"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 17th Sep 2020

Isolation Tips
Stress, anxiety and depression levels soar under UK Covid-19 restrictions
Restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus in the UK has driven stress, anxiety and depression far above normal levels and may do again in coming months if widespread lockdowns are re-imposed, researchers say. A major study into the mental health impact of the pandemic found that in the early stages of lockdown 57% of those who took part reported symptoms of anxiety, with 64% recording common signs of depression. While the mental health problems improved as restrictions eased, scientists warn they may worsen again as infections rise and more aggressive nationwide lockdowns are considered over the autumn and winter.
Children living in more costly homes have fewer mental health problems – study
Children who are brought up in more expensive homes have fewer mental health problems than those from cheaper houses, research has found. They are less likely to suffer from anxiety and low mood and also more likely to get on well with their peers, researchers at University College London (UCL) found. While the link between overall wealth and mental wellbeing is well established, the findings highlight the key role that the value of a family’s home plays in a child’s development. Dr Ludovica Gambaro and Dr Vanessa Moulton, from UCL’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies, looked at a range of wealth indicators of the families of 8,500 children, all born around 2000, who are taking part in the internationally respected Millennium Cohort Study.
Lockdown child sexual abuse 'hidden by under-reporting'
A significant drop in the number of child sexual abuse cases reported to police during lockdown masks the true extent of what's happened to vulnerable children, police chiefs say. National Police Chiefs Council data shows reports in England and Wales fell by 25% between April and August, compared with the same period in 2019. But officers told BBC Newsnight this does not represent the true picture. And senior officers are warning child protection referrals will now rise. Chief Constable Simon Bailey said he suspected the 25% fall was "a false and misleading picture" of what children may have experienced during those months.
Hundreds of pupils self-isolating as schools deal with coronavirus cases
Dozens of schools hit by coronavirus cases have sent home whole classes or year groups of pupils to self-isolate. Since the start of term, at least 24 schools across Staffordshire have resorted to the precautionary measure. It means hundreds of pupils are currently having to miss lessons at school, although teachers are expected to set them work remotely. Several staff have also been asked to stay at home after coming into close contact with an infected person.
Hygiene Helpers
Coronavirus: Schoolchildren and parents could be among groups prioritised for COVID-19 tests, says cabinet minister
Schoolchildren and their parents could be prioritised for coronavirus tests - after hospitals and care homes - as the government deals with "real challenges" in the system, a cabinet minister has told Sky News. The government has come under growing pressure over a lack of availability of COVID-19 tests in some areas - blamed on problems with laboratory capacity - and admitted it could take a "matter of weeks" to solve the issues.
CDC director says 'masks are more guaranteed to protect you from COVID-19' than a vaccine
'I might say this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against covid than when I take a vaccine' Dr Robert Redfield said before a Senate committee. Wearing a face mask has been shown to cut a person's risks of contracting COVID-19 by up to 65% and coverings reduce the spread of infectious particles. It remains unclear how much protection a coronavirus vaccine will offer. FDA regulators set the minimum efficacy for a shot they would approve at 50%. Some people may not have an immune response to a future vaccine - and there is not yet substantial data on shots because they are not yet in use. It comes as a CDC 'playbook' said federal agencies plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine broadly and for free to Americans by January.
What we actually know about Covid-19
As the world battled the first wave of coronavirus infections, scientists and doctors pulled together in an unprecedented global effort to explore the virus, the illness it causes, and the drugs and vaccines that might bring it under control. But as many countries face a resurgence in cases, what have we found out about Covid-19?
