In this week in 2020 - extraordinary things happened.
SUNDAY 4th OCTOBER 2020
Sunday 27th September 2020 – 4,044 new cases and 13 deaths.
Monday 28th September 2020 – 7,143 new cases. 71 deaths.
Tuesday 29th September 2020 – 7,108 new cases. 71 deaths.
Wednesday 30th September 2020 – 6,914 new cases. 59 deaths.
Thursday 1st October 2020 - 6,968 new cases. 66 deaths.
Friday 2nd October 2020 - *12,872 new cases. 49 deaths.
Saturday 3rd October 2020 - *22,961 new cases. 33 deaths.
Incredibly the government announce they have messed up again. You will see in the figures above the rather large leap in figures. The government has said that this is due to a technical problem and so 15,841 of those figures go back over a number of days. Worse than that the Track and Trace system has therefore overlooked those persons exposed to the virus who have been in contact with those testing positive.
It is a confusing picture with original figures not matching those published whether through time lapse or the actual technical issue itself. The assumption has to be that the true figure is the figure to look to which on average is 6,348.
What I can report is that the total persons testing positive so far in the UK is 502,978.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 the Prime Minister said, ‘All the people who had a positive test have now been notified and I think the data that we have is realistic, and again it’s very useful in helping us to identify you know where the incidence is and what we need to do to tackle it.’
Mr Johnson went on to say; ‘It is going to continue to be bumpy though to Christmas and it may be bumpy beyond.’
Cases in England, according to the ONS were down in the last week to the 24th of September 2020; 8,400 per day as opposed to 9,600 per day during the previous week.
Looking beyond those who have been tested the ONS estimates that 116,600 people had the disease in England compared to 103,600 the previous week.
The r number has again increased and is now estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.6. This is of concern and this rise needs to be stemmed. The highest areas are London and the North east amd Yorkshire.
On Thursday, after the briefing by the PM tougher restrictions were announced in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough:
It will be illegal for different households to meet in settings such as pubs and restaurants as well as at home. People also cannot attend amateur sports events as spectators, can only attend care homes in exceptional circumstances, adhere to guidance against all but essential travel.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘together we need to act’ as the number of cases in Liverpool is 268 per 100,000 population.
Andy Preston the Mayor of Middlesbrough said the measures were ‘unacceptable’ and that the measures will ‘kill viable jobs and damage mental health.’ In a dramatic response he went on to say, ‘I do not accept the government’s intended restrictions – they’re based on ignorance.’
It looks like with this leadership the numbers are not going down anytime soon. Let’s see shall we?
On Friday 2nd September news broke that there had been a huge outbreak at Northumbria University with 770 people testing positive for COVID-19. 78 are symptomatic.
Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Sabia have all been added to the quarantine list by the UK commencing 4am Saturday 3rd October 2020. Poland stands at 25.9 per 100,000 of population. Turkey is an interesting case as it is displaying an infection rate of only 12.9 per 100k which is nowhere near the 20 mark used as the general yardstick for imposing quarantine by the UK.
It transpires that Turkey has revealed it has been recording new cases in a different way to the rest of the international community. Last week Denmark, Slovakia and Iceland were added to the quarantine list. Italy must be getting pretty close with 20.4 per 100k with new cases.
We discover on Thursday an act of incredible stupidity by a MP who is member of the Scottish National Party – Margaret Ferrier admitted to travelling on public transport after testing positive for COVID 19. She said, ‘no excuse for my actions, I apologise unreservedly for breaching COVID 19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn’t have.’
On Saturday she experienced mild symptoms and requested a COVID19 test which she took that day. She then travelled by train to Westminster from Scotland. On the Monday she received a positive test result and travelled home by train on the Tuesday morning.
This is extremely irresponsible and now Test and Trace are trying to locate all the passengers and of course her contact with people throughout the House of Commons the heart of the British government.
The SNP has removed the whip and so she is no longer an SNP MP and so cannot be sacked by the party. There are calls for her to resign.
The police have been informed about the risk she has placed on the staff and MPS as well as the general public. The Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police are investigating.
Paradoxically Margaret Ferrier was among those vehemently clamouring for Dominic Cummings to be sacked when he drove in his car to a location whilst isolating.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS CONTRACTED COVID 19!
We awake here in the UK on Friday 2nd October 2020 to the news that the President of the United States Donald Trump has contracted COVID-19 along with his wife Melania the First Lady of the United States.
How has this happened?
The first indication of an issue happened when The President tweeted around 3 am Friday 2nd October 2020, UK time:
‘Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!’
Hope Charlotte Hicks is the 31-year-old advisor to President Trump and former White House communications director from August 2017 until March 2018. She has been working closely with the President and travelled with him to the Presidential debate two days ago.
