"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 29th Sep 2020

Isolation Tips
Coronavirus: Psychiatrists' tips to get through university during COVID
University is meant to be a time for meeting new people, freedom from parents, embarking on a new chapter - and of course, learning. For students starting or returning this year, COVID-19 has dramatically changed things, with several universities already placing students into self-isolation after outbreaks. Maintaining good mental health is an integral part of getting through university during these unusual and unsettling times.
Covid-19: Up to £10,000 fine for failure to self-isolate in England
Refusing to self-isolate when told to is now illegal in England, with fines of up to £10,000. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, or has been told they have been in contact with someone who has, now has a legal duty to quarantine. It comes as a study commissioned by the government found just 18% of people who had symptoms went into isolation. Meanwhile, the government has promised an "uninterrupted supply" of PPE for front-line workers over the winter. Four-month stockpiles of PPE - personal protective equipment such as masks, visors and gowns - will be available from November, the Department of Health has said.
Hygiene Helpers
COVID 19: The strained relationship between science and politics
In the scientific world researchers tread a slow and methodical path in the search for truth. But for some politicians, the rush to deliver quick and easy answers to the complex challenges of the COVID-19 crisis is creating new challenges of its own.
WHO COVID Debrief on kids going back to school
Is it safe to send your children back to school? WHO’s Dr Abdi Mahamud explains. The role of children in transmitting the disease is not yet fully understood and scientists are working to understand more, says WHO’s Dr Abdi Mahamud in this episode of the WHO COVID Debrief. To date, few outbreaks have been reported in children in schools. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 190 countries have closed their schools, affecting some 1.6 billion students as per data released by UNESCO after surveying 94 percent of the world’s students.
In Brazil's Amazon a COVID-19 resurgence dashes herd immunity hopes
The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity. When a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, its spread becomes unlikely. University of Sao Paulo researchers suggested that a drastic fall in COVID-19 deaths in Manaus pointed to collective immunity at work, but they also believe that antibodies to the disease after infection may not last more than a few months.
Pubs and restaurants 'responsible for just 3.2% of Covid-19 outbreaks' in week 10pm curfew was announced
Pubs, bars and restaurants were responsible for just 3.2 per cent of confirmed coronavirus outbreaks in the week the Prime Minister introduced a 10pm curfew, new data suggests. Public Health England publishes a weekly update of data on how coronavirus and respiratory infections are spreading around the country. According to the latest figures that were published on Friday, a total of 772 respiratory infections were reported in the week leading up to September 20, and 69 per cent of these were linked to Covid-19 infections.
Plastic face shields 'are not effective in stopping COVID-19 spread'
Plastic face shields now commonly worn by hairdressers, barbers and beauty salon workers are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, researchers have said. Technology in Japan involving the world’s fastest supercomputer found that nearly 100% airborne tiny droplets escaped through the plastic. The technology used in the research is called Fugaku and it can perform more than 415 quadrillion computations a second. It has also found that non-woven fabric face masks are the most effective at trapping airborne droplets of the virus.
Pandemic disrupting your child’s sleep? These scientists-backed tips help little ones nod off
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives to some degree as families cope with isolation, job fears and in some tragic cases the death of loved ones. While young children may not fully understand the outbreak, months off school combined with anxious parents will undoubtedly have left many feeling unsettled. If this has affected their sleep, scientists from the University of Florida in Gainesville have put together their expert tips to help little ones nod off.
Community Activities
Coronavirus: Care leavers are facing 'digital poverty' with no online access to education or work, campaigners say.
Care leavers are facing "digital poverty" without laptops or access to the internet, campaigners say. A government scheme to provide digital devices and internet access to vulnerable young people in England during the pandemic is set to end in November. Charities say it risks leaving up to 80,000 18-25 year-old care leavers isolated and unable to access education and work or to keep in touch with friends and family. In an open letter to ministers, leading charities and youth organisations including Barnardo's and The Children's Society have called on the government to extend the scheme and ensure every care leaver gets internet access for at least 12 months when they first live independently.
Chattanooga's Rotary Club to give grant for virtual classrooms throughout downtown
The virtual classrooms will be housed in churches across the area, providing resources like unlimited hot spots, chrome books and headphones for each student.
Covid: Adults without A-levels to be offered free college courses
Adults in England without an A-level or equivalent qualification will be offered a fully funded college course, the government has announced. The offer will be available from April and applies to courses offering "skills valued by employers". In a speech on Tuesday, the PM will say that, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government cannot "save every job" but wants to help people find new work. Labour said the plans would not reverse the impact of "a decade of cuts". The government decision comes amid fears that unemployment is set to grow sharply.
