Wednesday 29 April 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 29th April 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 29th April 2020.

The UK added 4,076 cases today and now has reported a total of 165,221 positive cases of COVID-19. We tested 33,455 people yesterday, 632,794 in total.

The UK are now adding ALL positive-testing loss of life to the daily totals, wherever it occurs. Some numbers may be provisional. In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 765 people to COVID-19, but collective loss of life prior to that adds another 3,811 souls. Today's total is 4,419. We now sadly have a total of 26,097 losses of life.

England 115,859 / 23,550
Northern Ireland 3,463 / 329
Scotland 11,034 / 1,332
Wales 9,629 / 886

Rep. Of Ireland 19,877 / 1,159 (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been 3,186,694 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 225,529. Already 986,446 people have recovered.

NHS Advice to parents

Boris has had a baby boy. Both mother and baby are said to be doing very well. It's her first baby, and believed to be his 5th or 6th. It's not yet known if he'll ever actually stand at the briefing podium himself.

Today's UK briefing was hosted by Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary.
He talked about what's happening in Germany, where cases and losses are rising at the moment, as a direct result of easing restrictions. We are still very slowly creeping down the curve, we can't go too early.
He listed some of the PPE we have recently received from abroad, and talked about repatriated UK citizens - including final passengers from luxury cruise ships (not all the crews are home yet though!).
We are still looking towards a vaccine, and the UK will give GAVI (Global Vaccine Alliance) £330m each year for the next 5 years. This will help ensure a vaccine is available to whoever needs it, wherever they are, and will benefit the entire world.

Prof Yvonne Doyle of PHE went through the slides, London has a big drop since yesterday, bed use it down again. We are only using 40% of our critical care beds.
Press asked her if testing earlier in the year would have made a big difference to care homes. I think the answer is pretty obvious, but although it would help, there's still likelihood staff, visitors and contractors could still bring COVID-19 into the home, as a test only ensures you don't have COVID-19 at that moment.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, clarified that we are likely, when we look back, to see many more losses of life due to COVID-19 than at the time, including 'excess mortality' - people who weren't killed by the COVID-19, but die as a result of it existing. The same will be true for all countries the world over. It will be a long time before we can see the true cost of this virus.
He also answered press questions about returning to school and following social distancing guidelines. He was very human. He said he's got 11 and 12 year olds himself, and can you imagine trying to maintain social distancing with a group of 4 or 5 year olds? It will need to be looked at carefully before any decisions are made.

One of the questions from the public was a repeat (boo), asking why we don't screen new arrivals at airports. Why? We've literally got COVID-19 everywhere and they are more likely to catch it here. You're 3 months too late, or a way too early. It will happen in future.

Essential workers tests UK

The other public question was why can't vulnerable people be moved to the NHS Nightingale hospitals for their own protection? Dominic said this has been constantly discussed, but would be very difficult to arrange and may not help.
Truth is, the NHS Nightingale hospitals are designed to be full of people with COVID-19, not people who we don't want to catch it. We know it's tricky to contain, so bundling up all of our vulnerable and dumping them in a warehouse hospital is actually a scary thought. Remember the cruise ships.

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, said this morning that all children borrowing laptops and tablets to be able to work from home will receive them by June. He also said he couldn't give any date for return to school, but it will be phased, and not every child will return at the same time. (And clearly it's going to be after June.)
Sensibly he said "We are looking at many countries across the globe which are some weeks ahead of us - such as Germany and Denmark."

This is big news! Abbot, who have a lab in the UK, have developed a serology (antibody - did I have it?) test which has proven reliable enough to be granted a CE Mark in Europe and an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.
They claim 99% reliability in testing, 14 days after symptoms develop.
They expect to be able to increase production to roll out 20 million of the tests in the USA alone by June, and millions should be ready to ship across Europe next month.
Worldwide demand will be astronomical. I hope there aren't fights like we've seen over PPE.
Once again that caveat though - always have in your mind that, as yet we haven't actually had proof that presence of antibodies proves immunity, or how long that immunity would last. 

The Royal Mail are temporarily stopping Saturday deliveries of letters - parcels will still be delivered and collections will still continue as normal. Everything takes longer, less staff can be in a room together and loads of people are off sick. It's affecting everything.

2 doctors from Bakersfield, California, who went to the press with results of their own study suggesting shelter-in-place orders should be lifted, are being shot down by critics, including this official statement:
"The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) jointly and emphatically condemn the recent opinions released by Dr. Daniel Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi. These reckless and untested musings do not speak for medical societies and are inconsistent with current science and epidemiology regarding COVID-19. As owners of local urgent care clinics, it appears these two individuals are releasing biased, non-peer reviewed data to advance their personal financial interests without regard for the public’s health." Ouch!

Justin Trudeau has had to apologise because Canada has been forced to rely on disinfectant and hand sanitisers which do not have both English and French on the label. Some are imports and some made by repurposed businesses, with no French speaker to translate the labels. Around 1/4 of Canadians speak mainly French.

