Tuesday 4 August 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 3 / 4 August 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update  3 / 4 August 2020.

The UK added 670 cases today and now has reported a total of 306,293 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 158,666 tests yesterday. 1,230 people were in hospital last Thursday 30th, with 86 using a ventilator on Friday 31st.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm the day before yesterday, we lost another 9 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 46,210 losses of life in all settings. Remember these numbers (see below), they are not being updated today.  

England 263,602 / 41,598
Northern Ireland 5,988 / 556
Scotland 18,694 / 2,491
Wales 17,339 / 1,565

Rep. Of Ireland 26,208 cases and 1,763 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 18,548,386 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 699,835. Already 11,765,798 people have been officially reported recovered. The true figure is far greater. 

FACTS beat fear WHO

"On Friday the Emergency Committee on #COVID19 met & reviewed the current pandemic. It was a sobering moment coming 6 months on from when the Committee advised, & I agreed, that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
At the time, 30 January, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China. 
When the Committee met three months ago, 3 million cases of COVID19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths.
Since then, the number of COVID19 cases has increased more than fivefold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled, to 680,000."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation on Saturday. 

The UK Government have finally got around to sorting out the broken Public Health England data. They were asked for an urgent review on July 17th. Until now, if you had EVER tested positive, then PHE added you to the coronavirus losses, even if you were hit by a car. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) use what it says on your death certificate, so are much more reliable. Daily data on deaths in England will be paused until they sort it out. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to the UK Government to ask why he had to read in the paper about their meetings discussing possible future London lockdown scenarios. He has asked that he is kept informed and included in future. 
Local leaders are repeatedly being kept out of discussion,  they've had to fight to receive information on their real time covid situation, and they're way more fed up than I am that news is being drip-fed to us through right wing newspaper 'leaked' exclusives. 
The new 90 minute test is being rolled out to UK care homes and labs. It can sample saliva, and is entirely self-contained in a hand held or laptop sized device. The device has the ability to detect SARS-COV-2 and other viruses, including flu. We WILL get extra benefit from some of the rapid science happening due to COVID-19 and this is a prime example.

Exercise at Home Advice from World Health Organisation

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced a £160 million initiative to provide COVID-friendly cancer treatments that are safer for patients.
"The funding will pay for drugs that treat patients without having such a big impact on their immune system or offer other benefits such as fewer hospital visits."

Two studies just released (not peer-reviewed) appear to show that children have the ability to transmit COVID even more effectively than adults. 
The first study in Chicago measured the amount of virus in the nasopharynx - the pipework at the back of your nostrils (which connects to the pipework that comes from your mouth and then heads South). 
"...replication of SARS-CoV-2 in older children leads to similar levels of viral nucleic acid as adults, but significantly greater amounts of viral nucleic acid are detected in children younger than 5 years."
Yep, those little snotty kids really could be shedding a lot of virus. In fact, they found 10 to 100 times as much virus in the little children's nasopharynx. Oooh the ratbags... 
The second study in Italy looked at contact tracing for 2,812 COVID patients. They traced 6,690 community contacts, of whom 890 (13.3%) developed symptoms. The kids with COVID on average passed it on to more of their contacts than the adults. 
 "The greatest risk of transmission to contacts was found for the 14 cases under 15 years of age."
The 8 children aged under 11 infected 11 of their total 49 contacts. Those are actually small numbers, but clearly show that children have no problem passing on COVID.  
I really did always think it was absolute tosh that "kids don't pass it on". The reason they don't seem to spread it to adults outside their family is because they were mainly under lockdown at home, they're really short and have little breaths, and they're often a bit coy. 4 year olds rarely get up into the face of strangers. 

Famous People With COVID:
Gambian Vice President Isatou Touray
Gambian Finance Minister Mambureh Njie
Gambian Petroleum and Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang
Gambian Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh 

Scientists are asking why we aren't paying more attention to the subject of ventilation. Aerosol transmission is now proven fact, and it likes enclosed spaces where people spend an amount of time talking and breathing, and the room gradually fills with virus - just floating about doing its thing for hours. It's how most 'super-spreader' events seem to occur. The events database site has logged hundreds of clusters of infection and only a handful are 'outdoor transmission'. 
Opening windows, filtering air and moving meetings outdoors when possible are easily as important at curbing spread as hand-washing, and even distancing. There is no point sitting 2m away from each other chatting for hours in an unventilated room - you may as well sit on knees.

Face Coverings on Public Transport UK Government advert shows two people sitting apart wearing face coverings

Vietnam is still fighting back hard against its new outbreak in Danang - and claim genetic analysis shows this is a more infectious strain, with each person infected going on to infect another 5-6 people, whereas the strains currently worldwide seem to give an infection rate of around 1.8-2.2. (I'd argue that wherever it's left to run riot in population without restriction or social distancing, infection rate is easily around 3-4, however 5-6 is really, really, really catchy).
Two temporary hospitals have been set up in Danang itself and the military have been called in to help with disinfecting. 
Holiday season is just ending and 32,000 residents from Ho Chi Minh City visited Danang over the last month. 21,000 of those have already been tested, with 6 new positive cases identified. At least 10 zones have been locked down to try to contain any unknown infected people and they have reopened a 500 bed COVID-19 treatment centre.
72,000 residents of Hanoi also recently visited Danang. Over 50,000 of them have also been tested. 
It's a massive blow to a country which has been held up as a shining example of effective Covid-19 control. If they can regain control swiftly, they earn their superhero badge.

