Tuesday 17 November 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th / 17th November 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 16th / 17th November 2020.

The UK added 20,051 cases today and now has reported a total of 1,410,732 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 234,189 tests yesterday. 

15,830 people were in hospital on Sunday 15th Nov, with 1,391 using a ventilator yesterday, 16th November. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 598 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 52,745 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 68,356 cases and 1,984 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 55,677,943 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,338,087. Already 38,820,414 people have recovered.

Summary of scenarios SPIMO Advice to SAGE

"COVID19 is your challenge. Your time to lead. Invest in health. Invest in health systems. Invest in health and care workers."
HRH Princess Muna al-Hussein of Jordan, in her keynote address to the World Health Assembly last week. 

"NEW: Bad news I’m afraid. Covid hospital admissions in London and NW rising again. Had been tracking down in both regions since start of month."
Alistair McKellen, Editor HSJ.

There was a UK briefing yesterday, and there was quite a bit in it, so I covered that in it's own post yesterday.  

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that from 6pm on Friday, 11 Scottish authorities will move to the highest Level 4 COVID-19 restrictions. That will affect around 2m people, over 1/3 of the Scottish population, and is due to be lifted on 11th December:
- Hospitality will close except for Take Away
- Non-essential retail and close contact services will close
- Socialising is not allowed inside homes
- Education remains open
- Groups of up to 6 people from 2 households can still meet up outdoors (children are not counted in the total for Scotland ONLY). 
The areas affected are: Glasgow, Renfrewshire, E. Renfrewshire, E. Dunbartonshire, W. Dunbartonshire, N. Lanarkshire, S. Lanarkshire, E. Ayrshire, S. Ayrshire, Stirling and W. Lothian.

Matt Hancock has said that the aim is to get rapid testing into every single UK care home before Christmas. 

The Government have just published advice they've received from the SPI-M-O (Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling - O) advisory group. "Possible scenarios for the coming months". None of them are "wow, that went well". 
They modelled 4 different possible scenarios for the next few months:
1. Low & Controlled - keep levels of COVID very low, with "robust action from the Government".
2. High & Controlled - allow COVID levels to be higher, but below the capacity for the NHS. 
3. High & Uncontrolled - almost let it run it's course, with some local restrictions when necessary to prevent overwhelming health services
4. Alternating - put restrictions on, take restrictions off. The infection would rise and fall in waves. Pretty much what we have done. 
They do NOT believe the UK is in a position to aim for Zero COVID, and make it clear this IS NOT GOVERNMENT POLICY, and has not has any input from the Treasury. They are also clear that Test & Trace will not be able to run efficiently with high levels of COVID. 
"The following scenarios are not plausible without a widely rolled out vaccine or effective pharmaceutical:
• Virus is eliminated from the UK or globally eradicated.
• The population is successfully segmented into higher and lower risk groups who are allowed to behave differently, building up herd immunity in younger age groups without causing high numbers of deaths and hospital admissions in older people.
• A managed epidemic, with little or no government interventions or behaviour change but little damage to the economy or health."

scotland some areas have changed

US based Moderna released their interim results and say their vaccine is an amazingly promising 94.5% effective. 
90 of the control group caught COVID, and only 4 in the vaccine group, none of whom were severely ill. Moderna's vaccine is a very similar type to the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, and both now have to release their safety data before they can begin the process of authorisation. 
Moderna's is a much more 'user-friendly' vaccine, which can safely be stored for up to six months in a normal freezer, and up to 30 days in a normal fridge, making it suitable for worldwide use and hard-to-reach communities. 
The US has a deal for 100m doses, and the EU have already committed to buying 80m doses, with an option for another 80m for member states. The UK are no longer part of the EU. We had committed to buying 6 different vaccine candidates if they prove successful, and yesterday added 5m doses of Moderna's to our list, making 7. 

A reminder from Dr Tedros of the World Health Organisation:
"A vaccine on its own will not end the #COVID19 pandemic. We will still need to continue:
-Testing, isolating & caring for cases 
-Tracing & quarantining contacts
-Engaging communities
-Encouraging individuals to be careful 

During June 2020 there were 24 reports of COVID by registered early years and childcare settings in the UK. In July there were 43. In August 94, and September 472. In October there were 1,785. 
It makes me nostalgic for the days when some people thought kids couldn't catch COVID... awwww... bless. If only... 

Scientists have studied the difference in seroprevalence (did you have it?) between slum and non-slum communities in Mumbai, India. They tested thousands of people for antibodies and found that "54·1% of samples in slums and 16·1% of those in non-slums tested positive". 
That is a HUGE discrepancy and shows just how hard it is for the poorest people in the world to avoid COVID. 
India has reported almost 9 million cases of COVID, with 1.75m in the Maharashtra region alone, and 130,000 people have lost their lives. The true totals are, as with many countries, likely to be far, far higher. 

The UK Government are just digging deeper holes concerning their random allocations of bazillions of English pounds to their mates and anyone else who looked a bit like a used car salesman. A jewellery designer based in Florida appears to have been paid £21m (twenty one million pounds) to organise some PPE orders. As we have seen plenty of NHS and care staff wearing bin bags and donated PPE, I feel pretty confident I could have got myself down to B&M for a tenth of that fee. Heck, I'd have splashed out on a taxi.  
The Good Law Project and others have already started legal proceedings. Pandemic or not, there is only so much money, and you do have to pay some attention to where it goes. 

