This is the view from the market town of Ledbury, the heart of a rural community in Herefordshire, England. The county is set between the Malvern Hills and the
border with Wales. Recording facts about the pandemic as it happens from direct evidence or reliable information sources worldwide.
Background. Viruses are everywhere. Probably the earliest to be noticed and the one everyone now knows is the influenza
virus. The word ‘influenza’ coming from medieval Latin meaning ‘(astrological) influence (of the stars)’ and the illness was first recorded
by Hippocrates in 412 B.C.E. It is an orthomyxovirus and the form Influenze A has the potential to cause pandemics. 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, A/H5N1 (Bird Flu) in 2005 and H1N1 (Swine Flu) in 2009. The cold-weather
Annual Seasonal Flu is a mild illness which has been common worldwide for many years.
The earliest virus to affect humanity was probably the poliovirus which is a picornavirus. It was first described in the UK in 1789. Because of widespread vaccination
from the mid-1950’s onwards, polio was eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in 1994 but outbreaks have been noted in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In the early twentieth-century a retrovirus in West Africa passed from chimpanzees to humans and has since spread everywhere. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
attacks the body’s immune system leaving you wide open to other diseases. Another virus, the coronavirus, caused the SARS outbreak of 2002 in Guandong Province,
China but the outbreak was only classed as an epidemic. Another coronavirus caused the MERS outbreak in the Middle East in 2012.
A new coronavirus 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 palm civet cats and camels respectively.
The virus can be de-activated by soap solution or a 70%-alcohol sanitary handwash solution. The name comes from the corona or crown which shows up on an electron
Virions of coronavirus (colored transmission electron microscopy image).Image Credit: Dr. Fred Murphy & Sylvia Whitfield/CDC
30th December 2019 A 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 disease 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.
Thursday 23rd January The city of Wuhan enters lock-down with people forcibly confined to their homes.
29th January The first COVID-19 cases are confirmed in two Chinese nationals who fell ill while staying at the Staycity Aparthotel in York.
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 AlJazeera reports that two elderly people have died 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.
2nd March Figures released in May show that the first death in the UK occurred today in a care home.
Tuesday 3rd March US President Donald Trump donates his salary for 4th quarter of 2019 to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Three more people have died in UK hospitals in Nottinghamshire, Essex and Buckinghamshire.
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.
Two more UK deaths are reported, a woman in her 70’s at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading an a patient at at Pennine acute hospitals trust in
6th March Another 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.
NHS England reports in May that, by today, 16 people have died in hospital in the UK.
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.
The Cheltenham Festival of horse-racing takes place over the next four days. By The time it ends, there have been 51 deaths in the UK although only eleven have been announced
by the UK Government.
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.
The Evening Standard reports thet the UK Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has told education leaders that they shouldn’t be closing college campuses. The
Prime Minister has said that school trips abroad should be cancelled but that mass closures could do more harm than good. At least eight British universities have
ignored Government advice and moved parts of their classroom teaching online with some also axing exams and field trips.
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.
In the United States, the City and County of San Francisco moves quickly issuing a Shelter in Place Order. Click/tap to download.
17th March UK Finance minister Rishi Sunak announces a package of support for businesses, including government-backed loans of at least ££330 billion.
Macdonalds USA are closing all seating areas in their restaurants to the public. Walk in - take out and drive in - pick up orders will continue.
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.
New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, closes all schools in New York State until 1st April.
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.
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. This is the first page of a letter sent out to vulnerable people today. The key words are stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact for at least 12
weeks from today. Right-click to view/save full-size image.
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.
Patients have to be heavily sedated as the machine pumps the oxygen mixture through a tube directly into the lungs. Weaning a patient off the ventilator can also
be a difficult process.
Landmarks turn blue and Britons come out to clap in support of the NHS. The clapping is repeated on following Thursday evenings at 8pm.
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. Right click to view the picture full-size.
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.
From the Church Times.
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 a level of infection 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 on 7th April. Right-click to view/save full-size image.
The letter is also published in ten other languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Romani, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Urdu and Welsh. All shown here.
The Worcester News newspaper online reports that a hospital patient died yesterday of coronavirus at Hereford County Hospital, the first death recorded in the county.
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, called the Dragon’s Heart 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.
Metro News reports that A&E nurse, Ashleigh Linsdell, at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, Lincolnshire has organised a team of craft workers
to make ‘scrubs’ for medical staff. Scrubs are designed to be simple (with minimal places for contaminants to hide), easy to launder,
and cheap to replace if damaged or stained irreparably. In the United Kingdom, scrubs are sometimes known as ‘theatre blues’.
There is a shortage of scrubs as they are replaced frequently during the day and she created the ‘For The
Love of Scrubs – Our NHS Needs You’ Facebook group, to coordinate people together to sew as many sets as possible. Less than a week later,
the group has 9,000 members with people all over the UK making scrubs at home for their local hospitals.
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, decreases 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.
The April edition of Three Counties Farmer newspaper reports that, as an essential link in the food supply chain, Hereford Livestock Market will remain open
operating under strict DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) guidelines with 'Drop and Go' procedures to protect staff, vendors and buyers.
Public toilets in Herefordshire are closed from today.
UK Finance, the trade organisation for banks and financial instututions, says that from today the limit for making contactless payments using chip-and-pin bank
cards will be raised from £30 to £45. It may take a little time for retailers to update their equipment. This means less use of the keypad with its risk
of contamination. Mobile phone users can continue to make contactless payments with their smartphones by holding the phone over the card reader.
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.
ITV News reports that a Cambridge University spin-off company, Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) has developed a portable coronavirus testing Machine called
Samba II which can diagnose COVID-19 from tiny traces of the genetic code in around 90 minutes to two hours. Twenty machines are already working at Addenbrooke’s
Hospital in Cambridge. DRW is also based at San Jose, CA and they have arranged for Brightwell Machine Microfactory to manufacture the test cartridges. They hope the test
can be rolled out at other hospitals throughout the country.
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)
which is undergoing 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 briefing today, 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 (NIH) 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.
US Surgeon-General Jerome Adams MD gives advice today on making a face mask.
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. Right click to view/save the video full-size.
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 St Thomas’s NHS Hospital, London 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.
6th April Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taken into intensive care at 7 pm BST.
7th April The Miami Herald explains the different orders which are being used in the United States. The League of Cities says that Safer at Home usually
means that people should do what they can to stay home but some jurisdictions allow non-essential businesses to remain open assuming they limit capacity or impose social
distancing measures inside. Stay Home limits ventures out of the home to essential activities such as doctor visits, grocery shopping and going to work for essential employees.
Shelter in Place is the most restrictive measure of the three. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a shelter-in-place order, used for tornadoes and active
shootings in particular, means you should get inside and stay inside until you’re given additional directives. CNN reports that in the coronavirus situation there are exceptions
for essential activities such as getting supplies and medicines, essential businesses such as healthcare services, automobile rescue etc. and essential government functions
for running the state. Also exercise outdoors for individuals in the local area is allowed keeping social distancing.
that could be used to treat the coronavirus, according to a report.
The Boston Globe reports that three Massachusetts hospitals - Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester -
have been granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration to launch the first clinical trials in the US of the Japanese antiviral drug, favipiravir.
In the i newspaper, Professor Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia, UK, reports that a study indicates that the wearing of face masks by
vulnerable people in high risk situations reduced the odds of infection by around 6% on average. When both housemates and an infected household member wore masks the
odds were reduced by around 19%. The study has not been published or peer-reviewed but the researchers were keen to release their findings.
8th April BBC Midlands Today lunchtime tv programme shows a video of a tribute to the NHS from farmer Jack Pantall of Staunton-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
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 25 March
Dr. Amged El-Hawrani, ENT consultant, 55; at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 28th 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, retired consultant geriatrician, 75; 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; worked at Goodhayes Hospital, Ilford , died at home on 29th March
Aimee O’Rourke, nurse, 39; at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate 2nd April
Lynsay Coventry, midwife, 54; at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow 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 3 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
Reuters correspondent, Brenda Goh, reports that the city of Wuhan began allowing people to leave today for the first time since it was locked
down 76 days ago despite fears of a second wave of infection if such restrictions are eased too soon. Residents are still urged not to leave
their neighbourhoods, the city and even the province unless necessary, health officials said yesterday.
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.
A Downing Street spokesman says that Prime Minister Johnson has moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive
close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. The Care Quality Commission realises that it is not recording deaths from COVID-19 in care homes and adds a tick box for confirmed or suspected
COVID-19 to its form that care homes must fill in to report a death.
