Thursday 3 September 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd/ 3rd September 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd/ 3rd September 2020.

The UK added 1,735 cases today and now has reported a total of 340,411 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 175,687 tests yesterday. 799 people were in hospital on Tuesday 1st September (32 more than the previous Tuesday), with 80 patients using a ventilator today (9 more than last week). 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we lost another 13 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 41,527 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 29,206 (+92) cases and 1,777 losses of life.

There have now been a total of 26,346,736 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 870,150. Already 18,554,970 people have recovered.

Cloth masks How to wear a non medical mask safely

The UK are reporting larger numbers than we have since the beginning of June. Throughout Europe, a ripple is forming now that restrictions have been lifted for a little while and the virus has had a chance to spread. In some countries it can clearly be called a second wave, how big it gets depends on how quickly populations react, and how seriously they take the threat. 

Great news regarding therapeutics.  Following on from the RECOVERY Trial results for Dexamethasone back in June, 4 new research papers have been published this week, and the results of 8 different corticosteroid studies collated. Corticosteroids improved chance of surviving by up to 20% for seriously ill patients, and reduced need for artificial support (e.g. ventilators, blood pressure support etc). It's not a magic pill, but has already actually saved the lives of hundreds of COVID patients who would otherwise have succumbed. Corticosteroids are incredibly cheap, and approved and available everywhere. Dexamethasone only costs around 6p per patient in India, Hydrocortisone is also commonplace and inexpensive worldwide. All studies have found no benefit for patients unless they require oxygen, so there's no point taking these drugs unless you are actually hospitalised. Which should (fingers crossed) prevent stockpiling and shortages. 

In Scotland, new restrictions have come into place for Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, after a surge in cases. 

There's a big reason why you need a real-time reaction to COVID. Last Friday the UK government announced that on Wednesday this week extra restrictions would be lifted in Bolton and Trafford. By the time Tuesday's infection rate figures came out, Trafford wasn't looking great, and Bolton had the second highest infection rate in England - up from 18.9 per 100,000 the week before, to 69.4 this week. This is 5x the national average and almost 3.5x the quarantine threshold for international arrivals. (Pendle has the highest, at 74.9.) Local leaders appealed for residents to ignore the lifting of restrictions and use caution, but around midday official word came that the restrictions would remain "for the next week or two". Using historical figures is pretty much useless - it has to be really up to date. 

America will not be joining in with COVAX - the 173+ country group effort to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine. Trump is still annoyed that the World Health Organisation turned out to be correct, and despite him repeatedly claiming it was a hoax, went ahead with a viral pandemic anyway.  

1 bed 3 fridges Boris UK Government advice to stay apart

The UK will spend £500m on further trials of the 20 minute COVID-19 tests, to see if repeated testing of people who don't have symptoms, and almost instant results, make a significant difference to detection and control of outbreaks. Trials have already begun in Southampton and Hampshire, and Salford will be next. 

Ireland may be in a precarious position. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation yesterday warned that 50 patients were on trolleys without beds at Cork University Hospital (221 across the country). HSE’s figures showed 20 of the 29 acute hospitals had patients on trolleys in Emergency Departments. There were no vacant ICU beds in six hospitals, and no vacant general beds in five.
Yesterday Ireland had 40 people hospitalised with  COVID-19, with 6 in intensive Care. It paints a worrying picture for this Winter. 

Victorian scientists, (from Australia, not from the past), have managed to use antibodies to prevent COVID-19 entering cells in the lab. They are hoping to see if there's any possibility antibody therapy could be used to prevent infection in humans. It is already used in the treatment of some Cancers and immune disorders, and could help fill the gap before any vaccine completes trials. 

One of the scariest things I've ever reported now. The US Dept. of Health and the CDC have written to state governors, asking them to expedite applications which will enable vaccine distribution centres to be up and running by November 1st, even if it means waiving usual requirements. They say they:
"...are rapidly making preparations to implement large-scale distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the fall of 2020. This vaccine distribution programme is expected to be a public health effort of significant scale, potentially involving hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to be distributed across the US."
The election is on November 3rd. China have reportedly already vaccinated their army with their CanSino vaccine, and Russia have said they'll begin mass vaccinations with their Sputnik V vaccine in October.
Any leader who places an election outcome or willy-waving braggery over the safety of the population really has got their priorities wrong. Although we have every reason to suspect that any COVID-19 vaccine will be entirely harmless, we still need to properly test it before we release it on millions of people. No vaccine candidate will complete testing until very late in the year, or the beginning of next year - and that is testing which has already been expedited, and every possible corner cut. 

