"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 20th May 2021

Isolation Tips
COVID-19: A crisis for 'years to come' - How lockdowns put children under 'unprecedented' levels of distress
Nicole Renshaw is a mental health nurse and is doing a routine and increasingly frequent part of her job - seeing children who have arrived in hospital after they have self-harmed. Before the pandemic, A&E attendances by children with psychiatric conditions had tripled in the last 10 years. Now, month on month, the numbers arriving at hospital are continuing to rise. Nicole works for the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) at Pennine Care NHS Trust. The CAMHS team is dealing with a surge in referrals - self-harm, suicide attempts, anxiety - a grim but growing list of troubles. "There is going to be a section of people in our society who are kind of surviving through this now and are in total survival mode," said the trust's lead clinical psychologist, Dr Chantal Basson. "And as we come out of the pandemic, we're more likely to see the mental health impact on those young people and families. I think we might be feeling the tremors, but I think the impact may well yet to be seen."
Hygiene Helpers
Fauci: Americans 'misinterpreting' mask rules
Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious diseases expert, said in a new interview that some Americans do not have a full understanding of the latest guidelines put forth by the federal government relative to mask wearing and coronavirus vaccines. "I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not," Fauci told Axios on Wednesday. "It's an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors." Fauci said it's not people's "fault" if they don't understand the new guidance because, in many cases, people "either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it."
Study: Under-60s who received first AstraZeneca dose can safely be given Pfizer for second shot
A study in Spain carried out by the Carlos III Health Institute has concluded that the under-60s who have already received one shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be safely administered the Pfizer-BioNTech medication for their second dose. The recommendation comes after the Spanish Health Ministry suspended the use of AstraZeneca among this age group due to associations with rare cases of blood clots. A total of 672 volunteers and five hospitals in Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona took part in the study, officially called CombivacS. The participants had received their first dose of AstraZeneca between eight and 12 weeks previously. They were divided into two groups, with 442 people receiving the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose and 221 as a control group. The latter participants were not given another vaccine, allowing for the two groups to be compared.
Community Activities
Working mothers come together to make virtual learning work during pandemic
Nearly three million women left the workforce over the past year, according to CBS News. The number of working women dropped about one percent across the United States in 2020. While some were due to job loss or furloughs, others were because they had to stay home with kids for virtual learning. It is the tough reality so many parents faced this year - if they go to work full time, what will their kids do for virtual school? While some moms and dads quit jobs to stay home, one group of moms leaned on each other to get through. A group of five working moms each picked one day of the week to host all the kids at their house. Then, they were able to work the other four days.
YouTube and England's NHS join forces to tackle vaccine scepticism
England's National Health Service (NHS) has joined forces with YouTube to launch a campaign to counteract vaccine hesitancy among younger generations. The UK has vaccinated more 36 million people (53% of population) with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data. The 'Lets Not Go Back' campaign aims to drive credible information towards young people, in order to prepare the nation’s 18-34 year old's, for when they have the jab. The first of its kind campaign highlights the importance of getting vaccinated in the form of short videos, billboard and bus stop adverts. The campaign was spurred on by recent data from the ONS, which shows vaccine hesitancy rates are highest in younger people (13% of 16-29s) and almost double the national average in the UK (7%).
Working Remotely
'The DNA of work has changed': Many Americans want to keep working from home after the COVID-19 crisis passes
With the COVID-19 pandemic waning, a hybrid model that allows employees to work from home part-time seemed to be gaining favor among companies and workers. But a plurality of employees recently surveyed are effectively saying that if they want a change of scenery, they’ll pick up their laptops and amble from the living room to the den. Forty percent of Americans prefer to work from home full-time, compared with 35% who seek a home-office hybrid and 25% who want to go back to the office full-time, according to a Harris Poll survey. Workers cite a variety of concerns about going back to the office, including losing the flexibility they’ve enjoyed while teleworking, getting back to their pre-pandemic routines, health worries and having to make small talk again with co-workers.
Can Working Remotely Hurt Your Career?
