"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 7th Oct 2020

Isolation Tips
Lockdown hit food security of children, says rights body
The Covid-19 pandemic has likely exacerbated hunger and malnutrition among communities most vulnerable to food insecurity, especially children, an experts’ committee set up by the National Human Rights Commission has said. In an advisory, the rights watchdog has asked the Union ministries of food and public distribution, women and child development and education to urgently restore and expand coverage under various food handout programmes.
Coronavirus: How lockdown has affected mental health
Covid-19 may be a physical illness but it has also hit mental health hard. In August, a group of NHS leaders said they were seeing a rise in people reporting severe mental health difficulties while charities including Mind, Samaritans and Calm have all said they have seen an increase in people coming to them for help. The BBC's Unusual Times podcast spoke to people around the country about the impact the pandemic and lockdown has had on them.
India saw spike in mental health cases due to lockdown: AIIMS doctor
In India, the ratio between psychiatrists and patients still remains poor and amidst the pandemic, issues pertaining to mental health and depression have witnessed a rise across all age groups. In order to bridge this gap and make mental health care accessible to all, the MHFI (Mental Health Foundation India) launched a web portal MiHOPE that will have medical experts across the country, directly communicate with those who need counselling via telepsychiatry, tele-counseling and holistic individual wellness (emphasising on yoga, physical activities, and nutrition among others).
Isolating students offered food, toiletries but no financial support by UK universities
Students in lockdown must have access to food and basic toiletries, university leaders have said, as the government made deliveries of just one litre of hand sanitiser to campuses in England. Universities UK (UUK), which represents 139 higher education institutions, published a “checklist” of measures for universities supporting students who were self-isolating after Covid-19 exposure, several weeks after teaching restarted at some sites. But the checklist makes no mention of financial support or refunds for costs incurred during lockdowns ordered by university authorities. It was also criticised as too late to help thousands of students already self-isolating, including 824 confirmed Covid cases at Manchester University, more than 770 at Northumbria University, and 800 among students at Sheffield’s two universities.
Hygiene Helpers
How do pandemics end?
We are in the grip of a pandemic like none other in living memory. While people are pinning their hopes on a vaccine to wipe it out, the fact is most of the infections faced by our ancestors are still with us.
Coronavirus: How to tell which countries are coping best with Covid
As the Covid crisis has unfolded, infection rates have fluctuated and restrictions have proliferated. But it has always felt that there was one idea to cling to: that by working out which countries were doing well - and which were not - there was something to be learned. After all, historians will surely puzzle over how the countries of Western Europe, with broadly similar economies, produced such drastically different outcomes. So far, at least. We use international comparisons all the time, of course - they're a way of measuring how our own governments are doing. But even comparing the simplest data can be complex. There can be differences in how and when death is reported, how co-morbidities are reflected on death certificates, and for how long after a positive test a death is considered to be Covid-related. All will influence how a country's performance at any given moment is measured.
Coronavirus vaccine may be ready by end of 2020, WHO says: ‘There is hope’
A vaccine against Covid-19 may be ready by the end of 2020, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. “There is hope,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting of WHO executives gathered to examine the global response to the pandemic. “We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine.” There are currently nine experimental vaccines in the pipeline of the WHO-led Covax global vaccine facility, which aims to distribute two billion doses by the end of 2021.
'Raging epidemic is not inevitable' — Dr. Scott Gottlieb believes China case count and rips U.S. response
Dr. Scott Gottlieb expressed disappointment with the state of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic. “The entire Pacific Rim has less than 1,000 infections a day. Having a raging epidemic is not inevitable,” the former FDA chief told CNBC. Gottlieb doesn’t believe China is lying about its much fewer case counts. “The entire Pacific Rim isn’t in on the conspiracy.”
