Friday 13 November 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update Friday 13th November 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update Friday 13th November 2020.

The UK added 27,301 cases today and now has reported a total of 1,317,496 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 379,995 tests yesterday. 

14,714 people were in hospital on Wednesday 11th, with 1,275 using a ventilator yesterday, 12th November.
In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 376 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 51,304 officially reported losses of life in all settings. 

Rep. Of Ireland 66,632 cases and 1,965 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 53,492,275 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,304,963. Already 37,392,847 people have recovered.

Disparities and predictors of COVID

Today's indieSAGE word of the day was "uncertain". 
UK cases are going down, but the trajectory isn't clear, it's a bit all over the place. It's hard to say whether the firebreak in Wales or the restrictions in Scotland will have had the desired effect, because cases haven't yet dropped dramatically, and areas which had a very low infection rate are creeping up. Areas with high infection rates definitely seem to have benefitted. 
UK hospitalisations have been going up steadily for such a long time, that we are now at around 2/3 of our peak levels, and some hospitals are beginning to approach capacity. Hospitalisations in England, and deaths in all of the UK, are still rising. 
They looked into the huge number of positive cases reported yesterday. They were almost all England, and tested on Monday 9th or Tuesday 10th. It takes around 5 days to show any symptoms on average, and a couple of extra days to get the test and results. You can see where this is going, can't you? We actually locked down in England on 5th November, but it was announced on 31st October. It could well be due to people's pre-lockdown socialising - or the return to school after half term? If it was socialising, phew, it's done. If it was schools, it will carry on. 
Cases in all age groups are going up on a steady slope, fastest in the over 80 age group. There's nothing to suggest schools are an issue. Places which had Tier 3 or greater restrictions do seem to have benefitted overall, but it was a very slow improvement and not consistent. Some places responded better than others.
The next 2 weeks will be crucial. We all want Christmas to be safe. For everyone. 
Public Health England (PHE) data shows that economically, the most deprived people are still the most likely to test positive for COVID, and ethnically, BAME people are most likely to test positive for COVID. People who live in multiple occupancy accommodation are most likely to test positive for COVID.
indieSAGE have published a report on the inequalities arising from COVID, and their recommendations to address this. It's likely that some of the poorest or lowest paid people will also be those who have now lost their jobs, may lose their home, get into debt, suffer long term mental health problems etc. They won't have access to private health care or counselling. The pandemic isn't a leveller, it's increasing the inequality. 

As stated above, the latest REACT study results from researchers at London's Imperial College show COVID infections spiked again at the end of October, having plateaued and even dropped a little in some areas during weeks beforehand.
"The main findings from the sixth REACT study show that between 16th October and 2nd November: 
Prevalence of infection was 1.3%, meaning 130 people per 10,000 were infected, up from 60 people per 10,000 in the previous report;
Regional prevalence of infection was highest in the North West (2.4%, up from 1.2%), Yorkshire and The Humber (2.3% up from 0.84%) and lowest in South East (0.69% up from 0.29%) and East of England (0.69% up from 0.30%);
Since the last REACT report in early October, the virus has been doubling every 24 days;
Prevalence increased across all age groups; and the epidemic has progressed from specific at-risk groups to a more generalised pattern of transmission."
Let's face it, we did know it was urgent that we locked down. 

It seems likely that Ireland will have a ban on inessential travel between counties up until the end of the year. Minimising travel between areas is a really effective way of slowing spread of COVID, and pretty much the best way to contain it. 

indie SAGE cases in the UK by area totals over time

There are questions over the accuracy of the Lateral Flow tests which the UK government is using. the Guardian report that some trials of Innova's lateral flow tests have found it to be between 58% and 79% accurate. Ooops. COVID is almost designed to trick testing. Virus levels have been shown time and again to go up and down at whim - that's why you must always remember to keep an eye on your friends and loved ones for a week if they seem better - they might not have beaten it yet.

Economists at Deutsche Bank have suggested that employees should pay a 5% tax for each day they work from home, to help rebuild the economy. The money saved by not commuting or buying lunch-on-the-go would supposedly offset the difference (but only if you were the sort of better paid commuter who does that anyway... and you don't have the heating on at home). Alternatively, they say employers who don't have staff permanently in offices could pay, and the money be used to offset lower paid workers who have to go out to work.  
A lot of companies I work with day in/day out have ALWAYS worked from home, and I'm not convinced many would survive an extra 5% tax. It seems an incomplete and somewhat flawed idea, which might penalise the online companies and self-employed workers who were less well off in the first place.

