"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 31st Mar 2020

Isolation Tips
Coronavirus confinement: Thirteen tips to make self-isolating easier
In the days ahead many of us will be spending a lot more time in our homes. Some people will be working from home, some people will be self-isolating and too many people will be sick. For those who are well but struggling to cope with the confinement (and we include ourselves in that cohort, to be honest) thought we’d look for some diversions that will hopefully not only help us through the tough days ahead but might also save us a few bob. And – all going well – we’ll learn how to play the ukulele too.
Coronavirus and your wellbeing
If you are staying at home more than you usually would, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. These are some ideas which may help:
'We have to get used to a new normality' - looking after our mental health as Covid-19 lockdown continues
People with existing mental health conditions may struggle to adjust to a 'new normality' if the UK remains in lockdown for many months, according to the boss of a charity. Olivia Craig, CEO of Devon Mind, says a lengthy spell of isolation will be challenging for people who rely on seeing friends and family as a way to cope with life. Many people might struggle to access vital medication, while some therapy sessions are having to be postponed or delivered online.
Coronavirus: What are social distancing and self-isolation?
Strict rules have been placed on people's personal movement to limit the spread of coronavirus. Rules for those showing symptoms were already in place, as well as measures to protect the most vulnerable.
How to survive isolation with your roommates, your partner, your kids – and yourself
In 2017, engineer Ansley Barnard spent eight months living in an isolated dome habitat with five other scientists as part of Nasa’s Hi-SEAS program, which was developed to simulate the experience of traveling to Mars. During that time, she learned several lessons applicable to anyone living with roommates.
Coronavirus self-isolation: The latest advice for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms
As ministers prepare to ban mass gatherings as part of the delay stage of the UK's response to coronavirus, people across the country will be self-isolating to help prevent the virus spreading. We look at the latest advice to anyone forced keep themselves away from other people.
Hygiene Helpers
Coronavirus: How to clean your groceries and stay safe when food shopping
Supermarkets are notoriously busy places that are filled with products touched by a number of people and while retailers are doing their best to employ measures to help shoppers keep their distance from one another, customers are left wondering what the risk of exposure to the virus is when doing their shopping. Here is everything you need to know about grocery shopping amid the outbreak.
Coronavirus hygiene advice: don’t use cash, do wash veg
While you need to keep frequently used areas clean, you do not need a thorough deep clean of all parts of the house. You can’t get infected by touching a contaminated surface, only if you touch your mouth, eyes and nose. “Be sensible about where you are going to come into contact with infection,” says Sally Bloomfield, honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and chairwoman of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH). “If you sneeze and it lands on the floor, you or someone else is not necessarily going to touch the floor with their hands. Focus on cleaning surfaces and banisters.” Clean and disinfect toilet seats and flush handles, especially after defecating.
Coronavirus: Helping The Helpers
We’re all being advised to limit social contact and decrease our time in public places in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. For some people, this advice is impossible to follow because they are the people who care, protect and support society on a daily basis. So, how can we help the helpers?
Mum's thoughtful coronavirus cleaning tip to protect postmen goes viral
A mum's thoughtful cleaning tip to help "keep our postmen safe" has gone viral. Jo Byford posted the considerate plea to the ' coronavirus in Devon ' Facebook group, encouraging others to clean their letterboxes, gate handles, door bells and knockers with anti-bacterial cleaner. The 44-year-old from Tiverton now lives in Nottingham with her husband, who works for Royal Mail, but wanted to spread the message far and wide as she believes it is not something that people would usually think of on their own.
Community Activities
The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region launches a regional platform to connect producers, food craftspeople and consumers during the Covid-19 outbreak
While local producers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their fruits, vegetables, fresh products and other meats, consumers are struggling to find these same products near their homes. A new community assistance platform opens Tuesday to make these two needs meet. Home delivery is offered and local producers can plug into the service to keep these essential services going
Bristol food and drink businesses collaborate in times of crisis
Chefs from restaurants in Bristol that have closed due to the coronavirus crisis are working together to cook in six kitchens in order to feed homeless people and vulnerable adults. The team, currently made up from businesses including the Pony & Trap, Poco, the Gallimaufry and Box-E, are currently figuring out how to provide a daily hot meal to NHS staff at Southmead Hospital.