At 5.54am UK (12 mn Washington time) time the President tweeted:
‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’
At 6.25am UK time the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump tweeted:
‘As far too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.’
At 7.00 am UK Time the President’s physician Sean P. Conley, DO, FACEP put out a statement:
‘I release the following information with the permission of President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
This evening I received confirmation that both President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.
The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.’
At 08.56 UK time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted:
‘My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.’
According to the White House Schedule for the President, ironically, he was due to host a phone call this morning with ‘COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.’
43,000 new cases occurred overnight throughout the United States; they are clearly still in the midst of a devastating pandemic.
The initial reaction to this shocking news scans across the spectrum from those on social media praying for him to die, to conspiracy theories to world leaders wishing him a speedy recovery.
There has been much made about the President’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the USA with hundreds of thousands of deaths and 7 million have had the virus. The President has been robust in his opinion of masks and demonstrating that he scarcely wears one. So much so that it has become a political issue with Trump supporters refusing to wear them versus Democrats supporting them. Recent criticism of his political rallies, although held outdoors, showed a lack of social distancing and the majority not wearing masks.
His main competitor for the Presidency Joe Biden will have to consider whether to suspend his campaign to allow equity if President Trump cannot campaign. The next Presidential debate is due on 15th October 2020, but of course, everything is now up in the air. Presidential candidate Joe Biden will now be tested after the debate on Tuesday may have brought him in close contact with the Trumps.
More important is the reality that President Trump is very much in the danger zone for someone with COVID-19. He is 6’3” tall and weighs 244 pounds giving him a body mass index of 30.5. He is 74 years old, and we know from the American CDC this means he is five times more likely to be hospitalised and in the USA 8 out of 10 people who have died because of the virus are over 65 years old.
On top of all of this he is on medication; Rosuvastatin to control cholesterol, Finasteride which is administered for an enlarged prostrate which is not uncommon for men of a certain age.
One senior cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said, ‘it is likely that Donald Trump has metabolic syndrome which puts him at the highest risk of death or hospital admission from the virus.’ He said, ‘the president faces a three old risk of death and five old risk of hospitalisation.’
On Friday President Trump was admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Centre by Presidential Helicopter; Marine One. The establishment is a military hospital geared out for the President to work from and to have the best care. The suggestion is that he is only having mild symptoms, but speculation is rife as information has been reluctantly and scarcely released.
After taking ill with COVID-19 his physician Dr Sean P. Conley has informed us that the President has been injected twice (up to Saturday) with an experimental 8g dose of a Regeneron cocktail of drugs containing various medication as well as Remdesivir. He has also been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.
On Saturday the President’s Physician Sean Conley gave a press conference outside Walter Reed, alongside around 8 other nurses and doctors treating the leader of the free world. which was a little evasive, notably around whether the President had been given oxygen. He did say that the president’s fever was now gone, but that it would be day 7 – 10 that indicates when the virus shows which way it is going to go with the patient. Day 7 which should be Thursday 8th October, next week. I say ‘should be’ because the Physician mentioned that it was 72 hours that the President had been infected, yet that would make it midday Wednesday not Thursday when it was announced by the White House. The media seem a little sceptical that they are being told the whole truth. CNN report that a White House source close to numerous reporters has said that the President’s vital signs over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical and that they wee still not on a clear path. A White House official later clarified that Saturday was day 3 not yet 72 hours rom the test.
Author’s note- having watched the Physician’s press conference and comments by others that he brought in, I did not feel wholly convinced. Hopefully, there is nothing to be concerned about.
The President and First Lady’s son Barron who is 14 years old has tested negative and has been put out of harm's way.
8 senior White House officials and Senators and 3 journalists have now tested positive with COVID-19. All of these people attended a White House gathering where the President announced the candidate for the Supreme Court, Amy Cony Barratt.
As Saturday progressed The President tweeted:
‘Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!’
Did President Trump personally tweet this? You decide.
Just when you think that things could not get more bizarre, as we eased into Sunday his Physician Sean Conley again spoke and this time confessed that the President had in fact been given Oxygen on two occasions, (despite initially denying this). He said the denial was to keep things ‘upbeat.’ This makes everything coming from him untrustworthy.
Regardless they said that he was ‘not yet out of the woods,’ but they were ‘cautiously optimistic.’ Dr Conley said the President had a high fever on Friday and a blood oxygen level below 94% before he was taken to hospital. His blood oxygen level is now at 98%.
We also learned that the President had also been given Dexamethasone, the steroid treatment which is only given when a patient has been given oxygen support and usually to those most ill.
When we he given this? On Friday or latterly. If on Friday, then it may be plausible that he is starting to feel better. If today, then it implies that he is still very unwell.
