Friday 31 July 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 31st July 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 31st July 2020.

The UK added 880 cases today and now has reported a total of 303,181 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 206,656 tests yesterday. 1,251 people were in hospital on Wednesday 29th, with 84 using a ventilator yesterday. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 120 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 46,119 losses of life in all settings.

England 261,348 / 41,512
Northern Ireland 5,948 / 556
Scotland 18,627 / 2,491
Wales 17,258 / 1,560

Rep. Of Ireland 26,027 cases and 1,763 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 17,608,350 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 679,334. Already 11,015,941 people have recovered.

At home shouldnt mean at risk This is a safe space for victims of violence to speak up

"Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives"
"Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives"
"Hands, Face, get a test if you need it"
Give Me Strength.

Well it all got very exciting last night after 7pm. 
In case you missed it yesterday, people from different households within these areas are not allowed to spend time together indoors or in private gardens, for the next two weeks:
Greater Manchester
Blackburn with Darwen 
City of Leicester
If it has a method of payment, it remains open. You can all still go to the pub, but you can't sit together with different households. 

There was a surprise English press conference today to give us all the bad news that new cases are going up. Boris was there to deliver his own bad news for once, but it's okay, because there was a shiny new slogan to take our minds off it, and Chris Whitty, Chief Medical officer, alongside for the science. 
New cases are just over 100 each day. We have 87 people using a ventilator today (which is 3 more than yesterday) and the number of deaths is falling, but we can't ignore rises in cases. The weekly survey by ONS (Office for National Statistics) says cases in the community are going up. Around 1 in every 1,500 people in the UK community has COVID, compared to 1 in 1800 on 15th July, and 1 in 2,000 on 2nd July. We have around 4,000 new infections per day. We can't ignore this evidence. 
We have new restrictions on household contact - households mixing, which data tells us is causing the rise. Restrictions on workplaces do not change. 
Measures taken in Leicester and Luton have worked, and allowed us to relax restrictions. 

Relaxing of restrictions in Luton and Leiceste

Boris says that nationally "We should now squeeze that brake pedal, squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control".

Because of the rise in cases, we are postponing further reopening for at least 2 weeks, until August 15th at the earliest. This affects higher risk settings - casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, close contact services. Indoor and stadium performances (including pilot studies) are postponed, and (this is going to really upset a lot of people), weddings with up to 30 guests now CANNOT take place. You can marry with up to 30 socially distanced guests at the ceremony, but the reception can't have more than 2 households, or 6 guests from different households if outdoors.  
Workplaces are unaffected.
The pause on shielding will take place as planned. 
We recommend face coverings are worn in ALL INDOOR SETTINGS where people gather (not workplaces). Places of worship, galleries, museums, and basically anywhere that is indoors and open. This WILL become legally enforceable.
He introduced his new catchline, which he described as "pretty punchy, don't you think?" 
 "Hands, Face, Space....(plus get a test if you need it)."
Personally I preferred "save the NHS". 
"It's up to the whole country to do it right and do it together." That it is Boris.

Chris Whitty says the UK have reached our limits at what we can open up and still have control of the virus, and in fact we may need to pull back a bit. 
In the future, if we want to reopen something, we may have to stop something else. Schools are a priority to be open. 
Chris looks stressed. He still doesn't blink, but he has overnight-sized bags under his eyes. He did seem free to speak though, which I very much like. 

northern england new rules from 31 July for 2 weeks
A not yet peer-reviewed paper has been published which looks at the differences in US states depending on at which stage they closed schools. Bear in mind this isn't perfect, as other measures were also introduced in most states at the same time, so the scientists made adjustments to try and study just the added effect from school closure. 
All 50 states closed schools at some point in March, before we really knew whether it would have a big effect, and back when some people still believed children couldn't be infected, or couldn't pass on COVID to anyone else.
They found that 'School closure was associated with a significant decline in the incidence of COVID-19 (adjusted relative change per week −62%) and mortality (adjusted relative change per week −58%)'. 
It's a significant change, and was greatest in areas which had less COVID cases reported already. 
They also looked at the differences between the areas with most (highest quartile) and least (lowest quartile) cases of COVID at the time they closed schools, and "...estimated that closing schools when the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was in the lowest quartile compared with the highest quartile was associated with 128.7 fewer cases per 100 000 population over 26 days and with 1.5 fewer deaths per 100 000 population over 16 days."
It makes sense to close early.

