COVID 19 Healthcare Challenge – our October summary & a video on localised lockdowns

12th October 2020 by Anna Gyarmati

As part of medDigital's continuing myth-busting blog series about the COVID-19 healthcare challenge, we're sharing our latest end-of-month COVID-19 news summary focusing on the scientific aspects of the pandemic and the responses to it from around the world.

This month, the UK passed 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with some 17,540 new cases announced on Thursday 8th October. Public Health England Medical Director Yvonne Doyle warned of a “definite and sustained” increase in cases and hospitalizations.

Read more about PHE's latest case increase announcement here.

In Central Scotland, a 16-day shutdown of pubs, restaurants and cafes that serve alcohol was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday 7th October and as COVID-19 cases surge in the U.K., ministers are considering tighter restrictions in some parts of England in order to stop the spread of the disease. The restrictions also aim to control or reduce hospital admissions with a tiered lockdown approach that would mean imposing various restrictions to different parts of the country -  such as the closure of pubs and restaurants - based on the varying degree of infection rates.

Read more about Scotland's approach here.

Here at medDigital, we have already written a blog about localised lockdowns and as the approach is seemingly likely to become more relevant and prominent than ever before, we have assessed the science behind the lockdowns and the R-number that we are currently following in our latest blogWhilst the R-number is indeed a very important metric, some argue that the overlooked variable that is the key to the pandemic is not the R, but the k-number.

Read more about the k-number here. 

Our Founder and Medical Director, Felix Jackson also gave a breakdown of his view on localised lockdowns and what they mean for the future and the coming winter months as well as explained what we currently understand about the government’s approach on deciding about local lockdowns. Watch the video below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for future videos to come!

Whilst testing protocol within the NHS still only suggests a test when one is showing symptoms of coronavirus (unless if one is asked by their local council get a test or is taking part in a government pilot project), mass testing is considered to be one of the key steps to get a grasp on the pandemic as a number of entirely asymptomatic carriers is still estimated to be around 20%.

Learn more about who asymptomatic carriers are in our blog post here

On the bright side, the technology behind testing (a topic previously explored on our blog) is evolving rapidly – a new, CRISPR-based test is able to detect coronavirus in just 5 minutes using fluorescent aptamers. It is also interesting to witness how the evolution and boosted adoption of COVID-19 rapid tests paves the way for at-home lab tests to become the new norm in the future.

Read more about these developments in coronavirus testing here.

medDigital will continue our exploration of the science and facts behind big COVID-19 topics in the next article in this series, coming soon. Stay tuned to our social media channels for updates!