Lockdown sceptics are distorting the science
We are living through the worst infectious disease pandemic since 1918. While the human and economic costs have been very high, the global response to this threat has been remarkable. Nearly a million deaths have been reported, but mortality would have been far higher had the world not adopted measures that would have seemed inconceivable just a year ago. Throughout, policy has been guided by the work of thousands of clinicians and scientists across the world. The data collected by researchers in China gave the rest of the world invaluable insight into the threat we faced. While the early response in China was imperfect, as hospitals in Wuhan were overwhelmed, China locked down. I was sceptical that lockdown would succeed. But China controlled their epidemic
Warning of 'lockdown by default' as Hancock faces fury over testing shambles
Boris Johnson has defended the creaking testing system saying there has been 'huge, huge demand.' Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that Covid tests will have to be rationed amid shambles. He is drawing up a priority list while conceding that the current shortages is set to drag on for weeks. Schools have warned that it might be 'unsustainable' to stay open as so many are off with symptoms. Experts warn that 500,000 people a day display Covid-style symptoms even in year where no pandemic
Covid-19 cases among people in their 40s and 50s have risen by 90% since end of August
Public Health England data reveals 23.4 cases are now diagnosed for every 100,000 people aged 40 to 49. In comparison, the Covid-19 infection rate for the same age group in England was 12.4 at the end of August. Fears of a second wave are growing as number of daily cases has topped 3,000 for the first time since May Ministers have also been spooked by spiralling outbreaks in Spain and France and rising hospital admissions. Covid-19 Hospital admissions have doubled in England over the past ten days, government figures also show. More than 150 patients required NHS treatment on Sunday, up from a rolling average of 56 the week before
‘Awareness not lockdown will flatten Covid curve’
During a Corona Awareness Dialogue online programme presided b chief ministers on Tuesday, leading doctors like Dr Naresh Trehan, Dr SK Sarin and Dr Devit Shetty stated that the state must launch short-term and long-term campaigns by taking the communities into confidence. Sarin advocated the need for regulated social policing for the strict compliance of masks whle suggesting Gehlot that society needs to be brought in. Campaigns like No Masks, No Entry should be started across the state. If everyone is involved and its followed for four weeks the case curve will flatten
Blood test finds 60,000 undetected Covid-19 cases in Australia
In Australia, federal government-funded research has revealed far more people have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus than anticipated. Researchers from the Australian National University have now developed a new test which picks up previous Covid-19 infection in a patient's blood. The study indicates eight in 3000 healthy and previously undiagnosed Australians had likely been infected with the virus. "This suggests that instead of 11,000 cases we know about from nasal swab testing, about 70,000 people had been exposed overall," Associate Professor Ian Cockburn said. The researchers claim the test will help authorities get a better grasp of the spread of the illness – and can help demonstrate whether or not herd immunity exists.
As Covid-19 Cases Rise, Europe Enters ‘Living-With-the-Virus Phase’
Europe’s leaders choose targeted measures over nationwide lockdowns, even as cases rise. In the early days of the pandemic, President Emmanuel Macron exhorted the French to wage “war” against an invisible enemy. Today, his message is to “learn how to live with the virus.’’
Top medical expert says Ontario needs smaller classes as COVID-19 cases accelerate
Classes in Canada’s high risk schools should ideally have 20 or fewer students so children can maintain safe distance from each other, a top doctor who advised the government of Ontario on school reopening said, as sometimes crowded classes resumed in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases. Dr Ronald Cohn, president of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, is one author of two reports that Canada’s most populous province cited repeatedly in drafting back to school plans. Cohn said much depends on the size of classrooms - some can accommodate only 15, while others may be large enough to teach 18 or 20 children, but likely not many more than that.
Community Activities
Coronavirus in Scotland: Almost half of over-50s ‘less confident about going to shops due to Covid-19’
Some 35% of respondents said they are not comfortable visiting friends, 62% are less confident to eat out and 63% are worried about using public transport. There has also been an increase in the number of people experiencing loneliness, the charity said. Three in ten (30%) respondents who live alone said they have spent too long on their own and just over one in five (22%) said they feel lonely and isolated – more than three times the figure for those living with others.
Coronavirus crisis caused 40% of parents to change their job situation, survey finds
Working parents are feeling the sting of the coronavirus pandemic — and it’s hitting women especially hard. School shutdowns have left many trying to juggle work, childcare and helping their kids with distant learning. Since the crisis began, 40% of working parents have had to change their employment situation, according to a new survey from career website FlexJobs. Of those polled, 25% voluntarily reduced their hours and 15% quit entirely. Of those who quit, 38% don’t plan to rejoin the workforce.
