"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 30th Aug 2021

Isolation Tips
Parents, experts say students pay the price for hybrid model of schooling
With a new school year underway next month, several school boards in Ontario are returning to the so-called hybrid learning model, where one educator simultaneously teaches students in class and those logging in from home. In certain cases, even remote students learning on their own schedule are part of the class. The system was tested out widely in K-12 schools last year as a remote learning option during the COVID-19 pandemic and is back on the table this year after the province announced online learning would continue. But critics say it forces a teacher to do too many things at once and compromises the quality of learning for students
Hygiene Helpers
Ingestion of livestock drug for COVID-19 treatment prompts warning from medical health professionals
Ivermectin, a deworming drug for cows and horses, has been used as a COVID-19 treatment method in Arkansas after lawmakers promoted it on social media. The Arkansas Poison Center reported that 24 people called this year after they ingested the drug. Americans have flocked to take Ivermectin despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) not to, because of the danger it poses to human health. An overdose of Ivermectin can cause severe effects in humans ranging from gastrointestinal issues to severe seizures, and even death
Coronavirus masks: Masks should be worn by primary school children says Professor Luke O'Neill
Immunologist Luke O’Neill is calling for primary school children to wear masks in the classroom in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Primary school students are not mandated to wear masks upon return to school this year with officials viewing it as too challenging for young children and a potential source of stress for pupils. Currently, secondary school students must wear masks at school when indoors. Prof O’Neill believes that if mask wearing in primary schools was even “30pc effective” then it would have a “significant impact” on breaking the chains of transmission in the younger age groups.
Fauci backs COVID-19 vaccine mandate for U.S. school children
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said on Sunday he supports COVID-19 vaccine mandates for children attending schools as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to fuel a surge in cases in the nation. "I believe that mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea," Fauci told CNN’s "State of the Union" program. "We've done this for decades and decades, requiring polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis" vaccinations.
Vaccinating 12 - 15-year-olds could save up to 6,500 lives, doctors say, as pressure grows on jab watchdogs to give the go-ahead
A new study by Exeter University says vaccinating 12 -to 15-year-olds is urgent Claim it would cut the number of Covid deaths and hospitalisations by a fifth UK vaccine watchdogs under pressure to approve the roll-out of jabs for children
Kraft Heinz to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for office employees
Kraft Heinz Co said on Friday all U.S. employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to offices in January, as the fast-spreading Delta variant batters the United States. The packaged-food maker's announcement comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE vaccine, a certification that public health officials hope will convince unvaccinated Americans that the shot is safe and effective.
Some Hotels Are Mandating Vaccines. Will Others Follow?
Accommodations such as PUBLIC Hotel, Equinox Hotel and Wythe Hotel, all in New York City, Urban Cowboy Lodge in Big Indian, N.Y., a hamlet in the Catskill Mountains, and Pilgrim House in Provincetown, Mass., are among the first in the United States to announce that they will require evidence of vaccination, via a physical card or a digital verification, from their guests. The precedent for hotels requiring vaccination is already being set beyond the contiguous United States.
In Britain, Young Children Don’t Wear Masks in School
The potential harms exceed the potential benefits, he said, because seeing faces is “important for the social development and interaction between people.” The British school system is different than the American one. But with school systems all over the United States debating whether to require masking, Britain’s experience during the Delta surge does show what happened in a country that relied on another safety measure — quarantining — rather than face coverings for young children.
Covid Spreads in Clusters. We Need to Track Them.
A fourth surge of Covid-19 is filling hospitals around the United States, fueled by the relaxing of mitigation measures, the more transmissible Delta variant and lagging vaccination rates. In states and counties where Delta is surging, contact tracers are overwhelmed. But monitoring the spread of the virus remains vital to getting it under control. The public health response to a Covid-19 outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., in July offers an object lesson in how Delta changes the playing field and what’s needed to manage the pandemic’s next phase
Apple Pushes Staff to Get Vaccinated
Apple Inc. is making its strongest push yet for employees to get vaccinated, urging all U.S. workers to get shots as soon as possible now that the Food and Drug Administration has started formally approving the injections. The iPhone maker launched a new internal web page, sent a memo to employees and is hosting internal talks as part of the campaign. “Apple is asking everyone who has access to the vaccine and is able to get vaccinated to do so as soon as you can,” the company said in the memo, which was sent to staff Thursday evening.
