"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 8th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Tips for managing social isolation during coronavirus, from women on the autism spectrum
Everybody is learning to handle social isolation and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. People with autism spectrum disorder, like me, have often had to deal with social isolation our whole lives. It gives us a unique perspective and experience honing strategies that could help the rest of the world cope.
Q&A: The Power of Memoir in the Time of Coronavirus
“This time of quarantine can be an opportunity to delve into our own histories, to excavate what moments carry significance for us and for those who might read our stories,” said Charlotte Matthews, a professor in the University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, who has both taught memoir writing and recently published her own, “Comes With Furniture and People.”
‘Some days I get very depressed:’ Ontario seniors discuss isolation amid coronavirus pandemic
“What’s clear are levels of anxiety and depression have really taken an unprecedented toll on people psychologically,” said Dr. David Dozois, a psychologist on the board of the research council and a professor at Western University. “Social isolation and loneliness are huge public health issues not only for the general public, but particularly for seniors who experience greater risk for isolation.”
'Children at risk of lasting psychological distress from coronavirus lockdown': Save the Children - World
Almost one in four children living under COVID-19 lockdowns, social restrictions and school closures are dealing with feelings of anxiety, with many at risk of lasting psychological distress, including depression. In recent surveys by Save the Children of over 6000 children and parents in the US, Germany, Finland, Spain and the UK, up to 65 per cent of the children struggled with boredom and feelings of isolation.
South Africa 'virtual safaris' liven up lockdown with jackals and leopard cubs
For South African company WildEarth — which brings virtual safaris to your living room via a camera that their guides drive around in an open top vehicle — it is boom time. “We’ve seen a dramatic rise in our viewership of our live safaris,” founder Graham Wallington told Reuters. “A fivefold increase in the first two weeks in March.” Wallington said they are currently attracting up to 3 million viewers a month, with an individual virtual safari hooking in as many as 200,000 at their most watched.
Hygiene Helpers
Adopting 'simple' measures could help limit Covid-19 spread in households
Promoting simple infection control measures could help reduce the spread and severity of Covid-19 within households or community settings where someone is infected, according to UK researchers. Use of such behavioural interventions could “support public health advice to improve infection control in families”, according to the group from Southampton, Oxford, Bristol and London.
Experts say cloth masks need to be sanitized after each use
Canadians are growing more accustomed to wearing cloth face masks while walking around their neighbourhoods or running errands during the COVID-19 pandemic. But if those masks aren't being sanitized regularly, experts say they won't be as effective. Dr. Lisa Bryski, an emergency room physician in Winnipeg, says we should be treating our cloth masks just as we would our hands.
How Florence Nightingale shaped the way modern nurses are tackling coronavirus
Kristin Buhnemann, assistant director at the Florence Nightingale Museum, told the PA news agency: “In terms of modern nursing, her legacy has never been so relevant, as she was a pioneer for sanitation, hygiene and had a monumental impact on infection control today. “She focused mainly on improving hygiene for nurses, advising them to wash their hands regularly. Before this, nurses were not changing their uniforms or aprons, instead continuing to work with the same equipment, which she believed to be incredibly unhygienic. “We now see this essential equipment being used properly and thrown in the bin after every use, because she was the first to identify the impact of health workers’ hygiene on patients’ mortality rates.”
Community Activities
Coronavirus: Germany's Bundesliga to resume behind closed doors on 16 May
The German Football Association (DFB) said the season would resume under strict health protocols that ban fans from the stadium and require players to have Covid-19 testing. About 300 people, including players, staff and officials, will be in or around the stadiums during match days.
Coronavirus: Volunteer army helps those who are isolated
An app called "I can help" has seen people offer their services to deliver prescriptions from pharmacies and hospitals to people self-isolating. Families struggling in Cardiff are also being helped through the Butetown Community Centre Food Box - with 12 parcels sent out on Wednesday and 15 on Thursday to areas including St Mellons, Ely and Grangetown. The services co-ordinated by the Cardiff Third Sector Council have also taken account of the diversity of the city, with information translated into Welsh, Farsi, Arabic and Somali. People have signed up with Volunteering Wales for a variety of roles - including sharing positive public health messages on social media and distributing information to people without internet access
Coronavirus: Gollum actor Serkis to raise cash by reading entire Hobbit live online
Andy Serkis will give a continuous live reading of The Hobbit online, to raise money for charity. The Gollum actor will read JRR Tolkien's 1937 novel from start to end, breaking only to nip to the loo. Money raised from the 56-year-old's expected 12-hour performance will be split between NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings. Serkis played the corrupted character, originally known as Smeagol, in the The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. "So many of us are struggling in isolation during the lockdown," he said. "While times are tough, I want to take you on one of the greatest fantasy adventures ever written, a 12-hour armchair marathon across Middle Earth whilst raising money for two amazing charities which are doing extraordinary work right now to help those most in need."
