"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 7th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Top Mental Health Tips For People In Isolation Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
The spread of COVID-19 alone causes stress but the mass isolation adds to the mental health challenges facing many people in affected areas. There have been reports of increased anxiety linked to lack of social interaction, outdoor time and economic issues. But some people have found several ways to stay positive amid the global health crisis. This article explores effective strategies to help people stay calm and reduce stress alone or with family while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
How to deal with coronavirus-related stress: Harvard expert gives tips
Health care workers, the elderly, and parents and kids are all under extraordinary stress due to the coronavirus and dealing with the pandemic’s trauma will be a long-lasting process for all, a Harvard professor said. “It’s very hard to process something when you are in the middle of it,” said Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Stress from the coronavirus pandemic has manifested in several ways for people such as trouble sleeping or eating, feelings of depression or anxiety, or increased drinking habits, Koenen said in a Tuesday afternoon webcast about mental health. Koenen compared the COVID-19 crisis to the period that followed the 9/11 attacks, saying they share a community-wide impact, enduring sense of threat and shutdown of regular society.
How mindfulness can help us cope with lockdown life
During periods of challenge and change the mind, body and emotions tend to react based upon our deeply rooted habitual responses. Whereas some of these may be beneficial, others may well be problematic. The situation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic certainly represents such a period for most of us and our families. Here, Dr Dean Howes of Warwick University sets out five ways mindfulness could help you and your family during lockdown.
Hygiene Helpers
Coronavirus: Physical distancing, hand hygiene will remain vital at alert level 2 - Dr Bloomfield
The Director-General of Health says alert level 2 will see greater interactions between Kiwis, but physical distancing and hand hygiene will still be vital to fighting COVID-19. In an interview with NZME, Dr Ashley Bloomfield was questioned about the core health principles which will underpin alert level 2 - whenever New Zealand moves there.
Can I reuse a face mask? These are the hygiene rules around surgical masks - and if you can wash them
Advice regarding the use of face masks in public is set to change in the UK in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, with the Scottish government already recommending face coverings
Coronavirus tips for prevention: How are health workers' family dealing with Covid-19
How should we make sure that families of people who keep us safe remain safe themselves? Every day, they struggle to protect their patients, their communities, and themselves from Covid-19, many healthcare workers are doing 24-hour shifts in overcrowded hospitals, sometimes without the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). With limited official guidance, health care workers have been making tough calls about how and how often it's safe to move between hospitals and clinics and homes full of people waiting for them.
Coronavirus in Australia: Clearer indications about how COVID-19 spreads between people revealed
The government is set to make an announcement about coronavirus restrictions on Friday and now, a clearer understanding of how the virus spreads between groups of people has been revealed - leading to an indication of what the safest way to socialise might be. The virus is more likely to spread in groups of people who spend prolonged periods of time, in close proximity with each other, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Wednesday. “We also know that this infection is more likely to spread in households so it is between people living in the same house, for example family members,” Kelly told reporters at a press conference.
Can you be infected by cash and will it be a virus victim?
Research conducted for Money Mail by Amaiz suggests 50 per cent of small businesses have gone cashless or plan to do so due to the virus. Only 21 per cent of the 500 respondents the small business banking app surveyed had no plans to abandon cash payments. Experts fear there may be only months to save the UK's cash system from collapsing.
Community Activities
So proud to reveal this amazing piece of art Painting for Saints, created by #Banksy as a thank you to all those who work with and for the NHS and our hospital.
So proud to reveal this amazing piece of art Painting for Saints, created by #Banksy as a thank you to all those who work with and for the NHS and our hospital. Temporarily on display @UHSFT An inspirational backdrop to pause and reflect in these unprecedented times.
Coronavirus: New app developed to help young arthritis sufferers through pandemic
A Dundee University student is among those being helped by a new mobile app aimed at helping teenagers and young adults with arthritis through Covid-19 self-isolation. Melissa Tavendale said she had already felt the benefit of the Arthritis Tracker which provides round-the-clock access to information and advice, helping those affected to rate and record symptoms in seconds and track their pain, medication side effects, fatigue, physical activity, sleep and emotional well-being.