The Hereford Times shows Hereford Hospital A&E staff wearing badges so that patients know the names of those treating them.
A Rigby cartoon to lighten the mood.
The Guardian newspaper reports that until now there has been support for the government’s announcement of a national voucher scheme
to ensure that children from the poorest families continue to receive free meals while schools are closed during the Covid-19 crisis.
But many schools have since complained that Edenred, the provider selected by government to supply the vouchers, does not have the capacity
to deal with the demand. To secure vouchers, schools have to upload data on children who are eligible for free school meals. A code is then
sent or emailed to parents, who can convert it into a weekly £15 voucher for each child, to be spent in the supermarket of their choice.
Many are still awaiting their codes.
In Grimsby, Zane Powles, assistant headteacher at Western Primary School has been walking five miles
every day to deliver free school meals to disadvantaged children. He carries 78 packed lunches in a large rucksack,
leaving them outside front doors before having a quick chat with each family from a distance. After three weeks of delivering the food, he
has become something of a local hero. One colourful poster put up on a fence by children reads, Well done, Mr Powles.
11th April The total number of cases in the USA exceeds 500,000. This map shows the countrywide spread, the states most affected and
also the six, mainly rural, states not accepting advice from Anthony Fauci and Robert Redfield.
Right-click to view/save full-size image.
The i newspaper reports that the State of New York now has more coronavirus cases than any single country in the world.
Also that the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has warned the UN Security Council that the pandemic poses a significant threat to the maintenance
of international peace and security. It says that diplomats blame Security Council inaction on the United States and China. Beijing argues that the council does not
have the mandate to act while Washington has insisted that any council action refer to the origins of the virus, much to the annoyance of China.
Easter Sunday 12th April The total number of deaths in the UK exceeds 10,000.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves hospital after being 3 nights in intensive care. He needed oxygen but was not on a ventilator. He will convalesce at Chequers,
the PM’s official country house residence, in Buckinghamshire.
13th April Angela Giuffrida in the Guardian newspaper reports that the total deaths in Italy to more than 20,000.
14th April Forbes reports that the US President announces today that he has put a hold on funding to the World Health Organization until a
60-to-90-day review of its pandemic response, accusing it of severely mismanaging and covering up the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
The UK Government stops using Worldometer COVID-19 statistics as questions are raised about their anonymous analysts and lack of information on sources.
The new data supplier will be the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) (see 22nd January and 27th March entries).
Wednesday 15th April ITV News reports that a 99-year-old [army] veteran who challenged himself to walk 100 lengths of his garden (before he turns 100
at the end of the month) has raised more than £7 million for the NHS.
[Captain] Tom Moore, who served in India and Burma, and now lives at Marston Moretaine in
Bedfordshire, originally set out to raise £1,000 – but a burst of donations has seen that sum pledged on average every 20 seconds. The fundraiser had
topped £1 million as of 9am on Tuesday, before surpassing £4 million as of 11pm and £7 million by 3pm on Wednesday. On Twitter his
daughter Hannah said We are overwhelmed by the response. It’s extraordinary. We remain proud and humbled by the generosity of the British public. Denmark’s children aged 11 and under are returning to schools and daycare centres today after a month of closures.
16th April An aircraft carrying 150 farm workers from Bucharest, Romania is due to land at Stansted airport today. It was chartered from Air Charter
Services by G’s growers in Cambridgeshire, a group of 17 nurseries which form one of the UK’s biggest salad growers. The firm has reported that 500
British people have registered their interest but up to 3,000 are needed to bring in the harvest. Fruit and vegetable picking is skilled and demanding work but it
is also a low-paid job which has been done by mainly foreign workers for the past 10 to 15 years. The National Farmer’s Union says that up to 70,000 seasonal
workers are needed.
Dominic Raab, the UK Foreign Secretary, delivers the daily cornavirus briefing revealing that the lockdown is to continue for a further three weeks. He refers to
COBRA which is a cross-departmental committee meeting held in the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms at 70, Whitehall assembled in times of national emergency. The first
meeting was in 1972. He also mentions SAGE, a sub-committee, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, made up of leading figures in their respective fields
from across the world of public health, science and academia. They do not operate under Government instruction and membership changes based on expertise needed
to address the crisis at the time.
The Wall Street Journal shows a graphic of the US State Coronavirus Lockdowns. Right-click to view/save full-size image.
The White House issues Guidelines for Opening Up America Again (PDF) prepared by the US Centers for
Medicare & Medical Aid Services (CMS).
Bhasha Mukherjee, who won the Miss England pageant in Newcastle upon Tyne last August, flew back from India on 8th April and will return to work as
a junior doctor at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire after self-isolating for 14 days. Miss Mukherjee, who moved to the English city of Derby from Kolkata
at the age of nine, specializes in respiratory medicine. The 24-year-old has been in India for four weeks on behalf of Coventry Mercia Lions Club, a development
and community charity for which she was ambassador.
Jason Wilson in the Guardian newspaper reports that a wave of planned anti-lockdown demonstrations that have broken out around the US to protest against the
efforts of state governments to combat the coronavirus pandemic with business closures and stay-at-home orders have included far-right groups as well as more
mainstream Republicans. While protesters in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and other states claim to speak for ordinary citizens, many are also supported by street-fighting
rightwing groups like the Proud Boys, conservative armed militia groups, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups and other elements of the radical right.
20th April The NHS Blood and Transplant Service appeals for convalescent patients to donate blood plasma so that the antibodies can be used for
‘transfusion therapy’ for people with COVID-19 symptoms to boost their immune systems and improve chances of survival and speed of recovery.
Earlier small-scale trials in China were successful.
NHS England releases a breakdown of coronavirus deaths by ethnic minorities for the first time today. On 16th April, the Government announced an inquiry
was to be set up to look at why black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic in the UK.
The BBC is broadcasting 20-minute long home-schooling lessons called BBC Bitesize Daily from today continuing through the summer term. There are three lessons
for each year from Primary Year 1 (ages 5 to 6) to Secondary Year 10 (ages 14-15) making a total of 30 lessons per day. They are repeated from 9am to 3pm each day
on television and are also available online.
This article (ODT format), written by the Italian theoretical physicist and author, Carlo Rovelli, and published in the
i newspaper today gives us an overview of the situation.
21st April The UK Office for National Statistics has reported 1,662 deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales registered in the week up to
April 10th which occurred outside hospitals — 1,043 took place in care homes, 466 in private homes, 87 in hospices, 21 in other communal establishments and 45
elsewhere. The ONS says the numbers are based on where novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with
other health conditions. The NHS figures only include deaths in hospitals where a patient has been tested for COVID-19.
A previous report shows a provisional figue of 406 deaths registered occurred outside hospitals up to April 3rd — 217 were registered in
care homes, 33 in hospices, 136 in private homes, three in other communal establishments and 17 elsewhere. This information is published on the TalkTalk web page
and confirmed in other newspaper reports.
On the BBC West Midlands lunchtime programme today, some positive news about production of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) garments.
21st April Reuters News Agency reports that Chinese doctors in Wuhan say a growing number of cases in which people recover from the virus, but
continue to test positive without showing symptoms, is one of their biggest challenges as the country moves into a new phase of its containment battle.
Those patients all tested negative for the virus at some point after recovering, but then tested positive again, some up to 70 days later, the doctors said.
Many have done so over 50-60 days. Paul Hunter, a professor at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich School of Medicine, says an unusually slow shedding of
other viruses such as norovirus or influenza had been previously seen in patients with weakened immune systems.
23rd April Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, gives the daily briefing.
He announces that the government is planning to
send out home testing kits via Amazon to people who are self-isolating with suspected COVID-19 symptoms. This is part of a “test, track, trace” strategy
to enable social distancing rules to be relaxed. 3,000 clinical staff (tier 2) and 15,000 non-medical (tier 3) staff will be employed “in a matter of weeks”
to locate COVID-19 sufferers and trace everyone they had contact with. Belgium has said it will be employing 2,000 “coronavirus detectives” doing the same.
These initiatives were first employed in South Korea when COVID-19 arrived in the country in January. Health officials were given authority to use security camera
footage, credit-card records and GPS data from cellphones and car navigation systems to pinpoint exactly where a COVID-19-infected person had been and then trace
their contacts. Privacy concerns were not addressed.
William N. Bryan, head of the Science and Technology Directorate, a part of US Department of Homeland Security gives a presentation at the 5 pm EDT (Eastern
Daylight Time) daily Press briefing and shows these two slides indicating the action of sunlight and disinfectants on the coronavirus. Right-click to view full size.
