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.

210920 COVID Level 4 UK Government statement

Professor Chris Whitty (England's Chief Medical Officer) and Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Advisor), gave a UK briefing on COVID on Monday morning.
They started by reminding us that we reduce spread by limiting contacts and avoiding busy indoor spaces, crowds and other places where people breathe on us.
We've seen an increase in the number of cases. it started with younger people and is now spreading across all age groups. Hospitalisations are increasing, and they will lead to an increase in deaths. The percentage of people testing positive is increasing, so this isn't just because we're testing more people.
The ONS estimate that roughly 70,000 people in the UK currently have COVID, with around 6,000 new infections each day.
We think the number of new cases is doubling roughly every 7 days. If that was to continue on the same trajectory, by mid October we'd be around 49,000 new cases a day. A month after that, in mid-November, we'd be looking at 200 losses of life a day.
Measuring antibodies shows that less than 8% of us have any protection. This figure is higher in cities, and could be as high as 17% in parts of London, but it means we still have a huge percentage of the population susceptible. Antibodies do also decrease with time, so even those who have caught it might not be immune within a few months.
UK hospital admissions were falling until the beginning of August, then they were fairly stable until around 3 weeks ago, when they began to rise. The 'doubling time' matches cases, around 7 days. Again, if this continued to rise unabated, then the number of people who succumb will also keep doubling around every 7 days.
We are heading into Winter, and we believe "we have a 6 month problem that we will have to deal with collectively".
There is no evidence that COVID is milder than it was in Spring. Rates in young adults have risen first, and these are less vulnerable people, so hospitalisation seems lower. Sadly not. The percentage of people in each age group who end up in hospital has not changed.
We've learnt a lot about treatments and care, and this has improved chances of surviving across the board, but we have no 'cure' and we'll still need hospital beds for all of these people. 

Chris stresses that we can't just allow people to 'take their own risk'. It affects us all. You might think you are immune, or bombproof, but as we can see, you can't contain the virus within the young, fit and healthy, it will spread to more vulnerable people. It's not just your risk.  

We have to break unnecessary links between households, in the workplace and in social environments. Patrick says "we will be learning how to live with this virus". 

Many vaccine candidates have been shown to generate an immune response, with several already in late stage testing. The UK has bought into several different options. Patrick says it's possible, but not definite, that limited stocks of vaccines will be available by the end of the year for specific groups. 

220920 COVID slides collage from CMO briefing

In an effort to prevent people in ENGLAND getting mullered on fizzy pop and real ale, licking strangers and leaning all over each other telling them how much they love them, FROM THURSDAY 24th all hospitality has to close at 10pm, and will by law be restricted to table service only. This includes ALL bars, pubs and restaurants, but not takeaways. 
As a measure to control spread of COVID it's very limited, and in my opinion may just send risk-takers elsewhere. Bolton has been take away only for ages and cases are still rising (partly because they get the bus over to Bury or go into Manchester instead). 

- ALL hospitality, leisure and retail workers will have to wear face coverings, as well as anyone in a taxi or private hire vehicle.
- Customers using hospitality have to wear a face covering whenever they aren't seated at a table.
- Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations, and businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
- A maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. Funerals remain limited to 30 people.
- The rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports.
- We will not be reopening business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events on October 1st.
- The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence (which is an untenable amount of money if you are poor, but nothing if you are a Government Minister and fancy a drive out).

SCOTLAND has increased their COVID-19 response. You should continue to work from home whenever possible. From WEDNESDAY 23rd in SCOTLAND:
-  You must not meet people from any other households in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. This applies to people of any age (except for children splitting their time between parents' homes).
- A maximum of 6 people from 2 households can meet in outdoor spaces, or indoor public spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants. (Under-12s do not have to distance outdoors and don't count towards the maximum number of households or number of people)
- A maximum of 6 x 12-17 year olds can meet in outdoor spaces, with no household limit. Physical distancing is still required
- Pubs, restaurants and all hospitality settings will be required to close at 10pm, and must continue to operate table service only. 

