Friday, 25 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 25th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 25th September 2020.

The UK added 6,874 cases today and now has reported a total of 423,236 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 245,363 tests yesterday.

1,616 people were in hospital on Wednesday 23rd (up from 1,020 a week earlier), with 243 using a ventilator yesterday (up from 127 a week earlier).

(Today it's Scotland who have a technical problem, and are unable to report people lost to COVID). In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, the UK (excluding Scotland) officially reported the loss of another 34 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,936 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland +326) cases and 1,797 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 32,564,743 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 989,815. Already 24,048,380 people have recovered.

standing 2 metres apart is standing up to the virus

"Early next week the world will cross 1m reported COVID19 deaths.
If we continue at the current pace we will end up with 1.5m reported deaths by the end of the year.
It is those 500,000 lives that we can help to save with our actions in the next three months."
Dr Tedros, Head of WHO

The Independent SAGE Group briefing today wasn't as bad as you might think. Yes, cases are going up, but there's a possibility it's slowed slightly during September. UK data is really not the most helpful, so everything is a 'possible', but what we can see implies we've gone up to 7 days  doubling time, slowed a little over the past couple of weeks, and over the last couple of days it's speeding up again. Their estimates are pretty similar to the UK Gov, in that we have an average doubling time currently of around 8 days, and are heading towards 1,000 new hospital admissions per day by mid October. (This was the point that we were at when we locked down in March).
There's a massive number of new cases in the 17-24 age group, which correlates with reopening of Universities. It's particularly obvious in Scotland.
The Netherlands opened Universities on 2nd September. Almost 40% of their outbreaks are currently in education, mainly Universities.
Testing data suggests that care homes are being prioritised, but it's hard to really tell for certain. Although cases have spread from young people to older age groups, the over 70's aren't yet being really affected - a very good thing.
ONS data suggests only 10% of people are isolating properly after contact with an infected person. We need to get support systems in place to enable people to do this, and they need to have better understanding of why they should self-isolate, even if they feel well. 

Professor Gabriel Scally, Royal Society Of Medicine, talked about a paper he's recently released called "A Deliberate Population Immunity Strategy Before A Vaccine - Why It Wouldn't Work And Why It Shouldn't Be Tried." I think you get the gist already... It's not just about the thousands of people who would die. He mentions long-term effects and says we simply don't know what they will be, and it's even possible that people whose brain is affected now may suffer decades into the future. We have no idea. It's too risky. He's quite blunt. "We haven't really tried to suppress this virus." (Tell it like it is!) Then he talked about Sweden, which made me feel smug, because last night I wrote up the paragraphs about Sweden which you'll find below... 

Thursday, 24 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23 /24 September 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23 /24 September 2020.

The UK dashboard is 'experiencing technical difficulties' today, so the information is incomplete. 

The UK added 6,634 cases today and now has reported a total of 416,363 positive cases of COVID-19.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 40 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,902 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 33,994 (+318) cases and 1,797(+3) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 32,246,557 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 984,180. Already 23,783,826 people have recovered.

240920 Flu JAB eligibility UK

"For the next 6 months at least, the virus and restrictions are going to be a fact of our lives."
Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor. 

There was a 3pm UK briefing with Rishi Sunak. His style is the opposite of Boris, and he belted through his speech in just over 90 seconds. He announced 5 new measures today to support business and people's jobs:
- Job Support Scheme will start in November and last at least 6 months.
- Extending the self-employed scheme
- Pay As You Grow - up to 10 years to pay 'bounce back' loans.
- Extra time to pay deferred taxes
- Cancelling the planned rise in VAT for hospitality and tourism
The big one for employees is the Job Support Scheme - and the BBC and others made a right mess of trying to decipher this earlier, so fingers crossed I don't. . .
Under the scheme an employee has to be working a minimum of one third (33%) of their usual hours, for their regular pay from their employer. The government and employer will then each pay 1/3 of the shortfall in usual wages (and the employee will lose 1/3 of their shortfall). What this actually means when you sort out the maths is:

If an Employee works 1/3 of their usual hours (33%).
Employer pays 55% of their usual wages
Government pay 22% of their usual wages
Employee receives 77% of their usual wages (just over three quarters).

