Friday 6 November 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th November 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 6th November 2020.

The UK added 23,287 cases today and now has reported a total of 1,146,484 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 344,045 tests yesterday. 

12,999 people were in hospital on 4th November (up from 10,708 a week earlier), with 1,181 using a ventilator yesterday, 5th November (up from 975 a week earlier).  

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 355 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 48,475 officially reported losses of life in all settings. Up until Friday 23rd October 60,051 people had COVID written on their death certificate. 

Cases / Losses of life with COVID on the death certificate up until latest report date: 
England 975,504 (+130,454 last 7 days) / 51,844
Northern Ireland 41,969 (+5,029 last 7 days) / 972
Scotland 70,732 (+7,838 last 7 days) / 4,482
Wales 58,279 (+9,016 last 7 days) / 2,753

Rep. Of Ireland 64,538 (+492) cases and 1,940 (+7) losses of life.

There have now been a total of 49,381,055 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,244,630. Already 35,160,021 people have recovered.

Domestic Violence advice from the World Health Organistion - get help, don't suffer

Today's indie SAGE briefing was a lot more positive than the last few - phew! There are some clear signs that growth is slowing. Case numbers are still growing, but the trajectory has turned over slightly and is looking a lot less steep. There are likely to be several reasons:
1. We just had half term, so less kids are likely to have mixed. 
2.Local measures were having a small effect, which wasn't really visible until enough time had elapsed. 
3. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are ahead of us in their restrictions, and cases are dropping there. .
4. The University situation has stabilised. 
5. Recent announcements may have helped change people's behaviour.
Hospital admissions are also beginning to slow, with some areas even levelling off. Still rising pretty rapidly in the midlands. 
Test & Trace have managed to get over 40% of results back within 24 hours - a huge improvement! Non-complex cases reached has also risen well, but contacts reached hasn't got any better. Still, on the way there...
He estimates that only around 5-10% of all contacts of positive people are isolating - mostly because rest don't don't know they should be, or aren't in a position to isolate. 
Mortality figures are not yet showing any signs of slowing, and are expected to be pretty horrific over the 2-4 weeks. He reminds us that every number represents a person who has lost their life. 
This is indie SAGE's 6 month anniversary, and although they only ever expected to exist for about 3 months, they'll keep going "as long as it is necessary". They ask the UK Government, "what is the end strategy?"
Sir David King, ex-head of real SAGE (Government Scientific Advisory Group) had a big presentation today.  
He told us that by the end of lockdown, hopefully we will be at around 5,000 new cases per day. He wants this to be our last lockdown, and in order to do that, we need an end strategy that we know will work. Quite simply indie SAGE feel that finding, testing, isolating and supporting positive people and their contacts within 24 hours is key. The maximum number of tests isn't as important as testing everyone you need to test, and getting them to isolate. It is a basic strategy to isolate the sick animals and separate them from the healthy population. Threatening someone with a £10,000 fine for not isolating, when they can't afford to isolate and still feed their children or keep their home, is pointless. SUPPORT is key, not threats. 
He says we need shoe leather, local members of test & trace teams walking around. Local people need to understand the importance of self-isolation. "If we don't achieve a much higher percentage, we are not going to see this epidemic come to an end."

indie SAGE also had a presentation on Universities, and the evidence is really clear - in Summer we knew full well that significant amounts of 'in-person' teaching would have a really negative effect in universities. We could see what happened in America, we could see all of the modelling, even the official SAGE briefings to Government said that learning should be remote when possible. 
They also say that students were assured they'd have some freedom of movement, but they're now not supposed to move back home until the end of term, which could cause massive December price hikes, and make it impossible for some (overseas especially) to even go home. 
Their mental health isn't being looked after. 
Job retention scheme extended until March 2021

Students living on Manchester University's Fallowfield campus found themselves fenced in without warning yesterday, and they weren't happy. They've removed the fence themselves. The gathered students then took the opportunity to protest the fact that they are locked down and remote learning from expensive accommodation, which they'd never have rented if they had not been assured it was the right thing to do. 
(I know, I know. I have now 4 Uni students of my own, so I am a little biased maybe.)
Manchester University has apologised and made it clear they hadn't considered that surprise fencing might just panic and upset some of these young people. They say it was to separate the pathways and make exits clear, and for attaching posters to during the national lockdown. I say it was fugly... oooh, it was awful. 

Denmark have brought in partial lockdowns in 7 areas, after discovering the mink with the weird strain of COVID (see yesterday). Scientists there say it looks like it could be less likely to respond to current antibodies and vaccines in development, and no country wants to feel responsible for that.
Bars, restaurants, public transport and all public indoor sports in seven North Jutland municipalities will be closed until 3rd December.

"Passengers arriving into the UK from Denmark from 4am on Friday 6 November 2020 (today) will need to self-isolate for 14 days by law before following domestic restrictions now in force."
Grant Shapps, UK Transport Minister,  in an amazingly quick response to the mink COVID. You can't fault that swift action, it's what we needed more of back in Spring. Nice one Grant. Keep it up. 

There's a fabulous piece in STAT News about the mink. As Carl Bergstrom, Evolutionary Biologist at the University of Washington points out, it's easy to turn it into a big story because: “This hits all the scary buttons."
It does, it's a relatively new virus, in animals and it can jump to people, and it can mutate. But hang on, that's nothing we didn't know already, we just have the rare opportunity to see it in action. Usually these things happen without us knowing about it until afterwards, if we ever find out about it at all. 
Over-riding scientific opinion seems to be 'use caution, but don't bother losing any sleep just yet'. On Thursday Denmark started uploading genetic sequences into databases, for scientists around the globe to study, so watch this space... 

031120 UK Guidance new national restrictions from 5th November childcare

Trump's Bezzie of the Day:
Trump supporter of the day is Steve Bannon, ex-White House Adviser. 
Poor Dr Anthony Fauci has dealt with all of those crazy light and disinfectant suggestions, he's been mocked and boo'ed, and all for just doing his job as a professional scientist. Now Steve Bannon has lost the plot and called for him to be beheaded if Trump wins the election. He's in good company, Mr Bannon also felt FBI director Christopher Wray deserved the same fate. 
 "I'd actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I'd put their heads on pikes, right, I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats, you either get with the programme or you're gone."
Yes, you read right. Mr Fauci's 'crime' appears to be answering questions honestly rather than just agreeing with the president. What is this, Game Of Thrones?  Mr Bannon now has a ban from Twitter and may be guilty of an actual crime. As he's currently on bail for fraud and money-laundering, that could prove particularly stupid. 

This year on Remembrance Sunday, Londoners are being asked to stay at home rather than head to the Cenotaph. The service will be broadcast on BBC One, Sky and ITV.

The Marine Conservation Society have held their annual week long Great British Clean of almost 100 beaches across Scotland. Upsettingly, they found disposable masks and gloves on 1/4 of the beaches volunteers worked on. This is being replicated worldwide. WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DISGUSTING??? Aside from the ecological terrorism, unsightliness, danger to animals etc, you are literally using the masks as a potential virus Hoover filter. What you do with it when you've finished is actually important.

Hopeful Science News!! Today the UK's RECOVERY Trial, the biggest trial of therapeutics for COVID, added Aspirin to the trial. COVID causes a significant amount of patients to have blood clots, and can cause strokes, cardiac arrest and other potentially life-threatening, and life-limiting, problems. Aspirin has anti-clotting properties and in theory it could be a useful, and incredibly cheap and accessible, tool. Fingers crossed it makes a clear difference because it will be available to EVERYONE - around the entire world.. 

Remembrance Day Service shows chruch and Cenotaph and requests people stay home

NOT Trump of the Day:
Any COVID news has been completely overwhelmed by the US election, so here's a tweet that made me laugh, courtesy of technicallyron:
"If Trump has to be forcibly ejected from the white house can we please request that he be thrown out of the window like Jazz in fresh prince only to land in a paddling pool of beans as a solitary sad trombone plays in the distance."
Here's my favourite headline, from CNN: 
"Trump complains that mail-in votes are being counted."
Here's the funniest tweet from Joe Biden, Trump's opponent:
"Democracy is sometimes messy, so sometimes it requires a little patience. 
But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that has been the envy of the world."
(Which world Joe? No-one except Americans understands it.)
A candidate needs 270 points to win, and here are the current scores (at time of typing... and for the last couple of days):
Biden 264
Trump 214 
Blink 182
Farenheit 451
Dolly Parton 925

Have a good weekend. Stay Home, Eat Cake. Save The NHS. 

Some numbers. They're all people, but I don't know all of their names: 

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

USA 9,946,388 (+26,751) 241,218 (+263)
India 8,456,280 (+45,246) 125,528 (+499)
Brazil 5,617,844 (+3,586) 161,871 (+92)
Russia 1,733,440 (+20,582) 29,887 (+378)
France 1,601,367 not yet reported today 39,037
Spain 1,365,895 not yet reported today 38,486
Argentina 1,217,028 not yet reported today 32,766
UK 1,146,484 (+23,287) 48,475 (+355)
Colombia 1,117,977 not yet reported today 32,209
Mexico 949,197 (+5,567) 93,772 (+544)
Peru 914,722 not yet reported today 34,730
Italy 862,681 (+37,809) 40,638 (+446) 
South Africa 732,414 not yet reported today 19,677
Iran 663,800 (+8,864) 37,409 (+424)
Germany 632,936 (+13,820) 11,284 (+94) 


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