"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 13th Aug 2020

Isolation Tips
Mental health is reaching a breaking point during COVID: How employers can spot suicide warning signs
Suicide rates in the U.S. continue to rise every year and the largest number of suicides occur among those in the working age population. The isolation of remote work and the emotional strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a new mental health crisis in the workplace. “We're at a pivotal moment to address mental health or that will become the next pandemic," says Kristin Tugman, vice president of Health and Productivity Analytics at Prudential. “Suicide is elusive, and nobody wants to talk about it.”
US coronavirus: Mental health access is vital during pandemic, experts say
Many people may be experiencing increased anxiety during the pandemic, which experts say can be compounded by the sense of isolation that can come with social distancing. That's why it's important for people who are vulnerable to increased anxiety to have access mental health care, panelists said during an American Lung Association event on Wednesday. "It's also really important to remember that one in five Americans had a diagnosed mental health condition before the pandemic," said Ken Duckworth, medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Those people still need access to mental health care, he said. Duckworth also stressed the importance of telehealth services and phone sessions for people without internet access. "Pain shared is pain halved," Duckworth said.
COVID's Effects on Children Coming into Focus
Slowly, anecdotal examples of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on children—and the ways in which behavioral healthcare can address some of these issues—are beginning to emerge to illuminate these topics. Most of our children spent the period between March 15 and June 1 attending school online. At the same time, they were sequestered at home with their adult family members who either were working virtually from home or were laid off. Stay-at-home rules were in place to avoid the COVID-19 contagion. Very young children could not participate in play groups, and older children could not spend time with friends and peers.
Half of managers fear staff are burning out because of Covid-19, report finds
Experts say change in working patterns and rise of e-presenteeism brought on by the pandemic is leading to increased risk of employee mental health issues
Hygiene Helpers
'Hundreds dead' because of Covid-19 misinformation
At least 800 people died around the world because of coronavirus-related misinformation in the first three months of this year, researchers say. A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene says about 5,800 people were admitted to hospital as a result of false information on social media. Many died from drinking methanol or alcohol-based cleaning products. They wrongly believed the products to be a cure for the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously said that the "infodemic" surrounding Covid-19 spread just as quickly as the virus itself, with conspiracy theories, rumours and cultural stigma all contributing to deaths and injuries.
Measure the risk of airborne COVID-19 in your office, classroom, or bus ride
Amid the pandemic, once normal activities are now peppered with questions and concerns. Can kids go back to crowded schools? Is it safe to eat dinner with friends? Should we worry about going for a run? A recent modelling effort may help provide some clues. Led by Jose-Luis Jimenez at the University of Colorado Boulder, the charts below estimate the riskiness of different activities based on one potential route of coronavirus spread: itty-bitty particles known as aerosols. Coughing, singing, talking, or even breathing sends spittle flying in a range of sizes. The closer you are to the spewer, the greater the chance of exposure to large, virus-laden droplets that can be inhaled or land in your eyes. But many scientists have also grown concerned about the potential risks of aerosols—the smallest of these particles—which may float across rooms and cause infections. It’s a worry that's greatest where ventilation is poor and airborne particulates could build. While the World Health Organisation recently acknowledged that aerosol transmission cannot be ruled out for some situations, they emphasised more research is needed to conclusively demonstrate its role in the spread of the virus.
Vaping linked to risk of COVID-19 in teens, young adults
Vaping may be associated with a five to seven times increased risk of COVID-19 among U.S. teenagers and young adults, a study published on Tuesday suggests. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine analyzed nationally representative survey data collected in May from 4,351 participants aged 13–24 years. The findings were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. “Young people may believe their age protects them from contracting the virus or that they will not experience symptoms of COVID-19, but the data show this isn’t true among those who vape,” study leader Shivani Mathur Gaiha said in a press statement. Participants were asked if they had ever used vaping devices or combustible cigarettes, whether they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days, and if they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, been tested for COVID-19 or been diagnosed with the infectious disease.
Aiding staff wellbeing and resilience in the coronavirus pandemic
Wellbeing, knowledge and effective management are vital for healthcare staff, particularly at times of extreme stress, as with the coronavirus pandemic. This article reports on a wellbeing and resilience session, delivered by four mental health nurses to over 250 staff who were redeployed or recruited during the crisis. It examines the personal and professional impact of Covid-19 on staff, and considers the need for further education and ongoing support to safeguard the wellbeing of all healthcare staff.
