Tuesday, 7 July 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 6th/7th July 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 6th/7th July 2020.

The UK added 581 cases today and now has reported a total of 286,349 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we reported the loss of another 155 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 44,391 losses of life in all settings. ONS figures including suspected cases total over 55,000 people succumbed in the UK. 

England 246,386 / 39,815
Northern Ireland 5,761 / 554
Scotland 18,302 / 2,488
Wales 15,900 / 1.534

Rep. Of Ireland 25,531 cases and 1,741 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 11,818,570 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 542,818. Already 6,796,453 people have recovered.

Cloth masks How to wear a non medical mask safely

The ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures for England and Wales today show that for the 2nd week running, the total number of deaths was lower than the 5 year average. It was lower in hospitals and care homes, but still more people died at home than usual. GO TO HOSPITAL if you are unwell. 

Edit to blog 6 / 7 The ONS have also published some detailed data on the random swab testing (do I have it right now?) that has been completed so far among people living in the community:
"Over the whole study period, an estimated 0.32% (95% confidence interval: 0.26% to 0.38%) of the 36,061 people providing swab test results have ever tested positive for COVID-19
"There is no evidence of differences in COVID-19 infection rates over the study period by sex and age bands, and only limited evidence of differences by ethnic groups."
They say they can't have confidence because their sample size is too small and started in April, when it was centred more towards urban and less affluent areas, but their figures show around twice as many people from BAME groups test positive for antibodies than white, and we are reminded:
"Recent analysis of COVID-19 related deaths shows that the mortality rate for those of White ethnic background was generally lower than for other ethnic groups. In particular, the rate of deaths involving COVID-19 for Black males was 3.3 times greater than that for White males of the same age, while the rate for Black females was 2.4 times greater than for White females."

Boris has pledged £1.57b to the UK's arts. Theatres, music, dance, heritage, museums, galleries - they often run on a shoestring anyway, not being able to open to patrons has meant they can't earn, and for many there's no real end yet in sight. Our lives would be so much less rich without beauty. 



The World Health Organisation has joined everyone else with a shiny new information dashboard - you can find it at covid19 dot who dot org

The RNIB - Royal National Institute for Blind People - has turned Europe's largest billboard in Piccadilly upside down, to make us more aware of just how much COVID has affected blind people's lives. If we think going shopping or 'returning to a new normal' is confusing and complicated, can you imagine it without clear vision? They are asking everyone to think, and have some understanding. Don't block the pavements with social distancing stuff, and that kind of thing... 

At least 3 English pubs and a takeaway have closed already because of customers or staff testing positive for COVID. Unfortunately this will be the normal for a while. 

UK Research and Innovation have commissioned a new study into the long-term health effects of COVID19, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and led by University Of Leicester. 
I am so so so so pleased to see this research because I think the results may be upsetting for a lot of people, and we need to prepare and be ready. Being informed allows us to plan for the future and get a handle on how serious a threat to our wellbeing COVID is.
"For those who were hospitalised and have since been discharged, it is not yet clear what their medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be to enable them to make as full a recovery as possible."
"The PHOSP-COVID study will assess the impact of Covid-19 on patient health and their recovery. This includes looking at possible ways to help improve the mental health of patients hospitalised with coronavirus, and how individual characteristics influence recovery, such as gender or ethnicity.".

070720 ONS infection study men women BAME groups

Science journal 'Clinical Infectious Diseases' has published a letter by two scientists from Australia and the US, and co-signed by 239 other scientists, asking the World Health Organisation to revise it's description of COVID. There is repeated evidence suggesting it can be spread by airborne particles as well as droplets. Airborne particles are lighter and smaller, travel further and can float about in the air for a long time (hours). Droplets fall faster and anyone 6ft or more away is usually beyond their reach. 
WHO are examining evidence, but until now have said there wasn't firm proof it could aerosol, except for during certain medical procedures, and they won't change guidance until they're 100% sure - because this is a big change. 
Personally I'm with the scientists on this one. Aerosol airborne particles have been found in changing rooms and corridors, and deemed responsible for cases in restaurants and offices - they may even be the cause of outbreaks in meat packing factories worldwide. 
If this is the case, we will have to revise our idea of how to exist safely indoors. Proper ventilation, avoiding recirculating air and even using UV lights to kill airborne particles are all helpful. 

Famous People With COVID:
Brazilian President and COVID-19 disbeliever Jair "little flu" Bolsonaro.

Lost Their Fight:
Healthy 41 year old Broadway actor Nick Cordero, after a 95 day battle. 