Nearly half of New York's top earners have considered leaving the city
Poll surveyed 782 New Yorkers who make more than $100,000 a year. Found that 44% of high-income New Yorkers have considered leaving. The group makes up 80% of the city's income tax revenue. Cost of living, crime, and lifestyle are the top reasons they consider moving
Working Remotely
Employers in D.C. Region Expect Some Remote Work Into Mid-2021, Survey Finds
About 60% of respondents anticipated less than a third of workers would return to the office by early September because of coronavirus risks. Some are planning for a portion of staff to still be working remotely even next summer.
The flexible working genie is out of the bottle – let's embrace it
The coronavirus pandemic has in many ways been a catastrophe for disability equality, but one of the silver linings is that it has forced us to think differently about the workplace. The past six months have brought many employers to embrace, out of necessity, the flexible working measures disabled employees have been requesting for years. And studies suggest that it’s not only disabled people benefiting from this shift — 90 per cent of workers want to continue working from home in some form.
North Attleboro allowing high-risk teachers to work remotely
Instead, a projected livestream will broadcast Thornton on a large screen at the front of the classroom. A paraprofessional or substitute teacher will supervise students while Thornton teaches them remotely from his home. He is one of several North Attleboro teachers granted special permission to do so after negotiations with union officials, Superintendent Scott Holcomb said. Accommodations have been made for teachers who are at high-risk of severe complications or even death if they catch COVID-19 or if they live with someone who is high risk. “We are tailoring each situation around people in a high-risk category to maximize their ability to educate, and maximize the ability of our students to learn,” Holcomb said.
Facebook hiring remote work director to help with work-from-home shift
Facebook is looking for a director of remote work as it plans for a more permanent shift to working from home. The company is looking for someone to help it develop a long-term remote work plan and to lead Facebook's push "toward remote-first ways of working," according to a job posting for the role. Facebook employees will continue working from home until July 2021, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects half of the company's workforce to work remotely within the next 10 years.
Productivity Drops as Work From Home Fatigue Sets In, Survey of Employers Finds
Nearly six months into the forced large-scale work-from-home experiment that the coronavirus pandemic caused, companies have started to report a drop in productivity as remote work fatigue starts to set in, a survey by architect and design firm Vocon found. Vocon surveyed the heads of nearly 50 businesses around the country and found that 40 percent of them have started to see decreases in productivity as staff work remotely. Meanwhile, a quarter of them added their employees were feeling exhausted working from home every day. That runs counter to what the leaders told Vocon early on in the pandemic, when 56 percent of them in April rated productivity as “excellent.”
Are More People Working Freelance During The Coronavirus Pandemic? A Look At The Numbers
The share of U.S. workers freelancing has risen to one in three, with the pandemic accelerating the trend. Even as the larger economy has slowly recovered, the shift has not reversed. Many freelancers report higher earnings and satisfaction with work flexibility. Other sources, however, say that freelancers have weaker relations with their bosses and coworkers, and that the vast majority of workers want full-time positions with benefits
Bosses predict permanent shift in working and an evolution for cities
Bosses in the City of London predict there will be a fundamental shift in how their companies will use offices in the future, with greater flexibility set to stay after the pandemic ends. As white collar staff slowly trickle back to their workplaces, members of the FT’s City Network, a forum of more than 50 senior executives, argue that Covid-19 will have a long-term impact on office life — but believe that city centres will adapt and thrive to the new ways of working.
Virtual Classrooms
At Some NYC Public Schools, Even In-Person Instruction will be Online Only
Prompted largely by staffing shortages, at least a half-dozen schools are moving all their instruction to the internet — even when students are sitting in the classroom.
