Tuesday 29 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 28th /29th September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 28th /29th September 2020.

The UK added 7,143 cases today and now has reported a total of 446,156 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 198,402 tests yesterday. 

2,049 people were in hospital on Sunday 27th, with 297 using a ventilator yesterday (28th). 

(Yes, these figures are high, please remember we often have higher figures on a Tuesday because of reporting delays over the weekend - and that's true for a lot of the world, not just the UK.)

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 71 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 42,072 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

England 382,686 / 37,367
Northern Ireland 11,269 / 578
Scotland 28,604 / 2,512
Wales 23,597 / 1,615

Rep. Of Ireland 35,740 (+363) cases and 1,803 (+1) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 33,685,747 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,008,551. Already 24,989,538 people have recovered.

FACTS beat fear World Health Organisation

Tighter restrictions come into force at midnight across Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham. Different households will no longer be able to gather in any indoor setting. (Residents cannot visit each other's homes already). 

The #cancelthecurfew campaign is asking for a re-think on the UK's 10pm hospitality closing time. Photos on social media showed chaos as every pub in Manchester kicked out at the same time, and all the revellers tried to catch the same tram/bus home. That is if they went home. Feeling like your night is incomplete is definitely incentive for plenty of people to carry on drinking at someone's house, or, as I discovered on Saturday night, hang around in the streets yawping renditions of popular Kaiser Chiefs and Oasis tunes really badly whilst drinking take out. Thanks to our local choir for that one.
Most countries choose an actual curfew - e.g. home from anything non-essential by 10.00pm - but the backlash to that in the UK might be big. It's hard to call because we know over 2/3 of people think the government should impose harder restrictions, but around 1/6 aren't impressed with what we already have. 

Thousands of UK University students are now essentially locked in their rooms for at least the next 2 weeks - and they're not happy.
Manchester Metropolitan University has announced all first year learning will now be online, and I'd imagine it won't be the only one. Students are displeased at the fact it seems as soon as they've paid rent and fees, they are told they're paying around £15k each to sit alone in a cupboard for a year.
We can't have known exactly how this was going to pan out, but it was poor foresight not to make it incredibly clear to students that this could happen - and it was risky as heck. We moved people all around the country, into and from areas with as much as 10x the UK quarantine limit for covid cases. Knowingly. It is likely to calm down considerably once this initial wave of sharing has passed, especially with a 14 day lockdown, so don't despair.
That said, please let them go home in 2 weeks if they want to - and repay most of their unused rent, or you're just profiteering from a pandemic. 

In Good News For UK Students:
“We are going to work with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones." Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
This could mean self-isolating for 2 weeks before you're allowed to leave. Bear it in mind as a possibility (I'm talking to my own kids here too!!) ....

Tomorrow UK MP's will vote on extending the Coronavirus Law. A large group of MP's are threatening to vote against. They're calling for political debate and voting to occur when important restrictions are being considered by Government, rather than the current ad hoc unilaterally decided system (where Boris independently spins the Wheel of Destiny and then announces people with red hair and glasses can't catch COVID before 8.32pm, so should avoid being in the same location as anyone they actually know on Wednesdays). 

Two people, one working at home, one on a building site, cartoony soft edged drawing

A not-yet-peer-reviewed paper released yesterday models spread across Europe, and says that because different people with different behaviours have different susceptibility to COVID, realistically we only need 15% herd immunity to prevent runaway hospitalisation and loss of life. They believe restrictions don't work effectively to stifle COVID, as much as the build up of herd immunity among those people more likely to come into contact / catch / spread the virus. (Basically, once everyone who regularly goes out has caught it, the numbers will drop.)
Handily, we can test this theory with London, which has consistently found just over 15% of the population have antibodies, and is currently facing an increase in cases - but isn't really in any way effectively locked down. Lets hope they're right. 

Bad news from a South Korean survey. Over 91% of 965 COVID19 patients report suffering from residual effects after recovery. 'Longhaulers' are getting a lot of attention now. Many symptoms were reported, the most common being fatigue (26.2%), inability to focus (24.6%), brain/mental problems and a loss of taste or smell. 

