Tuesday 25 August 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24/25 August 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 24/25 August 2020.

"The COVID-19 dashboard is currently experiencing technical difficulties" So some data is missing... 

1,184 new positive cases have been recorded on Tuesday 25 August, giving a total of 327,798.

16 new deaths have been reported across the UK, giving a total loss of life of 41,449 people within 28 days of a positive COVID test.

Rep. Of Ireland 28,116 cases and 1,777 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 23,918,261 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 819,430. Already 16,443,235 people have recovered.

1 bed 3 fridges

The majority of Northern Ireland's children went back to school yesterday, and with case numbers creeping upwards, although levelling off hopefully, it wasn't with as much confidence as they'd like. Best of luck to you guys. 

Press are full of the fact that care home residents and some disabled people in the UK were placed under blanket DNR (do not resuscitate) orders heading towards the height of our peak. This isn't new news, and lists such as this always exist for use in extreme emergency situations, but blanket choices about who gets treatment, in the event that hospitals became overwhelmed, are in many cases morally reprehensible. I understand why they did it, to prevent hospital staff and doctors having to make those decisions on the spot, but it wasn't well done. As soon as it became public, people with decades of potentially healthy, productive and quality life left began campaigning for changes, on the basis they personally shouldn't be on that list. Amendments have been made. The list no doubt will always exist. 

Jenny Harries was on Sky telly yesterday talking about school reopening. She was very clear:
"Overall the risk to the child themselves is very, very small."
Phew, that's all right then. Thank heavens we don't allow any adults into schools, eh.
She suggested that risk of your child catching seasonal flu or dying in a road traffic accident is "probably higher" than the current risk of COVID19.
I agree. Right now, that is probably true for most UK areas - fingers crossed we stay that way, and if that balance swings, your local authority should act.

Boris released his latest video on Monday, and that was about school re-opening too:
"It's absolutely vital that pupils get back into school in September. It's vital for their education. It's vital for their welfare. It's vital for their physical and, indeed, their mental wellbeing. So let's make sure that all kids, all pupils, get back to school at the beginning of September.
So I think parents are genuinely still a bit worried about their... their children contracting coronavirus, and all I can say is the risks are very, very, very small that they'll even get it, but the risk that they'll errr, suffer from it badly are very, very, very, very, very small indeed."
He goes on to mention that most schools have been open and staff have been working all along (nice of him to notice), safety and availability of transport to school, and the "huge collective act of will that we've all shown to get this disease down".
I've just saved you 3 minutes better spent (very - to the power of 5). Science so far is on his side - unless numbers go up too much, then it swings. 

Stats from the UK Govt:
- "The infection fatality rate (proportion of those who are infected who die) for those aged 5 to 14 is estimated at 14 per million, lower than for most seasonal flu infections. Every death of a child is a tragedy but COVID-19 deaths in children and teenagers are fortunately extremely rare and almost all deaths are in children with significant pre-existing health conditions."
- "The percentage of symptomatic cases requiring hospitalisation is estimated to be 0.1% for children aged 0 to 9 and 0.3% among those aged 10 to 19, compared to a hospitalisation rate of over 4% in the UK for the general population. Most of these children make a rapid recovery."
- "Transmission of COVID-19 to staff members in school does occur, and data from UK and international studies suggest it may largely be staff to staff (like other workplaces) rather than pupil to staff."

Meanwhile in Scotland,  where schools have been open for just 2 weeks, a staggering 17 members of staff and 2 pupils have tested positive for COVID at a single Dundee secondary school. The Scottish government are currently considering making masks compulsory in Scottish high schools (age 11+) for corridors and communal areas at least. This is actually in line with WHO guidance that was published just this weekend. 

How to lower your chances of catching Coronavirus

"Our continent (Africa) is facing a health crisis unlike any we have faced before. Yesterday, we crossed 1 million reported #COVID19 cases in the region, with more than 20,000 deaths. The number of cases in the region has doubled just in the past 6 weeks"
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation, and Ethiopian national. 

The press are all reporting a 33 year old Hong Kong man has tested positive in the first confirmed case of reinfection. He first tested positive in March, recovered and got reinfected in August, 142 days later. This surprises me mainly because we already have 2 cases which China reported on the 13th August, and an Israeli Doctor who was tested monthly through work, who tested positive for reinfection 3 months after recovery. There are also many, possibly hundreds, of anecdotal or unproven cases of reinfection. HOWEVER, this is the first one where they can prove 2 minutely different strains, so he DEFINITELY caught COVID twice. Sadly it was expected, and it is a feature of coronaviruses, or Lemsip would go out of business pretty quickly. Dammit. 

Trump's exciting announcement on Sunday was: "The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization - that's such a powerful term - for a treatment known as convalescent plasma. Today's action will dramatically expand access to this treatment."
He went on to suggest it could "reduce mortality by 35%." (Don't get too excited just yet.)
The USA, like many countries, have been 'trialling' use of convalescent plasma for COVID for a while. The Chinese were already using it and sharing data back in February. The plasma taken from a recovered patient's blood can be loaded with antibodies. It's a method we've been using since at least 1907, when Francesco Cenzi used it on children exposed to measles, but it had more extensive use during the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Evidence for success with COVID is a little thin though, and we've yet to see any real proof.  Apparently that includes the scientists who conducted the study Trump was quoting. One of them is Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, who said: “I don’t know where the 35% number comes from.”
I can't see it either. They mainly proved that giving patients Convalescent Plasma earlier is better, and it works better if it has a higher concentration of antibodies in it. 

