Wednesday 13 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 13th May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 13th May 2020.

The UK added 3,242 cases today and now has reported a total of 229,705 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 87,063 tests yesterday. We have 11,327 people in hospital, down 15% from last week.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 494 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 33,186 losses of life in all settings.

England 139,086 / 29,673
Northern Ireland 4,253 / 447
Scotland 13,929 / 1,912
Wales 11,706 / 1,154

Rep. Of Ireland 23,401 cases and 1,497 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 4,394,058 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 295,647. Already 1,636,843 people have recovered.

the power of soap

The lockdown in England reduces today, so you can now do more things as long as you stay at least 6ft / 2m from anyone who isn't in your household whenever you can. And don't use public transport unless you really have to. And work from home if at all possible. And eat cake because you deserve it. .

Today's UK briefing was with Robert Jenrick, Housing and Communities Secretary, and Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
He announced a Support Package for Care Homes, with £600m funding (some of which has been brought forward from future plans). The Government previously gave £3.2billion to local councils for Adult Social Care.
The UK housing market can open up again. Estate and letting agents can reopen immediately. House viewing should be virtual wherever possible and no 'open house' viewings should take place. Social distancing and particular cleaning should occur, including washing hands before entry and all door handles. Anyone shielded or isolating should not really be moving house.

Construction sites in the UK can apply to extend working hours to facilitate safety of workers and staggered start/finish times.

The Lancet report that using Public Health England data, at least 20% of the population falls within the high-risk mortality category for COVID19: 13·7% based on age over 70 and a further 6·3% based on having one or more underlying conditions.
Without any restrictions, they estimate excess mortality because of COVID-19 over the entire year would have been 146,996 excess deaths with a reproductive rate of 1·5, 293,991 with an RR of 2·0, and 587,982 with an RR of 3·0. The reproductive rate was between 3 and 4 when we locked down.

UK education unions are not happy about schools reopening, as they don't feel they can guarantee the safety of pupils or teachers, or the parents and wider community. They've issued a joint statement asking the Government to reconsider:
“We call on the government to step back from the 1st June and work with us to create the conditions for a safe return to schools based on the principles and tests we have set out.”
The principles and tests include:
- Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
- No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
- A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
- Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
- Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
- Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new covid-19 cases

What you can do now UK 13th May 2020

A recent article in The Journal of the American Medical Association has looked at some of what we know so far about the potential for immunity, and amongst their conclusions:
- Some people don't develop measurable antibodies in the blood and we don't know why.
- viral burden typically peaks early in illness, and then declines as antibodies develop over the next 2 to 3 weeks.
- finding live virus from nose swabs declines over the first week of mild illness.
- we still don't know how long people are infectious for.
- finding virus in blood tests (sometimes weeks later) doesn't necessarily mean people are still infectious.
- to date, no human reinfections with SARS-CoV-2 have been confirmed. 
- it's definitely believed infection will leave you with at least temporary immunity, but it's still not proven or obviously known how long it's likely to last.

Famous people With COVID-19:
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin
Russian Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev
Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova

It is impossible to pull apart 'saving lives v's saving the economy', they go hand in hand. News that the UK's GDP shrank by a record 5.8% in March (most of which we weren't under lockdown) is unfortunately to be expected, and is a direct result of the world response to COVID-19 as well as the UK's, but it's not made business very happy. April and May's figures I'm sure will make a lot of people weep.

Deaths per million of the population:
Belgium 767
Spain 576
Italy 511
United Kingdom 492
France 402
Sweden 325
Netherlands 320
USA 251
Canada 143
Germany 93
Norway 42
Japan / South Korea / China 5

We have already learnt that very often COVID-19 patients have ridiculously low levels of oxygen when they arrive in hospital, even when sometimes they aren't short of breath or aware of how ill they are. The traditional method of care, putting them onto a ventilator, was resulting in up to 70% mortality. Using CPAP and BPAP (sleep apnoea machines) is having more success. It's also far, far easier to recover from. Ventilated patients can take many months to recover and some will never have full health. Double bonus.

