Tuesday 20 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 19th / 20th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 19th / 20th October 2020.

The UK added 21,331 cases today and now has reported a total of 762,542 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 260,338 tests yesterday. 

6,431 people were in hospital, with 629 using a ventilator, on Sunday 18th October. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 241 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 43,967 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

According to ONS figures, up until Friday 8th October, 58,164 people had COVID-19 written on their death certificate. 

Cases / Losses of life (going by death certificate, 2 weeks in arrears):
England 647,025 / 50,309
Northern Ireland 28,953 / 913
Scotland 49,164 / 4,301
Wales 37,400 / 2,641

Rep. Of Ireland 52,256 (+1,263) cases and 1,865 (+13) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 40,874,258 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,126,263. Already 30,481,449 people have recovered.

Wear a face covering wash hands make space

“You cannot, in an epidemic, just take your own risk. Unfortunately, you’re taking a risk on behalf of everybody else.”
Chief Medical Officer of England, Professor Chris Whitty. 

“We can look to happier days, but these are going to be some tough months ahead."
Former head of the US FDA, Dr Scott Gottlieb. 

The UK had a coronavirus briefing with Boris Haircut, Jonathan Van-Tam, (Deputy Chief Medical Officer) and Stephen Powis (NHS England).
Greater Manchester was given until noon today to come to agreement over Tier 3 Restrictions, and the amount of money that would be given to support people unable to work, or the Government said they'd step in. They did not manage it by noon. Nor by 2pm.
"At 2pm, the Government walked away from negotiations"
Andy Burnham, Manchester Mayor (he had asked for £65m).
The press conference started with latest data on case rates per 100,000 population by local authority across England. It's grim.
Estimates of new infections by region are rising in all age groups except the young people, which are levelling off. It's obviously the older age groups who are at greater risk of succumbing to COVID, and these people do need protecting. Sadly though, hospital admissions show that they are rising rapidly among people around 75+.
They did show graphs for Greater Manchester specifically, and it was very black.
Boris said our measures aren't in vain, we have brought the infection rate down below it's natural level, to around 1.3 or 1.5 (erm....whoop?) instead of 3 or 4. (This does slow spread, but it's still spread...)

Greater Manchester will move to Tier 3 VERY HIGH ALERT AT MIDNIGHT THURSDAY.
- Pubs and bars will close unless serving main meals
- No household mixing indoors or out in most settings
- Travel into or out of the area is advised against.
- The Rule Of 6 must be adhered to.
- Additionally to base Tier 3 restrictions -  casinos, bingo halls, betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play must also close.
He talks about the Job Support Scheme and Universal Credit giving the lowest paid up to 80% of their regular wage (what about people on zero hour or 10 hour contracts?...). Greater Manchester will receive £22m in support (this is far less per head than has been given to Lancashire and Liverpool, which is what they are all arguing about). 

Public asked if the rules can be changed so that they can visit care homes. Boris burbled and then Jonathan Van Tam was overly-sincere. The answer is that it endangers everyone in the care home. It's not wise now.
Press asked why we don't have a national 'firebreak' lockdown. Jon and Steve both said it wasn't fair to do that nationally. Greater Manchester has more COVID patients than the entire South West of the country.
Press asked what difference arguing for 10 days will have made to Greater Manchester (well, the pubs in Bolton managed to open for a whole fortnight). Jon spoke about cases per 100k in age 60+, which have just about doubled. Steve talked about hospitalisations - which follow around 12+ days after people catch the virus. Greater Manchester had 330 patients with COVID 2 weeks ago, and 620 yesterday. At it's peak, on 18th April, Greater Manchester had 1,277 patients with COVID, so in 2 weeks we could be back at that level (and it's already too late to change that).
Jonathan seemed so demoralised. He needs a hug. "We can't afford just to let our elderly die. And we can't afford to let our NHS be completely consumed by COVID, so they can't do their usual work." 

"We are running now with the brakes partially on, and the R is 1.3-1.5 according to the latest estimates, so we can't take the brake off on this, and we may have to push on it a little bit harder."
Jonathan Van-Halen-Morrison. 