The president suggests further research that S&T might carry out and Mr. Bryan appears to agree.
BBC WORKLIFE website publishes an article by John Walton on how airlines may operate during the pandemic. Several airlines are exploring the idea of keeping middle
seats empty.Social distancing is impossible on a modern plane where seats are around 45 cm wide and rows 75-80 com apart. Daniel Baron of LIFE Aero Design says
Let’s not forget the cabin air circulation is on a par with operating theatres. A combination of pre-flight screening, thorough cabin sanitising, smart seat
assignments and masks will likely be the way forward in the short to medium term.
24th April Tom Moore (see 15th April) has now raised nearly £27 million for the NHS with his 100-lap garden walk. He has also recorded “You‘ll
Never Walk Alone” with singer Michael Ball which has become a number-one single. He will be 100-years-old on 30th April.
An article on face mask research is published by the American Chemical Society in their journal, ACS Nano. It is known that the virus is carried in fine respiratory
droplets called aerosols.
Supratik Guha at the University of Chicago tested various fabrics and found that one layer of tightly woven cotton sheet combined with one layer of silk or polycotton
material filtered out 80-90% of aerosol particles depending on particle size. In particular silk, which can hold a static charge, can act as an electrostatic barrier.
They also found that a 1% gap reduced efficiency by half or more so to work the mask must fit properly. (note the President’s comments on 3rd April and the US Surgeon
General’s comments on 4th April.)
26th April On the BBC Andrew Marr Show, Dominic Raab confirms that people arriving at ports and airports could be quarantined for 14 days as part of emerging
plans to lift Britain out of its lockdown. Officials at the Home Office, which is responsible for border security, and the Department for Transport are reported to have
drafted plans for 14-day stay at homenotices. Such a rule would apply to foreign arrivals as well as UK citizens, with fines for failure to remain at the address
given for isolation.
Monday 27th April Boris Johnson is back at work at No.10 Downing Street today. Speaking to the Press this morning he says that he is very aware
of the economic effect on the country of the lockdown and he intends to ease restrictions as soon as possible but that he will not jeopardise the gains already
made by the sacrifices of the British people in slowing the pandemic and we must avoid any risk of a second wave of infections overwhelming the National Health
Service and causing even more economic damage.
30th April The WHO website gives these figures for the number of deaths in each of the worst affected countries at 3:00pm Central European Summer Time today.
Worldwide the figures are over 3 million cases and over 200,000 deaths.
Boris Johnson announces today that the outbreak in the UK is past its peak as the R₀ number is below 1 [the Reproduction number indicates the average number of people who
will contract a contagious disease from one person with that disease. It specifically applies to a population of people who were previously free of infection and have not
been vaccinated.] As well, he notes that both the number of covid-related hospital admissions and the number of patients in intensive care are falling.
The i newspaper reports that the annual Chinese National People’s Congress will be held on 22 May. About 3,000 delegates
will travel from across the country to Beijing.
Nearly 4,000 COVID-19 patients have been treated with convalescent blood plasma across the US, according to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. In April, the US Food and Drug
Administration designated the clinic as the lead institution providing coordinated access to investigational convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients with severe or
life-threatening COVID-19. Coronavirus survivors can volunteer to donate their blood and the plasma extracted contains antibodies which will fight off the infection.
1st May At the daily press briefing, Matt Hancock says as of 9am today there were 122,347 coronavirus tests carried out in the UK exceeding the target of
100,000 for the end of April. However, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that the government was including home-testing kits sent out by post in the tally of tests
to reach the target, even if the recipient has not yet provided and returned their sample.
2nd May The US Food and Drug Administration approves an experimental antiviral drug for emergency use. Preliminary results from a government-sponsored
study show that Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31%, or about four days on average, for
hospitalised Covid-19 patients.
In the UK a trial is about to begin on the transfusion of convalescent blood plasma into COVID-19 patients. More than 6,500 people have registered their interest to
take part in the trial and 150 people have donated so far. Donating takes about 45 minutes as the blood is filtered through a machine to remove the plasma. (see
30th April for situation in the US)
Social-distancing Hereford style.
Monday 4th May Both Italy and Germany are easing lockdown restrictions from today.
The UK government has a second business loan scheme going live today; the Bounce Back Loan scheme is for ssmall and medium-sized businesses to borrow between
£2,000 and £50,000.The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there are no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be
up to 6 years.
[ Note: the borrower remains 100% liable to the lender for the debt but the government assumes the debt obligation for the loan in the event that the borrower
This follows on from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which went live on March 23rd and allows businesses with up £45 million
annual turnover to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and
any fees for the first 12 months. These loans cannot be taken out by banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers), public-sector bodies or state-funded
primary and secondary schools.
The Ledbury Reporter newspaper published on a Friday and online has been providing information on the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in Herefordshire.
The figures so far — April 14th ~ 19, April 23rd ~ 24, April 27th ~ 31 and April 30th ~ 32. May 3rd ~ 33.
An international virtual summit, convened by the European Commission and co-hosted by the UK and seven other countries, is happening today. It is attended by
leaders from more than 40 governments worldwide as well as the Chinese ambassador to the European Union, Zhang Ming, but the United States, India, Russia and Brazil
are absent. At the meeting around €7.4bn is pledged to develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to fight Covid-19.
5th May Published on ‘Stars and Stripes’ website.
World War II Red Army veteran, Sergeant Zinaida Korneva, 97, after hearing about Capt. Tom Moore’s renowned
fundraising walk for the NHS, shows the socks she has knitted for him as a birthday present. She lives in St. Petersburg, Russia and, inspired by his effort, she has
launched her own campaign to gather contributions for the families of doctors and nurses who have died of the infection. She is going to raise money by telling wartime
stories between now and May 9th (Russia’a anniversary of the the Nazi surrender in 1945). Both her daughter and granddaughter are doctors.
The i newspaper reports that a trial of the NHSX contact-tracing app (produced by National Health Service’s digital arm) is being
launched on the Isle of Wight, the island in the English Channel.
It works on iPhones and Android phones and uses Bluetooth technology to detect other phones in the neighbourhood. Civil liberty campaigners have raised concerns due
to the amount of personal information collected by the app and the fact that the records will be held in a central database. Matthew Ryder Q.C. says there may be legal
implications including the possibility of a legal challenge. However NHS England says all data will be held anonymously and deleted when the app is deactivated.
6th May Right-click to view full-size image. A US journal, AIP Advances, reports that a scientific team at Wuhan University led by Dr Jau Tang is designing a new type of jet engine using microwave air plasmas.
Beyond solid, liquid and gas, plasma is a form of electrically charged gas, which – when activated –can cause surges of energy. It uses air from the
atmsosphere and produces no carbon emmissions. A positive news item from Wuhan.
7th May The i newspaper reports the latest figures from the Care Quality Commission for daily deaths in care homes where COVID-19
is mentioned on the death certificate. April 27th ~ 613, April 28th ~ 405, April 29th ~ 331, April 30th ~ 304, May 1st 230. Also that the ONS official analysis figures
show that black men and women are four times more likely to die after contracting COVID-19 than white people in England and Wales. There is also an increased risk for
people of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian origin and of mixed ethnicities. Research into the resaons is ongoing.
Friday 8th May In the UK, today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) day when the Second World War officially ended in Europe. The Ledbury
Reporter newspaper notes that there will be a National Toast at 3pm when everyone is encouraged to raise a glass at home to pay tribute to the fallen.
The CSSE latest dashboard.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis provides this Crude oil WTI price chart.
This song is the highlight of the BBC VE Day Anniversary Concert shown this evening. It begins with Dame Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins. The lyrics are significant
for then and now.
We’ll meet again, Don’t know where, Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, Just like you always do
’Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say “Hello” To the folks that I know?
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
Music and lyrics composed and written by English songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles, 1939.
9th May Two Herefordshire Waste Recycling Centres (rubbish tips) at Hereford and Leominster re-open. The other four sites remain closed.
10th May These news review comments come from this morning’s Broadcasting House on BBC Radio 4. The speakers are the author Dreda Say
Mitchell on the language used by the media and the gardening writer and TV presenter Monty Don on the view from Greece.
Boris Johnson makes a TV announcement at 7pm on a phased recovery programme. He refers to a document to be published this week giving more details.
11th May The UK Government publishes its 60-page Guidance Notes (PDF)
on its COVID-19 recovery strategy. Highlights are: Chapters 3 & 4 and Annnex A ‘Staying safe outside your home’.
Tennis and other forms of outside exercising are now allowed with social distancing observed. Also angling.
People should aim to wear a cloth face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they
do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops. However everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible.
