"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 24th Aug 2021

Isolation Tips
Millennial women want remote work, but many fear they'll miss opportunities if not in office, according to report
As companies start to map out their return-to-office work plans, many millennial women are feeling conflicted about the pros and cons of working remotely, according to a recent survey by theSkimm. Of the more than 1,600 participants in the survey, theSkimm found that nearly two-thirds of millennial women view remote work as a priority, including 43% who said remote work is very important or extremely important moving forward and 22% who said they would no longer consider working for an employer if work-from-home wasn’t an option in the future.
Hygiene Helpers
4 measures applied together can limit Covid-19 transmission in schools
The results of the model are clear. Four clear and important measures must be implemented in parallel to minimize the chances of school-related outbreaks. Require vaccination. The currently authorized Covid-19 vaccines are safe and incredibly effective against Covid-19. Though they have not yet been authorized for use in those under age 12, ensuring that every eligible individual within a school is vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect the entire school population. Wear masks. If someone in a school has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the best way to minimize others’ exposure is to ensure that all individuals are wearing masks. This is especially important given that some individuals may not show any symptoms but can still transmit the virus. Increase ventilation. Early in the pandemic, researchers learned that the major form of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is through droplets, and sometimes even aerosols. Get tested. The Delta variant is two to three times more transmissible than previous versions of SARS-CoV-2. Until children under the age of 12 can be vaccinated, it is impossible in elementary school settings to achieve herd immunity through vaccination.
Coronavirus: Young long Covid sufferers lead vaccine drive
Young people have shared stories of the debilitating effects of long Covid as they urge others to get jabbed. A new NHS video features the experiences of three previously healthy people as part of a drive to encourage vaccine uptake. Quincy Dwamena, 31, said he delayed his jab and "ended up being hospitalised and thought I was going to die". It comes as the government says it has met its target of offering all 16 and 17-year-olds in England a Covid jab. More than 360,000 people in this age group in England have now been given a first dose of the vaccine.
NYC mandates vaccinations for public school teachers, staff
All New York City public school teachers and other staffers will have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, officials said Monday, ramping up pandemic protections as the nation’s largest school system prepares for classes to start next month. The city previously said teachers, like other city employees, would have to get the shots or get tested weekly for the virus. The new policy marks the first no-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers in the nation’s most populous city, though Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that coaches and students in football, basketball and other “high-risk” sports would have to get inoculated before play begins.
Chevron begins COVID-19 vaccination mandates
U.S. energy companies are moving to requirethat employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations as infection rates rise across the United States and energy workers, according to health surveys, remain among those most reluctant to get inoculations.
Community Activities
Covid 19 coronavirus: Vaccine 'hesitancy' media stories as impactful as misinformation
Media articles highlighting some people's hesitancy toward receiving the Covid-19 vaccine could be just as impactful in swaying us as outright misinformation, a new study finds. Yesterday, it was announced that vaccinations in New Zealand had passed the one million mark - with director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield among the latest to receive their first dose. Surveys have shown willingness to receive the Pfizer vaccine has been rising over time, reaching the point where four in five Kiwis now either intend to get the shot or are leaning toward it.
A Covid Booster Is The Privilege Scientists Say Will Curb Delta
The roll out of a third dose of Covid vaccine has sparked debate on ethical and political grounds, since a large swath of the human population is yet to receive any inoculation. But the case for boosters on scientific grounds is building. The reason is delta. The most-infectious coronavirus variant to emerge so far is in a race with the human immune system, and there’s mounting evidence that delta is winning -- at least initially. Fully vaccinated individuals infected with the variant have peak virus levels in the upper airways as high as those lacking immunity, a large study from the U.K. showed last week.
Working Remotely
From ‘quarantine academies’ to virtual substitutes, how schools are teaching students in isolation because of COVID-19
Captaingate: Did Andrew Cuomo ditch his dog while moving out of the… Take It from the Tinkersons by Bill Bettwy As Illinois schools welcome students back to fully reopened classrooms this month amid another coronavirus surge, educators face a thorny question: How do you teach students who are quarantined by COVID-19? Remote instruction can be offered to students while they are under quarantine, Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala said earlier this summer. But despite pleas from some parents who want a full-time e-learning option to continue, districts including Chicago Public Schools are reserving their virtual programs for students who qualify as medically fragile and have documented health conditions.
