Public Health England has collated data from its Test and Trace app identifying the high and low prevalence of locations where people are being infected with the virus. The data covers between 9th November and 15th November 2020:
Supermarkets – 18.3%
Secondary schools – 12.7%
Primary schools – 10.1%
Hospitals – 3.6%
Care Homes – 2.8%
Warehouses – 2.2%
Nursery / preschool – 1.8%
Pubs – 1.6%
Hospitality – 1.5%
Universities – 1.4%
Manufacturing – 1.4%
Household fewer than five people – 1.2%
General Practice – 1.1%
Gym – 1.1%
Restaurant or café – 1.0%
Author’s note. Lockdown commenced on Thursday 5th November 2020 and the data gathered relates to a period during this lockdown.
A few things jump out on reading this.
The first is that the top seven hot-points of infection remain open during the lockdown, which covers 51.5% of all infections by the general public!
Another 4 categories further down the list are also still operating, totalling an additional 5% of infections. This means that 56.5% of all infections are still allowed to spread during the lockdown. It will be interesting to see how effective this lockdown is compared to the first when the vast majority were shut.
PHE data also shows the rise of hospitalisation, and we see that all of the regions of England continue to rise apart from London (plateauing), the South East (plateauing) and North East (reducing but still high).
The highest number of people per 100k of the population being hospitalised is in Yorkshire and Humber at 300. The East Midlands at 250 and North East at 210. The North West and West Midlands are close behind with 200.
A breath of fresh air.
Preliminary findings in a study at the University of Birmingham indicate that a nasal spray they have developed can provide effective protection against the COVID-19 virus. They have merged compounds that are already used and approved by the UK, US, and European authorities.
Dr Richard Moakes, the lead author of the paper, said;
‘The spray works in two primary ways. Firstly, it catches and coats the virus inside the nose, from where it can be eliminated via the usual routes- either nose blowing or swallowing. Secondly, because the virus is encapsulated in the spray’s viscous coating, it is prevented from being uptaken in the body. This means it will reduce the viral load in the body, but even if virus particles are passed on to another person via a sneeze or a cough, that person is less likely to be infected by active virus particles.’
A load of balls.
The government has allocated £300 million to professional sport to help keep it afloat during winter. The beneficiaries are:
Rugby Union - £135 million
Horseracing - £40 million
National League Football - £25 million
Rugby League - £12 million
Motorsport - £6 million
Tennis £5 million
Netball £4 million
Basketball - £4 million
Ice Hockey - £ 4 million
Women’s football - £3 million
Badminton £2 million
Greyhound racing - £1 million.
*Notable by its absence is professional football.
Some good news is that according to Reuters, the Danish Health Ministry say that the mutated coronavirus strain found in Minks, known as cluster 5 and which jumped to humans, is now extinct.
Imperial College London has reported work on a therapeutic that is showing good results. Tocilizumab used for treating arthritis, a medicine that suppresses the immune system and reduces inflammation, also seems to improve the clinical outcomes of patients in ICU with severe COVID-19. While further work is needed, it can be added to the armoury of developing medicines used in fighting this unforgiving virus. Dr Lennie Derde, a consultant in intensive care medicine at the University Medical Centre in Utrecht, said,
‘This is an amazing result. To have a second effective therapy for critically ill patients within months of the start of the pandemic is unprecedented.’
The Great Plague.
I watched a documentary today about The Great Plague in 1665/66. It was interesting to see some of the similarities with the COVID-19 situation. There is no doubt that their methods were somewhat cruder, but the theme was the same, albeit 350 years ago.
The Plague is now thought to have been spread by fleas and body lice via close contact, but you could substitute coughing and sneezing and contact with infected persons or surfaces for this.
In 1665 they had ‘Searchers’ who would enter people’s houses to ascertain anyone with the Plague. They carried a white stick so that people could steer clear of them.
Today we have the Test and Trace notifications.
Ye olde lockdown.
If someone in the house had been infected, they would lock down the house and everyone in it by locking the doors and windows and painting a red cross on the door. This sentenced all of the occupants to almost certain death.
Today we have quarantine and self-isolating restrictions preventing us from leaving the house.
To enforce the locking up of families, they had ‘Watchers’ who would make sure that no one tried to leave the secured premises.
Today we have the police and a hotline to call.
People in 1665 would avoid close contact with strangers even though the cause of the spread was unknown at the time.
Of course, today, we have social distancing with specified distances.
A large protuberance.
Doctors and professionals who remained in London, (most Doctors and wealthy people fled and left the poor to their destiny) would wear a leather face mask with a large protuberance or ‘beak’ forming part of it. In the tip they would put herbs and lavender as a barrier to infection. They wore a waxed cape that was effective we know retrospectively in preventing fleas and lice from catching on to the garment.
Today we use PPE, with a face mask and gloves and other body coverings for protection.
Students from Oxford University were sent home in 1665, which added to the spread outside of London through the East of the Country and supply routes as far north as Newcastle.
We have had similar problems today with students infecting the wider community en-masse and the earlier spread of businesspeople travelling around from here and abroad bringing the virus with them.
By 1666 after the second wave, 100,000 people had died in London. A similar amount died outside the city bounds and around the country.
Despite the passing of centuries, it is remarkable how similar the behaviours in combatting the infection's spread are.
Quote of the day.
‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done: and there is no new thing under the sun.’ – Ecclesiastes, The Holy Bible.