Workers should continue to work from home but those who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. For example this includes food production,
construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories. Hospitality and nonessential retail workplaces must remain closed. New
COVID-19 Secure guidelines, for workplaces will be published this week.
A second less-publicised document is issued online at the same time. Staying alert and safe (PDF ) which spells out that garden
centres and golf courses may re-open from May 13th.
12th May Deserted skies over England and Wales. Right-click to view full-size image.
The Express online newspaper has this summary of the easing of lockdown:
This afternoon the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announces in Parliament that financial support for businesses is extended.
Wednesday 13th May Full lockdown officially ends today in England after 50 days. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own timetables for easing lockdown.
The effect on the London Stock Market is shown in this record of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 Index consisting of the 100 British companies with the highest
The Guardian newspaper reports that House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is told by Sir John Aston, the chief scientific adviser at the Home Office, that
there were 18.1 million arrivals to the UK by air in the period from 1 January to 23 March, of whom 273 passengers were formally quarantined.
He also reported that between 1 April and 26 April there were 95,000 arrivals into the UK by air, of whom about 53,000 were UK citizens.
The government stopped issuing guidance at the border to arrivals from specific countries – including from Italy and China – to self-isolate on 13 March, 10 days before
the lockdown was imposed.
BBC Television evening news reports that the NHS is discussing with Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Roche, adopting their antibody test (Elecsys Anti-SARS-COV-2
serology test) after PHE Porton Down laboratory reports successful results. The blood test uses Roche’s Cobas E 411 analysers which are widely used around the world and
give results in around 18 minutes. The test has already been approved by medical regulators in the EU and USA.
Latest UK Government logo is:
Note the border colour change from 4th April. This wording was widely criticised as being unhelpful.
14th May Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issues the following statement on Twitter regarding mental health.
15th May The Department for Health and Social Care says that £500,000 of government funding is being provided for clinical trials
to train dogs to see if they can detect coronavirus before symptoms even appear. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and
Durham University, and the charity Medical Detection Dogs will conduct the trials. The six dogs used will be Labradors and cocker spaniels - Norman,
Digby, Storm, Star, Jasper and Asher. Bio-detection dogs have already been trained to detect changes in human body odour caused by the presence of cancers.
16th May The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announces that the British government will be investing up to £93m to bring
forward construction of a new vaccine manufacturing centre at the Harwell science and innovation campus, near Didcot, Oxfordshire.
The funding will ensure the new centre opens in summer 2021, a year ahead of schedule. The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) is a
key component of the government’s programme to ensure that once a coronavirus vaccine is available, it can be rolled out quickly in mass quantities,
the department said.
The not-for-profit facility will have the capacity to produce enough doses for the entire UK population in as little as six months and will also
boost the UK’s long-term capacity for dealing with future viruses and accelerate the production of vaccines for existing illnesses. The company
is supported by its three founding members: University of Oxford, Imperial College, London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. who
each have experience in development and clinical evaluation of novel vaccines. VMIC UK will receive in-kind industry funding from Janssen, Merck Sharp
& Dohme (MSD) and GE Healthcare. As reported in the Guardian newspaper.
Sunday 17th May In an article in “The Mail on Sunday’ Boris Johnson says I said we would throw everything we could at
finding a vaccine. There remains a very long way to go, and I must be frank that a vaccine might not come to fruition. But we are leading the global effort.
Some of the most promising research into vaccines is happening right here in the UK - and this weekend we are announcing a £93 million investment to
open the new Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre a full 12 months ahead of schedule.
18th May Midland Railways and other UK rail companies start services again today with reduced schedules but increased number of coaches on
each train to help social distancing. Government advice is still to avoid public transport wherever possible and, if you do, wearing a face mask. Evidence
on television news is that the wearing of masks is not widespread.
In the US, Sky News reports that President Trump says he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, as a
preventative measure against coronavirus, for the last week and a half. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
(NIAID), earlier said there was no evidence the drug could prevent coronavirus.
19th May The Prince of Wales, staying at Birkhall, his Scottish residence, since he suffered from COVID-19 in March, issues this video on the
Clarence House Twitter account.
20th May The trade body UKHospitality submits a 75-page document to the UK Government setting out guidelines on how pubs and restaurants can
operate safely when they re-open. They are requesting that the Government endorse the guidelines prior to the provisional planned re-opening date for the
hospitality industry suggested by the Government of 4 July 2020. Safety measures include removing condiments from tables, ending buffet meals, digitising tips
and offering reduced menus in addition to spacing out and/or screening off tables. Each business will have to carry out a risk assessment of their operation.
22nd May In the US the CDC publishes an NCIRD document Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith. It details measures to be taken including:
washing hands, wearing face coverings, intensive cleaning, disinfection and ventilation, 6-foot distancing, floor markings for one-way routes, and limited singing,
physical contact and sharing of worship aids.
The New York Post shows which states are re-opening [Ed. colours adjusted, not the facts].
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, announces that travellers entering the UK from 8th June will have to self-isolate for 14 days or they could face a
£1,000 fine. Passengers will be required to fill out an online contact form providing details of where they will spend their self-isolation. If a person does
not have suitable accommodation they will be required to stay in facilities arranged by the government at the person’s own expense. France is not exempt
from the rules, despite reports earlier this week that its citizens may not be forced to self-isolate. [See 13 May entry]
Wikipedia Commons publishes this map showing the UK cases distribution up to 21st May. The contributor’s codename is ‘ythlev’
and the sources are: ONS population data, ArcGIS_Covid19_Poly mapping and Scottish data, data.gov.uk, Public Health Wales (tableau.com) and NI Department of Heath (app.pbi.com).
Click or tap to view a larger image in a new tab.
The UK Government’s testing co-ordinator, Professor John Newton, tells a House of Commons committee that, on advice from SAGE, the decision to stop
contact tracing in the community was taken by Ministers on 12th March when the scale of cases in the UK was apparent.
The New York Times reports today that the woman credited with starting the weekly applause for health care workers fighting the
coronavirus in Britain has suggested that the Clap for Carers should end on Thursday, the 10th week after it started.
Her logic? The public has shown its appreciation enough and it is now up to the government to reward doctors and nurses. Many have died during the outbreak,
and they have cared for patients while short on protective equipment like masks, gloves and visors.
The woman, Annemarie Plas, told BBC Radio 2 that the clapping could be replaced by an annual remembrance. Next week will be 10 times, she said.
I think that would be beautiful, to be the end of the series.
24th May US Surgeon-General Jerome Adams MD posts this video on Twitter today.
[Ed. see 19th March and 4 April. The President does not support this approach.]
25th May In a Downing Street press conference this afternoon, the PM says that car showrooms and open-air markets can re-open from 1st June
and all other non-essential retail premises from 15th June. The proviso in all cases is that they must be able to prove that they are providing covid-secure
premises following Government guidelines available shortly.
The i newspaper reports that the US President has scheduled an in-person G7 Summit of world leaders at Camp David for 10-12 June.
26th May BBC News reports that the Greek islands are open for local visitors and the ferries are sailing again. At present foreign visitors to mainland
Greece have to self-isolate for 14 days but this requirement will end on June 15th.
Mass demonstrations begin in the US following the death yesterday of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
He died in Minneapolis, Minnesota after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd
was handcuffed face down in the street. The demonstrations will lead in coming days to rioting and protests all over the country with little social distancing
Wednesday 27th May The total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the US passed the 100,000 mark this afternoon.
28th May On their Coronavirus Data Tracker, Savanta:, a marketing company and part of Next 15 Communications Group PLC, publish the latest
graph of the UK Government approval rating from 18th March to yesterday. Right-click to view full-size image. Also the approval ratings of the four chief scientists and politicians. Right-click to view full-size image.
Savanta say that the survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 1000 UK adults each day, representative by age, gender, region and social
grade. The approval rating is calculated as the % who are positive minus the % who are negative. So if the approval rating is negative then more people are
negative than those who are positive.
CityAM reports that new data from the US labor department shows that, overall, 40.7 million people have applied for jobless benefits in the US in the
last 10 weeks. This is around a quarter of the American workforce. Despite some non-essential businesses beginning to reopen, the weekly new claims figure only
showed a small drop from the previous total of 2.4 million. However, in rare glimpse of hope, jobless continuous claims, a record of those who have been collecting
benefits for two weeks or more, fell 4 million to 21 million.