MIT moves business school classes online for a week in response to student gatherings
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is moving all business school classes online for a week in response to two gatherings of students at public parks, officials said Wednesday night. There have been no reported cases of the coronavirus among the MIT Sloan School of Management students who participated or among the “thousands of students and staff tested since Monday,” MIT said in a statement. “Our internal discipline processes have been engaged and we continue to gather facts,” the university said. The gatherings took place outside “and are not known to have resulted in any cases” of COVID-19, MIT said, but the business school’s dean “nevertheless has made clear to students that this behavior is unacceptable. Out of an abundance of caution, all MIT Sloan classes will be fully remote through Tuesday, Sept. 22.”
Judge says private school in California must stop in-person classes
A private school in California that has flouted state and county health orders during the coronavirus pandemic must immediately stop in-person teaching, a Fresno County judge has ruled. The Fresno Bee reports that Judge D. Tyler Tharpe in a 10-page decision granted Fresno County’s request for a preliminary injunction against Immanuel Schools in Reedley, Calif.
Coronavirus in Oklahoma: University of Central Oklahoma professor partners with CMA to bring virtual music lessons to US classrooms
Lani Garner, assistant professor in the School of Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, recently helped facilitate Unified Voices for Music Education, a series of music lessons and tools for music teachers to use in virtual classrooms. Unified Voices for Music Education is a national initiative hosted by the Country Music Association Foundation. Garner was a facilitator for the elementary music sessions of Unified Voices for Music Education, according to a news release. Unified Voices for Music Education is a collective effort of music educators from across the country in response to challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
Virtual learning harder for those with disabilities
As school districts across the state deliberated over whether to bring students back to the classroom or teach them virtually, social media message boards filled with comments from North Carolina parents with strong opinions on all sides. But for Brooke Rose, there was no ideal option for her family in Wake County, which is holding virtual classes.
Drew: How to Decide Between the Virtual or Traditional Classroom
With the reopening of schools in America, parents are faced with one of the most difficult decisions they may have in their child(ren)’s lifetime. Do they choose the option to turn their home into a classroom for virtual learning or do they opt to allow their child to return to school for a more traditional in-person classroom? Many school districts have made the decision temporarily for parents by conducting virtual learning for the first six to nine weeks, but what happens afterwards? There are some serious decisions parents must consider to determine whether to homeschool using virtual learning or allow your child(ren) to attend their school in a traditional manner (in-person). When making your decision about school, you may need to consider other things beyond academics such as school meal programs, social services, extended day childcare, extra-curricular activities, soci
Public Policies
Covid-19 has set global health progress back 25 years, says Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic have halted and reversed global health progress, setting it back 25 years and exposing millions to the risk of deadly disease and poverty, a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation warned on Tuesday (Sept 15). Because of Covid-19, extreme poverty has increased by 7 per cent, and routine vaccine coverage - a good proxy measure for how health systems are functioning - is dropping to levels last seen in the 1990s, the report said. "It's a huge setback," Mr Bill Gates, co-chairman of the foundation and a leading philanthropic funder of global health and development, told a media briefing on the report's findings.
UK coronavirus LIVE: Boris Johnson admits there is not enough testing capacity as London 'could see curfews' to curb Covid spread
Boris Johnson has admitted there was not enough coronavirus testing capacity. The Prime Minister told the Commons Liaison Committee: “We don’t have enough testing capacity now because, in an ideal world, I would like to test absolutely everybody that wants a test immediately.” Meanwhile, Londoners could see curfews imposed to help curb a second wave of coronavirus, a public health chief has said. Director of Public Health England, Professor Kevin Fenton, told the Standard that more restrictions may be imposed, including some possibly across the capital, to avoid a more stringent lockdown.
Coronavirus: Restrictions expected in North East of England
Almost two million people in north-east England are expected to face local restrictions as coronavirus cases rise. Areas including Newcastle, Sunderland and County Durham are due to be subject to new measures. These are expected to include restrictions on households mixing and pubs being ordered to close earlier. Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said it was hoped the temporary measures would prevent a "full lockdown". BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt said MPs from the area had met Health Minister Nadine Dorries earlier.