Virtual Fitness Classes Offer Options
Staying physically and mentally fit is proving to be a challenge for some as local gyms, yoga studios and weight management clinics have closed their doors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As a solution, many local health and fitness studios are offering live-streamed and recorded digital classes that can be joined from almost anywhere. From pre-recorded sessions on Facebook to live sessions with an instructor and personal sessions with a physical trainer, instructors are giving the curious and uninitiated a look inside their cyber classrooms. “I am encouraging people to focus on the mental health benefits from exercise and movement to help deal with the stress of COVID-19,” said Rachel Trope, clinical exercise physiologist at the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research in Arlington. “I am also encouraging people to be okay with exercise looking and feeling different right now. Something is better than nothing.”
Hygiene aid to daily wagers in Assam
Aide et Action, an NGO, with support from Small Industries Development Bank of India, distributed Swavalamban Suraksha Kawach to livelihood entrepreneurs as part of the Assam Covid-19 Response for Daily Wage Earners/Small Enterprises programme in Kamrup (metro), North Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts. The initiative has been taken in view of an urgent need for masks, hygiene kits and demonstration and awareness on WASH (water sanitisation and hygiene). It is focused on promotion of hygiene through distribution of kits along with awareness through demonstration on hand hygiene and respiratory etiquettes. The initiative also aims at procuring locally produced items. This support will also help them to have a reasonable income during this crisis. It is expected to reach over 500 livelihood entrepreneurs, including those in artisanal pockets across the three districts, having manifold indirect impact.
Dettol Donates Hygiene Products to Support COVID-19 Fight in Lagos
To strengthen efforts against the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, hygiene brand, Dettol has donated over 12,000 units of its antiseptic liquid and antibacterial soap to the Lagos State Safety Commission. A statement made available to THISDAY recently, the General Manager, RB Nigeria, Dayanand Sriram said the donation forms part of Dettol’s contribution to the state government’s active measures of providing palliatives which includes the distribution of hygiene products to vulnerable residents across the state.
Working Remotely
How businesses can effectively empower remote working
Compelling benefits but watch for traps...A study by the Harvard Business Review compared two groups over a nine-month period - one group worked in the office, meanwhile, another group worked from home. The group working from home completed an average of 13.5% more calls, recorded significantly fewer sick leave and helped their companies save on office space setup, furniture and equipment.
What Working From Home Is Really Like: Research on Remote Work and Telecommuting
In this project, we set out to explore what working from home is really like. To do so, we contrasted the experiences of over 1,000 workers in three categories: full-time remote employees, those who split work time between their home and the office, and professionals who work in the office exclusively. Our survey data reveal the perks and problems remote workers encounter and compare their experiences to that of their office counterparts. Whether you already work remotely or simply envy those who do, you won’t want to miss this true view of working from home.
Best Employers share advice for how to make working from home under the coronavirus lockdown really pay off
Before Covid-19 forced business to move to remote working, one of the big issues with working from home centred on trust and productivity: would staff really put in the hours? Could the work really be up to standard? “It’s proved to be a non-issue,” says Lynn Walters of recruitment specialists Pure. “Most people are giving more than is expected. The companies we work with are seeing productivity and efficiency rising.”
Virtual Classrooms
How will virtual learning change after coronavirus?
While we’re embracing a more flexible approach to work-life, it’s going to become increasingly harder for universities to ignore the benefits of offering a similar approach to students, especially now the technology has shown it can be done. Once the immediate health threat passes, it’s clear that there needs to be more progression.