29th May The Kashmir Observer reports that planemakers Boeing and Airbus have launched an initiative to convince travellers it will be safe to fly
again. They do not have a solution to distancing in the aircraft cabin but they point out that aircraft air conditioning systems use hospital-grade HEPA filters
(High-efficiency Particulate Arrestance) which will trap particles as small as the virus (0.06 to 0.14 microns). Around 30 to 50% of the cabin air is recycled, the
rest flushed outside and replaced with fresh. The air in the cabin is replaced every 2 to 3 minutes and each time the percentage of recycled air is less and less.
[Ed. Calculating from the percentages given above, this means that the air in the cabin is completely changed every 15 to 24 minutes]. The companies also make
the point that air is directed downwards flowing out of the vents rather than along the fuselage. However the vents are adjustable at present.
29th May The CSSE latest dashboard.
Sophie Charara in online magazine, Wired, reports problems with the NHS Contact, Trace and Advice Service (CTAS) which the UK Prime Minister said was live from yesterday.
The main service provider is Sitel Group, a worldwide telemarketing group with HQ in Miami, Florida. It employs call handlers in the UK who have access to online training
and work from home. The Synergy call centre script has not been syncing to the web-based CTAS and call handlers have not been able to log in or contact the Sitel helpline.
However Sitel later emailed call handlers to say that it had logged a critical incident and not to contact the help-line or speak to the press.
The UK Office of National Statistics record of all deaths, noted as linked to COVID-19 on the death certificate, has passed the 50,000 mark.
31st May Beach at Durdle Door, near Poole, Dorset.
Monday 1st June Relaxation of lockdown means from today in England there are no limits to travel (although it is still only up to 5 miles from home in Wales).
Also nurseries, early years and Reception Year 1 and Year 6 in schools may re-open. Outdoor retail such as car showrooms and markets may re-open. Sports events may begin but
behond closed doors.
A queue forms outside IKEA, Warrington store from 6:40am for store opening at 10:00am.
The BBC reports that changes to English law have come into force today. It is now a crime to stay at someone’s home overnight unless attending a funeral or for care purposes.
It is also illegal for two or more people to meet indoors or more than six people meeting outdoors. Unless of course it is household members who are in the home together.
The penalty for breaking these laws is a fine of up to £1000 in England.
These legal changes were made through a Statutory Instrument which does not need to be scrutinised or debated in Parliament (unlike most statutory instruments
which are subject to a negative resolution procedure and Parliament is consulted). It is an amendment to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England)
Regulations 2020 (SI 350) enacted at 1pm on 26 March 2020 by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, informally known as the Lockdown Regulations.
He was using emergency powers under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.
2nd June The open-air market reopens today in Ledbury, Herefordshire.
3rd June After a very sunny, dry month of May in the UK the Telegraph cartoonist’s view.
4th June At the afternoon Government briefing, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces that face coverings will be compulsory on buses, trams,
underground services, trains, aircraft and ferries from 15th June. [see 19 March]
ITV News picks up a report in the Guardian newspaper that the Chief operating officer of the NHS test and trace system for COVID-19, Tony Prestedge, has admitted
in a webinar that the programme to tackle the spread of Coronavirus would be an imperfect service at launch that will improve over time.
In a video obtained by the newspaper from May 27 – the day before the programme launched – Mr Prestedge is said to have told staff that the regime would
operate at a world-class level towards the September or October time. The Prime Minister said on May 20 that the operation would be world-beating.
The WHO website gives these figures for the number of deaths in each of the worst affected countries at 4:17pm Central European Summer Time today.
The second column is the United Nations country population estimates for 2020 and the number in brackets is the number of deaths per 100,000 people.
[ 32 ]
[ 57 ]
[ 55 ]
[ 15 ]
[ 44 ]
[ 59 ]
[ 8 ]
[ 82 ]
[ 10 ]
[ 9 ]
Worldwide the figures are over 6 million cases and over 380,000 deaths.
5th June BBC News reports that, despite 10 weeks of military-discipline lockdown at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, West London, out of 300 resident
Chelsea Pensioners, 84 contracted the virus, 74 recovered but 10 have died.
The Daily Mirror online reports on the success of Ceredigion in Wales in handling the pandemic. It is a rural UK county remote from national motorways and with
a low population density (750,000 over 700 sq. miles) but, even so, to date it has only 42 cases and 7 deaths. Aberystwyth University acted quickly closing down on
March 17th and preventing an influx of students. Ceredigion County Council advised camping and caravan parks to close, which they had by 24th March, and the county
was soon down to its core population. Then, before it had recorded a single case, the council set up a basic home-made test, track and trace system using a
simple questionnaire. Local environmental health officers checked the results. To save time it was assumed everyone with the known symptoms was infected and contacts
were traced and given advice. If those tested were clear of infection no harm was done but the population had been protected.
Sunday 7th June A number of newspapers report that llamas could be the key to developing coronavirus treatments and vaccines as their bodies
can produce antibodies which bind to the spike protein of various viruses and neutralise them. Early work in 2016 by a team of Belgian researchers at the Flemish
Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) in Ghent was directed towards SARS and MERS viruses.
Today El Nuova de Pueto Rico newspaper reports that scientists in Canada led by researcher Marc-André Langlois have determined that a particular antibody,
type G immunoglobin, appears to work against coranavirus. As well as normal size antibodies llamas can produce nanobodies which are about half the size and more
stable than those of humans. The team is working on cloning the genes associated with production of the antibody, reverse engineer and mass produce them
as vaccine antibodies. Clinical trials will be carried out to be sure they can be used safely and effectively in humans.
A video from the Wolverhampton Express and Star digital edition today.
8th June Dental Practices are allowed to re-open from today if the dentist is comfortable with the precautions they have put in place.
9th June The Evening Standard newspaper reports that human trials of a potential vaccine will begin in the UK next week at Imperial College London.
The vaccine team is led by Professor Robin Shattock. The RNA vaccine delivers genetic instructions to muscle cells to make the ‘spike’ protein on the
surface of the coronavirus virion. The vaccine will be tested on 300 people on June 15 as it enters phase one and phase two human clinical trials.
A further trial involving 6,000 people is planned for October and if these prove successful, Professor Shattock hopes the vaccine could be distributed in the UK
and abroad early next year. A separate vaccine from experts at Oxford University is currently undergoing human clinical trials.
BBC News reports that figures released by the Treasury show that 8.9 million workers are now covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more than a quarter
of the UK workforce, costing £19.6bn to date.
10th June At 5 pm UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that the Government is easing the ‘lock-down’ to allow the economy to begin to recover.
From 15th June all retail shops in England are allowed to re-open with suitable COVID-19 precautions in place as are safari parks and zoos. This is an extract from the statement.
He went on to say
The next set of changes - Step 3 - will not begin until 4 July at the earliest, as the evidence allows.It is because the rate of infection is not yet quite low enough, and because we are not able to change our social distancing advice including smaller class sizes
in schools, that we are not proceeding with our ambition to bring back all primary pupils at least for some weeks before the summer holidays. Instead we are working
with teachers to bring back as many pupils as we can within those smaller class sizes. We do fully intend to bring all children back to school in September, provided
the progress we are making continues, which I hope it will.
Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium researchers have analysed the viral genetic code from samples from over 20,000
infected people in the UK and found that less than 0.01% of infections were imported from China. Most came from European travellers. Italy in late February provided
14%, arrivals from Spain in early-to-mid March brought 33% and travellers from France in mid-late March, 28%. Each infection arriving in the UK set off a chain of
transmission which was only disrupted when lockdown began.
COG-UK is a partnership of NHS organisations, the four UK Public Health Agencies, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and twelve University partners, all working on viral
11th June How confirmed cases of COVID-19 have spread to date. Source: Johns Hopkins University, European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control.
Published by BBC News.
13th June The Economist magazine reports a possiby unforeseen result of easing lockdown travel restrictions. Relieving oneself in public is an offence, but
lockdown has closed most public toilets as well as cafés and pubs.After complaints of ‘large gatherings, public nuisance, public urination and
littering on our seafront’ Brighton and Hove council restricted access to the main beach. The Guardian newspaper reports that Waterstones, the UK’s biggest book chain, is making a special rule that all books handled by customers must be set aside on trolleys
to be put into storage and only returned to the shelves after 72 hours quarantine.
Single adult households can from today form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.
15th June Non-essential retail outlets and outdoor attractions are allowed to open from today after 83 days lockdown. Churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship
are allowed to open for individual private prayer only. Indoor markets and craft fairs may re-start.
The New York Times publishes charts showing how individual states are faring. The eight states shown here eased lockdown early with various results. They are Alabama, Arizona,
Florida, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. It shows that second waves of infection do exist. Right-click to view full-size image.
Here is the NY Times survey of all the states in a new tab. [Ed. You
have to accept cookies to view the page. It is updated daily.]
