Friday 21 August 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21st August 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21st August 2020.

The UK added 1,033 cases today and now has reported a total of 323,313 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 190,434 tests yesterday. 841 people were in hospital on Wednesday 19th, with 76 using a ventilator on Thursday 20th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 2 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have an official total of 41,405 losses of life in all settings.

(I'll be honest, although a far better measure than 'ever tested positive', actually a significant number of people spend 4 or more weeks in hospital if they become incredibly ill with COVID, so I await the 'within 60 days of a test', which they've promised.)

Rep. Of Ireland 27,755 (+79) cases and 1,776 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 23,008,899 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 799,627. Already 15,627,244 people have recovered.

210820 cumulative cases England

"Hardship is always an opportunity to learn, to grow and to change. COVID19 is a once-in-a-century health crisis. But it also gives us a once-in-a-century opportunity to shape the world our children will inherit" Dr Tedros, WHO. 

Currently in England we have additional measures in many places, including, but not limited to:
- A ban on indoor gatherings of more than 2 households across parts of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire
- A ban on gatherings in private gardens or homes across parts of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire (except for support bubbles).
- Oldham, Blackburn and parts of Pendle have additional measures preventing inessential use of public transport, and from midnight on Saturday, local residents in these 3 areas should not socialise with anyone from outside their household. No restaurant walk-ins, pre-book only. Weddings and funerals limited to maximum 20 people.
- Birmingham added to this week’s watch list as an ‘area of enhanced support’, with increased testing
- Slough added as an ‘area of concern’
- Northampton becomes an ‘area of intervention’. All employees of the Greencore Factory (where 300 people have tested positive) and their households will be required to isolate at home for 2 weeks. The factory will close voluntarily from today for 2 weeks.
- The rules on social gatherings introduced 3 weeks ago will be lifted in Wigan, Rossendale and some areas of Blackburn with Darwen, and these areas will align with the rest of England from Wednesday 26 August.
-  Bedford is being removed from extra restrictions following a drop in cases

A limited number of small scale outdoor performances and sporting events (three!) are set to be trialled in Wales in an effort to begin a phased approach to the safe reopening of the events industry, as part of further changes to coronavirus regulations announced today by First Minister Mark Drakeford. He also announced that in WALES only:
- From Saturday August 22nd extended households can expand to include up to four households in an exclusive, extended arrangement.
- From Saturday August 22nd weddings and funerals will be able to include a meal for up to 30 people, in suitably socially distant settings. (Subject to the successful resumption of weddings and funerals, it is hoped to further increase the range of indoor ceremonies allowed in the next review period, including christenings, baptisms and bar mitzvahs.)
- From Saturday August 29th Care Home visits will be allowed.
- From Saturday August 29th Casinos will be allowed to reopen.

A message from Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister.
"Important new advice from local Incident Management Team & endorsed by Scottish Government Resilience meeting this evening. If you work in 2 Sisters factory in Coupar Angus, you and all your household contacts must isolate until 31 August. Welfare support will be offered by local councils."
Not only is isolating everyone likely to be infected something I wholly support, so is ensuring welfare support is available to enable people to do that. Nice one. 

210820 seroprevalence Blood Donors England

England's R number, or reproduction rate is around 1 according to latest estimates (0.9-1.1). Quite honestly anyone can see this because cases are rising slightly, therefore every infected person must be transmitting the virus to slightly more than 1 other person on average. The rise is significant because we don't want to have exponential growth and an explosion of cases, but it's nowhere near panic levels. Just some extra caution. Hopefully local measures including workforce testing, contact tracing and temporarily closing affected venues will bring it back under control. 

The World Health Organisation are going to issue guidance on the use of masks for children within the next few days. Dr Mike Ryan commented that the reopening of schools is a complex issue, and 'wearing masks and not washing hands' would be worse than 'no masks and good hand washing'. 

Despite massive online protests in India against the holding of medical and engineering entrance exams during COVID19, the government says there's no question of postponing, and life must go on. Bit harsh. 

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West & Abingdon, is leading a group of UK MP's calling for the government to take a harder stance with the aim of completely eradicating COVID:
"I've written to the Prime Minister in my role as Chair of the Cross-Party Coronavirus Inquiry. Following over 1000 evidence submissions, we recommend an urgent move to a ‘zero-covid’ strategy." Best of luck with that one. 

