Thursday, 6 August 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 5th/6th August 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 5th/6th August 2020.

The UK added 950 cases today and now has reported a total of 308,134 positive cases of COVID-19 (yes, that is going back up unfortunately). We completed 174,519 tests yesterday. 1,118 people were in hospital on Tuesday 4th August, with 73 patients using a ventilator yesterday. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 49 people who have tested positive to COVID-19. We now very sadly have a total of 46,413 losses of life in all settings, which is an increase of 203 from 2 days ago.

England 265,849 / 41,795
Northern Ireland 6,049 / 556
Scotland 18,847 / 2,491
Wales 17,389 / 1,571

Rep. Of Ireland 26,303 cases and 1,763 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 19,115,474 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 713,895. Already 12,258,906 people have recovered.
WHO guidance on how to handwash correctly, with several line drawn images showing different stages.
"Today, more than 18.5 million cases of #COVID19 have been reported to WHO and 700,000 lives have been lost.
No country has been spared. Low, middle and high-income countries have all been hit hard. The Americas remain the current epicentre of the virus and have been particularly hit hard. 
Just three countries have reported over half of all COVID19 cases."
Dr Tedros, head of WHO. 

Ex-SAGE member Sir Neil Ferguson has said he believes if we reopen all education then the R number / reproductive rate could increase by as much as 0.5. 
Chris Whitty also warned us that we can't reopen everything, and we have probably reached the limits of what can be opened without risking a dangerous rise in cases. 
It's a play off. If they want to reopen schools, colleges and universities for in-person teaching in September, they'll have to close something else. Bear in mind that from August 1st, shielded people and many others returned to work, so we have already increased opening over where we were when Chris Whitty made those comments. 

Northern Ireland is postponing reopening of pubs and made face coverings mandatory for indoor public spaces after reporting 43 new cases today. 
"Because of the concern around the level of community transmission and the desire to frankly prioritise the reopening of our schools ... we have decided that it is prudent to pause the reopening of our public houses." First Minister Arlene Foster.

From Saturday August 8th it is due to become law in England to wear face coverings in all public indoor spaces where you mix with people aside from your usual workmates, household or bubble. Don't say you weren't warned.
Brides and grooms are exempt, Wedding guests are not. 

Scottish pupils received the results of their Highers (A Level equivalent) on Tuesday, and not everyone was happy. Because exams were cancelled, results were based on teacher assessment, which was “moderated” by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) examining body. 
Around 1/4 of the results were adjusted, with 93.1% of those being downgraded. That in itself may be a little disheartening, but it appears grades for the poorest pupils fell by 15.2%, whereas grades in the most affluent areas only fell by 6.9%. 
Either the SQA believe teachers in poorer areas are liars, or they are giving poorer students a good slap down to prevent them from being able to have the same opportunities as affluent students.... 

Aberdeen has suffered a spike in cases, so an area wide lockdown has been reimposed. 54 cases have at time of typing been discovered, many directly linked to The Hawthorne Bar on July 26th, and there are fears there may now be a wider outbreak. A 5 mile travel limit and ban on visiting other people's homes have been imposed, and all restaurants and bars had to close by 5pm Wednesday. 


The US CDC has issued an important warning:
"Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested."
During May and June 15 American people poisoned themselves by drinking hand sanitiser. 4 people died and 3 are now visually impaired. 

Jolyon Maughan QC has begun taking the UK government to court over some of the most shady PPE deals. He's already won 2 cases. We paid out literally hundreds of millions (two hundred and fifty two million English pounds) for PPE which never existed or was unsuitable for use by NHS staff. When medics and care staff were spending 12 hour shifts saving lives while basically wearing a plastic bag, government advisors were paying their own brand new companies to procure PPE promises and wishes. At an estimated 10-20% personal profit. Because of the emergency, they were allowed to agree to any contract without checking competitors. 
I've said it before. I honestly would have been happy to not procure any suitable PPE for a 10th of the cost. Or a 100th. Sod it, 20 quid and chippy tea take away. Meanwhile, anyone want 50m disposable ear loop face masks?

The HSJ are reporting that the UK Government will not be reimbursed for our £252m spend, because the company who provided the PPE feel they have delivered their part of the bargain. Awesome. 

The results of 'Babies In Lockdown: listening to parents to build back better (2020)', a massive survey of over 5,400 parents with newborn babies in the UK have been published. 
Around 61% of parents were worried about their emotional and mental wellbeing, with concerns over being able to see their GP affecting around a third. 
A quarter of parents were concerned about their relationship with their baby, and a third wanted help with it. 
The report was compiled by Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and the Parent-Infant Foundation, who have called for extra cash for local authorities, to support parents of infants now and for the first 2 years. 
200,000 babies were born in the UK during the harshest weeks of the lockdown. Parents were unable to access support from friends and family, and unable to show off their precious new arrivals. 

This isn't a lung condition. Sure it causes pneumonia in many people, but that's just one symptom. As time goes on we are spotting more and more strange and unusual symptoms which have no relationship to pneumonia or flu-like symptoms:
- COVID Toe. Swelling and redness at the ends of your toes, and it's very often the only symptom. 
- Hair Loss. I am really sorry to report this, but many survivors are reporting hair loss, which is continuing for several weeks or months after first becoming ill.
- Anosmia. Don't forget, if you lose your sense of smell or your food tastes unusually bland - book a test.
- Skin Rashes. Lots of people experience skin rashes and they really vary, so it's impossible to use as a diagnosis tool. Most seem to be regular raised red bumps with a flat top. 

