Friday 12 June 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 12th June 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 12th June 2020.

The UK added 1,541 cases today and now has reported a total of 292,950 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 193,253 tests yesterday.
The number of people in hospital is down to 5,607 (from 7,036 this time last week). The number of people on a ventilator is down to 392 (from 571 this time last week). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 202 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 41,481 losses of life in all settings.

England 156,410 / 37,069
Northern Ireland 4,838 / 538
Scotland 15,709 / 2,439
Wales 14,658 / 1,435

Rep. Of Ireland 25,250 (+13) cases and 1,705 (+3) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 7,668,683 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 425,803. Already 3,884,232 people have recovered.

Anne Frank's 91st birthday Photo of Anne with words about equality and kindness

Figures today released by the official SAGE indicate the R value is likely to be 1 or over in the South West of England. Over the whole UK, the figure remains somewhere between 0.7-0.9, but in England alone it's between 0.8-1.0. 
When the reproductive rate is 1, it means 1 case passes to 1 more person, passes to 1 more person etc and COVID-19 would continue forever with the same number of cases at any time.
Over 1 and it means some people are managing to infect more than 1 other person, so numbers are going up. The higher the number, the more quickly this is happening, and the more cause for alarm.
Under 1 and cases will be going down - the further below 1, the more quickly this is happening. 
Regional coronavirus R numbers are:
SW 0.8 - 1.1
London 0.8 - 1.0
Midlands 0.8 - 1.0
NW 0.8 - 1.0
SE 0.8 - 1.0
NE & Yorks 0.7 - 1.0
EofE 0.7 - 0.9
The number of cases of COVID is still the most important factor to look at, and remember, the less cases you have, the less reliable the R number is as a guide. If Northern Ireland had 50 new cases one week and only 25 the next, their R would be 0.5, but that's not an entirely realistic picture, because there's too much random chance involved. If England had 10,000 cases one week and 5,000 the next, it's still an R of 0.5, but a much clearer improvement. 

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the UK economy shrank by a fifth during April, at the peak of the illness and with the UK on lockdown.
"GDP fell by 20.4% in the month, the largest fall since monthly records began in 1997, reflecting record widespread falls in services, production and construction output."
Frankly I don't think anyone can be surprised by that, and the whole world has had to pour money into Coronavirus while pausing business and earnings, so we aren't alone. This will cost us all for a long time to come. Nature will always be bigger than money. 

Zoos reopen 15th June

Today's UK briefing was with Grant Shapps, Transport Minister, Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail and Prof Stephen Powis of NHS England. 
Grant started by saying results of the Infection Survey between 27th April and 10th May, around 152k people had COVID in the community, and 25th May to 7th June, that reduced to an estimated 33k (1 in every 1,700 people). It's a massive improvement.
He reminded us again that EVERYONE WHO CAN SHOULD WORK FROM HOME. If you have to go in, please avoid public transport. If you can't, from Monday you have a legal obligation to wear a face covering and can be fined if you don't. The same applies to anyone visiting a hospital, including day patients. 
Steve said it's possible many clusters of cases have been found in abattoirs and meat packing factories is because the virus is more stable in those cold conditions. Remember, freezing preserves COVID, cooking your meat properly kills it.  

Although COVID-19 cases in Europe have fallen massively in the last 2 months, there are currently more new cases per day reported in the world than at any other time, and that number is rising each day. COVID is striking Africa, Asia, the Middle East and there is a hotspot across Latin America. Cases continue at a high rate daily in the USA and Russia. 

A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine has reviewed 16 clusters of Covid-19 patients around the world (including the Diamond Princess cruise ship, a prison, a hostel, a university, evacuated people etc.) to examine the evidence surrounding asymptomatic people becoming silent super-spreaders.
"The likelihood that approximately 40-45 per cent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 will remain asymptomatic suggests that the virus might have greater potential than previously estimated to spread silently and deeply through human populations,"
Evidence from the USS Theodore Roosevelt submarine also suggests asymptomatic people can be infectious for an extended period of time:
 "....perhaps longer than 14 days. The absence of Covid-19 symptoms in persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 might not necessarily imply an absence of harm."
The study concludes "If the asymptomatic transmission is indeed common, testing only those with symptoms would seem to be folly." 
There is a lot of emphasis currently being placed on 'are they asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic?'. In the study above, not all 16 groups had the information to clarify, but it appears pre-symptomatic is far rarer:
In 2 groups no-one became symptomatic
In 2 groups 10.3% became symptomatic.
In 1 group it could be 3.4% (2 patients' full health status wasn't known).