Italian firm developing AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine might go public -CEO
Italian biotech firm IRBM, which is cooperating with British drugmaker AstraZeneca AZN.L in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, could be listed on the stock exchange, its chief executive said on Monday. “Why not?”, Piero Di Lorenzo told Italian newspaper Il Riformista, answering a question on whether the stock exchange could be in the company’s future. “Many big companies would like to enter our capital. We are receiving interest from all over the world and I don’t rule out any option,” he said, adding however that such a decision was not currently a priority, given the focus on the vaccine. Italy could have its first shots of the vaccine by the end of November, IRBM said earlier this month. The group has already produced tens of thousands of vaccine doses for the trial stage and has the potential to produce up to 10 million doses a year. However, it does not have a production contract with AstraZeneca yet “but it is likely to, in the future”, Di Lorenzo said.
Manchester students warned to remove 'let us out' signs from windows
University bosses have reportedly warned students to remove protest signs from their accommodation windows. Some 1,700 students at Manchester Metropolitan were put into a lockdown on Friday without any warning, after 127 students tested positive for Covid-19. Even if they showed no symptoms, students at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls were told to self-isolate for 14 days, leaving many left wondering how they would get food and essential supplies. The handling of the situation has been heavily criticised by the students, who claim they received no warning of the stringent measures and hit back by sticking posters to their windows.
UK wants students to be able to go home for Christmas despite COVID
The British government wants university students to be able to return home for Christmas, culture minister Oliver Dowden said on Sunday, amid concerns that restrictions on movement may be needed to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases. Outbreaks have forced some institutions to ask students - many of whom are far from home and paying thousands of pounds for accommodation and teaching - to self-isolate in their rooms and follow lectures online. Health minister Matt Hancock had said on Thursday he could not rule out asking students to stay on campus over Christmas to prevent the virus from spreading. “I very much want students to be able to go home at Christmas,” Dowden told Sky News.
Working Remotely
27% of staff working remotely considering their career
Over a quarter (27%) of employees who are working from home during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) are reconsidering their career options due how their organisation has dealt with the pandemic, according to research by Canada Life. The survey of 624 working adults in the UK, published 28 September 2020, also found that over a quarter (26%) of respondents would prefer to work flexible working hours, while 15% would prefer their organisation to provide better mental health support. Furthermore, just under two in five (17%) would want better home office setups when working remotely, with 13% of respondents wanting their employee to upgrade their WiFi connection so they can work from home more efficiently.
Managerial Support Needed For Remote Working To Endure
The coronavirus pandemic has meant huge swathes of the population have been working from home for the last few months. As workplaces begin to re-open, the question turns to whether this shift is temporary, or whether those of us who have been advocating remote working for many years might finally see a more permanent change. New research from Harvard Business School suggests that after Covid-19, the majority of us will trudge back into the office again. After a survey of around 1,800 from a range of small and large businesses, the researchers found that just 16% of those currently working from home will continue to do so.
JPMorgan Chase tells thousands of workers across U.S. to work remotely into 2021
JPMorgan Chase & Co. told thousands of office workers across its consumer unit they can plan to continue working remotely until next year, breaking with the firm’s Wall Street operations, which mandated that senior traders return to work. The directive, which was communicated to staff in several memos Monday, applies to most U.S.-based employees in the consumer unit who have been working remotely to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. It excludes branch workers and some in operations, according to a person briefed on the staffing plans.
Brazilian government achieves multimillion-dollar savings with remote working
The Brazilian government estimates it has achieved savings of more than 1 billion reais (US$ 180 million) with remote working since the start of the pandemic, and a new framework has been introduced this month with rules that include employee responsibility for expenses such as electricity. According to the report released on Friday (25) by the Ministry of Economy, the figure considers 859 million (US$ 154 million) in fixed expenses relating to the maintenance of physical offices. The savings reported also take into account a reduction of 161 million reais (US$ 29 million) in benefits to workers between April and August 2020.
House buyers look outside the cities as remote working grows
The price of a three-bedroom semi-detached house across the country rose by 0.6 per cent over the past three months to €236,046, an annual increase of 0.4 per cent. Reflecting the beginnings of a flight to rural locations, prices in the rest of the country’s towns rose by almost 1 per cent in 12 weeks to €163,345. It comes amid reports of house buyers queueing overnight to purchase homes in Carlow over the weekend. The Irish Times reports that more than 30 people queued in bitter weather to better their chances of getting a home among the 18 new properties in Castle Oaks estate in Carlow town, with the houses coming on to the market on Saturday morning. Auctioneer June Doran maintains that the “unprecedented” interest comes from how work has been affected by the coronavirus; working from home has “freed up” people to consider moving beyond Dublin, she says.