Coronavirus can survive for up to NINE HOURS on human skin, study finds
Researchers mixed samples of the coronavirus and influenza A virus with human skin samples obtained from autopsies 24 hours prior. The flu virus survived for less than two hours on skin while the coronavirus lived for up to nine hours. Both viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by hand sanitizer containing 80% alcohol. The team says the findings show how the coronavirus has a higher risk of contact transmission than the flu and the importance of hand-washing
Coronavirus cases in Arizona declined by 75% during the summer after mask mandate, CDC report finds
In Arizona, coronavirus cases remained stable from early March to mid-May while stay-at-home orders were in effect and businesses were closed. After the stay-at-home order was lifted, cases rose by 151% from around 800 per day to more than 2,000 daily. On June 17, Gov Doug Ducey updated guidelines and allowed counties to implement mask policies. Cases briefly increased before declining by 75% from 3,506 cases per day on July 13 to 867 cases daily on August 7
Trump could face a relapse, Dr. Fauci warns, as president opts to downplay nation's coronavirus threat despite massive death toll
President Donald Trump rolled out of Walter Reed hospital confidently urging the nation not to fear the coronavirus despite experts warning the U.S. death toll, at more than 210,000, could almost double by year's end. Experts also warn that the commander-in-chief himself may not have seen the worst of the virus just yet. "I am very worried that people will take this to mean that 'If he can beat COVID I can beat COVID,'" said Narasimhan, senior vice president for critical care services at Northwell Health. "I don’t think that we can take any real lessons (from Trump's illness) except that he did get sick. Pretending this is not real disease will not help."
Trump Covid post deleted by Facebook and hidden by Twitter
Facebook has deleted a post in which President Trump had claimed Covid-19 was "less lethal" than the flu. Mr Trump is at the White House after three days of hospital treatment having tested positive for the virus. He wrote the US had "learned to live with" flu season, "just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!" Twitter hid the same message behind a warning about "spreading misleading and potentially harmful information". Users have to click past the alert to read the tweet. "We remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19, and have now removed this post," said Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook.
Community Activities
Wuhan sports centre that was a makeshift coronavirus hospital reopens
A Wuhan sports centre which was converted into a 1,100-bed makeshift coronavirus hospital at the height of China's COVID-19 outbreak has held its first game since life in the city returned to normal. As many as 7,500 spectators swarmed into the Wuhan Sports Centre last night to watch a basketball game organised by retired NBA star Yao Ming, according to Chinese state media.
Dementia Australia launches virtual classrooms for aged care workers
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dementia Australia has developed virtual classroom education for aged care workers, to equip staff with strategies and skills to provide quality care for people living with dementia. The courses are suitable for everyone involved in providing support for people living with dementia in residential aged care and community care.
High coronavirus COVID-19 rates found amongst people living in hardship in Paris | MSF
A survey has found infection rates of the new coronavirus to be as high as 94 per cent among some people living in precarious situations in Paris. The findings confirm that COVID-19 is more easily spread among people living in crowded conditions, such as hostels for disadvantaged people and shelters for the homeless. With winter coming, measures to provide homeless people with appropriate accommodation, such as hotels, must be urgently implemented.
Hundreds of musicians protest outside Parliament
In London, a 400-strong ensemble of freelance musicians played outside Parliament to highlight the plight of the music industry during the current pandemic. Violinists Nicola Benedetti and Tasmin Little were among the performers who played a short segment of Mars, from Holst's The Planets, in central London. They then held a two-minute silence, to put pressure on the government to give more support to self-employed artists. A concurrent protest took place outside Birmingham's Symphony Hall. The events were supported by the Musicians Union, which represents more than 32,000 performers in the UK.
Working Remotely
Remote work erodes workers' sense of belonging
Most Americans want the telework trend to continue after the pandemic, but there's a lingering problem that companies haven't been able to solve: working at home is isolating. Why it matters: A sense of belonging at work is becoming increasingly important to workers — and employers who figure out how to build that into the hybrid work culture of the future will have a critical advantage when recruiting and retaining talent. That's a key takeaway from Slack's inaugural index of remote work as part of the company's new Future Forum, which will be released Wednesday. Slack surveyed 4,700 teleworkers across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan and Australia. The consensus was that working remotely has greatly improved work-life balance but increased isolation.
Is Remote Working Ethical?
