Monday 27 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 27th April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 27th April 2020.

The UK added 4,310 cases today and now has reported a total of 157,149 positive cases of COVID-19. We had all together tested 569,768 people as of 9am this morning.

As of 5pm yesterday, of those hospitalised in the UK, we have lost another 360 people to COVID-19. We now sadly have a total of 21,092 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 assumed to be:
England 133,974 / 18,749
Northern Ireland 3,374 / 309
Scotland 10,521 / 1,262
Wales 9,280 / 796
(The government haven't been reporting how many of the UK's positive testing cases have recovered.)

Rep. Of Ireland have 19,648 cases and 1,102 losses of life.

There have now been over 3 million reported cases worldwide - 3,029,761. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 209,244. Already 900,334 people have recovered.

ask a question at the UK daily briefing

Boris did a big speech outside Downing Street this morning. He promised all decisions will be made with complete transparency and scientific backing,  the opposition will be involved and we will be informed throughout the process. He asked for patience:
"I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people, and to risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life, and the overwhelming of the NHS."
He pointed out we have defied predictions (we really have, 5 weeks ago no-one believed we wouldn't overwhelm the NHS).
He reminded us of the 5 points we need before we can move on to the second phase and make decisions on reducing restrictions:
1. Loss of life falling
2. NHS protected
3. Rate of infection solidly below R1
4. We have enough tests and PPE
5. Avoiding a second peak
To be honest the press are an absolute liability here. A reporter immediately shouted "when will the lockdown end?" to Dominic Raab when he arrived. Boris literally just said it. NOT YET. It makes the public twitchy and gives us a false sense that it could be any time now. It can't. Everyone going out today and adding to the count is being egged on by the UK press. There, I said it.

Today's UK press briefing was with Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, and he started by saying each day a member of the public will have a question (see image below).
Today the Government is setting up a life assurance scheme. Families who lose someone on the NHS and social care frontline to COVID-19, in the course of essential work, will receive £60,000.
We have 15,051 people in hospital, down from yesterday again, and today we have 3,190 spare critical care beds. Everyone has had the hospital care they needed so far.
Our 8th Nightingale hospital opened today.
We are reminded yet again to GO TO HOSPITAL if you are really ill. Our A&E visits are down by over 50%. Some is because our behaviour is different (less booze and driving), but some is because people are scared of COVID-19. If you need it, it's there for you.
Starting tomorrow, some ongoing medical care services will be resumed, starting with urgent Cancer treatments. It will be decided locally.

Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer went through the slides. He looks like he's wearing his big brother's suit. Someone hand that man a pie.
Transport use has been creeping up, but very slowly, thanks to everyone for honouring the lockdown. He explained the weekend figures are low because it's the weekend, but overall our loss of life is definitely dropping.
Our R (reproductive number) is somewhere between 0.5 and 1, probably around 0.75. The lower the better.
He answered questions about children. We still don't know exactly what part children in school plays, but it definitely contributes. If we opened schools, it would have an effect, and could tip us above an R of 1.

Press checked that the £60,000 life assurance is also payable to foreign nationals - it is - and that it won't stop any member of staff later suing the NHS for lack of PPE - it won't.

Personal question was from Lynn in Skipton. She wants to know will she be able to hug her grandchildren straightaway when the lockdown does start to ease? Chris answered. If she is shielding then it might be sensible for her to stay out of risk. All of the panel clearly are in the same position with absent family - they almost seemed human.

Prof Stephen Powis of NHS England said infection rates are clearly falling in hospitals. The lockdown is working and numbers in hospital are now low enough that we can resume some level of normal non-urgent service.
If numbers go up again then this will change, but it really is an incredibly positive sign and shows a high level of confidence.

you are not invincible anyone can get it

The UK are trialling the use of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Taken from donated blood, it hopefully contains useful antibodies and has already proven helpful in speeding up recovery. It's a method of treatment first documented in 1891 by scientist Emil Behring, who saved the life of a young girl with Diptheria.

A treatment trial is underway in the USA, using a cheap over-the-counter heartburn remedy. Some poorer patients in China seemed to have better survival rates than wealthier patients, and investigations found famotidine use could possibly be a factor. Results will follow, and fingers crossed because any useful cheap therapeutic would be a massive worldwide bonus.

410 000 people aged over 65 live in the UK’s 11,300 nursing and residential homes. This outnumbers adult hospital beds by around three to one.

PM Guiseppe Conte has announced the Italian plan for easing lockdown restrictions:
Manufacturing, construction & wholesale for construction can reopen May 4th.
Shops, museums, libraries & professional sports can resume May 18th.
Bars, restaurants, hairdressers & beauticians can reopen June 1st.
Schools are closed until September.

US scientists are working with China to investigate the origin of coronavirus. They're examining blood samples from patients from before December, to try and find out spread, and if there were any earlier undiagnosed cases.

A small, but significant, number of children have been appearing with widespread illness (with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease) that could be due to COVID-19. A letter to GPs says:
 “There is a growing concern that a related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.”
The children commonly have blood which shows similarities to adults with severe COVID-19, gastrointestinal problems, tummy pain and heart inflammation.
Please remember that children still have far less chance of becoming ill from COVID-19 than anyone older. And another reminder to get medical help if someone is ill in any way.

There's a hoax that eating alkaline foods can help cure COVID-19 or prevent you catching it. Sadly not. Eating a balanced diet is still recommended.

All the journalists asking "Are we nearly there yet?" day in, day out, actually make it incredibly hard for the government to actually tell us anything. Any suggestions made will be either wholly accepted as fact by the press, or shunned, and if we go a different route from what they expect, even if it's the best route, it'll be hammered. We need to be able to backtrack really quickly if we mess up, but the press will attack the government if they do that. The government cannot win. Which is probably why they're bringing in the opposition.

More than 2 million Australians have already downloaded their contact tracing app.

The debate about whether COVID-19 can aerosol, or 'float about' in the air, has been ongoing since January. Now a Chinese study has found aerosol COVID-19 in 2 hospitals, including in areas where staff change and in patient's toilets. (I should stress these were specific areas for COVID-19 patients and healthcare staff.) Further studies will take place to discover whether it is viable and can actually infect people.

be active and stay healthy

Senegal might not be as rich as western nations, but this isn't their first rodeo. They have far more experience with epidemics than we do in the west, and great skill at getting on with what they have. They have created a $1 easily mass-produced COVID-19 test and are 3D printing ventilators for £60. Half of their cases have already recovered.

Girl Scouts in Alaska who can't sell their cookies due to the pandemic, will be given federal aid so that they don't lose out on activities.

Some numbers. They all represent real people:

USA 995,288 (+8,128) 56,139 (+726)
Spain 229,422 (+2,793) 23,521 (+331)
Italy 199,414 (+1,739) 26,977 (+333)
France 162,100 Not yet reported today 22,856
Germany 158,142 (+372) 5,985 (+9)
UK 157,149 (+4,310) 21,092 (+360)
Turkey 112,261 (+2,131) 2,900 (+95)
Iran 91,472 (+991) 5,806 (+96)
Russia 87,147 (+6,198) 794 (+47)
China 82,830 (+3) 4,633 (+1)
Brazil 63,328 (+469) 4,298 (+27)
Canada 47,346 (+451) 2,617 (+57)
Belgium 46,687 (+553) 7,207 (+113)
Netherlands 38,245 (+400) 4,518 (+43)
Switzerland 29,164 (+103) 1,640 (+30)
India 28,380 (+490) 886 (+5)


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