Teachers' skills 'improve in lockdown'
Working remotely is boosting teachers' edtech skills, creativity and lesson planning, say researchers
COVID-19 brings distance learning to Fresno State, and uncertainty for fall classes
Through the lens of my Zoom classrooms, I see stress, hardship and students just trying to make it through the day. They continue to work hard as the semester comes to a close. I have been inspired by their commitment to finish strong. I want them to have the best college experience possible. But in the end, the deciding factor in re-opening the campus to face-to-face classes must be whether it will protect our collective health. That’s not negotiable.
Classes that click: Linguistics | Emory University | Atlanta, GA
Emory faculty and students continue to focus on high-caliber education, even in remote learning environments. Professor Susan Tamasi and students from her “Language Prejudice” class share their perspectives on finding success in the transition.
New York college student teaches math to hundreds of thousands of viewers on TikTok
A 20-year-old college student from Schoharie County is tutoring hundreds of thousands of people across the world on TikTok. Josh Martin, who lives just outside of Cobleskill, is currently a junior at the University at Albany and working towards a double major in math and physics. Dabbling in YouTube tutorials the past two years, he discovered the social media app, TikTok, last winter. Creating the account Ludus_, Josh began brainstorming how he could use TikTok for something other than funny videos. “I thought, 'How can I tailor this to what I’m doing with math and physics?'" said Josh. Josh began creating two to three short videos a day on math problems. They’re produced in small studio he’s created in his bedroom, a simple setup with a computer, phone ring light and glass dry-erase boards.
Project Oceanology hosts virtual classroom on the water
Project Oceanology's students may not be able to get out on the water together amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't mean the learning has stopped. Since the cancelation of in-person teaching in late March, Project O educators have been conducting virtual lessons via Facebook Live. The lessons have been broadcast from Project O's Avery Point labs, as well as from the field. For example, marine science educators Callie Scheetz and Debbie Sayer were leading a lesson on bivalves Tuesday from a skiff piloted by captain Ian Morrison in the Poquonnock River estuary between Bluff Point State Park at the Groton-New London Airport. Scheetz and Sayer used special shellfishing tongs to pull samples from the river bottom and took to Facebook Live to lead a nearly half-hour lesson on what they found.
Public Policies
UK's coronavirus recovery should have green focus, Johnson urged
Restarting the economy and getting people back to work after the coronavirus lockdown should focus on low-carbon work programmes, the UK government’s climate advisers have urged. They said this would generate new jobs, protect the climate and ensure a fairer economy for everyone.
NSW and Victoria hold firm on coronavirus restrictions as Queensland eases rules
Premiers in Australia’s two most populous states have warned that social distancing restrictions will not be eased before Mother’s Day, despite Queensland’s decision to allow up to five members to visit a household from Sunday. The Morrison government this week has attempted to build the case for opening up the economy by pointing to the accumulating costs of the restrictions, and Friday’s national cabinet meeting is expected to try to land a timetable for easing the lockdowns implemented to try and flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections.
Covid-19 coronavirus: What will life look like under alert level 2
The Government has revealed what life will look like when the country moves to alert level 2 - we can leave our bubbles to see our families and friends, and bars, malls, hairdressers and schools will reopen, with precautions. After six weeks in an unprecedented state of lockdown, New Zealand could move to the less restrictive alert regime as soon as Wednesday next week. Cabinet will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to move down from level 3. Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says people should be able to give their friends and family a "quick hug". Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the aim at level 2 was still to reduce close contact with strangers. "It is very unlikely we have hunted down every case of Covid-19. So we all have to stay on guard."
How to apply to be a contact tracer and make up to $22 an hour with benefits
Contact tracers are wanted across the US to identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19. The fully remote job pays between $17 and $22 an hour, according to a job posting. Employees will have to call all contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and interview them. Bipartisan health experts recommended Congress spend $12 billion to hire an additional 180,000 contact tracers over the next 18 months.
London coronavirus: Some of London's rubbish tips are reopening and here's how it will work
"The plan for re-opening includes a change in opening hours, adopting measures for implementing social distancing on site and alleviating the potential for the queueing of traffic which would lead to congestion in the local area.“ There will be strict rules to prevent the spread of the virus after the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said residents can travel to recycling centres.