Brazil's musicians offer 'little seed of happiness' via shutdown sessions
Cut off from their audience by coronavirus, artists in a country famous for music are getting together on social media. The Brazilian guitarist Cainã Cavalcante was gearing up for tours of Cuba, Colombia and the United States when coronavirus struck. Now, like thousands of musicians in the land of samba and bossa nova, he is in lockdown – trapped at home with six instruments, an empty gig schedule and a burning desire to resist the global health crisis with his strings.
With your help, we are bringing PPEs to NYC doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff. We have distributed to more than 10K healthcare workers and those at risk so far, and have purchased more than 1 million PPEs for this project.
(Featured on the Chris Cuomo Prime Time show on CNN) "With your help, we are bringing PPEs to NYC doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff. We have distributed to more than 10K healthcare workers and those at risk so far, and have purchased more than 1 million PPEs for this project. PPES distributed to: -hospital workers at Bellevue Hospital (April 20), -University Hospital in Brooklyn (April 29), -NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx (May 3), Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn (May 6), -New York Disaster Interfaith Services, Homeless Street Outreach & Services with Bowery Mission, Emergency Shelter Network, New York Health Care Home Care Services, Housing Yorks' COVID-19 Homeless Shelter Workers, and more"
6,000 people take part in 'groundbreaking' Bristol coronavirus study
Researchers from a world-renowned Bristol study have embarked on "vital" coronavirus research involving thousands of people. The Children of the 90s study has tracked mothers and their children from the Avon area since their birth in 1991 and 1992, developing a huge bank of health-related data. Realising they could utilise that ready-made resource, experts contacted participants to ask if they could fill in a coronavirus-related questionnaire. Within just three weeks, more than 6,000 people responded, providing insight into the prevalence of the virus among people who took part in the study. In a statement issued on May 5, the University of Bristol, which conducts the Children of the 90s study, described the research as "ground-breaking". Principal investigator Nic Timpson said: “Children of the 90s is in a unique position because we have such a large cohort of people who are actively part of the study and who represent groups with differing clinical risk.
Coronavirus appeal launched by Knutsford-based Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation
The Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation has launched an emergency Covid-19 appeal. The organisation was established following a trip by Sir Bobby to Cambodia, where he witnessed the devastating impact landmines were still having on innocent civilian communities. The charity has since created conflict recovery centres in war-torn countries, delivering physical and psychological rehabilitation. This week has seen the launch of a Covid-19 Emergency Fund Appeal by the Foundation to help support these same countries which are being disproportionately disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Opinion: The coronavirus response needs local communities and faith leaders
To be effective in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and international aid agencies urgently need to further existing efforts to develop their “faith literacy” by prioritizing training staff in the religious and cultural context of the communities in which they work and encouraging the inclusion of faith leaders in program design and delivery.
Working Remotely
Facebook and Google extend work from home to year end
Facebook and Google have said they will let employees continue working from home for the rest of the year. The tech giants have announced plans to reopen their offices soon but are allowing more home working flexibility. Google originally said it would keep its work from home policy until 1 June, but is extending it for more remote working. Facebook said it would reopen its offices on 6 July as coronavirus lockdowns are gradually lifted.
Coronavirus: Working from home is here to stay - and it might do us all good
For many people the chance to work from home has allowed them to skip the commute, have more family time and be more productive. Jo Wimble-Groves, award-winning entrepreneur, writer and Guilty Mother blogger, says we should all embrace a bit more flexibility.
Virtual Classrooms
Higher Ed Needs a Long-Term Plan for Virtual Learning
As the emergency subsides but normal fails to return, higher ed institutions need to do more. There’s a good likelihood that virtual learning — in some capacity — will need to be a part of education for the foreseeable future. Higher ed institutions need a response framework that looks beyond the immediate actions. They have to prepare for an intermediate period of transition and begin future-proofing their institutions for the long term.
Inside a virtual kindergarten class with NYC schools chancellor (video)
As learning continues remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, educators are working on new ways to keep virtual classrooms interesting and informative for students.
Islamic Ramadan school switches to virtual classroom in Indonesia
An Islamic course in Indonesia that usually runs during Ramadan has moved online this year due to social distancing measures designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Coronavirus impact: How digital learning is gaining acceptability among students, teachers
Indian teachers have broken the myth about their inability to use technology. We already have 3,000 schools lined up to adopt our platform, and more are joining the queue every day.
