the armed forces for help with the mobile labs, NHS Nightingale hospitals and delivery of equipment and PPE. We have 7 temporary hospitals.
Over 1m British nationals have been brought home on flights, including 13,000 on charter flights, with more due this week.

Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, talked about the military and their role. They have supported the NHS and social care first and foremost with delivery and logistics.
He said in 25 days they have gone from 240 to 55,000 delivery addresses. This is the single greatest logistics challenge faced by the armed forces.
They have helped with planning and delivery of the NHS Nightingale hospitals, and organised pop-up testing centres.
They have also provided planes to transport goods, and have helped with repatriation of UK nationals.
They are also watching for disinformation and misinformation.
Press asked why we aren't deploying more military staff. 20k are waiting and we've only used 3k. He said they haven't got skills that been needed yet (they could be doing check ins and shopping for vulnerable people, surely?).

Prof Chris Whitty, CMO went through the slides. Positive tests are still fairly level. People in hospital is still pretty flat, we do look like it's plateaued. New slide - a 7 day rolling average - this shows that the way down takes a lot longer than the way up for everyone. We will continue to see large loss of life for a while.
When asked about future possibility of masks, Mr Whitty explained we will have to live with this disease for a long while, and we will have to keep the R number below 1 (each person infects less than 1 other). This will require different methods to control spread. We need overall to keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Social measures (including things like masks, contact tracing, social distancing etc) are likely until we have a vaccine or highly effective therapeutic drugs - which is likely to take around a year.
*If people are hoping we are going to move straight from where we are now to suddenly everything's gone, that is a wholly unrealistic package."

at home shouldnt mean at risk

The British people have behaved far better than the SAGE report assumed. They thought around half of us wouldn't abide by the lockdown. If that had happened, all of the Nightingale Hospitals would be full. They've always been intended as overspill, and will be there in case we need them at any point. The NHS is under great strain, but the fact we've not needed them so far is a good thing among all of the bad.

 At the WHO briefing today they made a few clear points:
"Most of the epidemics in Western Europe appear to be stable or declining. Although numbers are low, we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central & South America, & Eastern Europe.
Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics"
"And some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases. Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time."

Germany are ready to begin clinical trials of a vaccine on humans.

The US FDA have approved the first test with patient 'home sample collection'. Questions are already being raised as to whether anyone would actually use it correctly. (The swab goes so far into your nose that no-one will want to do that to themselves).

UK Care minister Helen Whately is under fire for repeatedly laughing when Piers Morgan asked her about a newspaper headline referring to 4,000 people having died in UK care homes. We'd all be nervous if we were live on telly, but I've watched the video and she reminded me of my teenagers when I asked who trashed my kitchen.

The World Health Organisation's updated strategy objectives for COVID19 response:
-Mobilize all sectors & communities
-Control sporadic cases, clusters & prevent community transmission
-Suppress community transmission
-Reduce mortality through appropriate care
-Develop safe vaccines & therapeutics

US companies are to start using 2 antibody tests to see if people have had COVID-19 and recovered.
Suitable from around 14 days after you become ill and in tentative use in several countries (including Germany and Austria), antibody tests are still notoriously unreliable. And they come with an added warning from the WHO's Dr Maria Van Kerkhove:
“There are a lot of countries that are suggesting using rapid diagnostic serological tests to be able to capture what they think will be a measure of immunity,” she said. “Right now, we have no evidence that the use of a serological test can show that an individual has immunity or is protected from reinfection.”

The University Hospitals of Geneva are conducting an antibody study in a representative sample of the Geneva population. 2 weeks into the study, they are so far finding a minimum overall seroprevalence of 5.5%. This suggests that nearly 27,000 people in Geneva were exposed by April 17th. As of April 15th, Geneva had reported 4,390 cases. The study continues until the end of May.

100k coronavirus tests

The FT have done the sums and they estimate it's possible 41,000 people in the UK have already lost their lives to COVID-19.

In the UK we usually receive figures between 21 hours (daily hospital figures) and up to a usual 17 days after a person has succumbed, longer if a post-mortem is required.

Air Canada is suspending flights to the USA from April 26 - May 22.

There are already more than 70 different trials of Trump's favourite drug Hydroxychloroquine taking place. Early pre-print results are not entirely promising:
A clinical trial in Brazil had to be stopped because 1/4 of patients on high doses developed abnormal heart rhythms
A Chinese study found 85.4% of people taking hydroxychloroquine tested negative after 4 weeks, compared to 81.3% without - a non-significant effect.
A French study found "No evidence of clinical efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised for COVID-19 infection and requiring oxygen".
Swedish hospitals in the Västra Götaland region have stopped trials after "...there were reports of suspected more serious side effects than we first thought".
A US study "found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with Covid-19. An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone."
More to come...

Spain is hoping to begin a phased reduction of the lockdown in the second half of May.

A jail in the Philippines has found 123 infected inmates.

Bondi Beach will reopen for exercise from next week. Local residents will be able to run, walk or swim, and must remain 1.5m apart.

David Beasley, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, has warned we were already headed for an horrific year for famine because of conflict, desert locust swarms and changing climate. 265m people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year, and that is before we add on the effects of COVID-19. If we can't continue to get farming and food support to these countries, it could be catastrophic.
He tweeted: "If we don't act NOW, we could be facing MULTIPLE famines of biblical proportions within a few short months."

Saudia Arabia has revised curfew timings for the holy month of Ramadan. Residents who aren't quarantined will be able to leave their homes only between 9am-5pm.

Spanish car maker SEAT, which employs around 15,000 people, plans to resume production from April 27, and test around 3,000 of it's workforce each week.

Egypt has sent a plane loaded with medical aid to the USA.

wash your hands uk advice

UK charity Medical Detection Dogs are training 6 dogs to recognise COVID-19, to be used at airports.

All of St Lucia's cases have recovered and tested negative. It is believed free of COVID-19. Congratulations, I hope it stays that way guys.

It's Earth Day. Never has our world felt so incredibly small, nor have we been able to see so clearly the effect our activity has on it.

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

USA 829,013 (+10,269) 46,147 (+829)
Spain 208,389 (+4,211) 21,717 (+435)
Italy 187,327 (+3,370) 25,085 (+437)
France 158,050 Not yet reported today 20,796
Germany 149,401 (+948) 5,165 (+79)
UK 133,495 (+4,451) 18,100 (+763)
Turkey 98,674 (+3,083) 2,376 (+117)
Iran 85,996 (+1,194) 5,391 (+94)
China 82,788 (+30) 4,632
Russia 57,999 (+5,236) 513 (+57)
Brazil 43,592 (+513) 2,769 (+28)
Belgium 41,889 (+933) 6,262 (+264)
Canada 38,967 (+545) 1,873 (+39)
Netherlands 34,842 (+708) 4,054 (+138)
Switzerland 28,268 (+205) 1,509 (+31)
Portugal 21,982 (+603) 785 (+23)
India 20,471 (+391) 652 (+7)
Peru 17,837 Not yet reported today 484
Ireland 16,671 (+631) 769 (+39)
Sweden 16,004 (+682) 1,937 (+172)



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