Saturday 31 October 2020

England COVID Briefing 31st October 2020

 "If we did not act now, then the chances of the NHS being overwhelmed wold be very, very high."
Chris Whitty. 

After the news that England are going into a month long national "lockdown" was leaked last night (and apparently it wasn't meant to be this time), Boris had little choice but to hold an England Coronavirus briefing. 

He was joined by England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance - (who both looked like the adrenaline is flowing, now they've had the gate opened and can say what they feel instead of biting their tongues).

Halloween Lanterns collage from my family

Obviously they started with evidence from Chris and Pat:
The weekly case rate and rate change slides are grim. The darker they are, the worse they are, and they're dark. Spread in people aged over 60 (who are far more likely to be seriously ill) is everywhere, and the charts for this age group are not light.
The ONS data shows that prevalence has been going up rapidly over the last few weeks (since school reopening), we have around 50k new cases per day and rising.
Measures are slowing growth, but really they are not flattening the curve. The NW seems to be making headway, but not quickly enough.
Cases are rising in all areas, including in people over 60.
Hospital admissions are going up in an accelerating line. Currently in the NW hospital admissions are almost at the peak we saw in Spring, in all other areas, it's rising rapidly. (As soon as you have big numbers, and are still doubling every 9 days, you get to massive numbers very quickly.)
If we do nothing, then by December we are looking at 3,000 hospital admissions a day (and these people don't all arrive and leave, they may be there for weeks). 

Boris says "No sensible Prime Minister can ignore these figures." I agree. He explains he doesn't want to close anything, and they hoped that local measures would be effective, but they weren't. He thanked people who have put up with restrictions for a long time (Thanks!). 

"We have to be humble in the face of nature." I TOTALLY agree. We are just animals on a rock. We will never be bigger than nature, but we can use our intelligence to fight back... 

He explains we DO NOT want to be in a position where Doctors and Nurses are forced to choose who will live, and who will die - and that isn't just COVID patients, it's everyone who ends up in hospital, for whatever reason. (This has happened in many places - Ecuador, Lombardy, New York - and it's truly horrific for anyone involved)...

Hospitals even in the South West will run out of capacity within the next few weeks. Even if we could double capacity overnight, which we can't, it would only last an extra 9 days. 

The lockdown will start from Thursday and last until December 2nd. 

- You must stay at home - except for essential reasons - education, work (if you cannot work from home), medical reasons, shopping for essentials, caring for vulnerable people or as a volunteer, exercise (with one other person only from outside your household), or to escape injury or harm.  

- All inessential retail, leisure and hospitality are to close, but take away, click & collect, and deliveries are allowed.  Essential shops will remain open. Please DON'T STOCKPILE - it's really not necessary. 

- Workplaces such as construction and manufacturing, where people can't work from home, should remain open. 

- Support bubbles for single adult households can carry on as they are

- Children can still move between homes when parents don't live together. 

- We are asking that those who are extremely clinically vulnerable should NOT go to work if they can't work from home. We aren't reinstating shielding as before, because we understand it was very hard

- But we ask the extremely clinically vulnerable and over 60's to use caution and limit contact with others. 

- Schools, Colleges and Universities will stay open

- You will be able to meet with 1 person outdoors from another household. (Excellent news for single adult households and people in relationships that aren't yet at the 'living together' stage). 

- No indoor household mixing is allowed, except for childcare (yeeeay, they're learning about what REAL people need!). 

- Travel is discouraged, except for work. Travel, overnight stays and international travel are not allowed except for work/business reasons or exceptional circumstances. .

- The furlough scheme will be extended until December, 

- The measures will be time-limited. Starting on Thursday 5th November, and ending on Wednesday 2nd December. 

- Christmas is going to be different, "but it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the UK to get together". 

- Senior clinicians still advise school is the best place for pupils to be. He thanks educators. 

- Unless your clinicians tell you otherwise, continue to use the NHS. Access services whenever possible. 

Parliament will debate these measures on Wednesday, and they will be enacted on Thursday. We stand ready to work with the devolved nations. Belgium, France, Germany, have taken very similar actions. 

He reminds us about rapid tests, treatments and other advances. The vaccine should be ready in Spring. 

"We will get through this, but we must act now to contain this Autumn surge."

"Stay At Home, Protect The NHS, and Save Lives."

When the lockdown ends, all English regions will move back into the Tier system, depending on the number of cases they have. 

Both Wales and Scotland have said they will be imposing travel restrictions.  

My support to all NHS and care staff who are currently worried about what is coming. Several people have messaged me in the last couple of days and said it's very different to last time, much less prepared, and more scary. You guys are our heroes, and I'm really sorry you are in this position. My best wishes, and my biggest thanks, to all of you. 

The photo is from my family Zoom Pumpkin Challenge... Happy Halloween... 


1 comment:

  1. Love the zoom pumpkin carving. This is what we need to adapt.


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