South Korea to secure coronavirus vaccines for 60% of population: PM Chung
South Korea said on Tuesday it plans to spend $146 million to procure coronavirus vaccines, initially aiming to secure a supply for 30 million people, or 60% of its population, as it battles persistent outbreaks of new cases. The population target is higher than a World Health Organization (WHO) goal for the early purchase of supplies for 20% of the world's most vulnerable people, and at least 40% agreed by European Union nations, Britain and EU partners for their populations. While South Korean authorities would like to inoculate the entire population of 52 million, uncertainty around any vaccine's safety, efficacy and development was limiting investment, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a cabinet meeting.
Japan commits $165 mln to WHO's global coronavirus vaccine programme
Japan said on Tuesday it has committed 17.2 billion yen ($165 million) in funds for its participation in the World Health Organization's COVID-19 vaccine programme. The programme, known as COVAX, is aimed at helping buy and fairly distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus around the world. But some countries which have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join. The funds are part of a 1.64 trillion yen reserve intended to bolster the government's response to the virus, a government document showed. Japan has also pursued independent arrangements with global pharmaceutical companies to secure vaccines, with the government pledging to have enough supply for the whole population by the first half of 2021.
India hits FIVE MILLION coronavirus cases: Country sees an extra million in just 11 days - the fastest any country has seen
India recorded 90,123 new coronavirus cases and 1,290 fatalities on Wednesday Takes the total to five million, with 997,180 of those infections in the last 11 days Despite the large numbers, India's authorities have ruled out a second lockdown The fatality rate is 1.6%, similar to the 1.5% in the UK and far lower than 3% in US
US government will offer Covid-19 vaccine free to all Americans – and they’ll need two shots of it
Every American will be offered a free coronavirus vaccine from January 2021 – and most people who take up the offer will need two injections of it. A report given to the US Congress Wednesday says the vaccination campaign may begin by the end of the year, and is likely to be in full-swing by January. Anyone who takes up the offer of a free shot will be given two doses 21 to 28 days apart, with each patient being given both shots from the same vaccine manufacturer. Multiple US pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna are racing to develop their own shots, with results from ongoing final-phase testing expected as early as October. Other manufacturers around the world are developing their own shots, with scientists saying most vaccines tested appear to offer protection from Covid-19.
Britain records nearly 4,000 new Covid-19 cases in highest daily total since MAY
The seven-day average is now 3,286 compared with 2,358 last Wednesday - a 40 per cent rise. Infections have soared in the past fortnight after schools and workplaces began to return to normality. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the failing coronavirus testing system today. He said it is trying to meet a 'colossal spike' in demand as official draw up testing priority plans. It comes as official data shows cases among people in their 40s and 50s have risen by 90% since August. Public Health England data reveals 23.4 cases are now diagnosed for every 100,000 people aged 40 to 49. In comparison, the Covid-19 infection rate for the same age group in England was 12.4 at the end of August. Fears of a second wave are growing as number of daily cases has topped 3,000 for the first time since May
Coronavirus: New local lockdown in Wales
Health Minister Vaughan Gething announces a local lockdown for Rhondda Cynon Taf from 18:00 BST on Thursday to tackle a "rapid" rise in cases. This will include a 23:00 BST curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants - going further than the lockdown in Caerphilly. Earlier, Mr Gething said up to five extra mobile testing units would be deployed to Covid-19 hotspots in Wales this week. People seeking tests have spoken of their frustration over the time it takes to book, distance to travel, and long waits on arrival
Chaos in Madrid, as regional government denies health chief’s announcement of new lockdowns
Sources close to the Madrid regional premier, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, backtracked on Wednesday after her deputy health chief, Antonio Zapatero, announced that stricter coronavirus measures would be introduced in parts of the region this coming weekend in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Speaking this morning, Zapatero told reporters that “action is needed as soon as possible,” adding that new decisions are being taken to “restrict mobility and the concentration of people.” The health chief added that “more drastic” measures were needed, “in line with what people could understand as selective lockdowns according to basic healthcare areas or healthcare areas with higher infection rates,” he said, referring both to the capital city and the Madrid region as a whole.
