Thursday 21 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21st May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21st May 2020.

The UK added 2,615 cases today and now has reported a total of 250,908 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 128,340 tests yesterday. 9,543 people are in hospital, down 14% from this time last week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 338 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 36,042 losses of life in all settings.

England 146,662 / 32,117
Northern Ireland 4,481 / 494
Scotland 14,856 / 2.184
Wales 12,846 / 1,247

Rep. Of Ireland 24,391 (+76) cases and 1,583 (+12) losses of life. 
There have now been a total of 5,138,992 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 331,696. Already 2,050,461 people have recovered.

Quarantine loneliness simple drawing shows man on the phone

"The Home Office is extending the offer of indefinite leave to remain, free of charge, to the families and dependants of NHS support staff and social care workers who die as result of contracting coronavirus.
The offer of indefinite leave to remain will be effective immediately and retrospectively."
This afternoon Boris Johnson has also asked the Home Office to exempt NHS and care workers who were originally born elsewhere from having to pay the Immigration NHS surcharge for using the NHS. 

Don't ask and you don't get. Ask and sometimes they pay attention. 

Today's England briefing was with Matt Hancock, the stand-in Prime Minister, plus Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer and  Prof John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. 
He started by mentioning Mental Health Awareness Week. It really is okay to not always be okay -  especially right now. We are ALL a bit scared. 
A further £4.2m is being allocated to mental health charities including The Samaritans, Mental Health UK and Young Minds. 
He talked about the Oxford Vaccine (more below) and the antibody testing (more below). 
The UK's random antibody surveillance testing is showing us information about UK spread. So far the results suggest that: 
Around 17% of people in London and
Around 5% or greater of people across England
have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. That's higher than earlier results seemed to show, and really does bring down our mortality rate massively. It's still horrific, but it is actually good news. 
Public Health England have authorised use of the 2 different reliable antibody (did I have it?) tests, and over 10m have been ordered. They'll be rolled out across the UK from next week, to NHS workers and social care firstly. 
A 20 minute swab test (have I got it?) is being trialled from today. They've been using these in Asia for a long time. 
The UK Test, Track and Trace (shouldn't we have 'isolate' on the end of that?) is on target to launch for 1st June. It is anticipated we have testing capacity to cope. 

Robbie Savage, ex-Wales and Man Utd/Crewe/Derby etc football player (and newspaper columnist) asked a question at today's UK briefing. Because the world wasn't mad enough already... 

The Office for National Statistics have taken the English antibody surveillance data and believe that from 4th to 17th May in England an average 137,000 people in the community had COVID-19 at any given point. Around 0.25%. That is almost exactly the same as their previous estimate last week. They estimate 61,000 new infections in the community per week. 

You can clearly see when we are talking about reducing restrictions, comparisons to countries like Denmark or Norway, who tested every person they could find (who might have been in contact with infected people) and isolated them, and only ever had a few hundred or thousand cases at once, just aren't actually a fair comparison to our current 137,000 cases . 

List 1 of 4 with different relaxation of restrictions in Scotland over the next 4 phases.

Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government have really taken a lot of credit today for their second Coronavirus Bill, which was rushed through as a matter of urgency. 
All Scottish people who receive Carer's Allowance will receive an extra £230 in June.
Scottish Government will NOT provide financial support to companies registered in tax havens. 
Ministers can temporarily take charge of any care home if there is a serious risk to life, health or wellbeing because of COVID-19. 
A Social Care Support Fund has also been set up for care workers who lose income because of COVID-19 (when they have symptoms etc).
A £5m fund to support tenants under severe financial pressure. 

Scotland have also published their route map out of restrictions. It doesn't go by dates, it goes by 'being ready to do it'. It's quite extensive, but I've posted all 4 pages because it is really clear and gives a good idea of what the English one will probably be very similar to! 

List 2 of 4 with different relaxation of restrictions in Scotland over the next 4 phases

Concerning news for anyone who has spent the last 4 1/2 years training for a once-in-a-lifetime international sporting event. The International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has warned that if the Tokyo Olympics can't take place next Summer, it will be cancelled.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said their state of emergency could be lifted as early as next week. Only 5 prefectures are currently still under restrictions. 

