Tuesday 1 December 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 30th November / 1st December 2020.

 COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News update 30th November / 1st December 2020.

The UK added 13,430 cases today and now has reported a total of 1,643,086 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 214,835 tests yesterday. 

15,438 people were in hospital on Sunday 29th (down from 16,158 a week earlier), with 1,415 using a ventilator.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 603 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days. We now very sadly have a total of 59,051 officially reported losses of life in all settings.

Up until Friday 20th November, 69,752 people had COVID listed as a cause of death on their death certificate. 

Rep. Of Ireland 72,544 cases and 2,053 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.) 

There have now been a total of 63,903,886 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 1,480,308. Already 44,229,797 people have recovered.

Face coverings should cover your nose 2 people with incorrect and correctly worn masks

It is one year since the first known patient showed symptoms of COVID-19 in the Chinese Hubei provincial capital, Wuhan. 
I don't know exactly why that little news story caught my attention, but it did, and I kept my eye on it... 

"Last week saw the first decline in newly-reported COVID19 cases globally since September, due to a decrease in cases in Europe, thanks to the effectiveness of difficult but necessary measures put in place in recent weeks.
This is welcome news, but it must be interpreted with extreme caution. Gains can easily be lost, and there was still an increase in COVID19 cases in most other regions of the world, and an increase in death.
This is no time for complacency, especially with the holiday season approaching in many cultures & countries. We all want to be together with the people we love during festive periods. But being with family & friends is not worth putting them or yourself at risk.
We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with in the decisions we make.
The COVID19 pandemic will change the way we celebrate, but it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate."
Dr Tedros, Head of the World Health Organisation. 

The UK's Imperial College REACT study results are looking good. As hoped, the infection rate has dropped by 30% so far because of the lockdown.  (I mentioned this more in the England briefing post yesterday.)
Rapid testing for care home visitors elderly lady with relative

The ONS figures for England and Wales (N.I. and Scotland are not included):
"Using the most up-to-date data we have available, the number of deaths up to 20 November 2020 was 542,440, which is 62,615 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 20 November 2020, 63,852 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is 11.8% of all deaths in England and Wales."

Full time SCOTTISH NHS staff and adult social care workers will receive a one-off £500 payment from the Scottish Government as a "thank you" for their diligent work during the coronavirus pandemic (they will sadly be taxed on it). There will also be a “cash grant of £100 for every family with children in receipt of free school meals,” which will be paid before Christmas. English people can sit outside Dominic Cummings' house with an empty bowl and a pitiable expression. . 

From 6pm on Friday in WALES all bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants will have to close at 6pm, and they will not be allowed to serve alcohol. After 6pm they may operate takeaway only. 
Indoor entertainment venues, galleries and heritage sites (cinemas, ice rinks etc) will have to close.
Outdoor visitor attractions may remain open. 
All other restrictions remain the same. 
There will be a further announcement on travel when the English lockdown has ended. 

Moderna have released released a statement about their vaccine and it's all good news. 
"Primary efficacy analysis of the Phase 3 COVE study of mRNA-1273 involving 30,000 participants included 196 cases of COVID-19, of which 30 cases were severe. 
Vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 was 94.1%; vaccine efficacy against severe COVID-19 was 100%
mRNA-1273 continues to be generally well tolerated; no serious safety concerns identified to date."
There were 185 cases of COVID-19 in the placebo group, and only 11 cases in the vaccine group. No-one who received the vaccine became seriously ill with COVID, but 30 people who received the placebo did, and one of the volunteers lost their life. 
Moderna have now submitted the vaccine to the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the EU's European Medicines Agency for approval, and I imagine it will be submitted to the UK's MHRA board for approval here too asap. 

self employment coronavirus scheme apply from 30 nov

Robert Jenrick has been on the radio talking about what constitutes a 'substantial meal' in a pub. He ended up saying a Scotch Egg or Cornish Pastie count, as long as it's a sit down meal served on a plate. Bit of side salad, extra 2 quid, Bob's your uncle. 

From 10am today it is illegal not to wear a mask in Jersey if you are in an indoor public place. If necessary,  you can apply for an exemption card.  

Trump of the last 9 months:
The New York Times has interviewed a couple of dozen scientists and asked them what they see ahead. The verdict is unanimous and very sobering, America is going to have a pretty awful few months. "The long dark before the dawn."
Trump could have been a hero, and instead the loss of life to COVID by Spring is likely to be higher than 400,000 people. Many areas have temporary mortuaries and a healthcare system which is already stretched. The US regions now worst hit are the ones which voted heavily for Trump.
The people have followed his lead, and will likely continue to do as he says, but despite the fact it would save the lives of some of his own voters, it's doubtful he would ever back down, or admit Antony Fauci was right, and he'll probably never suggest masks are a good thing. 
“The next three months are going to be just horrible.”
Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health. 

It's pretty obvious that there was some mishandling of the initial Wuhan outbreak of COVID-19. CNN say they have leaked documents which show that on February 10th, when China said they had 2,478 new cases, in fact there were a total of 5,918. It says they were taking around 23 days to diagnose patients and testing was flawed. It's a pretty damning article. 
Disgraceful, how could this ever have happened? Surely they're embarrassed? 
But hang on.... 
Italy, The UK and the USA didn't have a surprise virus suddenly appear out of nowhere. They were warned. They had time to make tests, learn symptoms, timeframes. They had money, the healthcare infrastructure. But EVERY country with a big outbreak has massively under-reported cases - and most will tell you so themselves. ALL testing has been flawed until recently, and it rarely performs perfectly now. EVERY country thought they could handle it, control it, and almost all couldn't. EVERY single country will only know the true effect of COVID months down the line.
Ebola can kill up to 80% of people who catch it, and because of that, it'll never kill as many people as COVID. It's snarling and scary and we'll do everything in our power to stop it. COVID looks like a pussycat, we didn't believe it was so dangerous. Many people still don't. A healthy level of caution saves lives. 

Sri Lanka were among the countries who kept COVID well under control for the first few months, but sadly they aren't in such a great position now. 
Up until the end of October Sri Lanka had reported 10,424 cases and lost 19 people. A month later and they've now reported 24,255 (+268) cases and lost 118 people. The number of prison inmates with COVID has passed 1,000, and at least 2 have died. Prison rioting has ensued, leading to the deaths of at least 8 inmates. Panic does dreadful things to people. A healthy level of caution saves lives. 

Famous People With COVID:
Lewis Hamilton, Formula One driver (that's messed up the Bahrain Grand Prix)

Lost Their Fight:
Dave Prowse - 1970's Road safety hero (The Green Cross Code Man), Dark Lord of the Sith (Darth Vader) and West Country ambassador to the world.  

International Travel 5 day test to get out of quarantine

The Artificial Intelligence computer programme Deep Mind has worked out how to unravel proteins. 
Proteins are like incredibly complicated origami and Deep Mind has basically got the hang of understanding what shape paper you'll need to start with.
Believe it or not, this could be bigger news for the future of our health than anything else that has happened this year. The potential for things like vaccine development is massive. 

An important safety message from Kirsty, one of our readers: 
"If you take or decide to start taking a vitamin D supplement and also have a peanut allergy, please check the ingredients of the supplement. Peanut oil is commonly used in vitamin supplements and the majority of GPs, pharmacists or health food shop assistants will not know this and wouldn't know to advise people."

155 people were arrested in London at this week's COVID protests. I don't even understand what many of them seem to be protesting. Surely refusing to wear a face covering when you go shopping for a few months, for no reason other than you choose not to (legitimate reasons ALWAYS allowed), is going to feel pretty stupid when they look back. You have a chance you could be carrying a virus which could harm someone else, but you refuse to cover your mouth and nose in case. It's just a bit heartless isn't it? 

"A technical and clinical evaluation has confirmed OptiGene RT-LAMP tests to be accurate and sensitive enough to be used for COVID-19 testing, including for those without symptoms." 
Lord Bethell (he asked me for a link on Twitter a few months back. Good to know the UK Government get their information from reliable sources). 
Trials in Southampton show the LAMP tests seem to be able to pick up a minimum of at least 79% of positives (increasing to 99% with high viral load), with virtually no false positives - making them better than PRC tests were for the first few months. They will now be rolled out to more locations. These tests are cheap and can be used with saliva, making them very handy for testing children, or other people who aren't going to enjoy having a swab inserted 2ft into their nose. 

Taiwan is incredibly strict on COVID,  and has managed to keep infections to an incredibly low level. They have quarantines and checks for arrivals, and reported 24 imported cases yesterday. 2 from the U.S., 1 each from the UK and Philippines, and 20 from Indonesia. The Taiwanese government has announced that it will suspend border entry for Indonesian migrant workers for 2 weeks starting on Friday 4th December.

Singer Rita Ora held a birthday party for 30 mates in a London Restaurant, despite it being completely illegal. Apparently she's paying the £10,000 fine and she's apologised on Social Media. 
(One rule for those who can pay... )

Community testing in Tier 3 areas

Trump of the Yesterday:
Trump in response to a video of Trump supporters. Not conceded defeat yet then? Yes, clearly there were lots of people there, like British beaches and city centres on Friday nights this Summer.... but for every person who is in that video, there were hundreds of thousands more who weren't. 

Nature is reclaiming. Beavers have built the first dam on Exmoor in over 400 years. They're way better off with less of us messing things up for them... I don't know what you've found, but we've had our first hedgehog in over 10 years, and the squirrels are back. Less car miles really is good for the wildlife...

Great news for anyone who has spent the last 4 1/2 years preparing for an international sporting event. Tokyo have put the Olympic rings back up after a brush up and polish, and they'll stay there until after the '2021' Olympic Games. It's gonna happen... 

My thoughts tonight are with a 10 year old Bolton lad, staying with his neighbour because his parents have both been in intensive care since the end of last week. A HUGE thank you to anyone and everyone who takes on the caring responsibilities of a sick neighbour or friend. To everyone who feeds the cat, does the shopping or takes round a meal. To the teachers, work colleagues and employers who check up on those who are ill, and those very scared people left behind at home. You're all heroes, making a real difference to someone's life, and we couldn't do this without you. Thank you. 

Some numbers. Every one with hopes and fears very much like yours:

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

USA 13,959,058 (+34,681) 274,945 (+613)
India 9,484,506 (+21,252) 137,933 (+274)
Brazil 6,344,345 (+8,067) 173,229 (+64)
Russia 2,322,056 (+26,402) 40,464 (+569)
France 2,222,488 not yet reported today 52,731
Spain 1,664,945 not yet reported today 45,069
UK 1,643,086 (+13,430) 59,051 (+603)
Italy 1,620,901 (+19,350) 56,361 (+785)
Argentina 1,424,533 not yet reported today 38,730
Colombia 1,316,806 not yet reported today 36,766
Mexico 1,113,543 (+6,472) 105,940 (+285)
Germany 1,078,124 (+8,361) 17,113 (+251)
Poland 999,924 (+9,105) 17,599 (+449)
Iran 975,951 (+13,881) 48,628 (+382) 




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