How to Gameplan Your Office Days: An Overachiever’s Guide to Hybrid Work
The rules for maximizing office face time with the bosses are about to get more complicated as many companies gear up to reopen offices in the coming months. With Covid-19 cases back on the rise and many employees uneager to give up remote work entirely, many employers plan to let staff decide what days—and how many—they come into the office. For the ambitious worker, that means strategizing what in-office days will get you noticed the most and how to maximize the time to your career’s advantage. The consensus among many managers and leadership coaches for companies where showing up to the office matters: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are shaping up to be peak office face time days.
Virtual Classrooms
What Do Students Think About Reading on Screens? Boring!
Naomi Baron Mon, August 23, 2021, 7:01 PM·5 min read As schools strategize their fall opening, COVID-19 challenges are never far from the classroom door: Will in-person classes be safe? What if schools need to pivot back to virtual classrooms and overwhelmingly digital learning materials? But another challenge also belongs on schools’ planning radar: How to regain a balance between digital and print reading. New research underscores the critical role of print in students’ own eyes, especially given their prolonged slog with distance learning because of the pandemic. After so much enforced reading on screen, students’ perspective about digital reading can be summed up in one word: boring.
How Will Delta Affect Schools?
Since early summer, three pandemic clocks have been ticking. The first pertains to the coronavirus’s Delta variant, which has sent daily case numbers soaring more than tenfold since June. The second clock is more predictable: The school year starts, as it always does, in late August or early September. The third clock counts down to the authorization of vaccines for children under 12, which was optimistically supposed to come this fall. After the FDA pushed for a larger trial to collect more safety data in kids, it will likely take longer.
Dubai private schools to end all distance learning on October 3
There will be a gradual return from the first day of term on August 29, when children can return to classrooms or learn from home. Five weeks into the term, in-person classes will be obligatory for all, the Dubai Government Media Office said. Officials said 96 per cent of Dubai's private schoolteachers have now been vaccinated, and that 70 per cent of children aged 12 to 17 have received coronavirus shots.
Public Policies
US regulators give full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory. The Pentagon promptly announced it will press ahead with plans to force members of the military to get vaccinated amid the battle against the extra-contagious delta variant. The University of Minnesota likewise said it will require its students get the shot, as did Louisiana’s major public universities, including LSU, though state law there allows broad exemptions.
Citing vaccine inequality, WHO head argues against booster shots
The head of the World Health Organization on Monday called for a two-month moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a means of reducing global vaccine inequality and preventing the emergence of new coronavirus variants.
Egypt to Release Locally-Made Coronavirus Vaccine Soon - Production Up to 18.5 Million Doses Monthly
Egypt will release its locally-produced doses of the Chinese Sinovac coronavirus vaccine by today or tomorrow maximum, and will manufacture between 15 and 18.5 million doses per month, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Sunday 22/8/2021. Zayed made the announcement during a press conference with her Djiboutian counterpart, Ahmed Abdilleh, in Cairo. Egypt plans to produce millions of Sinovac and Russian Sputnik V vaccine doses annually to cover the local and African needs. Early in July, Zayed said the ministry seeks to produce 80 million vaccine shots this year.
Taiwan's President kicks off rollout of island's first domestically produced Covid-19 vaccine
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen received her first shot of the island's homegrown Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, a public show of support for the new drug which is central to plans for inoculation self sufficiency amid low immunization rates and struggles to obtain vaccines from overseas. Monday's island-wide rollout of the Medigen Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Taipei-based Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation, comes after the drug was approved for emergency use last month by Taiwanese authorities for anyone above 20 years old, with at least 28 days between the two doses. The vaccine has yet to complete phase 3 clinical trials and no efficacy data is available.
COVID-19: UK orders 35 million more doses of Pfizer vaccine as it prepares for booster shots
The UK has agreed to buy 35 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a way to "future-proof" the jabs programme. It comes as the government prepares to roll out booster shots from next month - while the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said such shots should be delayed to raise vaccination rates globally. The coronavirus vaccines, which will be delivered from the second half of next year, will also help the country prepare for any new variants that could emerge.
Covid-19: PCR test market needs 'cleaning out', says Randox boss
There needs to be a "cleaning out" of the market for Covid-19 PCR tests, the head of one of the UK's biggest diagnostic firms has told the BBC. Peter Fitzgerald, founder of Randox, said some firms may not be delivering the service they claim to provide. He has welcomed an investigation of the sector by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA, the UK's competition watchdog, is investigating whether there are pricing and reliability problems.
Vietnam deploys troops to enforce COVID lockdown in largest city
Ho Chi Minh City epicentre of Delta-driven outbreak. Authorities tighten lockdown in city, no going out even for food. Vietnam deploys military to help with food distribution. Just 1.8% of people in Vietnam fully-vaccinated against COVID-19
Indonesia eases COVID-19 curbs as cases drop from peak
Indonesia will start reopening restaurants, malls and places of worship in some areas including the capital Jakarta, President Joko Widodo said on Monday, as new coronavirus cases have fallen sharply from their peak and vaccinations rise. Starting Tuesday, restaurants and places of worship in parts of the world's fourth most populous country will be able to operate at 25% capacity and shopping malls at 50%, Widodo told a virtual press conference.
Maintaining Services
France's COVID-19 hospitalisations highest in 2 months
French health authorities said on Monday the number of people hospitalised for COVID-19 and those treated in intensive care units (ICU) stood at the highest levels in more than two months, as the Delta variant of the disease has put a renewed strain on the health system.
Israel struggles with COVID surge despite mass vaccinations
Israel was one of the first countries to vaccinate the majority of its population and by March most Israelis were already putting COVID-19 behind them. By June the mandatory mask requirement was completely dropped and the only restrictions that remained concerned the entry and exit from the country. Now the rate of infection has risen to 5.4 percent and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said he will take every action possible to lower the rate and avoid going to a fourth lockdown. Health experts say there are two main reasons the Delta variant hit Israel so hard. For one, Israelis were flouting the mask requirements, which were re-imposed at the end of June. Now police are handing out fines to those who do not wear a face covering.
So many people in this Texas town got Covid-19 that the school district shut down and then the city essentially closed
Last week, the school district shut down after only five days of classes because about a quarter of the staff and 16% of the students got infected or were exposed to Covid-19, according to Iraan-Sheffield Independent School District Superintendent Tracy Canter. "In the last week, we've seen more Covid cases for staff and students than we did the entire year, last year, during school," Canter said. For right now the closure is due to last until August 30, depending on the situation. In the meantime, there's no virtual or remote learning, the superintendent told parents in a letter. She also asked everyone to pitch in to slow the spread of the virus.
Bristol Covid-19 vaccine clinic targeted by protesters set to reopen
A Covid vaccination clinic that had to close because of an anti-vaccine protest will reopen later this week. The pop-up clinic inside Cabot Circus Shopping Centre in Bristol was shut when about 60 protesters gathered outside on Sunday afternoon. Avon and Somerset Police said the clinic closed "for the welfare and safety of staff and patients". In a statement, the NHS said it was "disappointed" that vaccinations had to be paused. Some of the protesters addressed shoppers outside the clinic using a megaphone, telling them not to get the vaccine.
Young patients bedbound with Covid-19 urge unvaccinated teenagers to get the jab
The invitation extends to “at-risk” people aged 12 to 15 ahead of their return to school in September. People aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020, the NHS has said. Megan Higgins, 25, and Ella Harwood, 23, were both previously healthy and active but are now suffering with extreme fatigue due to long Covid. Miss Higgins, a special needs tutor from London, said: “It’s now been eight months since I tested positive, and I can’t even walk around the shops without getting exhausted.
Now Lebanese Hospitals Near Collapse From Covid-19
Medics scramble to find alternatives to saline solutions after the hospital ran out. The shortages are overwhelming, the medical staff exhausted. And with a new surge in coronavirus cases, Lebanon’s hospitals are at a breaking point. The country's health sector is a casualty of the multiple crises that have plunged Lebanon into a downward spiral — a financial and economic meltdown, compounded by a complete failure of the government, runaway corruption and a pandemic that isn’t going away.
Healthcare Innovations
Germany to drop incidence levels as key COVID yardstick - sources
Germany has decided to stop using the coronavirus infection rate as its yardstick for deciding if restrictions should be in force to contain the spread of the virus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.
Israel finds COVID-19 vaccine booster significantly lowers infection risk
A third dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older in Israel compared with those who received two shots, findings published by the Health Ministry showed on Sunday. The data were presented at a meeting of a ministry panel of vaccination experts on Thursday and uploaded to its website on Sunday, though the full details of the study were not released.
NewsGP - Research provides hope for 'Holy Grail' coronavirus vaccine
A Singapore-based study has fuelled hopes that a vaccine might one day offer protection against a range of different coronaviruses – and not just the SARS-CoV-2 virus that dominates now. The research, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked the post COVID-vaccine antibody responses of people who had previously been exposed to the 2002–04 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.