Tuesday 3 November 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd / 3rd November 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 2nd / 3rd November 2020.

The UK added 20,018 cases today and now has reported a total of 1,073,882 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 207,817 tests yesterday.

11,458 people were in hospital on Sunday 1st November, with 1,075 using a ventilator yesterday, 2nd Nov. 

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 397 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 47,250 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 63,048 (+298) cases and 1,922 (+5) losses of life. 

There have now been a total of 47,658,516 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,215,762. Already 34,213,154 people have recovered

Two people with face coverings, one correct, one below the nose. Face coverings should cover your nose

"This is the moment when we have got to fix contact tracing. Only to be reaching 60% of people's known contacts is not good enough. He knows that, he doesn't try to defend that.... when you have 50,000 people being infected every single day, it is a massive logistical task. But if we are honest, we still had problems when it was a tenth of that number being infected every day. And this is the moment to recognise the uncomfortable truth, that this will be better done locally, and giving it to local authorities to take the ultimate responsibility. 
And while we are making these changes to the contact tracing regime, to have only 20% of people who are contacted and asked to self-isolate actually comply suggests only one answer, which is that we as the state should pay their wages for the period that they have been asked to isolate. It is expensive, but it is less expensive than them not complying with this very important direction to isolate."
You might want to sit down. That was, astoundingly, Jeremy 'my ambition is to denationalise the NHS' Hunt, addressing Matt Hancock in parliament's COVID-19 debate yesterday. 2020, the year anything can happen, and apparently will. 

The UK's terror threat level has been raised from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’, in light of the horrific attacks in and around religious buildings in France and Austria this week. 

On Monday evening the North West Ambulance Service was struggling and made this announcement:
"We've declared a major incident due to the high level of calls. For enquiries relating to this incident, please follow us here/our Facebook page. 
If your call is not life-threatening, you may be asked to seek an alternative source of care or make your way to hospital."
The alert was stood down within 3 hours. They reported 2,266 emergency calls in 8 hours, a 36% increase on last week, with approximately 15% COVID-related. 120 volunteer community first responders and staff responders signed on to help throughout the evening. Thank you to all of you who worked last night.  
It's almost more scary that only around 340 calls were COVID. How on Earth are they going to cope as that figure goes up over the next 2-3 weeks? NW Ambulance Service serves over 7 million people. 

031120 UK Guidance new national restrictions from 5th November

Liverpool has been chosen for a UK whole city testing programme. 2,000 military person will assist in a massive roll out of rapid COVID testing starting this Friday. 
This is a trial, which is expected to be just the first, and will use existing swab tests, plus the new rapid Lateral Flow tests, and LAMP testing in hospital for NHS staff. People will be offered testing whether they have symptoms or not, and will then be tested every 2 weeks or so. 
If successful it will be rolled out to the wider area, and then more UK locations.  
Whole population testing is the only way to catch the majority of asymptomatic cases, and has been incredibly successful in China, Hong Kong, Iceland and other countries who have controlled COVID substantially better than we have. English Test & Trace don't have the best track record. Let's hope they don't mess it up. 

Types of COVID tests:
Antigen Tests - do I have COVID right now?
- PCR Swab testing - the well-known swab in the throat and up the nose. Has to be sent to the lab. 
- Lateral Flow Tests - similar technology to pregnancy tests, with a reaction when it finds a specific substance. They usually use a dot of blood, but saliva tests are in trials. Very rapid results (15-20 minutes).
- LAMP Tests -  Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification. This rapidly increases visible DNA, to make it easier to read - it's a bit like the regular swab tests, but they heat and cool the sample to amplify it, which takes a lot longer. (Someone please tell me if I explained that really badly). It's a portable device, takes around 15-20 minutes, and has been trialling in hospitals for a while. 
Antibody Tests - did I have COVID before? Do I have antibodies to COVID right now? 
- IgG Antibody tests are blood tests that look for evidence of COVID antibodies, and have to be sent to a lab. 

