Friday 23 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23rd October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 23rd October 2020.

The UK added 20,530 cases today and now has reported a total of 830,998 positive cases of COVID-19. 

England: 704,443 cases (last 7 days +101,605) 
Northern Ireland: 32,286 cases (last 7 days +7,223)
Scotland: 54,016 cases (last 7 days +8,296)
Wales: 40,253 cases (last 7 days +5,768)

7,706 people were in hospital on Wednesday 21st, with 707 using a ventilator yesterday, 22nd October. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 224 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 44,571 officially reported losses of life in all settings.
Up until Friday 9th October 58,164 people had COVID-19 written on their death certificate. 

Rep. Of Ireland 54,476 cases and 1,871 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 42,264,754 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,146,104. Already 31,327,050 people have recovered.

231020 losses of life by week UK with fortnightly doubling

"More than a month ago, nearly 5 weeks, the government scientists said that we need a short, sharp shock, a 14 day circuit break. We agreed with them. If we'd all stayed at home for just 2 weeks, we would have protected the NHS. We would have protected and saved the economy, and we would have saved lives, businesses and jobs. The government didn't accept that advice, they were under a lot of pressure to be fair, and they came up with their 3 Tier  system.... Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions are not stopping the spread of infection, and are causing pretty severe economic damage.... A 14 day lockdown would cut the R value probably to 0.7 and reduce cases by fourfold. But the government have decided to persist with their 3 Tiers. Let's hope that Tier 3 works, but I fear that we are going to have to wait until the epidemic surge reaches it's natural peak, and we are going to have to accept the consequences." 
Professor Anthony Costello, independent SAGE group. 

"We are at a critical juncture in the COVID19 pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere. The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track. 
Too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in COVID19 cases and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close or above capacity and we’re still only in October.
We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again.
As I said it in February and I’m repeating it today: this is not a drill."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation. 

The big story today is that the independent SAGE group this afternoon stressed we need urgent action to halt and reverse growth. They want a lockdown, and they've also published a blueprint to completely overhaul Test & Trace, to make that work. 
The data is mostly bad news, but growth may be slowing in some regions. Cases are currently doubling every 2 weeks, which gives an R of around 1.3. Test & Trace is performing very badly, and it's only got worse this week. 
Since Scotland introduced stronger restrictions in the central belt 2 weeks ago, it does look like it's having an effect. Northern Ireland's circuit breaker is too new to see a difference, and Wales go into a circuit breaker today. 
The ONS have said people in Tier 2 and 3 are reporting they're going out less. This may be slowing growth. Cases in the South are rising quite rapidly, don't get complacent. 
Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham show a slow in growth, and that is likely to be University students. We had a massive spike in cases, and that situation is now far better under control (the students have all spent 2 weeks in quarantine). 
Like cases, losses of life are doubling every 2 weeks. The next 2-3 weeks loss of life are already written, we can't stop them. We can however make a huge difference over what happens in December. 
Schools are being affected now. Younger children are testing positive in increasing numbers. 
"The Government urgently needs to halt and reverse growth, it's not enough to slow it."
"A 2 week circuit break now, followed by 4 more weeks of some restrictions, should dramatically reverse growth, allow time for schools to "reset", and allow time to rebuild Test & Trace and other infrastructure to prevent need for further circuit breaks in the future." 
They have published a blueprint to overhaul Test & Trace into Find, Test, Trace, Isolate & Support, and you can find more information on their website -  independentSAGE dot org. (Sources below).

231020 indie SAGE blueprint to overhaul FTTIs Test and Trace

Public asked why it's considered safe for 30 schoolchildren to sit in a classroom without masks, when it's apparently not safe for 7 children to meet up together on the park, or on a bus without masks. The answer is, it isn't. 
"If you were pursuing a herd immunity policy, you would send children back to schools without masks, and put them in confined spaces." 
Professor Anthony Costello. 

I totally missed the UK COVID briefing yesterday at 4pm with Boris, Rishi and Patrick. I actually had no Internet until 3pm, so I still felt like a winner for getting the post out. I did cover most salient points anyway - although I didn't talk about the fact national Test & Trace reached a whole new low -  just under 60% of contacts were reached, and only 1/3 of people got test results within 24 hours.
I honestly despair about the English and Welsh Test & Trace, and now that we have so many cases they don't stand a chance. They needed to be effective over the last 4 months, when they didn't have tens of thousands of people to call, and 300,000 people needing a test EVERY DAY. I want my money back because it has never been fit for purpose.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced financial packages to protect jobs in Scotland, and they're very similar to those we have in England. She has pointed out that the Sottish government have NOT been given any extra funding from central government as yet, and can't just borrow whatever they like, so cannot promise this will be indefinite. 

The ONS Infection Survey now covers the whole UK. 
Figures for the week ending 16th October show:
1 in 130 people in England were estimated to have coronavirus
1 in 180 people in Wales were estimated to have coronavirus
Figures for the fortnight ending 16th October show:
1 in 180 people in Scotland were estimated to have coronavirus
1 in 100 people in Northern Ireland were estimated to have coronavirus

The Canary Islands, Denmark, Maldives and Mykonos will be added to the UK Travel Corridor List at 4am 25 October. Liechtenstein will be removed from the list 4am 25 October.

During their firebreak lockdown Welsh supermarkets will only be able to sell essentials. It starts at 6pm today, and lasts until November 9th. Ministers have today confirmed there will be police checkpoints at the border - DO NOT TRY TO GO ON HOLIDAY TO WALES. It's closed. 

231020 Indie SAGE how a 2 week circuit break would work. Cases in the UK.

There have been mixed messages about Northern English hospitals and how many patients they have, and the HSJ have looked into the true situation. It's a brilliant (free to read) article, but it's not good news. 
Lancashire and South Cumbria hospitals,  and Liverpool University hospitals now have more COVID patients than at any other time. 
They have a sobering quote from a senior doctor in Greater Manchester: 
“It’s starting to look a mess. It’s not like last time because we had emptied out ready for the first wave (in April).
“The feel is different this time, like we’re furiously bailing the water out of a sinking ship waiting for disaster, whereas for the first wave it was all calm and prepared. We were watching Italy, then London, and getting our shop in order before things happened.”
Elective surgeries (non-urgent) are already being rearranged and postponed due to lack of capacity because of COVID patients.

Everest is closed. It reopened in August, but a single case has been discovered in the little town of Namche Bazar, where a lot of the sherpas live, and all tourism and flights to the area have been halted. Mass testing is going to take place - only about 1,500 people live there, so it shouldn't take too long. Bless em. 

Coronavirus cases in Poland have more than doubled in under 3 weeks, and they have over 10,000 patients in hospital, so yesterday they announced new measures which come into force tomorrow. The entire country will become a 'Red Zone'. There's a huge list of measures, including:
- from 8am to 4pm, children under 16 will have to be accompanied by an adult when outside
- people 70+ y.o. will be barred from moving outside of their home, except for work, shopping, medical or religious activity.
- gatherings of more than five people who do not reside in the same household are banned.
- restaurants, pubs and bars may provide take-aways and deliveries only
- no more than 50% of seats or 30% of space in public transport can be occupied.
- All education grade 4 (age 9-10) or over to be remote. 
Temporary hospitals are already underway, with the first at the National Stadium in Warsaw.  

90 wastewater plants in England and Wales are going to start testing our human waste for COVID. Various studies have found that before a spike in known cases, you can detect it in the poo. 
Like contact tracing, this is a really excellent use of time and helps to prioritise where to place mobile testing, or bring in extra restrictions,  HOWEVER, it works sososososo much better when you have fewer cases in the first place. It was actually suggested at the indieSAGE briefing earlier that this would be a great way to track asymptomatic infection in schools... 

231020 Indie SAGE impact on schools

BNO News have a COVID-19 reinfection tracker, which is keeping tabs on every case where it's been proven someone caught the disease a distinct second time. Because COVID can remain in the body for a long time, you need to be able to check the strains of COVID are different. There are thousands of people who believe they have had it twice, but only 24 known proven cases so far. 
The average interval between the 2 infections (first day of symptoms) is 74 days. Just over half reported more severe symptoms the second time. 

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved Remdesivir. This is the first fully approved COVID treatment in the US, and the one Donald Trump called a miracle 2 weeks ago (when he was off this planet on ALL the drugs at once). The massive World Health Organisation SOLIDARITY trials found no significant benefits, and other studies are mixed. The makers say in some instances it's not being used at the best time, but even so, nothing really sparkles. Unless you have unlimited budget, for now at least, there are better proven drugs to spend your money on. 

Spain became the first Western European country to report over 1m cases of COVID, with France up next. France reported a staggering 41,622 cases yesterday, and a 9pm to 6am curfew will come into force at midnight tonight. 

60 members of the Ukranian parliament either have, or have had, COVID. COVID loves MP's. It's all those meetings (and not wearing a mask because you're too hard for face coverings)... 

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine candidate has been scrutinised by researchers at Bristol University, who have looked into whether it's following the genetic instructions and behaving as it should. Good news - it is.  

Pop band The Flaming Lips have been performing gigs in bubbles (Zorb balls). The audience were also in their own bubbles. It'll be the only gig where no-one sits down this year I think! We need more thinking outside the box.... we can do this...  

231020 Estimated infection rates by age ONS Survey

People are being asked to volunteer for COVID studies, and a huge thank you to everyone who already has! You can volunteer for vaccine trials or studies on symptoms and Long COVID - Google 'NHS take part in coronavirus research' (or get the link below) and you should be able to find out more. Don't sign up to anything which isn't supported by the NHS. 

Marcus Rashford OBE, footballer and Demigod of Small People, asked the English government to extend free meals through holidays for our poorest and most vulnerable school children, they voted against. Undeterred, Marcus launched #nochildgoeshungry #endchildfoodpoverty
He had the backing of the Co-op by mid-morning, who offered 1,000 meal deal vouchers, and by mid-afternoon he had retweeted hundreds of English business, cafes, restaurants and councils (including Knowsley, Birmingham City, North Tyneside, Hackney etc) who have offered to help feed our kids next week. McDonald's have offered 1 million meals (and it's genuinely not all made of salt and fat these days). My eyes are leaking. People can be so brilliant. 

Don't forget to turn your clocks back on Sunday morning, I'd suggest to around July 2012. Have a good weekend, sorry about the weather... Stay Home, Play Games, Save The NHS. 

Some numbers. All were once a twinkle in their father's eye: 

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

USA 8,678,157 (+16,506) 228,620 (+239) 
India 7,810,114 (+50,474) 117,901 (+565)
Brazil 5,332,634 not yet reported today 155,962
Russia 1,480,646 (+17,340) 25,525 (+283)
Spain 1,110,372 (+19,851) 34,752 (+231) 
France 999,043 not yet reported today 34,210
UK 830,998 (+20,530) 44,571 (+224)
Italy 484,869 (+19,143) 37,059 (+91)
Germany 413,690 (+9,816) 10,074 (+30)
Bangladesh 396,413 (+1,586) 5,761 (+14)
Indonesia 381,910 (+4,369) 13,077 (+118)
Philippines 365,799 (+1,923) 6,915 (+132)
Ukraine 330,396 (+7,517) 6,164 (+121)
Pakistan 326,216 (+736) 6,715 (+13)
Israel 308,840 (+593) 2,329 (+10)
Netherlands 272,401 (+9,996) 6,964 (+45)
Belgium 270,132 (+16,746) 10,588 (+49)
Czechia 231,146 (+8,081) 1,941 (+96)
Poland 228,318 (+13,632) 4,172 (+153)
Canada 210,879 (+1,731) 9,883 (+21)
Romania 201,032 (+5,028) 6,245 (+82)

indie SAGE briefing

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