The madness continues. Trump puts out a video as follows:
‘(The Staff are) Just absolutely amazing and I just want to thank them all, the nurses, the doctors, everybody here. I’ve also got to meet some of the soldiers, the first responders, and…what a group, I also think we’re going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street, and they’ve been out there for a long time. They’ve got Trump flags and they love our country, so I’m not telling anybody but you, but I’m about to make a little surprise visit, so perhaps I’ll get there before you get to see me, but when I look at the enthusiasm, and we have enthusiasm like probably nobody’s ever had, people that love the job we’re doing have more enthusiasm than maybe anybody. It’s been vey interesting, I’ve learned a lot about COVID, I learned it by really going to school, this is the real school, this isn’t the let’s read the books school, and I get it, and I understand it, and it’s a very interesting thing, I’m going to be letting you know about it. In the meantime, we love the USA and we love what’s happening. Thank you.’
Yes, people of the future, now reading this. This is how he spoke; with enthusiasm ‘like probably nobody’s ever had.’
So, from the not so sublime to the ridiculous. The next thing we know there is a cavalcade of cars driving outside the Hospital up and down the adjacent public road, where a hundred or so Trump supporters had gathered.
In one of the cars was President Trump in a mask and waving!
Turns out at COVID school he got a D.
Anyway, if the worst-case scenario occurred and the President died, or if he is put on a ventilator then Vice President Mike Pence would take the reigns as acting President. The President would invoke the 25th Amendment and write to the Chair of the senate to inform them that he would hand the presidency to the vice president. A letter would then be written to revoke it once the incapacitation was resolved.
It feels like the world is holding its breath and while he is reportedly not suffering at the moment, we know from our own Prime Minister that the disease can turn very quickly, and he almost lost his life. On social media they are selling gold $100 bills saying, ‘Trump beat COVID’. I tweeted that they should wait a few days before making a purchase.
Our Prime Minister worked for over a week with the virus and then suddenly plummeted into ICU and near death. Admittedly we have learnt a lot since then and Dexamethasone and the cloning anti-body treatment et all will help Trump to some extent. It is still a killer virus, and he is trapped in the cross hairs.
As of today (Sunday) the USA has had 7,416,126 cases and 209,787 deaths.
A couple of side stories related to the President’s illness:
Bizarrely one US resident a guy called Tim Hogan @TiminHonolulu tweeted an hour before the announcement that he predicted President Trump had the virus. How did he know this? He observed via the internet that the USA had put up an aircraft on the West coast, an E6-B followed shortly afterwards by another. He said he would expect them to pop-up if he tested positive. These are the planes that ‘has the ability of killing everyone on earth if someone attacks the US with nukes in a first strike.’ It is a message to America’s adversaries that even if the leadership may appear unstable their military systems are intact and ready if needed. We and the world watches and waits.
Corky Siemaszko of NBC News tells us that President Trump is not the first president to be infected in a Pandemix. President Woodrow Wilson caught Spanish Flue while he was negotiating the German surrender aftermath details in April 1919 in Paris. His wife covered for him and said that he was suffering from exhaustion because of overwork.
Sunday newspaper headlines:
‘Trump: Will I die?’ – Sunday Mirror.
‘Trump gambles on radical new drugs to beat the virus’ – The Sunday Times.
‘Boris’s Dad broke his Mum’s nose’ – The Mail On Sunday.
‘Just how ill is President Trump?’ – Sunday Express.
‘Trump given oxygen as vital signs concerning.’ – The Sunday Telegraph.
‘Fears grow for Trump’s health amid chaos over election plans’ – The Observer.
On Saturday 3rd I did an interview on BBC Radio Nottingham – The Alan Clifford Show, to promote my latest book ‘Murder Me Tomorrow.’ I appear fairly regularly on Alan’s show but always in the studio. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions I had to do it over the phone. This brought with it certain complications. I had to move locations at one stage and they went to music, because the signal was no good. Having moved and returned once the signal improved it was a little confusing as Alan and I often chat in between records off air, but in the studio you can clearly see what is happening, on the phone less so. Anyway, the subject matter helped to indicate what was happening. Just a little glimpse at some of the minor irritations affecting everyday working life.
Today, Sunday I drove my son, Harry, to the University of Exeter, Southend-On-Sea Campus. When he got there, he was given a COVID-19 antigen test, with a pin prick to his finger. He was negative - he has not had the virus. That is it now. He is in amongst it. Let us hope all is well and the best case scenario, which is to be asymptomatic before he comes home happens, or he avoids the scourge. He is in the South East which is one of the best parts of the UK at the moment so I’m sure he will be fine, if he can get past the first couple of weeks as those from around the country gather together. He will be in a bubble so let us see how things pan out. I am a little nervous about it. But I am his Dad after all. I don’t like the thought he might be a Herd Immunity experiment by the government.
Quote of the day:
‘It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit’. – Noel Coward.
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