Thursday 2 July 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 1st/2nd July 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 1st/2nd July 2020.

The UK added 576 cases today and now has reported a total of 283,757 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 252,084 tests yesterday. 3,539 people are in hospital (30th June), 259 patients are using a ventilator (1st July). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we reported another 89 people who have died after testing positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 43,995 losses of life in all settings.

England 243,910 / 39,434
Scotland 18,264 / 2,486
Wales 15,815 / 1,524
Northern Ireland 5,768 / 551

Rep. Of Ireland 25,489 (+12) cases and 1,738 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 10,905,501 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 521,120. Already 6,086,464 people have recovered.

020720 Test and trace figures

"Every person needs to look at your own risk. You need to be aware of what is the local transmission, you need to know 'what the transmission in my area is'. We do this every day of our lives as human beings. We manage risk, we decide when we cross the road, we decide when we fly, we decide when we have an operation or not have an operation. 
What we need is the information to make those risk based decisions. We need to gain the knowledge to be able to make good decisions. 
We decide on our proximity to other individuals. We decide on the intensity of our social engagement. We decide how long we spend in that environment. We can be advised by government, we can be advised by science, but in the end this comes down to personal motivation and personal choice. 
But in the end it comes down to individuals and communities. If it doesn't feel safe, it isn't safe for you."
Dr Mike Ryan, World Health Organisation. 

Gavin Williamson's English school reopening plan has been announced, and I for one don't like it. So there. I try and remain impartial when I report, and it's longer than War & Peace, so I'll do my best to lay out just the salient points:
1. All pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term.
2. Office of National Statistics analysis suggests that staff in educational settings tend not to be at any greater risk from the disease. (But only keyworkers children were in school when that data was collected??)

3. Schools should use their existing resources to make arrangements to welcome all children back. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred.
4. Schools should not put in place rotas.
5. Schools must comply with health and safety law - risk assessment etc
6. Increased hand washing, surface wiping etc
7. Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible
8. Schools may need to change the emphasis on bubbles and increase the size of groups.
9. In secondary schools, groups are likely to need to be the size of a year group to enable schools to deliver the full range of curriculum subjects and students to receive specialist teaching. If this can be achieved with small groups, they are recommended. 
10. At primary school, and in the younger years at secondary, schools may be able to implement smaller groups the size of a full class. If that can be achieved, it is recommended.
11. We recognise that younger children will not be able to maintain social distancing, and it is acceptable for them not to distance within their group.
12. All teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable. 
13. Where staff need to move between classes and year groups, they should try and keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from other adults. 
14. Avoid assemblies, consider one way in busy corridors, staggered entry/lunchtimes
15. Schools should also have a process for removing face coverings when pupils and staff who use them arrive at school and communicate it clearly to them. 
16. Resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces.
17. School attendance will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply - including fines.
18. Any children who remain on the shielded list will be expected to return to school while shielding is paused. 
19. Clinically vulnerable, or shielded, staff will be expected to return to work while shielding is paused. 
20. Schools should return to uniform policy and clothes don't need to be changed more than usual. 
21. Schools can make their own decisions about P.E. Contact sports are barred, outdoor sports are preferable.
22. Ofsted inspections cancelled until Spring 2021.
23. Ofqual will launch a consultation on proposed adaptations to 2021 exams shortly.
24. Extra mental health support for pupils and teachers is available. They'll need it. 

We had a special Coronavirus briefing today about English schools and education. Jenny Harries was with Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary. 
Early Years settings can relax physical distancing measures from 20th July. 
Press asked wasn't it an even more shaky decision, seeing as the outbreak in Leicester includes a large number of teenagers? Gavin said "yeah, but if we don't ramp this up rapidly, we'll never get any second wave or series of smaller ripples over and done with before Winter, when it would be likely to be much worse". Lol, he didn't really, That was me. He just thought it. 
Jenny Harries called herself a 'Public Health Official' and it sounded like 'Puppet Health Official'. I sniggered. 
Gavin told press that he'd had to "remind some authorities that we do have power" in order that they reopened to further pupils. He bullied them? 

England has another coronavirus briefing tomorrow... 