Restrictions are also increasing in WALES:
"From 6 o'clock TONIGHT, new restrictions will come into force to control the spread of the virus for everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport local authorities. This will mean people will not be allowed to enter or leave these four local authority areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education. People will only be able to meet people they do not live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form an extended household for the time being. All licensed premises in these areas will have to close at 11 p.m. Everyone over the age of 11 must continue to wear face coverings in indoor public places, as is the case throughout Wales. We're also extending the 11 p.m. licensing restriction to Caerphilly county borough area.
These restrictions are the same as those introduced in Rhondda Cynon Taf last week: from 6 o'clock tonight, the same local restrictions will be in place in ALL 6 local authority areas in SOUTH WALES. This will mean a large proportion of the population of South Wales will be living under local restrictions to help control the spread of coronavirus."

Guess what's happening in NORTHERN IRELAND? Yes, it's further restrictions. From 6.00 pm TODAY 22nd SEPTEMBER, the following restrictions will be introduced for ALL households in Northern Ireland:
- No mixing of households in private homes, with exemptions for: bubbling with one other household, caring or supported living, including childcare, the services of any trade or professional and other listed exemptions, and children who split their time between parents.
- No more than six people to gather in a private garden from no more than two households (children aged 12 and under are not counted in this total). Social distancing must be maintained.
- Gatherings indoors or outdoors, not in a private dwelling, of up to 15 people are permitted. Some organised events are exempt from this limit.  

After telling everyone to get back to the office to save the frothy coffee economy, today's whole UK message is that:
'Everyone who can, should work from home'.
Most of the smart money have kept everyone they can at home anyway - jiggling people between office and home working isn't always as simple as logging in on your phone.
This message will no doubt be a relief to many, especially vulnerable people who felt pressured into returning to the workplace, and a nightmare for others.  

240920 Flu JAB eligibility UK

A US study into excess mortality (the number of people who have died which is higher than the average for that time of year), estimates that in the first three months of the pandemic, until May 9th 2020, there were 78,834 official US losses of life to COVID-19, but excess mortality was between 100,013 and 127,501 (allowing for flu etc).
"Significant excess pneumonia deaths were also found for all locations."
This isn't yet peer-reviewed, so someone has to check over all of the numbers, but sadly I think it'll be a similar story in many places. 

It was American TV's Emmy awards on Sunday night, and COVID didn't leave that alone. Co-hosts for the build-up, Vivica A Fox and Giuliana Rancic both tested positive and had to sit this one out. 

The 2 women who had adverse reactions to the UK's Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine both developed Transverse Myelitis. This is inflammation of the spinal cord, it affects the body below the level where the inflammation occurs. There are a whole host of known causes, including bacterial, parasitic, syndromes and diseases etc, as well as many viruses - Flu, varicella (chicken pox), Measles, Mumps etc. It generally improves considerably from the initial severity, but is nonetheless no fun indeed.
The first case wasn't initially shared publicly because the patient was found to have Multiple Sclerosis, which in itself can cause Transverse Myelitis (incredibly unfortunate news for the patient).
American medics are complaining that this information should always be shared and clear, because being all shady about it just makes something look dodgy. I agree.

Trump of the Day:
"It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems, and other problems. If they have other problems, that's what it really affects. You know, in some states, thousands of people, nobody young, below the age of 18, nobody. They have a strong immune system. Who knows. Take your hat off to the young, they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing. By the way, open your schools, everybody open your schools."
Yeah.... Donald, you do know America is not only populated by children under 18 and 'virtually nobody' elderly with a heart condition... right?

Perugia Airport is in the news because they made an official comment where they mentioned Boris Johnson had been over for the weekend before last. At such a vital time in a pandemic, and without a quarantine? Surely not... Downing Street says no. Two official spokespeople and other members of staff at Perugia Airport say yes, and Tony Blair was there that weekend too. Probably just testing their eyesight.. and maybe visiting their actual good friend, Russian son-of-a-spy Evgeny Lebedev.

Despite the fact India is reporting humongous numbers of daily Covid-19 cases, the Taj Mahal has reopened. It's been closed to visitors for over 6 months. Numbers will be limited, mask-wearing mandatory, and guests must socially distance. I bet they will too. It's one place you can't imagine a bun fight at the entrance. 