California State Universities have removed almost all face-to-face contact from their syllabus until Christmas. Students will learn online.

The UK's contact tracing app. isn't having a fun time. Unsecured documents on a Google Drive show they may have plans for a version 2, and for users to have a 'COVID-19 Status'. This is a feature employed by China to assign limitations or freedoms on citizens, depending on the level of risk they pose.

With at least 6 new cases popping up randomly in Wuhan, the original epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, after a month with none, China has had enough. Determined to stamp it out, they have announced "10 days of mass battle" during which they will test all 11 million residents, and they started this morning.
For comparison the population of London is 9.3 million.
130520 WHO AFRica region

A study of patients in New York State has concluded:
"Among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, treatment with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, or both was not associated with significantly lower in-hospital mortality."
However it is accepted that this was a study based on observation of what had happened, and it is mostly more seriously ill patients who received these treatments.

Brazil is in big trouble. Yesterday they reported 12,392 new cases and 892 deaths from COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours. President Bolsonaro refuses to see COVID-19 as a threat and believes only over 60's will die, except him because he's "an athlete". State governors have had to implement measures independently, and Bosonaro has declared several businesses to be 'essential' so that they can remain open, including lotteries, hairdressers, churches and gyms.

A Church in Australia selling bleach as a coronavirus treatment has been fined $151,200 (£79,621).

Schools in Denmark went back a while ago, and while it did initially cause a rise in cases, that quickly flattened back again. Denmark had reported a total 10,667 cases and 533 losses of life. They currently have 1,471 active cases, with 37 critical patients.

A French-Tunisian resolution for temporary worldwide ceasefire, submitted to the UN last Friday, was blocked by the USA - who are in an argument with China about whether the World Health Organisation should be involved.
AFP news agency report they've seen a new proposal submitted by Germany and Estonia, which "calls for a "humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days" in order to allow for the delivery of aid to the hardest-hit communities." Fingers crossed they can swiftly sort this one out. At least 20 countries will directly benefit.

The Nightingale Hospital in Northern Ireland is being stood down. It will remain until we are sure we won't need it. Northern and Republic of Ireland have been able to control and suppress COVID-19 far better than the mainland UK.

Russia are testing like mad and have found over 70,000 cases this week alone. Active cases (number of people testing positive, with COVID-19 at the moment) are growing in Pakistan, Qatar, Belarus, Belgium and Sweden, still rising but more slowly in Brazil, India and the USA. Cases in Iran are now rising again.
After a very little blip on reopening after lockdown, Germany has had a good couple of days and cases look to be dropping again. Cases in Turkey, Italy and Spain are going down.

Some people. Every one of whom has a favourite food:

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

USA 1,416,786 (+8,150) 83,980 (+555)
Spain 271,095 (+1,575) 27,104 (+184)
Russia 242,271 (+10,028) 2,212 (+96)
UK 229,705 (+3,242) 33,186 (+494)
Italy 222,104 (+888) 31,106 (+195)
Brazil 180,049 (+2,447) 12,599 (+195)
France 178,225 not yet reported today 26,991
Germany 173,647 (+476) 7,788 (+50)
Turkey 143,114 (+1,639) 3,952 (+58)
Iran 112,725 (+1,958) 6,783 (+50)
China 82,926 (+7) 4,633
India 77,889 (+3,597) 2,546 (+131)
Peru 72,059 not yet reported today 2,057
Canada 71,486 (+329) 5,209 (+40)
Belgium 53,981 (+202) 8,843 (+82)
Saudi Arabia 44,830 (+1,905) 273 (+9)
Netherlands 43,211 (+227) 5,562 (+52)
Mexico 38,324 (+1,997) 3,926 (+353)
Pakistan 34,336 (+1,662) 737 (+13)
Sweden 27,909 (+637) 3,460 (+147)
Qatar 26,539 (+1,390) 14
Belarus 25,825 (+952) 146 (+4)

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