On this day in 2020...6th September
Extract from the book,
‘Coronavirus – 2020 Vision.
The Road to Freedom Day.
A complete diary and events of the COVID-19 pandemic.’
- Keith Wright.
SUNDAY 6th SEPTEMBER 2020
Facts and figures.
Sunday 30th August 2020- 1,406 new cases and 2 deaths.
Monday 31st August 2020 – 1,295 new cases and 3 deaths.
Tuesday 1st September 2020 – 1,508 new cases and 10 deaths.
Wednesday 2nd September 2020 – 1,735 new cases and 13 deaths.
Thursday 3rd September 2020 – 1,940 new cases and 10 deaths.
Friday 4th September 2020 – 1813 new cases and 12 deaths.
Saturday 5th September 2020 – 2,988 new cases and 2 deaths.
Author’s note. The death rates are almost down to zero which is a huge comfort to all.
A total of 342,351 people have so far tested positive in the UK.
Between 170,000 and 200,000 tests are being done each day and with a capacity to currently test 250,000 a day.
On Thursday 175,687 tests were processed, and out of these 1,940 people tested positive.
The economy continues to flap around like a dying fish. Empty stores on the high street are at their highest level for more than six years. 10.8% of shops now stand empty.
Costa Coffee are the latest to announce job cuts with 1,650 jobs being put at risk because of coronavirus's impact; these are the assistant manager roles in stores. The company is trying to re-open all of its 2,700 stores after six weeks of closure, and 2,400 are now trading.
On the other side of the coin retail mega-giant, Amazon is creating 7,000 jobs in the UK this year at its warehouses and fulfilment centres and 10,000 in America.
Big test when returning to school.
The ONS findings show that new cases are currently, at least, continuing to level off. Saturday’s increase of 3,000 cases is of concern, and further research shows that the increase is the younger demographic: the under forties.
Given the context, it is likely to be fairly high with people returning to work, but of course, we now have children returning to school and thereafter university students returning to campus. This will be a big test.
The exponential increase is the worry; the more cases, the more it spreads and so on. Currently, the all-important R number remains the same at 0.8 – 1.1. The prevalence of the virus, however, is key at this juncture.
It may be opportune to mention that this is somewhat different to President Trump’s claim that the more you test, the more deaths you will have as this does not necessarily follow. In the case of Trump, the percentage of deaths were rising at a far greater rate than the percentage of the number of tests being done. If you do 20% more tests, you expect 20% more cases and 20% more deaths if it was on a constant. It was not.
Russians and poles.
Russia claims to be vying for pole position regarding finding a working vaccine and published its findings from vaccine trials which produced an antibody response in all 76 participants. There were no serious adverse effects reported.
Not much is known about their vaccine – it is called ‘Gam-COVID-vac’ by the Gamaleya Research institute in Moscow. Phase 3 of the clinical trial of the vaccine plans to include 40,000 volunteers from different age and risk groups.
Peru’s the website.
The BBC website on coronavirus has always been top-notch and trawling through it often throws up official figures of interest to record for the diary; notably, these tend to relate to the spread of the virus and its undulations around the world.
Latin America and Asia are the continents that currently have the highest number of daily confirmed cases.
Brazil has recorded the highest number of deaths with more than 125,000 so far – the second highest on the planet after the USA.
New cases are also rising in Argentina. Peru has had a high resurgence of cases per day at around 8,000.
India saw new cases increase by almost a million in August alone. It currently has had a total of 69,000 deaths.
Countries where cases continue to rise rapidly on a daily basis, include:
Argentina - over 9,000 a day.
Iraq – almost 4,000 a day.
Indonesia – 3,000 a day.
Ukraine – 2,000 a day.
*The BBC Persian Service suggest that they are in possession of documents which show that Iran has been badly affected by the virus and their official figure should be over double the 22,000 it currently is.
Africa has recorded over a million cases, although it is suggested that the true extent of the situation is unknown because of a lack of testing which distorts the picture being painted.
Egypt and South Africa have seen the largest recorded outbreaks so far with South Africa recording more than 600,000 cases.
The WHO has warned of a possible resurgence of the virus in Europe leading into a potential second wave in October and November; France and Spain are spiking well above the rest.
Spain has 125 cases per 100k and France 60 per 100k. Remember the yardstick for imposing a quarantine by the UK government is 20 cases per 100k.
It is surprising to see the UK with the highest death rate per 100k. The only solace is the recent decline with the United Kingdom dropping out of the top ten countries with the highest new cases in September 2020.