Press asked about the £22m being given to Manchester - he said this is half of what Liverpool has been offered, and not the £60m Boris was rumoured to have offered last night. 'So will local leaders be penalised i they aren't compliant?' Underneath that floppy exterior Boris is a hard-hearted soul. He clearly has ice inside. He didn't give a real answer. My guess is yes.
Press asked about contact tracing. All the lolz... *insert non-answers and misplaced credit here*

201020 cases by age group and local authority

WALES have announced a "firebreak" lockdown for 17 days, from 6pm Friday 23rd October until Monday 9th November. Much more sensible wording than a circuit breaker (which automatically goes off once the disaster has already occurred. Although technically, in England it probably is a circuit breaker...). 

- People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with
- Certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops must close (all inessential must close)
- Secondary schools will provide learning online only for the week after half-term, other than for children in years seven and eight. Primary schools and childcare settings will remain open.
- Face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
- Work from home if you can
- Uni students are asked not to travel between uni accommodation and home.
- Travel is limited to essential travel only, for example, for caring responsibilities or for work purposes where people cannot work from home.
- Travelling into Wales for a holiday is not one of the permitted reasons under the Regulations, nor is travelling out of Wales for a holiday, to any location. Contact your travel insurer. 

201020 Together we'll keep Wales safe

Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester) and Sir Richard Leese (Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Health Lead) released a statement late last night. It's pretty long, and basically raised these points
- they did want to work towards an agreement
- "Greater Manchester has been in Tier-2 style restrictions for almost three months, and that this has taken a toll on people and businesses here."
- They wanted "better protection for our lowest-paid residents".
- They are disappointed that the Government is using selective NHS statistics to cause worry.
“Greater Manchester’s ICU occupancy rate is not abnormal for this time of year and is comparable to the occupancy rate in October 2019. Also, providing information about individual hospitals does not reflect that our hospitals work as a system to manage demand."
“We are not complacent about the position in our hospitals and are monitoring the situation closely."

It seems possible Tier 3 lockdown restrictions could be announced for areas such as Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees and York if their situation doesn't suddenly improve.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced The Republic of Ireland will enter Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday night, and they're expected to last 6 weeks, until December 1st. "If we pull together over the next six weeks we will be able to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way.":
- Schools, childcare services and essential retailers will remain open.
- Non-essential retail (including hairdressers etc) will close
- Cafes, restaurants and pubs will be limited to takeaway only
- No visitors to people's homes or gardens
- Households can meet up outdoors with 1 other household
- No non-essential travel more than 5km from home - includes meeting up with 1 other household for exercise.
- Weddings will be allowed no more than 25 guests.
- Funerals limited to 10 people.
- Construction will remain open
- Pandemic Unemployment Payment is to be restored to €350 a week for people who had prior earnings of €400 a week or above (€300 for €300-€400 / €250 for €200-€300 / €203 below €200)
- Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will run until the end of January 2021, paying €203 to those earning between €151-€203 /€250 for €203 - €300 / €300 for €300 - €400 and the remainder of eligible workers €350

Covid rules UK 201020

Rapid testing has launched at Heathrow Airport, for travellers to Italy and Hong Kong at least. Many countries require a negative COVID test either for entry or to avoid a quarantine, and most still demand the usual PCR screening. The new Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test takes a sample of saliva, results are back within an hour, and it costs £80. 

Scott Gottlieb, former FDA Head has warned that he believes the USA is about to see a big explosion of cases. Numbers are creeping up nationwide, and as Winter approaches, more people will spend time indoors. We also have the holiday season heading towards us, when families get together, and travel increases. Without any clear guidance, and half the US population believing that COVID's not much of an issue now, we could be about to witness something pretty grim. Or it could all be fine. Rarely do you hope the science is all wrong... 

The HSJ are reporting that the UK police have been given access to data from the English and Welsh COVID Test & Trace teams.  Although they are doing this entirely legally,  it doesn't help trust. It should have been made clearer. 

It turns out the EU Commission did a massive billion dollar deal with Gilead, the makers of Remdesivir, on 8th October. The World Health Organisation say that they had given Gilead the Solidarity trial documents, which ruled out a big impact from Remdesivir on COVID19 mortality, on 28 September.
(I'd like to speak to the ethics committee please.... )

Even Sweden are beginning to impose ruling over guidance now. Cases are increasing more quickly, especially in the Uppsala region, where from today public transport should be essential journeys only (work / education / caring), and everyone should avoid social gathering. Work from home if you can, avoid meetings and journeys for work which are inessential. 