Bus stop newest front in South Korea's Covid-19 battle
South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. Ten advanced facilities have been installed in a northeastern district of Seoul, offering protection from monsoon rains, summer heat, and the novel coronavirus. To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will only slide open if their temperature is below 37.5C. A separate camera is installed lower down to test children.
Why we fear the reopening of schools will create a second wave of Covid-19 infections
We also now have a clearer idea of how Covid-19 affects young people. The first major study to address this – ­involving 82 paediatric centres in 25 European countries, and published in the Lancet in late June – found that more than half with proven Covid-19 display standard cold symptoms. Only a quarter have a cough, and at least a third have no fever at all. This study involved only the sickest children, most of whom had been referred to ­hospital. The picture among paediatric cases in the wider community is even more nebulous.
New Zealand considers freight as possible source of new coronavirus cluster
The discovery of four infected family members in Auckland led Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to swiftly reimpose tight restrictions in the city and social distancing measures across the entire country. The source of the outbreak has baffled health officials, who said they were confident there was no local transmission of the virus in New Zealand for 102 days. "We are working hard to put together pieces of the puzzle on how this family got infected," said Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield. Investigations were zeroing in on the potential the virus was imported by freight. Bloomfield said surface testing was underway at an Auckland cool store where a man from the infected family worked. "We know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time," Bloomfield said during a televised media conference. The New Zealand unit of Atlanta, U.S.-based, Americold Realty Trust, a refrigerated storage specialist with operations in the United States, Canada, Argentina and Australia as well as New Zealand, identified itself as the owner of the cool store.
Parties lead Germany to biggest spike in coronavirus cases in three months
Germany today reported its largest daily spike in new cases of coronavirus in more than three months, as authorities blamed people returning from holiday and boozy parties across the country. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 1,226 to 218,519 today, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed — marking the biggest daily increase since 9 May. However the number of German coronavirus deaths edged up by six, remaining low at a total of 9,207.
All rest homes going into level 4 lockdown for three days
Aged Care Association chief executive Simon Wallace told Nine to Noon no visits from family would be allowed. "We have decided that we will go into full lockdown. So every rest home in New Zealand will go into full lockdown immediately, we will be in that situation until midnight on Friday and then the situation will be reassessed at that point," he told Nine to Noon. Full lockdown meant rest homes would be operating under level 4 restrictions, he said. "It means there will be no visits, no family visits to their loved ones in rest homes and all the guidance and all the precautions that applied when we were at level 4 will apply for the next three days."
England's revamped contact-tracing app to begin public trials on Aug 13
A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday (Aug 13), BBC News reported on Wednesday. The software will be modelled after Apple and Google's privacy-centric method of one smartphone detecting another, the BBC said. Engineers were still trying to resolve issues with the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flagging people as being within 2 metres of each other. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits, as well as implementing Apple and Google's method of detecting other smartphones, the BBC reported. The test-and-trace programme is key to reopening the economy but has been dogged by problems. A smartphone app developed by the National Health Service (NHS) was initially expected to be rolled out in May but did not materialise. In June, the government pivoted away from a homegrown model for the app to use the Apple and Google system.
Community Activities
News from the allotment: the impact of coronavirus on the gardeners
As the virus disrupted existing social structures, new tribes have emerged: “shielders; furloughed; home-workers; key workers – the experience of the allotments during this year’s growing season has been shaped by these categories as much as any aspect of life. For the home-workers, tethered to a never-ending schedule of Zoom meetings whilst competing for IT equipment and suitable workspace with spouses and young home-learners, the allotments have provided an essential escape – a safety valve on the mental pressure cooker that lockdown became on occasion.
Nominated By Readers: Volunteers Tackling COVID-19 Problems In Their Communities : Goats and Soda
Last month, we asked our audience: What are some of the inventive ways that people are addressing COVID-19 challenges in their community? Dozens of NPR readers wrote in with nominees. Many are people who have found ways to put their special skills and talents to good use. A former toy-maker, laid off from his job, is putting on puppet shows in his living room window for passersby. An artist set up a socially distant art gallery in her backyard. Two siblings are helping local businesses provide low-cost meals to immigrant families in need.