British airline Easyjet schedules flights again from Birmingham Airport and Gatwick. Starting with a minimal service, easyJet will fly mainly routes within Britain. There
are no refreshments, newspapers or magazines on board and easyJet staff are being told not to touch any passenger documents. Masks must be worn by everyone but there is no
social distancing on board as this is not possible with present seating configurations. [see 29 May]
16th June Horse racing news. An enhanced 36-race card is being staged from today over the five days of the Royal Ascot meeting behind closed doors. Races will be
available to view on ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing and on NBC in the US and on Channel 7/Racing.com in Australia. There is also a Parade Ring 360° Live Camera.
Wednesday 17th June Reuters News Agency reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) says it is moving to update its guidelines on treating people stricken with
COVID-19 to reflect results of a clinical trial that showed a cheap, common steroid can help save critically ill patients. Results of a clinical trial, announced on
Tuesday by researchers in Britain [at Oxford Univerity], showed that dexamethasone, [a cortico-steroid] used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in
diseases such as arthritis, cut death rates by around a third among the most severely ill COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. Researchers behind the study say it suggests
the drug should immediately become standard care in severely stricken patients. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third,
and for patients needing only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO. The benefit was only seen in patients seriously
ill with COVID-19 and was not observed in patients with milder disease. The researchers stress it is not a cure.
Newsweek reports it was a four-week study of around 6,400 COVID-19 patients of whom 2,104 were given 6mg of dexamethasone per day for 10 days drug either orally or by IV.
The UK government has today approved the use of the drug to treat all UK hospitalised patients requiring oxygen, including those on ventilators.
In ‘The Lancet’ medical journal there is a report by ISARIC-4C (the International Severe Acute Respiratory
and Emergency Infection Consortium) that research
involving 30,000 COVID-19 patients in the UK between February and May this year whose ethnicity was recorded shows that people with a South Asian background (basically India,
Pakistan, Bangaldesh, Sri Lanka) were 19% more likely to die of the infection than white patients. One factor might be that 40% of this ethnic group had diabetes compared with
25% of white patients. Black patients have around 5% more likelihood of dying than white patients. These figures may be taken into account when deciding the priority for
vaccinations. [Ed. ISARIC is funded by the Medical Research Council, part of the Francis Crick Institute, London.]
A Financial Times article describes a possible complication with any vaccine developed. There is a little-known but thankfully rare phenomenon called antibody-dependent
enhancement (ADE), also known as disease enhancement or immune enhancement. It refers to a counter-intuitive and potentially dangerous situation: when the presence of antibodies,
which are supposed to vanquish disease, worsens rather than quells an infection. It was first observed in 2017 when a vaccine for dengue fever was given to more than 800,000
schoolchildren in the Philippines and reports began trickling in of vaccinated children falling seriously ill, and some dying. The 2017 rollout was halted. Vaccines against other
coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, have also shown evidence of ADE.
The UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, says at the daily briefing that the Contact, Trace and Advice service is working but that the NHSX Track and Trace app has hit problems.
The NHS reported that in the Isle of Wight trial 75% of Google Android phones were recognised but only 4% of Apple phones. The Google-Apple app identified 99% of contacts on both
platforms. The NHSX algorithm is reportedly better at detecting distance apart than the Apple-Google app, so the UK is to discuss possible compromises to allow the Apple-Google
app to be used in the UK as it is already in Germany, Italy and Ireland. The NHSX app has already cost £11 m
and uses a central computer to store information. For privacy, the American app uses a phone-to-phone system to ensure data is not available to any central government agency.
Dido Harding, the former telecommunications industry executive, is leading the government’s tracing program and Matthew Gould is head of NHSX. The nationwide rollout is now
expected to be at the end of the year.
18th June The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation publishes a report on priority groups for COVID-19
An article in the i newspaper suggests that vitamin D deficiency, which is associated with obesity and diabetes, may also cause COVID-19 vulnerability.
Two facts are noted.
The BAME community has proved vulnerable possibly because their skin pigment cuts down the amount of UV light which is being absorbed and producing vitamin D. Also countries with
more daily sunshine have lower mortality rates. Australia is 1.5%, New Zealand and South Africa 2%, India 3%. In comparison UK and Italy are 14%. Norway 3% and Portugal 4% are low
possibly because a diet high in fish supplies the vitamin D. Inexpensive Vitamin D supplements are already widely taken in many countries in the winter season.
A chicken processing factory at Llangefni, Anglesey belonging to the 2 Sisters Food Group is temporarily suspending production with immediate effect for a period of 14 days
following a serious outbreak of COVID-19 at the factory. There have been 58 confirmed cases. The Llangefni factory has 560 workers but the group is international and after its
takeover of Noerthern Foods in 20111 it is now the largest food company in the UK by turnover. [Ed. By 23rd June the BBC reports that there are 200 cases.]
19th June The UK COVID Alert level is lowered to level 3.
20th June Johns Hopkins CRS shows this chart of mortality rates by country, that is, the number of people who die per 100 confirmed cases in each country. [Ed.
Various commentators have said the statistics are only approximate as they depend of the amount of testing done to get confirmed cases and the deaths may only be those that occur
in hospital. So the mortality percentage is probably lower for most countries but the position of various countries is interesting. Worldwide WHO reckons 3.4% on average.]
Right-click to view full-size image. US President Trump holds his first Make America Great Again! presidential campaign rally at the BOK Center Arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 7pm CT (UTC-5hrs). Tickets are free,
but attendees must sign a waiver saying that the Trump campaign is not liable if they become ill. People are offered masks to wear but few do and temperature checks are carried out
on entry. Just before the rally there is news that six staff members involved in organising the rally test positive for the coronavirus. The rally was moved from June 19th as this
is the Juneteenth public holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the US on June 19th 1865. The holiday is held in all US states except for Hawaii and North and South Dakota.
23rd June There is to be an easing of UK lockdown restrictions today but no-one knows when the announcement will be made.
At 8:26am ET (1:26pm BST) the New York Times publishes an article ‘U.K. Leader Lifts Wide Variety of Coronavirus Restrictions.’ Pubs, restaurants, museums and
hair salons in England will be allowed to reopen July 4 with restrictions and, inevitably, higher levels of risk.
LONDON — Three months after reluctantly and belatedly imposing a
lockdown on Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday [today] that he would lift many restrictions — most significantly, cutting the required social distance
between people in half, to one meter, or about three feet. ..... Transmission is far less likely outdoors, which is why pubs and restaurants will be required to install plastic
screens, provide adequate ventilation and collect contact information from customers. ..... To cheers from the handful of members in the chamber [at the House of Commons], the
famously tousled prime minister said everyday rituals of British life would return. Almost as eagerly expected as a pint, he said, will be a haircut, especially by me.
..... Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are making their decisions on easing lockdown separately, with Scotland and Wales moving more slowly than England. ..... Under the new
plans, hairdressers in England will be able to open, as will places of worship, movie theaters, concert halls and other entertainment venues, though they will not be allowed to stage
live performances. Wedding ceremonies will be permitted and more people will be allowed to meet indoors.
The UK Government announces that the coronavirus daily briefings will end after today. A total of 92 briefings held over 3 months.
24th June Four countries compared by Our World in Data website today. Right-click to view full-size image.
A weekly programme on BBC Radio Four called More or Less puts statistics under the microscope. Today one listener had a query and producer Kate Lamble gave this answer.
26th June An update of the 4 June entry showing the WHO website number of deaths in each of the worst affected countries
at 8:01am Central European Summer Time today. The second column is the United Nations country population estimates for 2020 and the number
in brackets is the number of deaths per 100,000 people.
[ 37 ]
[ 63 ]
[ 57 ]
[ 25 ]
[ 45 ]
[ 60 ]
[ 19 ]
[ 83 ]
[ 11 ]
[ 12 ]
Worldwide the figures are over 9 million cases and over 480,000 deaths.
Articles on PEDIAA.com from October 2019 and Confirm Biosciences in April 2020 explain that there are five classes of immunoglobulins in
placental mammals. IgG, IgM, IgA, IgE, and IgD. They are also known as antibody isotypes.
IgM antibodies are the largest antibodies in the body
and are typically produced first when an individual gets infected by a virus. IgM antibodies make up about 5% to 10% of all the antibodies in
the body. They are found in the blood and lymph fluid. IgG antibodies are the smallest and most common antibodies. They make up about 75% to 80%
of all the antibodies in the body. IgG antibodies can be found in all body fluids. Unlike IgM antibodies, the body produces IgG antibodies much
later, roughly 2 to 4 weeks after the initial infection and can only be detected in the later course of the illness. So IgG antibodies present
indicates recent infection or in-recovery states. An antibody testing with positive IgG with negative IgM results indicates that a person who
has been exposed to or infected with COVID-19 and now has protection against COVID-19.