Vaccines safety UK Government how it works

I've reported before that traces of COVID have been found in samples taken earlier than the reported outbreaks, and we have yet more evidence from Italian scientists, who have found antibodies in blood samples taken back in October 2019. It takes a couple of weeks to create antibodies,  so COVID was in Italy by September 2019. 
COVID could have originated anywhere - although it's definitely in some Chinese bats a few hundred miles from Wuhan. We know COVID has no problem crossing to mink, lemmings, rabbits, dogs, cats and all kinds of potential wildlife reservoirs. We have very little hope of ever tracking down patient zero, or even honestly being 100% certain which continent he came from.  

Trump of the Yesterday:
"Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95% effective. For those great “historians”, please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!"
Could your racism get any worse? I would love, love, LOVE someone to discover COVID began in Washington, or Trump Tower maybe. And what are you claiming credit for there?  Being in the White House, despite the fact you've already lost, while scientists somewhere else do something clever? Don't worry Donald, your name will DEFINITELY go down in history - you have just killed more of your citizens through your utter ineptitude than any other US leader. Well done, take a lollipop. 

The Italian regions covering Florence and Naples were put into Red Zones on Friday. The hospital infrastructure in the North is stronger, and seems historically better funded, with people often travelling for non-routine medical treatments, rather than stay in the Southern regions. They are struggling to cope. Videos are emerging online which show a grim picture of understaffed, overwhelmed wards and corridors of patients on trolleys.  
Italy's rate of new confirmed cases is currently at 650 per 100,000 people. They haven't imposed strong national measures, they're still attempting to work at a more regional level, and it's not been enough so far. They have reported over 90,000 new cases in the last 72 hours. 

Dr Anthony Fauci on CNN said that 'Trump hasn't attended a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting in 5 months'.
Well, it's science innit, same people who said climate change was real and you can't inject light, why would you bother?

COVID results are not instant LA Times

Not-yet peer-reviewed research from Cardiff University has found that Mouthwashes containing 0.07% of ingredient cetylpyridinium chloride shows 'promising signs’ of reducing COVID-19 in saliva IN A LAB. In fact, when they mimicked the conditions in a human nose and mouth, they found the virus was killed within 30 seconds. 
If an over-the-counter mouthwash can reduce the levels of COVID-19 in your saliva, it'll help stop you spitting it on people at the very least. On the downside, I think we're all aware that saliva is constantly replaced, so the effect may not be very long-lasting. 
It's very early days, hasn't yet been measured in real humans, and a 12-week clinical trial at the University Hospital of Wales is about to commence. Dentyl is the chosen mouthwash for the trial, but not the only one to contain the chemical. Best of luck with this one. I'm a big fan of anything cheap, easily accessible and helpful. 

Elon Musk complained that he had 2 negative COVID tests, and then 2 positive COVID tests, on the same day. This led to a Professor of Bioinformatics calling him 'Space Karen', and explaining that what you gain in speed, you currently lose in accuracy. Rapid tests can have quite a small window when most people will test positive - possibly just the 2 or 3 days when you are at your most infectious. 

A reminder here from German Scientist and Journalist Kai Kupferschmidt: 
"Hearing more and more people here in Germany say that current restrictions are necessary "so people can have a normal Christmas".
That is not really the point.
Current restrictions are necessary so people can be alive this Christmas.
Christmas will not be "normal".
I do think it's crucial to communicate this clearly:
No, Christmas will not be normal. 
But it looks like efficacious vaccines are coming very soon. This winter will be very difficult, but the next one won’t be."
I know that I have no chance of having all of my young adult children at my house for Christmas. But we'll do the best we can, we'll make some very different memories, we'll create stories for our Grandchildren, and we'll raise a toast to Tim Berners-Lee, who could have sold the World Wide Web to anyone, and instead gave it to everyone. 

Trump of the Day:
"European Countries are sadly getting clobbered by the China Virus. The Fake News does not like reporting this!"
Well, I don't think the real news enjoys reporting it either, you racist. 

Wash your hands keep washing your hands

Dr Gareth Cave, a nanotechnology expert at Nottingham Trent University, has invented a copper-lined face mask, with a fluid-repellent outer layer, which reduces inhalation of droplets and actively kills viruses. He says tests show it can kill up to 90% of coronavirus and flu virus. He is going into production this month and hopes to have them commercially available before Christmas for transport, food service and healthcare workers. Metals have some truly staggering properties - they aren't just about being shiny. 

"Member States at the resumed virtual, 73rd World Health Assembly, recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of the millions of health and care workers at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic, unanimously designated 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers (YHCW)."
I doubt we'll ever do enough to thank those people who put themselves at risk in order to keep us healthy. Heroes all of you - don't ever forget it. 

Some people. They look like numbers, but they're people:

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

USA 11,572,974 (+34,694) 253,034 (+382)
India 8,911,576 (+37,404) 130,988 (+429)
Brazil 5,881,032 (+4,292) 166,101 (+34)
France 1,991,233 not yet reported today 45,054
Russia 1,971,013 (+22,410) 33,931 (+442)
Spain 1,535,058 (+13,159) 41,688 (+435)
UK 1,390,681 not yet reported today 52,147
Argentina 1,318,384 not yet reported today 35,727
Italy 1,238,072 (+32,191) 46,464 (+731)
Colombia 1,205,217 not yet reported today 34,223
Mexico 1,009,396 (+2,874) 98,861 (+319)
Peru 938,268 not yet reported today 35,271
Germany 828,997 (+11,471) 13,148 (+257)
Iran 788,473 (+13,352) 42,461 (+482)
Poland 752,940 (+19,152) 10,848 (+357) 



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