Trump of the Day:
He's back on Twitter after being very quiet for 2 or 3 days, but sadly he's mainly retweeting every single person who backs him against his latest enemy - Fox News. They dared to cut away from one-woman tongue-twister Kayleigh McEnany when she was saying how he'd won the election. Someone, at some point, is going to actually have to tell him he's lost. His hired yes=men are going to have to give a no. 

We've got so many COVID cases in England and Wales at the moment, that Test and Trace failed to reached around 124,000 close contacts of infected people between October 29th and November 4th. They've got no chance! When we get cases down to around 5k per day, they'll be in a far better position to actually succeed. 

The occupants of Downing Street and Boris' bezzies all seem to be having some sort of scrap. 
First the papers reported that Bojo's partner, Carrie, wasn't happy with Boris' new choice of aide, then the aide refuses the new job and resigns, now Dominic Cummings is Goings. 
Yep, after upsetting the ENTIRE NATION by being an arrogant lockdown-breaking COVID-spreading... person, and not getting fired, he said he was going to leave by the end of the year anyway. He said that was always his plan, and it was in his book. 
Then he walked out of Downing Street with a cardboard box full of novelty pen holders, and Gwyneth Paltrow's head, and he's gone. 
He previously said he drove 50 miles with his child in the back of the car because he wasn't sure if his eyesight was okay for driving. That made him either a liar or a psychopath, so I'm still a little unsure if he's trustworthy, but I don't think we'll be considerably worse off without him. Looks like a rat, smells like a rat, hopefully the ship isn't sinking. 

indie SAGE cases by nation up to 7th November

Data from NHS England shows that because of COVID (temporary pauses, repurposing, and staff off work isolating etc):
"Nearly 140,000 people have waited over a year for a routine operation or procedure in England. The figure for September published by NHS England was the highest since September 2008. The total waiting list is now 4.35 million."
Huw Pym, BBC Health Correspondent. 
In February1,600 people had waited more than a year already. A genuine sorry to all of you. 

Famous People With COVID:
Katya Jones - Strictly Come Dancing telly dancer. 
Alan Browne - Ireland Footballer (tested immediately after the international match against England)
Mohamed Salah - Liverpool Footballer

In the Sin Bin:
More than 130 Secret Service agents -  after either testing positive for Covid-19 or being exposed to the virus while guarding Donald Trump. Over 1/10th of the core staff. 
Nicola Adams - Professional Boxer and Strictly Come Dancing telly dancer partner to Katya Jones
Motsi Mabuse - Strictly Come Dancing telly judge, after having to make an urgent personal trip to Germany. 
My 12 year old - his classmate tested positive yesterday (get well soon!)

Lost Their Fight:
Peter Sutcliffe, HMP Frankland inmate and murderer of 13 innocent human beings, The Yorkshire Ripper. 

Volunteers who have had the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have reported feeling like they had a hangover, and some say it was worse after the second jab. None of the COVID vaccines appear to be very kind, I think we have to accept that when you are vaccinated, you should probably have the next day off to feel sorry for yourself. 

After their initial outbreak, China controlled COVID incredibly well, and it was because they came down super hard on it. The people were taught to fear COVID, and take it very seriously. Even now masks are mandatory indoors in many areas, and temperature checks are everywhere. In large towns and cities at least, almost everyone pays for goods using their phones, and Government tracking is an accepted feature of life. When someone tests positive, the Government can find out their movements, and who was anywhere near them. Those people are contacted and immediately have to quarantine. It's dystopian and not an idea we would be comfortable with in the West, but for a pandemic it works brilliantly. Word is that Chinese people all feel a sense of group effort, "we're in this together", and they really should be proud of those efforts. China has officially reported a total of 86,307 cases (although they don't usually record asymptomatic cases, so it may well be around 5 times this amount) and officially lost 4,634 people. 

indie SAGE Hospitalisation in the UK over the last 2 weeks

There's more to immunity than 'have you got any?'. Scientists have yet again made use of the MASSIVE UK Biobank, and found something else fascinating, and very helpful:
"Markers of inflammation (CRP), and white blood cell counts were measured between 8am and 7pm over a 4-year time period in 329,261 participants."
"At a population level, human immune parameters vary across season and
across time of day, independent of multiple confounding factors."
We have better immunity during the day, and during the Summer. 
It's not yet peer-reviewed, but it looks likely that night-time curfews might actually be a lot cleverer than we thought, and Winter disease spikes might just be something we'll always have to do our best to prepare for.

