Friday 10 July 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 10th July 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 10th July 2020.

The UK added 512 cases today and now has reported a total of 288,133 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 160,970 tests on a rolling 7 day average. 2,248 people were in hospital on Wednesday 8th, with 188 using a ventilator. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 48 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 44,650 officially reported confirmed losses of life in all settings.

England 248,089 / 40,066
Northern Ireland 5,772 / 554
Scotland 18,333 / 2,490
Wales 15,939 / 1,540

Rep. Of Ireland 25,589 (+24) cases and  1,744 (+1) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 12,503,566 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 559,546. Already 7,291,738 people have recovered.

reduce the risk of covid WHO

The English Government have published the latest R rate and it's not as good as last week. Some areas may be seeing no decline in cases, and others only a little. There is generally a little 'blip' whenever lockdown restrictions are eased, and around a 2 week delay in reported cases (3 1/2 week delay in mortality), so this is a result of reopening of schools, shops, bubbles forming etc. There will always be a blip because getting together with new people will give limited spread, but if everyone keeps to the rules, it's still very limited (e.g. you just pass it to your bubble mates and that's where it stops). 
Region / R (Growth rate % per day)
England 0.8-1.0 (-4 to -1)
East of England* 0.7-1.0 (-4 to +1) 
London* 0.7-1.0 (-5 to +1) 
Midlands 0.7-0.9 (-6 to -2) 
North East and Yorkshire* 0.7-1.0 (-5 to -1) 
North West 0.7-1.0 (-5 to -1) 
South East* 0.8-1.0 (-4 to 0) 
South West* 0.7-1.1 (-6 to +1) 
Apparently "*Extra care should be taken when interpreting these estimates as they are based on low incidence and/or clustered outbreaks within this area".

Current R values in devolved administrations: 
Northern Ireland - The current estimate of R is 0.5 – 0.9
Scotland - On 8 July, R in Scotland was estimated to be between 0.6 & 1.0.
Wales - "There is confidence that the R number in Wales is below 1 and has been for several weeks. However, the low number of cases and clustered nature of outbreaks means that the R number for Wales is no longer considered to be a reliable estimate to rely on as an overall measure of the epidemic." (True that. A massive outbreak at a food processing plant or two doesn't mean you are suddenly over-run, and is far easier to contain and suppress than the half that number of cases scatterbombed all around the country.)

The World Health Organisation have revised their guidance regarding aerosol transmission. They won't state anything until they are absolutely certain, but evidence is increasing that COVID can be carried in the air, in exceedingly tiny particles that can float around for hours, and potentially still infect people: 
"Outside of medical facilities, some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes.
In these events, short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out. However, the detailed investigations of these clusters suggest that droplet and fomite transmission could also explain human-to-human transmission within these clusters."
Sitting firmly on the "we're warning you, but we aren't certain" fence. Masses of research is ongoing. 

Fomites simply refers to surfaces where the virus can land and exist. After some time the virus will become weak and unable to infect people, but it may be present for far longer than that. Research results have varied but, in a warm room with the right humidity, COVID was found alive and viable (assumed able to infect) for around:
3 hours on paper (including tissue paper)
24 hours on cardboard
2 days on wood
2 days on cloth
4 days for paper money
4 days for glass
3-7 days on stainless steel
3-7 days on plastic
7 days on the outer surface of a surgical mask

Shopping face coverings

Over the last 2 weeks there has been lots of scientific study published around Tocilizumab. This is a drug which only seems to help seriously ill patients in danger of a Cytokine Storm - a rare and huge over-reaction by the immune system, which in COVID patients generally leaves them unable to take in enough oxygen to survive. Only around 2% of people with COVID-19 are likely to become this ill. 
Giving Tocilizumab seems to decrease the length of time a patient is seriously ill, needing ventilation or support for low blood pressure, and a single small dose seems to have the same effect as several larger doses (always good). However, some studies find no notable differences. 
A retrospective (looking back at records of patients who were previously ill) study in The Lancet found:
Tocilizumab cohort required more invasive ventilation (68% vs. 22%) at baseline and during entire hospitalization (75% vs. 48%). The median time to clinical improvement in tocilizumab vs. no tocilizumab cohorts was 8 days vs. 13 days among patients who required mechanical ventilation at any time and 6·5 days vs. 7 days among all patients. The median duration of vasopressor support and invasive mechanical ventilation were 2 days vs. 5 days and 7 days vs. 10 days in tocilizumab vs. no tocilizumab cohorts.
An Italian study found the rate of two-week illness was similar between those who received tocilizumab versus those who received standard therapy (28.3% vs. 27.0%), as were rates of those who required intensive care (10.0% vs. 7.9%) and 30-day mortality (3.3% vs. 3.2%).
More studies are ongoing, and we need results of new trials comparing results to those of other drugs.Retrospective studies are super useful, but sometimes the patients had everything thrown at them, so it can be hard to say which drug or drug combination actually had an effect. 

However.... there is a shortage now of Tocilizumab and Indian hospitals have run out, urging family members to source their own. This has led to some crazy scenes in Mumbai, with people travelling miles and queuing all day to try and secure the drug for their loved ones. I would too. Bless them all. 