Working Remotely
You could move to Estonia and work there remotely for a year thanks to a new incentive - Insider
Estonia has officially launched its new Digital Nomad Visa. The visa would allow remote workers to live and work in the European country for up to a year. The application costs between $94 and $117 (or €80 and €100) depending on how long you plan on staying. It's important to note that, according to the CDC, "travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19." Estonia, as part of the European Union, is also closed to Americans for the time being.
Auckland researchers find mixed feelings toward working from home
Researchers interviewed 29 knowledge workers from New Zealand, Australia, UK, US, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland, and uncovered what they saw as a near-balance view about the positive and negative impact technology has had on teamwork, particularly around knowledge-sharing, virtual meetings, and networking. Lead author Lena Waizenegger said the study revealed how employees and organisations adapted quickly to remote working. "We were amazed by the innovation capabilities and creativity of teams and businesses," she said. "EWFH showed that remote or flexible working is not only feasible, it also has various positive effects that should be maintained even after the pandemic."
Rise of remote work and digital nomads in age of Covid-19
Malaysian Pashmina Binwani has honed as a travel writer and public relations consultant. She runs a popular travel and adventure blog called The Gone Goat where she takes us on vicarious journeys to far-off lands which she has traversed both on foot and on her trusty bicycle. Having spent the earlier part of her career at conventional nine-to-five jobs, Pashmina savours the fact that she gets to travel the world while being able to provide value to her readers and clients no matter where she is. Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns might have brought her international travels to a screeching halt but that has barely dampened the Kuala Lumpur-native’s spirits as she’s using this opportunity in disguise to explore her own backyard and regale her readers about it. She also does freelance public relations consultancy for SMEs and NGOs so there’s plenty of work to keep her busy.
Comment | Enhanced connectivity is key to Britain's economic recovery
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre explores how connectivity can play a crucial role in Britain’s economic recovery and adjusting to the ‘new normal’ post-Covid. Connectivity has played a crucial role during the Covid-19 pandemic, whether you have been working remotely or staying in touch with family and friends over Zoom. While the country was in lockdown, technology allowed us to retain some social connections, provided entertainment and has so far helped us to manage the spread of the virus, while also enabling businesses to remain operational. Our experiences over the last few months have accelerated some technology trends and, perhaps most importantly, there are likely to be more to come. Faster, more reliable, wireless 5G networks are already being deployed and they could significantly shape how the economy recovers from the effects of Covid-19.
Virtual Classrooms
Return To The Classroom: How COVID-19 Has Affected Private Schools
Although students at Anne Arundel County public schools will continue to learn virtually because of COVID-19, many private schools will bring kids to the classroom this fall. Private schools are in the unique position of having smaller class sizes, carpools and the ability to meet all social distancing guidelines set by the Maryland State Department of Education for non-public schools and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Many parents are transferring their students to private schools to get their education in person. “Since public schools announced their decision to go virtual, we have seen a real increase in our enrollment,” said Jamey Hein, head of school at St-Martin’s-in-the-Field Episcopal School. “We have been bringing in those families in these last few weeks. We were going to have an enrollment of about 160; we are looking at an enrollment of around 190 to 200 come September. Some of our public school families are looking to us to have their child educated face to face.”
How to Make Remote Learning Work for Your Children
When schools and day cares shut down in March, no one thought it would last more than a few months. But in the United States, the Covid-19 pandemic is nowhere near under control. That makes in-person schooling an iffy proposition in many parts of the country. Even if your school plans to have students on campus for at least part of the school year, it’s wise to prepare for repeated shutdowns, closures, or quarantines when children, teachers, and staff test positive for Covid-19. Remote learning is here to stay, so we spoke to several edtech experts about identifying possible obstacles and aiming for reasonable goals.
New Jersey Gives Schools an All-Remote Option
Gov. Philip D. Murphy is giving New Jersey districts the option to offer all-virtual classes when school resumes next month, relaxing his original requirement that teachers provide some in-person classroom instruction. The policy shift comes as the state’s powerful teachers union for the first time publicly called for an all-virtual start to the school year given the risks still posed by the coronavirus.
In Class or Virtual: Allergy Families Grapple with School's Return
“It took a lot for me to send her to a public school, period,” says Garver, explaining that she worried that her daughter’s multiple food allergies would not be taken seriously. The mother of two had worked closely with the school to make staff aware of Lia’s food allergies, and to get safety measures in place, such as added supervision for her daughter during meal time. By first grade, Garver was getting more comfortable with her daughter being in the classroom – and then the pandemic hit. At the end of the drive-by graduation parade route, a staff member handed Garver an envelope from the school nurse. Inside was a letter advising that, due to Lia’s asthma and multiple food allergies, if the pandemic persisted, it would be better for the 7-year-old to stick with the online curriculum for the fall. If she wanted to return to the classroom, a doctor would need to clear it.