The Evening Standard newspaper reports that a range of the rapid response kits are to be evaluated, including one from a group headed up by
Oxford University. The Rapid Test Consortium, made up of Oxford University and four UK manufacturers - BBI Solutions, Abingdon Health, CIGA
Healthcare and Omega Diagnostics - claims its device is highly accurate. It uses a finger prick of blood to produce results in 10 minutes.
Deaths in our corner of Herefordshire between March 1st and May 31st. Figures from the Office of Mational Statistics with the rider: And
while the authority endeavour to be as specific as possible, there are certain instances where the data may be slightly skewed. For example: To
protect confidentiality, a small number of deaths have been reallocated between neighbouring areas. 😕 Focussing in on the very local, in Ledbury town there were two deaths in March and three in May. In Bosbury village there were two deaths in
March and one in April.
27th June The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana reports that Texas and Florida have reversed course and clamped down on bars
yesterday in the nation’s biggest retreat yet as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections per day in the U.S. surged to an all-time
high of 40,000.
28th June Johns Hopkins Medical University reports that the number of confirmed cases has now passed 10 million worldwide. There
have been nearly 500,000 deaths.
29th June The Hereford Times newspaper reports that the first local lockdown is in force for Leicester following a spike in
coronavirus cases. It means the city, located in the East Midlands, will shut non-essential shops and close schools to most pupils. It is part
of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called a ‘whack-a-mole strategy’ to crack down on flare-ups, and could be extended to other
towns and cities over the next months.
The next day the Daily Mail newspaper reports that Leicester has the largest number of garment workers in the UK and there are 1500 garment
manufacturing businesses in the city employing around 10,000 people, the majority from BAME communities. Asim Ali, 34, manager of Fazia Fashion
in Leicester explained the problem. Our workers are predominantly South Asian, and they know the risks they are taking because they are most at risk of catching coronavirus.
But what can they do? They are not rich people and need this money to survive. ... ‘We lost around £20,000 per week during that
period [they closed for only 4 weeks during the first lockdown] and had to reopen early. Our workers also wanted to come back. Orders have
started picking up again but now this second lockdown has ruined things
1st JulyThis article in The Lancet of 30th January 2020 shows
that from early days the Chinese authorities were giving out information concerning their research on the pandemic.
Research in this article (PDF format) in the British Medical Journal / Global Health Volume
5, Issue 5, May 2020 shows that the wearing of face masks is useful in trapping fine droplets of moisture containing the virus which are breathed
out by infected people who are not yet showing symptoms of coughing or fever. This was not realised early on when only virus coming in through
the mask was studied.
The BBC Radio Four programme More or Less summarises the possible mistakes made in the UK early on in the pandemic.
And in Part 2 the programme looks at the situation in care homes.
From today holiday homes, hotels and campsites may re-open if judged Covid-safe.
3rd July The UK Government announces that the methodology for reporting cases changed today in order to remove duplicates.
This means that 30,302 previously reported cases were removed from the UK total. The figures on the UK COVID-19 cases chart which I have been
updating daily are now incorrect and a sudden reduction appears from 1st July (313,483 cases) to 2nd July (283,757 cases). However the chart
still shows broadly how the pandemic peaked in April, then slowed and now is at a steady level of infections.
USA TODAY reports two days of record cases in the US that surpassed 50,000 according to Johns Hopkins University. On
Wednesday there were 50,655 and Thursday 52,291. President Trump has said that if the country reduced testing the figures would not look so bad.
His aides did say this was a joke but he insists it wasn’t. Also starting from today face masks will be required in public in Texas
counties with at least 20 coronavirus cases daily.
Saturday 4th July Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that wearing face coverings in shops will
be compulsory in Scotland from July 10th. In England restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels can re-open with COVID-secure arrangements in place.
5th July From today people who have been shielding, as they have medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable, may
leave their homes to meet up to six people outdoors.
6th July The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a television interview says We discovered too many care homes didn’t
really follow the procedures in the way they could have but we’re learning lessons the whole time. The National Care Forum said his
words were frankly hugely insulting. Health Minister Matt Hancock later explained that the words meant that because asymptomatic transmission
was not known about, the correct procedures were therefore not known. Later again a spokesman for Number 10 said the PM would not be apologising
for his remarks.
7th July An update on the cruise ship situation. 25 cruise ships have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 including Diamond Princess,
Grand Princess and Ruby Princess. The very first, the Diamond Princess [see 4th February] had on board a total of 3,711 people - 2,666 passengers
and 1,045 crew. Of these, 712 people contracted the virus, 651 recovered, 14 died and 47 are still undergoing treatment, 3 being seriouisly ill.
[Figures from various sources]. The Diamond Princess will restart cruises on 16th October with a 17-day Hokkaido Northern Japan round-trip sailing
Cricket begins with an international Test Match between England and the West Indies at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, UK.
The West Indian team have been living and isolating together at an on-site hotel at Old Trafford, Manchester. The match will be held behind
closed doors and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has made several interim changes to the Playing Conditions due to the pandemic.
Players are banned from using saliva to shine the ball, with five penalty runs being awarded to the opposition for repeated transgressions.
The Government has announced that NHS workers will start to pay for parking at hospitals where they work. Parking has been free since 23rd
March. Hospitals in Wales and most Scottish and Northern Ireland hospitals, unless their car parks are privately-run, already provide free
staff parking. The Opposition Labour party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, criticised this decision in the House of Commons.
Today the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announces in Parliament further financial help for businesses as a number of
leading retail businesses are making staff cuts and closing stores. The measures include a cut in Value-Added Tax from 20% to 5% from 15 July
to 12 January 2021 for food and non-alcoholic drinks in restaurants, pubs and cafes, as well as hot takeaway food and for accommodation in
hotels and Bed and Breakfast guest houses. To encourage the housing market the threshold for stamp duty on residential property in England
and Northern Ireland will rise from £125,000 to £500,000 meaning almost nine out of ten transactions would be tax-free. To help
restaurants an Eat out to help out scheme will offer a 50% discount for every diner, up to £10 a head, from Monday to Wednesday
8th July Quarantine restrictions imposed on travellers returning from abroad are lifted for all countries where the pandemic
is easing. The first holiday flights led by easyJet and Ryanair are restarting.
11th July NBC News Digital graph of US cases. Right-click to view full-size image.
12th July Vegetable producers AS Green and Co, based at Rook Row Farm, Mathon, Herefordshire have reported an outbreak of COVID-19
among their 200-strong picking and packing workforce despite having in place a range of infection control measures including promoting social
distancing in communal social areas and in the indoor packaging area, providing PPE for staff where applicable, encouraging regular handwashing
and promoting the use of face coverings in closed areas. PHE Midlands testing has currently found 73 positive cases with most being asymptomatic.
During the harvesting season, the workforce resides in mobile homes based on the farm, so as a precaution, the whole group are being treated as
one extended bubble. Workers are being asked to remain on the farm during the period of isolation and stay within household groups to reduce
risk of spread within the workforce and into the wider community. Herefordshire Council is arranging food and essential supplies while they
self-isolate. Karen Wright, Director of Public Health for Herefordshire, said: While Herefordshire is the first to experience an outbreak
of this kind, this is not unexpected. Our priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of all residents in our community.
12th July The UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announces in Parliament that face coverings will be compulsory in shops and
supermarkets in England from Friday July 24. Anyone who refuses will face fines of up to £100. This follows Scotland’s lead but Wales
has not decided. People in Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Greece and Italy are already wearing masks in shops and on public transport.
[see 19 March video]
13th July World leaders showing a united front.
Bolsonaro (Brazil) Trudeau (Canada) Johnson (UK), Merkel (Germany) Macron (France) Conte (Italy), Abe (Japan) Netanyahu (Israel) Trump (USA).
Tuesday 14th July The elusive English street artist, Banksy, paints his trademark rats on the London Underground and posts
the video on Instagram. Sadly a Transport for London source told the Evening Standard that the cleaners had no idea of the significance of
the work and so it was dealt with as regular graffiti would be. Joey Syer, an art dealer weho specialises in Banksy’s work says, if
the installation could have been removed and protected, we estimate it’s value as a complete package to be in the region of
£7.5million. TFL have asked Banksy if he might recreate it for them in a permanent location.
15th July The i newspaper reports that, on the Herefordshire farm, two more workers have tested positive.