*If an Employee worked 1/2 their usual hours (50%)
Employer pays 67% of their usual wages
Government pay 17% of their usual wages
Employee receives 83% of their usual wages (just over four fifths)

Hope that makes sense!
The government contribution is capped at £697.92 a month.
He basically acknowledged that they can't just support all businesses forever, when we don't know what the future holds. This scheme is for 'viable business' - for example your employer can't be making redundancies and applying at the same time.
The Autumn budget has been cancelled. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Big Potato P For Pizza Family Party Game Review (age 8+) Sent by Big Potato

Big Potato have got some brand new games this Autumn, and they've sent us a bunch to take a look at. The first is P for Pizza - and as usual there's no lengthy set-up time, it has easy instructions and anyone can play. 

P For Pizza is suitable for 2-4 players aged around 8+. It's a fast-paced game and you'll need to be pretty quick to be in with a chance of winning! It's far more funny than seriously competitive though... 

P for Pizza game resting in grenn shredded paper with card saying get it while it's hot

Big Potato have amazing modern design, and their packaging is always bold and really attractive. P For Pizza is no exception, and naturally it's shaped like a Pizza slice. EVERYTHING is plastic-free, the cards are even held together with paper during transit (nice one). 

Included is a sheet of cool little stickers, which we did fight over (so hide them before you show anyone else)....

Contents of P for Pizza game box displayed on table

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21/22 September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 21/22 September 2020.

The UK added 4,926 cases today and now has reported a total of 403,551 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 188,865 tests yesterday. 

1,319 people were in hospital on Sunday 20th (up from 972 a week earlier), with 181 using a ventilator (up from 106 a week earlier).  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 37 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,825 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 33,121 cases and 1,792 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 31,633,884 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 971,881. Already 23,227,439 people have recovered.

Manchester restrictions explained GMP with pretty drawing of 2 people

"We know this will be a concerning news for many people. Please follow the rules, look after each other and together we will get through this."
Joint statement from the 4 Chief Medical Officers for the UK nations. 

“Unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.”
Ouch. Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister and social gadabout. 

Boris will be addressing the nation at 8pm - that's too late for me (my family would be starving). I'll add any salient points below. I'm hoping I've actually covered most of what he'll be saying anyway (as it was leaked to the press and then he told parliament this lunchtime).

The UK have now moved back up to Level 4 in the COVID Alert Levels. Cases are rising across all 4 nations, and the Government can no longer pretend we are at level 3. If we are brutally honest, we never quite managed it anyway. We were always at 3+ caveats.

Monday, 21 September 2020

Hexbug Junk Bots Large Dumpster Review (Age 3+) - sent for review

We've not reviewed a lot of toys this year, but the latest additions to the Hexbug range are always welcome, and we've been sent Hexbug Junk Bots and Hexbug Nano Orbit to review. Both are suitable for age 3+, and while the Orbit opens up a new world for familiar Hexbug Nano bots, the Junk Bots are something entirely new and different... 

Hexbug Junk Bots Large Dumpster review collage of photos from post

Both the Junk Bots and the Nano Flash are collectibles which can expand with more sets. They are available in different sized packs at different prices, with different features included. You can find my Hexbug Nano Flash Orbit review here... 

Hexbug Junk Bots review Age 3+ dumpster full of really exciting  trash

Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit Review (Age 3+) Sent For Review.

This Autumn Hexbug have some new products, including Hexbug Flash Nano - and we've been sent the Orbit set to review. New Hexbug are always welcome here, they're very well played with. Suitable for age 3+, the Orbit opens up a new world for familiar Hexbug Nano bots, and the brand new super-sized Flash Nano Bot...

Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit package showing bots through little window

The Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit Set (£12.50rrp) is a great 14 piece set with 6 walls, 6 joints and 2 bots - 1 regular Hexbug Nano and 1 new Flash Nano. The Flash Nano Bot is really big, really fast, and lights up, so it is a bit special. If you haven't seen Hexbugs before, they are small powered robots with plastic legs, and they vibrate in such a way that they run about like little robotic bugs. 

Hexbug Nano and Nano Flash side by side on top of instruction leaflet

Packaging is very much card, with a small amount of plastic, and it's great to see that Hexbug are making that change. You can pop the window out and use the box for storage afterwards. 

