"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 4th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Have you found a new hobby or skill during the lockdown?
When social distancing and lockdown measures began in the UK, packets of eggs, yeast and flour disappeared from supermarket shelves as people turned to home baking to pass the time. Others have taken up gaming, gardening, or virtual dance classes. For some people in lockdown, the sanctioned daily exercise has been a chance to discover jogging and outdoor fitness.
Quarantine tips: How isolation can foster self-discovery
“Something I already knew but was confirmed is how fundamentally kind he is,” Colburn said. “I’ve seen his heart.” Pulido, who knew Colburn for her “strong, independent” streak, is learning about a different side, a softer one, especially as he has started taking testosterone in February as part of the hormonal transitioning process. “Faith has been such a great supporter in allowing me space to find myself during this whole experience.”
The best mental health tips for staying sane in isolation
This article is part of Confined Grind, our crowdsourced guide to maintaining a balanced, healthy life while working and living at home amid Covid-19.
Mental health care providers offer tips to deal with self-isolation and COVID-19
Cabin fever, the fear of becoming infected, grieving those lost due to the respiratory illness, and anxiety about the economy and job loss during the pandemic weighs heavily on many minds.
Coronavirus tips: How to help kids with pandemic anxiety
Normally adolescence, a developmental period marked by impulsivity and feelings of invincibility, is a time in which teenagers separate from their parents and bond with their peers. Now that families are confined at home, parents are in a peculiar position in which they have to balance the seriousness of the novel coronavirus with their teen’s desire for social interaction.
Channel 4 announces new isolation shows, including a series where dogs spy on their celeb owners
Channel 4 will be releasing five brand new shows during lockdown… including a series where pet dogs spy on their celebrity owners. Snoop Dogs will see cameras go inside the homes of famous faces across the country, whilst attached to their pets. The four 30-minute episodes will see celebrities’ pooches sniff out their owners’ secrets in what is a truly barking mad premise.As if that weren’t wild enough, the identities of the dog owners will be kept a secret until the end of the episode so viewers can guess who they are based on the pup-arazzi’s handy work
Coronavirus: Australians search for mental health tips as self-isolation takes a toll
From the stress of working from home to increased anxiety and loneliness from social isolation, many people are struggling to manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. One study released this week found that people reported being depressed, stressed or anxious up to five times more than they were before the outbreak. Many people are turning to the internet for information on how to cope with the coronavirus, which has been the most searched topic on Google for the past eight weeks in Australia.
Hygiene Helpers
This nine-year-old Kenyan inventor has come up with an ingenious way to wash his hands, and reduce the spread of the #coronavirus
This nine-year-old Kenyan inventor has come up with an ingenious way to wash his hands, and reduce the spread of the #coronavirus
Hand hygiene message from Shropshire health bosses
The importance of hand-washing during the coronavirus pandemic is being highlighted by health bosses in Shropshire as part of World Hand Hygiene Day.
As unlinked coronavirus cases increase, Kerala shifts focus on enforcing hygiene
As Kerala is witnessing an increasing trend in the number of unlinked coronavirus cases with a source of infection remaining untraceable, the state is now focusing on enforcing health hygiene like wearing masks.
Dentist claims brushing your teeth regularly could help prevent the spread of coronavirus
"At the time of lockdown people have adequate time to spend just two minutes twice daily cleaning their teeth. This has never been so important. "Covid-19 spreads via saliva and this is the basis of the need for social distancing. Toothpastes and mouthwashes contain substances, similar to those in hand sanitizers, that have antiviral actions and these could also impact the ability of the Covid-19 to spread which is obviously an additional benefit of a good oral hygiene regimen. "So everyone please wash your hands and clean your teeth."