It’s all about e-classes during the lockdown in the Kerala capital
These days, Vishwajith G, a class 10 student of L’ecole Chempaka, attends class from the comforts of home and taps his way into virtual classrooms through a laptop. A fresh lesson awaits him as video links posted by his teachers, all related to the topics being taught
12 DTH channels catering to all classes in the offing
The Union human resources development (HRD) ministry is planning to start 12 direct-to-home (DTH) television channels, each catering to students from one academic year, to serve as virtual classrooms at a time when schools are shut due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak and there are questions if the online learning might leave behind those with slow or limited connectivity. Two senior government officials familiar with the matter said that the ministry sees this as a way to bridge the digital divide for students from Classes 1 to 12.
Public Policies
Coronavirus schools return: Can you really keep children 2m apart?
Children were relieved to be back and parents have become more confident about safety - and numbers attending schools have steadily risen. Image caption In St Josef's in Roskilde the social distancing continues into the playground Primary school children have returned first in Denmark,
Barcelona and Madrid may be left in lockdown as Spain lifts curbs
Spain's two hardest-hit cities may keep restrictions in place as the rest of the country emerges from lockdown Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez's plan to lift lockdown restrictions has four stages, in which restrictions are progressively eased, with each region applying to enter the next phase if it meets certain conditions, such as hospital capacity requirements.
Concert venues and cinemas won’t reopen immediately as Australia coronavirus restrictions ease
A three-phase plan for easing Australia out of coronavirus restrictions has been announced today (May 8) by the National Cabinet, which comprises the Prime Minister, state premiers and chief ministers. The “cautious” and “gentle” first phase one, as described by Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, allows retail stores to reopen and cafes and restaurants to seat up to ten patrons at a time. Non-work gatherings consisting of up to ten people are allowed to go ahead, and up to five people are permitted to visit someone else’s home (not including regular residents of the household). However, indoor movie theatre, concert venues, galleries, pubs, stadiums, nightclubs and museums will remain closed during phase one.
What Canada can learn from Hong Kong’s Covid-19 successes
Professor Samuel Yeung-shan Wong says Canada should follow Hong Kong by supporting public mask wearing and testing all arrivals at airports for coronavirus. A study by Wong, published in Canada, says Hong Kong’s aggressive contact tracing and quarantine measures also helped restrict the spread of the disease.
Coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, cafes to be eased in first step outlined by National Cabinet
Restaurants, cafes and shops have been given the green light to reopen and local and regional travel is on the cards under the first step of National Cabinet's plan to ease coronavirus restrictions. The Federal Government says it will be up to the states and territories to decide when the changes come into effect. People will be allowed to have up to five visitors in their home and be in groups of 10 outdoors.
India coronavirus: Why celebrating Covid-19 'success models' is dangerous
The northern Indian city of Agra, home to the iconic Taj Mahal, was one of the first Indian cities to report a positive case of coronavirus back in early March. It continued to report cases throughout the month but managed to slow down the spread - and that is how the "Agra model" was born. It trended as a hashtag on social media, the federal government was full of praise and Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Yogi Adityanath was credited for its success. But things changed within days. As the month of April started, the number of cases started doubling quickly and the early success started to unravel. The model had relied heavily on strictly containing affected areas and isolating suspected cases. But as the virus spread to newer areas, authorities had to look for other options, like aggressive testing.
Coronavirus lockdown changes will be 'modest' and 'small', says Dominic Raab
The public have been told not to expect widespread changes to the coronavirus lockdown in England when Boris Johnson addresses the nation this weekend. Speaking at the daily COVID-19 briefing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said any short term changes to the coronavirus measures will be "modest, small, incremental and very carefully monitored". In response to a question from Sky's political editor Beth Rigby, he added: "If we find in the future the R level [the rate of infection] goes back up or that people aren't following the rules, we must have the ability then to put back measures in place."
Boris Johnson drafts five-step plan to lift UK out of lockdown over six months
The Mirror understands the Government has drafted a 50-page blueprint for easing the coronavirus lockdown, beginning on Monday and ending in October in five main stages
Lockdown Level 3: These are the 12 biggest changes that will take place
Level 3 will include more significant changes than the ones we saw in the transition to Level 4. Here's how the South African government sees the next phase working.
Parts of Asia that relaxed restrictions without a resurgence in coronavirus cases did these three things
South Korea and Hong Kong successfully relaxed pandemic restrictions without having another rise in cases by data sharing, using targeted testing and contact tracing. The varying results of efforts across Asia to contain the virus and reopen society present policy options and perhaps lessons for countries behind on the outbreak’s timeline.Public health specialists who spoke with CNBC said they’re not confident U.S. officials are taking note of what’s working and not working in Asia.