Lockdowns: Should They Continue?
A new article though, seeks to address the lockdown in India, as public health officials from the Indian Public Health Association, the Indian Association of Epidemiologists, and the Indian Association of Social and Preventive Medicine, all joined for a joint statement to push the government to end the lockdowns. Moreover, this group emphasized that these restrictions should be replaced with widespread testing efforts. In their call to action, the joint statement noted that the nationwide lockdown, which began in March, has been disjointed as it was relaxed but still upheld in several cities. Moreover, the country is focusing testing strategies on tracking and testing contacts of 80% of new COVID cases. Recently, this was 76,000 per day. This approach was widely criticized by public health leaders as both impractical, but also limited in its approach. With over 3.76 million cases recorded in India and nearly one million people currently under medical care for the disease, the seriousness of the outbreak in India is painfully obvious.
Ibiza follows Spain’s Palma de Mallorca in enforcing partial ‘lockdown’ to halt COVID-19 infections
In Ibiza, the centre of San Antonio and Ibiza Town will face similar restrictions that were laid down in Mallorca from Friday. This includes a complete control over mobility, impacting some 22,700 residents. The Balearic Ministry of Health said San Antonio and Ibiza are now labelled as hot zones due to the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the region
Sweden records its lowest number of covid cases since March with just 108 after country did not impose lockdown
Sweden's seven-day average for coronavirus was 108 as of Tuesday. The figure is its lowest since March 13 when it decided not to impose lockdown. France, Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic all have higher case numbers.
India coronavirus infections top five million mark
India's confirmed Covid-19 cases has surpassed five million as the soaring numbers continue to test the country's health care system. Officials reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation's confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35 per cent of its nearly 1.4 billion population. They said 1,290 more people died in the past day, for a total of 82,066. The country’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States' highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases, and expected to surpass it within weeks.
Melbourne on track for easing lockdown, but anyone trying to leave city faces hefty fine
Australia's Victoria state on Wednesday said the daily rise in infections in its coronavirus hot spot of Melbourne has eased further, putting it on course to relax an extended hard lockdown in the city by the end of the month. However, a new law that goes into effect from midnight Wednesday will punish anyone caught trying to leave Melbourne for rural areas, where restrictions are less severe, with fines of up to $5,000. Average cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, the state's largest city, fell below 50, health authorities said, the benchmark the state set to start easing curbs. Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of Sept 28. However, people will still be limited to moving around in a 5-kilometer radius around home and only allowed outside for two hours a day for exercise, with a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. "We have to see this through. We absolutely do.
Israel curbs contagion zones, health chiefs self-isolate
Israel on Tuesday began a week-long campaign of night curfews and school closures in dozens of towns and neighbourhoods with high coronavirus counts, hoping to stem a spike in cases as its public-health chiefs were quarantined for exposure. Most of the 40 zones subject to the partial lockdowns are identified with Israeli Arabs or ultra-Orthodox Jews, minorities where crowding has helped spread the pandemic. Israel, with a population of 9 million, has recorded 135,288 cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,031 deaths. The discovery that a worker at a Health Ministry project for combating the virus had contracted it prompted senior staff who had been exposed to him to self-isolate as a precaution.
Canada not ruling out lockdown amid COVID-19 surge but eyes 'surgical approach'
Canada’s health minister on Tuesday said she could not rule out another full lockdown if needed amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases, but added Ottawa was significantly more prepared to manage the virus than during the first wave. Patty Hajdu’s comments followed a pledge she made late Monday to take a “surgical approach” to tackling outbreaks. Canada reported 1,351 new cases on Sept. 14, the highest single daily addition since May 1, amid school reopenings and flare-ups tied to group gatherings. “We see those numbers rising, but a full economic shutdown would be very difficult for this country. Not to rule it out, because ... listen we will protect the health of Canadians and we will do what it takes,” Hajdu told reporters on Tuesday.