If you had confirmed COVID and want to donate plasma, Google "COVID plasma donation" and the name of your own country to find out if it's available to you. You could help save a life. 

Excellent news re. therapeutics in a not-yet-peer-reviewed study from University of East Anglia. Researchers studied 28,000 patients taking high blood pressure medication. Earlier in the pandemic there were fears that ACE inhibitors (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitors / ACEi) or ARB (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers) might make effects of COVID-19 worse, but the opposite seems true, and those patients actually appear to have a reduced risk of developing severe Covid-19 or losing their life. In fact they are around 0.67 or 2/3 less likely to require ventilation or worse.
This is a retrospective study, looking back over patient's notes, so there isn't a control group and many questions remain unanswered. We don't yet know for example if these drugs make any difference to outcomes for people without high blood pressure - it could simply be that well-controlled high blood pressure equips you better to fight viruses. It's certainly good news for a lot of people though. Myself included. Keep taking your prescription medications.  

cover your nose and mouth

Norway has a quarantine bar of 20 new cases per 100,000 population. Arrivals from any country over this limit will have to quarantine for 10 days. The UK, Austria, Greece and Ireland are now included in the group over this limit, as well as specific regions of Denmark and Sweden. They join Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Faroe Islands, France, Iceland, Croatia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic among the European nations alone.

If you thought we couldn't all work together, here's some good news from yesterday's World Health Organisation briefing:
"I am pleased to announce that as of today 172 countries are now engaging with the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, which has both the largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio in the world.
At present there are nine vaccines that are part of this dynamic portfolio; which is constantly being reviewed and optimised to ensure access to the best possible range of products.
Even now, discussions are ongoing with four more producers. And a further nine vaccines are currently under evaluation for the longer term.
The Facility is the critical mechanism for joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines so that whatever vaccine is proven to be safe and effective – all countries within the Facility will be able to access them. Most importantly, it is the mechanism to enable a globally coordinated rollout.
This is in the interests of all countries, even those that have invested with individual manufacturers independently.
We’re working with vaccine manufacturers to provide all countries that join the effort timely and equitable access to all vaccines, licensed and approved.
This doesn’t just pool risk, it also means that prices will be kept as low as possible.
New research outlines that global competition for vaccine doses could lead to prices spiking exponentially in comparison to a collaborative effort such as the COVAX Facility. It would also lead to a prolonged pandemic as only a small number of countries would get most of the supply.
Vaccine nationalism only helps the virus."
We are ALL in this together. 

A poll commissioned by anti-poverty organisation The ONE Campaign has found that, of the British public surveyed, Vaccine Nationalism was not a strong feature:
- 82% think the country that discovers the vaccine should share that knowledge.
- 76% think that when a Covid-19 vaccine is found it should be made available in all countries at the same time.
- 71% believe that if it means we’ll eradicate Covid-19 faster, once UK doctors, nurses and vulnerable groups have been vaccinated, health workers and doctors in other countries should get the vaccine first even if healthy people at home have to wait a bit longer.

got symptoms get tested drawn image of a doctor with a swab and a patient

Reuters report that some sneaky Israeli people are cheating their phone tracing app with some pretty unsophisticated cheats - including switching to airplane mode when out. Their system back-tracks the movements of people who test positive, and messages anyone who came within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes. These contacts then have to self-isolate for 14 days, and some people are more reluctant than others.... 

There are rumours Trump is considering fast-tracking vaccine approval before the election on November 3rd. Surely, not even Trump would go for that? Please, no. 

The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) held a virtual graduation for all 2,714 students. They made avatars of every graduating student, and they were all shown individually walking across the stage to collect their certificates, giving a polite bow and leaving. Probably the first year no-one was inappropriately dressed or tripped on the stairs. 

Some people, all of them would very (to the power of 5) much not want anyone to release a vaccine that hadn't been tested properly... 

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

USA 5,924,778 (+9,148) 181,486 (+372)

Brazil 3,636,167 (+8,950) 115,646 (+195)

India 3,211,848 (+46,967) 59,305 (+759)

Russia 966,189 (+4,696) 16,568 (+120)

South Africa 611,450 not yet reported today 13,159

Peru 600,438 not yet reported today 27,813

Mexico 563,705 (+3,541) 60,800 (+320)

Colombia 551,696 not yet reported today 17,612

Spain 423,224 (+2,415) 28,924 (+52) 

Chile 400,985 (+1,417) 10,958 (+42)

Iran 363,363 (+2,213) 20,901 (+125)

Argentina 350,867 not yet reported today 7,402

UK 327,798 (+1,184) 41,449 (+16)

Saudi Arabia 309,768 (+1,114) 3,722 (+31)

Bangladesh 299,628 (+2,545) 4,028 (+45) 





"President Trump announces FDA approval for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19"

1 comment:

  1. Another fabulous update. We are starting masks in high schools on Monday. And we need some test guidance, but time will tell xx


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