Contents of Hexbug Nano Flash pack cardboard packaging

The set has flexible rubbery 'jelly' triangular tubes and white connecting joints, and it's really well designed. It's incredibly light and easy to put together or take apart, even during play, but the Hexbugs can't move it because the rubbery texture grips to the surface. 

flexible hexbug nano flash jelly walls

You really can create whatever shape you like, and there's plenty of scope even in this set, but you can collect and put sets together to create an even bigger play area / arena / race track etc. 

Flash Nano Orbit playground set up on table

Loads of fun. I'm sure anyone who has played with Hexbugs has yearned for an easy solution to stop them running away and falling off the table, this is far better than our usual trick of surrounding them with books and coffee mug coasters! 

Hexbug Flash Nano jelly wall layouts and Flash Nano Bot

It really is incredibly well done. It looks great, it feels lovely and tactile, and the Nano Bots don't catch on the edges at all - ours haven't become stuck once. Completely frustration-free instant play. You can find all of my Hexbug reviews here.... 

Flash Nano Orbit jelly walls flexible

The Flash Nano sets start at under £7 for a starter pack. Replacement and additional Nano Bots are under £5 each. Here's a handy affiliate link to the Hexbug Store on Amazon, where you'll find all of the new products, as well as some long time favourites.  



We were sent our Hexbug Flash Nano Orbit for review. Amazon links are affiliate, which means I earn a few pence thank you if you order through my link, but you don't pay any more. 

Sunday, 20 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 19th / 20th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 19th / 20th September 2020.

The UK added 3,899 cases today (+4,422 yesterday) and now has reported a total of 394,257 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 233,199 tests on Friday

1,081 people were in hospital on Thursday 17th, with 138 using a ventilator on Friday 18th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 18 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days (+27 yesterday). We now very sadly have a total of 41,777 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 32,933 (+395) cases and 1,792 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 31,113,280 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 963,293. Already 22,713,152 people have recovered.

How to self-isolate UK Government Coronavirus advice

Exciting news - for me at least. I managed to get 2 of us tested. I went for a "last attempt" late on Friday night and was offered a walk-in appointment a far more reasonable distance away. It meant an 8am trip to Darwen - where they had a really a slick operation going, and were a really nice bunch. 5 minutes and we were back on the way home. No results as yet, but we're all doing okay anyway, which is really the important thing. 

The fact I was sent to Darwen, which has a far lower incidence of positive cases than my own local authority, does make me wonder just how much lack of local availability skews the figures... 

This is a biggie, and I don't see it making big news as yet, but it will do.
"From 28 September people will be required by law to self-isolate, those breaking the rules face fines starting at £1,000, increasing up to £10,000.
A £500 Test & Trace Support payment will be available for those on lower incomes who can't work from home."
This is a huge move to the English Government and probably indicates that in the next 10 days, they'll actually start clamping down. Supporting people on a lower income is fantastic news (although you do not have to be claiming benefits to be unable to manage if you lose 2 weeks pay).

Fines are hard, and don't only apply to the person self-isolating - pay attention to this bit:
"New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.
For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work, sending a clear message that this will not be tolerated."
Quite obviously the government want to keep the economy open as much as possible, and allowing spread will just hamper that.
All of a sudden, they've grown up in their approach and started doing up their laces.... 

Friday, 18 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 18th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 18th September 2020.

The UK added 4,322 cases today and now has reported a total of 385,936 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 233,199 tests yesterday.

1,020 people were in hospital on 16th Sept, with 127 using a ventilator yesterday, Thursday 18th Sept.  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 27 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,732 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 332,984 / 37,054
Northern Ireland 8,943 / 575
Scotland 23,776 / 2,502
Wales 20.233 / 1,601

Rep. Of Ireland 32,023 cases and 1,789 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 30,549,837 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 953,029. Already 22,206,538 people have recovered.

The NHS is OPEN for any complaints or ailments

"There's no question, as I've said for several weeks now, that we could expect (and) are now seeing a second wave coming in."
Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister. 

Turns out some members of the UK SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) have asked for a second national lockdown in October. This was reported yesterday as including Chris Whitty, retracted, and re-reported. 

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock was on telly this morning talking about it:
"We'll do what is necessary to keep people safe, and the first line of defence is that everybody should follow the social distancing... hands, face, space....  The contact tracing system, which is working very well. That is the second line of defence.
After that these local lockdowns, and the last line of defence, is full national action, and I don't want to see that, but we will do whatever is necessary to keep people safe in a very difficult pandemic."
Errrrrrm..... yeah.... about that contact tracing.... 

