INFLUENZA coming from medieval Latin meaning ‘(astrological) influence (of the stars)’ was first recorded
by Hippocrates in 412 B.C.E. The first pandemic was in 1580 C.E. The most recent were Spanish ’flu in 1918,
Asian Flu in 1957, Hong Kong Flu in 1967, and Swine Flu in 2009. The cold-weather Annual Seasonal Flu is a mild
illness common worldwide.
A new virus strain SARS-Cov-2A leading to the disease COVID-19 has appeared in China possibly contracted by humans from
live animals at a market in Wuhan. Previous outbreaks, SARS and MERS came from bats, via civet cats and camels respectively.
The virus can be de-activated by a 70%-alcohol sanitary handwash solution.
This is the view from a rural community in Herefordshire, England. Recording facts
about the pandemic as it happens from information sources worldwide.
30th December 2019. An hospital director, Dr Ai Fen, texts colleagues at Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, China saying that she has received a patient
report that indicates that a new, highly contagious, strain of virus that looks like SARS has been discovered. You can read her story here.
Opthalmologist Dr. Li Wenliang, also working at the Wuhan hospital, spreads the word on Chinese social media.
3rd January 2020. Dr. Ai and Dr. Li are approached by the police. Dr. Li is told he must “stop making false comments” and
“spreading rumours”. He signs a letter of apology.
7th January. The virus is identified in China and days later the genome is available for study.
13th January. A test to detect the COVID-19 virus is produced in Berlin.
22nd January. The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA publishes an online Dashboard
which visualises and tracks reported coronavirus cases worldwide in real-time.
30th January. Dr Li is diagnosed with coronavirus.
1st February Snapshot. Right-click to view/save full-size image.
3rd February. The first part of the 1000-bed Huoshenshan Emergency Field Hospital is opened to patients in Wuhan, having been
constructed using prefabricated units in 11 days.
4th February. Ten people on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess in the Japanese port of Yokohama test positive for Covid-19.
Thursday 6th February. Dr. Li Wenliang, aged 34, dies at 18:58 GMT sparking widespread public anger and grief in China.
6th February. Today marks the 68th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the UK throne.
11th February. After public protests, the chief of the Hubei Health Commission and its director are fired.
The World Health Organization names the coronavirus disease COVID-19.
13th February. Xu Depu, former director of Ezhou city Chinese medicine hospital, dies.
From today Hubei province includes “clinically diagnosed cases” in the number of confirmed cases. This means it includes
those showing symptoms, and having a CT scan showing an infected lung, rather than relying only on the standard nucleic acid tests.
The statistics show a sharp increase today because of this.
18th February. Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reports death of neurosurgeon Dr. Liu Zhiming, a director of Wuchang Hospital
in Wuhan, aged 51, at 10.54 on Tuesday morning.
Wednesday 19th February. A 63-year-old woman and die from coronavirus in the city of Qom, south of Tehran.
20th February. Two Chinese tourists have tested positive in Italy. Today a 38-year-old man is the first Italian to test
positive for the virus in the town of Codogna in Lombardy. It is believed the virus was mistaken for seasonal flu before this point in time.
Italy also has an above-average elderly population.
29th February. First death in the US is reported at EvergreenHealth Medical Center, Kirkland, Kings County, Washington State.
1st March. Second death in the US is reported at a nursing home, the Life Care Center also in Kirkland, Kings County, Washington State.
1st March Snapshot. Right-click to view/save full-size image.
Tuesday 3rd March. US President Donald Trump donates his salary for 4th quarter of 2019 to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
5th March. Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai report the virus has mutated
into two forms, a milder 'S' form and a more contagious 'L' form.
First UK death, a woman in her 70’s dies at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.
6th March. Second death in the UK, a man in his late eighties at Milton Keynes Hospital. Cruise ship Grand Princess is quarantined off the Californian coast.
9th March. The Italian government places its 60 million residents in quarantine. Shops are closed two days later except for supermarkets and pharmacies.
First person diagnosed with coronavirus in Herefordshire.
10th March. Dr. Roberto Stella, 67, the head of a medical association in northern Italy dies. Chinese leader, Xi Jinping visits Wuhan. Cheltenham Festival three-day horse racing event begins.
