Tuesday, 4 May 2021

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 3rd / 4th May 2021.

COVID-19 Coronavirus UK and World News Update 3rd / 4th May 2021.

The UK added 1,946 cases today and now has reported a total of 4,423,796 positive cases of COVID-19. We completed 1,069,724 tests yesterday.

The counter says 34,667,904 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine in the UK by midnight last night. 15,630,007 people had received 2 doses and are fully vaccinated.

In the 24 hours up until 5pm yesterday, we officially reported the loss of another 4 people who have tested positive to COVID-19 within 28 days, making a total of 127,543 losses of life in all settings.

Rep. Of Ireland 250,290 cases and 4,906 losses of life. (Not yet reported today.)

There have now been a total of 154,676,421 reported cases worldwide. The number of people who have lost their lives worldwide to COVID-19 is 3,233,394. Already 132,137,421 people have recovered.

World Heath Organisation 3 factors to help make a choice World Health Organisation

"More cases of COVID19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic.
India and Brazil account for more than half of last week’s COVID19 cases, but there are many other countries all over the world that face a very fragile situation."
DrTedros, head of WHO.

In the next step of the UK roadmap (no earlier than May 17th), restrictions on the numbers of mourners at funerals will be lifted.
The venue will still have to follow COVID safety guidelines, so won't be able to fill any indoor space to capacity, but many services will be able to accommodate more than 30 people, and obviously we have the outdoors.
I'm truly sorry to everyone for whom this has come too late. Please ensure you do take the time to properly mourn, and say goodbye. 


From today care home residents in England can play out. Now, we know what you folk are like, so no going wild.
Residents can leave their care home for walks and visits to private gardens, but they can only go indoors to use the toilet, and must be accompanied by either a member of staff or one of their 2 named visitors at all times.
If it is okay by the care home, then you can even have a something to eat at a cafe or other outdoor hospitality.
Be gentle if your care home staff are reluctant or very strict at first - they have had a hell of a time trying to protect our vulnerable people, understandably they still do not want to accidentally bring COVID into the residence. I don't think you do either.

The UK have now administered over 50m doses of COVID vaccines.

Remember to let fresh air in Jolly drawing of a man opening a window

No win for a group of publicans and club owners who attempted to get the UK Government to speed up reopening. The court ruled that it's just not wise to speed up anything.
The group did previously win cases to remove the stupid "with every drink buy a full meal you'll probably throw in the bin" rule, and to get rid of the 10pm curfew (which didn't help at all in the UK), so they generally have science on their side. Although recent SAGE reports have suggested that hospitality who follow the rules carefully pose a very small risk to the customer, it's really currently beyond scientists to say it's 'safe', so it's not something a judge can decide either. 

3 trial mass events have taken place in Liverpool. On Friday and Saturday it was club night at Bramley-Moore Dock warehouse, and on Sunday afternoon 5,000 people went to Liverpool's Sefton Park for a mini festival in a big top, headlined by The Blossoms.
Attendees had to take a supervised lateral flow rapid test beforehand, and are encouraged to take a send away PCR test the day after the event, and again 5 days later.
If we could get 100% negative back it would be awesome.
Even if we do find no-one caught COVID at any of these events, it isn't all easy sailing from here on in. Thousands of festivals and events have already been cancelled for this year. For many the risk of booking artists and spending months preparing is just too great, without government insurance in case they have to cancel after all. 

The EU have made an announcement about holidays:
"The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine. This could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process."
Basically, fully vaccinated, or travelling in from New Zealand, and it's looking hopeful.
They are concerned about variants, so will have a whole EU "‘emergency brake' mechanism" to bar entry at short notice if it is deemed necessary.
Remember that this is the EU - each country will make their own decisions. At current levels the UK comes in as at a fairly low level of infection. 

Boris said yesterday that for the UK reopening travel will be cautious. You'd really hope for nothing else. Never forget the Italy-returner's COVID scatterbomb after half term Feb 2020.
We'll be using a 'traffic light system' and Grant Shapps will reveal more this week. 