Trump of the (very bad) Day:
Soooo, the New York Times have obtained and reported Mr D Trump's tax records. Out of the last 20 years he paid no income tax for 10, and paid just $750 each for 2016 and 2017. Poor wee lamb, if I'd known he was so poor I'd have directed him to my frugal student recipes on the blog. No wonder he wanted to be President - the job comes with a rent-free house and car.
Or else he's just a tax-avoiding criminal. One of them. Or both. Word is he PERSONALLY owes around $300m that is due for repayment over the next 4 years. Ouch.
Then Channel 4 news came along and revealed it has obtained a database of 200m US citizens - as used by Trump's electoral campaign - with columns such as voter intention, skin colour and action to be taken in order to convince them to vote for Trump, or convince them to not bother voting ... Oops.
Haven't we deflected attention away from the pandemic enough already? 

From today, people in England will be required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Fines for those breaking the rules start at £1,000 and increase up to £10,000 for repeat offenders.
Those on lower incomes who qualify for benefits and cannot work from home, and have lost income as a result, will also be eligible for a new £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

I had soooo many comments about my prediction that local restrictions may see some UK schools closing to most pupils. Here is some more Government guidance as posted this morning, which backs it up as a possibility, but will hopefully put some people's minds a little at ease... Hopefully.. However I stick by my prediction:
"There may be exceptional circumstances in which some level of restriction to education or childcare is required in a local area. In those situations, local and national partners will carefully consider which tier of restriction, as set out in the Department of Health and Social Care’s COVID-19 contain framework, is the most appropriate one to implement. The key aim will be to retain as much face-to-face education and access to childcare as possible. The ‘tiers of restriction’ will ensure that extensive limitations on education and childcare are a last resort and that full-time on-site provision is available for vulnerable children and children of critical workers in all cases."
For reference, The Tiers Of Intervention in schools (which are associated with the local Tiers of Restriction) are roughly as follows:
Tier 1 -  Fully open, Over 11's wear face-coverings when moving around indoors for all tiers.
Tier 2 - Secondary schools move to a rota model with blended in-person / remote learning. Further education should move to limit numbers onsite.
Tier 3 - Childcare, nurseries, primary schools, AP, special schools and other specialist settings allow all children/pupils to attend on site. Secondary schools, FE colleges and other educational buildings closed to all pupils except priority groups (vulnerable children, the children of critical workers and selected year groups identified by Department for Education).
Tier 4 - All nurseries, childminders, mainstream schools, colleges and other educational establishments allow full-time attendance on site only to priority groups. All other pupils should not attend on site. (AP, special schools and other specialist settings will allow for full-time on-site attendance of all pupils.) 

Talking of schools, latest data shows COVID still isn't having a huge effect, but it is making a difference with older UK pupils, so fingers remain crossed:
- 99.8% of state-funded schools were open on 24 September, down from 99.9% on 17 September.
- Approximately 88% of all children on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 24 September. This figure has remained broadly stable for three weeks.
- Approximately 93% of all state-funded schools were fully open on 24 September, slightly down from 94% on 17 September.
- Approximately 84% of state-funded secondary schools were fully open on 24 September, down from 92% on 17 September. 

UK MP Sir Desmond Swayne said today that Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance's sharing of a graph with a "plausible scenario" of 50,000 Covid cases a day by mid-October should have been a sacking offence. He called it "Project Fear... an attempt to terrify the British people."
I've shown it again below. Don't look when you're alone, just in case it's too much.
(It's okay, it was a 'worst case scenario if we don't impose any more restrictions', and we already have).

210920 UK Science briefing Chris Whitty Patrick Vallance slide 3 with ski slops increase in cases

Luxury Cruise News:
Greece has resumed cruises.... Surely that's got to go well, right?
Cruise ship 'Mein Schiff 6' left Crete on Sunday night. All passengers were required to supply a negative COVID test before they were allowed to board. A random 150 person sampling found 12 crew members who tested positive. The ship is now in a new port while further tests take place. 

The bars in UK Parliament were exempt from the 10pm curfew, as they decided they were classed as a 'works canteen', but the peasants revolted and they've promised they'll cease sales of alcohol at 10pm, along with everywhere else in England.
It meant Animal Farm was trending on Twitter all day. Coincidentally one of the books which doesn't fit through new UK government legislation for teachers (and Dominic Cumming's favourite how-to guidebook).
'You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege... 'The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk... '

The World Health Organisation, African CDC, Global Fund and other partners have come together and announced that for a maximum price of $5 each, over the next 6 months "120 million quality antigen based rapid diagnostic COVID19 tests will be made available to low & middle-income countries". These COVID (have I got it?) tests don't need to be sent back to a lab, and results are through in under 20 minutes. They may be the only chance people in some of the poorest or most remote corners of the world ever have of being tested, spotting outbreaks and quarantining affected individuals. The virus has already travelled far more quickly than the technology. 