Last Friday the US CDC changed it's website to say that it was “possible” that COVID-19 spreads via airborne transmission. CNN spotted and reported on it, and the CDC quickly amended the page and said it was edited in error, but will be updated when they've written it up properly.
This is exactly the sort of stunt which is ruining the credibility of scientific and health bodies. People aren't as stupid as you think (not all of them).
Give it up CDC, we are well aware now that COVID-19 can aerosol, and linger alive in a room for hours. Yes, this does mean a lot of indoor things need a re-think, but... lives.... 

DKMS Big Night In with Al Murray next Tuesday 29th September

Good news for me, I tested negative! Whoot! Sadly it's not made my family all better, but I think everyone is recovering now (I've not handed out any paracetamol all day today!!). So I can just go out, right? Well no. As some of my family have had symptoms and didn't get a test within the 5 days, I still have to continue to isolate until next week. It's okay, I hadn't made any plans anyway... 

UK Briefing by Boris Johnson:
I just had leftover sausage casserole for tea, and I'm very glad that I didn't wait to publish until after BOJO's vid aired. The only thing I missed was that the Army are on standby again - and as last time, we have so few police, that this isn't unexpected. They can be useful - for example there  is always the possibility of localised movement restrictions, and if nothing else, they'll be on roadblocks.
He was pre-recorded and very much like the Queen's addresses to the nation. Disappointing, and a bit weird. My favourite line was "Your cough might be someone else's death knell". He's taking a serious line now, to show that we've had enough of COVID for this year. I expected this point to come in around 3 weeks, and I honestly think they possibly did too. "Now is the time for us all to summon the discipline, the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that'll see us through."
(Hint: We might have a spirit of togetherness, but if you want togetherness with us Boris, you can't let your mates do whatever they want and let them off... )

The Lowry Theatre in Manchester is just one of several buildings being repurposed during the crisis. It's being used as a courtroom, so that socially distanced trials can take place, and reduce the backlog of cases. It is very cruel to innocent people and victims to have to delay and postpone indefinitely. The rental payments are also much needed for a venue which can't operate as usual. We need a lot more of this type of clever thinking. 

Grandparents, or anyone else who provides informal childcare or care for vulnerable people, will be exempt from the English restrictions on meeting with other households. These restrictions are in place across many areas, mainly in the North, and already affect millions of people. I know informal childcare has been a real issue, and it's an incredibly sensible move. Hopefully it'll be something that brings a lot of smiles to faces too. 

It's officially the first day of Autumn in the Northern hemisphere. No, I didn't think I'd still be here doing this either! 

Some people. They all look like numbers, but they're really people:

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

USA 7,059,688 (+13,472) 204,913 (+411)

India 5,617,699 (+57,594) 89,579 (+614)

Brazil 4,566,123 (+6,040) 137,445 (+95)

Russia 1,115,810 (+6,215) 19,649 (+160)

Peru 772,896 not yet reported today 31,474

Colombia 770,435 not yet reported today 24,397

Mexico 700,580 (+2,917) 73,697 (+204)

Spain 682,267 (+10,799) 30,904 (+241)

South Africa 661,936 not yet reported today 15,992

Argentina 640,147 not yet reported today 13,482

France 458,061 not yet reported today 31,338

Chile 448,523 (+1,055) 12,321 (+23)

Iran 429,193 (+3,712) 24,656 (+178)

UK 403,551 (+4,926) 41,825 (+37) 

Bangladesh 352,178 (+1,557) 5,007 (+28) 
























  1. I did hear about The Lowry being used as a courtroom it is such a great idea. Win win for the theatre and the uk justice system. I just don't get why Trump is allowed to talk in public. It doesn't even sound like he is saying real words. I am sure you could get a child to give a much better statement xxx

    1. He just spews forth thoughts as they pass through his brain. He reminds me of a 90 year old bloke who used to drink in a pub I worked in. If you started talking to him, he'd almost wake up, and then just ramble semi-coherently for a while and go back to sleep. Except the guy in the pub was sweet and didn't have the power of life or death at his fingertips.


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