Thursday 7 May 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 7th May 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 7th May 2020.

The UK added 5,614 cases today and now has reported a total of 206,715 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 86,583 tests yesterday. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 539 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 30,615 losses of life in all settings.

England 131,932
Northern Ireland 3,984
Scotland 12,924
Wales 10,851

Rep. Of Ireland 22,385 (+137) cases and 1,403 (+28) losses of life. 

There have now been 3,872,855 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is now 267,871. Already 1,327,610 people have recovered.

WHO Health Workers take care of yourselves

Yesterday Boris made a vague suggestion, that subject to the 5 tests and the the science, on Sunday some UK lockdown restrictions could be eased. The press have leapt on this, and made all sorts of assumptions and predictions. That's all they are. If you think carefully, he genuinely didn't say anything we don't already know. 

Today's UK briefing was with Dominic Raab. 
He stressed the lockdown restrictions remain in place until they are lifted.  
The R (reproductive) level is between 0.5 and 0.9 (higher end not lower) - "the virus is not beaten yet."
We are in a position to start to think about the next steps in this pandemic. We can start to look at how life will work going forward, in order to be safe. Boris will make an announcement on Sunday at 7pm. The roadmap for going forward will be subject to conditions. The government have set milestones, and everything will also be subject to the 5 tests. Every step will be cautious. If people abandon social distancing the virus will grow again, threatening overwhelming the NHS and risking a second peak, and a second lockdown. 

Jenny Harries did the slides and the loss of life decline is clear now. It's steadily going down, but it's a slow slide. 

Today's Newbie is Sir Ian Diamond, Chief Statistician at the Office for National Statistics, who answered questions about the UK's R (reproduction) rate. Although it's below 1, and cases are dropping, it's actually higher than 2 weeks ago because of the huge loss of life in care settings. In the community the rate is dropping steadily. 

Nicola Sturgeon has said there will be NO RELAXATION of the lockdown in Scotland. She will "not be pressured into lifting restrictions prematurely", and would prefer the UK act together, but will respect Boris' decisions and won't criticise. (She'll be the only one). 

Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Education Secretary has confirmed there will be NO CHANGE to the school situation in Wales on June 1st. 

The UK are the subject of several news articles around Europe comparing Boris to Trump, and saying we didn't take the risk seriously enough and lost our advantage over the virus. All sadly true. 

400,000 gowns bought from Turkey are in storage at Heathrow airport having failed UK standards. Ooops. 

A team of mathematicians and computer scientists at Medical Analytica has successfully developed an artificial intelligence-based program to identify COVID-19 pneumonia from other virus and bacteria caused pneumonia. The software has 95% accuracy and takes less than 30 seconds to analyse a Chest X-Ray. 

Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin says Moscow has 300,000 coronavirus cases, nearly triple the official number. They are in their 6th week of lockdown and some industry is due to be allowed back to work from May 12th. 

Yesterday I reported on a pre-print study which says they've found 2 strains of COVID-19,  today we have several scientists disputing their claim in peer reviews - not because it might not be true, but because they just didn't test their theory enough. Many scientists say there is only 1 strain, and demographics (age, sex, health of population, location), climate, density of population, and social norms (hugging, shaking hands, living with relatives, smoking etc) are what make the difference between areas. 

There is a shortage of chemicals needed for COVID-19 testing in the London area, according to a leaked email. Good job Boris's target of 200k tests per day is "capacity" and not "actually". 

ONS 0705 Mortality deprivation socio economic factors UK

Brazil's president Bolsonaro still maintains COVID-19 is "just a flu" and on Tuesday said that the country had probably passed it's peak. 
The same day Sao Luis and other towns in the Maranhão area independently imposed a really strict 10 day lockdown, as hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. Private cars are banned, roadblocks are in place and only essential services open. 
Fortaleza will impose the same restrictions from Friday. 
Reports from Sao Paolo show grim conditions. They imposed a lockdown on 25th March and it's due to start easing on May 11th. Around half the population are not following restrictions, so economic activity has continued, and so has the body count. Cemeteries are digging row upon row of graves, and funerals are having to be kept short, if they occur at all. 
The Amazon state of Pará has also announced a lockdown in 10 cities. Masks will be obligatory. 
The Amazon city of Manaus has had to bury bodies in mass graves (heartbreakingly, a woman from London delivered COVID-19 to this area on 11th March).
Brazil has finally started testing more people, and today reported 127,389 (+778) cases and 8,605 (+17) losses of life. 

Tanzania complained that their COVID-19 tests were faulty and had too many false positives - the African CDC say they're fine.

El Salvador's President Bukele has imposed harsher restrictions for the next 15 days - people can leave the house twice a week for food, pharmacy or banking, all other shops and industry are closed. Travel between areas is prohibited. 