Nadine Dorries, 62, the conservative MP and junior health minister, is the first British politician who has tested positive for coronavirus.
The American College of Physicians publishes a research paper concluding that COVID-19 has an incubation period of approximately 5 days, similar to the SARS virus.
11th March. The US President in an address to the Nation says “The European Union failed to take the same precautions [as the US] and
restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.”
He also says “The virus will not have a chance against us. We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare and the most talented doctors,
scientists and researchers anywhere in the world.”
First death from COVID-19 confirmed in Ireland.
This chart shows the world statistics.
12th March. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says the country’s coronavirus outbreak could be part of a biological attack on the Islamic Republic.
This cartoon may be close to the mark.
Friday 13th March. US President declares a National Emergency.
In Ireland, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, closes all schools, colleges and childcare facilities.
First death from COVID-19 confirmed in Scotland.
15th March. The New York Post reports an ISIS newsletter is informing jihadists that the “plague” is a “torment sent by God on whomsoever He wills.”
16th March. Racing is on at Hereford Racecourse with six races this afternoon. The going is ‘soft, heavy in places’.
New York Times reports the rise of new infections as the total number of cases outside China has for the first time surpassed those inside China.
First death from COVID-19 confirmed in Wales.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a press conference and announces people should work from home where possible and avoid restaurants, pubs, clubs and theatres.
People over 70 and anyone showing symptoms should self-isolate, but schools should stay open.
17th March. UK Finance minister Rishi Sunak announces a package of support for businesses, including government-backed loans of at least ££330 billion.
18th March. From noon today all Czech citizens are required to wear masks when they leave their homes.
UK Prime Ministers Questions shows ‘social distancing’ on the back benches but not on the front benches!
A post on Twitter #iran from Shabbir Hassanally tells us that “103 year old Iranian ‘super granny’ Khavar Ahmedi has fully recovered from COVID-19,
discharged from hospital and back home with her family. She displays a paper that reads — ‘Thank God, I defeated corona.’ She will turn 104 soon.
Love and prayers for her ♡ ” The National Emergencies Trust, an independent UK charity set up last November to provide a domestic disaster response, launches a cornavirus appeal
in partnership with the Red Cross.
Thursday 19th March. China’s Health Ministry reports no new cases in Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province although the risk of new cases has not beeen eliminated.
The i newspaper reports that, after it reduced lending interest rate from 0.75% to 0.25% last week, the Bank of England today cuts it again down to
0.1%. this is the lowest level in the Bank’s 325-year history.
The i newspaper also reports that the Queen left Buckingham Palace yesterday to move to Windsor castle with
the Duke of Edinburgh as they socially distance themselves.
The Czech Republic enforces its first day of making it mandatory to cover mouths and noses in public to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. A few days later a
Czech vlogger posts this video on YouTube. Tap / click to play.
20th March. The Hereford Times quotes the Director of Public Health for Herefordshire, Karen Wright, saying that “In line with national guidance,
community testing of all possible cases has now been stopped. The testing is now focussed on health care and other priority settings. We will not therefore
be able to confirm the number of cases in Herefordshire. This will be the case in other local authorities.”
UK Schools are closing from this afternoon. Schooling is to be arranged for children of key workers in healthcare, emergency services, prisons, delivery services.
Pubs, restaurants, cafes, clubs, theatres, leisure centres and other public venues in the UK are ordered to close after it appears that the earlier advice not to
go there was widely ignored in London and other cities. This is not legally enforceable at the present time.
21st March. The National Trust in England closes its historic houses and gardens to the public. This is prompted as increased visitor numbers might be expected
tomorrow for Mothering Sunday.
UK train services are to run much reduced serves from today.
The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, is interviewed on the BBC Andrew Marr Show this morning.
23rd March. Despite the appeal, people are still crowding together on the London Undergound trains without wearing masks or keeping a safe distance apart. Reports
are that many are foreign construction workers employed on sites in Central London. On Followcn.com the editor, Isherwood Feng, reports that around 5 million people in China lost their jobs amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the
first two months of this year, according to data published by the Chinese Government on 16th March.
At 8.30pm UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that the country is entering a ‘lock-down’ phase to help to limit the spread of the epidemic.
