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.

There was a UK COVID war cabinet meeting last weekend, to keep up to date and make decisions on all of the really important discussions regarding COVID (Track & Trace, PPE, testing, local lockdowns etc.). Top of the agenda was getting grouse shooting back up and running. I bet that's a relief, eh?

New restrictions are being brought in from TOMORROW for parts of North East England - sorry guys.
In Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham:
- Hospitality venues are limited to table service (and takeaways) only. This includes pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes etc.
- All venues, including hospitality, must close between 10pm and 5am each day.
- People must not mix with anyone from outside your household.
- You cannot have visitors to your home, and you can't visit anyone else, not even in the garden.
- Use public transport ONLY when essential.
- Avoid attending any non-professional sporting event as a spectator.
Support bubbles are exempt - you count as a single household and CAN still continue to support each other in person. 

Thank you unpaid carers

If proven to work, the USA's Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine candidates might not become as popular worldwide as other vaccine choices, due to the fact they need to be stored at a lower temperature than many of the others.
Moderna’s vaccine needs to be shipped and stored at -20 C (-4F), which is a cold freezer temperature, but the Pfizer/BioNTech one needs to be at -70 C (-94 F). That's far colder than any non-specialist freezing equipment, and is likely to cause a real headache for any distribution network or storage. 

The UK Government are referring to Test and Trace as NHS Test And Trace. People everywhere who aren't the government are reminding us that it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NHS. Test and Trace is headed by Baroness Dido Harding, and is privately mismanaged and billed for by SERCO. 

Trump of the Yesterday:
Donald Trump appeared on an ABC News "Town Hall" special, and it was honestly the gift that keeps on giving. I do have a bit of a fever, and I wasn't sure whether I had begun hallucinating:
R: "Why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low income families and minority communities?"
Donald: "Yeah, well I didn't downplay it. I actually, in many ways I up-played it in terms of action."
(What? You up-played it? When? You never even imposed a national mask mandate.....)
Donald: "They said at the Democrat convention, they're going to do a national mandate. They never did it, because they've checked out, and didn't do it. And good question is you ask. Like Joe Biden, they said, we're going to do a national mandate on masks."
(Donald, you all right mate? You do remember that YOU are the President, right? Joe Biden isn't in a position to impose a national mask mandate - you are.)
“It’s probably gonna go away now a lot faster because of the vaccine. It would go away without the vaccine.”
Reporter: *raises an eyebrow*... “It would go away without the vaccine?”
Donald: “Sure. Over a period of time. Sure, with time.”
Reporter: “And many deaths.”
Donald: “You’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s gonna be herd-developed and that’s gonna happen.”
(For reference Donald, herd mentality is when people forget they have a brain, and just follow the crowd. Herd immunity is how an estimated 2 million US citizens would lose their lives, and millions more have permanent or long-term damage. Neither are really advised.) 

"No country, hospital or clinic can keep patients safe unless it keeps health workers safe. Today, WHO launched a health worker safety charter to ensure they have safe working conditions, training, pay & the respect they deserve."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation. 

When you are first exposed to COVID, the amount of virus you receive is really important. If it's tiny, your body has a really great chance of fighting it off no bother. If it's immense, your body has a huge job to fight. It takes around 2 weeks before you can make specific antibodies, and during this time your body throws everything it needs to at the virus.
If you inhaled a huge lung full of virus then your immune system's attempt to kill it can be so great that it will harm you. A very serious result is a Cytokene Storm, where the immune system leaps into an uncontrolled attack, and really overdoes it. Healthy tissue will be caught in the crossfire, and dangerous widespread inflammation occurs. It can cause severe pneumonia, extremely low blood pressure, damage organs to the point that they fail and stop you breathing.
Health and care workers genuinely put themselves at risk whenever they treat someone who has COVID.
Masks and face coverings, and social distancing, may well mean that when a lot of us catch COVID, we take in less virus in that important first encounter, and this could genuinely bring down the number of serious cases, and fatalities.