Remote working is the greatest benefactor of this pandemic worldwide. According to different news outlets, at least 30% of jobs have disappeared. Most of these have been replaced by working from home. The Internet has made this possible, which was inconceivable a few years back.
You could work remotely in the Caribbean with a new 2 year visa - here’s how to get one
Homeworking is now the norm for many due to the coronavirus pandemic, but for those dreaming of the beach, there may be a way you can do both at once. The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has launched a new visa, which is specifically for remote workers. The Nomad Digital Residence Programme allows remote workers to go and live on the island for up to two years. You can still work for a company back home, but also enjoy the same benefits as residents in the Caribbean country.
The Truth About Working Remotely on a Tropical Island
In early July, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced a new economic initiative called the Barbados Welcome Stamp. The program allows remote workers to move to the island nation for up to a year and not pay income tax, with the hopes that these new residents would help stimulate a local economy that thrives on tourism, an industry hurting badly due to the pandemic. Just last month, another Caribbean nation followed suit: Antigua and Barbuda recently announced a comparable remote worker program, permitting foreign workers to live and work in Antigua on a visa for up to two years. From cities like Detroit and Tulsa (which offer financial incentives like fellowships and discounted — and in some cases free — homes) to states like Vermont and Maine that want to attract a younger generation to mitigate their aging workforce, why do places offer this kind of economic incentive? And is it really worth it?
Microsoft CEO Says Remote Work Can Feel Like ‘Sleeping at Work’
Microsoft Corp. has been a major beneficiary of the work-from-home boom spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. But Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella is realizing the pitfalls of being away from the office for so long. Online meetings can make employees tired and make it difficult to transition from a work mindset to private life, the executive said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council on Tuesday. "When you are working from home, it sometimes feels like you are sleeping at work,” he added.
Companies to Shrink Offices as Remote Work Becomes ‘New Normal’
More than half of companies plan to shrink their offices as working from home becomes a regular fixture after the Covid-19 pandemic ends, according to a survey by Cisco Systems Inc. Some 53% of larger organizations plan to reduce the size of their office space and more than three quarters will increase work flexibility. Almost all of the respondents were uncomfortable returning to work because they fear contracting the virus, the poll found. Cisco, the largest maker of networking equipment, recently surveyed 1,569 executives, knowledge workers and others who are responsible for employee environments in the post-Covid era. The findings suggest many of this year’s radical changes to work life will remain long after the pandemic subsides
Virtual Classrooms
Hundreds of teachers to be switched from in-person to virtual school as TDSB announces huge reorganization
Just weeks into a school term already marked by disruption, the Toronto District School Board is about to usher in some more. In a letter sent to families Tuesday evening, the TDSB announced that up to 324 elementary schools will lose some in-person teachers as they will be moved into virtual classrooms.
Toronto public schools to reassign more than 500 elementary teachers to virtual learning
Toronto public schools are reassigning more than 500 elementary teachers to virtual learning, which will shift thousands of in-class students into larger classes and mix cohorts amid rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts in the city. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said on Tuesday that another 7,800 students last week chose to move from in-person classes to online learning, on top of more than 70,000 that registered at the start of the academic year (about 3,000 will switch from virtual school to in-person learning).
Instructors aim to adjust to the virtual classroom
Transitioning from in-person classes to digital has not only been a change for students, but for the instructors as well. Instructors have had to make changes to how they teach in order to adjust to virtual lessons while giving students a quality education. Instructors are trying to make the best out of this pandemic by going above and beyond their abilities. They are having to learn how to build a similar environment to what they had in their classrooms. “The biggest challenge is really maintaining the kind of personal interaction that is very important in a literature class, I really miss that. At the same time, I found that zoom is better than I thought it was, but I still really miss the classroom and miss working with the students one to one and talking to them on a daily basis,” Dr. Steven Frye, English professor and head department chair, said.
How teachers are coping during the pandemic school year
Even before the school year began, Jessyca Mathews felt drained. She has taught high school English for 20 years, but this year so much seemed unknown and unknowable. Because of the pandemic, her Michigan school district has chosen remote learning for students for the foreseeable future. But teachers are still required to teach from school, and when she returned to begin the year, Mathews, 43, was struck by the loneliness of this new reality and a sense of how much could be lost.
