Friday 29 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 29th May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 29th May 2020.

The UK added 2,095 cases today and now has reported a total of 271,222 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 131,458 tests yesterday.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 324 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 38,161 losses of life in all settings.

England 151,982 / 34,010
Northern Ireland 4,696 / 518
Scotland 15,327 / 2,316
Wales 13,827 / 1,317

Rep. Of Ireland 24,876 (+35) cases and 1,645 (+6) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 5,970,911 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 364,291. Already 2,629,624 people have recovered.

Medical masks how to wear them safely WHO advice

Today's UK briefing was with Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, and Steve Powys of NHS England.
The furlough scheme will be in place until October. Employers are being asked to contribute towards the wages of their staff. 
In June and July the furlough scheme continues as before. 
In August the taxpayer contribution stays at 80% and employers are asked to pay employer pension contributions and National Insurance. 
In September taxpayers will pay 70% and employers contribute 10%
In October employers 60% and taxpayers pay 20%. 
Then the furlough scheme will close. 
You must be registered by June 10th to benefit from furlough.
Flexible Furlough is being introduced from July 1st. Employers have flexibility for themselves and their staff. You can go back part time while it's quiet, and do more hours later for example. 
Self-employed people who are affected can also apply for another payment of 70% of 3 months average profit, up to £6,570. 
Press said Downing Street admitted this morning that we are still at Alert Level 4, but we are beginning to relax restrictions, which we said we'd do only when we were at Alert Level 3? Are we still 'following the science'? Did we 'press ahead regardless?'. Rishi talked lots and said little. 

One of the members of the UK Government's official SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group) has broken ranks. Professor John Edmunds has several doubts and on the BBC said:
"Lifting the lockdown is a political decision. Lifting it now means we're keeping incidence at this level."

From 1 June in England: 
"up to six people from different households will be allowed to meet outside, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces."
" is critical that those from different households continue to stay 2 metres apart. And it remains the case that people should not spend time inside the homes of their friends and families, other than to access the garden or use the toilet."

From today in Scotland you can meet up with 1 other household per day as long as you're outside, there aren’t more than 8 people present and household groups stay 2 metres apart.

In Wales the public health message is to 'stay local' and from Monday people in Wales can meet up with 1 other household, as long as you're outside, household groups must stay 2 metres apart and both homes should be within 5 miles of each other. You are being asked not to travel more than 5 miles, in order to restrict movement of COVID-19 around the country. This applies to anyone who is within Wales - English daytrippers are NOT going to be made welcome.

As if the world couldn't become any more like some crazy movie, a group of Rhesus Macaque Monkeys in Delhi, India have stolen some COVID-19 samples and run off with them. 
The monkeys attacked a lab assistant who was holding blood samples from 3 patients, and at least one was later seen chewing a sample in a tree. (A monkey, not a lab assistant.)

Sheffield City Council will not be reopening schools on 1st June as they are not satisfied the 5 tests have been met in their area and say:
".. in light of the Sheffield Public Health advice we do not yet feel assured that it is the right time and are advising our schools and nurseries to delay increasing numbers until the 15th June 2020".

World appeal for global vaccine the WHO

From the start it's been clear that people who have suffered from Cancer are at greater risk from COVID-19, and that is why Cancer treatments were paused - because it was deemed safer. New (not yet peer reviewed) research in The Lancet suggests that move was correct. Mortality among people who have had treatment for Cancer is higher. It really is a very cruel disease. 
A study of 928 COVID patients in the United States, Spain and Canada, with active or previous malignancy, found that 132 (14%) were admitted to Intensive Care, and 121 (13%) of the patients had died within 30 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis. 
366 (39%) patients were on active anticancer treatment, and 396 (43%) had active (measurable) cancer. 
Any patients treated with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin were at far greater risk of being admitted to intensive care (29%) or succumbing - although the authors remind us that the sickest patients would have been more likely to be prescribed these drugs. They also remind us that this represents patients who were tested - we have no idea how many other recovered or current Cancer patients in the population were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, so won't be counted in these figures. 

The UK's official SAGE have published 51 documents, including minutes of meetings, in an effort to be more transparent and inform the public. Nothing still 'currently under consideration' has been released. 
(I have not yet read any of it.)

The US CDC have advised that anyone returning to the USA from overseas should stay home and isolate for 14 days. They should also take their temperature at least twice a day and monitor themselves for symptoms. 