Remote working opening doors to jobs on the road
Millions of Americans are now working at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while some are working far away from home. Travel blogger Lindsey Myers and her husband like to rent out their home in Charleston while they travel the world. Most recently they spent a two-month stint in Tulum, Mexico. "We did it in Bali for a couple months, we've done Scotland and Ireland we did Belgium," Myers says.
Tim Cook's Optimism On Remote Working
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., has expressed his confidence about employees’ ability to work remotely and expects that this new way of working will stick around for years to come. In an interview at The Atlantic Festival, Cook added he does not foresee the workforce returning to normal operations in the future as “we’ve found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually.” He added that 10% to 15% of Apple workers have returned to the office and still hopes that employees can come back to the company’s new Silicon Valley campus next year. While Cook has been primarily optimistic about remote working, he admits that there is no replication of working in person with colleagues, which can help spark creativity.
The rise of remote work can be unexpectedly liberating
In the initial months of the pandemic, remote work seemed full of upsides: more flexibility for employees and an expectation of greater profits, productivity and retention for their employers. But what if the long-studied benefits of remote work look different in a post-pandemic world? In particular, what if employee loyalty and engagement decrease once remote work is no longer an exception but rather the norm? And what if that’s not a bad thing? What if a more disconnected work force leads to changes that could make employees happier and companies more compassionate? I’m a fan of remote work, but it presents unique challenges in helping staffs feel connected to their teammates and the company.
Japan wants people to work remotely from beautiful national parks - Insider
Japan is hoping to attract people to work remotely from its national parks. Several parks have added wifi access points, built rentable workstations, and even have staff who will bring workers food. "We want people to engage in remote work while relaxing in an environment away from their usual daily life," an official at the Kyukamura Kishu Kada resort hotel at Setonaikai National Park told Japan Times.
Long commutes may be behind shift to remote working as London workers shun the office
Commute times and long work days and weeks could be contributing to a longer-term shift to remote working for UK workers, according to big data platform Stratigens. UK workers, especially in London, have been slower to return to traditional office workspaces compared to workers in major European cities and countries, Stratigens said. Data from Stratigens, synthesised from 1,500 big data sources, finds that: London’s broadband speed is slower than that in other major capitals such as Madrid, Paris, Brussels and Berlin London has a higher percentage of the population commuting than any of the other cities analysed – Paris, Milan, Brussels, Berlin Commute time for London is longer than other major European cities. London’s average commute time is 45 minutes compared to 35 minutes in Madrid and 24 minutes in Berlin - London has the longest working day and working week but productivity is lower. London employees work an average of eight hours per day and a 36-hour week – higher than Berlin, Brussels, Milan or Paris.
It’s time to commit to remote working
It’s been six months since many of us have been to the office. What started as a crisis response to a pandemic has segued into A New Normal – and we don’t know when things are likely to change. A recent survey on LinkedIn from Digivizer CEO Emma Lo Russo found that 63% of respondents were still working from home. Facebook, Uber and Google aren’t planning on sending staff back to the office until mid-2021. Most organisations have pivoted remarkably well to remote working. Productivity is up, interest in exercise has increased and fathers are reportedly spending more time caring for their children.
Virtual Classrooms
2 Maine schools switch to remote learning due to coronavirus outbreak
Two schools in RSU 57 have switched to remote learning due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Students at Massabesic Middle School and Massabesic High School will now be working remotely. In a letter sent out to RSU 57 parents, Superintendent Larry Malone, along the Massabesic middle and high school principals confirmed there are at least three cases associated with the middle school within a 14-day period. Three or more coronavirus cases is classified as an “outbreak” by the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schools Reopen to In-Person Learning, but Teachers Work From Home
In a back-to-school season full of surprises, the latest is that some students are returning to classrooms without teachers. A teacher may be immunocompromised and has permission to work from home, or a teacher may have been exposed to Covid-19. In some instances, school districts are opening classrooms to give children the chance to work from a place with Wi-Fi and resources, even as instruction remains virtual. In teacherless classrooms, students take virtual lessons while a proctor or substitute maintains order. The arrangement is cropping up in schools nationwide as districts look for creative ways to get students back into classrooms. In Denver, middle-school principal Kurt Dennis plans to have a small group of students in the same classroom with the same teacher all day when buildings open next month. That teacher will teach for one period and monitor students as they take virtual lessons in other subjects.