Eight Tricks for Making Remote School Easier
Now that many families are well into the fall semester’s remote-learning program, I wanted to know if anyone had advice for managing the school-from-home hassle. I’ve developed a few hacks of my own, but I reached out to dozens of parents, students and education experts to compare notes. Besides sharing some very useful tech tips, they also had some good non-tech suggestions to make life easier on you and your kids. Here you go:
Local teacher spices up virtual classroom with cooking, robotics
One Windsor teacher is spicing up her virtual classroom by including some unique activities for students. John A. McWilliam Public School teacher Amanda Laforet has been posting short videos of her virtual classroom to Twitter, some of which show students cooking and washing their hands. "I think it's really important to keep showing the videos because I do think there's a lot of fear about what the virtual school looks like," Laforet told CBC News. "We know what traditional school looks like, everybody has been through the process, but we haven't been through the process of virtual school yet. I feel like it shows a little peek into what my virtual classroom looks like and I'm hoping that that does eliminate some of the fear around the virtual school."
Public Policies
COVID-19 vaccines: how to ensure Africa has access
Last month, a grand experiment was launched to speed up the development of COVID‑19 vaccines and make sure they are distributed equitably among higher- and lower-income countries. The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) initiative is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. As of 1 October, 167 countries have signed up, covering nearly two-thirds of the global population. Under this scheme, even poor nations should have enough vaccines to protect health-care workers and the most vulnerable 20% of their populations. Still, Africa has reasons to worry. Already, several high-income countries have signed their own contracts with individual companies to buy selected vaccines.
Malaysia to Impose Targeted Lockdowns to Halt Infections Surge
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday said targeted lockdowns would be imposed in areas with high rates of coronavirus infections, as the country grapples with a sharp spike in cases over the past two weeks. The health ministry reported 691 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths on Tuesday, another new record in the wake of last month's election in the state of Sabah, from where many infections have been traced. "For now we are not thinking of imposing a total lockdown nationwide. If we do that again, it could bring down the country's economic and social systems," Muhyiddin said in an address on Facebook Live from his home, where he is undergoing quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus.
UK’s Covid-19 infection rate almost doubles in a week
The rate of Covid-19 infections across the UK has almost doubled in a week. The UK-wide seven-day rate currently stands at 125.7 cases per 100,000 people, up from 63.8 per 100,000 a week ago, analysis by the PA news agency shows. When it comes to daily figures, as of 9am on Tuesday, there were 14,542 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. These have trebled in a fortnight – on September 22, there were 4,926 cases recorded.
A Second National Lockdown Seems Inevitable. Here's What Stands In The Way
In England, what is stopping the PM from a full lockdown – and could a two-week “circuit-breaker” compromise be on the cards? Covid-19 has already ravaged the UK economy and the Bank of England warned last month that the resurgence of the virus will hit the country hard. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is thought to oppose a second lockdown “for any long period of time” amid fears job losses could soar and unemployment in 2021 could spiral out of control. One thorn in Johnson’s side should he move for a second shutdown is a grouping of backbench Tory MPs known informally as “the Brady bunch”. Notionally led by the chair of the powerful 1922 committee, Graham Brady, they oppose new restrictions by the state, both due to the limits on individual freedoms and the strain on business.
Why another 8.7 million people should now be under lockdown in the UK
On 30 July, after the weekly rate of Covid-19 cases in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire reached 66.6 per 100,000 people, local restrictions were imposed on the area with a few hours’ notice from central government. The situation was clearly seen as urgent. “We’re constantly vigilant and we’ve been looking at the data,” the Health Secretary Matt Hancock explained at the time, concluding: “We need to take action.”
Matt Hancock says changes to local and national lockdown rules coming
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that he is set to announce changes to the local and national lockdown rules in England. His confirmation comes amid speculation that current rules are to be replaced with a simpler three-tier system. That 'traffic light' system would impose a level of rules on an area - or the whole country - based on the coronavirus risks on a three-tier scale. New lockdown measures could include everything from a ban on households mixing to a ban on visiting care homes and even pubs being closed at the most serious level.
