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. 

Familiar as I am with the UK government website, over the last 48 hours they have massively increased the message that you don't get a test after day 5 of symptoms. Days 1-4 you can (if you are lucky) apply for a home test, drive through or walk-in. Day 4 after 3pm or Day 5 you can only do drive through or walk-in. Day 6 or later, you don't qualify for a test. You are reminded that  "You must also self-isolate if you cannot get a test because it’s more than 5 days since your symptoms started."

I can only speak from my own experience, but we have pretty much given up on getting tests now. It's been so much effort already, and the rest of the family will be Day 6 or more tomorrow. (Don't worry Dido, we've done our own contact tracing.) A straw poll of incredibly local symptoms of 'probably COVID' shows:
Fever - 100%
Chills - 40%
Diarrhoea - 60%
Persistent tummy ache - 60%
Headache - 100%
Grumpy - 40%
Tired - 100%
Mardy - 40%
Spiky throat - 100%
Persistent dry cough - 80%
Snot bubbles - 60%
Anosmia - 0% (oooooh)
Sore eyes - 40%
Mild shortness of breath - 20%

The Imperial College's REACT Study estimates that cases in the UK are doubling every 8 days, this is the same as the COVID Symptom Tracker app, which estimates around 69,000 people in the UK currently HAVE COVID. The ONS Infection survey estimates doubling time at around the same. Because COVID has exponential growth, doubling time is really important. With no restrictions, masks etc, the number of COVID cases can double as quickly as every 3-4 days. 

Mental health NHS workers help

The Independent iSAGE group briefing today was as grim as anticipated.
When COVID cases started to rise, initially it was among younger, healthier people, who had returned to work, were going out etc. Add on schools opening up to all pupils, and it hasn't taken long for it to begin to reach an older population, and it will again creep into the more vulnerable populations. "From the week ending the 6th September, you are seeing a really high rate across age groups up to 60".
We are apparently at just under 400 hospital admissions a day, back where we were on March 18th. If cases continue as they are, and we have no reason to suspect they won't, we could be back to 1,000 admissions a day, the level when we locked down, by the first week of October.
People in general really aren't breaking the rules, but "some of the things that are asked of them, are exposing them to infection". People working from home has dropped from 40% to 20% according to the ONS. The number of people going out to bars or restaurants has increased. iSAGE's recommendations to bring this situation back under control, are:
- Close indoor pubs and restaurants.
- Work at home if possible. Don't return to the workplace until it's COVID-safe.
- Limit indoor social interaction to a bubble of 3 households
- Fund schools to allow smaller, more socially distant classes, and provide digital resources for all students.
-  Create an emergency fund for those who need to shield or self-isolate.
- Rebuild the testing system based on (what's already there) trusted NHS and public health systems.
- Recruit local contact tracers, who know their patch
- Provide clear, consistent and culturally appropriate messaging
- Establish a clear strategy and set priorities for symptomatic and asymptomatic testing
- Provide wrap around support which enables people to self-isolate (less than 1 in 5 people told to self-isolate are currently doing so). 

Bad news for the North West, West Yorkshire and the Midlands: 

In Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester, which already have their own restrictions), regulations will enforce the following restrictions from Tuesday 22 September:
- residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens.
- hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
- late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am
Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:
- only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
- avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

In Wolverhampton and Oadby and Wigston residents will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from 22 September.

Individuals who are shielding in Leicester City will no longer need to from 5 October.

All parts of Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, will now be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens, from 22 September. Some wards in these areas had been exempt from restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban.

Spread of COVID factsheet WHO advice

Child mortality is down. It turns out that taking it easier during pregnancy, and keeping your kids at home with you (away from other children and poorly-attended building sites) might not be good for their mental health, but it's had a really positive effect on their physical health.
Bloomberg report that "22 of the 29 countries with weekly data for 2020 in the Human Mortality Database have seen deaths in the 14-and-under age group decline this year". This ranges from -3.8% for Germany, to -35.1% for Denmark. There are definitely lessons to be learned there.
On the flipside, and quite scarily, there have been quite large rises in Spain +18.6% (bizarrely reopened schools when new daily cases were around 9,000 a day) and Sweden +14.9% (have no official measures against COVID). 

Channel 4 news have got a piece tonight about UK Care Homes being told they should accept patients back after a positive diagnosis. They say they have a leaked letter written by Trafford Council, asking for patients to be sent home within a couple of hours of being told they're fit to go.
Did we learn nothing? If they haven't got COVID then absolutely, get them home. If they do, please don't send them back to a care home full of vulnerable people, and staff who honestly don't need that trauma. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed earlier today on LBC that London’s New Year's Eve firework display will not be taking place this year. Instead there will be an alternative event that people will be able to watch from home. 

The Financial Times are reporting that New Zealand might have had one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, but it turns out health and economy do go hand in hand. They haven't had the biggest financial losses. Their economy shrank by 12.2% from April to June. (They've fared better so far than the UK at a loss of 20.4%.)
Previous reports from Sweden, who chose to keep their businesses fully open, show that their economy shrank 8.6% during April to June.
For reference, Sweden have lost 5,865 people to COVID (580 per million population), New Zealand have lost 25 people to COVID (5 per million population). The UK have lost 41,732 people to COVID (614 per million).
(We aren't very good at pandemics.)

Trump of the Day:
"President Trump signs an executive order to establish a 'national commission to promote patriotic education'"
'Hitler Youth' and 'Trump Youth' were popular trends on Twitter all night. (Houston, I think we have a problem.)  

wash your hands 4 uk advice

Boris earlier this week said you probably don't want to snitch on your neighbours for breaking the rule of 6, unless they're having an 'Animal House' party...
Underneath, everyone assumes everyone else is much like them.

Van Morrison becomes the latest celebrity singer to feel a need to put his feelings about COVID restrictions to music. He's releasing three new songs that protest the lockdowns in the UK. Posted lyrics include that scientists are "making up crooked facts" in order that the government can enslave the people, and complaints about the government website saying something different every time you visit. (It's rolling news Van! That's what happens.) Northern Ireland's health minister is not impressed.
The snappily titled "No more lockdown" includes the following:
"No more lockdown
No more pulling the wool over our eyes
No more celebrities telling us, telling us what we are supposed to feel
No more Status Quo
Put your shoulder to the wheel"
Firstly, you ARE a celebrity telling us how to feel, ya div. Secondly, totally agree about Status Quo, but really, they haven't been on the radio much for a good decade or two now. Thirdly, go on, do Brown Eyed Girl again instead.... 

You can do this. You've already proven you are stronger than you think. Have a good weekend, be kind to yourself. I'm planning to be back Sunday....  

Stay Apart, No Animal House parties, Save the NHS.  

Some people. All born on the same rock as you: 

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

USA 6,893,879 (+19,283) 202,621 (+408)

India 5,274,606 (+61,920) 85,102 (+698)

Brazil 4,466,828 (+9,385) 135,203 (+172)

Russia 1,091,186 (+5,905) 19,195 (+134)

Peru 750,098 not yet reported today 31,146

Colombia 743,945 not yet reported today 23,665

Mexico 684,113 (+3,182) 72,179 (+201)

Spain 659,334 (+4,697) 30,495 (+90)

South Africa 655,572 not yet reported today 15,772

Argentina 601,713 not yet reported today 12,491

Chile 442,827 (+1,677) 12,199 (+57) 

Iran 416,198 (+3,049) 23,952 (+144)

France 428,696 (+13,215) 31,095 (losses not yet reported)

UK 385,936 (+4,322) 41,732 (+27)

Bangladesh 345,805 (+1,541) 4,881 (+22) 



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