The English and Welsh COVID App has managed to find yet another brand new way to fail - they sent people in Sevenoaks, Kent, to a mobile testing centre which wasn't yet open. It was due to be ready, but didn't start operating until 2 days later because of "unforseen circumstances". Well done. 

Trump of the Day:
"People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots."
"Fauci's a nice guy, he's been here for 500 years. He's a disaster. This guy's.... if I listened to him, we'd have 500,000 deaths."
"Every time he goes on television, there's always a bomb. But there's a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci's a disaster."
Donald hasn't struggled to find other people to blame for his disastrous coronavirus response. He's blamed China, he's blamed Biden, and he's even blamed Obama. Now he's blaming Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and ex-public face of the White House coronavirus response task force.
Dr Fauci has been replaced as lead in the Coronavirus task force by a reputedly talented radiologist, Scott Atlas (who has already had a tweet deleted this week for Coronavirus disinformation). Fun times ahead... 

Dr Anthony Fauci has become the first person ever to be awarded the National Academy of Medicine's Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership. He commented:
"We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, and I can't help thinking that we're really going through a time that's disturbingly anti-science in certain segments of our society."
Oh yes indeed.... 

Greater together when we all keep our distance

Penn State College of Medicine researchers say certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses. NO, IT WILL NOT STOP YOU CATCHING COVID DONALD. PLEASE DO NOT DRINK MOUTH RINSE. It is however possible that it could reduce the amount of virus COVID-19 positive patients spread when talking, sneezing or coughing. There is no research on that yet though, so it's just a theory. 

China have started inoculating people with their vaccine, which is still in trials, but has performed well so far. It's still a risky move, but there are no shortage of takers. You should see the queues - massive. It costs around £80 per person. 

The UK are planning to start 'Human Challenge' vaccine trials within the next few months. This is a somewhat controversial method, whereby people are given a vaccine, and then scientists deliberately attempt to infect them with COVID. This is science, and you need a control group, so some people just get the COVID and a placebo:
"Using controlled doses of virus, the aim of the research team  will initially be to discover the smallest amount of virus it takes to cause COVID-19 infection in small groups of healthy young people, aged between 18 and 30, who are at the lowest risk of harm. Up to 90 volunteers, who are compensated for the time they spend in the study, could be involved at this stage."
It can be quicker than regular trials in assessing just how effective a vaccine is, although it can't exactly replicate ordinary random transmission.
The Human Challenge Programme is a big partnership between Imperial College London, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), hVIVO ( experts in viral human challenge models) and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

A bloke called Noah Lindquist on YouTube has re-recorded the Disney hit Be Our Guest from Beauty And The Beast, as 'Wear A Mask' and it's brilliant... 

Some people. They all look like numbers, but they are numbers with history, faces, and family: 

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

USA 8,469,801 (+13,148) 225,504 (+282)

India 7,644,979 (+50,243) 115,879 (+643)

Brazil 5,255,277 (+4,150) 154,327 (+101)

Russia 1,431,635 (+16,319) 24,635 (+269)

Spain 1,029,668 (+13,873) 34,210 (+218)

France 910,277 not yet reported today 33,623

UK 762,542 (+21,331) 43,967 (+241)

Italy 434,449 (+10,874) 36,705 (+89)

Germany 376,748 (+3,017) 9,922 (+23) 

Turkey 349,519 not yet reported today 9,371

Netherlands 244,391 (+8,165) 6,814 (+46)

Belgium 230,480 (+8,227) 10,443 (+30)

Canada 203,046 (+1,609) 9,792 (+14)

Poland 192,539 (+9,291) 3,721 (+107) 

Czechia 188,773 (+6,811) 1,600 (+87) 

Romania 186,254 (+3,400) 5,996 (+65)

Sweden 106,380 not yet reported today 5,922 (+6)

Portugal 103,736 (+1,876) 2,213 (+15)


Wear a mask Disney - https://youtu.be/ltjBT_TuUVA



Chris Whitty: https://t.co/mnnN4TcP5W




Chinese queue for vaccination. https://youtu.be/DAtJpCdcMww
























  1. Thanks for the update and the quirks. I really wish they'd ask you on tv instead of the ones they do xx

    1. I bet I'd do a terrible job - I'm not usually the one in front of camera :D


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