In case we ever forget, it seems likely COVID may have a mortality rate of under 1%, but it is injuring and hospitalising a huge number of people. Around 15% of people who catch it are likely to need hospital care, and an untold number have long term or even permanent damage, so we cannot let it run riot, or the hospitalisation and loss of life will run riot too. A community with an overwhelmed hospital is a community who can't be treated with simple life-saving oxygen. We can die from a fever or breaking a leg. We have to protect that bed space in case our loved ones need it for any reason.  

Florida has seen huge numbers of cases over the last month, including a substantial rise in the number of children testing positive or in hospital. Positive cases in under 17's went from 23,170 on July 16th to 31,150 on July 24th. Hospitalisations of under 17's rose from 246 on July 16th to 303 on July 24th. People are getting twitchy about the enforced school reopenings under these conditions. 
Meanwhile US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos does NOT offer any hope. She said last week: 
“More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don’t get it and transmit it themselves, so we should be in a posture of — the default should be getting back to school kids in person, in the classroom.”
That would be so cool, if only it were true. The authors of a rare German article which appears to show these results have even stated that their study would be irrelevant in a situation such as the USA, wherever COVID is flowing through the community. 

wash your hands face space

The UK government have bought 60m doses of yet another vaccine. This is the GSK and Sanofi Pasteur candidate. Combined they have the largest vaccine manufacturing capability in the world, and their vaccine is based on existing DNA-based technology which is used to produce Sanofi’s flu vaccine. We now have 250 million doses on order from 3 different sources. More volunteers are required for mass testing - find that at NHS dot UK slash Coronavirus. 

Hong Kong is having a disaster of a time politically, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced last night that they have decided to postpone their election for a year due to the "very serious public safety crisis". 
This isn't likely to go incredibly well. Hong Kong seemed to have covid under control until the beginning of July, since then they've reported increasing cases daily, with 130 yesterday.

Buddy, the first US dog to test positive for COVID, has died. He did have breathing problems, but was also found to have Cancer. 

The UK SAGE group have admitted they aren't confident that the R Rate in the UK is below 1. This is pretty much news that your 3 year old could tell you. The R (reproductive) rate tells you how many people, on average, each infected person goes on to infect. 
If case numbers are going up, it doesn't take a genius to realise that the R HAS TO BE above 1. I hope this announcement isn't really indicative of their maths ability. 

The UK also last night imposed a 14 day quarantine on arrivals from Luxembourg, after a spike in cases there. It almost feels like no-one here noticed. 

The Indian Supreme Court has ordered that Doctors and Health Care Workers are paid on time, and that they don't have to take leave when they quarantine. Seems cash strapped areas are trying to save money wherever they can, and it's been going on a while. On June 12, the top court said, “In war, you do not make soldiers unhappy."

It is incredibly cruel that you can happen to be at the pub or in a pool at the same time as friends or relatives, but in some areas you can't have them round, and you can't have them at your wedding. There is a difference regarding cleaning of surfaces, but the big difference is closeness. Entire wedding parties have been affected, people have died after travelling to funerals. When you see people you care about, especially if you have a drink, you might get a bit close, you whisper over shoulders or shout over background noise, and you tend to spend several hours together. It all increases risk. You trust these people, but through no fault of their own, and without a clue they are infected, they could pass on COVID. And so could you. 

In excellent news, the South West region of England lost no-one to COVID for the whole of last week. Fingers crossed that continues. And spreads... 

It's Eid, so my best wishes to everyone who celebrates - however it happens for you. I am sorry if you cannot join in physical celebration with your loved ones and community, I hope you can nonetheless feel their warmth. 

Some numbers, all of whom had a favourite toy when they were little:

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

USA 4,657,129 (+22,144) 155,757 (+472) 
Brazil 2,625,612 (+11,823) 91,607 (+230) 
India 1,693,879 (+54,529) 36,548 (+762)
Russia 839,981 (+5,482) 13,963 (+161) 
South Africa 482,169 not yet reported today 7,812
Mexico 416,179 (+7,730) 46,000 (+639)
Peru 407,492 not yet reported today 19,021
Chile 353,536 not yet reported today 9,457 (+80)
Spain 335,602 (+3,092) 28,445 (+2)
Iran 304,204 (+2,674) 16,766 (+197)
UK 303,181 (+880) 46,119 (+120)
Colombia 286,020 not yet reported today 9,810
Pakistan 278,305 (+903) 5,951 (+27)
Saudi Arabia 275,905 (+1,686) 2,866 (+24)
Italy 247,537 (+379) 35,141 (+9)
Bangladesh 237,661 (+2,772) 3,111 (+28) 



  1. This might be my favourite update to date and not on the statistics of course but on your insights. I love your comments. How can we get you prime minister? I have to say I didn’t think I’d be nervous about the kids going back to school but I am now x

  2. Love your Van Morrison comments. Spot on x


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