Iceland have reported no new confirmed COVID19 cases for the 3rd day running. Only 3 patients remain in hospital, and 39 are in isolation awaiting test results. That's how well testing and contact tracing can work. 

The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) report found that you are up to twice as likely to die from COVID-19 if you live in a very deprived area.:
"The age-standardised mortality rate of deaths involving COVID-19 in the most deprived areas of England was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 population in the least deprived areas."
The same ratio was true for Wales. 
"The three areas with a statistically significantly higher mortality rate than the England and Wales average were London, West Midlands and the North West."

The ONS figures also looked closely at ethnicity. Even when you adjust the figures to allow for disadvantage and take that away:
"People from all minority ethnic groups apart from Chinese and Mixed are at greater risk of a coronavirus (COVID-19)-related death than the White population, in England and Wales.
In particular, Black males and females are nearly twice as likely as similar White people to experience a COVID-19 death."
We really do need to find out why this is, and what we can do to reduce the figures. Research is ongoing, including studies into Vitamin D (the sunlight vitamin) and how easily COVID-19 can attach itself inside the body. 

ONS 0705 Mortality ethnic background UK

France will start to ease lockdown measures from May 11th. They have split the country into red and green areas depending on how active COVID-19 transmission is. Primary schools and most businesses will be allowed to reopen, and in green zones secondary schools, cafes and restaurants may open from early June if the infection rate remains low. 

The elderly and other vulnerable populations, including people with underlying medical conditions, will not be confined to their homes after May 11, the PM added, though he advised extreme caution.

Scientists in the Netherlands and Israel have both created proteins that behave like antibodies in lab settings. The Dutch team says theirs halts the virus, while the Israelis claim their protein neutralises it.

Italian scientists working on vaccines have had great success by generating antibodies in mice that neutralise the virus in human cells - a world first. The vaccine will be ready to begin human trials in late Summer.

Good news regarding those tiny mutations. Often coronavirus only mutate around 1/10 as quickly as the virus behind influenza (flu), and so far it appears that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is doing exactly that. The longer it takes to mutate, the longer antibodies or a vaccine will work. 

I don't know if anyone can help, but European food producers are having a hard time storing surplus food which isn't being sold in restaurants. Prime cuts of meat, fancy cheese and chips may have to be thrown away if storage runs out or food spoils. It's a hard job, but we should all do our bit for the cause. 

All of the staff and residents locked themselves into a care home in Lyon, France for 47 days and nights to avoid any chance of COVID-19 infiltrating. It really is the only way to be sure you'll avoid it. It worked. Tests for everyone have returned negative. 

Andy Serkis - the guy who played Gollum in Lord Of The Rings is going to read the entire book The Hobbit in one continuous sitting, to raise money for the NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings. It's expected to take around 10-12 hours and the livestream starts 10am Friday BST (5am EST). Very precious.

Don't forget to clap at 8pm for all of those people out there making sure we can stay safe. Cleaners, bin emptiers, IT people, utilities workers, repair people, Nurses, Doctors, porters, housekeeping, care home staff, social care workers, public transport workers and everyone else - Thanks to all of you. 

Some people. Each one used to believe that the monster was under their bed:

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

USA 1,271,059 (+7,967) 75,558 (+759) 
Spain 256,855 (+3,173) 26,070 (+213) 
Italy 215,858 (+1,401) 29,958 (+274)
UK 206,715 (+5,614) 30,615 (+539)
Russia 177,160 (+11,231) 1,625 (+88) 
France 174,191 not yet reported today 25,809
Germany 168,912 (+750) 7,336 (+61) 
Turkey 133,721 (+1,977) 3,641 (+57)
Brazil 127,389 (+778) 8,605 (+17) 
Iran 103,135 (+1,485) 6,486 (+68)
China 82,885 (+2) 4,633
Canada 63,895 (+399) 4,280 (+48) 
Peru 54,817 not yet reported today 1,533
India 53,045 (+58) 1,787 (+2)
Belgium 51,420 (+639) 8,415 (+76) 
Netherlands 41,774 (+455) 5,288 (+84) 
Saudi Arabia 33,731 (+1,793) 219 (+10)
Switzerland 30,126 (+66) 1,810 (+5
Ecuador 29,420 Not yet reported today 1,618
Mexico 27,634 (+1,609) 2,704 (+197)
Portugal 26,715 (+533) 1,105 (+16)
Pakistan 24,644 (+1,430) 585 (+41) 
Sweden 24,623 (+705) 3,040 (+99) 
Chile 24,581 (+1,533) 285 (+4) 

French high school cluster Crépy-en-Valois - inc smokers / ages 
The Hobbit Donations and details:

1 comment:

  1. Lots of change and lots of wrongly predicted change going on. What about bathroom breaks for Gollum? I did love that book as a teen. Missed a bit, will have to watch some. x


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