Another 2 studies in Rhesus Macaque monkeys have had very promising results - and they are peer-reviewed! (checked over by other scientists. A rarity in these fast-moving times).  
1. Researchers in the USA infected 9 monkeys with COVID-19 (all showed evidence of infection and tested positive for antibodies). 35 days later they attempted to re-infect the monkeys. None became significantly ill, and they all had a targetted antibody response to the virus - meaning they had developed some immunity. 
2. The USA Researchers also tested 6 different trial vaccine candidates. They immunised 35 Rhesus Macaques in 2 doses (Week 0 and Week 3). At week 6 they attempted to infect the monkeys with COVID-19. All of the monkeys showed some immunity, 8 were completely protected. 

A 2 day old baby, born to a COVID-19 positive mother and testing positive themselves, has died in South Africa. The baby was born prematurely and had difficulty breathing from birth. 

ITV News had video of hundreds, if not thousands, of UK sun worshippers enjoying themselves at Southend Beach yesterday. I hope you maintained your distance, and I also hope none of you needed a poo. Public toilets are, for the most part, closed because no-one is really sure how to ensure social distancing or keep them COVID-19 clean. 

Denmark start phase 2 of their reopening on May 27th. 
Museums, theaters, art galleries, cinemas, aquariums. zoos, botanical plants, outdoor amusement parks, Summer activities for children, secondary, most higher and further education can open. 
Restrictions regarding activities and visits to care homes etc continue. 
Indoor sports, gyms, nightclubs and discos are still banned. 
Gatherings of more than 10 people prohibited. 

scottish routemap out of restrictions page 3

Superdrug are the first UK pharmacy to offer COVID-19 antibody tests. 
Antibody tests can also be called 'did I have it?' and sometimes 'serological tests' - which means it studies a body fluid (blood). They are not effective until at least 14 days after you have been infected with COVID-19, because it takes at least 2 weeks for your body to create enough antibodies to be measured. 
Superdrug say their test is 100% specific - which means it never gives a positive result without finding antibodies, and 97.5% accurate - so 2.5% may get a false negative result.

Testing positive for antibodies doesn't mean you are safe to go out and forget social distancing. Although it's believed presence of antibodies implies some level of immunity, we simply don't know if having antibodies always means you are immune, or how long that immunity will last. 
Obviously massive amounts of people have had COVID-19, and millions will use antibody tests, so time will definitely give us the answers. 

scottish routemap out of restrictions 4

The US have given AstraZeneca $1.2b towards a 30,000 person US trial of the Oxford vaccine (now called AZD1222) this Summer, should current trials go well. In return they secure 300m doses for the US, should the vaccine prove effective. The UK have already bagsied 100m doses. 

AstraZeneca believe they already have capacity to create 1b doses and are expanding capacity to "ensure the delivery of a globally accessible vaccine". They are working closely with the WHO (World Health Organisation) and CEPI  (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations). 

Easy Jet will resume some flights from mid-June. They will mostly be domestic, within the UK, and passengers will need to wear masks. 

Thermal screening technology is apparently being trialled at Heathrow Airport. I repeatedly see why we were so slow at our coronavirus response - it's a thermometer for goodness sake. 

Some people. From all over the same world:

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

USA 1,602,466 (+9,743) 95,467 (+531)
Russia 317,554 (+8,849) 3,099 (+127)
Brazil 296,033 (+2,676) 19,148 (+254) 
Spain 279,524 not yet reported today 27,888
UK 250,908 (+2,615) 36,042 (+338)
Italy 228,006 (+642) 32,486 (+156)
France 181,575 not yet reported today 28,132
Germany 178,864 (+333) 8,273 (+3)
Turkey 153,548 (+961) 4,249 (+27)
Iran 129,341 (+2,392) 7,249 (+66) 
India 115,800 (+3,772) 3,519 (+85)
Peru 104,020 not yet reported today 3,024
China 82,967 (+2) 4,634
Canada 80,556 (+414) 6,063 (+32) 

Rhesus Macaques:

1 comment:

  1. It was interesting to hear our update and see our plan. I have stopped watching the numbers, but I am interested to see if things changed after VE Day xx


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