Tuesday 21 July 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 20 / 21 July 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 20 / 21 July 2020.

The UK added 445 cases today and now has reported a total of 295,817 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 101,741 tests yesterday. On Sunday 19th July 1,612 people were in hospital with COVID, and on Monday 129 people were using a ventilator. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 110 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 45,422 official losses of life in all settings.

England 254,519 / 40,828
Northern Ireland 5,859 / 556
Scotland 18,474 / 2,491
Wales 16,965 / 1,547

Rep. Of Ireland 25,802 (+36) cases and 1,753 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 14,965,116 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 615,767. Already 8,985,407 people have recovered.

COVID-19 Health workers look after yourselves

On Sunday, for the first time since the virus took hold in February, Lombardy in Italy reported no daily loss of life to COVID-19.

The Oxford vaccine candidate phase 2 study results are out, and they are excellent. There were no patients who experienced a 'severe clinical event', so it seems safe. The Oxford uni press release tells it very clearly:
"The vaccine provoked a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination (white blood cells that can attack cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus), and an antibody response within 28 days (antibodies are able to neutralise the virus so that it cannot infect cells when initially contracted)."
Remember we DO NOT yet have proof that a vaccine will actually prevent you from catching COVID,  or how long it will give immunity for, but this is the best place to start. 
Phase 3 human trials are already underway in two countries where COVID is rife in the community, Brazil and South Africa, and 30,000 patients are being recruited in the USA. There will also be a paediatric study. 

The UK Government has been incredibly active regarding vaccines, and seem utterly determined we won't be stopped by COVID for any longer than absolutely necessary. We have already secured a deal with AstraZeneca for 100m doses of the Oxford vaccine, and now we have reached agreement with BioNTech and Pfizer for 30 million doses of their vaccine, and with French firm Valneva for 60 million doses of theirs. Talk about hedging your bets! 
"The UK government has secured early access to 90 million vaccine doses from the BioNTech/Pfizer alliance and Valneva with more in the pipeline as part of its strategy to build a portfolio of promising new vaccines to protect the UK from COVID-19
In addition, treatments containing COVID-19-neutralising antibodies have been secured from AstraZeneca to protect those who cannot receive vaccines
UK public encouraged to sign up to a new NHS website to make it quicker and easier for potential volunteers to join vital studies that could help save lives – the aim is to get 500,000 people signed up by October."
Astounding, and I can't fail to be impressed. It should easily mean that we can swiftly vaccinate those frontline people most at risk of catching COVID (even if you need double or triple doses for it to be effective) and help protect our most vulnerable members of society. 
If you want to sign up to be among those testing the vaccines, Google 'NHS Coronavirus Vaccine Research'

After 4 days of debate, EU leaders have agreed a 750 billion euro loan and grant package for member states hardest hit by the coronavirus. 

WHO advice over 60 or vulnerable avoid crowded places

"Although COVID19 is a risk for all indigenous peoples globally, WHO is deeply concerned about the impact of the virus on indigenous peoples in the Americas, which remains the current epicenter of the pandemic.
As of the 6th of July, more than 70,000 COVID19 cases have been reported among indigenous peoples in the Americas, and more than two thousand deaths. 
Most recently, at least six cases have been reported among the Nahua people, who live in the Peruvian Amazon. Pan American Health Organisation
(PAHO WHO) recently published recommendations for preventing and responding to COVID19 among indigenous peoples. 
WHO is also working with the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin to step up the fight against COVID-19.
One of the key tools for suppressing COVID19 transmission in indigenous communities – and all communities – is contact tracing.
No country can get control of its epidemic if it doesn’t know where the virus is."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation. 

India began the first clinical human trials of their vaccine candidate, Covaxin, on Monday. They're hoping to have a useful vaccine by the end of the year. Fingers crossed guys. 

The UK's Test And Trace App. is even worse than we thought. It's been found to have breached GDPR data laws - unsurprisingly due to them wanting to keep information on where you've been and who you met for the next 20 (TWENTY) years. Awesome. 

Saudi Arabia have confirmed no change to their plans to allow just 1,000 pilgrims to take part in this year's Hajj, rather than the usual couple of million. The pilgrims allowed to travel are from various nationalities, already within Saudi Arabia and health checked, and have a permit allowing them to make the journey from 29th July. 

Next time my partner buys over-expensive doughnuts when he's shopping, I'll be kind. The UK have so far spent about £10 billion on the Test and Trace, and we had examples from all over the world to learn from, yet it's the biggest shower I've ever seen. Dido Harding does seem to be doing something to improve it, but at this moment Chinese whispers would have given better results. 