Trump of the Day:
This is probably going to be Trump of the year, and honestly looks like they made a special Coronavirus edition of popular sitcom 'The Office'. It isn't, it's a sit down video interview where Donald keeps passing sheets of A4 with gigantic colourful bar charts to the interviewer Jonathan Swan. He claims they show how well the USA is doing. It didn't go well. He said many things his advisors probably regret, including such gems as: 
1. Trump: "There are those that say you can test too much, you know that."
Interviewer: "Who says that?"
Trump: "Read the manuals. Read the books."
Interviewer: "Manuals? What manuals?"
2. Interviewer: "Oh, you’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population. That’s where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”
Trump: “You can’t do that.”
3. Trump: "Right here the US is lowest in numerous categories. We're lower than the world."
4.  Interviewer: "Well, look at South Korea for example. 51m population, 300 deaths. It's like crazy compared to..."
Trump: "You don't know that."
5. Trump: "We're last, meaning we're first. We're the best."
I momentarily felt bad that I'd transcribed so much of this interview, but if you decide you want to be in charge of a country, you have to be answerable to your decisions, and I'd happily do the same for anyone. Since the end of March, the USA has officially lost an average of over 1,200 people to COVID EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

India have reported over 50,000 new cases of COVID every day for the last 6, with a record 52,050 yesterday. Fingers crossed that improves, because they are trying super hard and don't have the money to keep locking down or closing business without huge amounts of people at risk of starving. 

Cloth masks How to wear a non medical mask safely

The US CDC has announced that "Isolating until COVID-19 test results come back could dramatically slow its spread". No shit Sherlock, surely this is pure common sense? But there is more. They've looked at available data and modelling suggests "that if people can separate from others while they await results, it could reduce transmission of the coronavirus by up to 86 percent."
Now that is an excellent reason to self-isolate whenever you have symptoms. 
It is so compelling that they are going to offer financial incentives to doctors who recommend relevant patients isolate. Science has a win in the USA. 

I've found a thorough research article looking into how much mask-wearing reduced people's oxygen levels:
- Just sitting down, oxygen levels remained the same. 
- After 20 minutes on an exercise bike, oxygen levels remained the same. 
- After 20 minutes on an exercise bike, third trimester heavily pregnant women wearing a mask had the same amount of oxygen in their blood as they did at the start. 
- CO2 levels did rise - by around 3% within 15 minutes, which is far too small to be problematic. Even after an hour, this didn't accumulate or get any worse, it was stable at 3% increase, around 33mmHg. (It has to be around 45mmHg before you begin to suffer any ill effects.) 
- After a continuous 12 hour shift in PPE including an N95 mask, Nurses had the same levels of oxygen in their blood, but CO2 had increased to around 41mmHg - it's not great, but still not enough to have a negative effect. 
I think that's pretty conclusive. If you can't breathe through your mask, you are definitely wearing it wrong - unless you already have a medical condition which causes high levels of CO2 (e.g. severe lung condition). You will know if this includes you. 
Remember N95 or other masks with a one-way valve or filter allow everyone else to catch YOUR COVID, so shouldn't be worn unless you are a carer or medic working with known COVID patients.

More good news for anyone with Asthma. A French study carried out by researchers at Bicêtre Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris / Université Paris-Saclay, and published in the European Respiratory Journal last week, has shown that asthmatics DO NOT present an increased risk of developing a severe form of the disease: 
"In a group of 768 patients hospitalised from 15 March to 15 April 2020, 37 (4.8%) were asthmatic, a proportion broadly similar to the general population of the same age in France. These patients were younger than non-asthmatic patients hospitalised for COVID-19 pneumopathy (lung infections/pneumonia) and more often female."
"It is noteworthy that none of these patients experienced a severe asthma attack warranting specific treatment on admission to hospital, confirming that this respiratory infection is less likely to exacerbate asthma than other respiratory viral infections. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest increased illness or mortality in these patients. Treatment of asthma was generally not altered during hospitalization, noting that continued treatment does not appear to be detrimental in patients with asthma infected with CoV-2-SARS."

Some people, most of whom probably wish they had emigrated to New Zealand last year: 

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

USA 4,877,448 (+15,274) 159,408 (+480)
Brazil 2,755,081 (+3,416) 94,781 (+79)
India 1,901,334 (+46,003) 39,787 (+816) 
Russia 861,423 (+5,159) 14,351 (+144)
South Africa 516,862 not yet reported today 8,539
Mexico 443,813 (+4,767) 48,012 (+266) 
Peru 433,100 not yet reported today 19,811
Chile 362,962 (+1,469) 9,745 (+38)
Spain 344,134 not yet reported today 28,472
Colombia 327,850 not yet reported today 11,017
Iran 314,786 (+2,751) 17,617 (+212)
UK 306,293 (+670) 46,210 N/A
Saudi Arabia 281,456 (+1,363) 2,984 (+35) 
Pakistan 280,461 (+432) 5,999 (+15)
Italy 248,419 (+190) 35,171 (+5)
Bangladesh 244,020 (+1,918) 3,234 (+50) 

Mask wearing results: 
What is the best material for home made face masks?

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