This means all shops closing except for food stores and pharmacies. People not in essential services must stay at home and only go out to walk the dog or for exercise
once a day. Police are to be given legal powers to impose fines and to disperse crowds. This is an extract from the statement.
He went on to say
“To ensure compliance with the Government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately close all shops
selling non-essential goods including clothing , electronic goods and other premises including libraries, playgroounds and outdoor gyms and places of
worship. We will stop all getherings of more than two people in public, excluding people you live with, and we’ll stop all social events including
weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies but excluding funerals .... No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this. I know the damage this disruption
is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.”
This chart shows the world statistics.
Tuesday 24th March. The six Household Waste & Recycling Centres in Herefordshire are closing. Kerbside household waste collections are continuing.
The ExCeL Exhibition Centre in Newham, East London is to be converted into a 4000-bed medical facility which will be named the National Health Service (NHS)
NHS Voluntary Responders has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. The volunteers will support the 1.5m people
in England who are at most risk from the virus to stay well. Medical and other professionals, will be able to refer people on to NHS Volunteer Responders
and be confident that they have been matched with a reliable, named volunteer. Each volunteer will be provided with a log-in to the GoodSAM Responder mobile phone app.
When the app is switched to ‘on duty’, it shows live and local volunteer tasks to pick from nearby. Within hours of launching 170,000 people sign up.
My local convenience store, SPAR in Ledbury, Herefordshire is displaying this notice.
25th March. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announces that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed until 2021.
Summary of start of entire country quarantines: Italy 10 March, Denmark 12 March, Spain 16 March, France 17 March, Ireland 23 March, United Kingdom, Australia 24 March,
India 25 March.
Time magazine’s Ciara Nugent reports “South Korea, which in early March had the worst outbreak outside of China, has managed to slow the rate of new
infections without introducing lockdown-style measures. Instead, the country carried out testing on a massive scale and aggressively traced patients’ contacts by
tracking their movements through their credit card transactions and cell phone use — as well as widespread surveillance cameras — enabling them to isolate
those who were at risk. A transparent public information campaign also helped people to stay away from high risk neighborhoods and take other action to protect
Kings College, London is releasing an app. called COVID SYMPTOM TRACKER where people can feed in data to increase understanding of how the virus develops.
26th March. UK Parliament is closed until further notice. Two vacuum cleaner manufacturers, GTech in Worcester and Dyson in Hullavington, Wiltshire are planning
to adapt their factories to produce medical ventilators for the NHS (if possible). Right-click to view/save full-size image.
I believe patients have to be sedated while using the machine.
Landmarks turn blue and Britons come out to clap in support of the NHS.
A snapshot of UK cases.
27th March. Both Boris Johnson and Health Secretary, Matt Hancock have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating. They sat
together in Parliament on Wednesday.
Another snapshot from the Johns Hopkins University Dashboard.
A British company is developing a 10-minute coronavirus antibody test which Boris Johnson describes as a game-changer in the fight against the
pandemic. Health technology firm Mologic is aiming for the test to be rolled out by as early as June if the trials are successful. Antibody tests are designed
to establish whether people have previously been infected, as opposed to antigen tests which show if someone actually has the COVID-19 disease caused by the
virus. Mologic say assessment and validation of its COVID-19 diagnostic test had begun this week at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St Georges
Hospital, and that global partners would also examine the prototypes.
28th March. The Guardian newspaper reports that two further NHS Nightingale field hospitals will be set up at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in
Birmingham having 5000 beds and at the Manchester Central Convention Complex (Manchester Central) which will have 1000 beds.
Sunday 29th March. On BBC Radio 4 Broadcasting House this morning. Dr. Catherine Calderwood, Medical Officer for Scotland says that the COVID-19 test
does not detect the virus unless it has reached the stage where symptoms are present. So there is no point testing people who may be infected but are not yet
At the daily Government briefing this afternoon, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, reports that 750,000 people have
signed up to be NHS Voluntary Responders. Also Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, says it will be clear in two or three weeks as to whether the
first peak of infections has been reached.
A letter from the UK Prime Minister is being sent out to around 30 million households (66 million people) around the country in the coming days. The letters
will cost the Government around £5.7 million. Here is the letter we received 0n 7th April. Right-click to view/save full-size image.