Florida Schools’ Covid-19 Mask Mandates Upheld by Judge
A Florida judge said school districts could impose mask mandates and that Gov. Ron DeSantis had overstepped his authority when he banned such rules. Judge John Cooper of the Second Judicial District in Tallahassee sided with parents of school children who had challenged a July executive order by Mr. DeSantis and a subsequent state rule that forbid school districts from implementing mask requirements that don’t allow parents to opt out their children. In an oral ruling Friday, Judge Cooper said the defendants, including the governor and the state Department of Education, improperly sought to draw authority for their actions from a state law enacted earlier this year, dubbed the parents’ bill of rights, which aimed to protect parents’ ability to make decisions regarding their children’s education and health.
Community Activities
No Jab, No Entry at Eateries Under Sydney Proposal to Stem Virus
Unvaccinated people may be denied entry to restaurants, bars and other hospitality venues under a reopening proposal in Sydney where delta cases are surging despite a lockdown, according to local media. The New South Wales government is consulting with industry groups on a plan to require all hospitality staff and patrons for proof they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine when the state begins to emerge from lockdown after reaching 70% vaccination rate, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Under the proposal, vaccination certificates and QR codes now used to check-in to venues may be merged, the report said, citing unnamed industry sources that confirmed the plan.
Calls Grow to Discipline Doctors Spreading Virus Misinformation
A tiny number of doctors have had an outsize influence in spreading false information about Covid-19 and vaccines.
Police, protesters clash as thousands march against COVID curbs in Berlin
Police tussled with protesters as thousands of people marched through Berlin on Saturday chanting slogans and waving banners against COVID-19 restrictions. Some demonstrators tried to get past barricades to the government district around the Reichstag parliament building and clashed with officers, police said. Four officers were injured, the Berliner Zeitung reported.
Working Remotely
The remote work argument has already been won by startups
The debate over remote work, office culture, how to manage teams of distributed staff and the like continues. With the delta variant of COVID-19 pushing back office return dates for many companies, there’s still a healthy argument over what the future of work will look like. But while large companies hem and haw their way through the present, it’s my view that the debate is largely over and that startups have won it.
Google's Plan to Cut Remote Workers' Pay Is a Dumb Idea. Here's Why
Google may reduce the salaries of employees who choose to work at home full-time, based on the cost of living where they live, according to an internal calculator viewed by Reuters. It's an idea that's gaining traction in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. It may seem sensible, given that a salary that barely covers a San Francisco studio apartment might get you a mansion in, say, Topeka. That's the logic Google says it's using. "Our compensation packages have always been determined by location," a spokesperson told Reuters. But cutting pay for existing employees who opt to work from home is a terrible idea and it shows a complete lack of emotional intelligence. If Google is smart, it will shelve this idea. So will Facebook, Twitter, the UK government, and any other company considering a similar move.
Thinking about a working getaway? Here are the world's top 10 spots for 'workations'
As telecommuting has proven necessary, practical and long-lasting for many amid the pandemic, a common thought’s been occurring to employees worldwide — why work from home when you could work by a beach, or at a Parisian café? Working while on vacation, or a “workation” — whether a long weekend, week, month or more —may be more popular and widespread than ever, and U.K.-based vacation search engine Holidu.co.uk has compiled a list of the top cities worldwide for “mixing business and pleasure.”
Virtual Classrooms
Virtual learning about nature leads to outdoor experiences for nursery children
The Virtual Nature School (VNS) is a non-profit programme created in response to the needs of children and families during the Covid-19 pandemic. The programme was set up during the first lockdown in March 2020 to provide home learning support for non-keyworker families, and initially funded by not-for-profit organisation Living Classrooms. VNS is led by Claire Warden, manager of Auchlone Nursery and the creator of Living Classrooms and Mind Stretchers Academy.