HM Government Wear a face covering

Protesters angry at Brazil's response to Covid-19 have created 100 graves on Copacabana beach in Rio. They stood wooden crosses in the sand before dawn. Brazil's losses of life passed 40,000 last night. 

The National Audit Office has published a report looking at our PPE fiasco (which is still going on - lots of unofficial comments suggest there are shortages right now and some health authorities are a bit unsure if they'll last the weekend). It's a massive 69 pages and I've not read it all, but I spotted this paragraph: 
"At the start of the outbreak, the only central stockpile – held by PHE – was designed for a flu pandemic. It lacked items such as gowns and visors, which an independent committee advising the Department on stockpile contents had recommended in 2019. Based on modelled PPE requirements for the period 20 March to 9 May (which assumed the reasonable worst-case scenario), the amount of PPE distributed from central stocks only matched health providers’ requirements for face masks and clinical waste bags. The lowest level of distribution to health settings was for gowns (where central stocks distributed were 20% of the modelled requirement), eye protectors (33%) and aprons (50%).
Central stocks distributed to social care accounted for 15% or less of the modelled requirement for any item of PPE, apart from face masks."

People who want to go to Donald Trump's MAGA election rally in Tulsa next week have small print on their registration:
"By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree to not hold Donald J. Trump for President {or the organisers etc} liable for any illness or injury."

Over 100,000 participants have now enrolled in the UK's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) COVID research - but they still need more participants. If you've had COVID-19 and want to help, or you want to volunteer for the next round of vaccine trials, get onto their website and enrol. 

A team from the University of Sydney, led by Professor Shaun Jackson, has developed a new anti-clotting medicine which could help save many more lives. 
"About three in four of critical COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) develop clots with their recovery rate critically low."
The phase 1 trial with 72 healthy patients has completed successfully, phase 2 with critical care patients is ready to commence - but will have to take place abroad, as Australia has done a brilliant job of suppressing Covid-19 and they don't have enough patients of their own. A great problem to have.

Anne Frank creative writing awards

Michael Rosen is back on Twitter and seems in great spirits, and very grateful to his family for all of their support. He's also learning to walk again. Coming back from several weeks on a ventilator is not as simple as taking out a tube. A swift recovery to him and to everyone else in the same position. 

Today would have been Anne Frank's 91st birthday. 

I'm taking tomorrow off. Have an excellent weekend... stay well, be alert, save the NHS. 

Some people, all of them with hopes, and fears. 

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

USA 2,099,387 (+9,686) 116,273 (+239) 
Brazil 809,398 (+3,749) 41,162 (+104)
Russia 511,423 (+8,987) 6,715 (+183)
India 309,389 (+11,106) 8,890 (+389) 
UK 292,950 (+1,541) 41,481 (+202)
Spain 290,289 (+502) 27,136
Italy 236,305 (+163) 34,223 (+56) 
Mexico 133,974 (+4,790) 15,944 (+587) 
Pakistan 125,933 (+6,397) 2,463 (+107) 
Saudi Arabia 119,942 (+3,921) 893 (+36) 
Canada 97,893 (+363) 8,048 (+54) 
Bangladesh 81,523 (+3,471) 1,095 (+46) 
Qatar 76,588 (+1,517) 70 (+1) 
Belgium 59,819 (+108) 9,646 (+10) 
South Africa 58,568 not yet reported today 1,284
Belarus 52,520 (+704) 298 (+5)
Sweden 49,684 (+205) 4,854 (+40)
Netherlands 48,461 (+210) 6,053 (+9)
Moldova 11,093 (+366) 385 (+10) 
Ghana 10,856 (+498) 48
Algeria 10,698 (+109) 751 (+10) 



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