Read on for our roundup of important, interesting, or insightful microbiology news we have spotted this month.
Matt Hancock has resigned as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Hancock decided to resign after being caught on camera breaching social distance guidelines when he kissed a colleague.
In his letter of resignation he said:
“[The Government] owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”.
Hancock is succeded by Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. One of his first jobs as health secretary will be to examine the data ahead of England’s proposed end to Covid restrictions on 19 July.
The UK has today recorded 20,479 new coronavirus cases, along with 23 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
More than 44.5 million people in the UK have now had one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while more than 32.7 million people have had two doses.
It means 84.6% of the population have had at least one dose and 62.1% are fully vaccinated. And more than 77 million vaccinations have been given in total.
Newly appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid has stated that the government still intends to start easing lockdown measures on 19 July.
Despite there being a rise in cases, Sajid Javid has said that the number of reported deaths “remains mercifully low” and that they “see no reason to go beyond [the] target date”.
The lockdown was originally schudeuled to end on the 21st of June, but it was postponed by four weeks with the plan to review it after two.
The number of cases has been steadily rising across the UK, with a notable increase occurring after the delay was announced.
An additional 116,287 cases have been recorded in the past week. This is a 70% increase from last weeks count. However, despite the rise in cases fewer than one in 1000 infections are resulting in death.
A straw or ‘FISSIT’ could be the cure for hiccups so many of us have been searching for. FISSIT stands for “forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool” and shown to be more effective at stopping hiccups than any other home remedies.
Most home remedies including doing things like drinking water, sitting upside down or waiting for a friend to jump out and scare you. None of the ‘cures’ however have any scientific reasoning to indicate they would successfully stop you from hiccupping.
Some home remedies do have some success, like holding your breath or breathing deeply. This is because hiccups are caused by involuntary spasms of the diaphragm, which is part of the respiratory system.
The FISSIT looks a lot like a thick straw, but it has a smaller than average opening at the top. This means that you need to such harder and use more of your lungs to drink from it.
The heavy suction forces the diaphragm to contract, preventing it from spasming and also forces the epiglottis to close—ultimately preventing hiccups.