Trump claims remote learning 'is not the answer' in a bid to get schools open by the fall
Trump was speaking at the White House on Wednesday when he touted schools reopening, asserting remote learning 'is not the answer.' 'It is interesting because one thing we've learned during this horror show of the virus is that virtual is not as good as being there,' he said. Also during Wednesday's remarks, President Trump boasted about providing various school districts with up to 125million reusable masks
The coronavirus has sparked a surge in interest in cyber charter schools | Opinion
Pennsylvania’s 14 public cyber charter schools have been in the news lately as thousands of families seek to enroll their children for the new school year. Parents are choosing public cyber charter schools, because we know how to educate students online. We have been teaching children in virtual classrooms for 20 years now. We know what works. We know what doesn't work. As innovators in public education, our cyber charter leaders want to help all schools with their virtual education programs. Specifically, we want to make sure every brick-and-mortar school – district, private or charter – can educate students online if schools are closed again this fall.
Making online learning work for students
Conducting schooling activities online has constrained several aspects of students’ learning process, especially in the socio-emotional development area. Yet, amid the difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have had no choice but to make do with the virtual learning platforms available in order to maintain children’s and teachers’ health. One of the schools that continues to conduct its classes online is Sinarmas World Academy (SWA) in Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD), South Tangerang city, Banten. SWA board chairman Anton Mailoa said that although the BSD area was a safe zone, but the school had students from various areas in Greater Jakarta, including those that were red zones for the coronavirus outbreak.
14 Students Choose Online Only At Lookout Mountain School; Some Teaching Will Be Outdoors
With school beginning, there are a lot of changes, Commissioner of Schools Brooke Pippenger told the Lookout Mountain, Tn., Commissioners on Tuesday afternoon. Changes from the Hamilton County Board of Education have been coming daily and different information is coming to the school throughout the day, she said after spending some time at Lookout Mountain School. The school will open using Hamilton County’s hybrid phase 2 plan, which will include both in person and online learning.
Public Policies
Chile cautiously lifts lockdown lid on capital's centre
Chile will lift one of the world's longest quarantines on Monday, moving the capital Santiago's central business district and adjoining Central Station to a "transitional" stage under a "Step by Step" reopening. "This is a very important announcement for us and one that gives us great satisfaction," Health Minister Enrique Paris told a news conference in Santiago on Wednesday. Chile has faced one of Latin America's fiercest coronavirus outbreaks, at one stage, ranking only behind Qatar globally in cases per head of population, but case and fatality rates have declined steadily during the last two months.
Worst recession on record strikes UK as coronavirus lockdown shrinks economy by 20%
The UK’s economy has fallen into the worst recession on record, with coronavirus pushing down spending and output. Between April and June, the size of the economy reduced by 20.4 per cent, according to data released by the ONS.
Dutch government plans to tighten coronavirus quarantine measures
The Dutch health minister plans to introduce mandatory home quarantine for people identified by local authorities as having been in close contact with somebody infected with coronavirus, and for travellers returning from high-risk countries. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to politicians that mandatory quarantine could be imposed if people refuse to isolate voluntarily. The move comes amid rising infection rates in the Netherlands and an unwillingness among some people to adhere to social-distancing measures and cooperate with contact tracing. "Mandatory quarantine is a tough measure but justified. Quarantine stops the spread of the virus so sticking to the rules is crucial," Mr de Jonge wrote.
Coronavirus infection rate in London similar to Stockholm – despite Sweden's lockdown snub, study suggests
The same proportion of people in London were infected with coronavirus in April as in Stockholm — where authorities opted for a herd immunity strategy, according to a new study. Antibody testing regimes from both the UK and Swedish governments suggested that 17 per cent of the population in both cities had contracted Covid-19 in April, the paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine highlights.
Overnight curfew for restaurants and bars on some Greek islands after surge in Covid-19 cases
Greece will bring in an overnight curfew for restaurants and bars in some of its most popular tourist destinations after a new uptick in coronavirus infections. From 11 August, restaurants and bars are closed from midnight until 7am in Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes and Crete, Aristotelia Peloni, a government spokeswoman, said in a televised address. Athens also announced new restrictions starting from 17 August on holidaymakers arriving from Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. They now must provide proof they have tested negative for Covid-19.