031120 UK Guidance for lockdown from 5th November

Trump Jr Of The Day:
"Vote like your freedoms depend on it... because they do! This election is Freedom vs Marxism. Choose wisely and vote Trump."
Words there from the son of the leader of the country with the largest prison population in the world, and the highest per-capita incarceration rate.
Also, Marxism? Young Donald, mate, Joe Biden is barely left of centre. You want to get the Illustrated Das Kapital on order from your local library. You might like it... 

RyanAir boss Michael O'Leary confirmed on BBC Radio 4 that people in England who have a RyanAir flight booked between 5 November and 2 December, when leisure travel is banned, will not be refunded if the flight goes ahead (which it likely will). Their offer is that you can change the flight free of charge. 
RyanAir are expected to make a £180m loss. Air travel is going to struggle to survive for a while. I can't see international quarantines ending any time soon. 

Belgium is in a real mess and the health care system is expected to collapse in less than 10 days. 
The mandate that asymptomatic medical staff should continue to go to work on COVID wards, even if they test positive, is now national. 
Staff must not measure as shedding large amounts of virus, and wear specialist PPE, so as not to increase the viral load on the patients. Even so, it is a risk for ALL involved. 
Deutsche Welle (DW) has a very frank interview with Philippe Devos, the president of Belgium's association of medical unions, and an 'intensivist' in a critical care unit:
"The only other solution is not to admit a patient into the hospital. They are forced to choose between dying, or being treated by a "positive" doctor. All the patients are choosing not to die."

031120 Thank you from the NW Ambulance service

I promised someone I'd look into total ICU admissions in the UK. They paused monthly reporting back in April, so.... errr... yeah. No clear figures that I can find on the actual number of people in Critical Care right now, or how it compares to last year. 
- From 1st September until 28th October (excludes Scotland / paediatric), 2350 patients were admitted who were critically ill with confirmed COVID-19.
- 995 of those patients were admitted within the last 14 day period of the report (15th - 28th October). 
- For reference, although it's little help, in October 2019 (last year), there were 4,125 adult critical care beds available and 3,339 occupied, giving an 
occupancy rate of 80.9% (which was almost exactly the same as the previous month, and also October 2018). 

Famous People With COVID:
The UK's 2nd in line to the throne, Prince William - back in April. We weren't told, in case it caused national panic. Explains why most UK royal meet and greets seem to have included him since - he was probably assumed a little safer to be let out in public than most. 

"That is what the prime minister has stated he intends to do".
That's Chris Whitty, UK Chief Medical Officer, playing his Joker when asked earlier 'if the lockdown will have done enough to allow it to be lifted on December 2nd?'. 

The number of COVID patients in German ICUs has tripled in the space of two weeks, to more than 2000.

There are images of the Magna Carta being shared, and people are saying that displaying a copy in a shop, pub or soft play area window means it can legally open. Nice try peasants, but nope. 
The Magna Carta was written by hobnobs back in the day when you didn't count unless you were nobility, and most of it was retracted before the final edit. An actual Baron could try it, but commoners can't, and you have to give 40 days written notice to the Queen beforehand. I'm guessing it wouldn't go down too well... 

MAGA Event COVID 031120

Trump of the Future:
President Trump is planning a huge election night party tonight for around 400 people. Of course he is. This is how much he cares about the health of actual human beings who aren't him. 
He wanted his party at his hotel, but Washington DC has laws against gatherings of more than 50 people, so he's holding it at The White House, which is exempt because it's on Federal Property. The last superspreader event at the White House was 5 weeks ago, and much smaller, but still responsible for around 12 direct infections, and untold secondary cases. 

Ongoing research in the UK (not yet peer-reviewed) has looked at T cells (the trigger cells/template for antibodies) and found they are still active after 6 months. They studied 100 healthcare workers who weren't Ill enough to be hospitalised when they had COVID, and found that those who had some symptoms still had a stronger T cell reaction than those who had none. It's too early to tell if this means people are 'more immune', or less likely to be very ill with a reinfection, and we'll have to wait to see what the findings are beyond 6 months, but it does back up previous evidence and suggest most of us should have some internal help fighting a reinfection for at least 6 months. 

