COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
Government pledges more coronavirus tests for care homes
The Government has promised that all care home residents and social care staff with coronavirus symptoms will be tested as capacity is built up.
Currently the first five symptomatic residents in a care home setting are tested to provide confirmation of whether if there is an outbreak.
Yet when lab capacity increases, the government will expand testing to include all care home residents who develop symptoms as well as all patients discharged from hospital before going into care homes.
They will also allow all social care staff who need a test to have access to one with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to contact all 30,000 care providers in the coming days to offer tests.
ECMO physicians offer guidance in the context of resource-scarce COVID-19 treatment
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a form of life support for patients with advanced lung disease to support critically ill patients in the current pandemic.
In "ECMO Resource Planning in the Setting of a Pandemic Respiratory Illness," an open-access paper published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, ECMO physicians outline their approach for care.
Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 beyond supportive care such as mechanical ventilation or, in severe cases, ECMO to maintain patients and provide a window for potential recovery. However, when demand far outpaces a hospital's ability to provide highly specialised, resource-intensive therapies such as ECMO, physicians must be prepared to determine when and if to offer such support.
Covid-19: MDU offers advice for doctors making difficult decisions
The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has issued advice to its members faced with difficult decisions and competing interests during the Covid-19 outbreak. It said that no action to withdraw life-saving treatment which is in the patient’s interests should occur unless the court first rules this is lawful.
As the law currently stands, if a doctor is faced with the dilemma of competing interests between two patients and the possibility of withdrawing treatment which is in the patient’s best interests from that patient, in order to treat another patient, the doctor should first ensure their Trust makes an emergency application for a declaration to the Court of Protection.
Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive said: “The question has been raised about whether doctors may face criminal and regulatory investigation when making emergency decisions about the administration and withdrawal of life prolonging treatment. We hope this dilemma will not arise in practice, given the tremendous efforts which have been made by the NHS to increase capacity to meet the demands of Covid-19.”
Donald Trump halts funding to WHO
US President Donald Trump’s move to halt funding to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic prompted condemnation on Wednesday from world leaders who appealed for cooperation and unity.
Trump, who has reacted angrily to accusations his administration’s response to the worst epidemic in a century was haphazard and too slow, had become increasingly hostile towards the UN agency before announcing the halt on Tuesday.
WHO had failed to investigate credible reports from sources in China’s Wuhan province, where the virus was first identified in December, that conflicted with Beijing’s accounts about the spread and “parroted and publicly endorsed” the idea that human to human transmission was not happening, Trump said. (Reuters)
Other news roundup
- Spain's death toll falls to 523 from 567
- British fashion brand Barbour has turned over its production line to making protective gowns
- WHO says countries that ease restrictions should wait at least two weeks to evaluate the impact of such changes before easing again
- Army veteran Tom Moore has raised more than £5 million for NHS in a sponsored walk
- Denmark starts reopening schools and nurseries
- Tour de France delayed to 29 August