Inside a virtual classroom: What a school day is like for Kansas City third graders
Katherine Hendrix sits alone in her third grade classroom at J.A. Rogers Elementary School, speaking to a TV filled with her students’ faces. “Good morning; you’re up early today,” she tells one boy as more boxes outlining students’ faces appear on the 65-inch-screen. She asks if he’s tired. A girl a few squares over eats yogurt. Hendrix, 34, asks if one student found his iPad yet. He said no. He’s borrowing his brother’s Chromebook, but he can’t figure out how to access his homework. He gets his 9-year-old brother, who tells Hendrix he knows how to use the laptop, but then immediately struggles.
A class of 100? COVID-19 plans overwhelming some teachers with huge virtual classes
With family members at high risk to COVID-19, Norma Hernandez felt she had no choice but to keep her three kids at home for the school year, rather than send them to school in person. It’s a decision most parents have had to contemplate this year, but the virtual option comes with worrisome trade-offs. In Hernandez’s case, her son's fourth grade class in a virtual program in Gilbert, Arizona, has as many as 55 students, an “overwhelming” load for his teacher, she said. "My son is lucky he has me at home," she said.
Class sizes in UK may rise to 60 as schools struggle to cover for self-isolating teachers
Some schools are planning to increase their class sizes to up to 60 pupils so that they can continue to offer students an education this term, as fears grow of a looming teacher shortage. Headteachers are worried that a significant number of staff will need to self-isolate for long periods this winter as they struggle to gain access to tests for Covid-19, and that schools will soon run out of money to pay for cover from supply teachers. Vic Goddard, co-principal at Passmores Academy in Harlow and star of the Channel 4 series Educating Essex, has already set up his school hall like an exam hall so that a “masterclass” of up to 60 pupils could be taught inside by one teacher plus one or two support staff, if needed. “I can’t see us getting through this half-term without there being some major doubling up or tripling up of classes,” he said.
Public Policies
Global coronavirus death toll passes one million
The global death toll from the new coronavirus, which emerged less than a year ago in China and has swept across the world, passed one million on Sunday. The pandemic has ravaged the global economy, inflamed geopolitical tensions and upended lives, from Indian slums and Brazil's jungles to America's biggest city New York. World sports, live entertainment and international travel ground to a halt as fans, audiences and tourists were forced to stay at home, kept inside by strict measures imposed to curb the virus spread. Drastic controls that put half of humanity -- more than four billion people -- under some form of lockdown by April at first slowed its pace, but since restrictions were eased cases have soared again. On Sunday at 10:30 p.m. (GMT), the disease had claimed 1,000,009 victims from 33,018,877 recorded infections, according to an AFP tally using official sources. The United States has the highest death toll with more than 200,000 fatalities followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and Britain.
Christian Drosten, Germany's Dr. Fauci, Worries About Second Wave of Covid
As Germany cleared away spent fireworks and slept off its hangovers on New Year’s Day, Christian Drosten got a sobering wake-up call: A member of his team—he heads the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital—reported that a strange pneumonia was spreading in the Chinese city of Wuhan. For Drosten, a leading developer of tests for emerging viruses, there was an element of déjà vu. As a doctoral student in Hamburg in 2003, he’d discovered that the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, then terrifying Asia was caused by a coronavirus. Although it was unclear whether a coronavirus was responsible for the Wuhan outbreak, Drosten fully understood the danger. While the viruses are common pathogens known to cause colds, some discovered in recent decades are highly lethal.
Positive COVID-19 test rates top 25 percent in some Midwest states
The number of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 is topping 25 percent in several states in the US Midwest as cases and hospitalizations also surge in the region, according to a Reuters analysis. North Dakota’s positive test rate has averaged 30 percent over the past seven days compared with 6 percent the prior week. The positivity rate has risen to 26 percent in South Dakota, up from 17 percent the previous week, according to the analysis using testing data from The COVID Tracking Project.
Russian businesses prepare for fresh lockdowns as Covid-19 cases soar
Russian businesses are braced for a reimposition of lockdown measures after a surge in new coronavirus cases over the past week dashed hopes that the country had successfully contained the pandemic. Russia has the world’s fourth-highest number of Covid-19 infections but government data had shown a steady decrease in new cases since they peaked in mid-May. That decline had encouraged the Kremlin to lift almost all quarantine measures imposed in March in an effort to limit the damage to the country’s already struggling economy, but a sharp increase in new infections over the past fortnight has raised fears that a new lockdown will be necessary.