Thousands join army of council volunteers as emergency food parcels are delivered to more than 50 of Bristol's most vulnerable residents
An army of volunteers has been delivering emergency food parcels to Bristol's most vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. A delivery of emergency goods supplied by central government was received at City Hall on Saturday morning (March 28) before being packed into individual bags by Bristol City Council workers and volunteers. These parcels were then distributed by local taxi drivers to 53 residents across the city who are being shielded with no food and support. Following a call for volunteers to help during the Covid-19 crisis, nearly 3,000 people signed up on Can Do Bristol. From that group, 75 people said they were available to help pack food on Saturday.
Booths launches community delivery service to help those in need
Booths has launched a next day delivery service to help the elderly and isolated to access key groceries throughout the coronavirus
From masks to meal boxes, businesses step in to help medics battling coronavirus
In response to the crisis, businesses with a social conscience have been scrambling to help, from the Spanish shoemakers producing facemasks to the Malaysian social enterprise hiring refugees to make meals for hospital staff. “It’s the least we can do,” said Lucia Cáscales, a nursing assistant who is making masks in Alicante in the south of Spain, one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “You have to help people at this very serious time.” The Spanish initiative was started by a group of women volunteers who normally stitch shoes in their own homes. They have now sent more than 5,000 face masks they made to local hospitals to help plug acute shortages.
Everyone in Cornwall asked to donate £1 to help county's NHS coronavirus fight
Two friends from Cornwall have set up a fundraising campaign for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity and are urging everyone in the county to donate just £1. Natalie Pain and Louise Hopes, who both live in Helston, were so moved by the hard work carried out by NHS staff that they wanted to help. They hope to raise half a million pounds for the county's medical workers.They came up with the idea that if every household in Cornwall donated £1 per person they could raise £500,000
Bicester community rallies together to help those in need as coronavirus outbreak continues
Now, a community page has been set up on Facebook where people and local businesses have volunteered to deliver food and items to the vulnerable. The group, called Coronavirus Helpers Bicester and Surrounding Areas, is creating a huge list of all the people who need help such as the elderly, who have specifically been told to stay home. The support is not just for practical help including shopping but to make sure that people have someone to talk to in times of isolation and heightened anxiety
Working Remotely
Radio Corona: managing remote work in the era of Covid-19
In this episode of Radio Corona, we'll be helping you learn how to better connect in this time of remote work and isolation. Tanya Basu, a senior reporter at MIT Technology Review covering the intersection of humans and technology, will host a Q&A with Rajesh Amandan, the CEO of Ultranaut, and Ali Rayl, the VP of customer experience at Slack.
What do I need to work from home due to coronavirus?
If you are paying for your own kit, you may want to take an economical approach. But if the company is insisting that you work from home, ask for ergonomic equipment. This often costs more, but is worth it in the long run.
Big tech firms ramp up remote working orders to prevent coronavirus spread
Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG), Twitter (TWTR) and Amazon (AMZN) have implemented remote working policies for many or all of their employees around the globe. Google parent company Alphabet is recommending that all employees in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East work remotely. Twitter has made working from home mandatory for all workers globally. The company is also in communication with its San Francisco staffers after an employee from that office developed symptoms consistent with coronavirus, though no official diagnosis has been made, according to a company spokesperson.
What are you wearing while working from home?
For some it will make sense to dress even more smartly than you might to the office, via pinstripe shirts and proper shoes. For others it will mean dressing for work with your top half, the sofa with your bottom half; otherwise known by a multitude of other names: “conference call dressing”, “dressing from the top up”, “telecommutercore” and “news anchor dressing”.
Virtual Classrooms
France launches Operation Learning Nation
French television stations, Radio France, Arte and National Education are mobilizing to provide teachers, students from their families with quality programs linked to school program curriculums under the banner Learning Nation in France The programs broadcast on the air will thus be identifiable by the visual "Learning Nation".
Will the coronavirus make online education go viral?
How realistic is it to suddenly shift large amounts of teaching online? Are the university leaders surveyed by THE right to assume that students will see the virtual student experience as a poor substitute for the real thing? Or might it be that online higher education becomes the new normal far earlier and to a far greater extent than any experts were previously predicting?
As coronavirus closes schools, teachers and families brace for massive experiment in online education
"Even those of us who are strong advocates of having this option have to believe that it will not be done well or smoothly in many — perhaps most — places," he said. "You can't simply snap your fingers and say, 'Tomorrow you're going fully virtual.' It takes planning and training, and we don't have time for that." Many teachers and their students are likely to learn — as teachers in Northshore did last week — that there are creative and effective ways to teach and learn remotely.
