COVID-19 current figures

 

Current UK cases: 143,464 are confirmed as positive

Numbers tested: 444,222 people have been tested in the UK

19,506 (684) patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died

(Source: DHSC: As of 9am on 24 April 2020/death figures of 5pm on 23 April 2020)

 

Global situation report:  2,544,792 confirmed (73,657) 175,694 deaths (6,689)

European Region: 1,251,458 confirmed (31,972) 113,336 deaths (3,384)

Regions of the Americas: 957,402 confirmed (32,111) 47,812 deaths (3,038)

Eastern Mediterranean Region: 144,450 confirmed (5,101) 6,469 deaths (143)

Western Pacific Region: 137,902 confirmed (1,632) 5818 deaths (25)

South-East Asia: 36,039 confirmed (2,127) 1,498 deaths (71)

African Region: 16,829 confirmed (714) 748 deaths (28)

 

(Source: World Health Organization situation report 94)

 

 

Today's COVID-19 headlines

 

Trump's disinfectant idea shocking and dangerous, doctors say

Doctors and health experts urged people not to drink or inject disinfectant on Friday after US President Donald Trump suggested scientists should investigate inserting the cleaning agent into the body as a way to cure Covid-19.

“This is one of the most dangerous and idiotic suggestions made so far in how one might actually treat Covid-19,” said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at Britain’s University of East Anglia. He said infecting disinfectants would be likely to kill anyone who tried it.

“It is hugely irresponsible because, sadly, there are people around the world who might believe this sort of nonsense and try it out for themselves,” he told Reuters.

Trump said at his daily media briefing on Thursday that scientists should explore whether inserting light or disinfectant into the bodies of people infected with the new coronavirus might help them clear the disease.

“Is there a way we can do something like that by injection, inside, or almost a cleaning?,” he said. “It would be interesting to check that.” (Reuters)

 

Risk assessments for staff a priority to prevent further deaths

The NHS Confederation BME Leadership Network has published a briefing on the impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and health and care staff. 

In response, RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said: 'NHS staff across the UK are saddened and increasingly concerned by the number of Covid-19 related deaths of colleagues, particularly those from BAME backgrounds. The RCP welcomes this briefing and supports the recommendations as a crucial first step in protecting health and care workers and the public.

'It is critical that we take action without delay, so we are particularly pleased that the NHS Confederation says it is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop risk assessment and mitigation strategies. We know some trusts are already doing innovative work producing guidance for staff, taking into account risk factors and deploying their workforce accordingly."

 

RCGP calls for rules on controlled medication for patients at the end of life to be relaxed

Patients are experiencing 'unnecessary' pain and distress in the last days of their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic due to laws restricting the use of controlled drugs, the Royal College of GPs has warned today.

In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, the College says that the NHS also risks running out of essential medications unless there is a temporary ‘urgent relaxation' of the legal restrictions that mean controlled drugs - such as morphine which is used to help control severe breathlessness and pain in patients - can only be given to named patients, and then destroyed if not used. 

In the letter, RCGP Chair Professor Martin Marshall acknowledges that the law governing the use of controlled drugs is 'reasonable' in normal times, but that during the current pandemic, "the increased number of patients with end-of-life-care needs is leading to delays in administering drugs to patients whose COVID-19 symptoms develop rapidly."

 

Covid-19 measures having a negative effect on other causes of death

The measures being taken to deal with Covid-19 may be having a negative effect on other causes of death, particularly other respiratory causes, according to John Appleby, Chief Economist at the Nuffield Trust.

Writing in the BMJ, he said for the moment, the data are incomplete, too uncertain, and too fast moving to support any reliable conclusions. One problem may be that people might not seek care from the NHS, perhaps because they fear contracting Covid-19 or they don’t want to burden the NHS at a time when the service is under pressure, he explains.

Indeed, March figures show a 29% drop in the number of attendances at emergency departments and a 23% drop in total emergency admissions in England, compared with 2019.

  

Other news roundup

  • WHO announces a “landmark collaboration” to speed development of safe, effective drugs, tests and vaccines prevent, diagnose and treat Covid-19

  • Metropolitan police officers reveal they are arresting an average of 100 people a day for domestic violence offences

  • DHSC apologies after the website set up for key workers to book Covid-19 tests stopped accepting applications due to high demand

  • Transport for London furloughs 7,000 employees to save about £15.8m