UK GCSE, A and AS Level exams in all subjects will be available in early Autumn, for any students not happy with the predicted grades given to them. For all who choose to take them, results will be based on exams alone (with the exception of Art) and will be your result. Think carefully before you apply.  
Disadvantaged pupils are often given lower predicted grades, and finding out now that if you want to challenge that, you have until September to prepare for an exam you weren't expecting, is really very harsh. 

Key dates Welsh government reopening

Nicola Sturgeon has made announcements about the next stage of Scotland's recovery from lockdown, Phase 3. FROM 10th July:
- People must continue to distance by 2m when possible.
- Face masks will be compulsory in shops (except for children and those with specific disabilities or conditions).  
- 2m rule can be reduced for some sectors with 'agreed mitigation'. E.g. taking contacts of people in a bar or cafe / wearing masks etc. 
- Children under 12 don't need to maintain physical distancing outdoors
- Beer gardens 
The current five-mile limit on travel for leisure purposes will be eased from Friday 3rd for areas not experiencing local outbreaks, but public are asked to remain sensible and cautious. 
Pubs and restaurants can reopen from 15th July. 

In a tragedy of epic proportions, an Indian wedding has gone horribly wrong. The groom was ill with a fever at the time, and died from suspected COVID two days later. Reports vary, but it seems a large numbers of the guests have now tested positive. The local area has reported over 100 new cases in the last few days. 

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is among local leaders stunned by the eventual release of Coronavirus 'pillar 2' testing results in the UK. His figures showed that Greater Manchester had 78 new ‘pillar one’ cases (tested in a hospital), but when ‘pillar two’ tests (postal, drive through etc.) were added on, that number is actually 465. Regional authority and public health leaders have been asking for better data for months - and it's not come as a welcome surprise. Hopefully clear data will now be maintained on a swift basis or we genuinely won't be able to even keep up, let alone beat this virus.

A US group calling themselves the Freedom To Breathe Agency have a free printable "Mask Exempt" card, which claims to be federally endorsed and says the bearer is exempt from masks because they may cause harm. If you fall for that, HASBRO has a print out Monopoly set and you can become a millionaire in less than a minute. 

The UK oversaw Hong Kong on a lease, and 'gave it back' to China on 1st July 1997 when that lease ended - with some rules attached to protect HK's level of independence. China have just passed a security law which removes freedoms of speech and peaceful protest, and can see HK citizens imprisoned for life for criticising China. It breaks the agreement. 
A world which is in many places already frustrated by China, or attempting to place blame for COVID, is showing it's disappointment and annoyance. Political leaders have released statements, countries have written joint letters, and the US is the first to remove HK's special trade status. They have also passed legislation that any US bank dealing with officials responsible for the security law will be heavily penalised. 

NHS Birthday 5 pm on the 5th July

While the world was discussing Gilead science's pricing of Remdesivir, the USA moved first and fast, and in some sort of evil super-villain move, made price discussions almost irrelevant, by buying the entire developed world's supply. They've struck a deal for 500,000 doses - which is the entire production for July, and 90% of production in August and September. None of Western Europe, or Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea etc. will be able to buy any until August at least - and then there'll be a bunfight.
Sheesh, thanks. You can't buy your way out of your mess Trump - and you aren't making yourself popular .... 

Remdesivir reduces recovery time by around 4 days, and received at least $70m in public funding towards its development, so pricing at around 1/5 of the usual pricing structure, approximately £2.5k per patient in the developed world, isn't impressing everyone. A lot of scientists believe it should just be public domain, so every country can manufacture it themselves. 
For the 127 poor and middle income countries, there are licensing deals with 2 companies to manufacture and supply at around $600 per patient. 

Any government can override Gilead - this is a pandemic. They can use a 'compulsory licence', which removes the intellectual property rights of the company. That would allow the government to buy generic remdesivir from companies in Bangladesh or India, where Gilead’s patent isn't recognised.

Over 9,000 people were made redundant on the first day of furlough changes in the UK. 
"From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for the hours not worked. The CJRS will close on 31 October 2020." UK Gov.

There's a brilliant article in El Pais which looks at clusters of people infected by 1 person in an indoor setting - a restaurant, bus and office. They examine who became infected, and found that air circulation was the single most important factor. 
Spending a length of time in a confined space with an infectious person, allows their aerosol breath to concentrate in the air, and eventually you will breathe some in - and after an extended period of time, even being 2m away won't save you. 
Open windows, don't recirculate air, don't spend long periods of time shut in an enclosed space with other people. 

