Sunday 24 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24th May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24th May 2020.

The UK added 2,409 cases today and now has reported a total of 259,559 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 110,401 tests yesterday. 8,951 people are in hospital, down 11% from this time last week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 118 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 36,793 losses of life in all settings.

England 149,308 / 32,760
Northern Ireland 4,570 / 505
Scotland 15,101 / 2,261
Wales 13,309 / 1,267

Rep. Of Ireland 24,639 (+57) cases and 1,608 (+4) losses of life. 
There have now been a total of 5,462,638 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 345,406. Already 2,286,820 people have recovered.

Physical distancing when shopping Pacific region WHO

The UK government is in a bit of disarray at the moment. Many MP's from all parties are unhappy and utterly exasperated with Dominic Cummings' lockdown flouting, especially now unproven witnesses have come forward to say they saw the family out on a day trip to Barnard Castle. It's also alleged Mr Cummings returned to London, and then drove back up to Durham on a later occasion, where he was seen at Houghall Woods with his wife.  
It's really not going so well for anyone trying to defend his actions. 
Led By Donkeys this lunchtime parked a van outside his house playing video and audio clips of people who have suffered horrendously because of COVID-19. 

Today's UK briefing had a special surprise guest, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and with him was Professor Stephen Powis of NHS England. 

Boris started by saying "I want to begin by answering the big question everyone's been asking for the last 48 hours, and that is, 'Is this government asking you, the people, the public, to do one thing, while senior people here in government do something else?'. He has spent several hours with Dominic Cummings and concluded that:
"In travelling to find the right kind of childcare, at the moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by Coronavirus, and when he had no alternative, he followed the instincts of every father, and every parent.... I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally and with integrity." 

The UK is on track to begin Step 2 as planned, and so schools should start reopening to more pupils on June 1st with Early Years, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
From June 15th Year 11 and 12 will have some contact with teachers, with a maximum 1/4 of pupils in school at any one point. We will continue to consider all of the evidence. Opening may not be possible for all schools. Social distancing may not always be possible, especially with younger children. 
Guidance for schools includes: 
Reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups, and not mixing with others. 
Increasing frequency of cleaning
Reducing use of shared items
Staggered break and lunchtimes, drop off and pick up
Utilising outdoor space
All children, staff and their families can be tested if they show symptoms. 

Non-essential retail and more social contacts will also be involved in Step 2. More news next week. 

Fabulously telling reply from Boris to a question about schools: "The really important thing is to ensure that we get everybody back and this whole thing up and running by September at the very latest."

Happy Eid. Asian family holding trays of scrummy looking celebration food

Press asked many questions about Dominic Cummings' 2020 UK COVID-19 tour. Boris was Boris, and said Dominic stuck to the rules. He didn't mention how many times they stopped for a wee on the way. 
Press asked the specific question,' Did Dominic Cummings make a trip to Barnard Castle when he was in Durham 'self-isolating'?' Boris did NOT answer this question. 
They asked the specific question, 'Can anyone travel around the country to sort out childcare then?' I can't even tell if Boris answered that, I'm saying no.
They asked the specific questions "What is your definition of 'no alternative'? If you need to travel but have symptoms, is this the new advice?". Boris repeated government advice as memorised and did not answer these questions. 
They asked the specific question "Hand on heart, did he not breach the spirit of the guidance?" Boris said he felt Dominic behaved sensibly and responsibly and did not answer the question. 
They asked the specific question 'Is there not a real danger that if Mr Cummings remains in place, you risk undermining the progress we've made so far?'. Boris just said that 'Dominic went into isolation' and moved on. 
Second to last question wasn't about Dominic Cummings, which I bet was a relief for a second. It was no relief though. It referred to Peter Gough, and admin assistant at Oxford Hospital, who raised concerns after the deaths of 2 porters at the same hospital, and has recently succumbed himself to COVID-19. The reply was that PPE follows WHO guidelines. 
There were loads of technical hitches with the press today, which meant we got to accidentally see or hear at least 3 of them laughing, looking to the sky for help or sucking air through their teeth. Bozza really was not playing and cut several people off mid-question. Steve may as well have stayed at home (protected the NHS and saved lives). 

Today's New York Times front page is entirely dedicated to the names of just a small fraction of the American people lost to COVID-19. The online version (link below in sources) scrolls down the page with details about them and their lives. It's incredibly beautiful and respectful, and poignant. An average of 1,100 Americans a day have died from COVID-19 over the last 3 months. 

The New York Times names of those lost to coronavirus fill the front page

India have introduced a 14 day quarantine for arrivals. 7 days institutional quarantine (you pay the bill) and 7 days isolation at home. Their contact tracing app. may also be mandatory. 

The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been interviewed by state broadcaster CGTN, and said that the Pandemic coronavirus was NOT in their facility and therefore could not have escaped. "That is pure fabrication". She said they have isolated 3 strains of coronaviruses from bats, but the "closest to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 percent".

Seems many Americans are flocking to less restricted areas to enjoy Memorial Day weekend and the start of Summer. 
Videos of the 'Lake of the Ozarks' area in Missouri show it rammed full of holidaymakers from far and wide (including Illinois and Tenessee). It looks like somewhere you might decide against on any normal day, because it's simply too busy. 
The preliminary results will be out in around 2 weeks, 4 weeks will show any true effect.   

Numbers of infected people in the UK are dropping and it's good news, but bad news for vaccine candidate trials.
The Oxford vaccine is recruiting over 10,000 participants for stage 2, but we'll only know if the vaccine works, if enough people are exposed to the virus for them to find out. 
If it seems it would take many months for vaccinated people to naturally be exposed to COVID-19,  'Human Challenge Trials' may be considered. This would involve informed volunteers, with lowest chance of serious illness, being purposefully exposed and kept under supervision. 

Bank holiday dentist
The World Health Organisation have accepted their first ever donation of medicine for a non-communicable disease. Health-care company Novo Nordisk have donated around $1.3m of Insulin and Glucagon, for diabetics in 50 low and middle income countries. 
Diabetics are more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19, it seems especially so when they don't have the condition under good control. Disruption of supply of drugs has been making life very hard for people with health conditions worldwide, but especially so in poorer nations. 

A study by Imperial College London and Oxford University has modelled the UK's coronavirus cases, and they believe that on March 14th the UK had around 200,000 cases, which rose to around 1.5 million before we locked down on March 23rd. 

Author and poet Michael Rosen is out of Intensive Care after a massive 47 days. It's never been confirmed he had Coronavirus, but he was certainly suffering symptoms. It will take weeks or months of rehabilitation before he recovers, and he may never be exactly the man he was before. This is true for anyone who spends time in intensive care - I wish everyone in this position the best possible recovery. I am glad you are still here. 

Michael Rosen Tweet noses

Japan have had less than 50 cases per day for the last 5 days, and are on the verge of removing the state of emergency from the final prefectures. They closed schools early, but never locked down the population or closed business. 
Social factors will play a huge role in Japan's control of COVID-19. They are regular users of masks, don't hug or shake hands naturally when greeting people, and tend to be more reserved. They already used contact tracing for any serious illnesses, so have traced contacts of every diagnosed case of COVID-19 from the outset. Best of luck!

Eid Mabarak to any Muslims reading. I hope your day has been excellent - and you have plenty of cake.

Lots of people. They all would have done exciting things this Summer: 

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

USA 1,675,880 (+9,052) 99,003 (+320) 
Brazil 352,523 (+5,125) 22,288 (+275) 
Russia 344,481 (+8,599) 3,541 (+153) 
Spain 282,370 not yet reported today 28,678
UK 259,559 (+2,405) 36,793 (+118) 
Italy 229,858 (+531) 32,785 (+50)
France 182,469 not yet reported today 28,332
Germany 180,153 (+167) 8,371 (+5)
Turkey 156,827 (+1,141) 4,340 (+32)
India 138,223 (+6,800) 4,024 (+156) 
Iran 135,701 (+2,180) 7,417 (+58) 
Peru 115,754 Not yet reported today 3,373
Canada 84,655 (+1,034) 6,424 (+69)
China 82,974 (+3) 4,634
Saudi Arabia 72,560 (+2,399) 390 (+11) 
Chile 69,102 (+3,709) 718 (+45) 
Mexico 65,856 (+3,329) 7,179 (+190) 

Dominic Cummings:
Matthew and Sarah Elliott
Carole Cadwallader

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