"Birmingham Nightingale Hospital (which had been mothballed) is now on “higher alert” which means it can be ready to go within 48/72 hours"
Becky Johnson, Sky News. 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th / 17th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th / 17th September 2020.

The UK added 3,395 cases today and now has reported a total of 381,614 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 236,219 tests yesterday. 988 people were in hospital on Tuesday 15th, up from 837 the previous week. 124 people were using a ventilator yesterday, up from 80 the previous week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 21 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,705 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 32,023 (+224) cases and 1,789 (+1) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 30,234,786 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 948,320. Already 21,940,164 people have recovered.

Take a Break WHO COVID advice

"The issue of testing is one, that we have gone from a disease that no-one knew about a few months ago, to nearly a quarter of a million people a day can be tested. The Prime Minister is expecting that to go up to half a million people a day by the end of October.
And instead of this endless carping, saying it's difficult to get them, we should actually celebrate this phenomenal success of the British nation."
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of 'Commons', who can literally lift his finger and be supplied with as many tests as he wants, instantly, and will never know the joy of getting through after 20 or more attempts, followed by the deflation of being offered a test 61 miles away. Twice. 

There are unconfirmed reports that in the absence of comprehensive testing, the English Government estimate we have around 38,000 new cases a day, and Chris Whitty is pushing for another 2 week national lockdown. He's an epidemiologist, I honestly wouldn't expect him to be calling for anything less with those figures. It's literally his job to advise to prevent spread.
There are people now saying that Chris has denied the comments, and the figure is misquoted - although no actual word from Mr Whitty, and no-one seems to agree on what the actual figure really is (but it seems likely it's under 10k, possibly between 3.8k-7k per day). I'll leave you to make what you will of that...  

"Singapore and Thailand to be added to the England travel corridor list at 4am Saturday 19 September 2020. Guadeloupe and Slovenia to be removed from the list at 4am Saturday 19 September."
(You won't need to quarantine on return from Singapore and Thailand, but you will on return from Guadeloupe and Slovenia.)

Today Baroness Dido Harding said the latest English daily testing capacity figure is 242,000. Demand for tests is outstripping capacity 3 to 4 times - implying that up to a million people a day are attempting to request tests. Requests for tests for children under 17 have doubled.
Yes, that doesn't bode well, but before you go into a complete panic:
-  I personally have tried at least 50 times over the last 3 days (and although I wanted to test more than 1 person, I don't want to test 50).
- It wouldn't really be a surprise to discover that about 1 in every 68 people has a cough, or a fever - even in places where there are many cases, only a relatively small percentage will actually have COVID.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 14/15 September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 14/15 September 2020.

The UK added 3,105 cases today and now has reported a total of 374,228 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 227,075 tests yesterday. 972 people were in hospital on Sunday 13th, with 106 using a ventilator yesterday, 14th September. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 27 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,664 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 31,192 cases and 1,784 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 29,617,178 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 935,946. Already 21,419,484 people have recovered.

Images of one person urinating on another, with and without trousers, to demonstrate why we should wear masks

"As we often say, there is no zero risk. But with the right combination of measures, we can keep our kids safe and teach them that health and education are two of the most precious commodities in life."
Dr Tedros, Head of the WHO.  

I completely forgot to mention these, so I am sorry if it affects you:
"French Polynesia, Hungary, Portugal and RĂ©union removed from the travel corridors list at 4am Saturday 12 September 2020. Sweden added to the list at 4am Saturday 12 September."
Confusingly that means you DO need to quarantine if you come back from French Polynesia, Hungary, Portugal and RĂ©union, and you now don't when returning from Sweden. 

English COVID Testing is now in an even worse mess. Lab capacity is so overwhelmed,  we've been sending tests to Germany and elsewhere, and it appears all of them won't be making it safely home.
Personally I know someone who's been waiting on a COVID result for 9 days and been told there's no-one available to chase lost results (it's clearly never coming). My kids have temperatures and despite trying for 2 days, we haven't been able to book anyone a test. Far worse than our situation, NHS workers can't even get tested, so they're at home when they're really needed.
Expect an announcement very soon about rationing tests, because they're trying to play catch up with time-sensitive samples, and they're falling further behind by the day. 

