Monday, 18 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 18th May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 18th May 2020.

The UK added 2,684 cases today and now has reported a total of 246,406 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 100,678 tests yesterday. 9,408 people are in hospital (first time under 10,000 in a long time) and down 13% from this time last week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 160 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 34,796 losses of life in all settings.

England 144,127 / 31,010
Northern Ireland 4,401 / 476
Scotland 14,594 / 2,103
Wales 12,404 / 1.207

Rep. Of Ireland 24,200 (+88) cases and 1,547 (+4) losses of life.
There have now been a total of 4,851,974 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 318,051. Already 1,882,132 people have recovered.

"The COVID19 pandemic is a reminder of the intimate & delicate relationship between people and planet" 
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO, at the World Health Assembly opening speech. 

standing 2 metres apart is standing up to the virus

"The Earth has confronted several pandemics before. This is the first caused by a coronavirus. This a dangerous enemy, with a dangerous combination of features: efficient, fast and fatal. 
COVID19 can operate in the dark, spread silently if we’re not paying attention, then suddenly explode if we aren’t ready. We’ve seen the same pattern repeated in cities & countries the globe." Dr Tedros.

Today saw the opening of the 2 day 73rd annual meeting of the World Health Assembly. This is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed. It is the highest health policy setting body in the world, and is composed of Health Ministers from all 194 member states.
For weeks Taiwan have been asking to be included, but at the last minute postponed their request for observer status. China say they're part of China, other countries, including Australia, say they're entitled to be there, and there's no doubt their expertise with COVID-19 is invaluable. 
Australia has called for an independent coronavirus inquiry. By the time today's assembly convened, 116 countries had co-sponsored the motion. They include the African Group's 54 member states, all 27 members of the EU, Russia, Indonesia, India, Japan, Britain and Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and New Zealand.
The Assembly started with standard greetings and introductory statements, and then an address from China’s President Xi Jinping. He made the following proposals to bring COVID-19 under control:
-- We must do everything we can for COVID-19 control and treatment;
-- The World Health Organization should lead the global response;
-- We must provide greater support for Africa;
-- We must strengthen global governance in the area of public health;
-- We must restore economic and social development;
-- We must strengthen international cooperation.
 “All along we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility.” He pledged $2b towards the COVID19 response and help to set up hospitals and health infrastructure in Africa.

A deal has been reached over an inquiry at the World Health Assembly this afternoon. China supports a "comprehensive evaluation" of the global response to coronavirus "after pandemic under control".

Since they called their highest alert level - a Public Health Emergency of International Concern - on January 30th, the World Health Organisation have shipped diagnostics, personal protective equipment, oxygen & other medical supplies to at least 120 countries, and trained more than 2.6 million health workers, in 23 languages.

180520 people in hospital uk GOV

Yesterday the Scottish government announced it's 'Test, Trace & Isolate' pilot. It launches today in NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland regions. 600 Contact Tracers have been employed to work alongside the app. to locate potential contacts of people who test positive, ensure they are tested and then isolated until sure they don't have COVID-19. 

The UK have finally added 'Changes to (or loss of) taste and/or smell (anosmia)' to the list of symptoms for the coronavirus. It's hardly surprising they're being accused of being 'slow to react'. Stunningly this now brings the list of symptoms to 3, alongside a new persistent cough and a temperature. If you experience these symptoms, you should isolate. If you become ill with COVID-19 and live alone, make sure someone is keeping an eye on you. Registering as ill on 111 is meant to do that if you don't have actual people around. 

Testing has been opened up to anyone in the UK aged 5 or over with symptoms. 

Today's UK (England) briefing was with Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary and  Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. 
We're up to a regular 100,000 tests a day, and we have now employed 21,000 Contact Tracers, so we are in a good position for when we start using track and trace. 
Dominic Raab confirmed that care workers who come from abroad won’t be exempt from the NHS surcharge - i.e. they pay £400 a year for standard NHS services. 
Best bit was when Jonathan Van Tam said we'd started quarantining visitors on 30th Feb. 

