Thursday 16 July 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 15 / 16 July 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 15 / 16 July 2020.

The UK added 642 cases today and now has reported a total of 292,552 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 152,063 tests yesterday. 

1,865 people were in hospital on Tuesday 14th, down from 2,172 last Thursday 9th (the previous reported date). 153 people were using a ventilator yesterday, down from 191 on Friday 10th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we reported the loss of another 66 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 45,119 confirmed losses of life in all settings.

England 251,482 / 40,528
Northern Ireland 5,815 / 556
Scotland 18,384 / 2,490
Wales 16,871 / 545

Rep. Of Ireland 25,683 cases and 1,748 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 13,807,695 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 589,193. Already 8,215,423 people have recovered.

parenting spent time with each child

Sir Ed Davey has asked if there will be a public inquiry to the English government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, and Boris confirmed there will: "We will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future". 
That'll be a fun watch.... 

From 16 August, Wales will be pausing shielding, as long as cases of coronavirus continue to decline. 

All Scottish school children will return full time after the Summer break, and will not be expected to socially distance. This is reliant on cases of coronavirus continuing to decline. 

Public Health Scotland is running a serology surveillance programme, testing the blood from around 500 people per week for antibodies. Since April 20th, the main points they have found so far are: 
- The proportion of people who had antibodies to coronavirus is estimated to be 4.3% over the combined weeks of this pilot study.
- The proportion varied each week between 1.9% and 6.8%. Across these weeks, we can be 95% confident that the value lies between under 1% and 10%.
- The proportion among males and females showed similar patterns across the study period.
- Week to week variation varied less when compared by age, in particular among older age groups.

Matt Hancock has announced easing of restrictions in Leicester. Pubs, restaurants and bars will remain closed and travel restrictions remain.  Schools, nurseries and non-essential retail can re-open from 24th July.

Public Health England have started publishing data on trends during the coronavirus crisis. The week lockdown was announced, alcohol sales went up from around 51,000 litres to 74,000 litres - and it's stayed that way. The good news is that the number of people who report 'often feeling lonely' has remained steady, and for men it actually dropped slightly over April and May. 

Imperial College London have published the not-yet-peer-reviewed findings of the largest study to date into coronavirus rates of infection. These are the outcomes for May, when they tested over 120,000 people (including some of you!): 
"Imperial’s research shows the rates of infection fell during May, the last month of lockdown, halving every 8 to 9 days. There were on average 13 positive cases for every 10,000 people, with an overall reproduction number of 0.57 – lower than previously reported.
These findings show the virus was circulating with relatively low prevalence and was declining in May, ahead of the decision being made to begin to lift lockdown restrictions."
- Young adults, aged 18 to 24, were more likely to test positive than other age groups
- Those of Asian ethnicity were more likely to test positive than those of white ethnicity. "It is possible that higher infection rates have contributed towards the higher death rates observed in this ethnic group"
- Anyone who had recent contact with a known COVID-19 case was 24 times more likely to test positive than those with no such contacts.
- There were no significant differences seen between males and females and no significant evidence of geographic clustering although measured levels were highest in London and lowest in the South West
- 69% of people testing positive reported no symptoms on the day of the test or the previous week. However, they may have developed symptoms later on and it doesn’t show how infectious they might have been at this time.
The study has been repeated over June with 150,000 people tested. 

The current R value in Northern Ireland is assumed to be 0.5-1.0

Face coverings safely wearing UK Government advice

Excellent news from the USA. The Moderna vaccine candidate has provoked promising immune responses in test subjects and appears safe. 
"We conducted a phase 1, dose-escalation, open-label trial including 45 healthy adults, 18 to 55 years of age, who received two vaccinations, 28 days apart, with mRNA-1273 in a dose of 25 μg, 100 μg, or 250 μg. There were 15 participants in each dose group."
All 3 groups received 2 injections 28 days apart. Mild COVID-like symptoms were common for a day or so after the injections, but 3 people in the highest dose group became ill, so that whole group was discontinued. The 2 remaining groups had really promising results:
"The mRNA-1273 vaccine induced anti–SARS-CoV-2 immune responses in all participants, and no trial-limiting safety concerns were identified."
Phase 3 with 30,000 people is expected to begin on July 27.

The UK want to try and prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed, and as flu almost fills them by itself, it's a genuine concern:
"This winter, with the help of our pharmacies & the rest of the NHS, we’ll roll out the biggest flu vaccination programme in history." Matt Hancock. Don't say I didn't tell you it was coming.

The US CDC has urged community leaders to make mask wearing mandatory, after releasing a study of two infected hairstylists. They both wore masks and between them worked with 139 clients - who also wore masks. None of the clients appear to have become infected. 67 were tested, all were negative.  Impressive. 