Last Friday lots of shielded people in England received a text message telling them they were no longer in the shielded category. This decision was made by individual review from your doctor or consultant and you should have heard from them first. It included some Cancer patients, and after the study above, I'd suggest you have any questions, you speak to your doctor or consultant again for clarification. 

Donald Trump is in danger of losing any remaining credibility. It's got naff all to do with COVID-19, but 2 days ago a black American died from suffocation after being stopped by police. It was in a very public place and filmed by witnesses. Mass protesting and rioting has ensued, Minneapolis is basically on fire, and has declared a state of emergency. 
Last night Trump pretty much tweeted that he would send in the National Guard to shoot them all. Twitter red flagged his tweets and placed a warning that they glorified and incited violence. 
Protests have now also taken place in New York, Denver, L.A. and other cities across America, and at lunchtime an entire CNN crew were arrested while live on TV for no apparent reason. With stress already high due to COVID-19, it's really not what anyone needed right now. 

Test and TRACE UK how it works

The UK Track And Trace app. is proving unpopular with some more people today and part of it is this line in the details:
"The personally identifiable information collected by NHS Test and Trace for people with COVID-19 symptoms is kept by Public Health England for 20 years."
They explain:
"This information needs to be kept for this long because COVID-19 is a new disease and it may be necessary to know who has been infected, or been in close contact with someone with symptoms, to help control any future outbreaks or to provide any new treatments."
For 20 years? Glad they've cleared that up. 
(Come on guys, we actually want people to download this app., stop making it sound so dodgy.)

South Korea's recent Seoul nightclub outbreak has scared them. 266 cases have now been found linked to the outbreak, including a cluster in a distribution warehouse. More than 250 schools, plus parks and other public spaces have been closed, and reopening of more schools in Seoul postponed. 

In an article in Science Magazine, Japan's Hitoshi Oshitani, a virologist and public health expert at Tohoku University, talks about their success. They investigated the causes of clusters and found often they originated in gyms, pubs, live music venues etc where people "gather to eat and drink, chat, sing, and work out or dance, rubbing shoulders for relatively extended periods of time". They also found most clusters were caused by patients who were asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms, and no idea they had COVID-19.

The use of plasma from recovered patients is being trialled in many countries, and there's a lot of excitement around this ancient way of giving someone antibodies. It's being used not only as a treatment for patients, but chances are good it can be used as a prophylactic - to reduce the chances of people catching COVID-19, or becoming very ill if they do. 

Face coverings UK Government wear one if you can

Greece will open to visitors from June 15, but only from a list of 29 specific countries at this point. (Unsurprisingly this list does not include the UK nations). Visitors may be randomly tested.  

Norway and Denmark have opened their shared border. Both countries have very good control of COVID-19 at this point. Denmark is also allowing tourists from Iceland and Germany - creating a limited travel 'bubble'. 

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have opened their common borders to create their own travel bubble. 

We will all get there. 

Tomorrow I don't care if Dominic Cummings discovers a vaccine, strips naked and rides Boris like a cowboy all the way to Durham to throw it into the sea. It's my OH's birthday and I'm taking the day off. I've done this every day since February - I've earned it. If anything exciting happens, feel free to share... and stay well. Back Sunday... 

Some numbers. They all speak different languages, but they say the same things. Bleib zuhause / reste à la maison /quédate en casa:

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

USA 1,777,034 (+8,573) 103,794 (+464) 
Brazil 443,542 (+4,730) 26,899 (+135) 
Russia 387,623 (+8,572) 4,374 (+232)
Spain 285,644 (+658) 27,121 (+2)
UK 271,222 (+2,095) 38,161 (+324) 
Italy 232,248 (+516) 33,229 (+87) 
France 186,238 not yet reported today 28,662
Germany 182,711 (+259) 8,577 (+7)
India 173,140 (+7,754) 4,975 (+264) 
Turkey 162,120 (+1,141) 4,489 (+28) 
Bangladesh 42,844 (+2,523) 582 (+23)
Belarus 40,764 (+906) 224 (+5)
Ecuador 38,471 not yet reported today 3,313
Sweden 36,476 (+749) 4,350 (+84) 
Philippines 16,634 (+1,046) 942 (+21) 
Dominican Republic 16,531 (+463) 488 (+3)
Argentina 14,702 (+0) 510 (+2) 
Afghanistan 13,659 (+623) 246 (+11) 
"Heated protests continue across the US as thousands demand justice for George Floyd"

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