The Coronavirus Outbreak And The Challenges Of Online-Only Classes
A massive shift like this is unprecedented in higher education. It's led to an onslaught of questions for online learning specialists such as Karen Costa. "I think like many folks there has been a lot of shock and stress on a personal and professional level," Costa says. "My first instinct after that initial shock was how can we get our students and faculty the support that they need to navigate this crisis?" She has been fielding questions on twitter, giving webinars online, and uploading youtube tutorials, all in hopes of easing this transition — which she admits is less than ideal. "To ask someone to go from a land based course to an online course without any previous online teaching experience is a huge ask and it's not something that can be done overnight," Costa says. "And we're trying to do it overnight."
The school of Mum and Dad
Many educationalists were arguing long before the coronavirus crisis that the school system needed drastic change. This is a time to put new ways of learning to the test, thinks Andy Salmon, the creator of the SirLinkalot spelling app. "Online is the way forward. You have to get into the child's world to inspire them, and that is online." But like the school day, it is important to establish a routine, says Sarah Dove, a teacher who works online with children who cannot attend school.
What Happened When Hong Kong’s Schools Went Virtual to Combat the Spread of Coronavirus
A temporary solution during months-long school shutdowns, the online classrooms may be an experiment the rest of the world can learn from
‘Classroom to Cloud’: What happened when coronavirus forced my kid’s school to go online
While this new online model, which the district has dubbed “Classroom to Cloud,” doesn’t have the predetermined structure of the traditional school day, some of the changes that come with it are welcoming. Besides some bits of scheduled live instruction, my daughter is generally able to go about her day in a way that works for her as long as she completes all of her assignments. That’s a good thing, because she can take a break when she needs one and dig into math when she’s ready. She can take her time eating lunch rather than being rushed out of the cafeteria door.
Public Policies
Restrictions Are Slowing Coronavirus Infections, New Data Suggest
A database of daily fever readings shows that the numbers declined as people disappeared indoors.
China's Lifting of Restrictions Has Worked, Flu Expert Says
China's lifting of restrictions related to the coronavirus has been successful, according to research by Imperial College in London. "As movement increased and China restarted their economy, we didn't see an increase in transmission," says Dr. Kylie Ainslie, research associate in influenza dynamics in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial. She speaks on "Bloomberg Markets: European Open."
A decline in conflict, much lower pollution levels, a fall off in delinquency ... the positive surprises of the coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on populations and is bringing the economies of the world's major powers to their knees. On a more positive note, it is causing social and political upheaval that diplomats, politicians, unions, demonstrators and NGOs had never previously dreamt of as being possible
Coronavirus: Questions over testing as minister claims UK is 'right at the top of the league table'
As the government aims to test 25,000 a day, Germany is estimated to already be conducting as many as 500,000 tests per week,
Maintaining Services
La Comédie Française launches its online channel with new shows and programs
The troupe will be offering its web TV accessible via its website and via its Facebook page from this Monday. On the scheduled programming: members playing the announcers, readings for works and analysis of texts for high school graduates, children's stories, reruns of popular shows
China Pushes to Churn Out Coronavirus Gear, Yet Struggles to Police It
Companies big and small that once manufactured other items are now in the business of making anti-coronavirus gear — and regulators in China are struggling to enforce standards while encouraging the flow. Those tensions blew into the open internationally this week. Officials in Spain said testing kits it bought from a Chinese company had only a 30 percent accuracy rate, rather than the 80 percent rate they had expected.
World academies call for global solidarity on COVID-19 pandemic
The current COVID-19 outbreak was first reported on 31 December 2019. On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. Today, under the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), 140 medical, scientific and engineering academies from around the world call on the scientific and policymaking communities to come together to help control the spread of infection. IAP's aim is to encourage better and faster use of research and its outputs for the global public good.
NHS trusts call for detail on ventilator capacity as new order placed for 10,000
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents healthcare trusts, said it was clear ventilator numbers needed to “significantly increase”. Welcoming steps to source more devices he added “extra capacity will take time to deliver” and said it would be “helpful” if forecasts on numbers could be shared with trusts.“It would be helpful if national NHS leaders and the Government shared more of the detail on how they see ventilator capacity growing, what the constraints for the immediate next few weeks are likely to be, and how these constraints will be managed.”
Coronavirus: Nigeria's Edo state prepares for a massive coronavirus testing exercise
The Coordinator of World Health Organisation (WHO), in the State, Mrs. Faith Ireye, disclosed that 71 contacts are listed for the two confirmed cases in the state, adding that the government looks inward to keep over list rather under list. She said 13 persons have been identified with their samples taken to Irrua Specialist Hospital for testing.