Maintaining Services
Manchester NHS hospital accounted for a THIRD of coronavirus deaths in English hospitals last week with 18 fatalities as health bosses fight 'internal outbreak'
Tameside General Hospital saw a surge of Covid-19 deaths last week. The 18 Covid-19 deaths accounted for a third of those across England. Some of the victims are thought to have caught Covid-19 in hospital. They all had underlying health issues or were elderly, the hospital said
Beware of big pharma in rush for Covid-19 vaccine
Once an effective vaccine is discovered, we will need open sharing of the technological process so that as many suppliers as possible can make it, to ensure an adequate supply across the world. This is not a time for monopolies. While governments leave big pharma in the driving seat, there will be vaccine scarcity and the global race to hoard vaccines will deplete global stocks, leaving very little – if any – for the WHO to supply to poorer countries. This is not just morally wrong, it is also counterproductive, because we will only be safe if everyone is safe.
Towns in France impose restrictions to contain COVID-19, Bordeaux is running out of ICU beds
Stricter sanitary measures have been announced in France's southwestern region Nouvelle-Aquitaine on Monday for public events and nursing homes to contain a spike in coronavirus cases. With the country facing a resurgence in coronavirus cases and reaching record-levels of 10,000 new cases over the last weekend, the government has promised to speed up tests and toughen measures in high-infection zones.
ICUs are nearing capacity in this French city. And it's only September
Dealing with the first wave was like a sprint, the second will be more like a marathon. That's how Dr. Olivier Joannes-Boyau, head of the intensive care unit at University Hospital in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, describes the resurgence of Covid-19 in France. After young French people took advantage of the lifting of lockdown and summer months to socialize freely, Covid-19 hospitalizations have risen in large cities like Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. French hospitals are now preparing for the long slog. The last time University Hospital dealt with a rise in Covid-19 cases, it put aside all other emergency procedures to deal the crisis. This time, it is trying to keep the rest of its services going too. Just like the wider country, it is adapting to a virus that looks like it is here to stay. Hospital staff are more experienced than they were when the coronavirus first swept through France, and Bordeaux University Hospital is now armed with steroids to reduce Covid-19 symptoms and improved ventilators, both of which can reduce intubation rates.
Reaching herd immunity in a viral pandemic
The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought “herd immunity” to the public consciousness, kindling hope the phenomenon can help slow or even end the outbreak. Herd immunity refers to a large portion of a community developing a degree of immunity to a virus, thereby reducing person-to-person spread. As a result, the whole community gains protection, not just those who are immune.
'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme pushes UK inflation to near five-year low
A hefty drop in meal prices, spurred by Britain’s scheme to support the hospitality sector through the COVID-19 pandemic, helped to push inflation down last month to its lowest rate in almost five years. Consumer prices rose by 0.2% in annual terms in August, the smallest increase since December 2015 and a sharp slowdown from July’s 1.0% increase, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of 0.0%. Discounts for more than 100 million meals were claimed Last month through the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” programme, which offered diners a state-funded price reduction of up to 10 pounds ($12.89).
Myanmar races to build field hospital as coronavirus surge stretches health system
Myanmar authorities are racing to build a field hospital in the commercial capital of Yangon to cope with a surge of coronavirus infections that doctors fear threatens to overwhelm the country’s fragile health system. The Southeast Asian nation reported 307 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic in March, and another 134 on Wednesday morning, taking the total to 3,636 cases and 39 deaths. Myanmar had gone weeks without a case of local transmission before an outbreak in mid-August in the western region of Rakhine that has spread across the country.