Russia's COVID-19 infections to rise until reaching plateau in October: RIA cites scientist
The number of new coronavirus infections in Russia will reach a plateau at the beginning of October before a small decline, the RIA news agency cited a scientific adviser to consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying on Monday. The number of COVID-19 infections has been steadily rising in recent weeks and surged past 8,000 on Monday, the highest daily increase since June 16. Russia exited lockdown in early June. “I think that infections are going to rise now and we will approach a plateau, and then a gradual decline will begin, there is unlikely to be a peak,” said Victor Maleev from the Russian Academy of Sciences. “The plateau will probably be at the start of October.”
PM scrapped second UK lockdown 'over fears Rishi Sunak would quit'
Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned plans for a second national lockdown over fears Rishi Sunak might quit, a senior MP has said. Mr Sunak reportedly warned that a second national lockdown would be a disaster for the economy and make his job near impossible. Despite medical and scientific experts calling for tougher restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, he argued that Britain must be kept open to protect millions of jobs and businesses, The Sun reported. A senior MP told the publication: ‘Rishi simply wouldn’t wear it. His stance was so firm. There were even fears he would find it difficult to carry on if he was ignored.’
Britain will seek coronavirus ‘herd immunity’ covertly or by default - thanks to the failure of lockdown
The dynamics of epidemics, their lethal ebbs and flows, are unpredictable and complicated involving more than a fixed proportion of people getting the illness. Yet six months from “herd immunity” being pilloried worldwide as the equivalent of poisoning the wells, Britain may covertly or by default may be adopting just such a policy. The reason for this creeping volte-face is that while “herd immunity” may or may not be achievable, the alternative policy of lockdown looks more and more like a bad bargain, bringing economic devastation in return for a temporary retreat of the epidemic. It only really works in countries where the state and society are so organised, China or Germany being prime examples, so that they can largely return to normality while at the same time suppressing new outbreaks. It helps if they are islands like New Zealand and Taiwan, but this advantage wanes as soon as full travel links are re-established.
Covid: Cardiff and Swansea go into local lockdown
Wales' two biggest cities have gone into lockdown, which started at 18:00. The changed status of Swansea and Cardiff took the number of Welsh local authority areas under heightened Covid restrictions to eight. It follows the first localised lockdown in Wales, in the town of Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, which came into force on Saturday evening. It means 1.5 million people - about half of Wales' population -are now under lockdown. Earlier on Sunday, it was confirmed that three other council areas - Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan - will face the same measures from 18:00 BST on Monday. The restrictions are the same as those affecting people living in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly, which were already in lockdown.
Wales lockdown: Businesses affected by Covid offered grants
Businesses in Wales hit by coronavirus will be offered £140m in grants, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said. Nearly two-thirds of Wales' population are now living under lockdown after new measures were brought in at 18:00 BST. Neath Port Talbot (NPT), Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan have joined eight other areas in lockdown, affecting almost two million people in total. The country's two biggest cities - Cardiff and Swansea - had restrictions applied on Sunday evening. The new rules mean no travel outside council boundaries other than for work, education or medical emergencies, with no indoor mixing allowed and no alcohol sales after 22:00. Conwy, Denbighshire, Wrexham, Flintshire, Anglesey and Carmarthenshire are being "closely monitored" by Public Health Wales, meaning if cases continue to rise they could also face lockdowns.
Coronavirus: Merkel worried Germany could face significant case surge
Chancellor Angela Merkel is deeply worried about sharply rising coronavirus infections in Germany, her spokesman said Monday. "The development of infection numbers is of great concern to us," Steffen Seibert said. "We should not permit the virus to spread exponentially in certain places," he added. Merkel warned top officials from her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) during a video meeting earlier on Monday that daily new infection numbers could reach 19,200 if the trend for rising cases continues, reported news agency AFP and German daily national newspaper Bild, citing unnamed party sources. Infections have been rising across Europe for weeks, with France and Spain reporting the sharpest increases of over 10,000 a day.
Italy's government showed the world how to take responsibility in a pandemic
If there ever was an unlikely country to be designated a model of collective civility, that’s Italy. My native land is usually depicted as a beautiful place whose abundance of natural and cultural treasures is entrusted, alas, to its disorganised, corrupt, unruly inhabitants. And yet everybody these days seems to be lavishing praise on us: the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal are all describing as exemplary the way in which we Italians have clawed ourselves out of the tragic pit we were in this spring, as coronavirus raged and convoys of military trucks had to be deployed to carry the coffins – they were so many.
London faces emergency two-week lockdown as coronavirus cases spike
Ministers are drawing up plans to enforce sweeping lockdown measures across the country including a ban on household mixing in London, as new coronavirus infections continue to rise. Pubs, restaurants and bars may be forced to shutter for two weeks in both the North of England and in London, marking a return to so-called circuit breaker plans which were abandoned last week, the Times today reported.
