Tuesday 26 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 26th May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 26th May 2020.

The UK added 2,004 cases today and now has reported a total of 265,227 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 109,979 tests yesterday. 8,802 people are in hospital, including 98 members of NHS staff. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 134 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 37,048 losses of life in all settings. 

For the first time since the 18th March, yesterday there were no deaths recorded in Northern Ireland. This is a fantastic piece of news. Well done to the whole of Ireland for suppressing cases so well. 

England 150,294 / 32,979
Northern Ireland 4,637 / 514
Scotland 15,185 / 2,273 
Wales 13,556 / 1,282

Rep. Of Ireland 24,698 cases and 1,606 losses of life. 
There have now been a total of 5,637,544 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 349,301. Already 2,404,977 people have recovered.

Children mental health

I was hoping not to cover any more Dominic Cummings news, but the conservative party is imploding. Almost 40 Conservative MP's have asked for his resignation, 1 minister had already resigned by lunchtime, and the internet was awash with the fact Cummings said his blog demonstrated 'his Coronavirus knowledge was essential' - but he added everything mentioning Coronavirus in mid-April. Sadly we are in the middle of a pandemic, so it's not ideal timing for this, but it's beginning to feel like an episode of Game Of Thrones where we're not sure who is paying the advisor, or why the King feels he can't sack him, but the peasants are definitely revolting. 

The ONS (Office For National Statistics) have released more accurate figures for England and Wales in the week ending 15 May 2020 (Week 20). (The early May Bank Holiday in Week 19 means the number of registrations in Week 20 was artificially high.)
The number of deaths registered in Week 20 was 14,573, which is 4,385 more than the five-year average.
Of the deaths registered in Week 20, 3,810 mentioned COVID-19, the lowest number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the last six weeks, 26.1% of all deaths.
People aged 90 years and over continued to have the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Week 20.
In Week 20, 30.6% of all deaths occurred in care homes.
The number of deaths in care homes was 2,350 higher than the five-year average.
37.2%. of all deaths in care homes mentioned COVID-19. 
The percentage of deaths involving COVID-19 continued to decrease across all English regions; the North West had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths (620) for the second week in a row.
In Wales, there were 180 deaths registered in Week 20 involving COVID-19, accounting for 23.3% of all deaths registered in Wales.
The number of deaths registered in the whole UK in the week ending 15 May 2020 (Week 20) was 16,366 of which 4,210 deaths involved COVID-19.

Of all COVID-19 deaths in the UK registered up to Week 20:
65.1% occurred in hospital
28.3% occurred in care homes
4.6% occurred in private homes
1.3% occurred in hospices

Today's UK briefing was with Health Secretary, Matt Hancock and Prof John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. We have the lowest losses of life for 6 weeks. 
We have signed contracts for over 2b items of PPE from the UK. Around the world we've signed deals with 100 new suppliers. We are currently in a position to be able to start replenishing stockpiles. 
Our RECOVERY Trial is the world's largest trial of treatments. Today we are adding a new trial for Remdesivir (About time! It has been shown to improve recovery by 4 days on average.)
All graphs show reductions. We are getting there in all areas, but slowly.

First public question was from a Vicar, who asked if parents would be fined for travelling for childcare, and if any parents had been fined, would it be reviewed. He was told he would get a full answer in a UK briefing once Matt had checked it out. 
We WILL have 'local lockdowns' in future, as part of the 'test and trace' programme. Whenever a big cluster appears, it will be necessary to stop it from spreading. This is common worldwide, although very much unprecedented in the UK. It's probably the only way we'll be able to effectively suppress the virus. 
Press were vicious. Almost every question, even if it mentioned other things, referred to 'using your instincts' or 'necessary childcare'. All very much about Dominic Cummings. 

260520 ONS England and Wales Deaths from COVID for year so far

Remdesivir is a very hopeful drug and early results have all been promising. An anti-viral that was originally produced to fight Hepatitis C, but wasn't very effective against that. One of the biggest problems for health services is length of hospital stay. Decreasing that by 4 days on average would be a real boost and means countries with limited resources can treat far more patients. Fingers crossed. 

Scotland's Test and Protect programme launches on Thursday. Anyone with symptoms should isolate and immediately book in for a test. Contacts will be traced and informed, and asked to isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms. 