A YouGov poll has found that:
"Just 31% of Britons are wearing face masks, as are a mere 6% of Sweden. Given the number of COVID cases in each country, and the level of fear surrounding the disease, this makes both nations outliers compared to the rest of the world."
That's actually TRUE. There are barely a handful of countries which have no rules on face masks in shops, and many which have made them mandatory if you want to go out. For whatever reason, we've been taught that they can do more harm than good, and we don't need them. Evidence is increasing that they don't just help everyone else, they also protect YOU. 
Boris hinted today that he might be considering making them required in shops in England. Well, they already did all the graphics. Almost every England Government advice image about masks includes public transport (mandatory) and shops (not yet mandatory). 

Trump of the day:
He's awake and he's already angry. Donald has had a hard 36 hours, what with people telling him he has to admit where he makes his money, and he's expressed his displeasure on Twitter - in CAPITALS. As usual, in the middle of a pandemic, all he can see is political point scoring, and it does come across as someone who has a desperate twang of persecution complex and paranoia... 
"Now that we have witnessed it on a large scale basis, and firsthand, Virtual Learning has proven to be TERRIBLE compared to In School, or On Campus, Learning. Not even close! Schools must be open in the Fall. If not open, why would the Federal Government give Funding? It won’t!!!"
4 hours later... 
"Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status...... and/or Funding, which will be taken away if this Propaganda or Act Against Public Policy continues. Our children must be Educated, not Indoctrinated!" 

Shopping face coverings
Luxury Cruise Crews News:
We won't forget them. All passengers are off, but there are STILL staff on board cruise (and cargo) ships who haven't yet been able to get home. Some of these people haven't touched land since March. 
There are over 400 cruise liners in the world, and there aren't 400 cruise liner docks. Some ships are docking in cargo ship docks, many have had to anchor at sea and risk the weather, and some are right now still sailing the world taking inessential staff back to ports which will allow them to dock and disembark - and it's a lot harder to get anywhere to accept that than you'd think! Many countries, especially smaller and poorer, have closed their borders and/or waters to anyone.  
The infamous Diamond Princess is now resting at anchor with a host of the Princess Cruise Lines vessels (Sea Princess, Pacific Princess, Sun Princess, Sapphire Princess, Royal Princess, Majestic Princess, Crown Princess) and a few Holland America Line and other ships, in Manila Bay in the Philippines. THOUSANDS of crew are still on board these ships, including a few skeleton staff who are the only ones who meant to be. 
Next time you have to work late, be glad you aren't on a cruise ship, 3 months after your contract ended... If you want to see where they all are right now cruisemapper dot com is like an incredibly hypnotic, slow motion version of the grand prix

Famous People with COVID:
Bolivia's Interim President, Jeanine Áñez
Venezuelan Socialist Party Leader, Diosdado Cabello
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández
Brazilian President Jair "I'm an athlete" Bolsonaro (it bears repeating)

Jair Bolsonaro has caved to international pressure (from investors) and will slap a 4 month ban on fires in the Amazon and Pantanal regions. Little to do with covid, but it affects us all. For most of the year he allows deforestation, and loggers, miners and ranchers can burn land clear without restriction - and the scale of the fires is insane. 
MAAP Project research found that from 2017 to 2019, around 4,500 square kilometres (1,740 square miles) of the Brazilian Amazon (roughly 1.8 times the size of Luxembourg) was deforested and then burned. 
65% of that, 2,980 sq km (1,150 sq m) was deforested and burned during 2019, including 1,604 sq km (619 sq m) of primary forest.
CNN report that last month Brazilian researchers detected 2,248 fires in the Amazon. 

There'll be a clap in Scotland for Nicola Sturgeon. to thank her for her handling of the coronavirus. The organiser is Siobhan McCann on Facebook: 
"Our First Minister has done an exceptional job throughout what's been a strange year so far, to say the least. We clapped for our fantastic NHS. We even clapped for Boris at some point (why, I’m not quite sure). Let’s give Nicola the 'full regalia' on her 50th birthday, Sunday 19th July at 8pm."
I actually included that story mainly for the quote.

Singapore are holding an election today and it's socially distanced, with hand sanitiser and face masks, and the longest, most polite queues you've ever seen. They've placed chairs at intervals, so that 'seniors' don't have to stand up between each 6m walk. Every voter uses a self-scan identity card and then wears disposable gloves to collect the ballot paper. Everyone is expected to spend no more than five minutes voting. 
(That time limit will be tricky for Americans when they have to choose between Kanye and Trump..)

Some numbers. All actually real people, who would pull the exact same face if you told them they'd have to choose between Kanye and Trump for President: 

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

USA 3,250,704 (+30,705) 136,158 (+336)
Brazil 1,768,970 (+9,867) 69,406 (+152)
India 821,458 (+26,616) 22,143 (+520) 
Russia 713,936 (+6,635) 11,017 (+174) 
Peru 316,448 not yet reported today 11,314
Chile 309,274 (+3,058) 6,781 (+99)
Spain 300,988 (+852) 28,403 (+2)
UK 288,133 (+512) 44,650 (+48)
Mexico 282,283 (+7,280) 33,526 (+730) 
Iran 252,720 (+2,262) 12,447 (+142) 
Pakistan 243,599 (+2,751) 5,058 (+75) 
Italy 242,639 (+276) 34,938 (+12) 
South Africa 238,339 not yet reported today 3,720
Saudi Arabia 226,486 (+3,159) 2,151 (+51) 
Turkey 210,965 (+1,003) 5,323 (+23) 
Germany 199,332 (+134) 9,126 (+1)
Bangladesh 178,443 (+2,949) 2,275 (+37) 
France 170,094 not yet reported today 29,979
Colombia 133,973 not yet reported today 4,714
Canada 107,021 (+216) 8,759 (+10) 


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