COVID-19 here to stay? Italian govt wants to extend 'state of emergency' measures till January 2022
Italy's health minister says the government is examining a proposal to make masks mandatory outdoors as the country enters a difficult phase of living alongside COVID-19, with the number of infections growing steadily for the last nine weeks. Roberto Speranza told the lower house of parliament on Tuesday that as infections spread, it is necessary to return to restrictions that were gradually loosened over the spring and summer months after Italy's strict nearly three-month lockdown. ''We must raise our guard with the awareness that our county is better off than others,'' Speranza said.
Spain’s Emergency Wage Support May Be Extended Yet Again in 2021
Spain is prepared to extend its furlough program beyond January, Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva said, in the clearest statement yet on the future of the wage-support policy. “We stand ready to reevaluate the situation,” Escriva said in an interview, one week after the government agreed to prolong its previous aid measure through Jan. 31. “A lot will depend on a vaccine.” A further extension could protect hundreds of thousands of at-risk jobs in a country that already has one of the region’s highest rates of unemployment and which is also suffering one of its most dramatic coronavirus outbreaks.
Coronavirus: Europe struggles to contain surge of cases
Bars in Paris have been ordered to close for two weeks, Madrid residents may no longer leave their city and Ireland is set to introduce tighter national restrictions as governments struggle to contain a Europe-wide surge in Covid-19 cases. As infections in the Paris area rose to 270 for every 100,000 people – and as high as 500 for every 100,000 among 20- to 30-year-olds – with 36% of intensive care beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, the city’s police chief said bars must close from Tuesday. Outlining measures he described as a “balance between assuring the health of our fellow citizens and the reality and necessity of economic and social life”, Didier Lallement said the French capital and its surrounding Île-de-France region were necessary because “the epidemic is moving too fast”.
In Paris, we’re resigned to new Covid restrictions – and baffled by Boris Johnson's U-turns
It was all going so well – until suddenly it wasn’t. Following the super-strict lockdown in the spring, life in Paris had pretty much returned to normal. I mean, granted, face masks were now compulsory in public spaces – both indoors and out – and there was still little international tourism in the city. But, other than that, things felt reassuringly normal again. The brasseries were busy once more, the bars were positively bustling and business meetings had started to resume. People had even got used to abandoning ‘la bise’ – the famous kiss on both cheeks – for the awkward elbow shuffle. Some of us had secretly come to prefer that style of greeting. In short, there was no longer the feeling that we were living through an apocalypse.
China has responded best to the Covid-19 pandemic, study claims
US and Spanish researchers surveyed nearly 13,500 people from 19 countries People asked to grade their leaders' handling of number of issues during crisis Chinese people were most satisfied with how their Governments had responded
World Coronavirus Dispatch: China seeks to have its vaccine assessed by WHO
China is in talks to have its locally-produced Covid-19 vaccines assessed by the World Health Organization, as a step toward making them available for international use, a WHO official said on Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk in China have been given locally-developed vaccines even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.
Nepal staring at possible lockdown as cases overtake Chinas Covid tally
The coronavirus barometer of the Himalayan Nation has surged high in recent days with the number of cases reaching 86,823 on October 4. Nepal on Sunday overtook China in the number of infections which has reported 85,450 cases amid speculation that the toll could be higher. Nepal on Sunday alone logged 2,253 new cases with 1,329 cases of recoveries and seven deaths. Out of new cases, Kathmandu Valley alone contributed 1,373 new cases while Lalitpur registered 187 and Bhaktapur 39 new cases of coronavirus.
Cases rise in Australia's COVID-19 hotspot, but most linked to known outbreaks
Australia's coronavirus hotspot of Victoria state on Tuesday (Oct 6) reported a slight rise in new cases, but authorities sought to allay fears by saying they could link most of those infections to known outbreaks. Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, reported one death from the virus in the last 24 hours and 15 cases, its biggest daily rise in infections in five days. "They are, again, predominantly related to known cases, to outbreaks, and we have to get on top of these outbreaks to really drive these numbers down," state's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne. "I don't like to see a number that's in double figures and not in single figures, and no one obsesses over the daily numbers more than me or my team."