Healthcare Innovations
In Covid-19 vaccine race, China inoculates thousands before trials are completed
This has raised concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China is inoculating tens of thousands of its citizens with experimental coronavirus vaccines and attracting international interest in their development, despite expert concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China launched a vaccine emergency use programme in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech. A fourth Covid-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine - minister
Turkey began final Phase III trials of an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, the health minister said. “The first administration of the Sinovac vaccine was started with three healthcare workers at Hacettepe University, who volunteered to take part in the trials,” Fahrettin Koca told a news conference. The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200 and 1,300 health workers over 10 days and a second dose will be given 14 days after the first, broadcasters CNN Turk and Haberturk reported earlier. The results of the trial will be sent the World Health Organization (WHO).
ERS Studies Highlight Long-Term Effects of COVID-19
In May, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro famously (or infamously) referred to COVID-19 as the “little flu.” Clearly, the grim figures on deaths attributed to the virus—in his country, and elsewhere—have proved him wrong, but research presented during the European Respiratory Society International Congress on September 7 should also cause him to take note. Together, the 2 studies suggest that COVID-19 patients may suffer long-term lung and heart damage—although, for many, it resolves over time. For the first paper, researchers working in a COVID-19 “hotspot” in Austria recruited their first 86 consecutive patients in May and early June (they now have more than 150 enrolled). The patients returned for evaluation 6, 12 and 24 weeks following their discharge from St. Vinzenz Hospital in Zams and underwent clinical examination, laboratory test, analysis of the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in arterial blood, lung function tests (FEV1 and DLCO), computed tomography (CT) scans, and echocardiograms at each visit.
Trial backs Lilly's Olumiant plus remdesivir as combo COVID-19 therapy -
Adding Eli Lilly’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant (baricitinib) and Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir reduces recovery time in COVID-19 patients compared to remdesivir alone, says a new trial. The ACTT-2 trial, funded by the US government and run by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), involved COVID-19 patients who had been hospitalised because of severe symptoms. It showed that the median time to recovery for the combination was roughly a day shorter than with remdesivir alone, which was a modest but statistically significant improvement. Lilly now intends to discuss an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Olumiant with the FDA and other regulators and says that because the drug is already approved it should be made available “through commercial channels.”
Experts say new treatments and local lockdowns will keep coronavirus under better control
Government experts believe a second wave of coronavirus wouldn't be as bad. They suggest local lockdowns and social distancing would reduce the impact There are also hopes that a vaccine could be ready by as early as next spring
Pfizer says "no safety signal" in late-stage study of COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2
Pfizer said that subjects in its Phase III study of BNT162b2, a candidate mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, have so far exhibited only mild-to-moderate side effects, with fatigue being the most common. The company, which is developing the vaccine as part of a collaboration with BioNTech, noted that over 12,000 participants have now received a second dose of BNT162b2. "So far there has been no safety signal reported," remarked Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer. The drugmaker noted that more than 29,000 people have been recruited into the study, which has a target enrolment of 44,000.
The root cause of excess covid infections in the care home sector: 30 years of market driven policies
Any root cause analysis into the excess deaths from covid-19 in the UK’s care homes must consider the decisions taken by policy makers over the past three decades which may have created the optimal conditions for the virus to spread among older people in institutional settings. Those decisions—taken by long departed government ministers—led to the intentional creation of a market in social care, the consequential casualisation of the social care workforce and the treatment of some care home residents as a source of income and revenue for international private financiers. Take for example, the emerging evidence which suggests that the size of a care home maybe a causal factor in the rates of infection from covid and patient deaths. Research from NHS Lothian (published on a pre-print) appears to show a correlation between the size of the home and the spread of the virus; thus in homes containing fewer than 20 residents, the chance of an outbreak was 5%, but in homes with 60 to 80 residents the likelihood increased to between 83% and 100%.
WHO Europe background document in preparation to the High-level virtual briefing for ministers of health on “schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic”
Schooling in the time of COVID-19 - Towards a consensus on schooling in the European Region during the COVID-19 pandemic This working paper serves as a reference point for national education and health authorities as they seek to plan and implement effective schooling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally prepared to inform the high-level meeting on “Schooling in the time of COVID-19” held on 31 August 2020, it seeks to provide a general framework and upstream considerations for decision-makers.