Coronavirus crisis: New hygiene measures for WA’s hospitality sector
WA hospitality staff will be required to complete mandatory COVID-19 hygiene training ahead of the eventual re-opening of bars, restaurants and cafes. All staff will have to complete the first stage of the two-tier course, with managers and supervisors also required to complete the second, more advanced program. Every venue will be required to have a staff member with the more advanced accreditation on shift at all times, as the venue’s dedicated hygiene officer. Businesses will also have to display signage that the venue is compliant with all conditions.
Community Activities
Care work: What next for the forgotten frontline of coronavirus?
As care homes are a new epicentre of the pandemic, we celebrate the historically overlooked, undervalued care sector and ask what needs to change after the pandemic.
Thrifty meal prep queen, 29, shares her top kitchen tips to help your budget in isolation
A mother dubbed the 'queen of meal prepping' has shared her top grocery tips to help keep your food bills down while you're stuck in coronavirus isolation at home. Kaitie Purssell, 29, from Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, spends her free time whipping up delicious meals by the hundreds for as little as $1.30 per serve, and so she knows a bit about budgeting. From doing a pantry stock take to freezing as much as possible, Kaitie recently shared her top tips for helping your budget while you're working from home and eating more from the supermarket.
Little Simz shares 5 tips for beginners learning guitar in isolation
Attempting to learn the guitar whilst you're at home isolating from COVID-19? Check out Little Simz's advice... Little Simz is undoubtedly one of the UK's most exciting music stars with her latest album 'Grey Area' becoming an instant classic and even picking up a Mercury Prize nomination in 2019.
Free virtual cybersecurity school launched for teenagers in lockdown
Free virtual lessons on cybersecurity are being offered to thousands of young Brits in lockdown as part of a UK government scheme to develop their cyber skills. The Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) said its virtual school will offer educational games and activities for students aged 13 to 18. Teenagers will be able to learn how to crack codes, fix security flaws and dissect criminals' digital trails as they progress through the game as a 'cyber agent'.
Musicians from Syria's National Orchestra perform online
Musicians from Syria's National Orchestra perform online
Arlington Teen Organizes Virtual Activities To Help DC Nonprofit
A Yorktown High School student is organizing a week of virtual activities to help a D.C. early education center raise money.
Working Remotely
Does Remote Work Mix with Organizational Culture?
The pros and cons of working remotely have been hashed over repeatedly. Consulting organizations have found that policies permitting consultants to live anywhere have been effective ways of recruiting talent. However, while these people may live anywhere, they carry out most of their work in teams on the road. My concern is the impact on an organization's culture that a significant increase in work from home may have, particularly where the culture is thought by management to be one of the organization's strengths.
How to make remote working run smoothly for employers and employees
Just over a week ago, Bill Michael, chairman of KPMG in the UK who is recovering from Covid-19, wrote to the firm’s employees telling them they faced “a huge paradigm shift in the way we live and work”. In the absence of a vaccine Mitchell says, “there is no ‘exit’ or a return to normal”, and this “will necessarily be a time of trial and error on an unprecedented scale”. Many managers are now experiencing the “trial and error” of trying to run dispersed teams without the normal structures that keep employees anchored, managers focused and workplaces running smoothly.
Majority of business owners say remote working is the future
Office workers appear to have handled the transition to remote working remarkably well - with many not even remotely thrown off-balance. In fact, more than half are reportedly more productive than before lockdown measures were introduced. This is according to a new report from virtual agency and consultant firm Hoxby, which states the results represent “welcome news”, with lockdown measures likely to be extended. More than two thirds of office workers expect some form of remote work to continue for at least three months longer, and 59 percent wouldn’t be surprised if measures remained in place for another six months. Almost two thirds (58 percent) reported enjoying the experience, mainly due to increased autonomy, and less than a fifth (19 percent) said they preferred the office
Managing FOMO While Working Remotely
So many professionals across the US has adopted WFH -- work from home -- as a response to the pandemic. But working remotely has opened the potential for social media trend Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to take place in a business environment. IT teams can play a vital role to manage FOMO and keep organizations moving while adapting to this isolating way of working.