France’s Covid epidemic worsens as new restrictive measures take effect
Health agency figures showed France’s Covid-19 epidemic continued to accelerate as new restrictive measures were to come into effect in large cities including Paris on Monday. Government ministers said the priority was to avoid a new general lockdown. With Covid-19 cases, infection rates and hospital admissions continuing an upward trend in France on Monday, public officials expressed hope a new slate of restrictive measures would keep the epidemic from reaching first-wave levels. “We are doing everything we can to prevent a new general confinement,” even though “with this virus, we are ruling nothing out,” Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said Monday. Official figures posted Sunday reported 11,123 new cases within the previous 24 hours, slightly down from the previous day’s number but consistant with a trend that has seen the average number of new Covid cases per day climb from 10,000 to more than 12,000 in a week.
France has no plan to order a new coronavirus lockdown: minister
France’s government has no plan to order a new nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the country, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday. Le Maire was speaking at a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
India's confirmed coronavirus tally reaches 6 million cases
India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases. The Health Ministry reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall total to 6,074,703. At least 1,039 deaths were recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542. New infections in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world. The world’s second-most populous country is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the U.S., where more than 7.1 million infections have been reported.
Ontario in grip of second Covid-19 wave that will be 'worse than first', officials say
Ontario has set a new record for daily coronavirus cases, as the province officially entered its second wave of Covid-19, and officials warned that it will be “worse than the first”. Ontario logged 700 new Covid-19 infections on Monday – well above the previous highest daily total of 640 on 24 April – as the premier, Doug Ford, warned residents to expect a “more complex” and “more complicated” surge of the virus in the coming weeks. “We know it will be worse than the first wave, but we don’t know how bad the second wave will be,” said Ford. “Our collective actions will determine if we face a wave or a tsunami.”
Madrid in standoff with government over Covid-19 lockdown
The Spanish government and authorities in Madrid are locked in a standoff over how to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 in and around the capital, where more than a third of the country’s 716,481 cases have been diagnosed. As the number of infections continues to surge in Spain – by far the worst hit western European country – Madrid is at the centre of a medical, political and economic row. The conservative regional government has placed 45 areas into a partial lockdown that affects just over a million people in Madrid, but it has rejected calls from Spain’s socialist-led coalition government for the whole of the capital to be placed in limited confinement. On Saturday, the national health minister, Salvador Illa, issued another call for a city-wide lockdown and urged the Madrid authorities to “listen to the science” and put aside politics.
British ministers prepare for social lockdown in northern Britain, London: The Times
The British government is planning to enforce a total social lockdown across a majority of northern Britain and potentially London, to combat a second wave of COVID-19, The Times reported late on Sunday. Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially, the report said. Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any new national lockdown would threaten jobs, livelihoods and human contact. The report added that households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order.
Chile's president launches $2 billion plan to bring back jobs lost during pandemic
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced on Sunday the launch of $2 billion in subsidies aimed at creating new jobs or recovering those lost during months of lockdown aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic in the globe’s top copper producer. Pinera said the government would pay private businesses up to 50%, or as much as $317 of the salaries of any newly hired employee for the next six months. A similar program will cover up to around $200 of the salaries of employees who return to work after a furlough period during the coronavirus crisis.
Modi offers India’s COVID-19 vaccine capacity to ‘all humanity’
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged at the United Nations that his country’s vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the coronavirus crisis. “As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today,” Modi said in a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly.
Maintaining Services
Until there's a Covid vaccine, we need to focus on treating longer-term health consequences
As Covid-19 infection numbers show a welcome downward trend in Melbourne and the city’s residents look forward to some easing of restrictions, it’s time to consider the longer-term health consequences of the pandemic. More than 27,000 Australians – including some 20,000 Victorians – have been infected with the virus, with almost 900 deaths to date. Many countries are now in the grip of a second wave as the pandemic continues to take a toll on millions of lives around the globe – not only in terms of death, but also in the lingering, debilitating symptoms arising from severe, damaging inflammation.
Pharmacy teams unable to get COVID-19 tests despite priority status
Some community pharmacy workers are struggling to get a COVID-19 test, despite their “essential workers” status, C+D has learned from pharmacy bodies. A Twitter poll of 79 respondents, posted earlier this month (September 15) by Royal Pharmaceutical Society director of England Ravi Sharma, found that 76% of pharmacy workers had experienced difficulties in accessing tests for COVID-19. Other pharmacy bodies have reported similar problems. Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), confirmed that the organisation has received “many concerns about this issue”. It is something Ms Hannbeck has raised with NHS England and asked them to look into, she told C+D last week (September 25). While there have been reports of shortages of COVID-19 tests for the general public, pharmacy team members are classed as “essential workers” who are prioritised for testing.