COVID19 especially loves meetings, parties and religious services....

NHS royal mail

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released figures relating to the random antibody sampling in private residential households in England:
- An average of 1 in 2,200 individuals within the community had COVID-19 at any given time between 14 June and 27 June 2020.
- That equates to an estimated average of 25,000 people
- The decline in the number of people in England testing positive has levelled off in recent weeks. 
- Modelling of the incidence rate trend over time suggests that incidence appears to have decreased between mid-May and early June 2020, but it has also since levelled off.
- From 14 June to 27 June 2020, there were an estimated 5 new COVID-19 infections for every 10,000 individuals per week in the community population in England, equating to an estimated 25,000 new cases per week.
- Of those individuals providing blood samples, 6.3% tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19; this equates to 1 in 16 people or 2.8 million people in England.

The US reported over 51,000 new cases in total yesterday, their highest daily report. It's not going so well. 

China's first COVID-19 vaccine development lab was completed in Wuhan, yesterday. It has the capacity to produce about 100 million doses of vaccine per year. Two COVID-19 vaccine candidates have already passed phase 2 human clinical trials (everyone seems fine), and are about to launch phase 3 trials in the UAE (comparing a large number of vaccinated population to unvaccinated, over time, to see if it actually works). 

India 2m covid safety

India’s first home-developed COVID-19 vaccine (COVAXIN) has received permission from the Drugs Controller General of India to carry out phase-1 and phase-2 human clinical trials. Best of luck!

Students in Alabama are holding 'Coronavirus parties' where infected people attend, everyone else puts money into a pot, and the first person to get sick wins it. I wonder what the prize is for killing your own Nan? Or yourself? Or permanent lung damage? I'm not going to sit here and say these students are a bit thick.... Nope, I  take that back, I am. Obviously local authorities and parents are utterly horrified. Alabama has reported 37,536 cases and 926 losses of life to date.

Trump of the day:
"I don't know if you need mandatory because you have many places in the country where people stay... long distance. You talk about social distancing but I'm all for masks. I think masks are good. I would wear, if I were in a group of people and I was close. 
Reporter: "You would wear one?"
"Oh I have, I mean, people have seen me wearing one. If we're in a group of people where we're not, you know, 10ft away, but usually I'm not in that position. And everyone's tested, because I'm the president, they get tested before they see me. But if I were in a tight situation with people I would absolutely. 
Reporter: "Do you think the public will see that at some point?"
"I mean. I have no problem. Actually I had a mask on and I sort of liked the way it looked. I thought it was okay. It was a dark, black mask, and I thought it looked okay. I looked like the Lone Ranger."
Errr yeah. That fictional Western adventurer who famously wears a mask - OVER HIS EYES....

Some people. Every one of them would wear a mask over their nose and mouth:

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

USA 2,802,005 (+22,052) 131,027 (+229) 
Brazil 1,476,884 (+23,515) 61,314 (+601)
Russia 661,165 (+6,760) 9,683 (+147) 
India 618,686 (+13,466) 18,089 (+241) 
UK 313,483 not yet reported today 43,906
Spain 296,739 not yet reported today 28,363
Peru 288,477 not yet reported today 9,860
Chile 284,541 (+2,498) 5,920 (+167) 
Italy 240,961 (+201) 34,818 (+30)
Iran 232,863 (+2,652) 11,106 (+148)
Mexico 231,770 (+5,681) 28,510 (+741) 
Pakistan 217,809 (+4,339) 4,473 (+78) 
Turkey 202,284 (+1,186) 5,167 (+17) 
Saudi Arabia 197,608 (+3,383) 1,752 (+54)
Germany 196,372 (+48) 9,061
Bangladesh 153,277 (+4,019) 1,926 (+38) 
Canada 104,643 (+372) 8,637 (+22)
Belarus 62,698 (+274) 405 (+7) 
Belgium 61,598 (+89) 9,761 (+7)
Indonesia 59,394 (+1,624) 2,987 (+53) 

"US House unanimously passes China sanctions bill over controversial Hong Kong law"

1 comment:

  1. Interesting week in terms of what we can and can't do. My little one was pleased to hear she can play with some of the kids in the street, but my older two weren't so happy. Not that it makes any difference. It is just hard to follow little ones while they play saying stand back you are too close every 3 seconds. xxx


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