Keeping your company culture whilst working remotely and the impact on the future
One way to break the feeling of isolation is simply to increase engagement with employees. Making employees feel like they are still involved via company-wide updates that aren’t just business focused is crucial to keeping your workplace culture. Ask colleagues about their WFH set up and meet people’s pets virtually. To this point, fully embrace video calls where possible – it’s always nice to see someone’s face. It’s also really important to have one-on-one check ins too, reach out to your colleagues, check in with them, find out how their day is going. Just knowing someone is there makes it easier for people to stay positive.
Virtual Classrooms
Virtual classrooms make distance learning easier for Elmvale students
With schools across Ontario closed and distance learning becoming the new norm, some students in Elmvale have been attending a virtual classroom. "Twenty-five years ago, we couldn't have done anything like this," says Elmvale District High School teacher Jason Monck. The Simcoe County District School Board recently distributed 4,000 devices to students without the proper technology at home. Monck says his grade 7 students transitioned to the new learning format with ease. "They all use technology every day in the classroom anyway, so it hasn't been that big a jump for them to do this online learning."
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how
The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. Globally, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.
The best online courses and online class sites 2020
There are online courses on a variety of topics, from sciences and technology to arts, humanities and creativity, and while some of them are quite academic, teaching you a scientific tradition or literary period, others are more life-skilled focused, like helping you be creative or write the perfect resume. To help you find the best online class or course website for you, we've listed some of the best that are worth checking out – some are free, while others are paid for. We haven't put them in order, since the websites teach in varied ways that will largely come down to personal taste.
Making online learning workable amid Covid-19
Against the backdrop of Covid-19, we need to grasp the opportunity to benefit from online learning mechanisms and should optimise them for the future. The writer explains how to benefit from online learning.
Public Policies
Coronavirus: "April Decree" Emergency income up to 800 euros, another 6 months of economic shock absorbed and there are new bonuses for frontline staff
A first draft of the government's provisional payments which will accompany the "phase two" stage of the coronavirus emergency. The layoff moratorium payments rise from two to five months, there's more support for the Third sector, new allowances for the self-employed and bonuses for domestic workers and carers, plus strong reinforcement for work inspection bodies. But the majority of experts still argue that the measures stack up a little to well on the side of aid to businesses and should be better balanced with the workforce provisions
Coronavirus tests pass target - but government alters counting criteria
The government says it has surpassed its target of carrying out 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of April. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 122,347 people were tested for COVID-19 in the 24 hours up to 9am on Friday - but until now the figures have only included tests that had reached laboratories. The new numbers also include tests that have been sent out to homes and testing sites.
Coronavirus: Government could drop two-metre distancing rule in lockdown exit plan
A potential exit strategy from the UK’s coronavirus lockdown could see the two-metre social distancing rule relaxed, as ministers have asked the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) to further probe the need for such a measure. Questions over the two-metre rule have been raised by numerous ministers, The Daily Telegraph reported, amid discussions about whether such distancing is an effective tool in fighting the spread of coronavirus, and how and when to safely bring the country out of the lockdown.
Ground Zero of U.S. Outbreak to Extend Stay-Home Order to May 31
Washington Governor Jay Inslee extended on Friday the state’s stay-at-home order through May 31, even as many others pushed to reopen. The coronavirus first hit the U.S. in Washington on Jan. 21, and the state has been praised for keeping the outbreak under relative control. “What we are doing is working,” Inslee said at a briefing. But “we have not won the fight against this virus.” Inslee said he would issue an order to keep most businesses closed and to ban large gatherings until the end of the month. The stay-home order was initially set to end Monday.
Coronavirus: North Netherlands stopped following national advice. Here’s what happened
In the worst-hit region of North Brabant in the south, twice as many people died between March 16th and April 5th, 2020, than in the same period last year. But in the northern region of Groningen, home to a university city the size of Cork, deaths were just 4 per cent higher in the same period. Test, test test and tracing as a policy was adopted and the facts speak for themselves
Rate of infection spread in Denmark 'higher since schools opening'
The rate at which the coronavirus infection is spreading in Denmark has increased since the country opened schools and kindergartens, but not enough to stop the decline in the number of people infected.