This is how the countries with the highest cases by number currently stand:
USA – 6,114,091
Brazil – 4,041,638
India – 3,936,747
Russia – 1,011,987
Peru – 657,129
Colombia – 641,574
South Africa – 633,015
Mexico – 616,894
Spain - 488,513
Argentina – 451, 198
Sunday’s newspaper headlines:
Extinction rebellion facing ‘organised crime’ curbs.
– The Sunday Telegraph.
PM wants EU to get real.
– Sunday Express.
MP’s unite in defence of free speech.
– The Sunday Times.
Covid could be endemic in deprived parts of the country.
– The Observer.
This time we won’t blink .
– The Mail On Sunday
Just a fleeting pass at COVID-19 in the newspapers this week. Other things are dominating, such as demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and Antifa. All causing chaos notably around people trying to step over them to get to work and recover from the pandemic's effects.
Leaving the EU in Brexit has risen to the top recently as we get closer to the exit point on 31st December with still no trade deal in place.
After the fact.
Coronavirus survivors have been urged to donate potentially life-saving blood. The NHS is appealing for people to donate plasma which can be used as a possible treatment for future cases.
The plasma from those who already had COVID-19 is infused into patients and the anti-bodies help the recipient to recover. It is a sort of vaccine after the fact, and there are some encouraging signs with the treatment.
So far, almost 17,000 donations have been made with the NHS hoping to gather 85,000 to complete trials and stock up in case of a second wave. Many individual donors have given blood several times. Different groups of patients have varying levels of anti-bodies. Professor Murphy, a consultant haematologist, said,
‘People who have been sick in hospital and men tend to have higher levels of antibodies.’
More than 260 people in Greater Manchester have been visited by police since 22nd July 2020, after failing to respond to quarantine requests from Border Force officials.
739 people called Birmingham’s COVID-19 whistleblower hotline reporting businesses flouting COVID-19 restrictions.
For some reason, the effects of the new normal are biting a little. I want to sit in a café and relax; I want to take my daughter to the cinema to watch a film or take her to the trampoline warehouse, etc.
I can do all of these, but you must be masked, social distance, and conscious of surfaces. It does lose its gloss a little because of this.
There is also the concern over catching the virus and balancing whether the trip is necessary. I guess I shouldn’t complain, but I look forward to getting back to how things were.
Quote of the day:
‘It’s time to start making better choices.’ - Anonymous
CLICK HERE TO VIEW:
‘Coronavirus – 2020 Vision.
The Road to Freedom Day.
A complete diary and events of the COVID-19 pandemic.’
- Keith Wright.
This day-by-day factual and complete account of events throughout the coronavirus pandemic, written as it happened, gives incredible insight into what life was like during this tragic and historic pandemic in the United Kingdom and worldwide.
It includes facts and figures, government initiatives, news events, moving individual accounts, and the horrific consequences, as they happened each day.
There is also a daily, personal slant on what life was like for the author and his family during what threatened to be an apocalyptic event.
It reveals all humanity in its idiocy, compassion and brilliance; the key elements, significant dates, statistics, human stories, tragedies, government strategies, the twists and turns, the humour and the obtuse.
The coronavirus will define this generation and identify these times, like other rare global historical events such as the bubonic plague and the World Wars.
This book is something to show your children and grandchildren when they ask you what it was like during such a frightening time. It can also be used as a point of reference for historians, commentators, and educators. It is also merely for posterity.
Were you alive? Do you recall it? Do you remember our Prime Minister almost died with Covid-19? Remember, the Queen saying ‘we’ll meet again’ during lockdown? Surely you recollect the EU conducting ‘an act of hostility’ towards the UK to get their hands on our vaccines? The thirty police officers fined for having a haircut, or the first man in the world to be vaccinated being called William Shakespeare from Stratford Upon Avon!
The whole world was plunged into chaos, with death, suffering and economic disaster. How did we cope? How did all of this happen? According to Keith’s wife, Jackie, it was ‘all because a man ate a bat.’
Keith Wright previously worked leading Corporate Investigations for a global pharmacy retailer. He has worked on major Crisis Management Incidents alongside senior executives impacting across the world of pharmaceutical product management.
Critically acclaimed crime novelist, and former CID detective, Wright moves from fiction to a factual account of arguably the most historic natural event to blight humanity in modern times.