Covid 19 coronavirus lockdown: Jacinda Ardern says Auckland in level 3 at midday; NZ in level 2
Auckland is back in level 3 lockdown, with region-wide police checkpoints planned and a stronger presence at supermarkets. Super City residents were scrambling earlier today to prepare for the midday restrictions, with lengthy queues forming outside supermarkets and Covid-19 testing centres.
Pendle and Oldham residents warned of stricter lockdown within days
Two north west areas could be facing stricter lockdown measures as concern grows over an increase in coronavirus cases. Residents in Pendle, Lancashire, and Oldham, Greater Manchester, are already living under stricter rules than other parts of the country, after additional measures were brought in stopping them from meeting others at home from the end of July. Despite this, officials said Covid-19 rates have continued to increase and both areas were placed on the government’s watch list of 29 local authorities. Pendle is now recording the highest coronavirus rates in the country, with Oldham following closely behind, and Blackburn with Darwen in third place.
Germany's coronavirus infection rate reaches three-month high
Germany's government has urged citizens to keep their guard up and stick to public health guidelines, as new Covid-19 infections hit a three-month high and schools reopened in the country's most populous state. Germany's response so far has widely been seen as successful in slowing the spread of the pandemic efficiently and quickly, but the country's disease control authority today reported 1,226 new infections, the highest number since early May, although the figure has topped 1,000 on several days recently. Health minister Jens Spahn said smaller and mid-sized outbreaks have occurred in almost all regions, largely driven by travellers returning from abroad and people partying or having family gatherings. "This is worrying, without doubt," he told Deutschlandfunk radio. "And it can naturally lead to a new dynamic, if we don't all now exercise caution." In the early days of the pandemic the average age of people infected was 50; it is now 34.
FDA won't 'cut corners' to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, commissioner says
Safety will not be compromised for a Covid-19 vaccine, the US Food and Drug Administration commissioner said Monday. Dr. Stephen Hahn made the declaration in a video briefing with the American Medical Association. More than 5 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 163,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. Hahn acknowledged that because of the speed with which the agency is working, some experts have questioned whether the FDA will compromise its scientific principles in reviewing clinical trial data.
Maintaining Services
NHS staff to be given ‘Covid-19 passports’ so they can be redeployed quickly in any second wave
across the country and are being rolled out “to support the Covid-19 response”. The Covid-19 crisis has triggered a major reorganisation of NHS care, with hospitals now having to plan to restart routine services while at the same time maintain their readiness for any increase in coronavirus cases.
Teachers are writing wills ahead of schools re-opening over COVID-19 fears
Teachers have revealed how they are so terrified of catching coronavirus and dying after returning to school that they’ve written their wills. High school teacher, Ava Butzu, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has said she and her teacher colleagues are petrified they could die of Covid-19 if they catch the bug in class as they prepare to return to face-to-face teaching for the first time since March. Ava, 50, who suffers with underlying health problems, said she fears for her own life. She also hit out at Donald Trump’s ‘failure’ to offer an adequate level of protection for teachers against coronavirus transmission in class. The president has insisted classes must resume, but said anyone vulnerable should continue to shelter at home.
Covid-19 lockdown means 115 million Indian children risk malnutrition
A staggering 115 million children in India are at risk of malnutrition, as the world’s largest school lunch programme has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. When India went under a strict lockdown on 24 March to reduce the spread of the virus, 12-year-old Kavi’s life changed. His mother, a roadside tailor, was no longer able to work and his father doesn’t have a job due to health problems. With schools closed, Kavi began selling fruit and vegetables from a sparsely stocked cart. The cart is now their primary source of income, but isn’t enough for a family of four. “Some days, we just eat rice or chapati with salt,” says Kavi.
COVID-19: US schools short of staff, cash for reopening
Getting students safely back into the classrooms during a pandemic means taking the kind of measures - like shrinking class sizes, adding bus routes and providing computers to families who don't have them - that call for extra staff and money. But it looks like America's schools will have to manage with less of both. Even before Covid-19 struck, staff levels hadn't recovered from the last recession. Now, hundreds of thousands more jobs have disappeared - and there's probably more to come.
