Thursday 20 August 2020

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

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

The UK added 1,182 cases today and now has reported a total of 322,280 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 190,434 tests yesterday. 867 people were in hospital on Tuesday 18th, down 85 from Tuesday last week. 70 patients were using a ventilator yesterday, down 10 from Wednesday last week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 6 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have an official total of 41,403 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 27,547 cases and 1,775 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 22,728,247 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have officially lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 793,810. Already 15,407,162 people have recovered.

Domestic Violence World Health Organisation

GCSE results were released today, and students got either moderated grades or teacher assessment, whichever was higher. MUCH fairer. Remember if you didn't get the grades you hoped for, there are still a million different paths open to you. 

BTEC students' results were announced as delayed late last night. Hopefully they will have spotted the teeny weeny disaster which has already occurred with several hundred thousand Scottish and A level students, and won't repeat it (we can but hope). I have my fingers crossed for all of you. 

Excitingly some Gmail and other Google services temporarily broke worldwide this morning, meaning many students waiting for exam results had to either turn up in person or wait it out. So mean! 

The UK Government have a threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 of the population in order that any country be excluded from our quarantine regulations and added to the travel corridor list. Austria, Trinidad & Tobago and Croatia have gone over the 20 cases (Croatia registered 27.4 cases per 100,000 this week) and they will be removed from the 'safe' travel corridor list at 4am on Saturday morning (22nd August). Portugal will be added to the list at that time, so good news for anyone with a Lisbon trip booked...

Andy Burnham and other North West England leaders, and at least 16 health authorities, have written to the Government to ask them to extend the ban on evictions. Many of the cabinet and backbenchers are landlords, and already unsympathetic. The current ban was brought in with the first coronavirus restrictions, and an estimated 7,200 people in Manchester alone are in rent arrears. It would cause a huge nightmare for local councils.. 

UK local leaders, agencies and think tanks are asking for the furlough scheme to be extended, or estimates suggest another 2 million people could lose their jobs. If they lose their jobs then it is likely they'll actually cost the public purse more, as they'll be claiming benefits for an unknown period of time, may fall behind housing payments,  return that new car, stop going out and spending cash on leisure and inessential items etc. Also, crime and depression goes up. The UK is currently the only G7 nation not extending furlough beyond October. 

Germany look likely to extend their part time work furlough scheme to 24 months. They are experts at this, and regularly use part time furlough rather than unemployment anyway. And let's face it, they seem to be doing okay on it. I'm no economist, but they make a strong case. 

the power of soap against COVID hand wash squirty bottle illustration

So far, Southern hemisphere countries are not experiencing the normal levels of flu. Restrictions and measures to prevent spread of COVID are also working against flu. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organisation says that during the last reporting period, 20th July to 2nd August, almost 300,000 specimens were tested, and only 37 were positive for influenza. “So it seems like the circulation is low." Fingers crossed for when Winter reaches the Northern hemisphere...

We still don't have any actual evidence to suggest COVID will be far worse during Winter, but logic suggests it is a very real possibility, as everyone moves inside and shuts the windows. Flu, colds and other respiratory diseases thrive in those conditions. Canada's top doctors say they're striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst if a "fall peak" of COVID-19 cases occur across the country. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also warning that without all Americans following the COVID-specific recommendations, this could be "the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we've ever had." 

If 2020 couldn't get any weirder, there was a malfunction in the ventilation system at the Lindt & Spr√ľngli chocolate factory in Olten, Switzerland, and it snowed chocolate flakes over the village. That'll be a legend locals will enjoy telling their Grandchildren in 60 years time. 

