Wednesday, 24 June 2020

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

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

The UK added 653 cases today and now has reported a total of 306,862 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 232,086 tests yesterday (we've completed over 8.5m in total). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 154 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 43,081 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 159,435 / 38,568
Northern Ireland 4,873 / 546
Scotland 15,802 / 2,476
Wales 15,341 / 1,491

Rep. Of Ireland 25,396 (+5) cases and 1,726 (+6) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 9,423,995 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 481,455. Already 5,093,434 people have recovered.

Cloth masks How to wear a non medical mask safely

As the UK (England) daily briefings have stopped (we'll miss you Chris Whitty!), I'll have some time off myself from now on.  I'll do a weekend post on Sunday, then Tuesday and Thursday and Friday, as these tend to be the days that have most news. Sadly this means I will have time to actually clean my house - which has been pretty much entirely abandoned since February. 

ONS figures for the whole year to 12th June 2020 for ENGLAND AND WALES ONLY show that:
"Between Weeks 1 and 12, 138,916 deaths were registered which was 4,822 less than the five-year average for these weeks. However, between Weeks 13 and 24, 178,372 deaths were registered which was 59,252 more than the five-year average."
"Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 12 June was 317,260 which is 54,402 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 12 June 2020, 48,538 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; 15.3% of all deaths in England and Wales."

At PMQ's today, Keir Starmer was accused of using misleading coronavirus figures by Boris Johnson. Unfortunately for him they were from one of yesterday's UK briefing slides. Oops. 

Keir was also vicious about the lack of a working UK Test and Trace app. , to which Boris asked him to name a country with one that does work. "Germany" was the reply. In fact plenty of other countries also have working and effective apps which have been used to trace contacts, including South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Iceland. France have only traced a handful of contacts with theirs, so not entirely 'effective'. 
Human contact tracers it seems are preferred worldwide, and when contacted, people are far more likely to listen to a human, than isolate for 14 days because they got a text. 

The EU are drafting up lists of which countries they'll allow visitors from when they reopen on July 1st, and the New York Times claims to have seen drafts. They also seem really surprised that people from countries like Cuba, Vietnam and Uganda might be allowed to visit, but those from the US might not. The US, like other huge nations Russia and Brazil (which also don't appear on 'safe' lists) hasn't quite been able to keep COVID under control...
 
COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24th June 2020.

From July 4th Coronavirus will really be mainly dealt with locally by your council. Most councils are already broke, and there isn't any cash left over. Central government has promised some extra funding, but councils are warning they might be bankrupt by next April if they don't cut some services. 

The World Health Organisation have reminded us not to stockpile or start taking Dexamethasone - it is a potent corticosteroid, anti-inflammatory drug which suppresses the immune system and may increase the risk for other infections. All evidence so far suggests it is NOT beneficial to any patient who isn't ill enough to need oxygen - by which time you'll be in hospital and your doctor can decide on your treatment. 

Research by San Francisco based company Color found that of 30,000 people tested, about 390 (1.3%) were positive. Out of those who tested positive:
30% were asymptomatic when tested
37% had a cough
32% had a headache
12% had a fever
Overall 78% of those who tested positive had mild or no symptoms. 
This mostly backs up data we've seen from elsewhere, right since the start, and suspicions that high temperature really is NOT a good way to diagnose coronavirus.  

Reader Nic linked to a fantastic article in Vox dot com which talks about superspreaders. There are many reasons why someone might become a superspreader - location and timing are the most important, or 'luck' as we'd normally refer to it. The South Korean nightclub outbreak was started by a single person who visited 3 nightclubs and developed symptoms 2 days later. The Diamond Princess outbreak was started by a single person who took a cruise. That can most probably happen to anyone. 
There are studies being done to try and understand what makes someone in particular a super-spreader? If their whole family are contagious, why do they pass it on to lots of people, but their family don't?
- Studies have found a few virus particles can become aerosol during normal speech, and they can linger in the air, and remain infectious for 3 hours or more (good reason to wear a mask in the supermarket). They have hypothesised that some people simply form more aerosol particles when they speak, increasing the chances they'll become a superspreader. 
- It's possible some people are just a 'bigger' personality, and louder, shouty and booming, breathing COVID out further into the room, or leaning in to talk across the table.
- It's also possible some people hug everyone and are very tactile, or speak more quietly and closely to others, gently depositing COVID on them. 
I've read several studies today and my own conclusion is that really, it can happen to anyone - and if that's you, it is in most cases pure bad luck and nothing you should ever feel guilty about. 