210820 Wales allowing gatherings

The big topic at the moment is herd immunity.  Everyone is trying to assess how much of their population have already been infected and created antibodies (e.g. R. of Ireland estimate 1.7%, London estimate 17.5%, age 17-29 in the South East England estimate 6.3%), and what percentage is needed to offer effective herd immunity. There may be pockets which are already well on their way (e.g.Age 17-29 in the North West 20.5%) , but no single whole country is anywhere close yet. Usually you need around 60-70% of a population to have been exposed and created antibodies to achieve any sort of herd immunity, but evidence is suggesting some people have different antibodies which also fight the COVID virus. This is bringing hope that we could get away with 50%, or possibly even as low as 30%. Good news - although we still don't know exactly how long we will be protected, or what the likelihood of severe disease would be after reinfection, and it'll be a while before they find out exactly which antibodies are helping us out. We also have the issue that your ordinary COVID antibodies seem to begin to disappear after about 3 months, so any immunity is harder to measure effectively after time. There's a graph above with seroprevalence (do you have antibodies?) for English regions. 

Did I mention money is bad? According to the UK Office for National Statistics:
"Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks was £2,004.0 billion at the end of July 2020, up £227.6 billion on July 2019. This is the first time it has exceeded £2 trillion pounds."
We owed 1.8 trillion before the pandemic, so I bet someone is happy we can just blame it all on the COVID. It'll not have been helped by spending on all of that unsuitable PPE and "visions" of Track & Trace... 

Results for a Mayo Clinic study of almost 3,000 patients using convalescent plasma (blood from recovered patients) showed that 'plasma with high concentrations of antibodies' reduced the severe COVID-19 death rate to 17.6% after 30 days, as opposed to 27.6% with low concentrations. Data is still not peer reviewed. The level of antibodies in the donor plasma wasn't known at the time of the infusions - that would have been a teeny bit unethical. 

Bloomberg UK Govt debt over 2 Trillion 210820

Telly Doctor Hilary Jones is warning people not to get too excited about the new testing facility at Heathrow (and other airports worldwide). Even if you get a £150 test on landing, we know people can still develop symptoms a few hours or days later, so it's likely you'd need a 2nd test after a few days and have to quarantine in the meantime. If both of those tests take 2 days to come back with a result, then you might be paying around £300 to save yourself as little as 4 days quarantine. It may still be worth it to some... 

Schools across the US are planning their reopening. Many schools are actually offering a choice between in-person or remote learning, or part time in-person schooling. In New York City and Chicago most students will attend in person 1-3 days a week, meaning classrooms will only hold around 12 people at once. Students in some states will be required to wear masks. At least 10 states are opening the new year with 100% remote teaching. It's expected around half of American students will not return to their school building for most of the Autumn. 

The offices of the Jamaican Health Ministry in Kingston have had to temporarily close, in line with their own protocol for infection management, as a member of staff has tested positive. 

Bad news for anyone planning on hosting a massive shindig in someone else's house. Air B&B have announced a global ban on parties and events. They've also capped occupancy to 16 people - and you MUST obey any local restrictions,  most of which are a bit stricter than that. I hear glamping is very popular... 

Have a good weekend, back Sunday. Stay Apart, Have Vision, Save The NHS. 

Some people. They look like numbers, but they are all people: 

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

USA 5,766,157 (+19,885) 177,778 (+354)

Brazil 3,513,039 (+7,942) 112,670 (+247)

India 2,972,235 (+67,906) 55,921 (+946)

Russia 946,976 (+4,870) 16,189 (+90)

South Africa 599,940 not yet reported today 12,618

Peru 567,059 not yet reported today 27,034

Mexico 543,806 (+6,775) 59,106 (+625)

Colombia 513,719 not yet reported today 16,183

Spain 404,229 not yet reported today 28,813

Chile 393,769 (+1,920) 10,723 (+52) 

Iran 354,764 (+2,206) 20,376 (+112) 

UK 323,313 (+1,033) 41,405 (+2)

Argentina 320,884 not yet reported today 6,567

Saudi Arabia 305,186 (+1,213) 3,580 (+32)

Pakistan 291,588 (+630) 6,219 (+10) 





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