Public Policies
Israel offers COVID booster vaccine for ages 12 and above
Israel has begun offering a COVID-19 booster to children as young as 12, and its prime minister says a campaign that began a month ago among seniors has slowed a rise in severe illness caused by the Delta variant. Announcing the decision on Sunday, top Israeli health officials said the effectiveness of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine waned six months after administration, making a booster necessary.
Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Calls for medical staff to be prioritised for residency
The Government is being told to act swiftly on immigration because delays are leading to the loss of urgently needed medical staff during the Covid-19 outbreak. An immigration lawyer wants a fast-tracked work to residence process for doctors and nurses, saying medics are the soldiers in the pandemic frontline. Kamil Lakshman said there was a lack of urgency about immigration policy, especially given what was at stake with doctors and nurses.
Maintaining Services
GPs and hospitals to limit blood tests in England due to bottle shortage
GPs have been told to stop performing most blood tests until mid-September, and hospitals to cut their number by 25%, as the NHS grapples with an acute shortage of sample bottles. NHS England has ordered the unprecedented huge cut in blood testing because hospitals and GP surgeries have been hit with a severe and deepening shortage of the vials samples are put into. The problem had already forced hospitals and GPs to start limiting the number of blood tests being carried out on patients.
Cuba to deploy China's Sinopharm alongside homegrown vaccines
Cuba, which to date had deployed exclusively its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, will start also using the Sinopharm vaccine of its Communist-run ally China in its bid to battle one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Health authorities will apply two doses of Sinopharm combined with a Cuban booster in the central province of Cienfuegos from Sunday, Vicente Verez, the head of the Cuban Finlay Vaccine Institute, was cited as saying
Hospitals in U.S. South Run Low on Oxygen Amid Covid and Storm
Hospitals in the Southeast are running low on oxygen, with the worst-hit left only 12 to 24 hours worth, said Premier Inc., a hospital-supply purchasing group. This comes amid the region’s struggle over the summer with high numbers of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. Now Hurricane Ida is set to hit the Gulf Coast in the coming days. Premier has notified the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Health and Human Services department about the scarcity of oxygen in the region, said Blair Childs, Premier’s senior vice president of public affairs.
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus vaccine: How nasal vaccines will be administered and why it can defeat delta variant
The emergence of COVID-19 variants has posed a new challenge in front of the medical community to look for more efficient vaccines to minimise the risk of infection. The vaccines currently being administered across the globe have been found to be less effective on the variants, forcing several vaccine developers to look for stronger versions. Of all the vaccines being tried and tested, a nasal vaccine shot developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, the makers behind Covaxin is considered to be a game-changer, if approved after clinical trials.
Scientists Warn Covid Set to Grow Exponentially in U.K. Schools
The U.K. government’s scientific advisers said Covid-19 cases are likely to rise exponentially among children when schools resume next month after the summer holidays. Most U.K. children haven’t been vaccinated against coronavirus and it would be “sensible” for the government to plan for “high prevalence” in schools by the end of September, according to a document dated Aug. 11 that was released on Friday by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
Delta Variant Doubles Covid-19 Hospitalization Risk, Study Finds
People who contract the delta variant of Covid-19 are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as those infected with the alpha strain, according to a U.K. study, raising the prospect of a greater burden on health services this winter. The review of more than 43,000 Covid-19 cases in England, most of whom were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal Friday, and highlighted the protection shots provide against hospitalization from both variants.
Covid-19 Vaccine Efficacy: What Do the Numbers Really Mean?
The spread of the Delta variant, an increase in vaccinated people testing positive for Covid-19, and the U.S. government’s call for booster shots have raised new questions about the power of the coronavirus vaccines. Here’s what we know about how authorized vaccines perform against the variant, and their ability to prevent infection and serious illness.