Coronavirus COVID-19 Diary
Progress of a Pandemic
Part 1 – 2020 – LOCKDOWN

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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. the town centre in Ledbury, Herefordshire

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 Influenza A has the potential to cause pandemics. The first viral pandemic was in 1580 C.E. The most recent were all influenza virus A. “Spanish” Flu in 1918, H2N2 strain (Asian Flu) in 1957, H3N2 strain “Hong Kong” Flu in 1967, H5N1 strain (Bird Flu) in 2005 and H1N1 strain (Swine Flu) in 2009.
The cold-weather Annual Seasonal Flu is a mild illness which has been common worldwide for many years. One influenza A(H1N1), one influenza A(H3N2), and one or two influenza B viruses (depending on the vaccine) are included in each season’s influenza vaccines.
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 since been noted in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Around 1976 a retrovirus in Congo, 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. The illness, termed AIDS, peaked between 2005 and 2012 but to date over 36 million people have died. Another virus, a 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.

virus picture

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 microscope.

virus electron microscope picture Virions of coronavirus (colored transmission electron microscopy image). Image Credit: Dr. Fred Murphy & Sylvia Whitfield/CDC


Barry Sharples, 2020

Notes: The charts below give an idea of progress UK wide and in the county of Herefordshire. I am updating them continuously but the layout of older charts is as they were when first set up. Scales and information changed as time passed.
Some text is greyed out as I believe that it is misinformation. It’s included here to show that there are people with a certain mindset (or a desire for publicity) which must make life difficult for the hard-pressed health authorities.

Further information:
The Complete sequence of the original SARS-CoV-2 genome.
[Ed. This is now a relic as many hundreds of thousands of mutations are recorded on the international database.]
The UK Legal Act for Coronavirus Restrictions 26 March 2020 (PDF)
The UK Legal Act for Coronavirus Restrictions 5 November 2020 (PDF)

March to June 20   July to September 20   October to December 20

March to July 20   August to December 20

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