Healthcare Innovations
Sanofi and Regeneron expand trials of potential treatment for Covid-19
Sanofi and the American company Regeneron are extending the scope of their program for clinical trials of the drug Kevzara in the treatment of Covid-19. The French laboratory announced on March 30 the treatment of a first patient outside the United States.
Ford to produce 50,000 ventilators in Michigan in next 100 days; partnering with GE Healthcare will help coronavirus patients
Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, announced today it will begin producing in Michigan a third-party ventilator with the goal to produce 50,000 of the vitally needed units within 100 days and up to 30,000 a month thereafter as needed. Ford will provide its manufacturing capabilities to quickly scale production, and GE Healthcare will provide its clinical expertise and will license the current ventilator design from Airon Corp. – a small, privately held company specializing in high-tech pneumatic life support products
Formula One's united front to fight ventilator shortage could be the sport's finest hour
What might be perceived as a lost season for Formula One could yet emerge as one of the sport’s finest hours. Such is the warp speed of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic that world champions Mercedes, one of seven teams working to redress the country’s ventilator shortages, have already unveiled a breathing aid to keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care. This type of feat – involving prototyping, regulatory approval and mass production – is one that would usually take years. But in extraordinary circumstances, it has been accomplished in just seven days. For Mark Gillan, the co-ordinator of “Project Pitlane”, as F1’s reaction to the emergency is known, it is an unprecedented display of solidarity.
NHS developing coronavirus contact-tracing app after successful use in Singapore
A coronavirus contact-tracing app, which alerts people if they have been near an infected person within 21 days, could be developed in the UK after the success of a similar model in Singapore. The city state has deployed an app called TraceTogether to help contain the spread of the virus by automatically recording who people have come into contact with via their smartphones. The app uses Bluetooth connections to log other phones in close proximity – so, when a user tests positive for Covid-19, the data can be used to tell those they have been in contact with to self-isolate.
Debate flares over using AI to detect Covid-19 in lung scans
A series of studies, starting as a steady drip and quickening to a deluge, has reported the same core finding amid the global spread of Covid-19: Artificial intelligence could analyze chest images to accurately detect the disease in legions of untested patients. The results promised a ready solution to the shortage of diagnostic testing in the U.S. and some other countries and triggered splashy press releases and a cascade of hopeful headlines. But in recent days, the initial burst of optimism has given way to an intensifying debate over the plausibility of building AI systems during an unprecedented public health emergency.
Engineers gather to produce ‘battlefield’ ventilator in war on Covid-19
A team of engineers and specialists in medical devices gathered in Galway are finalising the prototype of an emergency ventilator for use in treating critically-ill Covid-19 patients. They hope the “battlefield” ventilator will help ease a likely surge in demand for these life-saving devices in Ireland, and yet be capable of manufacture all over the world. They are being supported by a number of multinationals, including medical devices company Boston Scientific which are based in the city – and by medical experts, notably anaesthetists who deploy the technology.
New York's Central Park and harbor are now home to makeshift hospitals
New York transformed a grassy meadow in Central Park into a makeshift hospital and welcomed a Navy hospital ship as officials scrambled to bolster a medical system becoming overwhelmed by coronavirus. Central Park's East Meadow on the Upper East Side, normally a spot for picnickers and sunbathers, was converted Sunday into a 68-bed field hospital designed as a respiratory care unit. And on Monday morning, the USNS Comfort navigated past the Statue of Liberty into New York Harbor, where it will provide another 1,000 hospital beds. "This is like an additional hospital just floated right up to our shores, and now it's going to help to save lives," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The U.S. Just Signed A $450 Million Coronavirus Vaccine Contract With Johnson & Johnson
The Trump administration is spending nearly half a billion dollars on one company in the race to find a coronavirus vaccine. That’s according to a $456 million order with Johnson & Johnson’s Pharmaceuticals arm Janssen, which specified a “new vaccine asset for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Forbes found. It’s the largest reported amount spent on a vaccine project to date, even though the pharma giant hasn’t yet started any clinical trials as other firms have.
Devon college uses 3D printers to make Personal Protective Equipment for local hospitals
A college in Devon is using its own technology to help staff at Torbay Hospital tackle the coronavirus. The team at South Devon College are making face shields and other protective gear to help keep doctors and nurses safe on the front line. 3D printers are being used to produce the headbands by staff at the college's Hi Tech & Digital Centre in Paignton.The college is working with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which urgently need more protective medical equipment to keep staff and patients safe.