Two more Spanish cities announce lockdown orders as a second wave of cases spreads beyond the capital.
Two midsize Spanish cities, León and Palencia, were ordered on Monday by the regional authorities to apply lockdown restrictions similar to those that came into force in Madrid last weekend, underlining the extent to which a second wave of coronavirus infections is spreading beyond Spain’s capital region. The new restrictions mean that residents of León and Palencia, which are in the northwestern region of Castile and León, will not be able to leave their cities as of Tuesday. Both have reached an infection rate of more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents. Over the last seven days, Spain has reported 73,451 new cases, which works out to 157 cases per 100,000 residents, according to a Times database. As of Monday, almost 11,000 people were being treated in hospitals across the country for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, including 1,580 people in intensive care units
Germany's Altmaier Vows to Avoid Another Shutdown of Industry
Germany must avoid another shutdown of industrial activity, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Monday as rising COVID-19 infections cloud the growth outlook for Europe's largest economy. The German economy contracted by a record 9.7% in the second quarter as measures to contain the spread of the pandemic brought public life and business activity to a near standstill from mid-March to late April.
COVID aid could bring years of austerity, charities warn IMF
Five hundred of the world’s leading charities and social groups have sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund warning that its support programmes, which have had to be ramped up to cope with COVID-19, were condemning many countries to years of austerity. The IMF has responded to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency financing as a result of this year’s pandemic and lockdown measures driving the global economy into a severe recession.
Ireland resists lockdown call, tighten COVID-19 curbs instead
Ireland must act now to prevent a damaging return to lockdown, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Monday after rejecting a surprise recommendation by his health chiefs to shut down the economy immediately and opting instead to tighten COVID-19 restrictions.
U.S. FDA safety guidelines likely to push COVID-19 vaccine authorization past election
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told coronavirus vaccine developers on Tuesday it wants at least two months of safety data before authorizing emergency use, a requirement that would likely push any U.S. vaccine availability past the Nov. 3 presidential election. A senior administration official confirmed the White House had approved the plan, which undercuts President Donald Trump’s hopes of getting a vaccine before voters go to polls. The FDA released the guidance laying out more stringent recommendations for drugmakers hoping to apply for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for their experimental vaccines.
Maintaining Services
Covid-19 hospital cases jump 25% in a day
The number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 on one day has jumped by nearly a quarter in England. There were 478 people admitted to hospital on Sunday - the largest daily figure since early June - up from 386. More than two-thirds of those were in the North West, North East and Yorkshire. It comes as a further 14,542 cases were confirmed across the whole of the UK on Tuesday. That daily figure has trebled in a fortnight.
NHS in race to reach 50,000 Covid-19 contacts missed in data blunder
The race is on to trace contacts of almost half of the thousands of positive coronavirus cases initially not recorded in England due to a technical glitch. Some 49 per cent of the almost 16,000 cases had still not been reached for contact tracing purposes as of Monday following data issues over the weekend. The Times newspaper said contact tracers had reported conversations disconnecting mid-call, but a spokesman for the department said no such incidents had been reported either on Monday or over the weekend.
Matt Hancock warns cancer patients may not be treated if Covid-19 is 'out of control'
Cancer patients could face having their treatments withdrawn if the virus does not stay 'under control.' Matt Hancock's admission comes after an Excel Spreadsheet failure saw 16,000 positive cases overlooked. The oversight means thousands have been wandering the community after being exposed to the virus. Number 10 revealed this afternoon that only 63 per cent of these cases have now been contacted for tracing
UK government urged to classify leisure centres 'essential' or face mass closures
The UK government has been urged to reclassify swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres as essential services vital to public health or face the prospect of thousands of facilities being shut permanently if a second lockdown is introduced. As the Guardian revealed in June, nearly half of Britain’s public leisure centres and 20% of the country’s swimming pools risk being closed for good before Christmas – putting more than 58,000 jobs in peril – because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though lockdown restrictions have been eased, a third of leisure centres have still not reopened because of their parlous financial state.