As if a couple of deadly disease epidemics weren't enough, China has reported a suspected case of Bubonic Plague in Inner Mongolia. (I told you we needed buboes!) Thankfully we have treatments for plague nowadays (phew) - antibiotics, fluids and familiarly, Oxygen support. 
 China has placed the city of Bayannur, northwest of Beijing, under a Level 3 Warning for plague prevention until the end of the year, and urged caution to all residents when dealing with wild animals. Pandemic spread is thankfully not anticipated.

We've named the last 3 generations X, Y and Z. Are we not expecting any more, or are we just going round to A? 

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that 13 of the UK's top universities are in danger of insolvency. Those who rely heavily on overseas students will have a very bad year as currently we don't even know if it would be plausible for many. Many UK students are also considering deferring because of uncertainty over exactly what sort of 'uni experience' they'd have this year. 

uk parks government advice

Trump of the day:
"BREAKING NEWS: The Mortality Rate for the China Virus in the U.S. is just about the LOWEST IN THE WORLD! Also, Deaths in the U.S. are way down, a tenfold decrease since the Pandemic height (and, our Economy is coming back strong!)."
Yes - he actually tweeted that. 

Sadly for anyone in the US, not only racist, also a fairy story. Donald must have shut his eyes to make it all go away again. John's Hopkins University have a great page showing the truth as they see it - using JUST the 20 countries with the highest loss of life. Countries with the highest mortality rate compared to official cases in order are:
1. The UK (so proud)
2. Mexico
3. Ecuador
4. Indonesia
5. Iran
6. The US
It is always due to limits and capability for testing - or the population's willingness to get tested (which may be financial / religious / disbelief etc). Testing low numbers misses asymptomatic and low symptom cases, so the case-fatality rate is artificially high. 
Countries with the highest mortality rate per 100,000 of the population are:
1. The UK (we really are world-beating)
2. The US
3. Chile
4. Peru
5. Brazil
6. Ecuador 
The Americas really are doing very badly, it's a disaster over there, and far from reaching peak.

The above was just from the 20 countries with the highest mortality rates. If you include all countries, including tiny micro-nations, those with highest loss of life per 100,000 population (and those areas which will be genuinely most affected by covid) are:
1. San Marino (they have lost 42 people)
2. Belgium
3. Andorra
4. United Kingdom
5. Spain
6. Italy
7. Sweden
8. France
9. US
10. Ireland

Donald's claim that deaths in the US are down is true. Currently they are around 15% of the peak - the peak that was for New York and the first states to be hit. Unfortunately cases are rising rapidly everywhere else now, and sadly without a miracle, what will follow 2-4 weeks later will be a comparable rise in loss of life. 

Chinese and Indian troops seem to have stood down from their impasse in the Galwan Valley. They've been spotted taking down temporary camps and moving lines back. Good news. 

Boris Johnson was asked about the 20,000 people living in UK care homes who have lost their lives:
“We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have.” 
What a load of excrement. No Boris, your guidance was ridiculous. You sent people with suspected and proven Covid-19 back to care homes, you failed to provide PPE or education in a timely fashion, and you allowed bank staff to keep working at several care homes at once. Plus the rest. It was not care home management and staff's fault, it was your government procedures. 
The situation was only made worse by Alok Sharma this morning claiming 'what he meant was....'. Sheesh, can we get some politicians who don't think lying is acceptable?  

Australia really were doing incredibly well controlling COVID, but Victoria recorded 191 new cases on Tuesday, after a record 127 on Monday. As a result, the entire Victoria/ New South Wales border closes today, for the first time since the Spanish flu 100 years ago. No domestic travel over the state line will be allowed without a permit. Around 500 military personnel will join police in ensuring restrictions aren't broken. 

Despite rapid lockdown measures India was not able to stop the spread of COVID and has reported over 20,000 new cases a day for the last 5 days. They now have over 700,000 cases in total, behind Brazil and the USA. 
South America is the world COVID epicentre, with Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil and Chile suffering very badly. Cases continue to rise in Africa and Asia, with Pakistan and Bangladesh also reporting large increases in cases. The vast majority of Europe and the Antipodes may be coming out, but most of the rest of the world is still to reach their peak. 

Stop the spread of germs by staying 6m apart US CDC

The Independent, not actually real, SAGE group of prominent UK scientists has published a Zero COVID UK report:
"Independent SAGE believes that the UK government must fundamentally change its approach and we propose a new overarching strategic objective of achieving a Zero COVID UK, i.e. the elimination of the virus from the UK. We believe this should be informed by science and debated in public, and a proper coordinated strategy for its achievement developed with the public."
"Achieving elimination would allow all social distancing measures to be lifted, schools to be fully open, the hospitality and entertainment industries to reopen fully, revitalisation of the economy and a sense of much needed normality for the population."