Cuomo questions why school buildings still exist — and says New York will work with Bill Gates to ‘reimagine education’
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) rocked the education world — and drew strong criticism from teachers and others — by questioning why school buildings still exist and announcing that he would work with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to “reimagine education,” with technology at the forefront.
Coronavirus restrictions to ease as Canberra public schools prepare for staggered reopening from mid-May
The ACT Education Union says the timing of a return to face-to-face learning in Canberra is "just right", as Opposition Leader Alistair Coe declares the coronavirus pandemic has come to an end in a radio interview. The decision marks a significant easing of social distancing restrictions in Canberra, ahead of further announcements expected on Friday. It gives schools just over 10 days to prepare for a staggered return to normal teaching in the middle of term 2.
Coronavirus: Germany to reopen shops, allow two households to meet and resume Bundesliga
Germany is planning to ease its coronavirus restrictions further to allow for household meet-ups, reopening of shops and the resuming of the Bundesliga football season. Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced the latest relaxation of measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the first phase had passed, but warned of a long road ahead.
In Finland - you can now claim tax deductions for working at home during coronavirus
Some of the costs incurred from working from home during the coronavirus pandemic can be deducted from income taxes. Tax officials say they will accept costs for setting up a home office, such as those for working space, equipment, furniture and an internet connection. Deductible amounts depend on the duration of remote work. "If an individual’s remote work is limited to the state of emergency and does not continue after restrictions ease, then any new furniture or equipment will remain in private use. This means the entire sum can’t be deducted for only a few months’ use," Minna Palomäki, a senior adviser at the Finnish Tax Administration, told Yle.
Coronavirus news – live: 'Stay home' advice set to be dropped as Boris Johnson says some lockdown measures could be eased next week
Boris Johnson has indicated that some elements of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown could be eased next week, as he faced a grilling from Sir Keir Starmer in their first PMQs over “rising” deaths in care homes and the government’s initial abandonment of contact-tracing. Fears have been raised that “malicious” fake alerts could be generated by the new NHS contact-tracing app, adding to prior concerns about users’ privacy and whether the app will even be usable. It is being trialled on the Isle of Wight, initially by health workers and by the general population from tomorrow.
Revealed: Boris Johnson's roadmap to ease lockdown and reopen schools and shops
Gradual lifting of restrictions is expected, provided reproduction of Covid-19 remains low enough to avoid second peak
In a Town Split by a Border, Virus Rules Vary From Door to Door
Life in one of the world’s most complex border towns was made even more puzzling when Dutch and Belgian officials took very different approaches to handling the coronavirus.
Germany’s Reopening Offers Hope for a Semblance of Normal Life
Europe’s largest democracy is now confident enough to lift most restrictions on businesses and schools.
Maintaining Services
Air India opens bookings for passengers to London, Singapore, US from May 8
National carrier Air India on Wednesday opened bookings for those passengers who meet eligibility criteria and wish to travel from India to London, Singapore and select destinations in the United States on flights operating between May 8 to May 14, a statement from the airline said. “We would like to inform all those who wish to travel from India to London, Singapore and select destinations in the USA on Air India flights operating between May 8 and May 14 to click on http://www.airindia.in/r1landingpage.htm for booking. Passengers are requested to read the eligibility criteria carefully as available on the link and proceed further for booking only if they meet the same,” the Air India statement read.
Online supermarket Ocado's sales soar 40% in lockdown Britain
British online supermarket and technology company Ocado said on Wednesday retail revenue soared 40.4% year-on-year in its second quarter so far as shoppers in coronavirus lockdown sought deliveries to avoid venturing out.