The New England Journal Of Medicine today with another not-yet peer reviewed study warning of COVID-19 related strokes:
"Over a 2-week period from March 23 to April 7, 2020, a total of five patients who were younger than 50 years of age presented with new-onset symptoms of large-vessel ischemic stroke. All five patients tested positive for Covid-19. By comparison, every 2 weeks over the previous 12 months, our service has treated, on average, 0.73 patients younger than 50 years of age with large-vessel stroke."

be active and stay healthy

Worrying news for anyone who has spent the last 4 years training for an international sporting event. Japan have announced they do not believe it will be possible to hold the Olympic Games next Summer safely without an effective vaccine.

A clinical trial of 397 patients with severe COVID-19 has found at least 50% of patients treated with a 5-day dosage of remdesivir improved, and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks. However there is no control group and these are preliminary results which haven't yet been peer-reviewed.

Belgians are being asked to double the amount of fries they eat because otherwise up to 750 tonnes of potatoes will go to waste. They only usually eat 1 portion each a week, so it's definitely attainable.

The Presidents of 4 of Germany's big science institutions have written a joint letter showing they do actually agree on COVID-19 response. Using mathematical models, they stress it would take years to reach herd immunity levels without overwhelming healthcare services, so suppressing levels and contact tracing, alongside adaptive social measures and restrictions, is in their opinion the best option.

Matt Hancock's announcement about expanding testing to all residents and staff in care homes, and anyone over 65 with symptoms, is just in England and doesn't apply to Wales. It really should.

Boston, USA, is testing 1000 volunteers from a hard hit area, to see how widespread the outbreak really has been.

The UK games industry initiative, Games for Carers, has united to include the governments ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ messaging within video games, as well as through social media. Now frontline NHS staff can have a free game or game subscription to unwind with on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile. Claim by entering your NHS email address on giveaways dot keymailer dot co forwardslash NHS.

US Vice President Mike Pence toured the Mayo Clinic yesterday and was the only person not wearing a mask - against CDC advice and hospital policy.

Japan is considering simply moving their school year to coincide with re-starting schools in September. They should be at the start of their new school year now.

Ancestry dot co dot uk will be free of charge to everyone from May 4-10 as part of the UK's 75th anniversary VE Day celebrations on Friday 8th May. That has precious little to do with coronavirus, but I know a lot of people will appreciate it.
There'll also be history lessons for children with Dan Snow, special telly and radio programming, free printable bunting on every single UK website with 'children' in the title, and loads more.
At 9pm The Queen will do another video message (she'll have her own podcast before you know it), and immediately afterward we are all encouraged to throw open our doors and windows, and have a nationwide singalong of "We'll Meet Again". At which point there'll be not a dry eye in the street...

Poland is to begin easing their lockdown. On May 4th shopping malls, hotels and some public buildings can reopen.

Mental Health help UK

Today the Inter-Parliamentary Union launched 'Parliaments In A Time Of Pandemic', to educate and assist parliaments, as well as scrutinise democracy and government responses to COVID-19.
184 countries are members and associate members.

Anyone who has frozen their eggs, sperm and embryos will be able to extend their storage for an additional 2 years,  due to the potential impact that the coronavirus outbreak has had on those wishing to start a family.

The Academy Awards (Oscars) have changed their rules to allow films to be nominated and win without a cinema release.

5 countries in the world have now declared themselves COVID-19 FREE, as all known cases have recovered - Yemen, Saint Lucia, Greenland, Saint-Barthelemy and Andguilla. Well done to all of them, let's hope it can stay that way.

Some numbers. Each of them a person, with the same sky above them as you:

Country / Cases / Losses of life (some states yet to report):

USA 1,048,834 (+13,069) 60,495 (+1,229)
Spain 236,899 (+4,771) 24,275 (+453)
Italy 203,591 (+2,086) 27,682 (+323)
France 165,911 not yet reported today 23,660
UK 165,221 (+4,076) 26,097 (+4,419)
Germany 160,479 (+567) 6,374 (+60)
Turkey 117,589 (+2,936) 3,081 (+89)
Russia 99,399 (+5,841) 972 (+105)
Iran 93,657 (+1,073) 5,957 (+80)
China 82,858 (+22) 4,633
Brazil 73,235 (+336) 5,083 (+20)
Canada 50,373 (+347) 2,904 (+45)
Belgium 47,859 (+525) 7,501 (+170)
Netherlands 38,802 (+386) 4,711 (+145)
Saudi Arabia 21,402 (+1,325) 157 (+5)
Sweden 20,302 (+681) 2,462 (+107)
Belarus 13,181 (+973) 84 (+5)
Poland 12,640 (+422) 624 (+28)
Qatar 12,564 (+643)
Romania 11,978 (+362) 688 (+25)
Cameroon 1,806 (+101) 59 (+1)
Iceland 1,797 (+2) 10
Azerbaijan 1,766 (+49) 23 (+1)
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,677 (+92) 65 (+2)


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