Groups of up to 6 people who don't even live together can meet outdoors in Northern Ireland from tomorrow. Crikey. Social distancing must be followed. Churches and places of worship can open for private prayer, and outdoor sports which allow for social distancing, including golf and tennis, can restart. Drive in entertainment is also permitted.

Anosmia UK Government

An horrific cyclone is due to hit India and Bangladesh, and around 1 million people look likely to have to be evacuated. In a world where everyone is under lockdown and social distancing can be the difference between life and death, this is a catastrophic situation. 

Many African countries are either too poor to cope, or are facing accusations of not taking coronavirus seriously enough. Reports are rife of hotspots (Somalia, Nigeria, Cape Town, Mogadishu etc) with some hospitals no longer able to accept patients, medics infected, and morticians and gravediggers overwhelmed. 

Tanzania seems to be in the midst of a disaster. President John Magufuli has been accused of downplaying risk, and claims he sent a range of non human samples to be tested for the virus, and a quail, a goat and a pawpaw came back positive. Tanzania complained about unreliable tests, WHO said they were fine, and Tanzania stopped releasing any regular data.
3 members of the Tanzanian parliament have died in the last month, at least 1 of whom had tested positive. 
Magufuli has imported shipments of “Covid-Organics", Madagascar's herbal drink cure for Covid-19 and schools are shut, but otherwise life continues as normal. According to local papers, at mass yesterday Magufuli said: 
 “We have had a number of viral diseases, including Aids and measles. Our economy must come first. It must not sleep. If we allow our economy to sleep, we will not receive salaries.” They have reported 509 cases, and 21 losses of life. 
 
The US CDC are facing criticism for moving too slowly and with too much bureaucracy at the start. And they also, like many, fell victim to buying tests that weren't reliable. Sounds familiar... 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been criticised for his earlier policy of sending patients back to nursing homes after they tested positive for COVID-19. 
This is also an error the UK government and others made. It's a crying shame information wasn't shared more quickly and warnings paid heed to.

The UK government have told Scotland there will be no extra furlough money after October if their plans run on longer than in England.  

More than 50 schools in France have already closed after reopening last week, due to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. At least 70 new confirmed cases have been linked to schools. It's not yet known if they are staff or pupils. 

Several UK Councils have said schools WILL NOT be opening to more pupils on 1st June. Reasons given are mostly that we have too many cases of Coronavirus still, and schools are struggling to understand how social distancing and safety can be implemented. 
Councils who are not intending to open schools include (and I might be wrong, so tell me if I am): 
Bury
Wigan (maybe)
Stockport (not before June 10th)
Rochdale
Liverpool
Hartlepool
Teesside
Knowsley
For reference every single member of the Conservative cabinet who has children, sends them to private schools, which are not reopening this academic year. 

180520 Testing UK Cases

The R level (Reproductive Number, Reproduction Rate etc) is really a bit of a confusing statistic, because if you have 3 cases and the R is 1, you'll have another 3 cases. If you have 14,000 and the R is 0.5, you'll have another 7,000 cases. 
The smaller your number of cases, the more 'wrong' an impression the R can give, and the less useful it is. For example, if a single house party causes a cluster of 20 cases, it will raise the local R. 
Bear in mind as well, that R data can change quickly - and can go up very fast. Like the curve, it's slower to come down. 
It is normal to have a little rise in the R when you reduce restrictions or lift a lockdown. What you hope for is a little blip before it turns back down again. If it doesn't, the sensible money starts reimposing restrictions without delay. 

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered that shopping malls be opened all across the country. 

Lost Their Fight: 
Liverpool Catholic Bishop Vincent Malone

As of today, New York City has had 145 reports of Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome. Only 67 tested positive for the coronavirus or antibodies, and one young person has died. The US CDC has confirmed that the illness does have a link to COVID-19 in their opinion. 