TBCSmiles... 73 Months September 2020

Usually at this time of the year I'm feeling a bit quiet and missing the noise of the Summer holidays. The kids are back at school, shattered, and the morning rush to be ready is something all of us are pleased to have done with. This year it's different... 

My kids are already doing school-at-home, and self-isolating, after a mere week back, which followed the longest holiday most people will ever get. Yet this year I wasn't so glad to send them back to school, It was accompanied by a lot of doubt, and a little worry. In fact, most parents in the UK felt nervous about sending their children in (we aren't alone). It's our job to worry, it goes against nature to turn it off. 

Coronavirus is putting all of us into positions we didn't expect, and we may not enjoy. It's out of our control and for a lot of people, it just looks like more and more to come. It seems endless. It's disappointing, frustrating, upsetting even. It makes us scared for ourselves, scared for our families and friends... it makes us see what is actually important. 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 12th / 13th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News weekend update 12th / 13th September 2020. 

The UK added 3,330 cases today and now has reported a total of 368,504 positive cases of COVID-19. We reported 3,497 yesterday. Last Saturday and Sunday we reported 2,593 and 2,988. It's up by almost 1/3. 

884 people were in hospital on Thursday 10th, with 79 using a ventilator on Friday 11th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 5 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,628 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 318,121 / 36,964
Northern Ireland 8,314 / 568
Scotland 22,679 / 2,499
Wales 19,390 / 1,597

Rep. Of Ireland 30,730 cases and 1,784 (+1) losses of life. (Not yet reported cases today.) 

There have now been a total of 29,107,970 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 926,910. Already 20,947,030 people have recovered.

Children mental health WHO advice

"We may not get back to our normal lives until the end of 2021."
Dr Anthony Fauci, US COVID lead, being very brutal and honest about when it's likely the US, and a lot of the world, are going to be able to put the face masks away, or go to a packed theatre etc, without risk of catching COVID. 

Hope school reopening is going well for you. We had 3 cases already in my 2 sons' schools by close of play on Friday. Awesome. My kids however were delighted to be back. 

The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine trial has resumed. Whatever adverse event the UK patient suffered - and they can't really tell us because of patient confidentiality laws - independent scrutiny has found it not to be a reason to stop the trial, or consider the vaccine unsafe. Good stuff. 

Friday, 11 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 11th September 2020.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 11th September 2020.

The UK added 3,539 cases today and now has reported a total of 361,677 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 227,465 tests yesterday. 863 people were in hospital on Wednesday 9th, up 120 on that time last week. 78 patients were using a ventilator yesterday, up 2 from the previous week. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 6 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,614 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 30,360 cases and 1,781 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 28,497,524 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 916,620. Already 20,462,599 people have recovered.

how to wear face coverings safely UK govt shows illustrated person head side on with mask

6 months ago today, on 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation finally called the COVID situation a 'pandemic'. They had already, back on January 30th, declared their highest state of emergency - a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). 

The R number in England and Wales is now officially above 1. No kidding! We all understand R numbers now, don't we? It's the Reproductive Rate.
If 3 cats have 1 kitten each, who in turn has 1 kitten, who has 1 kitten etc etc, you do have a slight increase in the number of cats initially, but only for a short while, and then it'll reach a plateau and never go above that. If 1 cat has extra kittens, the number will go up, and if all of the cats in each generation have 3 kittens, it'll get exponentially bigger. Likewise, If any 1 of the 3 cats doesn't have any kittens, the number of cats will begin to drop.
The number of cases is rising, so therefore the R rate in England and Wales has to be above 1 on average.
Official SAGE (government advisory group) figures put the current R rate at between 1.0 and 1.2, but the IPSOS MORI / Imperial College data says it is 1.7, with cases doubling every 7-8 days.
Sadly I know which one I personally trust the most... 


Thursday, 10 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update September 10th 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update September 10th 2020.

The UK added 2,919 cases today and now has reported a total of 358,138 positive cases of COVID-19. Tests completed has not been updated since last Wednesday - when the total to date was 17,619,897. 837 people were in hospital on Tuesday 8th, with 80 using a ventilator yesterday.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 14 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,608 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 30,360 (+196) cases and 1,781 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 28,214,209 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 911,165. Already 20,221,164 people have recovered.