Healthcare Innovations
New robotic system remotely controls ventilators in COVID-19 patient rooms
A new robotic system allows medical staff to remotely operate ventilators and other bedside machines from outside intensive care rooms of patients suffering from infectious diseases. The system, developed by a team of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine researchers, is still being tested, but initial trials have demonstrated how it could be deployed to help hospitals preserve protective gear, limit staff exposure to COVID-19 and provide more time for clinical work.
'They've jumped the gun': scientists worry about Russia's Covid-19 vaccine
ADE “is a genuine concern”, Kevin Gilligan, a virologist and senior consultant with Biologics Consulting, told Nature Biotechnology in June. “Because if the gun is jumped and a vaccine is widely distributed that is disease-enhancing, that would be worse than actually not doing any vaccination at all.” This week, following Russia’s announcement that it is pushing ahead with mass production of Sputnik V and mass inoculation , the fears expressed by the likes of Gilligan became a chorus, underlining the concerns among scientists that Russian researchers have jumped the gun.
US to buy 100m doses of Moderna's potential Covid-19 vaccine for $1.5bn
The US has committed to buy 100m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna, Donald Trump has announced, even while the vaccine remains in an experimental stage. The US president on Tuesday said his administration had agreed to buy 100m doses from the US biotech group, with an option to buy another 400m, for which the company said it would be paid just over $1.5bn. The deal comes after the US struck a similar agreement with Moderna’s rival Pfizer to purchase 100m doses for a price of almost $2bn. Mr Trump said: “We are investing in the development and manufacture of the top six vaccine candidates to ensure rapid delivery. “The military is ready to go, they’re ready to deliver a vaccine to Americans as soon as one is fully approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and we’re very close to that approval.”
Philippines talking to Russian vaccine maker on trials, seeks 'complete dossier'
Philippine scientists were set on Wednesday to meet representatives of the Russian state research facility that developed a coronavirus vaccine, to discuss participation in clinical trials and access to its research data. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the Russian vaccine and offered to be “injected in public”, to allay public fears about its safety. Russia on Tuesday became the world’s first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, to be named “Sputnik V” in homage to the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first satellite.
Russian coronavirus vaccine ‘could kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong’
Germany has warned that Russia’s claim that it has developed the world’s first coronavirus vaccine could prove “dangerous”. Russian president Vladimir Putin said this week that a COVID-19 vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use and one of his daughters has already been inoculated. But German health minister Jens Spahn said he was sceptical about the claims, warning they could ultimately “kill the acceptance” of vaccination as a weapon against the pandemic. Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio: "It can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions, if not billions, of people too early because it could pretty much kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong, so I'm very sceptical about what's going on in Russia.
Being overweight increases risk of severe Covid-19 by at least 40%, study finds
Researchers analysed data from more than 300,000 people in England. They found extra weight is linked with 'higher odds' of admission to hospital. Even being only overweight (BMI of 25 to 30) raised the risk by 40%. It came after a report by Public Health England last month warning of the risks
Long after a Covid-19 infection, mental and neurological effects smolder
Even people who were never sick enough to go to a hospital, much less lie in an ICU bed with a ventilator, report feeling something as ill-defined as “Covid fog” or as frightening as numbed limbs. They’re unable to carry on with their lives, exhausted by crossing the street, fumbling for words, or laid low by depression, anxiety, or PTSD. As many as 1 in 3 patients recovering from Covid-19 could experience neurological or psychological after-effects of their infections, experts told STAT, reflecting a growing consensus that the disease can have lasting impact on the brain. Beyond the fatigue felt by “long haulers” as they heal post-Covid, these neuropsychological problems range from headache, dizziness, and lingering loss of smell or taste to mood disorders and deeper cognitive impairment. Dating to early reports from China and Europe, clinicians have seen people suffer from depression and anxiety. Muscle weakness and nerve damage sometimes mean they can’t walk.
Argentina, Mexico to produce AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
An agreement signed between British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the biotechnology company mAbxience of the INSUD Group includes transfer of technology to initially produce 150 million doses of the vaccine to supply all of Latin America with the exception of Brazil, the Argentine government said. "Latin American production will be handled in Argentina and Mexico and that will allow timely and efficient access for all countries in the region," Fernandez said. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said later on Twitter that the deal had been pushed by Fernandez and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He said output of the vaccine could extend to 250 million doses.