Thursday 23 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23rd April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23rd April 2020.

The UK added 4,583 cases today and now has reported a total of 138,078 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 425,821 people as of 9am this morning (testing total excludes N.I.)

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 616 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 18,738 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 102,221 / 16,785
Northern Ireland 3,016 / 250
Scotland 9,409 / 1,062
Wales 8,358 / 641
(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 (not yet reported today).

There have now been 2,692,579 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 188,063. Already 738,428 people have recovered.

"No-one wants to hear this, but it's the truth. We are not in the end phase of the pandemic. It is still very much in it's inception. We will be living with this virus for a long time to come, and the question of how we prevent this virus at any point overwhelming our healthcare system, taking countless lives with it, is a question that will be the key question for politicians and policymakers... for a long time to come."
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and Quantum Chemist.

The Big Night In BBC UK Fundraiser

Today's UK press conference was with Matt Hancock, Health Secretary (do you remember in the olden days, when we used to have a Prime Minister?). He started by reiterating that we need to protect life and protect the NHS.
We have 17,615 people in hospital.
"Test, track and trace" update - capacity is now ahead of plans and is at 51,000 per day (we actually only did 23,560 tests in the last 24 hours). We are expanding who can get a test.
Any ESSENTIAL WORKER with symptoms in their household can request a test for themselves and their household members. Employers can request a test for employees, and employees can also book a test on the gov dot uk website themselves.

This week we've begun one of the biggest virus, infection and antibody studies ever seen. 25,000 people will take part in the first phase, with expansion to up to 300,000 people over the next 12 months.
Letters have already started going out to residents in the UK, asking people to participate in the random population sampling. This is to try and discover how many of us have already been exposed to COVID-19, and in which areas of the UK. It's a vital part of testing and will tell the UK (and the world) a lot more about COVID-19, including how many people become seriously ill, how many people get no symptoms, and how quickly it is spreading. It will also let us know if we need to provide more medical care in a certain area. (Thanks to everyone who takes part.)

The contact tracing app. is also a vital part of understanding spread. It will alert you if someone you've been in contact has tested positive.

Matt Hancock said thank you to all British Muslims for staying at home, and making major changes to your usual religious practise during Ramadan. (Thank you all - Ramadan Mubarak).

Medics asking please stay home for us

Sir Patrick Vallance went through the charts. New slide with information - 49% of adults worked from home, 97% said they'd had no contact with people from outside their household. The testing figures aren't rising, even though we are testing more people. Numbers in Scotland, London, Midlands dropping slightly. The losses of life are slowing, there's actually slight dip in average numbers.
We have recruited 7,000 patients to clinical trials for therapeutics (things to make you better). This is the RECOVERY study and is currently the biggest trial in the world.

Prof John Newton talked about types of testing. He explained about 'swab testing', which is general PCR COVID-19 testing. The positive result is reliable, but a negative might become a positive if you have another test 8 hours later, so it's a 'probably'. (Many people have even tested positive / negative / positive within 4 or 5 days).
We have 31 drive through testing centres, and home testing capability will be increased. The army will have 48 pop-up mobile testing centres.
Antibody tests need to be more accurate, and we are trying to work on making those easier and more reliable, as they will be very easy to scale up into vast quantities. 

We were reminded that this low peak is artificial. We have caused this by staying at home. Trying to accurately work out the precise future movements of an artificial peak, of a brand new virus, which is reliant on the behaviour of millions of people, is not possible.

Scotland have published their "framework for decision-making".
"While it is obvious that government cannot guarantee that no-one will become infected with this virus in future, we are clear that an assumption that there is a proportion or section of the population that it is safe or acceptable to allow to be infected forms no part of the Scottish Government's policy or approach."

BET (Black Entertainment Television) held a COVID Relief special last night. Like all the best events it even included an after-party.

Georgia, USA, has decided to loosen restrictions even though cases are on an upward trajectory. In a move which he probably feels will absolve him of blame, Donald Trump said of Governor Brian Kemp: "He must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he is doing,” 
Businesses including hairdressers, nail salons, barbers, gyms, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys can reopen from Friday.
As an Italian mayor said to his citizens "Do you understand that the coffin will be closed. Who's going to see you with your hair fixed in the coffin?".

There are now over 25,000 cases in Africa.

The IMF has approved $363m to help Democratic Republic of Congo fight COVID-19. DRC have already given everything they had eradicating Ebola.

