6,042,622 tests have been completed or dispatched so far.
290,143 people have tested positive overall in the UK.
172,116 tests undertaken and dispatched yesterday.
1,419 tested positive yesterday.
Authors note: Lockdown was first eased slightly two weeks ago today, and we have not seen an increase yet – so far so good.
We were informed in the press briefing that r is between 0.7 and 0.9 and under 1 in every region. New cases are being monitored by Bio-intelligence.
The ONS figures show:
Between 17th May and 30th May 2020, 53,000 people in the community (not including hospitals, care homes, hospices) had COVID-19. This is 0.1% of the population – 1 person in every thousand.
Between 26th April and 30th May 2020, there were 39,000 new infections every week in the community. This is 5-6,000 per day during this period.
The ONS estimates that 6.78% of the population has so far had COVID-19.
These figures show that numbers are lowering in new cases, and deaths, but they are not yet very low. It also shows that the vast majority of the population is not immune to the virus. This is why it is a dangerous period, and we need to be cautious.
James Gallagher, Health and Science correspondent for the BBC reports on an interesting piece of work. Genomics UK consortium (Cog-UK) has done a study showing that coronavirus was brought into the UK on 1,300 separate occasions. It also suggests that China, where the pandemic started, had a negligible impact on cases in the UK.
Authors note: Apart from the blatantly obvious generic impact that they failed to dampen the virus down, enabling it to spread worldwide and subsequently on to us!
The study analysed the genetic code of viral samples taken from more than 20,000 people infected with coronavirus in the UK. They combined this with data on international travel and claimed that the virus in the UK had 1,356 origins.
On each of these occasions, somebody brought the infection into the UK from abroad, and the virus spread.
Author’s note. The clamour to restrict entry at the borders fell on the government’s deaf ears at the time. What might have been.
Interestingly the much-reported football match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid on 11th March 2020 ‘probably’ had very little impact on bringing the virus into the country.
The UK suffered from many importations rather than a ‘patient zero,’ the study claims. It charts that 80% of the infections arrived in the UK between 28th February and 29th March 2020.
The percentage of infections and their origin arriving in the UK is as follows:
The study covers the period when the government was dithering whether to lockdown or not, eventually doing so on 23rd March 2020. Once lockdown got going, the virus was better suppressed.
On a similar theme, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has told the House of Commons select committee that if the lockdown had been introduced only a week earlier, the number of deaths would have been reduced ‘by at least half.’
You will remember Professor Ferguson as the man who resigned from SAGE as he was caught having his married ‘lady friend’ come visit during that very lockdown. He is still, of course, a much-revered expert on the subject.
A week earlier.
He told the House of Commons Science and Technology committee:
‘The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced.’
‘So, had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final toll by at least a half.’
He did go on to qualify this by saying he ‘wouldn’t second-guess’ the figures, but there would have been ‘many fewer deaths.’
Professor Ferguson played a leading part in this decision making when he was on SAGE, and he said that their actions were warranted by the information they had at the time.
Andrew Walker BBC World Economics correspondent has run an article suggesting that the UK is likely to be the hardest-hit by COVID-19.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests that Britain's economy is likely to slump by 11.5% in 2020, more than France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. The organisation, based in Paris, says that five years or more of income growth could be lost in many countries. In the most severe case, the global economy could shrink by 7.6% over this year.
However, in the second model, France and Spain suffer worse than the UK.
Authors note: It is obvious that the economy is going to take a huge hit. I have, however, never yet seen a financial model that has come anywhere close to being accurate. It is going to be tough, quite how tough, remains to be seen.
According to the NHS Confederation, which represents health and care leaders, coronavirus backlog and social distancing measures mean that patient waiting lists could rise to 10 million by Christmas 2020. The waiting list is currently an eye-watering high of 4.2 million. These lists will be the as-yet unrealised toll of the pandemic, which will lead to further deaths indirectly.
It seems likely that many NHS staff will go sick with PTSD and anxiety type illnesses, particularly if additional support networks are not put in place.
Face the facts.
The University of Cambridge and Greenwich propose that requiring everyone to wear a face mask in public, combined with intermittent lockdowns, would prevent a second wave of coronavirus. This would potentially give time for a vaccine to be produced. Dr Richard Stutt said,
‘Our analysis supports the immediate and universal adoption of facemasks by the public.’
In all modelling scenarios, researchers discovered that routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population kept COVID-19 r number below 1.0.
Professor John Colvin from the University of Greenwich said,
‘the message is clear, my mask protects you and your mask protects me.’
He called for the UK to go further than mandatory mask-wearing on public transport.