More than 5.2 million Spaniards are now under coronavirus mobility restrictions
The rising number of coronavirus cases in Spain is accelerating the introduction of new confinements across the country. For now, the restrictions being introduced are not as severe as they were during the first wave, when the central government implemented a state of alarm that saw Spaniards confined to their homes for several months. But perimetral lockdowns are being established where the transmission rate of the virus is on the rise.
Coronavirus: Lockdown in Scotland 'profoundly disruptive' to NHS care
The Covid pandemic has had a “profoundly disruptive” impact on hospital-based care across NHS Scotland, researchers have warned. They said the response to the crisis has “likely led to an adverse effect on non-Covid-19-related illnesses” and that the long-term impact on avoidable deaths and disease should be monitored. A detailed analysis of the impact of the virus on patient numbers reveals that A&E attendance fell to 41 per cent below average between the World Health Organisation declaring a pandemic on March 11 and the announcement of a UK-wide lockdown on March 23.
France's daily COVID-19 cases slow, but hospitalisations spike
France reported a marked slowing in new daily COVID-19 cases on Monday but the number of people hospitalised for the disease shot up by more than 300 for the first time since Apr. 12, when the country was in the middle of a lockdown. Among the 7,294 patients hospitalised, more than 1,400 were treated in intensive care units (ICUs) - the highest number since May 28.
Half a billion travelers show China's economy moving past COVID-19
With the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control in China, the Golden Week holiday is putting on display the country’s confidence in its economic rebound and its public health measures. Through the first four days of the weeklong holiday that started Oct. 1, some 425 million people traveled domestically, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, nearly 80 percent of last year’s throngs. The surge of activity stands in stark contrast to the rest of the world — the global tourism industry is expected to lose at least $1.2 trillion in 2020 — and underscores the relative strength of China’s economic recovery.
Australia to pay businesses to employ young people after COVID-19 shutdowns
Australia will spend A$4 billion over the next year to pay businesses that hire those under the age of 35, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, as part of an ambitious plan to boost jobs and growth. Australia has been widely lauded for limiting the spread of COVID-19, but strict lockdown measures forced shut entire sectors of the economy, sending unemployment to a 22-year high of 7.5% in July. The impact on younger Australians is even worse, with recent data showing the unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year olds was hovering near 20%. As part of the government's hiring credit scheme, Canberra will pay businesses A$200 a week for the next a year if they employ a person under 29.
Pandemic tops 35 million cases, disrupts mental health services
Over the weekend, the pandemic total topped 35 million infections, as European countries experiencing second waves of activity dialed up their COVID-19 measures and the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the virus has disrupted services for mental health, neurologic conditions, and substance abuse. The global total today reached 35,333,085 cases, and 1,039,000 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.
Moscow schools start unplanned holidays as COVID-19 cases rise
Moscow schools began unplanned holidays on Monday and businesses were required to have at least 30% of their staff working remotely, as COVID-19 cases across Russia hit their highest level since May 12. Authorities were also weighing the possibility of re-introducing tough lockdown measures last seen in the capital in late spring, the Vedomosti newspaper reported, as the daily tally of new cases reached 10,888 nationwide, including 3,537 in Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was unaware of plans to impose a strict lockdown however, despite new restrictions aimed at limiting social interaction taking effect in the Russian capital on Monday.
Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial contractors did not enroll enough minority volunteers
Private contractors hired by Moderna Inc did not hire enough black, Hispanic and Native America volunteers for the company's coronavirus vaccine trial. This has slowed down the late-stage trial and research centers have been told to focus on increasing participation among minorities. As of September 17, black Americans made up only about 7% of participants, but a reflection of the US population should put that figure closer to 13%. It is important to test a jab among communities of color because they are at higher risk of being infected with, and dying from, COVID-19. Moderna says it could seek emergency approval for inoculating high-risk groups such as healthcare workers as early as November
Covid-19: NHS tests threatened by Roche supply chain failing
Coronavirus swabs and other key NHS tests for conditions including cancer are under threat, after a supply chain failure at a major diagnostics company. Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche said problems with a move to a new warehouse had led to a "very significant" drop in its processing capacity. A spokesperson said Covid-19 tests would be prioritised, but it could take two weeks to fix the issue. One NHS trust has already advised its GPs to stop all non-urgent blood tests. In a statement, Roche said: "We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products. "We are prioritising the dispatch of Covid-19 PCR [diagnostic] and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS."
