Friday 30 October 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 30th October 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 30th October 2020.

The UK added 24,405 cases today and now has reported a total of 989,745 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 347,626 tests yesterday. 

10,708 people were in hospital on Wednesday 28th, with 975 using a ventilator yesterday, 29th October

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 274 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 46,229 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 60,297 cases and 1,90 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 45,697,577 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,190,665. Already 33,139,247 people have recovered.

301020 indie SAGE hospital admissions per 100,000 UK regions

Cyprus and Lithuania will be removed from the UK travel corridors (quarantine-exempt) list 4am, Sunday 1 November.

West Yorkshire will move from Local COVID Alert Level High to Very High at 00:01 on Monday 2 November 2020. 
This comprises Calderdale, City of Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

Today's indie SAGE report - "Mostly bad" is the summary. 
There does seem to be a slight slowing in England with the introduction of the Tier System, but it's not making enough of an impact. If you look at what's happened in Northern Ireland since they introduced their lockdown 2 weeks ago, you can see just how effective measures can be. Their curve is now an 'n'. Scotland appear to have flatlined. Wales had a massive increase in cases, even bigger than England, but the Welsh Firebreak Lockdown isn't yet a week old, so it's too early to see any effect from that. We should see an improvement by next week. 
Today's figures on infection rates from the ONS  match the figures yesterday from the REACT study. They also suggest a slight slowdown in growth, but still quite rapid growth, with a doubling time of around 2 weeks. This means that by mid-November, as has been predicted several times, England are still on target to have around 3,000 hospital admissions a day (they are currently around 1,500).
Because of the amount of time it takes to become ill, there is very little we can do about the number of cases we'll have for the next 2 weeks, and deaths for the next 4 weeks. Always remember that, because then when it happens, you don't become even more demoralised by it, or start to think it's pointless. Sadly their stories are already written. 
The poor scientist was really quite glum. She's spent weeks giving helpful advice, and seeing little of it actioned.
Focus today is on education. Cases ARE rising across all age groups, and they're rising more quickly the older children are. There's a clear distinction between University students and younger school / college pupils. University students have more cases by far. 
We are beginning to get data on what works best regarding restrictions. 
In the Netherlands they tried loose restrictions, then tightened them a little, similarly to England, but they have NOT brought the R below 1. (We should possibly heed this message.)
We can see from France that working regionally hasn't brought the R down enough. As long as there is growth, it will continue to spread, so now they've gone to national restrictions. They are now under pretty strict lockdown (see yesterday), but are keeping schools open. It will be useful to see what happens.  
Rep. of Ireland also tried regional restrictions, which again hasn't worked. They are now in a similar lockdown to France, with schools open. 
What can we do? We need to reduce cases rapidly. 
England have missed out on half term now, if you closed all inessential business, SAGE estimate you'd get the R down to 0.85 - which would require 3 weeks to halve cases. If you also close schools then it will bring the R down to around 0.6, which will halve cases roughly each week. 
They believe they need to aim to get cases below 5,000 cases a day, then Test & Trace could cope. 
The rest of the discussion was about their blueprint to fix Test & Trace, and questions from parents with children who have additional needs, so if that's you, you may find it of interest. It's 'indie SAGE' on You Tube. (link in sources)

3000920 school age cases UK by age Indie SAGE

The main points in today's WHO (World Health Organisation) briefing: 
- WHO is closely following the unfolding situation in Greece and Turkey after the earthquake today.  
- Over the past few months, I have heard first hand from people who face mid to long-term effects of COVID-19 infection. WHO will continue to do more research to establish best standards of care to accelerate recovery and prevent such complications.  
- The Emergency Committee on COVID-19 has just concluded a two day meeting where they discussed the way forward.  The take home message is that it’s important for governments and citizens to keep focused on breaking the chains of transmission.  
- WHO continues to work to establish the origins of the virus to prevent future outbreaks. Today, a group of international experts had their first virtual meeting with their Chinese counterparts.
- They are very serious about the effects of Long COVID, and research is ongoing to try and establish how long it might last, if it follows a pattern, who is more likely to be affected etc.   

Scientists from University of Warwick have worked out exactly how much "Eat Out To Help Out" helped COVID spread.  During the second week of the scheme, they believe 8 -17% of new clusters of cases were directly related. Cases also rose more sharply in areas where it was dry at lunchtimes and dinner time, and saw a decline the week after it finished. That's pretty damning, and really, is anyone surprised? Sure, a lot of places managed to avoid outbreaks, but it was half the care they took, and half pure luck. COVID is really, really catchy.  
The scheme was designed to help businesses struggling under COVID-19, and saw many places make a good profit for a month or so. A lot of them are closed now indefinitely though, aren't they. We are led by puppies. They can't see further than next week. 