The Independent, not actually government authorised, SAGE group of eminent university professors and ex UK Medical Chiefs and other top UK scientists have also published a report on COVID and increased risk to BAME groups, with recommendations for extra protection for those more at risk. They point out that, for example, being a black man in the UK puts you at higher risk, but then you are also more likely to have a job which puts you at additional risk. You are also more likely to have a lower income and less potential for sick leave you can exist on, if you can even afford to take time off at all. You are also more likely to live in a deprived area, and have grown up in a deprived area. Combined this gives a massive inequality of risk, and all needs to be addressed (not only in the UK). 

Bonus Trump fictional story plot of the day, and a pat on the back for anyone who can tell me the REAL answers because I'm not posting them upside down at the bottom of the page like a real magazine. Or maybe I will: 
"Americans harnessed electricity, split the atom, and gave the world the telephone and the internet. We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American Astronauts on the Moon—and one day soon, we will plant our flag on Mars!" President Donald Trump. 
Next week, President Master Of The Universe tells us about how Americans were the first to discover elephants and build igloos, and he'll reveal his map with the location of Blackbeard's Treasure... arrrrrrgh

Some people, all of them love a good story... 

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

USA 3,056,589 (+15,756) 133,279 (+300)
Brazil 1,628,283 (+2,212) 65,631 (+75)
India 739,646 (+19,300) 20,618 (+444)
Russia 694,230 (+6,368) 10,494 (+198)
Peru 305,703 not yet reported today 10,772
Chile 301,019 (+2,462) 6,434 (+50)
Spain 298,869 not yet reported today 28,388
UK 286,349 (+581) 44,391 (+155) 
Mexico 261,750 (+4,902) 31,119 (+480)
Iran 245,688 (+2,637) 11,931 (+200)
Italy 241,956 (+137) 34,899 (+30) 
Pakistan 234,509 (+2,691) 4,839 (+77) 
Saudi Arabia 217,108 (+3,392) 2,017 (+49) 
Turkey 206,844 not yet reported today 5,241
South Africa 205,721 not yet reported today 3,310


Sources:

Independent SAGE Reports 
https://www.independentsage.org/independent-sage-on-achieving-a-zero-covid-uk-i-e-the-elimination-of-the-virus-from-the-uk/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-53315702
https://twitter.com/RNIB/status/1280051676150448128
https://covid19.who.int/
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/06/asia/china-mongolia-bubonic-plague-intl-hnk-scli-scn/index.html
https://twitter.com/i/events/1279978387562364928
https://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning/social-distancing/turn-your-picture
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1280209106826125313?s=19
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/coronavirus-can-spread-in-the-air-beyond-any-reasonable-doubt-over-200-scientists-tell-the-world-health-organization-2020-07-06
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/health/239-experts-with-one-big-claim-the-coronavirus-is-airborne.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/health/airflow-coronavirus-restaurants.html
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-coronavirus-care-home-death-toll-uk-update-a9604426.html
https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-restaurants-need-to-reopen-a-flattened-infection-curve-and-fresh-air-11594033202?mod=e2tw
https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1279947673051815941
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending26june2020
https://www.band.uol.com.br/coronavirus/noticias/100000994239/jair-bolsonaro-testa-positivo-para-coronavirus.html


"Americans harnessed electricity, split the atom, and gave the world the telephone and the internet. We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American Astronauts on the Moon—and one day soon, we will plant our flag on Mars!" President Donald Trump. 

English scientist William Gilbert established the science underlying electricity and magnetism, and gave electricity it's name. Englishman Sir Thomas Browne studied it in more depth and wrote up his additional findings in well-thumbed academic books. Benjamin Franklin (actual American) did indeed study electricity and demonstrate it's power by getting himself struck by lightning. The electric motor was patented by William Sturgeon from Lancashire. 
Atom first split in Manchester, England by Sir Ernest Rutherford (born in New Zealand). 
Telephone. Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish
The internet came from ARPANET, which was American. However, ARPANET was made possible by packet switching, developed by British computer scientist Donald Davies at the National Physical Laboratory in UK. But that’s just the means of communication. The World Wide Web was invented by Sir Tim "the internet is for everyone" Berners-Lee, English. 
Obviously it's true, 'American's' did 'settle' the Wild West... Attempted genocide is rarely listed as an achievement though. 
The US had a non aggression pact signed with Germany in WWII and didn't get involved until Pearl Harbor, 2 years after the Allies began fighting. 
Yes! The moon landings are real... give yourself a shiny. Or are they? Lolz, they really are. 

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