How long to I need to isolate for

Do you remember the inflatable testing lab that the Chinese mainland sent over to Hong Kong? As of last Saturday, they'd already tested 1.66 million people, around 22% of Hong Kong's residents, and found just 32 positive cases.
(Don't suppose they have a spare one they could lend us? We could really use some temporary testing labs right now...)

Trump of the Day:
CDC Director Robert Redfield said that limited stocks of a vaccine may be available in November and December, but for general population "I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021".
Trump later responded: "I get the impression that he didn't realise he said what he might have said. I didn't see him say it. If that's what he said, it's a mistake, because we're ready to distribute immediately to a vast section of our country, and then beyond."
Again Donald, just saying something doesn't make it true. Or possible. Or safe. 

Excellent news from the southern hemisphere regarding flu. We've been hearing positive things for a while now - back in April Australia only recorded 229 cases, compared to 18,705 in April 2019. As Winter is beginning to make way for Spring down there, it's safe to say the number of people suffering from influenza is astoundingly low. Record breaking in fact. According to the Guardian: "General practitioners in New Zealand have not detected a single influenza case since they started screening patients in June, health data shows; last year about 57% of the samples they collected were positive."

While I was researching flu, I came across an article which talked about the unusually high number of fatal flu cases in younger people in February. The highest since records began 16 years earlier. It was from the US CDC... Ouch.... 

Dido (Harding - Head of Test & Trace) of the Day:
"I think that I don't think anybody was expecting to see the really sizeable increase in demand that we've seen over the course of the last few weeks."
Eh, what? Since March we've been told that the UK could expect a second wave in Autumn, and that Winter might be really bad because of flu on top. You had already planned to increase testing to 500k per day in October. When everyone went back to work, and then they reopened pubs, casinos, sports, schools to all pupils etc. in September, didn't you realise it might have had an effect? Isn't that, in fact, your job? 

Community leaders in Cerme, a district of East Java, Indonesia, had a novel way to punish a group of 8 people who didn't comply with mask-wearing. They were made to dig the grave for a local COVID victim. The district had only 3 grave-diggers available, so it was incredibly useful, as well as being one of the most effective deterrents that I can think of.   

Health Workers Patient Safety Day 2020

The Governments of Australia and New Zealand have teamed up with the World Health Organisation to support Papua New Guinea, and now they have the equipment necessary to test for COVID-19 in all provinces. We are all in this together. 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published a report on alcohol. We knew that lockdown, stress and boredom was likely to have an effect. They found that the number of people in the UK drinking at ‘high risk’ levels has risen from 4.8m to almost 8.5m since February.

Wherever you are in the world, if you find you are drinking every day, wanting a drink as soon as you wake up, or relying on a drink regularly, get yourself back into control, before you find you can't. Admitting to yourself that you're overdoing it is a lot easier right now than at any time in the future.
If you can't remember what it is to wake up without a headache, or you are binge drinking regularly, the Drinkaware website is actually pretty good, and full of help and support. 

Some people. They all would agree that a smile is one of the best gifts you can give: 

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

USA 6,844,174 (+15,873) 201,736 (+388)

India 5,205,760 (+89,867) 84,340 (+1,110)

Brazil 4,430,227 (+8,541) 134,363 (+189)

Russia 1,085,281 (+5,762) 19,061 (+144)

Peru 744,400 not yet reported today 31,051

Colombia 736,377 not yet reported today 23,478

Mexico 680,931 (+4,444) 71,978 (+300)

South Africa 653,444 not yet reported today 15,705

Spain 625,651 (+11,291) 30,405 (+162)

Argentina 589,012 not yet reported today 12,229

Chile 441,150 (+1,863) 12,142 (+84)

France 415,481 (+10,593) 31,095 (+50)

Iran 413,149 (+2,815) 23,808 (+176)

UK 381,614 (+3,395) 41,705 (+21)

Bangladesh 344,264 (+1,593) 4,859 (+36) 



Herd mentality

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