Health Workers Stress is not a sign you can't do your job

"I don't believe the UK is exceptional. My personal belief is we're two to four weeks behind what's happening in continental Europe… I think that community transmission is going to increase over the coming weeks... The next six weeks are going to be absolutely critical..."
"Nobody should be under any illusion: This infection is not going away. This is now a human endemic infection.”
Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust. He also had plenty to say about vaccine safety:
"It's absolutely critical that we assess these vaccines robustly. That it's done in an independent way without political interference. That the regulators are absolutely in control of assessing that data, and that the nature is transparent and shared with people... The first generation vaccines will not be perfect in my view, but an imperfect vaccine can have a major impact on reducing transmission and preventing severe disease. The second generation vaccines will inevitably be better."

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

COVID English Press Conference EXTRA update 9th September 2020.

 COVID English Press Conference EXTRA update 9th September 2020. 

Scientists Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, and that man Boris held an English press conference today. It was clear it was going to be bad news. Luckily it didn't really turn out to be 'new' news, as we had it all leaked last night.
Chris stressed that it was important to lay down the background, so that what was coming was said "in context".
Numbers are up "going up much more rapidly over the last few days". He stressed that in some age groups, the rise is much more sharp (ski slope sharp). This is mainly in the bands containing young people aged 10-30.
Chris stresses - This is a real phenomenon, not just due to increased testing.

Rates of increase in school-aged children have been very low, it is those over 17 where it's happening - the worst group by far is 17-21 year olds. (You young folk, tsk...).

He compared the UK's graph with France, Spain and Belgium. (Their increases are also reportedly driven by young people thinking they're bombproof.) They are a little ahead of us with this wave, and we can see how it is likely to pan out if we let this carry on, and in barely moments it'll start to reach more vulnerable populations. We can't just let that happen. 

090920 UK Cases

Chris had several graphs and animated charts explaining the position in the UK and how it has changed, and showing how new cases have been spreading, and how that has sped up. 

Over to Boris, winner of the Crap Podium Decoration of the day. He reminds us that if you have symptoms, book a test. If you don't have symptoms, please don't book a test unless a medical professional asks you to, save them for people who need them. He also went over washing hands, staying apart and wearing face coverings.
'If we are to beat the virus then everyone at all times should minimise interactions.' 

In England from Monday we are introducing a 6 person LAW. You cannot socialise or gather in any group larger than 6. This will apply in any setting indoor or out, and you risk dispersal or a £100 fine, or even arrest, if you don't comply.
There are exemptions:
- Single adult households can maintain their bubbles with the other household.
- People with more than 6 in a single household
- COVID-secure venues (e.g, Churches - with their own specific venue guidelines and limits on occupancy).
- Education
- Workplaces
- Organised sport
- Weddings and Funerals
(A full list of exemptions is expected sometime very soon, so no word about drama club or Brownies, or anything that may be regarded as 'leisure' or 'extra-curricular' or 'educational' just yet.)

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 7th/8th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 7th/8th September 2020.

The UK added 2,948 cases today and that was later amended to 2,460. It now has reported a total of 352,520 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 175,687 tests yesterday. 756 people were in hospital on Thursday 3rd, 757 on Sunday 6th, and we had 77 people using a ventilator yesterday (7th). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 30 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. That was later amended to 32. We now very sadly have a total of 41,586 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 30,080 (+306) cases and 1,778 (+1) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 27,602,144 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 898,652. Already 19,694,577 people have recovered.

NHS Information for parents

"The epidemic is taking off again. I don't think we've hit this sweet spot where we've been able to control the epidemic and allow a degree of normality.... I don't think we've managed that. I'm quite worried the schools have just returned, cases are increasing, exponentially. They ARE increasing exponentially."
Professor John Edmunds, member of the UK government's official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) - speaking reluctantly in an ITV telly interview. Jonathan Van Tam has also stated that cases are "creeping" throughout England. 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Ad | Little Brian No-Mess Paint Sticks (and Chalk Sticks) Review Age 3+ (sent by Trends)

I think most parents know the joy of washing paint or chalk out of the carpet, and thinking of the mess you'll have to clean up can make you reluctant to get the art materials out. We've been sent a selection of fantastic products from the award-winning Little Brian Paint Sticks range for review. They are almost entirely mess-free, instant to use and easy to put away, and ideal for children of all ages. 