Bad news from Italy. unfortunately doctors and researchers from Lombardy, which was really badly hit 3 months ago, are warning that long term and permanent damage from COVID may be even worse than we were beginning to suspect. Recovered patients in significant numbers have conditions including psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues. In an interview with Sky News, Dr Roberto Cosentini, head of emergencies at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, said: 
"So we are seeing other acute manifestations of renal failure that require dialysis; or stroke, and then acute myocardial infarction, so a lot of complications or other manifestations of the virus.... And also now we see a significant proportion of the population with chronic damage from the virus."
It's not yet known what percentage of patients will have long term damage, or what degree of COVID severity makes you more susceptible, but I'll say it yet again HERD IMMUNITY BY TRANSMISSION WAS NEVER A REALISTIC OPTION. Morally, socially, financially, and any other way, herd immunity is ridiculously costly. 

Ask your question at the press conference gov dot uk forward slash ask

On Tuesday grown up UK MP Sir Desmond Swayne had a big boy tantrum about having to swoosh a scarf round his face before he goes shopping (which I'm guessing he really doesn't do very often). He called it a "monstrous imposition".  
"Nothing would make me less likely to go shopping than the thought of having to mask up." 
Really? You are weird. Terrorist activity? Flooding? Earthquake? Over-inflated prices? Surly staff? Wonky trolleys? Potentially harmful pandemic virus? I can think of sooooo many things that would put me off more...

Twitter verified accounts were broken into last night, suddenly all the big guns tweeted bitcoin accounts and asked followers to send $1000 and it would be doubled and returned. Not the most subtle theft attempt - but sadly I imagine a few people fell for it. 
Some people are pointing out that Donald Trump didn't seem to be affected. That's the same Donald Trump who has been threatening Twitter since they marked some of his tweets about Covid with a Fact Check link. 

The UK, USA and Canada have jointly claimed that Russians are attempting to hack into their computers and steal their Coronavirus vaccine research. They don't have any proof and say they are 'almost certain', but anyone who thinks this is unlikely or surprising is a bit naive. Who wouldn't want all of the coronavirus vaccine research? 
"It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behaviour, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.
The UK will continue to counter those conducting such cyber attacks, and work with our allies to hold perpetrators to account."
Dominic Raab, UK Home Secretary. 

Brazilian President and COVID downplayer Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive again for COVID. He first tested positive on July 7th, and is well enough to post videos to You Tube for his supporters. Brazil has now officially lost over 75,000 people to COVID and has widespread uncontrolled outbreaks. 

The UK's Oxford vaccine candidate is making good headlines. Media are reporting that it stimulates the body to produce both antibodies and T-cells. This is really great news because antibodies to the coronavirus appear to fade away disappointingly quickly, but T-Cells hang around.  
T-Cells are a type of white blood cell which kills infected cells, but also activates other immune cells, produces cytokines and regulates the immune response.
The older you are, the less of the naive T-Cells you have wandering around looking for bad stuff to latch on to and form a pairing with, which is probably part of the reason older people are struggling more to form new immunity to COVID. 

Face coverings protect those around you Scottish health advice shows inside of tube carriage with 3 illustrated cartoon passengers using face masks or scarves

UK cricketer Jofra Archer broke the carefully organised and very strict 'bio-secure bubble', by bobbing home to Brighton on his way from Southampton to Manchester. He's officially apologised and is off the team for the rest of the test. It's particularly unfair on the away players from the West Indies, who had to not only come to the COVID-infested UK, they had to arrive at the beginning of June in order to make all of this happen. 

Patrick Vallance, physician, scientist, clinical pharmacologist and UK Chief Scientist gave evidence to a Science Select Committee today. He wore a mask until he was confident everyone else was over 2 metres away, and made several comments which imply he is no longer happy to toe the government line. "The outcome has not been good in the UK." 
He said that he has been in favour of masks since April. SAGE advised Boris to lockdown "as soon as possible" on the 16th or 18th of March when COVID19 cases were doubling every 2 or 3 days. Lockdown was implemented on 23rd March.
He also said that (presumably as long as they are happy and productive) he sees no reason to ask people to return to workplaces if they are working from home. Remember that, you might find it relevant tomorrow... 

Some people. They look like numbers, but they're real people: 

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

USA 3,648,878 (+32,051) 140,524 (+380)
Brazil 1,978,236 (+7,327) 75,697 (+174)
India 1,002,707 (+32,538) 25,595 (+666)
Russia 752,797 (+6,428) 11,937 (+167)
Peru 337,724 not yet reported today 12,417
Chile 323,698 (+2,493) 7,290 (+104 )
Mexico 317,635 (+6,149) 36,906 (+579)
South Africa 311,049 not yet reported today 4,453
Spain 304,574 not yet reported today 28,413
UK 292,552 (+641) 45,119 (+66)
Iran 267,061 (+2,500) 13,608 (+198)
Pakistan 257,914 (+2,145) 5,426 (+40)
Italy 243,736 (+230) 35,017
Saudi Arabia 243,238 (+2,764) 2,370 (+45)
Turkey 216,873 (+933) 5,440 (+21) 


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