A husband and wife were both discharged from coronavirus intensive care at the same time

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: YouTube

From Cosmopolitan

It's hard not to feel a sense of doom and gloom during the coronavirus crisis; with death tolls rising, fear spreading, and life looking completely unrecognisable to the way it did just weeks ago, it's a very weird time.

All this means that hearing good news is more important than ever before. Little sparkling gems of hope among the darkness now have the power to raise your whole mood, helping you to get through another day in lockdown. So every week, Cosmopolitan UK pledges to bring you some of the good news stories that may have been buried among all the sad stuff. Don't forget to come back each week to get your fix of positivity with our Good News, Gathered series.

So... this week on the good news agenda:

The weather is going to be glorious again for the bank holiday

This week, the UK welcomed weather that was hotter than Ibiza, and it was wonderful. Wednesday was a particular scorcher, with highs of 27°C across the country, allowing those without gardens to finally make the most of the lockdown rules being slightly eased. And the good news is that the warm weather will be back for the bank holiday weekend. Yippee!

After a slightly cooler start on Saturday, with wind and possible showers, temperatures will be back on the rise by Sunday. The Met Office predicts that by Monday, we'll see temperatures rising to the 20s for much of the UK, while the south is expected to particularly hot, reaching highs of 25°C. Looks like it'll be time to get that picnic blanket out and make the most of some (socially distant) sunbathing in the park.

Photo credit: Deniz Esbulan / EyeEm - Getty Images

High hopes for a drug to help fight off coronavirus

Scientists in the UK are optimistic as they're about to start testing a treatment they hope could aid the recovery of some of the most seriously ill coronavirus patients. Scientific research has discovered that those who are critically ill with COVID-19 tend to have very low numbers of an immune cell called a T-cell - and this new drug, interleukin 7, can hopefully counteract that.

Interleukin 7 will be trialled on a group of coronavirus patients who have been in critical care for more than three days, and who have low levels of the cells, also known as T lymphocytes. Manu Shankar-Hari, a critical care consultant at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, says he hopes the new drug might help to build the cells back up, enabling to body to better fight the virus. "As a critical care physician, I look after patients who are extremely unwell and, other than supportive care, we do not have any direct active treatment against the disease," he said. "So a treatment like this coming along for in the context of a clinical trial is extremely encouraging for critical care physicians across the UK."

Fingers crossed it works.

Photo credit: Yulia Reznikov - Getty Images

Husband and wife both discharged from coronavirus intensive care together

Married couple, Clarence and Stella Diribe, sadly both contracted coronavirus and both went on to suffer severely from the disease. But in some wonderfully happy news, the husband and wife today left critical care at the exact same time in emotional scenes captured on video at an Eastbourne hospital.

Staff at the hospital clapped and cheered as the couple were wheeled out of intensive care and into a ward, after spending 23 days (Stella) and 16 days (Clarence) in the higher dependency unit. Adorably, during their stint in critical care, the couple were first connected via iPads, and later brought together. Now, they can continue their recovery on the ward (hopefully next to one another). What a heartwarming story.

And now, take a look back at what made us smile last week:

London has a promisingly low coronavirus rate

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, London was streets ahead of the rest of the country in terms of infection rate. Now, however, in an indication we really could be coming out of the worst of it, the capital city is leading the way with a low number of infections.

The rate of coronavirus infections is measured in 'R', representing the number of others an average infected person is predicted to infect. We need the R value to be lower than 1 (ie, each person with COVID infects an average of less than one other person) in order to slow down the spread of the virus. In London, the R is 0.4 according to modelling by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge, which suggests positive things for slowing down the coronavirus contagion.

Elsewhere in England, we're also seeing R levels firmly below 1:

  • Midlands = 0.68
  • South East England = 0.71
  • East of England = 0.71
  • North West of England = 0.73
  • South West England = 0.76
  • North East and Yorkshire = 0.8

If things carry on like this, and we continue to maintain sensible social distancing, fingers crossed the rate of infection will plummet even further.

Photo credit: Getty Images

The oldest woman in the world to survive coronavirus

We're well-versed in the sad stories of deaths young and old as a result of coronavirus. But here's something different to make you smile: A 113-year-old woman is the oldest person in Spain - and perhaps even the oldest person in the world - to have pulled through after contracting COVID-19.

Maria Branyas, who was born in 1907 in San Francisco but now lives in Catalonia, caught the virus in April at her care home. After self-isolating for several weeks, the mother of three has now tested negative for COVID-19. Hooray! Maria's daughter, Rosa Moret, said her mum was "in shape, wanting to talk, to explain, to reflect, she has become herself again."

Michelle Obama brings prom to students over zoom

A lot of plans have been thwarted for a lot of people throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and for teenagers leaving high school it means there's been no prom to say farewell. But in a bid to brighten up some students' week, Michelle Obama surprised a load of teens on Zoom with news of an upcoming virtual prom for them.

As part of her capacity as the co-chair of nonprofit When We All Vote, the former First Lady rewarded students from the 20 US high schools that held the most impactful voter registration programmes, by funding an online prom for them. Popping up unexpectedly on Zoom, Michelle Obama told the teens she was "blown away by your commitment and your focus and the level of articulation you’re showing on this issue." She went on to say: "You guys are missing out on a lot of major milestones because of this quarantine, and that doesn’t seem fair."

When We All Vote, in partnership with MTV, will now host special guests and performances on Zoom for the students on May 22, to give them a virtual prom to remember. Something so well-deserved for them to look forward to - what a sweet gesture!

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