America’s CEOs have a message for people who love working from home: Your happy days are numbered. Remote work is “suboptimal,” Jonathan Wasserstrum, the CEO of the New York commercial-real-estate company SquareFoot, told me. “I believe that work is better when most of the people are in the office most of the time together,” he said. As if to prove his point, at that moment our phone connection grew fuzzy, prompting him to sarcastically add, “Oh, because remote is so great, right?” What really gets Wasserstrum’s goat is when people say no one should come into the office, because that would be more fair to the people who don’t want to come into the office. He said that although he wouldn’t fire someone for asking to work remotely full-time, SquareFoot is a real-estate company. “If somebody didn’t believe in the value of an office at least one day a week, they probably shouldn’t be at the company anyway,” he said.
Virtual Classrooms
Metro Vancouver teacher connects to students through TikTok
How do you walk from Hatzic to the PNE? By joining TikTok in April 2020. At least that's how it started for Mykael Koe. Koe is a teacher in Mission at the Fraserview Learning Centre; it's an alternative high school where he teaches 15- to 18-year-olds. As TikTok took off and Koe looked for a way to connect, he turned to the short video social media app to show his students the "other side of being a teacher." In one of his early videos he created a challenge for himself, with input from TikTok. He told them for every like, share and follow he'd walk a certain number of laps. "1,160 laps were given to me," he says. "I started April 4 and finished it October 21, I think."
Public Policies
EU presents WTO plan to boost COVID vaccine output
The European Union has put forward a plan it believes will help boost the production and availability of COVID-19 vaccines more effectively than a proposed waiver of patent rights now backed by the United States. Under pressure from developing countries demanding a waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights for vaccines and treatments, the EU presented on Wednesday an alternative focused on export restrictions, pledges from vaccine developers and the flexibility of existing World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
One shot of coronavirus vaccine may be enough to travel within EU
People who have received just one shot of a coronavirus vaccine may be able to use proof of vaccination on the Digital Green Certificate to travel between the European Union member states. This was disclosed to De Standaard by an EU source, who said there is hope that the negotiations on the certificate will be finalised this week. “Parliament, Council and Commission negotiators will resume talks – aimed at hammering out a deal this week- on the proposal for an EU certificate to show a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has a negative test result or has recovered from the virus,” a press release on the European Parliament agenda for Tuesday’s plenary sessions stated.
Paris summit mobilises finance, vaccines for Africa ‘New Deal’
A Paris summit promised to help Africa overcome the coronavirus pandemic with a “New Deal” using global financial firepower to replenish depleted coffers and ramp up a sluggish vaccine rollout. The summit launched “a New Deal for Africa and by Africa”, host French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference. According to the latest AFP news agency tally from official sources, there have been a total of nearly 130,000 coronavirus deaths among African populations during the pandemic, compared with almost 3.4 million worldwide, although experts believe the official tolls in African countries could be undercounts. The economic cost of the pandemic has been devastating, with the International Monetary Fund warning in late 2020 that Africa faces a shortfall of $290bn up to 2023, undermining all efforts at development.
Now pharmaceutical firms including AstraZeneca call on governments to share Covid vaccines with low-income countries to stamp out pandemic and threat of variants
Pressure is mounting on global leaders to address the Covid 'vaccine apartheid' IFPMA today called for 'immediate action' to 'step up responsible dose sharing' Warned it was the only way to end the global pandemic and prevent variants
Beyond a symbolic gesture: What’s needed to turn the IP waiver into Covid-19 vaccines
The Biden administration’s announcement to support an intellectual property (IP) waiver for Covid-19 vaccines was a monumental step toward improving the access to them in low- and middle-income countries. But without further action, it will be little more than a symbol. The waiver allows companies to produce Covid-19 vaccines without fear of being sued by the entity that holds the IP for the technology. It had been backed by more than 100 countries and by 110 members of the U.S. Congress. This broad support reflected a growing intolerance of the global inequity that is helping fuel the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Maintaining Services
Rwanda halts coronavirus vaccination because of vaccine shortage
Rwanda halted coronavirus vaccination because of delays in deliveries that have created a vaccine shortage, an official said. Director-General of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre Sabin Nsanzimana said the number vaccinated in Rwanda is still low. Rwanda wants to vaccinate 30% of the population by the end of 2021 and 60% by the end of 2022. About 350,400 people have received jabs as of Tuesday, representing just 5% of the population. Nsanzimana said 500,000 doses of the vaccine Rwanda procured from India have yet to arrive, following a health crisis that affected vaccine supplies to developing countries.
Scheme to give students coronavirus vaccine scrapped within hours
A scheme offering students in Bournemouth the chance to get a coronavirus vaccine has been withdrawn, just hours into the first day. Long queues formed outside the Bournemouth International Centre as university students lined up to receive their jab. It is after Bournemouth University was advised by health officials that there was surplus capacity to start offering the vaccine out to students. However Dorset HealthCare, which is running the vaccination sessions at the venue, says it had been overwhelmed with the response and had to withdraw the scheme 'until further notice'.
Covid-19 vaccines: Why some African states can't use their vaccines
Despite many African countries struggling to obtain enough Covid-19 vaccines, some have thousands of expired doses which they have been unable to use. Some countries are now destroying these vaccines, in line with the latest World Health Organization (WHO) advice. Many countries failed to prepare adequately before receiving the vaccines, Phionah Atuhebwe, from the WHO in Africa, says. "That is one of the reasons we are seeing the slow pace of rollout," she says. And some countries also faced financial challenges. Africa Centres for Disease Control head John Nkengasong says countries need more support to increase the numbers of health workers and obtain supplies, such as personal protective equipment.
Thailand starts COVID-19 vaccinations for monks at risk
Thailand began vaccinating Buddhist monks against the coronavirus this week, hoping to build up their protection to enable them to safely perform their spiritual duties. About 500 monks were inoculated in the capital, Bangkok, on Tuesday and Wednesday, to allow them to receive daily alms and do merit-making activities, as Thailand battles its third and most potent wave of infections. "These activities are putting them at risk where they can come into contact with an infected person," said Montchai Chumnumnavin of Bangkok's Priest Hospital, a medical facility exclusively for monks, where the vaccines were administered.
Covid-19: Poor links between NHS and social care weakened England's response, says NAO
Pre-pandemic issues such as severe budget cuts to local government and poor integration between the NHS and social care weakened England’s ability to respond to covid-19, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office (NAO) assessed the government’s response to the pandemic and also found many issues with transparency around personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts, provision of PPE for the social care sector when compared with the health sector, and inconsistencies between what providers and frontline staff were reporting in terms of having protective equipment. Responding to the findings, the NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Danny Mortimer, said, “This report re-emphasises the long term issues that severely weakened the foundations of health and care, which meant the country was not better prepared to deal with the pandemic and its fallout . .
Pfizer to begin manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine components in Ireland by end of the year
Ireland will begin to produce key Covid-19 vaccine components later this year, with Pfizer announcing that they will be investing in their west Dublin plant. The pharmaceutical giant made the announcement today, saying that they would be investing $40 million in upgrading their Grange Castle plant. In a statement, Pfizer said that they have made several enhancements to the vaccine supply chain since they began rolling out their mRNA vaccine in late December. “As such, Pfizer is now bringing on additional European-based facility to be a part of the global Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine supply chain network and Grange Castle (Ireland) will contribute to the worldwide supply of the vaccine,” they said in a statement.
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus in Scotland: Three people out of 2.81 million have died of adverse side affects from the Covid vaccine
Three people died in Scotland from adverse side-effects of coronavirus vaccines, according to the latest official statistics. National Records of Scotland figures show the underlying cause of three deaths has been adverse effects of Covid-19 vaccines. This is in the context of 2.81 million people having been given at least one dose by April 30, according to statistics from Public Health Scotland. The records office also shows that over the course of the pandemic, people living in the most deprived areas are 2.4 times as likely to die with COVID-19 than those living in the least deprived areas.
COVID-related inflammatory syndrome looks different in adults
The postinfectious COVID-19–related multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) first characterized in children has a different presentation in adults that may lead to underrecognition, according to a small, single-center study today in JAMA Network Open. Conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the retrospective study involved 15 patients 21 years and older who met the working definition for MIS in adults (MIS-A) from Mar 1 to Sep 30, 2020, and were hospitalized 14 to 84 days after testing positive for COVID-19 or 15 days before or after SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results identified them as at risk for the syndrome.