Brazil has worried everyone for months, probably ever since President Bolsonaro said in March that he wasn't worried 'because COVID only kills old people, but excluding him because he is "an athlete"'. The country hasn't had a national strategy against COVID, and it's been impossible for state governors to enforce restrictions or long term measures, especially with their president's supporters mocking any risk, and a population who ca'nt really afford to be off work. 
Sadly the worst case scenario is unfolding. Hospitals are overfull and COVID is running through the community across Brazil. In the two weeks between JUNE 9th and yesterday, they have reported 409,394 new confirmed cases. If that sounds bad, it's likely most cases will not go to hospital and will never be tested. 

WHO Mythbusters coins and notes

Wales now has 2 major outbreaks centred around meat and food processing plants. 
"The first outbreak is centred on the 2 Sisters plant in Llangefni, in Anglesey. So far there are 200 confirmed cases and the majority are staff members at the plant. Some are household contacts. More than 450 tests have been taken. 89 people are still to be tested and these are being actively followed up. The factory has been closed by the employer and will only re-open once effective controls have been put in place. All contacts of cases are being followed up and tested and all cases and contacts are self-isolating.
The second outbreak is centred on the Rowan Foods plant in Wrexham. So far there are 97 confirmed cases and over 1,000 tests have been taken."
The World Health Organisation remind us that as yet no cases of people being contaminated by food or meat products has been reported. Cooking COVID kills it. 

Donald Trump has previously said that America are testing too many people, which is why they have so many cases, and he reiterated this novel idea again yesterday, before removing federal funding for test centres. It's the same as closing your eyes Donald, it seems like there's less there, but it's just hidden from view. 

So we don't leave on a low note, part of the transcript of Donald Trump, the President of the USA's, speech to student voters yesterday: 
"But I said the other night, there’s never been anything where they have so many names. I could give you 19 or 20 names for that. It’s got all different names, Wuhan. Kawuhan was catching on. Coronavirus. Kung flu. COVID-19. I said what’s the 19, COVID-19, some people can’t explain what the 19, give me… COVID-19, I said, “That’s an odd name.” I could give you many, many names. Some people call it the Chinese flu, the China flu. They call it the China, as opposed to the China."
Just in case you are reading Donald, the 19 is for 2019.... and you are in fact the only person calling it the Chinese flu....

Some people, every one of them wishes they'd been doing something else: 

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

USA 2,438,879 (+14,711) 123,746 (+273) 
Brazil 1,152,066 (+587) 52,788 (+17)
Russia 606,881 (+7,176) 8,513 (+154)
India 472,842 (+16,727) 14,906 (+423)
UK 306,862 (+652) 43,081 (+154) 
Belgium 60,898 (+88) 9,722 (+9)
Belarus 59,945 (+458) 362 (+5) 
Singapore 42,623 (+191) 26
Kuwait 41,879 (+846) 337 (+3) 
Portugal 40,104 (+367) 1,543 (+3)
Ukraine 39,014 (+940) 1,051 (+16) 
Iraq 36,702 (+2,200) 1,330 (+79) 
Oman 33,536 (+1,142) 142 (+2)
Poland 32,821 (+294) 1,396 (+21)
Philippines 32,295 (+470) 1,204 (+18) 
Switzerland 31,376 (+44) 1,958 (+2) 
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Sources:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks-centred-meat-and-food-processing-sites-wales
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-06-24/coronavirus-pandemic-brazil-faces-worst-case-scenario
https://twitter.com/mrmikecowan/status/1275748436923514881
https://www.channel4.com/news/councils-in-former-labour-heartlands-pushed-to-brink-by-pandemic
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-29548/v1
https://twitter.com/amymaxmen/status/1273010230465568770
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/world/europe/coronavirus-EU-American-travel-ban.html
https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/1275794208905990144

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