Austria Has 90% Drop in Coronavirus Cases After Requiring People to Wear Face Masks
The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Austria dropped from 90 to 10 cases per one million people, two weeks after the government required everyone to wear a face mask on April 6. According to Daily Mail, "Austria seemingly managed to reverse its crisis by making masks compulsory on April 6, following a spike in infections in late March." This contradicted what the United Kingdom (UK) government told its citizens. They are denying that masks are effective if used by the general public.
Maintaining Services
Wizz Air resumes overseas flights from Luton as passengers 'sit 2m apart'
Wizz Air has become the first European airline to restart commercial flights after services to Portugal, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria left the UK yesterday. Passengers took off from Luton Airport wearing face masks and sitting two metres away from each other, Mail Online reports. The Hungarian budget airline has also removed in-flight magazines and brought in new cleaning measures to reduce the risk of travellers getting infected with coronavirus. Passengers are also being encouraged to make all payments via contactless card and to watch a new safety video.
Coronavirus crisis: Myer reveals new hygiene measures as it plans post-COVID reopening
Retailers, shopping centre owners and shop assistants have joined forces to sell a plan to get people back into their stores and protect everyone’s health. As the nation’s leaders meet to work out how to ease restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus, the five peak retail bodies have offered their suggestions for a recovery protocol.
How hotels are doubling down on hygiene
The coronavirus crisis has not only sent the hotel industry reeling by cratering occupancy rates. It’s forcing hotels to ramp up their cleaning protocols and hygiene — things that will be more of a priority for consumers in a post-pandemic world, where safe is the new sexy. "What would have been in the back of customers’ minds is now front and center," said Phil Cordell, Hilton’s global head of new brand development.
Hotel chains are announcing new cleaning program amid coronavirus. Here's what they look like.
Best Western joined the fray of hotel chains updating cleanliness measures due to the new coronavirus. In an update to its "I Care Clean" program, the company's rejiggered "We Care Clean" plan includes enhanced sanitization procedures at the front desk and lobby, upgraded grab and go breakfast offerings in most hotels and offered more strict cleaning of public amenities like pools and fitness centers. The hotel brand is relying on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada.
State employees working remotely to begin returning to offices
Each state agency will bring employees back to the offices differently, depending on the services they provide to the public, Noem said. Some state employees will have staggered shifts or an agency may bring employees back into work in waves. Noem announced her Back to Normal Plan on Tuesday loosening restrictions on businesses that she put in place in March due to the pandemic.
Healthcare Innovations
Profits and Pride at Stake, the Race for a Vaccine Intensifies
Governments, companies and academic labs are accelerating their efforts amid geopolitical crosscurrents, questions about safety and the challenges of producing enough doses for billions of people.
Coronavirus: US authorises use of anti-viral drug Remdesivir
The US's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised emergency use of the Ebola drug remdesivir for treating the coronavirus. The authorisation means the anti-viral drug can now be used on people who are hospitalised with severe Covid-19. A recent clinical trial showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for people who were seriously ill. However, it did not significantly improve survival rates.
We found and tested 47 old drugs that might treat the coronavirus: Results show promising leads and a whole new way to fight COVID-19
Our multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, called the QCRG, identified 69 existing drugs and compounds with potential to treat COVID-19. A month ago, we began shipping boxes of these drugs off to Institut Pasteur in Paris and Mount Sinai in New York to see if they do in fact fight the coronavirus. In the last four weeks, we have tested 47 of these drugs and compounds in the lab against live coronavirus. I’m happy to report we’ve identified some strong treatment leads and identified two separate mechanisms for how these drugs affect SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our findings were published on April 30 in the journal Nature.