COVID-19: how Asia-Pacific is emerging from lockdown
Countries all over the world are announcing their plans to emerge from COVID-19-inflicted lockdown, and the Asia-Pacific region is no different. Even countries like Thailand and Viet Nam, that have not suffered a heavy infection rate or death toll, must now reckon with the economic damage caused by the pandemic, and are eager to cautiously reopen their schools and get people back to work. Here is a roundup of measures announced from countries and economies in the Asia-Pacific area:
Coronavirus: NHS reveals source code behind contact-tracing app
The NHS has released the source code behind its coronavirus contact-tracing app. More than 40,000 people have installed the smartphone software so far. The health service is targeting the Isle of Wight only, at this stage, but it says this is the first stage of the app's rollout - not a test. Tests carried out on behalf of BBC News confirm the developers have found a way to work round restrictions Apple places on the use of Bluetooth in iPhones.
Pew-pew woo-hoo! Hong Kong reopens video arcades shut by coronavirus lockdown
Hong Kong will reopen video game arcades as the city begins to ease its pandemic precautions and attempts to kick its economy into a higher gear. The new guidelines, announced yesterday, will allow bars, gyms, beauty salons, cinemas and "amusement game centres" to resume business on Friday with some restrictions. In arcades, operators will either need barriers between machines, or to leave every second console inoperable. The number of people allowed to gather in groups will be raised from four to eight and schools will resume in three phases starting 27 May. The reopening has been ordered because: "In light of the more stabilised situation in Hong Kong in terms of the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the recent weeks... a window of opportunity exists for us to lift some of the social distancing measures at the moment,"
Maintaining Services
Coronavirus: Rail services to be increased as travel restrictions ease
There are plans to increase train services from Monday 18 May across Britain, in preparation for the eventual easing of travel restrictions. The move will ensure the railways are able to cope with a rise in passengers when some people return to work. Rail bosses and government sources told the BBC that services will be increased to about 70% of the normal timetable.
IHG warns coronavirus is hotels' 'most significant challenge'
Hotels must make “visible” changes to their hygiene standards in order to persuade customers to return as the industry faces its “most significant challenge” ever, the head of InterContinental Hotels Group has warned. Keith Barr, chief executive of IHG, which owns the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands, said that the company was trialling electrostatic sprayers and removing standard guest room items such as pens and paper in order to “make sure people feel comfortable again”. “Covid-19 represents the most significant challenge both IHG and our industry have ever faced,” he said after the company’s first-quarter update on Thursday.
Coronavirus: Can primary schools adapt to a post-lockdown world?
What role will design play in helping schools to manage a phased post-Covid return of pupils, potentially as early as 1 June? The AJ talks to architects who specialise in education about practical solutions
What will staying in a hotel look like in the near future?
Goodbye, breakfast buffets and bellhop service. Hello, temperature screening and keyless check-in. While pandemic-era policies are still being developed at hotels around the globe and will no doubt vary widely, it's safe to say that guests will see big changes the next time they check in anywhere. For the foreseeable future -- until a vaccine, widely effective treatment or instantaneous testing for coronavirus is available -- hotel stays are likely to be a stripped-down affair, particularly in higher-end hotels where personalized service and amenities have long been part of the draw, says Christopher Anderson, professor of business at Cornell University's Hotel School in Ithaca, New York.
Byline Times's own CMO: The 'Little England' App Can Be No Replacement for Covid-19 Testing
Dr John Ashton, a former director of public health, provides his regular update on the UK’s Government’s Coronavirus response and the need for real local testing and tracing.
Healthcare Innovations
Effects of coronavirus in children adds to list of Covid-19 unknowns
Numerous studies have found that the virus is a mild disease for children. In one of the largest, by doctors in Shanghai, 94 per cent of children with the virus had an asymptomatic, mild or moderate illness. A separate review by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that children accounted for fewer than 5 per cent of diagnosed Covid-19 cases globally. Of 2,572 infected children analysed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, 5.7 per cent were hospitalised and three died. But why children exhibit such mild forms of a virus that has killed almost 265,000 people around the world remains unclear. “Right now it’s still a big mystery,” said Isabella Eckerle, a virologist at the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases. “We don’t know what’s going on with the children. They don’t get sick at all, and if they do they’re only mildly sick.”
COVID-19 death rate sinking? Data reveals a complex reality
In many countries, fewer COVID-19 patients are dying than in earlier weeks of the pandemic. But scientific experts say we should be looking at all-cause death numbers instead — they tell a very different story.
Coronavirus: Underlying health conditions don’t explain higher BAME deaths, say scientists
In the largest study of its kind, on behalf of NHS England, the health records of more than 17 million people and 5,700 Covid-19 deaths were examined. Researchers were able to examine the medical histories of each patient and any role their health appeared to play in people suffering worse infections. The team from the University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), found death from Covid-19 was strongly associated with being male, with men twice as likely to die from the disease as women. That risk was greater for people with uncontrolled diabetes and obesity, but the researchers said the existence of diseases and deprivation only accounted for a small part of the risk for people from ethnic backgrounds