Monday 30th March. The annual vehicle MOT (Ministry of Transport) roadworthiness safety tests are extended for six months.
The BBC News correspondent in Paris reports that, in France, deaths occurring in care homes have not been counted in the official figures.
A further Nightingale hospital is to be set up at the Scottish Exhibition Centre (SEC) in Glasgow and another field hospital at the Millennium
(Principality) Stadium in Cardiff with 2000 beds.
The USNS (United States Naval Ship) Comfort is docking in New York Harbour at Pier 90, Manhattan’s West Side, to provide an additional 1000-bed medical
facility to relieve New York’s overstretched hospitals. New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio, says 750 beds will be put into play immediately. The ship is a converted oil tanker.
British low-cost airline easyJet has grounded its entire fleet of over 330 aircraft.
Moscow is put into total lock-down. Dog walkers must remain within 100 metres of their front doors.
31st March. The Kashmiri goats who normally live wild on a headland above Llanduduno in North Wales are taking advantage of the quiet streets to feed
in town gardens. The herd was a gift from Queen Victoria.
A snapshot of the world situation and Europe in detail at the end of March. WHO reports over three-quarter of a million confirmed cases which means that
total cases may be over a million. Right-click to view/save full-size images.
1st April. The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, messages President Trump on Twitter advising him to tackle coronavirus the Czech way. Wearing
a simple cloth mask, decreeases the spread of the virus .... Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England opposes the widespread use of masks.
In a letter to the Leader of the House, the Commons Speaker urges him to consider having virtual proceedings in the House of Commons as a trial at
select committee hearings has been successful.
The Guardian newspaper reports that research at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China has found that cats are highly susceptible to COVID-19.
The Metro newspaper confirms that the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is promising to find hundreds of billions of pounds to help employed
workers, the self-employed and tens of thousands of businesses, many of them in the hospitality and leisure sectors, which have been completely shut down
by the response to this epidemic.
2nd April. The Times newspaper reports that previous research at Harvard has shown that, while bacteria multiply in warm, moist conditions, viruses spread
most effectively in cold,dry air. Researchers at Beihang University in China say that increases in average daytime temperatures in spring in China
are causing the spread of infections to slow down but only slowly. In the UK the temperature rise in a normal summer will not be enough to bring the reproduction
number to below 1, which is the figure needed for an epidemic to die out. This number is the number of people expected to be infected by one person with the virus.
In Britain at present the number is betweeen 2.5 and 3.5.
The website InterNewsCast reports that currently, about 265 million Americans are now on stay at home orders to combat the spread of coronavirus. The
Federal government has left the decision to individual State Governors. Florida, although having an elderly population, is still considering its position. JHU reports
at 5pm GMT the US has recorded 226,374 confirmed cases and 5,316 deaths. The world total of confirmed coronavirus cases exceeds 1 million.
Another news item.
3rd April. Two new field hospitals are to be set up in the UK with 1000 beds at Bristol University and 500 beds at a Harrogate conference centre.
The Week magazine reports that trials are beginning on a drug collection of more 15,000 compounds received from the Scripps Research Institute in California by
an Oxford company that uses AI to discover novel drugs. Exscientia at the Oxford Science Park will screen the drugs for effectiveness as a treatment for COVID-19.
Two other drugs under investigation are an anti-malarial called clorquinone and an anti-flu drug, Avigan (favipiravir) is under clinical trials in Japan.
In the i newspaper, Dr. Gero Baiarda, the Chief Medical Officer of University College, London makes four points: First COVID-19 is
not a living organism, it is a protein chain of ribonucleic acid within a protective layer of lipid or fat. Second is is surprisingly fragile as its only protection
is the thin layer of fat. This is why soap or detergent will destroy it. Third it can persist on cardboard so parcels should be left in a secure place outside for
24 hours. Fourth it is easily transferred on raw food so cold food should be thoroughly washed and hot food cooked at 65°C for at least four minutes.
The French high-school bacalauréat (bac) exam is being cancelled this summer, the first time since it began under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808.
The total world recorded deaths passes the 50,000 mark.