The Australian lockdown of the state of Victoria was in danger of causing huge problems for food distribution nationwide, because of a blanket ruling to reduce in-person workforce by 1/3 for all businesses (which comes into effect midnight Sunday). Emergency meetings have led to agreements with government whereby distribution workforce remain the same, non-store staff work from home, and non-essential maintenance and stocktakes are postponed.

The UK Seacole COVID recovery centres have been scrapped. There's simply not the money. Lovely idea as they were, and I've no doubt they would've been well used, you'll just have to go home to recover instead. 

Trump of the Day:
"Children are almost immune." 
This misinformation has seen his presidential campaign banned from Twitter until they delete their tweet, and Facebook have deleted the corresponding post themselves. 
He isn't wrong in that children seem far, far less likely to have severe covid, and a very miniscule chance of actually succumbing. However - children ARE NOT by any stretch of the imagination immune. All the evidence proves they catch it, and they pass it on. NOT IMMUNE. NO. 

Lets keep going

One of you directed me to an excellent article by Erin Bromage PhD, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts. He looked at which indoor environments are best for spreading COVID, and how much COVID an infected person can exhale. We don't yet know how much COVID you need to breathe in to be infected, but a sneeze in your direction would almost definitely be far more than plenty to infect an entire room. Being in unventilated conditions, or very close to infected people, over time the amount of virus you inhale adds up. These are obviously rough estimates: 
General breathing - 20 viral particles per minute
Speaking - 200 virus particles per minute
Shouting / Singing -  1,200 virus particles per minute
Coughs or sneezes - 200,000,000 viral particles
Health experts estimate that you are unlikely to become infected during a short contact, or when passing someone in the street, and they focus on contact for around 15 minutes or more. It's very hard science to be precise about, as each breath will likely vary, and the level of virus also varies in different people and at different stages of infection. Definitely cover your face when you cough or sneeze though - and no indoor group singing! 

Chicago teachers were going to vote on strike action against the proposed return to in-school teaching next month, but before a vote could be taken, someone obviously relented. Pupils will return after Summer break via at-home distance learning, at least at first. 

UK test and trace results 23-29 July show 4,642 people were referred to the service, which spoke to 72% of them (3,342). 19,150 close contacts were identified, and test and trace spoke to 72% of them (13,788). 
At first it sounds okay, and it's better than it was, but it really is pretty darn shoddy. 
The 3,342 people they spoke to had 19,150 close contacts, that's an average 5.7 each. So if you take all 4,642 people referred, it's a potential total of 26,459 close contacts. 
Test and trace only managed to speak to 13,788 people, which means for that one week alone, around 12,671 close contacts who should be self-isolating haven't even been contacted by Test and Trace. BIG TUT. 
In better news, for the same time period, 97.2% of test results for mobile testing units, walk-through and drive-through testing were returned the next day. That's excellent. 

Some people. I've shown them as numbers because I can't spell all of their names: 

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

USA 4,995,461 (+21,893) 162,011 (+410)
Brazil 2,873,304 (+10,543) 97,692 (+274)
India 2,024,502 (+61,263) 41,627 (+888)
Russia 871,894 (+5,267) 14,606 (+116)
South Africa 529,877 not yet reported today 9,298
Mexico 456,100 (+6,139) 49,698 (+829)
Peru 447,624 not yet reported today 20,228
Chile 366,671 (+1,948) 9,889 (+97) 
Spain 352,847 not yet reported today 28,499
Colombia 345,714 not yet reported today 11,624
Iran 320,117 (+2,634) 17,976 (+174)
UK 308,134 (+950) 46,413 (+49)
Saudi Arabia 284,226 (+1,402) 3,055 (+35)
Pakistan 281,863 (+727) 6,035 (+21)
Bangladesh 249,651 (+2,977) 3,306 (+39) 
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Sources

https://coronavirus-staging.data.gov.uk/
https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
https://twitter.com/MMHAlliance/status/1290927175269593088?s=19
https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-lockdown-to-be-reimposed-in-aberdeen-after-spike-in-cases-12042945
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-53650214
https://chicago.suntimes.com/education/2020/8/4/21354898/chicago-public-schools-remote-fall-no-classes-coronavirus-covid
https://twitter.com/AndyBurnhamGM/status/1291021201238904832?s=19

""Looks like I'm holding a mouse." COVID-19 and hair loss" https://twitter.com/i/events/1290635047352053761?s=09
https://twitter.com/AndyBurnhamGM/status/1291071702907211777?s=19
https://twitter.com/JolyonMaugham/status/1291244082145177600?s=19
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election/trump-twitter-coronavirus-misinformation-facebook-children-a9656426.html
https://rcni.com/nursing-standard/newsroom/news/nurses-should-look-out-covid-toe-patients-164001
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-38808-z
Excellent article on the safety of indoor spaces and transmission: 

https://www.hsj.co.uk/finance-and-efficiency/exclusive-no-refunds-over-ayanda-capital-mask-deal/7028202.article

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