Trump (Jr) of the Day:
"But I was like, well why are they talking about this? Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing. Because we've gotten control of this, we understand how it works, they have the therapeutics to be able to deal with this."
That's excellent news Mr Trump Jr. I'm delighted to hear it, and as your father says the same thing,  totally must be true. 
For reference the US reported 91,530 cases and lost another 1,047 nothings to COVID yesterday. 

301020 indie SAGE cases per 100k by UK nation

If you think the UK government are a bit...erm... 'confusing', by changing data regularly, adding 'historical cases' and basically not reporting on the same thing consistently, we are not alone! It's a common feature and makes interpreting any data over any period of time really tricky. Some countries don't even report at weekends, some report weekly, many have changed what they count as cases or deaths - remember the UK only used to report mortality for people who died in hospital after having a positive COVID test. That makes our current figures seem a little less bad. Still bad, but a little more honest, and a little less bad. 

Science Mag have a great article about Remdesivir, with a warning to the US FDA that they are losing credibility by making it the first drug to receive approval for use with COVID patients. 
Initial, small studies looked really promising, and Remdesivir seemed to reduce stay in hospital by around 4 days, but larger subsequent studies, including one in China and the World Health Organisation's massive SOLIDARITY trial, have found no significant reduction in time to recover, need for ventilation or mortality. When they applied for authorisation, the China and WHO studies weren't submitted as part of the request, so weren't considered, even though we all know about them. 
Remdesivir has to be repeatedly given, starting as early as possible, and therefore is potentially a big money-spinner. The maker, Gilead, signed a huge billion dollar deal with the European Union, and at the time the data from the SOLIDARITY trial wasn't public knowledge, but Gilead were aware of it. 
Tsk, tsk...shady... 

301020 PHE where are people going to catch COVID

Dr Anthony Fauci has reminded a Yahoo Finance meeting that initial vaccines won't necessarily be perfect:
“The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill.” 
Preventing symptoms is a primary endpoint.
Destroying the virus altogether is a secondary endpoint.
Smidgen disturbing to think more asymptomatic people could be wandering around, although hopefully not shedding live virus.... 

A Russian doctor has genuinely put his life on the line to prove a point. Dr. Alexander Chepurnov, 69, had COVID first in February. He wasn't really very ill, and after 3 months the antibodies could no longer be seen in his blood. He deliberately exposed himself to COVID patients, and exactly 6 months after the first infection, became ill again. 
The second time he was very ill - including developing double pneumonia by day 9 (a day 6 chest x-ray was clear). 
His conclusion is that herd immunity is a stupid idea, and we have to be careful about what sort of vaccine we use, because it will need to be repeated regularly. Some types of vaccine (adenoviral vector-based) risk us developing an immune reaction to the vaccine itself. 

301020 changes to local alert levels

6 months ago, the UK Government were just thinking about discussing face coverings, and scientists were still conflicted as to whether children could pass on COVID. Captain Colonel Sir Tom Moore OBE was celebrating his 100th birthday, and in The Philippines a 16 day old baby boy named Kobe became the youngest survivor of COVID. 

I'm off to have a remote family pumpkin carving challenge with (hopefully) all 6 of our kids via Zoom, from their various exotic University lodgings around England. Have an excellent weekend, think outside the box, do something different, and most of all, remember to have some fun! COVID is crap, it's very boring and it's easy to feel weighed down. We WILL get there, whatever plan our government have. Keep risk in perspective and don't let it fill your life, but take the measures you need to make yourself feel safe. We can all ask for space, wear a mask, stop touching our faces and wash our hands. Remember, every single moment you don't pass COVID on to anyone else, you are helping. WE can do this - all of us - together...

Have a good weekend, Eat Sweets, Scare Your Neighbours Through The Windows, Save The NHS. 

Some people. At age 6, they would all have eyes as big as saucers at the sight of a bag of Halloween sweets... 

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

USA 9,247,512 (+34,745) 234,614 (+437)
India 8,130,040 (+41,994) 121,599 (+468)
Brazil 5,499,875 (+3,473) 159,104 (+71) 
Russia 1,599,976 (+18,283) 27,656 (+355)
France 1,282,769 not yet reported today 36,020
Spain 1,264,517 (+25,595) 35,878 (+239) 
Argentina 1,143,800 not yet reported today 30,442
Colombia 1,053,122 not yet reported today 30,926
UK 989,745 (+24,405) 46,229 (+274)
Mexico 912,811 (+5,948) 90,773 (+464)
Peru 897,594 not yet reported today 34,362
South Africa 721,770 not yet reported today 19,164
Italy 647,674 (+31,084) 38,321 (+199)
Iran 604,952 (+8,011) 34,478 (+365)
Germany 513,744 (+15,391) 10,504 (+69)


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