Author’s note. I couldn’t agree more. It is way too late but should be done immediately. I suspect the government is worried about enforcing such a decree, but if most people comply, it will serve the purpose.
A coping strategy?
It is interesting to see some of the reaction in America to coronavirus. I haven’t seen this bizarreness in the UK, yet. Of what do I speak? Denial.
There is a raft of people in the USA that do not believe COVID exists. Incredible, isn’t it? Some of these people are professional and educated. An example of this is a tweet I saw a couple of days ago, which showed an article from WHO warning of a ‘worsening’ global coronavirus crisis.
These were some of the responses to the tweet.
LOLOLOLOl! Sure it is.
When is this guys pants on fire? Waiting.
Not in the USA it isn’t. Frauds.
People aren’t falling for the lies.
Trace and Track yourself.
Anyway, you get the point. How strange is it?
America has the highest death rate from coronavirus on the planet, currently with 110,770 people having lost their lives.
Nearly 2,000,000 cases overall and 17,536 new cases yesterday alone.
It is one of the lessons I am learning at how suggestible and gullible people are. I’ve always known it, but it is the scale of which I was unaware. We tend to follow on from the USA trends so watch this space.
Today was Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament. Several covered the pandemic; here are the key bits:
PM says the government is being ‘extremely cautious’ on the re-opening of schools, and 97% of schools are now seeing children returning.
PM says in response to Kier Starmer's question about BAME, higher-risk groups –
‘high contact professions will get expanded and targeted testing now.’
PM says he will keep the 2-metre rule under review after a question from SNP’s Ian Blackford. The SNP MP says that there is a significant risk to shortening the distance according to scientific advice. The PM adds the statistical likelihood of being infected falls as the incidence of the disease reduces, no matter how far away you are from others.*
MP Peter Aldous asks if beer gardens could be able to operate from Monday along with zoos. (See briefing below). PM says he wants hospitality to open soon, but the government is sticking to 4th July 2020 and are compiling the guidance.
Kier Starmer reads through the death figures for the UK, highlighting that excess deaths are now above 63,000 and says, ‘there’s no pride in those figures, is there?’ PM replies by saying it is too early for international comparisons.
Conservative MP Jerome Mayhew asks what the UK strategy is to deal with China long term. The PM calls himself a ‘Sinophile,’ but adds there are serious concerns around the origin of COVID-19, and these concerns will be raised ‘loud and clear.’
*Authors note: Different countries have varying measurements as their social distancing rule:
5 pm Press Briefing – Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
It is the ‘A-team.’ The Prime Minister is accompanied by Professor Sir Patrick Valance Chief Scientific Advisor, and Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England.
The Prime Minister announces that schools are now not opening fully until September 2020 as the 2-metre distance cannot be reduced. It will be September at the earliest. They hope to bring news soon about summer catch-up sessions becoming available.
The PM also announces the following new measures for England only:
All shops can now open from Monday 15th June 2020, subject to being COVID safe.
Social contact – adults who live alone can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. This applies to single adults living alone only.
Zoos, wildlife parks, and drive-in cinemas can open from Monday 15th June 2020. This does not include reptile houses and confined indoor spaces.
Places of worship can open, but for individual prayer only, not gatherings.
The next change to lockdown provisions will be the 4th of July 2020 at the earliest.
A wave to winter.
Professor Chris Whitty was asked various questions from the media pack, should we have done this or that, and what-ifs. He said,
‘There are no comfortable options. We try to manage the risks to get a good outcome.’
Prof Whitty also said that in winter, the virus would have an advantage. People will be indoors. Pandemics come in waves around the world, so that too, is a concern; that a second wave emerges.
Had a headache. Probably from staring at my laptop and phone 18 hours a day.
The International Crime Writing Festival in Norwich, known as ‘Noirwich,’ due to take place in September, will now be done remotely due to coronavirus. I had an email today from Nottingham City of Literature, shortlisting me to be the ‘writer in residence’ for the Norwich conference.
I will know in July if I have been chosen.
(Author’s retrospective note- I wasn’t).
Quote of the day.
‘The world is a giant zoo, the trouble is, not all of the animals are civilised.’ – Anthony T. Hincks.
ONE YEAR LATER...
THURSDAY 10TH JUNE 2021
Facts and figures.
8,125 new cases.
1,058 patients in hospital with COVID-19 in the UK. (Up 7).
Not quite what it seems.
India has reported the highest ever number of daily deaths in the world since the pandemic began – 6,148 deaths.
In truth, the rise is due to the state of Bihar revising its figures from a total of 5,400 to more than 9,400. There is not a sudden upsurge from the hiatus India is going through currently.
It gives a false impression as I have seen various news channels merely running the figures on their banner without an explanation.
A waiting game.