Covid-19 skin rash website criticised for lack of BAME examples
A website dedicated to sharing images of Covid-19-related skin rashes to help doctors and patients identify whether an unusual rash might be a sign of coronavirus infection has been criticised for containing just two images of black or brown skin. The British Association of Dermatologists’ (BAD) Covid-19 Skin Patterns website features 400 images of Covid-associated rashes, from prickly heat and chickenpox-type rashes to raised itchy hives and chilblain-like “Covid fingers and toes”. They were gathered by the Covid Symptom Study app in response to growing evidence that skin rashes are a key feature of the disease, present in around 9% of app users testing positive for Covid-19. In children they may be even more predictive, with a sixth of children experiencing a rash and no other symptoms.
Covid-19 deaths pass 1,000 in Birmingham hospitals
The UK's first hospital trust to record 1,000 Covid-19 deaths says the toll is the "terrible reality" of the virus. University Hospitals Birmingham, which has four hospitals and is the biggest trust in England, reported there had been 1,002 deaths since 14 March as of Monday. The number of coronavirus cases in Birmingham is 153.2 per 100,000 people, in the seven days to 24 September. The hospital trust confirmed the figure with "great sadness". "Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of those who have suffered losses," a trust spokesman said.
Police told not to download NHS Covid-19 app
The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has confirmed officers are being told not to install the NHS Covid-19 app on their work smartphones. The app detects when users have been in proximity to someone with the virus. Some officers have also been told they may not need to obey self-isolate alerts generated by the app when downloaded to their personal phones. Lancashire Constabulary has told staff to call the force's own Covid-19 helpline instead. The BBC contacted the North-West of England force after a source claimed the advice had been given because of "security reasons". The source also said officers had been told not to carry their personal phones while on duty if they had activated the app.
Coronavirus UK: 'Total social lockdown' possible for London and North
A senior Government source told The Times the country ‘wasn’t ready’ to hear the plans last week, but they have been suggested to help stop the second wave in its tracks. Under the emergency plan, pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues would be forced to shut for at least two weeks and households would be banned from meeting each other in any indoor location. Schools, essential shops and offices where people cannot work from home would be left open.
Rapid rise in hospitalisations in France and Spain behind No10's Covid crackdown
Downing Street and its scientific advisers had only just announced national restrictions on the population last week, when rumours began swirling that yet more could be imposed in the coming days. The “rule of six” was barely a week old when the Prime Minister announced a curfew of 10pm on all pubs, bars and restaurants, and now ministers are considering a complete lockdown on socialising in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. Unlike in March, when Boris Johnson was chastised for failing to lockdown the country sooner, now the PM is facing severe criticism, particularly from his own party, for moving too fast with additional measures.
Why India should worry about post-Covid-19 care
When 60-year-old Milind Ketkar returned home after spending nearly a month in hospital battling Covid-19, he thought the worst was over. People had to carry him to his third-floor flat as his building didn't have a lift. He spent the next few days feeling constantly breathless and weak. When he didn't start to feel better, he contacted Dr Lancelot Pinto at Mumbai's PD Hinduja hospital, where he had been treated. Mr Ketkar, who thought he had recovered from the virus, was in for a shock. Dr Pinto told him inflammation in the lungs, caused by Covid-19, had given him deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when blood clots form in the body, often in the legs.
Israel doubly deserted on Yom Kippur during holiday and COVID-19 lockdown
In ordinary times Yom Kippur brings much of Israel to a standstill, as businesses close and roads empty for the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. But the world has looked very different this year, so deserted highways in city centres have become something of a familiar sight, even on days other than religious holidays when. Israel entered its second-wave lockdown on Sept. 18 after a surge of new cases had hospitals worrying about the strain on admissions. The country of nine million people has logged at least 1,441 deaths from COVID-19.
Burials surge as COVID-19 cases spike in Indonesia’s capital
Gravediggers at a cemetery in Jakarta say they’re burying three times as many bodies as they did before coronavirus. Jakarta has been the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia, where authorities have struggled for months to contain the virus. The country has reported more than 275,000 cases and at least 10,380 deaths, the highest levels in southeast Asia. Jakarta alone has buried some 5,000 bodies under COVID-19 protocols since the virus was detected in Indonesia in March, the city administration has reported. The city now averages between 26 and 28 COVID-19 burials a day, a significant surge since the beginning of August.