Spain are not seeing the reductions in cases and losses of life that they had hoped. Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez will extend the state of alarm until May 9:
“The general confinement will not be lifted until we are ready”
Children up to 14 will now be allowed outside from Sunday,  for 1 hour between 9am-9pm, within 1km of home and accompanied by an adult. No toys or ball games allowed.

we've come this far. Lets keep going

The American Red Cross are planning to use antibody tests to identify potential plasma donors.

China's Harbin province has an outbreak which has closed local clinics. Traced back to an 87 year old man, 78 people are so far known to be infected,  23 are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.

Doctors in Germany have a real warning about long term effects of COVID-19. 6 divers who had mild cases and just quarantined at home, were later found to have lung damage. 2 were severe. Senior physician of the Innsbruck University Clinic, Frank Hartig said "As an emergency doctor with 20 years of experience, you swallow when you see something like this in a 40-year-old patient."
This is unfortunately not the only account of longer term damage in patients who were not even hospitalised. This can be a really nasty virus.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says he is hoping to start re-opening shops on May 11th.

Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, is so desperate to re-open that she has offered her city as a "placebo" group, to see how many people die without social distancing. Words really do fail me.

2 cats in New York have tested positive for coronavirus

Angela Merkel was on form today:
"This pandemic is hard for democracies because it restricts exactly what our needs and rights are, as parents and children, adults and young people, and we can only do it if everyone understands why we are restricting our freedoms. If everyone knows we are allowed to express criticism, and that we listen to each other."

Finland are trialling supermarket fridge door handles which can be opened with your bent arm rather than your hand.

The website run by RAPS dot org has trackers logging every single potential vaccine and therapeutic study. 

Japan is in trouble and there are rumours some hospitals are struggling. They aren't helped by the news that almost 50 crew, from an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs in Nagasaki, have tested positive.

Tokyo will hold a 12-day consecutive vacation from April 25 to May 6, including for all Tokyo companies. Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama prefectures are also asked to close businesses.

How to lower your chances of catching Coronavirus

South Korea have recorded less than 20 new cases a day for the last 6 days.

Schools in Guangdong province, China, are preparing to go back on Monday. Teachers and other staff will be tested before going back, staff and pupils will be given 2 masks a day.

Tonight is BBC One's 3 hour marathon TV special The Big Night In - any money raised will be matched by the government and be distributed by Children In Need and Comic Relief.
It's something to tell the grandchildren about and will feature 10 Doctor Who actors from the past 50 years, Little Britain, Peter Kay, The Vicar of Dibley, Catherine Tate and loads more.
It will also feature the charity single - Foo Fighter's Times Like These (nice choice) which is being sung by a 'live lounge at home' host of celeb muso's, including.... ah, wait and find out.

Starts at 7pm and will incorporate the Clap For Carers at 8pm.

Some numbers. All of them people, with a favourite song...

USA 855,301 (+6,584) 48,483 (+824)
Spain 213,024 (+4,635) 22,157 (+440)
Italy 189,973 (+2,646) 25,549 (+464)
France 159,877 (not yet reported today) 21,340
Germany 151,195 (+547) 5,354 (+39)
UK 138,078 (+4,583) 18,738 (+638)
Turkey 101,790 (+3,116) 2,491 (+115)
Iran 87,026 (+1,030) 5,481 (+90)
China 82,798 (+10) 4,632
Russia 62,773 (+4,774) 555 (+42)
Brazil 46,701 (+944) 2,940 (+34)
Belgium 42,797 (+908) 6,490 (+228)
Canada 40,824 (+634) 2,028 (+54)
Netherlands 35,729 (+887) 4,177 (+123)
Switzerland 28,496 (+228) 1,538 (+29)
Portugal 22,353 (+371) 820 (+35)
India 21,797 (+427) 686 (+5)
Sweden 16,755 (+751) 2,021 (+84)
Japan 11,950 (not yet reported today) 299
Chile 11,812 (+516) 168 (+8)
Ecuador 11,183 (+333) 560 (+23)
Singapore 11,178 (+1,037) 12
Pakistan 10,825 (+749) 228 (+16)
S. Korea 10,702 (+8) 240 (+2)
Mexico 10,544 (+1,043) 970 (+113)


RAPS Vaccine Tracker
RAPS Therapeutics Tracker

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