Three workers have left the farm and police are working on tracing them to ensure they are self-isolating. Workers from the farm went by minibus
to four stores last week - Worcester’s Primark, Iceland and the Romanian store and also to Morrisons supermarket in Malvern.
16th July BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester reports that there are more confirmed COVID-19 cases at the farm in Herefordshire.
17th July PHE England is reviewing how it records fatalities from COVID-19 in England. It counts people who have tested positive
but die many weeks later of unrelated causes. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland deaths from COVID-19 are counted
only if the individual dies within 28 days of testing positive. This could mean that England’s figures have been over-counted.
Monday 20th July The BBC reports that the UK government has signed deals for 90 million doses of promising coronavirus vaccines that
are being developed. The vaccines are being researched by an alliance between the pharmaceutical companies BioNtech and Pfizer as well as the
firm Valneva. The new deal is on top of 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca.
21st July Another snapshot from the Johns Hopkins University Dashboard. Right click to view the picture full-size.
Friday 24th July From today face coverings are compulsory when visiting shops and supermarkets in England. This includes
take-away meal customers but not if they eat-in, when only social distancing applies.
Sky News reports that scientists at the University of Texas have discovered a ‘camouflage’ enzyme which allows the virus to slip
past the immune system and enter host cells. The enzyme modifies the virus messenger RNA so that they appear to be part of the cells own RNA
code and not foreign. They have named the enzyme nsp16. Research is continuing to find drugs to neutralise this enzyme.
Car parking charges start again today in public car parks in Herefordshire. The pay machines were covered up on 24 March.
25th July Local television stations across the United States owned by Sinclair Television are planning to broadcast an interview
this weekend by a leading advocate of conspiracy theories. Virologist Dr Judy Mikovits says that Dr. Antony Fauci, the director of the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a chief adviser to the US Government, manufactured the coronavirus and shipped it to
the Wuhan laboratory in China from where it escaped into the population.
On her website she also says that 5G transmitters are dangerous because the frequency of 5G, which is 10 x higher than the one of 4G,
causes cell poisoning in the human body. Our cells try to kick out this poisoning by excreting RNA/DNA proteins which are called a virus.
These excreted fluids eventually leave our body through our nose/mouth. So it’s not the coronavirus causing this pandemic but the
radiation of the 5G satellites, towers and cells that were rolled out firstly half a year ago in Wuhan, then Spain and Italy, etc... It
takes 6 months for this radiation to impact your body. She has also said at meetings that immunizations are contaminated by retroviruses
and environmental toxins and that unsafe vaccines are linked to a long list of disease ranging from lupus and autism to cancer and
26th July Another interviewee on the Sinclair TV programme said that the American Government gave a grant to the Wuhan laboratory for coronavirus
research. President Trump said earlier that the Obama administration gave them a grant of $3.7 million.
In April, the UK newspaper, the Daily Mail, repeated the story in its Sunday Edition. Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show the
Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook coronavirus experiments on mammals captured more than 1,000 miles away in Yunnan – funded by a $3.7
million grant from the US government. USAToday reported on 4th May that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirmed that a 5-year grant was made in 2014 for $3,378,896
to the EcoHealth Alliance Inc., a US non-profit NGO investing in health research projects. The money was distributed across a number of
sites: the primary awardee, EcoHealth Health Alliance (New York), and sub-awardees, Wuhan Institute of Virology (Wuhan), East China Normal
University (Shanghai), the Institute of Pathogen Biology (Beijing), and Duke-NUS Medical School (Singapore). The original five-year grant
was re-approved by the Trump administration in July 2019 but terminated in April 2020. EcoHealth reports that over the course of the two
grants the Wuhan Institute received about $600,000 from the NIH.
28th July The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme begins on 3rd August and runs all day, every Monday, Tuesday
and Wednesday until 31 August 2020. It offers a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount
per diner) at all restaurants that have pre-registered.
29th July Ben Richardson, director of Development Academy / Acuity Training, a management training firm in London, reports his staff
have looked at the oratory skills of world leaders over 2020 analysing hundreds of hours of footage from press conferences, speeches and public
addresses in 2020 and have come up with a top ten. The top five are 1. Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand), 2. Angela Merkel (Germany), 3. Narendra Modi
(India), 4. Justin Trudeau (Canada) and 5. Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland). Neither Prime Minister Johnson nor President Trump figure in the top ten list.
Here is a sample of Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic leadership style.
In the i newspaper, health officials in Mumbai, India say that from sampling it appears that around 57% of the slum
dwellers have tested positive for anti-bodies for the coronavirus. Of Mumbai’s 12 million population roughly 65% live in the cramped, airless
slums making for easy transmission of the disease. Suresh Kakani, an official at Mumbai’s civic body, said We are inching towards
herd immunity. [Ed. Herd immunity is when a large part of the population is immune to the virus either because they have been infected and
recovered or have been vaccinated. If enough people are immune, the virus has nowhere to go, infection rates fall and it disappears.]
An interesting report is published by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. Among other points it says that discharging patients
from hospital into social care without first testing them for COVID-19 was an appalling error. Here is the report (PDF)
The other decision which has been widely criticised is that from 13 March to 8 June there were no border controls on people coming here from Europe.
This may be the reason coronavirus was able to seed itself all over the UK.
30th July Late this evening the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock (using his personal online Twitter account) makes an important
Government announcement in four parts:
9:16pm 1/4 We’re constantly looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we’ve seen an increasing
rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.
2/4 We’ve been working with local leaders across the region, and today I chaired a meeting of the Local Action Gold Committee. Based on
the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire & East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe.
3/4 The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing. So from midnight tonight, people from different
households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.
9:18pm 4/4 We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is
neccessary to keep people safe.
At midnight the Moslem festival of Eid Al-Adha begins. The Muslim Council of Britain’s secretary, Harun Khan, criticises the timing of the
announcement. The newspapers next morning criticise using Twitter for official Government instructions and Matt Hancock posts another Tweet, this
time a video. This is a still of the start.
Nothing has been posted on the official Government Twitter channel, @GOVUK which says it is the best place to find UK government services
and information. The UK Government opened their account in November 2008 following the US Government’s example @USAGOV set up in March 2008.
The chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unanimously agree that the isolation period, if you test positive or
have symptoms, be extended from seven to ten days as there is new evidence that infectiousness can last this time.
31st July BBC Radio News reports this morning that from 8 August face coverings must be worn in places of worship.
1st August France banned religious face coverings in 2011. This month face masks are required in all indoor public spaces in France
but the Muslim burqa is still banned.
2nd August The University of Oxford and the University of Birmingham (at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital) have announced a new 90-minute
test for COVID-19. An Oxford firm Nanopore is producing the LamPORE test which detects coronavirus and other winter viruses. There is a desktop testing
machine (GridION) and a palm-sized version (MinION) which can be used for mobile ‘pop-up’ labs. which can be set up quickly at virus hot spots.
The test uses saliva or nasal samples whereas the present PCR test can take up to 72 hours to process and needs a deep nose or back-of-the-throat swab
both fairly unpleasant to experience. [See also 2 April but the Cambridge Samba II test has not been mentioned recently]
Reuter’s News Agency reports that Australia’s second-most-populous state, Victoria, entered its first full day under stricter lockdown
measures on Monday, after declaring a state of disaster and imposing a nightly curfew in the state capital Melbourne, to fight a resurgent COVID-19. This
is the position in terms of cases - a definite second wave of infections. Right-click to view the graph full-size.
5th August Update on Rook Row Farm. The Hereford Times reports that, although there are now 142 farm workers tested positive on the farm,
around 100 have now recovered and will choose whether to head home or continue working at the farm picking and packing the broccoli, runner beans, broad
beans and Helda beans (flat beans eaten whole like mange-tout peas). The Green family has been living and working the farm for nearly 50 years. Photo courtesy of A S Green & Co. website
6th August The i newspaper reports that the NHS Blood and Transplant Unit says it has taken more than 13,000 blood
plasma donations from people who have had COVID-19 and recovered and whose blood has a high antibody count.
7th August Three local councils, under lockdown again because of an upswing in cases, have set up their own contact-tracing services after
the national service admitted it was only reaching around half of all close contacts of people with COVID-19. Blackburn with Darwen, Calderdale and
Preston are all situated in the north of England.
9th August Update of 11th June. How confirmed cases of COVID-19 have spread to date. Source: Johns Hopkins University, European Centre
for Disease Prevention & Control. Published by BBC News.
10th August UK Government graph showing the situation in hospitals in the UK over the pandemic period so far. Right-click to view full-size.