Pretty drawing of a lady wearing a face covering wash hands make space

Ofqual have finally come to decisions over exams (it's MAY!!!):
"Students who receive a teacher assessed grade this summer will be eligible to take GCSE, AS or A level exams in the same subject in autumn 2021."
"This also applies to those students who exam boards believe would have sat exams in summer 2021 had they not been cancelled."
Ofqual has also decided that:
- exam boards will have to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects and AS exams in biology, chemistry, further maths, maths and physics; exam boards will be able to offer AS exams in other subjects if they wish
- exams will be in their normal format, with no adaptations made
- grades will be determined by a student’s performance in an exam for all subjects, except for art and design qualifications
- AS and A level exams will be held in October, while GCSE exams will take place in November and December

The World Health Organisation won't say anything unless they are beyond any doubt it's true. They have huge responsibility worldwide, with billions of people relying on them for all of their health advice and guidance. It can make them seem very slow.
They have finally updated their information on how COVID travels through the air. We have had tons of data, and opinion changed a few times initially, but for a few months now it's been proven very clear - COVID IS airborne.
Not only is SARS-COV-2 virus able to travel in sneeze and spit, it is light enough to travel in microscopic particles that can waft about in drafts for ages before they land.
WHO's latest guidance has repercussions for indoor settings worldwide, although really most of us have clocked on to the whole "ventilation is great" thing already. It says:
"- Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range). A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 1 metre (long-range)."

Look after your mental health. There is ALWAYS someone to talk to

Sad news here, I almost didn't want to report this one, but that's not really me. Brazil has lost a huge amount of people to COVID. Lack of central Government support has meant a sustained outbreak has gone on for a really long time, and they have lost a total of 408,800 people. What is a massive and particular concern is that this includes at least 815 women who were pregnant. While 1 is too many, that is far too many, it shouldn't be the case, and (thank heavens) it's not what we are seeing elsewhere. For example the US has lost almost 600,000 people, and the CDC says 95 were pregnant.
Brazilian health leaders have advised the population not to try for a baby during the pandemic, anyone pregnant is given vaccination priority, and obviously research is underway to try and work out why this is happening. Brazil does have mainly the Brazilian variant of COVID, which could be to blame, but it could also be genetics, differences in behaviour or any number of other factors, including something in the water. Everything crossed here that they find it fast, and that they get their pregnant people vaccinated really quickly. 

Pfizer are in talks with the Indian government, to apply for rapid approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. The World Health Organisation, UK, USA, Japan etc have already okayed it's use, but the Indian Government haven't yet shown any interest in the Pfizer jab or getting it authorised. Currently Indian law states a small local trial needs to take place for any new medicine approval, Pfizer are hoping to bypass this step.
Ordinarily I'm all for safety, but when millions of people have just had this vaccine and the world is fair swimming with data, any extra small trial does seem a weeny bit redundant.

The UK government has sent another 1,000 ventilators to India. We bought or borrowed as many as we could get our hands on, and really shouldn't ever need them all. They are far better used to try and save lives than sitting in a store room.
"In a powerful demonstration of what Indian Prime Minister Modi has called the ‘living bridge’ between our countries, over the last week British people have come to the support of India in huge numbers. Businesses, civil society and the wider public have responded to appeals for help and launched funding drives.
This includes the British Asian Trust’s ‘Oxygen for India’ emergency appeal, which is raising funds for oxygen concentrators to be rapidly deployed to Indian hospitals. The BAT appeal, which has been personally backed by the Prince of Wales, has raised more than £1.5m in the last week.
Virgin Atlantic also flew 200 boxes of oxygen concentrators to Delhi on Saturday, after partnering with Khalsa Aid. Further cargo space will be given free of charge on 6 flights to India in the next week, in association with The Red Cross.
India has also provided support to the UK throughout the coronavirus pandemic. As the ‘pharmacy of the world’ the country has kept its borders open to supply the UK with vital medicine and PPE – exporting over 11 million face masks and 3 million packets of paracetamol over the course of 2020."
(Yeah, and the rest! Vaccines, Remdesivir, Dexamethasone... India have been very good to us, it's good to give something back.)

The situation in India does look to have levelled off slightly, bringing some hope that maybe they might be about to turn a corner. Yesterday the percentage of tests that came back positive dropped for the first time in over 3 weeks.
We all know now that even when cases begin to drop, hospitalisations take around 10 days to begin to reduce, losses of life will not follow until around 2 weeks after that, and the descent is far slower than the rise. The situation for people living in India, now mostly under some restrictions, will not get any better for a while yet.
Trainee Doctors and Nurses have had their exams cancelled so that they can be drafted in to help in hospitals, but oxygen supplies are still reportedly inconsistent and unreliable, the logistics of taking it where it's needed are proving incredibly difficult. 