Another exciting hoax about 5G. This time a video claiming to show electronics labelled COV19 ready to go into a 5G tower. It's ancient and clearly has a SCART socket. Ahhhh nostalgia....
Virgin Media told Reuters: “That is a board from a very old set top TV box and which never featured any component parts inscribed/stamped/printed or otherwise with "COV 19." It has absolutely no relation with any mobile network infrastructure, including that used for 5G.”

Spats have broken out regarding coronavirus throughout US politics. Barack Obama used a 'Graduate Together' speech to say “This pandemic has torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing."
Trump responded with “He was an incompetent president - grossly incompetent. That’s all I can say.”

There's a hoax that heads of 10 African nations have approved Madagascar's Covid-Organics herbal drink cure. Sadly not, although they've said the African Union CDC will take a look. As of yet there is zero actual evidence that it has any effect. 
Covid-Organics is a herbal tea made from Artemesia (also known as Mugworts or Wormwood or Sage Brush). Banned in many countries and bizarrely I think it's what Sally poisons the Professor with in The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is also what gives Absinthe it's flavour. Overdose (single occasion or built up over time) can cause nerve damage, mental problems, death and more. Hmmm. I think  I'll stop at death. What is evident here is that it's probably not time to start attempting to brew your own tea. That includes you Donald. 

Some people, all of whom slept under the same stars..... 

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

USA 1,534,453 (+6,789) 91,268 (+290) 
Russia 290,678 (+8,926) 2,722 (+91)
Spain 277,719 not yet reported today 27,650
UK 246,406 (+2,684) 34,796 (+160)
Brazil 244,135 (+3,055) 16,203 (+85) 
Italy 225,886 (+451) 32,007 (+99)
France 179,569 not yet reported today 28,108
Germany 177,182 (+531) 8,085 (+36)
Turkey 150,593 (+1,158) 4,171 (+31)
Iran 22,492 (+2,294) 7,057 (+69) 
India 100,293 (+4,595) 3,155 (+130) 
Peru 92,273 not yet reported today 2,648
China 82,954 (+7) 4,634
Canada 77,309 (+307) 5,805 (+23) 
Saudi Arabia 57,345 (+2,593) 320 (+8)
Belgium 55,559 (+279) 9,080 (+28) 
Mexico 49,219 (+2,075) 5,177 (+132) 
.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-northern-ireland-lockdown-six-people-outdoors-a9520736.html
https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1262377398546374657
https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/70-cases-of-covid-19-linked-to-french-schools-days-after-reopening/18/05/
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52713127
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/bury-schools-not-opening-june-18270131
https://www.africanews.com/2020/05/14/madagascar-s-covid-organics-testimonies-and-medical-caution/
https://pesacheck.org/false-african-heads-of-state-have-not-approved-madagascars-covid-19-herbal-remedy-4e49ec11135b
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/economy-comes-before-virus-says-tanzanian-president/1844572
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/developing-world-thought-had-escaped-coronavirus-worst-may/
https://africacenter.org/spotlight/coronavirus-spreads-through-africa/
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/17/world/africa/coronavirus-kano-nigeria-hotspot.html
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/18/first-thing-china-is-under-the-spotlight-at-the-world-health-assembly-covid-19
https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1262344250194366466
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/18/coronavirus-update-us/
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/taiwan-s-who-status-on-the-agenda-as-world-health-assembly-convenes
https://twitter.com/WilliamYang120/status/1262337426548117505
https://twitter.com/omar_quraishi/status/1262293920295407616
https://twitter.com/Variety/status/1262118191452418048
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cuomo-says-no-one-should-be-prosecuted-coronavirus-deaths-nursing-home-2020-05-17/?ftag=CNM-00-10aag7e
https://twitter.com/AgentP22/status/1262055096529059840?s=09

In the past week, covid-19 outbreaks hit schools in:
Derby:
https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/two-cases-coronavirus-confirmed-derby-4137660
Grantham:
https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/local-news/lincolnshire-school-closes-coronavirus-health-4135650
Bristol:
https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/school-closed-after-two-teachers-4127976
Burnley:
https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/burnley-school-closed-deep-clean-18255703



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