Little Brian No-Mess Paint Sticks and Chalk Sticks on table with lids off

We were sent the Little Brian Mini Art Station, Little Brian Paint Sticks 24 Pack and the Little Brian Paint Sticks Paint-A-Puzzle - Fun at the Farm floor puzzle for review. I'll be launching a give away for a Mini Art Station over the next few days - keep an eye on my Facebook page.... 

Little Brian Paint Sticks Review Age 3+

The Little Brian Paint Sticks and Chalk Sticks come in a big variety of vibrant colours which can't spill, dry in under 60 seconds, and have a really simple twist action when you need more (like a lipstick or glue stick). They can be used on all kinds of surfaces, including paper, glass, card, and even wood. 

Little Brian paint stick day glow purple with twist up action

Sunday, 6 September 2020

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

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

The UK added 2,988 cases today and now has reported a total of 347,152 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 175,687 tests yesterday. 756 people were in hospital on Thursday 3rd, with 69 using a ventilator on Friday 4th. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we reported the loss of another 2 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,551 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Cases / confirmed losses within 28 days of a positive test:
England 299,647 (+2,576) / 36,894
Northern Ireland 7,727 (+106) / 564
Scotland 21,397 (+208)/ 2,496
Wales 18,381 (+98) / 1,597

Rep. Of Ireland 29,672 (+138) cases and 1,777 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 27,211,849 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 885,900. Already 19,292,235 people have recovered.

UN Stay healthy during COVID

"We can't open up at this time. If we were to we would lose control very quickly... I want a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible and this is the only way.... these steps are the only way that we will get to that point."
Daniel Andrews, State Premier of Victoria, Australia (includes the Melbourne area).

England are targeting testing in the North West, hence they don't have enough tests elsewhere, so fingers crossed the increase in numbers is just that they are stamping down hard and catching many more low or no symptom cases. Never forget that back in March we only tested people who ended up in hospital - we didn't add the majority of cases to the numbers.  Yes, almost 3,000 is bad, but it's better than 80 new cases and 2,980 unknown cases wandering around infecting people. 

Good news for areas of the North West - casinos, soft play, conference and events centres, close contact beauty treatments and ice skating can finally reopen on Tuesday. Sadly you still can't have friends or relatives over to visit unless they are coincidentally being paid to do a job. I'm honestly not sure the English Government understand just how mixed the messaging is that they put out. After a day commuting to Manchester for work in a building with 200 people, bikini wax and pub at lunch, gym and swim after work, bob into Tesco, quick fiver at the Casino - how likely is it that someone will take "don't see your Nan / brother / best mate, not even in their garden 6 metres away" very seriously.
I'd go sooner rather than later... the North West accounted for almost 1/4 of all cases today. 

Friday, 4 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 4th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 4th September 2020.

The UK added 1,940 cases today and now has reported a total of 342,351 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 175,687 tests on Wednesday. 743 people were in hospital on Weds 2nd, with 76 using a ventilator yesterday (Thurs 3rd). . 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 10 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,537 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 29,303 (+97) cases and 1,777 losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 26,650,314 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 876,070. Already 18,779,898 people have recovered.

Support people during coronavirus WHO advice

UK nations don't agree over Portugal, and do you know what? That's okay. Why should they stoop to our level?  Arrivals to Wales have to quarantine,  arrivals to Scotland will have to quarantine from tomorrow, arrivals to England or Northern Ireland do not currently face a quarantine (at time of typing). If you go to any different country, it's up to you to make sure you check your own local government restrictions - which can change at any time. Make allowances in case you need to quarantine, be happy if you don't. 

UK testing is in a big fat mess, and Dido has apologised. (She's feeling so guilty she can't sleep, she can't eat...). She's sorry. The big numbers claimed just aren't true. Capacity they're now saying is 250k, but tests are actually less than 180k per day. They seem to have moved capability and mobile units up to the North West, and people down on the South Coast are being asked to drive themselves to the moon, sorry, Blackburn and Oldham for tests. The BBC have interviewed several people, including a woman who was sent to Inverness from Plymouth - a 1300 mile round trip!