Lockdown Sceptics have studied the NHS data presented to the UK Government today and pointed out that it states "the health service was on course to exceed the currently available number of beds on November 23rd. Lockdown 2 starts on November 5th, therefore new infections acquired on or before November should continue to result in hospital admissions for a further ~14-16 days.... So even if lockdown 2.0 reduces transmission, it still won’t have an impact for between 14-16 days, i.e. November 18th–20th. By that date, it should be obvious whether the NHS is three-to-five days away from being overwhelmed."
It's true. The UK Government have cut it incredibly fine compared to the projections, so in an experiment I don't think many of us wanted to be part of (again), we will get a really good idea of just how accurate the projections are, or aren't. 
Personally I don't think projections take into account enough the fact that not everybody mixes with everybody. There isn't an unlimited pool to infect, I'll never meet most Cornish people, I don't even know half the people on my road, so it could take months to spread that far. Only Royalty, The Pope and megalomaniac world leaders have a line of different people waiting to shake their hand, most of us mix with the same group most of the time. In the face of increasing local infections, more people get jittery and avoid company, and sick people stay at home. Human instinct helps protect us from nasties. You would never infect an entire population, not without paying them specific visits.

Bookshop dot org has launched in the UK, and it's a fabulous thing. It's a bit like a cross between Etsy and Amazon for independent bookstores, and they get to keep their profits, while being part of a delivery network and online shopping centre. It should keep a lot of folk in business. Go...browse... speak to the booksellers - they know just what book you might like... 

Support Bubbles UK 011120

In case you missed it, Google 'whale saves train'. A Rotterdam train derailed yesterday, and rather than plummeting to it's doom, jumped the gap and landed on a gigantic statue of a whale. That driver should probably leave immediately and join the Rainbow Warrior crew - repay the favour... 

Exactly 100 years ago today was the Ocoee Massacre. An African American man named Moses Norman attempted to cast his perfectly legal vote in Ocoee, Florida, and was turned away by white people. He took legal advice and returned. The mob called in reinforcements, including the Ku Klux Klan, who went on a rampage. They killed dozens of African Americans, set fire to their houses and drove them out, preventing them voting - although by that time I imagine it was the last thing on their minds. 
Ocoee was caused by racism, but there are reports and videos of voters of all backgrounds being hindered across the USA, including blocking of bridges and highways, voters taking an inordinately long time to cast their own vote, and pepper-spraying of protest groups peacefully marching to polling booths. A fortified wall has been built around the White House ahead of the election, for the first time in history.
There should be some news by the time the UK gets up tomorrow morning. I hope that whatever the preliminary election results, and the eventual outcome, there is peace. 

Some numbers. All of them capable of an infectious grin: 

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

USA 9,594,713 (+27,170) 237,409 (+412)
India 8,310,573 (+43,659) 123,579 (+440)
Brazil 5,554,647 (+441) 160,282 (+10)
Russia 1,673,686 (+18,648) 28,828 (+355)
France 1,502,763 (+36,330) 37,435 (+ not yet published)
Spain 1,331,756 (+18,669) 36,495 (+238)
Argentina 1,183,131 not yet reported today 31,623
Colombia 1,093,256 not yet reported today 31,670
UK 1,053,864 not yet reported today 46,853
Mexico 933,155 (+3,763) 92,100 (+205)
Peru 906,545 not yet reported today 34,585
Italy 759,829 (+28,244) 39,412 (+353)
South Africa 727,595 not yet reported today 19,465
Iran 637,712 (+8,932) 36,160 (+422)
Germany 573,291 (+12,705) 10,852 (+118) 


"Prince William tested positive for COVID-19 in April, The Sun and the BBC report" https://twitter.com/i/events/1323072707760541697?s=09
Tests - 

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