Famous People With COVID:
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and family. 

UK test centres in some areas with spikes in cases are overwhelmed, and the BBC are reporting that its leading to people being asked to travel 100 miles for a test. Not the best prospect, especially if you are actually feeling ill. Only handy if you need to check your eyesight. 

The US CDC have announced that evictions have been barred in the USA until the end of December. Residents applying to stay in their homes must have lost money due to COVID-19, have nowhere else to realistically go, and declare that they:
(a) received a stimulus check, or
(b) did not have to pay tax in 2019, or
(c) expect to earn 99k or less, or 198k if filing jointly.
Yes, you read that right. Not only does your average American have tons of space, they earn substantially more on average than we do in the UK - around 1 1/2 times as much. But they do mostly have to live with other Americans...

A poll of Americans this week shows 37% (over 1/3) believe their government has handled the COVID-19 response better than the Canadian government. Holy heck. A further 25% were unsure. For helpful reference, at the time of typing, the US has now lost 190,321 people (574 per million population), and Canada has lost 9,138 people (242 per million). Take that smile off your face UK citizen, we have officially lost 41,527 people (611 per million)...

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English parents WILL be subject to fines for school non-attendance, but additional absence reporting codes now exist to cover local authority, regional and national restrictions, including self-isolating and quarantining.  " parent will be penalised for following official public health advice for their child not to attend a given session, this new category of non-attendance will not count as an absence (authorised or unauthorised) for statistical purposes." I'm sure that'll help some people sleep easier... 

Iceland's mass testing is proving really useful and they have 2 really big, positive results out today in a not-yet peer-reviewed study. In total they tested 30,567 samples for antibodies. 4,222 were from quarantined people who had definitely been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 over the previous 4 months, 1,797 had recovered from a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, and 23,452 people not known to have been exposed.
They found that 91.1% of recovered patients showed antiviral antibodies (seropositive) against SARS-CoV-2 - they had not declined even 4 months after diagnosis. That means even at worst, a vaccine is likely to protect a community for 4 months. If you vaccinate everyone in an area at once, you will almost entirely wipe out the virus (there'll always be awkward cases which break the rules).
Levels of infection were pretty low, which we are finding everywhere. Herd immunity without a vaccine is a long way off:
"Of quarantined persons, 2.3% were seropositive; of those with unknown exposure, 0.3% were positive. We estimate that 0.9% of Icelanders were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and that the infection was fatal in 0.3%."
They concluded that 44% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Iceland had not been diagnosed using a COVID test, so even they didn't catch almost half of cases. Much more excitingly though, they estimate fatality rate in their population to be 0.3%, that's less than 1 in 300, it's really low and although every loss is a real person who leaves loved ones behind, it will be far better than previous estimates if it is universal. 

Some people. All real. 

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

USA 6,307,504 (+16,767) 190,362 (+398)

Brazil 4,007,502 (+6,080) 124,057 (+158)

India 3,926,791 (+77,823) 68,552 (+1,066)

Russia 1,009,995 (+4,995) 17,528 (+114)

Spain 488,513 (+8,959) 29,234 (+40)

Iran 380,746 (+1,994) 21,926 (+129)

UK 340,411 (+1,735) 41,527 (+13) 

Bangladesh 319,686 (+2,158) 4,383 (+32)

Saudi Arabia 318,319 (+833) 3,982 (+26) 

France 300,181 (+7,157) 30,686 

Pakistan 297,014 (+424) 6,328 (+10)

Turkey 274,943 (+1,642) 6,511 (+49)

Italy 272,912 (+1,397) 35,507 (+10)

Germany 248,180 (+789) 9,395 (+2)

Belgium 85,911 (+424) 9,898 (+1)

Sweden 84,729 (not reported) 5,832 (+5)

Netherlands 72,464 (+601) 6,235

Belarus 72,302 (+161) 696 (+5)

Poland 69,129 (+612) 2,092 (+14)

Portugal 59,051 (+418) 1,829 (+2) 



"The US will not join the WHO-linked global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, WaPo reports"

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