WHO Food safety meat can be eaten cook it properly and wash hands before and after handling

Trump of the Day: 
"You will never hear this on the Fake News concerning the China Virus, but by comparison to most other countries, who are suffering greatly, we are doing very well - and we have done things that few other countries could have done!"
Donald, you are going to pass 4 million cases tonight, you have already lost over 144 thousand people and your loss of life is rising again. Which scale of good to bad are you using? Last bit's true, you really have done things that few other countries could have done...

Fantastic tweet from Angie Rasmussen (Virologist at Columbia University)
"Remember the secret state department cable that supposedly proved SARSCoV2 originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
Washington Post just released the cable in its entirety. SPOILER ALERT: it's a big old nothing burger."
It really is.

"MPs have voted against New Clause 17, with 340 votes to 251.
The New Clause intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK."
(UK House Of Commons Public Release. Whoever wrote that has made their opinion known - and I feel the same. Shame on them all.)

Flipping awesome news about premature babies (and thanks to Kelly for first alerting me to this one). The numbers of premature babies have dropped significantly in some countries during lockdown. Some places aren't spotting a difference, but in others it's stark. 
Limerick's University Maternity Hospital in Ireland told the New York Times that the number of babies born under 3.3lbs is just 1/4 the normal number, and they have had no babies born under 2.2lbs this Spring. 
Danish researchers found that during their lockdown, babies born before 28 weeks had dropped by 90%.
Doctors at the University of Calgary, Alberta, said premature births had dropped by nearly half during their lockdown.
Now we need to know why? Theories include less work stress, more relaxation, more family support,  less pollution, not catching other viruses too... If they can work this one out we may be able to change behaviour and save a huge amount of pain in the future. 

Experts are warning us DO NOT USE N95 FACE MASKS. They are more expensive and have the little filter on. The filter only filters what goes in and not what you breathe out, so if you do happen to have COVID, you'll be spraying it around the room just as effectively as if you wore no mask. If you cough wearing one, it can actually jet out even further. 

UK Govt advice face coverings

Boris has tweeted that SOME of the people who deserve it most will be getting a pay rise: 
"Our teachers, doctors, armed forces personnel, and public sector workers have responded to the unprecedented challenges of coronavirus.  
To recognise their efforts on the front line, we will be increasing their pay this year."
I hope that pay rise won't look paltry next to the pay rise you award yourself Boris... And why doesn't it include Nurses, Paramedics, Social Care Workers, Refuse Collectors, Street Sweepers, Parks, IT staff and other essential (and often frontline) workers who didn't get to sit safe at home for the last 6 months? 

It turns out that Africans are really embracing their mandatory face masks, and they've become something of a fashion accessory. For the ladies especially, a matching frock, head wrap and face mask in a bold, colourful African print is the perfect outfit for getting admiring glances in the street... 

Theatres and the acting profession are having a very bad time of it at the moment, and have joined forces to launch an online charity auction which went live this morning. Theatre Super Auction is open until July 26, and all proceeds go to Acting for Others, Theatre Artists Fund and Theatres Trust. Lots include loads of random goodies - signed scripts, photos and books. Lunch dates and meet-and-greets with the sparkly and famous. Shoes and other clothing as worn on TV or stage. Theatre tickets, Zoom meetings, Joan Collin's jewellery and my personal favourite, afternoon tea with Simon Callow.  

Mainly good news today. We'll get there. Back Thursday... Stay apart, control the virus, save the NHS. 

Some people, all of whom would say thank you to their nurses, medics and carers:

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

USA 3,986,603 (+25,174) 144,331 (+497) 
Brazil 2,129,053 (+7,408) 80,493 (+242)
India 1,191,709 (+36,792) 28,763 (+664)
Russia 783,328 (+5,842) 12,580 (+153)
South Africa 373,628 not yet reported today 5,173
Peru 357,681 not yet reported today 13,384
Mexico 349,396 (+5,172) 39,485 (+301)
Chile 334,683 (+1,654) 8,677 (+44)
Spain 313,274 (+1,358) 28,424 (+2) 
UK 295,817 (+445) 45,422 (+110)
Iran 278,827 (+2,625) 14,634 (+229)
Pakistan 266,096 (+1,013) 5,639 (+40)
Saudi Arabia 255,825 (+2,476) 2,557 (+34)
Italy 244,752 (+128) 35,073 (+15)


Sign up for vaccine research 

Theatre Super Auction

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