Luxury Cruise News:
It's back! And guess what? Yep. At least 5 passengers on first Caribbean cruise in months have tested positive for COVID-19. SeaDream 1 is the first cruise vessel to begin sailing in the Caribbean since March, and left Barbados on Saturday. All passengers had to test negative a few days before, and again on the day of departure. They were then tested again on Wednesday. All 53 passengers and 66 crew are isolating. Sorry guys... COVID loves cruises. 

Southampton-based 'Synairgen' have created a protein-based inhalant which can help the body to fight viral infections, and it looks really promising against COVID. A University of Southampton led trial (not yet peer-reviewed) of 98 people found that:
"Patients who received SNG001 had greater odds of improvement and recovered more rapidly from SARS-CoV-2 infection than patients who received placebo, providing a strong rationale for further trials."
"The odds of improvement on the OSCI scale were more than two-fold greater in the SNG001 group than in the placebo group on day 15 or 16 and more than three-fold greater on day 28."
The treatment, given via a nebuliser, has proven helpful in the past in patients with asthma and other respiratory viral infections. This trial was carried out with very ill patients. Sadly 3 people from the placebo group died, and none from the group who actually received SNG001. I think we will hear more from this treatment. 

indie SAGE Hospitalisation in the UK by area over the last 2 weeks

It's not going well in Sweden. Their herd immunity strategy has not prevented a second wave of cases. Sorry guys. 

German airline Lufthansa has started tests on screening passengers. Everyone on a Munich to Hamburg flight was tested (using the Lateral Flow tests) before they were allowed to board. Because of how the air is circulated, planes have actually always been a great place to catch viruses. They're using more stringent filtration since COVID broke out, and could now actually turn out to be safer than just sitting in a room for an hour - someone bring me some science!!  

Rishi Sunak has refused to rule out another 'Eat Out To Help Out' in December, which led to Lockdown 3 trending on Twitter. My personal favourite comment "Stop giving out spoilers for Lockdown 3, I haven't even finished the sequel to Lockdown 1 yet."

We WILL get there. Every time you felt sad you missed out, every second that you've not caught COVID, or you've stayed home when you're infectious, you've helped save lives and prevent more people from months of misery with Long COVID. Never forget that you are actually a hero. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone. It's my birthday tomorrow, so I'll be in my jamas all day - I hope there's a good cake! I won't be able to see most of my kids in person, but as we have the highest local infection rate of all of us, and an isolating 12 year old close contact, I'd rather they didn't visit. It's hard, but it'll be different when it's over, and we'll all appreciate it so much more. 

Keep Apart, Stay Well, Save The NHS. 

Some numbers. They all have parents: 

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

USA 10,918,789 (+44,853) 248,835 (+250)
India 8,761,499 (+33,599) 129,100 (+414)
Brazil 5,787,766 (+4,119) 164,514 (+182) 
France 1,922,504 (+23,794) 42,960 No report on today's losses yet
Russia 1,880,551 (+21,983) 32,443 (+411)
Spain 1,492,608 (+21,371) 40,769 (+308) 
UK 1,317,496 (+27,301) 51,304 (+376)
Argentina 1,284,519 not yet reported today 34,782
Colombia 1,174,012 not yet reported today 33,491
Italy 1,107,303 (+40,902) 44,139 (+550) 
Mexico 991,835 (+5,658) 97,056 (+626)
Peru 930,237 not yet reported today 35,067
Germany 765,961 (+16,323) 12,431 (+155)
South Africa 744,732 not yet reported today 20,076
Iran 738,322 (+11,737) 40,582 (+461)
Poland 665,547 (+24,051) 9,499 (+419) 


Links from yesterday - China. 

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