COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
WHO sees 'potentially positive data' on Covid-19 treatments
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that some treatments appear to be limiting the severity or length of the Covid-19 respiratory disease and said the body is focusing on learning more about four or five of the most promising ones.
“We do have some treatments that seem to be in very early studies limiting the severity or the length of the illness but we do not have anything that can kill or stop the virus,” spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a virtual briefing, referring to the body’s so-called Solidarity Trial of drugs against the disease.
“We do have potentially positive data coming out but we need to see more data to be 100% confident that we can say this treatment over that one,” she added. (Reuters)
New AI diagnostic can predict Covid-19 without testing
Researchers at King's College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and health science company ZOE have developed an artificial intelligence diagnostic that can predict whether someone is likely to have Covid-19 based on their symptoms. Their findings are published in Nature Medicine.
The AI model uses data from the COVID Symptom Study app to predict Covid-19 infection, by comparing people's symptoms and the results of traditional Covid tests. Researchers say this may provide help for populations where access to testing is limited. Two clinical trials in the UK and the US are due to start shortly.
More than 3.3 million people globally have downloaded the app and are using it to report daily on their health status, whether they feel well or have any new symptoms such as persistent cough, fever, fatigue and loss of taste or smell (anosmia).
Coronavirus has made it harder to talk about death
Older people and their families need to start having difficult conversations about dying and coping with bereavement after a survey showed more than half (56%) of surveyed adults in the UK don’t want to talk about death.
The survey from Independent Age also found that fewer than a quarter (23%) have actually had this conversation already and under one in three (31%) said that talking about death is always difficult, no matter the circumstances. More than one in 13 (8%) think that it has become even more difficult to talk about death in the context of coronavirus.
The most common reason given to not talk about death with family members or friends was not wanting to upset them (22%). Respondents aged 65 and over, however, were the most likely to say that nothing would stop them talking about death, with almost half (46%) agreeing.
CMI anticipates gradual decline in excess weekly deaths
The Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) shows there were 1.6 times as many deaths registered in week 18 of 2020 than if death rates had been the same as week 18 of 2019. The ratio was 2.2 in week 17 and 2.4 in week 16.
There may have been around 60,000 more deaths in the UK from the start of the pandemic to 11 May 2020 than if mortality rates were similar to those experienced in 2019.
The update shows the position as at week 18 of 2020 (25 April to 1 May) based on provisional England & Wales deaths data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 12 May 2020.
Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee said: “The latest figures released by the ONS show another decline in ‘excess’ weekly deaths.. However, it is likely that the fall in excess deaths will be more gradual over the coming weeks than the earlier rise, as seen in other countries.”
Other news roundup
- The UK government's job retention scheme has been extended until end of October
- Five Covid-19 hospital patients have killed in St Petersburg after a ventilator short-circuit
- New guidance has been issued to UK businesses to make them Covid-secure in preparation for people returning to work
- Nicola Sturgeon asked employers north of the border to follow Scottish government guideline
- The Welsh government will not recommend that its citizens wear face masks
- Newly diagnosed cases of coronavirus in Spain has fallen to its lowest in more than two months