Healthcare Innovations
Fluvoxamine Data Unveiled as Promising Early Treatment in Patients with Mild COVID-19
The COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund (CETF) announced the results of a recently funded outpatient clinical trial at Washington University in St. Louis that examined the viability of fluvoxamine in patients with mild COVID-19. The trial results indicated that fluvoxamine, if given early in the course of COVID-19, significantly reduced the likelihood of hospitalization.
EU fast-tracks process for Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine
The European Medicines Agency has accelerated the approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech and US pharma group Pfizer, to allow for the rapid authorisation of the shot as soon as safety data from its trial allows. The decision by the EU regulator was based on preliminary results from the companies’ early clinical trials, which showed the vaccine triggers an immune response in adults, the regulator and the companies said
Covid-19 treatment hopes as GlaxoSmithKline's antibody drug moves onto phase 3 trial
A potential new coronavirus antibody treatment made by GSK has moved into late stage trials. GlaxoSmithKline said its treatment - known as Vir-7831 - could be rolled out by 2021 if its proven to be effective and safe. The drug uses antibodies - proteins found in people who have survived Covid-19 - that have been genetically modified in a lab. These substances are then injected into patients in the earliest stages of their illness.
CHMP starts rolling review of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine
A second candidate vaccine against COVID-19 is undergoing rolling review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as the agency begins with evaluation of pre-clinical data to support approval of a coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic. The human medicines committee of the agency, known as CHMP, announced on 6 October that it was initiating a rolling review of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine under development by Pfizer in collaboration with the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech. “The rolling review of these vaccines started with CHMP evaluating the first batches of data. It continues until enough evidence is available to support a formal marketing authorization application,” according to EMA’s web page that lists the vaccine candidates undergoing rolling review.
University of Bristol joins major £4m study in race for coronavirus vaccine
Bristol experts are taking part in a major study to unpick the mysteries of coronavirus, investigating how antiviral drugs could be used to fight it. The University of Bristol is among six institutions contributing to the £4m international project, which is funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. They will specifically research severe cases of Covid-19, and their findings will help to develop the treatments and vaccines that are urgently needed to slow the spread of the infection.
AstraZeneca's Coronavirus Vaccine Is Already Being Reviewed for Approval in Canada and Europe. Why Not in the U.S.?
It wasn't all that long ago that many people saw AstraZeneca as the leader in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The U.K.-based drugmaker partnered with the University of Oxford and got off to a fast start. AstraZeneca has fallen behind over the last four weeks -- at least in the U.S. Early last month, the company announced that it was temporarily pausing its late-stage clinical studies evaluating COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222. AstraZeneca has since resumed its trials in multiple countries; indeed, AZD1222 is already being reviewed for potential regulatory approvals in Canada and Europe. But the chances of a regulatory review in the U.S. for AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine this year appear to be dwindling. Why is this one-time Operation Warp Speed favorite progressing so slowly in the U.S.?
Europe starts real-time review of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The European health regulator is reviewing a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in real time, days after launching a similar assessment process for AstraZeneca's vaccine. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday its human medicines committee was evaluating the first batch of data on the vaccine, and would continue to do so until enough data is available for a final decision.
More than 80% of hospitalized coronavirus patients have neurological symptoms, study finds
Researchers looked at more than 500 patients with COVID-19 at 10 hospitals for neurological symptoms. About 42% had neurological symptoms when their symptoms began, 63% suffered them while in the hospital and 82% had them at some point while ill. The most common symptoms were muscle pain and headaches, with 45% and 38% having them, respectively. Nearly one-third of patients experienced encephalopathy, which is an altered mental state leaving them confused. Patients with encephalopathy has an average hospital stay that was three times longer and a death risk seven times higher.