Healthcare Innovations
Exclusive: Sanofi to enroll thousands for its coronavirus vaccine trials
Sanofi is working on two vaccine projects to prevent COVID-19 - the illness caused by the new coronavirus - and said it is exploring several manufacturing options, including fresh collaborations to ensure it can meet demand, if either program is successful. Drugmakers are rushing to develop treatments and vaccines for the highly contagious coronavirus that has killed over 255,000 people worldwide, infected more than 3.6 million and ravaged economies globally. Of more than 100 vaccine candidates in development, 10 have reached the clinical testing stage so far, according to California-based think tank Milken Institute.
Coronavirus vaccine hope as scientists find it has not mutated into different types
Researchers from the Medical Research Council-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) believe fears that there of two coronavirus strains are "unfounded"
Bicester family compare symptoms during coronavirus vaccine trial
Half of the trial volunteers will receive the potential Covid-19 vaccine, and half will get a placebo vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus. None of them will know which one they are given. Now the Vineys, who live in Bicester, must keep a daily diary online checking their temperatures and keeping a score from zero to five of how they feel. Mum-of-four Katie Viney, who will also feature on the latest series of BBC TV show 'You Are What You Wear' with her husband, said it was still 'really exciting' knowing that they could be part of the vaccine that ‘makes history’.
Washington approves virus drug as US states ease lockdowns - The Jakarta Post
American authorities have approved an experimental drug for emergency use on coronavirus patients, as more US states eased pandemic lockdowns despite another spike in deaths from the disease. The approval is the latest step in a global push to find viable treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown, hammered the world economy and infected more than 3.3 million people. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug initially developed to treat Ebola, was given the green light on Friday after a major trial found that it boosted recovery in serious COVID-19 patients.
New ‘genetic code’ coronavirus vaccine in the works
Here is what makes this potential coronavirus vaccine different. The vaccine carries the genetic code known as “messenger RNA” that teaches the cells in the body to make the proteins associated with the coronavirus, but without making someone sick. The hope is that the body’s immune system can then fight off COVID-19 after getting the vaccine. NBC News got an exclusive look inside the lab where the testing is underway. Dr. Peter Hotez, who is developing a vaccine himself, says this type of vaccine has had success in animal trials but never in humans. He thinks Pfizer is rushing it.
Why it'll still be a long time before we get a coronavirus vaccine
The UK trial, led by the University of Oxford, will ultimately involve 1100 adults, half of whom will receive the experimental vaccine. The other half will get a meningitis vaccine as a control. The team behind the trial hopes to move on to tests to gauge how effective the vaccine is against the coronavirus as early as August, raising hopes that a vaccine could be ready before the end of the year, and that this could be the answer to the difficult question of how the country gets out of strict social distancing measures. Unfortunately, these hopes are probably misplaced. Vaccine design expert Maria Bottazzi of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, calls the schedule “unrealistic”. Even if everything goes according to plan in the first phase of trials, Bottazzi points out that researchers will still need time to determine how well the vaccine protects people from covid-19 and whether it provokes any side effects when a vaccinated person is subsequently exposed to the virus.
Summer months will yield crucial data on coronavirus vaccine, Moderna exec says
In the race to create an effective coronavirus vaccine, the summer months should provide crucial data on the potential benefits of the highly-regarded vaccine being developed by Cambridge-based Moderna. “My only two competitors in this race are the virus and the clock,” Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks said in a Wednesday webinar with Stat. Moderna’s mRNA vaccine was called “impressive” by top National Institutes of Health official Anthony Fauci, and last week the company announced a worldwide strategic collaboration to manufacture the vaccine with the goal of up to 1 billion doses per year. But before the vaccine can even come close to reaching everyday citizens, an intricate timeline of testing to ensure safety and efficacy is needed, said Zaks, adding that the timeline isn’t “black and white.”
Famously cautious White House Covid-19 doctor 'confident' vaccine ready by 2021
America’s top coronavirus expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said he is confident a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by January. The characteristically cautious White House immunologist said he has already seen ‘impressive’ results for one potential vaccine currently being trialed by a company called Moderna Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.