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 Covid-19 week 16 - 6th July 2020 

Statistics - the figures for the UK were -– yesterday

The figures for deaths below are for NHS hospitals and Care Homes – the figures for cases reflect the new increased testing capacity. There seems to be a different method of accounting in that the confirmed cases were higher some weeks ago – nonetheless below are the latest figures.

Confirmed Cases -            285,416

yesterday                                  516

Deaths -                                44,220

yesterday                                   22

 

We now have additional figures for deaths, namely

Deaths where Covid-19 is mentioned on death certificate    53,858

Deaths in excess of 5 year average for the time of year        65,132 

These figures are still the highest in Europe – we will only be able to achieve a proper comparison, once the figures for other countries have been analysed - particularly for excess deaths over the five year average.

Peak – we have passed the peak and there has been a steady decline in figures – but infections have not ceased, Infections and deaths seem to have levelled off at the present level. There are pockets of  low higher infection rates – notably Leicester. I it thought that this is due to high density of living conditions and irresponsible crowding in low wage factories.  

Lifting Lockdown – the lockdown, as such, has been largely lifted and pubs and restaurants are allowed to be open – all with the stipulation that social distancing of one meter is maintained.  The virus has not gone the way -  judging by the photographs on the news there is a great deal of irresponsible crowding on beaches and public places –and there is increasing discussion of a possible second wave in the autumn

Testing – This remains much the same as our last report namely –

The test- track and isolate process - seems now to be working reasonably effectively.  There still remains the problem pf identifying those, in the first few days of infection, who may be capable of infecting others, but who may not be showing symptoms and therefore may not come forward for checking. A start is being made here on the regular checking of everyone in the NHS and the care system, regardless of symptoms.

Exit Strategy – the government’s policy continues as:

  •  Get the economy going - even if it means more lives lost
  • Save lives - as far as possible within the above

There is increasing concern that,  even with relaxation of the lockdown regulations,  people are reluctant to go out to shop and visit pubs and restaurants.  The government exploring ways of encouraging people to go out and spend.

There is also concern that many shops and entertainment venues may have been irretrievably damaged and may not be able to recover.  Further support arrangements are being considered as the number of redundancies and increases a growing fear of rising employment with no suitable jobs available.

Air travel – the need to self-isolate for incoming passengers has been removed for most countries.  Nonetheless there is a marked reluctance to use air travel as social distancing is not really practicable. The Air Travel industry thinks it will be years before they return to anything like the previous level of activity. As a result, there  result, hundreds of pilots and cabin crew have been redundant

Long-term out look – it still looks as if the long-term way of controlling the virus is

  • the creation of a suitable vaccine or
  • the development of herd immunity.

The second point looks unlikely as the total number of people who have been affected by the virus is probably still well under the 60% easier for her immunity 

There is some encouraging news about vaccines and some thoughts that the vaccine might be available by September October this year this has raised a further question of whether they will need to be two versions one for COVID-19 and one for more conventional flu

New developments - the virus still dominates the news -  eyelashes are beginning to emerge which might briefly be summarised as follows

Racial Discrimination – it has become obvious that there is still strong racial discrimination in the UK, and we are beginning to recognise that we are part of this.  What to do about it is not clear,  but it’s something that has to be addressed.

Global Warming – we are faced with the interesting issue that the virus has reduced air travel, car travel and factory pollution and, from the global warming point of view,  been a great blessing.  On the other hand, it has had a disastrous impact on the world economy.  All political activity is now,  at least apparently,  committed to pushing hard to get the economy back to where it was – and this is against the long-term needs of ecology. It will be interesting to see how this dilemma is resolved.