COVID vaccine will always be free

Denmark and Malaysia are among the countries choosing to drop their AstraZeneca orders. This is actually very helpful to everyone else.
While India is in their own personal hell and not exporting vaccines, AstraZeneca, who were already waaay behind with orders, are not going to catch up.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are very marginally better performers judging by most data, but have a price tag of at least ten times the cost per patient, putting them beyond the reach of many countries. Johnson & Johnson is affordable, and single dose, but can't make billions a month.
Spreading it out as best we can will ultimately mean everyone is vaccinated more quickly. 

The UK and India have announced some big trade agreements in the last 24 hours. The UK is the 5th biggest economy in the world, and India is the 6th.
Included in the deals is a £240m investment by Serum Institute India (SII) for vaccine development and distribution.
The Serum Institute has already begun phase one UK trials for a single dose, fridge temperature, nasal COVID vaccine, (much like the flu vaccine kids get at school) in partnership with US/UK company Codagenix. 

On Friday WHO gave emergency use listing to the Moderna vaccine. That's the 4 - after AstraZeneca/Oxford, Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech.
It was announced yesterday that 500m doses of the Moderna vaccine have been purchased by the World Heath Organisation/GAVI for the COVAX vaccine sharing initiative.

It was also announced yesterday that Sweden have donated 1m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to COVAX. France, Norway and New Zealand have already donated doses that they had over-ordered or will not be using.

Prince Harry was on stage for the Global Citizen concert on Saturday,  adding his voice to the campaign to deliver vaccines to everyone around the world. Right now, that campaign has had a boost, and it's going well. Long may that continue.

We aren't safe until we're all safe.

Some people. They look like numbers here, but they are all people:

Countries / Cases / Losses of life (since midnight GMT. In larger countries some states /provinces have yet to report today):

USA 33,236,875 (+5,883) 591,622 (+108)

India 20,595,973 (+320,430) 225,295 (+2,912)

Brazil 14,791,434 not yet reported today 408,829

France 5,656,007 not yet reported today 105,130

Turkey 4,929,118 (+28,997) 41,527 (+336)

Russia 4,839,514 (+7,770) 111,535 (+337)

UK 4,423,796 (+1,946) 127,543 (+4)

Italy 4,059,821 (+9,116) 121,738 (+305)

Spain 3,540,430 not yet reported today 78,293

Germany 3,439,730 (+3,853) 84,143 (+123)

Poland 2,808,052 (+2,296) 68,133 (+28)

Iran 2,575,737 (+20,150) 73,219 (+344)

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Sources:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1389223405740822529?s=19

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/50-million-doses-of-covid-19-vaccine-administered-in-uk

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-sends-further-life-saving-support-to-india

https://twitter.com/10DowningStreet/status/1389195089604382721?s=19

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/limit-on-mourners-at-funerals-to-be-removed

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/no-safety-concern-with-our-covid-19-vaccine-pfizer-to-india-101620090054248.html

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-how-is-it-transmitted

https://twitter.com/BogochIsaac/status/1388893578965962756?s=19

https://twitter.com/i/events/1389329285127737348

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/50-million-doses-of-covid-19-vaccine-administered-in-uk

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1389226937156096000?s=19

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1389227687248637952

https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1389229307168534540

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines/advice

https://twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1389141396725043201?s=19

Brazil maternal losses of life:

https://twitter.com/i/events/1389329285127737348

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-56962231

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-56943652

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/sacha-lord-loses-legal-battle-20517641

https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/european-union-confirms-plan-to-reopen-continent-to-holiday-makers

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_2121

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/03/uk-likely-to-give-green-light-for-travel-to-fewer-than-10-eu-countries

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_2121

https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-india-announce-14-billion-investment-boost-step-closer-trade-deal-2021-05-03/

https://www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2021/01/11/Needle-free-COVID-19-vaccine-COVI-VAC-enters-Phase-1-trials

https://codagenix.com/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-confirms-autumn-assessment-arrangements

https://twitter.com/i/events/1389269881196060672



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