Lots of new UK laws came into force today, mainly as part of the COVID-secure requirements for hospitality and leisure in England. They limit things like volume of music, singing and dancing, 15 guests at Weddings etc. and they were mentioned last week, but have never really received a lot of coverage. There are new laws across other parts of the current guidance, including some The Independent spotted and I didn't:
"Employees could face a £50 fine if they fail to tell their bosses that they have been told to self-isolate. This measure is intended to ensure employers cannot claim ignorance if they are subjected to a £1,000 fine for allowing self-isolating staff to attend their workplace."
You can also be fined £1,000 if you lie to Test and Trace officials... 

South Korea has asked citizens to stay at home to celebrate their Mid-Autumn Chuseok (Thanksgiving) celebration. The holiday period begins tomorrow. Cemeteries are closed, and nightclubs and other high-risk places in Seoul will not be allowed to open. Traditionally families hang up banners greeting their relatives,  but this year they're hanging up humorous messages, such as "Don't think about coming down, let's meet by video call' and "Send your money by courier instead." 

Don't forget tonight Al Murray 'The Pub Landlord' is hosting an online ‘Bloody Big Quiz’ to raise funds for the charity DKMS, live on their YouTube and Facebook pages. (7pm, or a bit in arrears if you click play now.)

David Attenborough reminds us that the climate crisis has not paused during coronavirus, and gave a passionate interview on BBC Breakfast:
"We have a responsibility, and if there's only a fragment of hope left, you have a responsibility to do something about it."
Reporter: "If you had to make one choice today, what would it be?"
"Don't waste. Don't waste anything. Don't waste electricity. Don't waste food. Don't waste power. Just treat the natural world as if it's precious. Which it is. And don't squander those bits which we have control of."

Some people. They would all appreciate the colours of the trees on an Autumn day...

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

USA 7,376,177 (+14,566) 210,140 (+332)

India 6,193,966 (+50,947) 96,854 (+503)

Brazil 4,748,327 not yet reported today 142,161

Russia 1,167,805 (+8,232) 20,545 (+160)

Colombia 818,203 not yet reported today 25,641

Spain 748,266 not yet reported today 31,411

Mexico 733,717 (+3,400) 76,603 (+173)

France 542,639 not yet reported today 31,808

UK 446,156 (+7,143) 42,072 (+71)

Iraq 358,290 (+4,724) 9,122 (+70)

Turkey 317,272 (+1,427) 8,130 (+68)

Italy 313,011 (+1,648) 35,875 (+24)

Pakistan 311,516 (+675) 6,474 (+8)

Philippines 309,303 (+2,025) 5,448 (+68)

Germany 289,759 (+1,141) 9,549 (+4) 

Indonesia 282,724 (+4,002) 10,601 (+128)

Israel 235,465 (+2,200) 1,523 (+16)

Canada 156,655 (+1,354) 9,289 (+11)




David Attenborough - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08sq5w2





"Korean Thanksgiving is upended by Covid-19" https://twitter.com/i/events/1310875811029737475?s=09






"Students express their anger and fear around campus lockdown restrictions" https://twitter.com/i/events/1310587085133291521?s=09

The UK's Coronavirus Act - original version (Amendments apply) https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2020/7/enacted/data.pdf














Exposure levels and immunity: 

I have covered viral load several times because it's important. The more virus you are attacked by, before your body has started to mount a targetted defence, is really important. It's a massive risk factor for healthcare staff. It was obvious very early on that medics were dying at a greater rate than general public, and commonly succumbing very quickly. Exposure levels had to be involved. They did a lot of work on whether the volume of different patients  was a factor, but as far as I'm aware it was never proven, it seems to be that initial period of exposure, and the viral load they were receiving at that time. 

So, therefore,  it does stand to reason that if we all inhale enough to register,  but not overwhelm us, we can create antibodies. Sadly it's just not measurable and varies person to person, so you could never attempt it on purpose!


  1. Two bumbling idiots today. Honestly! We will see how the rest of the week plays out. xx

    1. Politicians really need a good clean sweep and start over I think :D


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