At a White House briefingtoday , US President Donald Trump recommends that Americans cover their faces with masks when outdoors. He reports that the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) is urging people to wear face coverings like scarves or homemade cloth masks, but to keep medical-grade masks available for health workers.
Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at National Institutes of Health cites recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people
just speak as opposed to coughing and sneezing. And on March 31st, the CDC Director Robert Redfield had admitted in an interview with WABE, Atlanta that up to a quarter
of the people who are infected may be carriers but not show any symptoms. Also an infected individual could pass on the virus up to 48 hours before symptoms appear.
4th April. Latest UK Government logo is:
On Sky News, Professor Mark Fielder, a medical microbiologist at Kingston University, explains that COVID-19 virus appears to be attacking two specific sets of cells in
the lungs, the mucus-producing cells and the fine hair cells that keep the airway clear of debris. The immune system reacts because it recognises the body is under attack.
It can actually almost over attack, and become what we call hyperimmune, and set up a large attack which can then start to damage the healthy tissue underneath. It can cause
inflammation of the lungs effecting the alveoli and the transfer of oxygen to red blood cells. Intermedical (UK) Limited, a company which produces portable oxygen supplies, says that
the disease can progress to viral pneumonia which does not usually require hospitalisation but is a problem for anyone already suffering from an immune deficiency or a respiratory
ailment such as asthma.
Sunday 5th April. UK National Express bus company are suspending coach services from midnight tonight indefinitely.
Following the news from the Czech Republic on 19th March, Our World in Data website reports confirmed cases in UK, 41,903 in Czech Republic 4,472.
Dr. Catherine Calderwood, Medical Officer for Scotland admits to travelling twice at weekends from Edinburgh to her second home in Fife in contradiction
to her own advice for everyone to stay home. She gives no explanantion but apologies to the NHS and the people of Scotland. (see 29th March).
The Queen broadcasts to the nation from Windsor Castle at 8pm BST on BBC1.
Her Majesty the Queen will be 94 years old on 21st April 2020.
On the advice of his doctor, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to a London NHS Hospital this evening for tests. Downing Street says This is a precautionary step,
as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus. Johnson is likely to stay in hospital overnight. Bloomberg reports that Johnson’s
fiancee Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, has also been self isolating with symptoms of the virus for the past week.
8th April. BBC Midlands Today lunchtime programme shows a video of a tribute to the NHS from farmer Jack Pantall of Staunton-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Tap / click to play.
In the market town of Ledbury, Herefordshire, there are reports of a number of people suffering with COVID-19 symptoms during the last month. This includes one person
who tells us this morning that he had a serious form which had associated stomach troubles. He reports he has now made a full recovery. Sadly there is also an as yet unconfirmed
report of one death in the town.
Up to today there have been 16 deaths in the NHS, eight doctors and eight nurses. For the record many are immigrants who have spent their working lives in the NHS. Their names
and where and when they died are;
Dr. Adil El Tayar, surgeon, 63; at West Middlesex University Hospital, Islington on 25 March
Dr Habib Zaidi, GP 76; at Southend Hospital on 27 March
Dr. Amged El-Hawrani, consultant, 55; at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 29th March
Dr. Alfa Sa’adu, retired medical director, 68; at Whittington Hospital in north London on 31 March
Prof Mohamed Sami Shousha, 79; in London on 2nd April
Anton Sebastianpillai, consultant geriatrician, at Kingston Hospital on 4th April
Jitendra Rathod, heart surgeon, 58, at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on 6th April
Dr Fayez Ayache, GP, 76; at Ipswitch Hospital on 8th April
Thomas Harvey, mental health nurse, 57; at Goodhayes Hospital on 29th March
Aimee O’Rourke, nurse, 39; at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate 2nd April
Lynsay Coventry, midwife, 54, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust on 2 April
Areema Nasreen, staff nurse, 36; at Walsall Manor Hospital on 3 April
Liz Glanister, nurse, 68; at Royal Liverpool University Hospital on 3 April
John Alagos, nurse, 23, at Watford General Hospital on 4 April
Rebecca Mack, 29, at Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle on 5 April
Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70; at the Royal Free Hospital, London on 7th April
9th April. A snapshot of the most affected countries cases and deaths. To date the United States has the most confirmed cases, Italy has the most deaths.
Right-click to view/save full-size image.