At the end of April 2021, the hospital waiting list in England is the highest ever recorded. Over 5 million people are waiting for treatment to commence – 5,122,017 to be precise.
In May 2020, it was 3.83 million.
There is an increase of those waiting over a year for treatment by 35 times what it was just over a year ago. In April 2020, it was 11,000 people.
In April 2021, it was 385,490.
Author’s note. This is actually down from 436,127 the previous month.
Today Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to appear before the Science and Technology Committee in the Commons. This is the panel that Dominic Cummings appeared at and made his lengthy allegations, including that Matt Hancock had lied about care home patients being sent back from the hospital without a test.
There is a curious juxtaposition to Mr Hancock’s appearance.
On 1st June 2021, the committee wrote to Mr Cummings requesting he sends all evidence to support his allegations to the committee by the 4th June 2021.
Mr Cummings has not sent anything to the committee. This is to be expected by a strategist. As we all tell lies, shock, horror, periodically at least, and almost always when we are in the poo, it seems likely that there might be a kernel of truth at least somewhere in Mr Cummings accusations.
The biggest fear in the bosom of someone who has or at least thinks they could have told a lie is that it has been audio recorded. Mr Cummings will know this and so will ignore the request to send anything in to make Mr Hancock sweat.
Better to get Mr Hancock to lie about lying and let the panel go into all the details before producing anything telling.
This is just my view on such matters. Let’s see what happens. It could just be bluster and a way for Cummings to give some pain out. It is very rare for people to record things, and in such a situation could be illegal.
Scout’s motto in tatters.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has given his evidence.
Of course, he denies lying, and he gives an insightful account of what happened with an accent on the lack of preparedness, lack of data and the novel nature of the virus, which hampered their progress.
One of the most controversial claims by Mr Hancock is that we came close but never ran out of PPE on a national footing. Many point to various incidents where places ran out and alleged lying, but these are purported to be regional issues rather than national ones.
Mr Hancock also says he followed clinical advice on releasing care home patients from the hospital without a test because of a four-day lag in test versus result.
Because of a lack of preparedness, he had to compile a test and trace system from scratch in the middle of a pandemic.
Author's note.I have included a detailed account of this evidence in my closing pages because it gives insight into the government’s overall approach and answers some of the Why did we…? Or why did we not…? questions in the summing up.
Cornish Hotel staff looking Pasty.
As G7 leaders begin to arrive in Cornwall for the summit, the hotel being used for security and the media has had to shut down. There are 17 workers at the hotel and 13 of them have contracted COVID-19.
It is sod’s law. There have been only 45 cases of COVID-19 in the whole of Cornwall between 30th May and 5th June.
This has caused a big upheaval, with German security suggesting they may just buy a tent and sleep on the beach.
It is even trickier for the likes of CBS News, who had planned and set up to do live broadcasts from the hotel balcony.
I went to the council landfill tip in the wake of gardening activity, and it was noticeable that there were only one or two masks visible, and none of the staff were wearing them.
Neither was the Asda delivery man who delivered our shopping.
We had the Wright conference call because of Harry’s self-isolation. However, Harry did not come on. He had reset his phone apparently and missed the What’s app messages we sent. I caught up with him after, and he is good. Chris, Andy, and I shared some of the wedding photos and chatted about footy which starts tomorrow. EURO 2020, although it is 2021. Better late than never.
I watched a bit of CNN before sleep tapped me on the shoulder, and astonishingly, they covered a story about ‘professionals’ in America giving ‘evidence’ to a local health committee in the States about the ‘dangers’ of taking the COVID vaccines.
I am not making this up, but Dr Sherri Tenpenny said that she was aware that the vaccines were making people magnetic! She also knew of a vaccinated teacher, and a couple of children near her at school got nosebleeds. Another case was a woman who had the vaccination and went home to her husband who not been vaccinated, and he had a stroke! The implication that just being near a vaccinated person can do this. Dr ‘Ten a penny’ specialises in osteopathy and has published four anti-vaccination books.
Then a registered nurse had a go. She stood up and addressed the claim that the vaccine made you magnetic. She got a key out and pressed it into her sweaty chest, and sure enough, it stuck there. She then moved the key onto her neck, but with less success, as it kept falling off, and so after four of five goes, she gave up. At one stage, I thought she was going to balance a spoon on her nose.
This is the madness of it all. It is back to the Middle Ages. What next, a ducking stool? Would you have believed it before the pandemic started that people could be so manic? These are supposedly qualified people. I presume there is some motivating factor to sell their souls like this.
Quote of the day.
‘The essential element in personal magnetism is a consuming sincerity – an overwhelming faith in the importance of the work one has to do.’ -Bruce Barton.