Netherlands: 31% more coronavirus infections today; Covid hospitalizations up 26th day straight
Preliminary data showed that the Netherlands registered another 2,921 infections of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, a 31 percent increase over last Monday's total and a 3 percent drop compared to Sunday's record-setting tally. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 also rose for the 26th consecutive day. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge were expected to hold a press conference on Monday evening to address the escalating health crisis in the Netherlands.
Australia-New Zealand travel bubble could happen before Christmas
A travel bubble with New Zealand could be in place before Christmas, New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister says. Winston Peters told Today the country was "raring to go", and said it would be a welcome boost for tourism on both sides of the Tasman. However, he said it depends on establishing coronavirus tracing protocols and other systems, especially given Melbourne's second COVID-19 outbreak.
Second Covid-19 wave could turn cracks in the hospital system into 'earthquakes'
When Dr. Shereef Elnahal walked through his New Jersey hospital in April, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. There were 300 patients being treated for Covid-19, filling hospital rooms and spilling out into the halls of the emergency room. The trauma center, once used for gunshot wounds and car crash victims, was now filled with people on ventilators. “It was really like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital in Newark. “I have memories of walking around and I would look inside the rooms where that was possible. Almost every person was a person of color,” he told NBC News.
Healthcare Innovations
Africa has held off the worst of the coronavirus. Researchers are working to figure out how.
When the coronavirus first began spreading around the world, there was near-universal concern among experts that countries in Africa could be hit particularly hard, with high rates of transmission that could quickly overwhelm health care systems. But roughly nine months into the pandemic, which has sickened over 31 million people and caused more than 950,000 deaths around the world, most African countries have fared significantly better than other parts of the world. The reasons are still something of a mystery — more research is needed, and some studies that aim to answer the questions are only just beginning — but scientists said the success of many African countries so far offers crucial lessons for the rest of the world and shine a light on how inherent biases can distort scientific research.
Weekly nasal spray could offer protection from Covid-19, research finds
A nasal spray given once or twice a week could offer protection against coronavirus, according to new research. Human trials could start within four months after studies on ferrets, led by an expert from Public Health England (PHE), found the spray could reduce infection and prevent transmission. The therapy, developed by Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory, was originally developed to boost the natural immune system to fight colds and flu. ut trials showed that INNA-051 could reduce Covid-19 replication by up to 96% after it managed to boost the immune response prior to infection.
Coronavirus: Children half as likely to catch COVID-19 than adults, analysis suggests
Children are 44% less likely to catch coronavirus than adults, according to an analysis led by the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Preliminary evidence suggests children younger than 10 to 14 years old are less likely to catch the virus than adults over 20 years old. They are also more likely to be asymptomatic, meaning they have very few - if any - symptoms.
Coronavirus: Manchester man first in UK to be given arthritis drug in trial to treat COVID-19
A coronavirus patient from Manchester has become the first in the UK to be given an experimental arthritis drug to counter the severe effects of the virus. Farhan Hamid, 41, from south Manchester, has been given a dose of otilimab - a drug currently under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. He is currently in intensive care at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and was recruited to take part in the trial on 11 September.
Could Exposure to the Common Cold Reduce the Severity of COVID-19 Infection?
The ongoing tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic afflicts every corner of the world. Vaccines may be our best hope for a safe return to workplaces, parties, stores and schools, but even if all leading vaccine candidates are protective, the British charity Oxfam estimates that nearly two thirds of the world’s population will not have access until at least 2022. We suggest a scalable alternative that may prevent morbidity and mortality from Covid-19 in the meantime: the common cold. Many different studies have shown that infection with one of the seasonal human coronaviruses (shCoVs) responsible for common colds confers a cross-reactive T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2, and on September 17, the British Medical Journal published an editorial speculating that “preexisting immunity” to SARS-Cov-2 may result from T cell cross-reactivity.
Coronavirus: New global test will give results 'in minutes'
A test that can diagnose Covid-19 in minutes will dramatically expand the capacity to detect cases in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The $5 (£3.80) test could transform tracking of Covid-19 in less wealthy countries, which have shortages of healthcare workers and laboratories. A deal with manufacturers will provide 120 million tests over six months. The WHO's head called it a major milestone. Lengthy gaps between taking a test and receiving a result have hampered many countries' attempts to control the spread of coronavirus. In some countries with high infection rates, including India and Mexico, experts have said that low testing rates are disguising the true spread of their outbreaks. The "new, highly portable and easy-to-use test" will provide results in 15-30 minutes instead of hours or days, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Monday.