He has four children and lives in Nottingham, England, with his wife, Jackie.
All rights reserved ©Keith Wright 2021
If you are affected by any issues raised in the book contact:
The Samaritans or check local charities.
All information believed correct at the time of writing.
This book is dedicated to those who have lost their lives and the extraordinary bravery of front-line NHS staff, key workers, carers, and everyone who, in their own way, have contributed to help others. We are grateful, and we thank you, wholeheartedly.
My mother's first husband was killed in World War 2. His name was Arthur Smith. When I spoke with her about it, which, with hindsight, was too infrequently, she said he wasn't a fighter; he was a gentle, kind man, thrown into a hell with which he would struggle to adapt. He was an infantryman who died doing his duty for others, near Geel in Belgium, pushing through from the D-Day landings in 1944.
I use this as a loose analogy for our NHS heroes in the front line. These people are not emergency workers such as the police who are used to conflict and danger, nor are they like firefighters physically battling a fire and saving lives. These are people who have a caring disposition. (Not that the police and firefighters, don't care, bearing in mind that they risk their lives on a daily basis, but you see the point I am making).
NHS front-line workers are sensitive to the human condition and understand the nuances of helping another human being survive illness and injury. They are also people who have now seen the effects of COVID-19 and the nightmare conditions it engenders. Every fibre of their being is focussed on kindness and caring. Yet they have to find peculiar courage. The courage to risk their own lives and possibly even their families lives to treat others every day. Not only do they have to wear a surgical mask, but they have to display the mask of quiet reassurance, professionalism, and positivity, despite their fears. They have to fight with decisions like holding a hand of an infected dying patient when your COVID instinct dictates you surely must not do this.
Dear reader, this is real courage. I hope they are well looked after once this is all resolved, and they receive counselling to help them recover from this incredibly traumatic time.
BEFORE WE START THE DIARY... WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT?
As I commence this diary, this is what is known; our knowledge will grow over the months and years.
Coronavirus is a respiratory virus discovered in 2019. In lay-person terms, it causes the lungs to clog up, inhibiting the oxygen supply to the blood, and eventually causing organ failure. Its potency is in how virulently contagious it is. Coronavirus is the virus that leads to the disease COVID-19.
It is believed to be a zoonotic illness, meaning it jumped species to infect humans. Researchers believe the most likely source is the Rhinolophus sinicus, otherwise known as the horseshoe bat which was consumed having been purchased from a ‘wet market’ in Hubei Province, China.
COVID-19 was originally known as 2019-nCoV. It stood for the year of its discovery - 2019, the fact that it was a new (novel) virus (n), and it came from the Corona Virus family (CoV).
The name was changed to COVID-19 when it became a pandemic. The World Health Organisation had to allocate a name for the disease that did not relate to a person; a group of persons, an animal, a geographic location, was pronounceable, and relatable. Beyond this, the formal name for the virus given by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses called it the 'severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2' or SARS-CoV-2, because it is related to the virus that caused the outbreak of SARS in 2003. For the avoidance of doubt, it will be referred to by the name everyone uses; COVID-19 or ‘Covid.’
Early analysis of the virus suggests that two main strains exist, designated L and S. The L strain appears to be more prevalent (70% of cases); however, it is the S strain that is the ancestral version. L strain appears to be the most aggressive and spreads quickly. It should be noted that this is a new virus to humanity, and we are starting from absolute scratch in our understanding of it. Even as knowledge grows, the chances of mutation are possible, if not probable, and suddenly all bets can be off.
The coronavirus is transferable by hand to mouth from surfaces or contact and close proximity with someone affected. As with all such viruses, it is also spread by droplets, contact, or airborne particles. It causes a continual dry cough, breathing difficulties, and some aches and pains. Latterly we discovered a loss of taste and smell was also a major symptom. It is a mild to moderate condition for 80 per cent of those who catch it. However, older people and those with underlying illnesses are at a much higher risk of death. As the disease progresses, we see more and more younger able-bodied people in intensive care and dying because of the virus. The World Health Organisation state that 3% of those contracting it will die. There is no cure and no vaccine.
The virus uses its outer prongs to lock on to a living cell. It then inserts its genetic material (RNA – Ribonucleicacid) into the cell. Once inside, it hijacks the machinery of the nucleus of the cell to make numerous copies of itself. It then destroys the cell, and the copies burst out and spread, to do the same thing to multiple other living cells and so the cycle continues, with the virus growing and multiplying exponentially.