Telestrations Party Guessing Game (age 12+) Sent by Asmodee

Telestrations is the latest game sent to us by Asmodee, the independent games specialist, for review. This will be somewhat familiar to most people, as it's a relative of Chinese whispers, or the telephone game - but with added drawings. It's instant play, no complicated rules, and it's definitely good for a laugh. Suitable for 4-8 players aged 12+...

Telestrations Guessing Game Review Age 12+ Sent by Asmodee

Inside the box is everything you'll need for up to 8 players. 8 x dry-wipe booklets, 8 x dry wipe pens, 8 x cloths, 60 second sand timer, dice and instructions. The dry-wipe booklets are really nicely made and work incredibly well in practice. 

Telestrations game review box contents

There are also gameplay cards with over 1,700 different words or phrases. It'll keep you going for a good while before you get a repeat - and amusingly they are double-sided, with This Side, and That Side. Each round everyone takes a card and one player throws the dice to decide which number word you'll all use.  

Thursday, 3 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd/ 3rd September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd/ 3rd September 2020.

The UK added 1,735 cases today and now has reported a total of 340,411 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 175,687 tests yesterday. 799 people were in hospital on Tuesday 1st September (32 more than the previous Tuesday), with 80 patients using a ventilator today (9 more than last week). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 13 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,527 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 29,206 (+92) cases and 1,777 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 26,346,736 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 870,150. Already 18,554,970 people have recovered.

Cloth masks How to wear a non medical mask safely

The UK are reporting larger numbers than we have since the beginning of June. Throughout Europe, a ripple is forming now that restrictions have been lifted for a little while and the virus has had a chance to spread. In some countries it can clearly be called a second wave, how big it gets depends on how quickly populations react, and how seriously they take the threat. 

Great news regarding therapeutics.  Following on from the RECOVERY Trial results for Dexamethasone back in June, 4 new research papers have been published this week, and the results of 8 different corticosteroid studies collated. Corticosteroids improved chance of surviving by up to 20% for seriously ill patients, and reduced need for artificial support (e.g. ventilators, blood pressure support etc). It's not a magic pill, but has already actually saved the lives of hundreds of COVID patients who would otherwise have succumbed. Corticosteroids are incredibly cheap, and approved and available everywhere. Dexamethasone only costs around 6p per patient in India, Hydrocortisone is also commonplace and inexpensive worldwide. All studies have found no benefit for patients unless they require oxygen, so there's no point taking these drugs unless you are actually hospitalised. Which should (fingers crossed) prevent stockpiling and shortages. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 31st August / 1st September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 31st August / 1st September 2020.

The UK added 1,295 cases today and now has reported a total of 337,168 positive cases of COVID-19. 764 people were in hospital last Thursday 27th August, with 60 using a ventilator on Friday 28th (no updated figures due to Bank Holiday long weekend). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 3 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,504 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

From the beginning of the outbreak up until Wednesday 19th August 134,156 people have been admitted to UK hospitals with COVID-19. 

Rep. Of Ireland 29,025 (+214) cases and 1,777 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 25,772,607 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 857,348. Already 18,043,222 people have recovered.

010920 All time COVID cases by WHO region

“Accepting someone to die because of age is moral bankruptcy at its highest and we shouldn’t allow our society to behave this way. We should care for one another.” Dr Tedros, World Health Organisation 

"Everybody is going to catch this thing eventually." A Senior Whitehouse Representative letting us know the Trump administration plan there. 

The ONS reported a higher than average UK mortality for the week ending August 14th. This is the first time it's been above average since the week ending 12th June, and the ONS say it appears to be due to heat, rather than a resurgence of COVID. The numbers of people dying at home continues to be above average - GO TO HOSPITAL if you are ill and need help. 
"Of all deaths involving COVID-19 registered up to Week 33, 63.4% occurred in hospital with the remainder mainly occurring in care homes (29.6%), private homes (4.7%) and hospices (1.4%)."
Updated figures are late this week because of the bank holiday, and will be reported tomorrow.  

Scotland is among the countries with a very high percentage of people dying from COVID in care homes. Since the start of the outbreak until 9th August:
- "46% of COVID-19 registered deaths related to deaths in care homes, 46% were in hospitals and 7% were at home or non-institutional settings."
- "2,494 people have died who have tested positive, and 4,222 deaths have been registered in Scotland where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate."