Thursday 29 October 2020

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

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

The UK added 23,065 cases today and now has reported a total of 965,340 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 308,763 tests yesterday. 

10,308 people were in hospital on Tuesday 27th, with 958 using a ventilator yesterday, 28th October . 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 280 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 45,955 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Up until Friday 16th October, 58,925 people had COVID written on their death certificate in the UK. 

Cases last 7 days / Cases all time
England - 127,172 / 818,759
Northern Ireland - 6,976 / 37,216
Scotland - 9,177 / 61,531
Wales - 7,573 / 47,834

Rep. Of Ireland 60,297 (+863) cases and 1,902 (+6)  losses of life.

There have now been a total of 45,073,955 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,183,175. Already 32,856,903 people have recovered.

291020 COVID cases and deaths by WHO region

"For the second consecutive week, Europe accounts for the greatest proportion of new cases, with over 1.3M new cases this past week – a 33% increase compared to the previous week – contributing nearly half of all new cases worldwide this week (46%)."
World Health Organisation weekly epidemiological update. 

"We must learn now, that the people who went to Eton can't run this country. They've had it,  they've tried to do it, and this little small group who all went to school in the same class, it doesn't work. So I feel we need some working class people that have lived a real life. People that are in touch with what's going on in reality..."
Round of applause for Danny Dyer there. The COVID-19 response has treated regular people as numbers in a machine. Go to work, eat out, shop, but don't see anyone you care about - for months on end. A real world recipe for failure. 

Boris has been warned that if he doesn't sort this out, he'll ruin Christmas. He's been warned by various people, including the Shadow Health Minister, and SAGE, his own Scientific Advisory Group. 
If he ruins Christmas it would place him in number 1 spot for the UK's biggest joy thief ever, narrowly pipping current leader, Oliver 'we'll not be having merrymaking on a Holy day' Cromwell. 

On 30th October (tomorrow) Nottinghamshire moves to Local COVID Alert Level 3: Very High
On 31 October (Friday) the following move to Local COVID Alert Level 2: High - Amber Valley, Bolsover, Charnwood, Derby City, Derbyshire Dales, Dudley, East Riding of Yorkshire, High Peak, Kingston-Upon-Hull, Luton, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Oxford City, South Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Telford and Wrekin
On 2nd November (Monday) the whole of West Yorkshire - including Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield - moves to Local COVID Alert Level 3: Very High.

Bristol is being placed into a set of special restrictions all on it's own. Rather than 'Tier 2 HIGH Alert', they're having 'Tier 1+', which is presumably 'A BIT HIGH ALERT':
- Tighter enforcement
- More local control over test and trace
- Targeted focus on working adults (aged 30 - 60)
- Introduction of COVID marshals to patrol the city

291020 covid cases by WHO region

The big news today is from the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) study from Imperial College. Although it's what we expected and follows the same line from last week, because of exponential growth, the numbers are getting very big. It's grim reading. 
PREVALENCE (How common is it, how many people have got it?)
- In random swab testing of  85,000 people in England between 16th and 25th October, 1.28% (863 people) tested positive, up from 0.6% testing positive in the previous period. 
- If you scale that random sampling up to the entire population,  it means we have roughly 96,000 new infections per day in England. 
- Prevalence of infection was highest in Yorkshire and The Humber - at 2.72%, up from 0.84% (1 in every 37 people has COVID.), and The North West at 2.27%, up from 1.21%
- Prevalence was lowest in East of England at 0.55%, up from 0.29%. 
- Clustering of cases was more prevalent in Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool and West Yorkshire, West Midlands and East Midlands.
- Nationally, prevalence increased across all age groups with the greatest increase in those aged 55-64 at 1.20%, up 3-fold from 0.37% in the previous period. 
- In those aged over 65, prevalence was 0.81% up 2-fold from 0.35% in the previous period.
- Prevalence remained highest in 18 to 24-year olds at 2.25%.
R RATES (reproductive rate - how many people does each infected person pass it on to?) 
-  With a doubling time of 9 days England has a national reproduction number (R) estimated at 1.56 (compared to 1.16  in the previous period). 
- Although London (1in 112/0.89%) and the South have lower prevalence for now, the R rate there is really high, so cases are rising quickly.
- Interim estimates of R were above 2 in the South East, East of England, London and South West.
- In good news - the R rate in the North East has apparently fallen from 1.07 to 0.57. This could be Uni students, or simply a miracle, it's too early to tell.
These numbers will continue to rise, and in 9 days time are likely to be around double what they are now, and most of that is already written. Our behaviour today will change what will happen after that though. We could well have over 350k infections a day by mid-November unless we act decisively NOW. Imperial College conclude:
"The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage. Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below one if further hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 are to be avoided."

Latest UK school attendance figures show the number of kids in school is still dropping relatively slowly, but very steadily:
"We estimate 557,000 pupils (6-7%) in state-funded schools, excluding schools on half term, did not attend school for COVID-19 related reasons on Thursday 22 October. This includes:
10,000 (0.1%) pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus
33,000 (0.4%) pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus
up to 459,000 (4.8 - 6.0%) pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus  
55,000 (0.7%) pupils in schools closed for COVID-19 related reasons."

Manchester's Nightingale Hospital has reopened. Any hospitals wishing to transfer patients have to arrange their own staff. It won't be used for people who have COVID, instead it will be used for recovering patients who aren't yet ready to go home. Patients are due to start arriving around now. 

What are Support Bubbles England

We know Vitamin D is important for a good immune response,  and just how important it is regarding COVID is still a bit of a mystery. Researchers in Toronto have looked at 216 hospitalised covid patients compared to standard population and found that:
"25OHD (vitamin D) levels are lower in hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared to population-based controls and these patients had a higher prevalence of deficiency. We did not find any relationship between vitamin D concentrations or vitamin deficiency and the severity of the disease."
In fact, despite the newspaper headlines:
"Vitamin D deficiency was found in 82.2% of COVID-19 cases and 47.2% of population-based controls."
So almost 5/10 of the population who weren't hospitalised with COVID-19 were deficient anyway, and over 8/10 who were hospitalised. 
Having a decent level of Vitamin D may help keep you out of hospital,  but it doesn't seem to affect how ill you are once you get to that stage. Grab some free D when you can. 20 minutes in the sun each day should top most people up. If you have been recommended supplements, especially over Winter, take them. If you're a redhead, congratulations, you can make some of your own. 

The USA have lost almost exactly the same number of people to COVID, as Canada have had total cases. 

France is back under tough lockdown from Friday until at least December 1st. Ouch - but Prime Minister Mr Emmanuel Macron clearly is intending to have a good Christmas.  
All inessential shops are shut. Hospitality is shut. Work from home whenever possible. Schools and childcare remain open. 
Citizens are only allowed to leave their house for essential reasons, including work, education,  health and 1 hour of exercise. Travel between areas is barred. 
Measures will start to be eased once cases drop below 5,000 a day. 
Best of luck to you all. 

Germany will impose harsher restrictions from November 2nd. It's been dubbed 'Lockdown Lite':
Restaurants and bars will close, except for take-away
Large events will be cancelled
Unnecessary travel strongly discouraged 
No hotel stays for tourism
Work from home if you can
Public gathering limit two households/ 10 people.
Entertainment and recreation closed
These are similar to England's Tier 3, which don't seem to have had much effect here (case in point - Bolton). Best of luck. 

WHO New normal COVID is waiting for complacency

Christmas must be coming. People have started searching for 'Mariah Carey. All I Want For Christmas Is You' on Google. 

Trump of the Yesterday:
Donald's campaign website was hacked. Boo to hackers. You may wonder what this has to do with COVID-19? Well, they placed a message on the main page saying that the "world has had enough of the fake news spread daily by President Donald J. Trump"...

If you get a call from 'Amazon' telling you that it's renewing, and if you want to speak to an advisor "Press 1", or if you get a call from 'HMRC' saying you must speak to someone or you'll be arrested, please "Press 1", DON'T PRESS 1. They're scams. Scammers know we're all feeling tired and a bit slow, and they're taking advantage of it. If something doesn't seem true, or is unexpected, you can hang up, find the correct number and ring them yourself to check if it's legit. 

"The countries reporting the highest number of cases in the past week remain the same as the previous 3 weeks: India, the US, France, Brazil and the UK."  
This week's WHO report really isn't a fun read. Europe, especially Western Europe, is having a nightmare, but cases are also rising swiftly in the Americas, Eastern-Mediterranean and Africa.
"For the second consecutive week, Europe accounts for the greatest proportion of new cases, with over 1.3M new cases this past week – a 33% increase compared to the previous week – contributing nearly half of all new cases worldwide this week (46%)."

Lost Their Fight:
Bobby Ball - UK actor and comedian, and partner to Tommy Cannon. 

Moderna's vaccine candidate appears to be well tolerated and elicits an immune response in adults of all ages, and today they have announced a deal with Japan to supply 50 million doses. 

UK Government wear a face covering

Meanwhile in Asia, the big news is that 3 people have tested positive after travelling via Taiwan to Thailand and Japan. Genuinely, this is big news. They're really annoyed and concerned by it. 
Back in England, my own local authority reported 1,000 COVID cases just last week. *weeps*

The lockdown in Melbourne, Australia has ended, after 111 days. They reported 2 cases and 2 losses of life on Wednesday, which finally saw the fortnightly average go below 3 cases a day. Bars, restaurants and inessential shopping has reopened. 
(3 cases a day! *dreams*) It must have been a hard slog for a lot of you, but at least it's over. Lets hope forever. Best of luck to you all.

Taiwan has recorded 200 days without a domestic case of COVID-19. They have only found it in people who have entered the country from abroad, and they have a quarantine in place for arrivals, to avoid spread throughout the community.  
Well done to you all. It really CAN be done.

We'll get there. Don't forget to get some sweets so you can pig out on Saturday. You earned it. 

Some people. They are all very much like you:

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

USA 9,155,219 (+34,468) 233,542 (+412)
India 8,071,963 (+33,198) 120,913 (+350)
Brazil 5,474,840 (+5,085)158,611 (+143)
Russia 1,581,693 (+17,717)27,301 (+366)
France 1,235,132 not yet reported today 35,785
Spain 1,194,681 not yet reported today 35,466
UK 965,340 (+23,065) 45,955 (+280)
Italy 616,595 (+26,831) 38,122 (+217)
Germany 494,465 (+14,844) 10,413 (+54)
Turkey 370,832 (+2,319)10,099 (+72)
Ukraine 370,417 (+7,342) 6,868 (+113)
Belgium 368,337 (+21,048) 11,170 (+132)
Netherlands 330,255 (+10,264) 7,258 (+56)
Poland 319,205 (+20,156) 5,149 (+301)
Czechia 303,984 (+6,971) 2,826 (+151)
Romania 229,040 (+6,481) 6,764 (+83)
Canada 227,550 (+1,964) 10,067 (+35)
Portugal 132,616 (+4,224) 2,428 (+33)
Sweden 121,167 not yet reported today 5,934
Japan 98,852 (+736) 1,733 (+3)
Thailand 3,763 (+4) 59
Taiwan 553 (+3) 7

"Trump campaign says it is working with authorities after website was temporarily compromised"
"Australia's second-largest city Melbourne emerges from 111-day lockdown"
"Taiwan records 200 days without a domestic COVID-19 case"

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