The incubation period in a human can be anything from 0-15 days. Some people are asymptomatic and are oblivious to having caught it. Most people's immune system mounts an appropriate response, and they begin to feel better after around 5-7 days after a debilitating flu-like illness. In some people, the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking the lungs and other organs and the coronavirus. Infection can cause pneumonia, breathing difficulties, and further organ damage. In others, the immune system cannot cope, and they die. Some can appear to have overcome it and then deteriorate rapidly and die in a day, often with hypoxia – lack of oxygen. Some have been in a coma for 60 plus days, yet still, survive, but forever scarred and impaired.
It is reported that the first case of the disease was presented by a 55-year-old man in Hubei Province, China, on 17th November 2019. It spread and was located in Wuhan Province, China, a month later, in December 2019.
Other theories have emerged around the virus' origins:
The eating of a diseased bat (or Pangolin) at a wet market. (This seems initially to be the most likely. ‘Pangolin and chips please, no vinegar.’).
A leak or intentional dispersal from the biological warfare lab situated in Wuhan, China.
It began in a region south of Wuhan as early as September 2019. Cambridge scientists are exploring the September theory by tracing pathogens. This earlier outbreak could have been carried by humans well before it mutated into a more lethal form.
Others suggest that traces of faeces in Italy’s sewerage show the virus earlier than it began in China in the summer of 2019. This was later corroborated by research into blood samples of cancer patients taken in early October 2019 which had COVID-19 antibodies present, which means they would have had the disease in September 2019.
Regardless of the exact trigger point, the coronavirus was initially thought to have arrived in the United Kingdom on 28th February 2020, and the first confirmed case being on 31st February 2020. In August 2020, samples by the University of Nottingham discovered that the earliest person to contract and then die with the virus was a 75-year-old woman from Nottinghamshire who tested positive on 21st February 2020.
It is now understood that a traveller returning from South Korea on 28th February 2020 most likely caught the virus in Nottingham rather than Korea as first assumed. Professor John Ball, one of the authors of the study, said ‘there was widespread community transmission of coronavirus’ in Nottingham in early February 2020.
In the UK, we have the National Health Service (NHS). This means that medical care is free at the point of need for all its citizens. The working population pay for this service through their taxes. Each country around the world has different healthcare systems, some insurance based. The NHS does not have any added complications around whether someone can afford to pay for their care through insurance coverage or otherwise.
Key players in the management of this crisis in the United Kingdom are:
Boris Johnson; Prime Minister,
Matt Hancock; the Health Secretary of State,
Dominic Raab; the Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary of State (deputising for the P.M.),
Rishi Sunak; The Chancellor of the Exchequer,
Professor Sir Patrick Vallance; the Chief Scientific Advisor and chair of SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies),
Professor Chris Whitty; the Chief Medical officer for Public Health England,
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam; Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Public Health England.
The virus has caused tens of millions of infections and millions of deaths worldwide, creating a global lock-down and an almost dystopian planet, of death and deserted streets, never before experienced in modern history. Some describe it as an apocalyptic disease. The fabric of society is changed with people told not to socialise and to stay at home. These changes have a massive effect on our way of life, the economy, and family interaction. What will life be like when we come blinking out of our homes in months or years ahead, assuming we survive, into a new world that is changed forever? Our hope is for a vaccine, yet this is impossible for many months, probably years, if at all. Sadly, the world has been unable to develop a vaccine for any of the previous coronavirus such as SARS, (or even the common cold, which is part of the coronavirus family), so it would be remarkable if they manage to do so with this one. Immunity after the disease is unclear. There is nothing to suggest that previous sufferers have immunity, nor for how long it will last if they do. There is even the danger of those recovering from COVID-19 gaining, something known as 'enhanced immunity.' This relatively unknown syndrome happens with Dengue fever, which means you get the disease far worse the second time. I start this diary uncertain whether I will be alive to finish it or sustain it if I become one of the coronavirus victims. Will I be too ill to continue? Will I die? Things change day-to-day, and suddenly the future is more uncertain than ever before in my lifetime. No one would have believed, a matter of a few short weeks ago, the changes that this vicious, dangerous pandemic would bring to our lives: the deaths, the uncertainty, the trauma, the separation, and the loss. This book is intended to bear witness, record statistics, collate news articles, personal stories, front-line accounts, precis government briefings, and offer an intimate view of family life during this historic and tragic period in the year 2020 and beyond.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND READ MORE: