"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 5th Aug 2021

Isolation Tips
Vietnam to halve quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors
Vietnam will slash the duration of mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors from two weeks to just seven days, its health ministry said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its biggest COVID-19 outbreak yet. Vietnam successfully contained the virus for much of last year using a targeted testing and centralised quarantine programme but has since late April been faced with a surge in cases fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant. The country's borders are closed to all visitors apart from returning Vietnamese citizens, foreign experts, investors or diplomats, all of whom were subject to 14 days of quarantine at centrally-managed facilities.
Hygiene Helpers
No Covid vaccine, no restaurant, New Yorkers told
New Yorkers will need to provide proof they have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine if they are to eat out at restaurants, go to a theatre or work out at the gym, Mayor Bill de Blasio has insisted. De Blasio said he was confident the move, the first of its kind in a big city in the US, would “turn the tide” against the virus as the Delta variant sweeps across the country. “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” New York’s mayor, told a news conference
If more Americans don't get vaccinated, there is 'ample chance' for a more dangerous variant to emerge, Fauci says
If more Americans don't get vaccinated, there is "ample chance" of another coronavirus variant emerging, one that could be more aggressive and more pervasive than the Delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Wednesday. "If another one comes along that has an equally high capability of transmitting but also is much more severe, then we really could be in trouble," Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said. "People who are not getting vaccinated mistakenly think it's only about them. But it isn't. it's about everybody else, also," said Fauci.
Utah will give KN95 masks to children as the Delta variant fuels Covid-19 hospitalizations nationwide
The surge of Covid-19 fueled by the Delta variant and low vaccination rates is sending the country backward in the pandemic, with hospitalizations reaching wintertime levels. For the first time since February 27, more than 50,000 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized Monday, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The 50,625 hospitalizations were more than triple the number from one month ago, when about 16,000 patients were hospitalized.
Community Activities
Barbie launches doll of scientist Sarah Gilbert who created coronavirus vaccine
Barbie producer Mattel has created a doll in the likeness of the scientist who designed the Oxford coronavirus vaccine: Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert. Professor Gilbert started working on creating a jab in early 2020 when Covid-19 was first reported to be spreading in China. The vaccine she designed, the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, has now been used in more than 170 countries, making it the most widely used in the world. The doll depicts Professor Gilbert wearing a black trouser suit with a white shirt and glasses.
‘Jabs for kebabs’ — The art of coronavirus vaccine persuasion
After the early rush among older citizens for a coronavirus vaccine, many countries are now resorting to bribery to convince people to get themselves jabbed. The persistent minority of vaccine skeptics — especially across Europe — are probably immune from the incentives on offer. But governments are hoping that a small nudge may be what's needed with people for whom the prospect of long-COVID or even death was not, by itself, enough to make them find a window in their schedule for a vaccine appointment. Some countries — notably France — are adopting more of a stick approach, by mandating that certain key workers receive the jab or restricting access to leisure activities for unvaccinated people. Pakistan is even taking the unconventional approach of cutting off the cellphone signal to those who refuse to get the jab.
Covid-19: 'Lack of transparency' over Irish decisions
Experts in human rights law have accused the Irish government of lacking transparency and accountability in key decision-making during the pandemic. A report by academics from Trinity College Dublin said there was a lack of clarity about how decisions affecting prisoners and asylum seekers were made. It questioned how policies were arrived at in the vaccination programme and how Covid-19 deaths are counted. The report also said it was unclear who made some key decisions
More US employers mandate COVID-19 vaccines
The list of major American companies who will soon begin mandating COVID-19 vaccines continues to grow, as both Tyson Foods and Microsoft announced that all employees will need to show proof of vaccination in the coming months. Tyson Foods is the first major food industry employer to require vaccinations. All front-line workers will be required to be vaccinated by Nov 1. According to the Associated Press, the Springfield, Arkansas, company will offer a $200 bonus for all front-line workers who receive a vaccine. So far, only half of Tyson employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. Throughout the past 18 months, Tyson meat processing plants were the site of major outbreaks, but the company now reports low numbers after investing $700 million in workplace safety.
COVID-19: Health workers face online abuse for encouraging vaccination
In England, health organisations are calling for an end to the abuse aimed at doctors and nurses during the pandemic, especially from anti-vaxxers. A letter has been signed by groups including the Royal College of Midwives, Unison, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the NHS Confederation, the British Medical Association, and the Royal College of Nursing. It was prompted by online abuse directed at RCM chief executive Gill Walton after she encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Working Remotely
12 Ways To Beat Monotony And Stay Creative While Working Remotely
For some people, working from home is an ideal situation that allows them to thrive professionally while having more time to maintain a healthy personal life. However, without the variety that a daily commute and in-person interactions with colleagues provide, remote work can start to feel monotonous. When working remotely begins to negatively impact your mindset, it can also hinder your ability to innovate, make sound decisions and feel satisfied in your job. If you feel stuck in a dull routine that’s draining your creativity and energy, you’re not alone. Here, members of Forbes Coaches Council share 12 tips to help you beat the monotony and stay creative and energized while working from home.
These Industries Added the Most Remote Jobs During the Pandemic, and Talent is Tight
Listing an open role as work-from-home may sway applicants to apply, but founders will still likely face stiff competition for talent in the fields that added the most remote positions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, the vertical for marketing, media, and design saw the biggest growth, with a 974 percent increase in remote roles paying six-figure salaries or higher, according to research from Ladders, Inc. The data looked at 50,000 North American employers to find which high-paying professional fields saw the most growth in remote work. Project and program management was the next fastest-growing, with an 801 percent increase, followed by accounting and finance with a 750 percent increase. Runners-up included human resources and legal (546 percent), technology (521 percent), and engineering and construction (410 percent). The availability of high-paying remote work across all fields grew more than 1,000 percent from March 2020 to today. In March of 2020, there were just over 7,000 jobs available, compared to 80,000 today.
High-Salary Remote Work Opportunities Explode As Companies Re-Think Working From Home
If you’re looking for a remote work opportunity that pays at least $100,000, you’ve never had a better chance. Ladders, Inc., the career site for high-paying jobs, researched data from the top 50,000 North American employers to find which professional fields saw the most growth in remote work. In March of 2020 there were just over 7,000 high paying remote jobs available. Today, there are more than 80,000. The availability of remote work across all fields has exploded more than 1,000%. So, do you really need to go back to the office? The Delta variant, vaccine requirements and looming mask mandates have changed the enthusiasm for returning to work.
Google Approves Most Staff Requests to Relocate or Work Remotely
Alphabet Inc.’s Google approved 85% of employee requests to work remotely or relocate once its offices fully re-open, the company told staff Tuesday. Google is one the largest companies trying a hybrid approach to returning from the pandemic. It will ask most of its staff to go back to work in their previous offices, but let others do their jobs elsewhere. Over the past few months, some 10,000 employees applied to transfer to a new office or work from home. The company rejected 15% of those applicants because their jobs required specialized equipment or face time with customers, Fiona Cicconi, Google’s head of human resources, wrote in an email to staff.
Virtual Classrooms
The Unexpected Benefits of Remote Learning for Neurodivergent Students
Learning disruptions have been an unfortunate but all-too-frequent sight during the pandemic. But not every student felt those effects evenly as schools shifted between remote and in-person options. Even under typical circumstances, learners with autism or other neurological differences are often more sensitive to changes in their environments. So given the lingering uncertainties about COVID-19’s impact on schooling this fall—and the trajectory of the fast-spreading delta variant—perhaps it’s no surprise that many families with neurodivergent children are opting to continue with remote learning.
Whanganui schools part of virtual learning exchange with Japan
Covid-19 travel restrictions mean international students have become a distant memory in Whanganui, but a new, virtual learning exchange is giving young people around the world the chance to connect online instead. This week, 23 high school students in Whanganui and Manawatu began the New Zealand Global Competence Certificate exchange with 20 high school students in Tokyo, Japan. Animated videos, quizzes, assignments and weekly live facilitated dialogue sessions allow learners to talk with each other online in real time.
Public Policies
Every Australian who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will have one by Christmas, head of taskforce says
Every Australian adult who wants a coronavirus vaccine will have one by Christmas, the head of the national COVID-19 vaccine taskforce has declared. Lieutenant General John Frewen said today the nation is entering the next phase of the rollout and 213,000 doses were administered yesterday, another record. He was asked about the timeline of the rollout, when younger people will be able to access more vaccines, and when the 80 per cent target will be reached. Lieutenant General Frewen also said 10 million doses of Moderna will be available later this year which he hopes will accelerate the rollout.
Iran urges UNHCR to provide coronavirus vaccine for refugees
Iran has urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide funding and strengthen the necessary infrastructure to receive vaccines and facilities for the refugees, ISNA reported. A virtual meeting was held on Wednesday attended by Iranian officials, representatives of UN offices, and embassies in Tehran with the aim of providing vaccines for refugees and foreign immigrants.
Commission approves Novavax coronavirus vaccine deal — finally
The EU has approved a deal with Novavax to secure up to 200 million doses of the company's protein-based coronavirus vaccine after more than half a year of talks, the Commission announced. EU countries will secure 100 million doses and have the option to purchase another 100 million doses through 2023. The EU announced it had completed "exploratory talks" with the company back in December 2020, but the deal was held up over issues securing a delivery schedule and establishing the U.S. company's European supply chain.
UK children aged 16 and 17 expected to be offered Covid vaccine
Covid vaccines are expected to be offered to children in the UK aged 16 and 17, in line with many other countries, after a minister confirmed government experts will update their advice “imminently”. Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, said the government was expecting an announcement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on widening access to the coronavirus vaccine to more teenagers. Just two weeks after the body recommended against routine vaccination of children, two government sources confirmed that the JCVI was reconsidering its ruling.
Ukraine receives 500000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark
Ukraine has received 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday. "We're grateful to our Denmark friends for their support in overcoming this global challenge," Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter. Ukraine has lagged behind other European countries in vaccinating its population of 41 million people. So far, 2.1 million Ukrainian citizens have received two jabs as of July 4
Japan's COVID-19 cases rise 87% during first week of Olympics
Halfway through the Summer Olympics in Japan, coronavirus cases are surging in the nation during a state of emergency though the outbreak is nowhere near as severe as other places as the world deal with a more contagious Delta variant. Tokyo 2020 boss Toshiro Muto said at a news conference Sunday that the COVID-19 surge is not linked to the Games, which included 11,000 athletes representing 206 countries. The positivity rate is only 0.02% -- 72 out of around 350,000 tests through Friday, which includes participants and other stakeholders.
WHO calls for moratorium on COVID-19 boosters
Amid a global COVID-19 surge fueled by the highly transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) today called for a moratorium on booster vaccine doses to allow the global supply to fill gaps in lower-income countries. The global total is now within striking distance of 200 million cases, with surges in Asia and the Middle East making up much of the latest weekly increase. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said that it's unacceptable that countries that have already used most of the vaccine supply will be using even more of it. High-income countries have given nearly 100 doses for every 100 people, while most low-income countries have only been able to give 1.5 doses for every 100 people.
Maintaining Services
Status of some UK citizens vaccinated overseas still not recognised by NHS
Ministers have been criticised for their failure to let some people vaccinated overseas have their double-jab status recognised by the NHS, after a promise the system would be changed to enable them to do so by the end of July was not met. In the final week before the Commons broke up for recess, the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, sought to reassure MPs that the government was working quickly to help those who were inoculated overseas but registered with a GP in the UK. He said on 22 July that “by the end of this month” that would change – and that “UK nationals who have been vaccinated overseas will be able to talk to their GP, go through what vaccine they have had, and have it registered with the NHS that they have been vaccinated”.
UAE lifts ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan
The United Arab Emirates will on Thursday lift a ban on transit flights including from India and Pakistan, the National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) said. India and Pakistan are important markets for Emirates, Etihad Airways and other UAE carriers flydubai and Air Arabia (AIRA.DU). The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, had banned passengers from many South Asian and African states travelling through its airports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID in Louisiana shows consequences of Delta variant, low vaccination rate
Low vaccination rates and the more infectious Delta variant are converging to create a new COVID-19 crisis for Louisiana as the United States and the world face the latest stage of the pandemic.
San Francisco says Johnson & Johnson recipients can get extra dose of Covid vaccines
Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in San Francisco will be allowed to request a 'supplemental' dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. San Francisco officials say decision was made after many residents were requesting to receive additional shots to boost immunity. Currently, the CDC does not recommend a person to mix and match vaccine types or receive additional doses. Johnson & Johnson vaccine is believed to be effective against all strains of COVID-19, including the Indian 'Delta' variant. CDC has said it is tracking instances of people receiving unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters
US vaccination rates increase alongside spread of Delta variant
Cases of COVID-19, along with hospitalisations and deaths, remain on the rise in the United States even as the pace of vaccinations has increased, fuelling ongoing concerns about the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Chemist chain Walgreens said on Wednesday that it has seen a recent jump in inoculations in parts of the country that had previously lagged behind. The number of jabs rose more than 30 percent in states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas, in the past few weeks, said the company, which now has administered more than 29 million COVID-19 jabs since the pandemic began.
COVID-19: Race is on to vaccinate up to 1.4 million 16 and 17-year-olds before schools reopen
The decision to vaccinate teenagers has been slow in the UK. Countries such as the US, Canada and France are already routinely vaccinating children as young as 12. But the government's experts are now confident there's the evidence to press ahead - and the race is on to get up to 1.4 million 16 and 17-year-olds vaccinated before schools return. That's less than two weeks in Scotland and just four weeks away in England and Wales. An added challenge is the resistance among some young people and parents.
Healthcare Innovations
COVID-19 vaccines appear to protect patients' lungs; depression on rise among youth
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines may protect patients' lungs. In vaccinated patients with "breakthrough" COVID-19 infections, the disease may not affect the lungs as much as in unvaccinated patients, new data from India suggest.
Fully Vaccinated Half As Likely To Catch Covid-19 And Less Likely To Infect Others, Study Finds
People who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are half as likely to be infected with the coronavirus than those who have not been vaccinated, according to a new study led by researchers at Imperial College London, though the scientists warned a new vaccine targeting the infectious delta variant may be needed to combat concerns over vaccine efficacy.
Long COVID-19 rare in children, study says
Less than 1 in 20 children with COVID-19 have symptoms lasting longer than 4 weeks, and by 8 weeks, almost all have recovered, according to a study yesterday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. "We know from other studies that many children who catch coronavirus don't show any symptoms at all; and it will be reassuring for families to know that those children who do fall ill with COVID-19 are unlikely to suffer prolonged effects," said senior author Emma Duncan, PhD, in a King's College London
All over-12s could soon be offered Covid vaccines with further rollout 'likely'
All over-12s could soon be offered a Covid vaccine, the UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam has suggested. The remarks come as it emerged coronavirus jabs will be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds as ministers seek to halt the spread of the virus and prevent schools chaos. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said older teenagers should get inoculated in a move that will see an extra 1.4 million young people eligible for the jab. Health Secretary Sajid Javid accepted the JCVI recommendation and has asked the NHS to prepare to start giving first doses to youngsters "as soon as possible".