Wednesday 30 September 2020

Coronavirus UK press conference 30 September 2020

 Coronavirus UK press conference 30 September 2020 (Next report as usual tomorrow) 

Boris Johnson, sometime UK Prime Minister held a Coronavirus press conference today, along with Prof Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer and Sir Patrick Vallance,  the UK Science Chief. 

Boris was all hunched up when he came out of the cupboard, like a Tortoise on 2 legs. He needs to stand up a bit straighter, that'll be awful on his back. 

He started by reassuring university students that plans are being put in place to ensure they can go home safely at Christmas. (Presumably not that you all catch it now and then you'll still be immune in December). 

He talked about a package of measures, and says it'll take a while to feed through. (That's true, but it's already been in place a while in some areas, and I'm not seeing a big improvement yet.)

The number of new reported cases today is 7,108.

The number of people who have been reported today as succumbed to COVID within 28 days of a positive test is 71. 

He says his plan is essential, and we have to stick to it together. He reminds us we are in a better position than in March. The 7 Nightingale Hospitals are in place, with 2,000 beds available instantly, and more as required. We are on target for 500,000 COVID tests a day by the end of October. We have in place an order for 48 billion items of PPE. The UK were only making 1% of our own PPE in March, by December we will be capable of manufacturing 70%. We now have 31,500 mechanical ventilators (again, lets hope they are never needed). 

The best protection is to follow the rules wherever we live. 

He says he will be providing regular updates through press conferences, and if necessary, they will impose heavier measures, but we can avoid that, with our behaviour. 

Keep to the rule of 6 image with silhouette figures

He mentions people saying 'let the virus take it's course' and says we won't be doing that. "We will get through this."

Chris Whitty with the slides. The rates of positivity we are seeing as not the same as they were before. We have a heavy concentration of virus in particular areas, but a fairly thick scattering everywhere. The numbers of school age children testing positive aren't rising massively, but for age 17+, it's really leaping. Up to 12.5% of their tests are positive, which shows it's not just increased testing. (The World Health Organisation say if you get more than 5% positive, then you are missing cases.) 

Rates of hospitalisation are climbing steadily. They are at far lower rates than in March, but they are rising, and we don't want to carry on with this trajectory. The rates of people needing intensive care have really leapt up in the last few days. Again, we don't want to see that carry on.  

He stresses the NHS IS OPEN FOR EVERYONE. (If you need a Doctor or urgent medical attention, or even an ambulance, call for help. Don't sit at home and die in your chair because your heart attack wasn't COVID symptoms, or you were scared to go to hospital because you might catch it.) 

Public asked about stopping people from high risk areas spreading COVID to other areas. Boris says he doesn't want to go back to a national lockdown, we want to keep the economy moving and keep young people in education. It didn't really answer the question. (No mention of movement restrictions.)

Boris reckons the new measures brought in over the last week are going to have an effect. I hope he's right. I see them as giving it a bit of a tickle. 

Clearly the message of the day is "TOGETHER". They all said it several times. (WE'RE in it together Boris, and as long as your mates aren't allowed to swan about the UK spreading COVID any more, then maybe we'll let you join our club.)

300920 cases UK

Chris Whitty: The doubling time is slower than in March. Back then it was every 3-4 day. Currently it's somewhere around 7-9. The small number of deaths now though, shouldn't reassure us that it's going to be okay. It WILL follow the same path if we let it. (We can't overwhelm the NHS or there'll be no beds or treatment left for anyone, whatever is wrong with you.)

Press asked if there's a threshold for national measures. Boris mumbled and stuttered and didn't commit. Obviously they do, but they don't want to say it aloud in case they have to do it. 

Press also asked if the North was going to be restricted heavily in order to protect the South/London. Boris and Patrick answered that we have to stamp it out everywhere. Although there are pockets where there's more virus, it is everywhere. 

300820 age group testing

Patrick says by not isolating, we are spreading COVID to more vulnerable people, but thankfully more of us take self-isolation seriously now than in Spring. It is up to us as individuals to stay home, it isn't something that they can control. 

Boris has referred several times to getting onto the websites to ensure you know your own local restrictions. We all understand better now how to prevent spread, it's up to us to help control the virus - and then we'll get rid of all of the restrictions more quickly. 

3000920 cases UK by age


(This is not Boris, this is just me)

Don't despair at the return of the Coronavirus briefings. We are "going in the wrong direction", it was said more than once, but it isn't like it was in Spring. It's a long way off.
- We are socially distancing and wearing masks, self-isolating etc, and as a result the virus is spreading only half as quickly. 

- We might have the same reported case numbers, but estimates are that we catch around half at the moment, and possibly as few as 1/20th when we were in our previous peak. 

- We have reduced the number of people who succumb massively. Dexamethasone helps patients on oxygen recover, and use of BiPap rather than ventilation whenever possible has already saved thousands of people.

- Infection control has grown up. We understand now just how important PPE is, how vulnerable health workers are without it, and we also appreciate we shouldn't be sending anyone with COVID back to shared accommodation. 

- You've already come a long way and none of it was wasted. Your behaviour has helped protect your own loved ones, your neighbours, the woman in the shop. You've learned to video call, crotchet blankets, bake bread and you've realised exactly what is actually important. 

- If I can do this, you can do this. We'll keep each other going until the day we can all forget we ever wanted Jacinda Ardern to be our Prime Minister. 

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