The World Health Organisation have reiterated that although they have paused the Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine COVID-19 trials, the rest of the SOLIDARITY treatment trials are ongoing, and it's ONLY WITH COVID that there seems to be an issue. 
"I wish to reiterate that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.
WHO will provide further updates as we know more." Dr Tedros. 

Thailand have extended their state of emergency until the end of June. 

The first Southern hemisphere human trials of a vaccine candidate have begun in Australia. 

260520 ONS England and Wales regional Deaths including from COVID for year so far

For a long time it's been patently clear that hospitals struggle to control COVID-19, and a South African study has looked at how? And why? it spreads so easily. 
On 9 March, a COVID-19 patient turned up in the emergency department of St Augustine’s hospital in Durban. 
They were only in the hospital for a few hours, but within 8 weeks, 39 patients and 80 staff had been infected, and 15 people had lost their lives. 
In contrast to what was previously suspected, no staff seem to have become infected in ICU, and patients very rarely infected other patients or staff. Instead it seems most transmission occurred on hospital equipment. 
"The evidence suggests that indirect contact and fomite transmission were likely to be the predominant modes of patient to patient transmission." (Fomites are surfaces which can carry virus, so anything from worktops to blood pressure machines to walls).
They recommend weekly testing of staff, upgrade infection control measures and cleaning. More strict handwashing, separate areas and equipment for COVID-19/non-COVID-19 patients and separate entrances for anyone who could have COVID-19. 
Luckily most of this is already common practise in hard hit or well informed areas, but this is the first time the importance of measures (such as thoroughly washing your stethoscope after you use it) has been made clear. 

In an article on the BBC, Professor Spector from King's College London said there was a measurable spike in cases after events such as the Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool's Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.

The UK government has published new advice for anyone working in shops, contact centres, offices and other people's homes. It's always up to your employer to ensure they're up to date and you are protected from infection as best you can be. 

260520 ONS England and Wales Deaths from COVID

More non-peer-reviewed studies have recently been released which back up the theory that some people just spread COVID-19 more than others. It could be social, it could be personality, it could be job, or it could just be luck and timing:
Abbot Worldwide study - 10% of infectious people cause 80% of cases
Miller Israel study - 1-5% of infectious people cause 80% of cases
Adam Hong Kong study - 20% of infectious people cause 80% of cases. 

Wuhan in China are testing everyone - all 11m residents. Over the last 12 days they've tested 6.68m already and found 206 new positive asymptomatic cases. 

The Remdesivir entry on Wikipedia has been amended to mention poor eyesight and jolly jaunts to the English countryside. I'd imagine it won't be the only one. A lot of people are very annoyed at Dominic Cummings. 

President Putin has said that Russia are past their peak. Cases are beginning to go down, and they've tested like crazy, with over 9 million tests for 362,342 cases. They've lost under 4,000 people, which gives you an idea of just how many people the UK really have had COVID-19 already. 

Hong Kong are in the midst of a disaster politically and may be about to break into civil war, but where COVID-19 is concerned, they've done a superb job. Chief Executive Carrie Lam says on May 28th karaoke bars, clubs, bathhouses and event rooms can re-open. One June 1st Hong Kong International airport will relax some restrictions.

Taiwan COVID stamps

Taiwan haven't had any news cases now for 44 days and restrictions on gatherings have been lifted. People have to wear masks on public transport and in busy places, but otherwise, as long as social distancing is maintained, events can go ahead as originally planned. They've even produced some special postage stamps to celebrate. Well done to you all. 

Some people, shown as numbers because I don't know all of their names:

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

USA 1,713,000 (+6,774) 100,030 (+225) 
Brazil 377,711 (+1,042) 23,606 (+84) 
Russia 362,342 (+8,915) 3,807 (+174)
Spain 282,480 not yet reported today 26,837
UK 265,227 (+4,043) 37,048 (+134)
Italy 230,555 (+397) 32,955 (+78) 
France 182,942 not yet reported today 28,432
Germany 181,094 (+305) 8,449 (+21) 
Turkey 157,814 not yet reported today 4,369
India 150,739 (+5,789) 4,349 (+177) 
Iran 139,511 (+1,787) 7,508 (+57) 
Peru 123,979 not yet reported today 3,629
Canada 85,998 (+287) 6,566 (+21) 
China 82,992 (+7) 4,634
Chile 77,961 (+3,964) 806 (+45) 
Greece 2,892 (+10) 173 (+1) 



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