A company called McKinsey were paid £560,000 for giving ‘vision’ to the new English pandemic body.
"Baroness (Dido) Harding is to be the head of the new body. Baroness Harding is a former McKinsey consultant who worked at firm for 7 yrs until 1995. How very cosy all this is." Brian Silvester, Councillor Cheshire East.
I've got a vision. Put people first and stop assuming you are more clever than professionals who do the job day in, day out. Rather than creating expensive new groups full of people you like, but who have no idea why they are even there, go to the professionals (e.g. existing local authority contact tracers) and give them the funding and extra staff to just do the job. You can have that vision for free. 

No face masks for little children PHE

The University of East Anglia have some some research on snot. (I've raised 5 boys, I thought I'd heard everything there was to know.) Specifically they wanted to find out the differences between colds/flu and COVID. When a person has colds and flu, they tend to have a lot of nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose etc. whereas COVID patients don't. They found that COVID patients were unable to distinguish far more smells, and also failed to taste bitter or sweet - which are associated with your immune system. They're now looking to do further research to see if it can be useful as a diagnostic tool to separate flu/cold patients and COVID patients. They also want to look further into the possibility that COVID actually enters the brain through the nose.  

Florida is the fifth US state to have lost more than 10,000 people to COVID-19. New York, New Jersey, California and Texas are also on that unfortunate list. 

"The ONS COVID19 Infection Survey will expand from testing 28,000 people per fortnight to 150,000 by October. The survey aims to increase to 400,000 people across the entire project in England. It will analyse national, regional and local infection rates." 

Lots of scientists are starting to look more closely at why some people are more susceptible to dying from Covid-19,  and questioning whether we are looking at the wrong issues. The Spectator has a big report suggesting that ethnic background and even age is less important than weight. They point out that several studies focusing on weight see little variance between ethnic groups, and whatever your age,  your weight has an effect on your outcome. Comorbidities such as diabetes are also far more likely as you creep up the BMI scale. It could also go some way to explaining why parts of Africa, Pakistan and some other areas seem to have a far lower death rate than places such as Europe and the USA - the populations are on average quite a bit less hefty. 

Australia has ordered 25 million doses of the Oxford vaccine from AstraZeneca, subject to it working. Prime Minister Scott Morrison:
"Under the deal, every single Australian will be able to receive the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for free, should trials prove successful, safe and effective."

The ravens are in danger of straying away from the Tower Of London. Legend has it that if they leave, the tower will crumble and the monarchy will fall. Lack of visitors (and therefore full bins) is making life very boring for them, The Guardian report that Beefeaters are even being asked to throw down their scraps from their lunches. Ooooh 2020, you really are trying everything... 

A photographer called Noah Berger has captured the sheer essence of 2020 in a single photo, during the wildfires in California. I've shared it below. It's our reminder that the year started with horrific wildfires in Australia, and climate change hasn't gone away. Stay safe everyone out there on the Western side of the USA - it's getting nasty. 

noahbergerphoto Image of 2020

It's #WorldHumanitarianDay I'd like to think I am a humanitarian. If you are human, I care about you and your wellbeing, and that's probably why I'm here... 

Some people - all of them the same race as you. Human. 

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

USA 5,717,825 (+16,894) 176,729 (+392)

Brazil 3,470,517 (+10,104) 111,443 (+254)

India 2,903,676 (+67,854) 54,963 (+969)

Russia 942,106 (+4,785) 16,099 (+110)

South Africa 596,060 not yet reported today 12,423

Peru 558,420 not yet reported today 26,834

Mexico 537,031 (+5,792) 58,481 (+707)

Colombia 502,178 not yet reported today 15,979

Chile 391,849 (+1,812) 10,671 (+93)

Spain 387,985 not yet reported today 28,797

Iran 352,558 (+2,279) 20,264 (+139)

UK 322,280 (+1,182) 41,403 (+6)

Argentina 312,659 not yet reported today 6,406

Saudi Arabia 303,973 (+1,287) 3,548 (+42)

Pakistan 290,958 (+513) 6,209 (+8) 




Photo by Website

1 comment:

  1. I saw that photo on twitter yesterday of the California fires and it really does sum up 2020 x


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