"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 26th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Coronavirus: Window cleaner helps elderly clients through isolation
When window cleaner Vin Kennedy goes to work, he knows that he'll be spending more time talking than cleaning. Although not classed as key workers, window cleaners fall into the government's "exception" category, so he could continue working. Mr Kennedy, who works in and around Southampton, says for his clients who are self-isolating he can be a link to the outside world.
‘I beat COVID-19 with home isolation'
Three patients with mild coronavirus symptoms share experienences of recovering at home with good care and precautions
Humans 'not meant to be alone': Many Americans haven't seen or touched another person in 3 months because of COVID-19
In the early days of her quarantine, Ema Martinez maintained a routine: For 15 minutes each day, she would throw herself a "pity party" and weep. At her home in Lubbock, Texas, Martinez used to watch her 3-year-old grandson, Hendrix, so often that he has his own bedroom for overnight visits. But after Martinez, who suffers from chronic leukemia, decided she had to quarantine alone to protect herself from the coronavirus, the room sat empty and silent. "I'd sit for 15 minutes and cry because I missed my grandson, and I was convinced I was never going to see him again," she said. "And then I'd move on."
Beyond the locker room: Coronavirus isolation is an opportunity to teach boys about toxic masculinity
Coronavirus distancing may have removed some of that fear by removing that physical context. Parents have an opportunity to support boys acting and being different. At home, they should not have to “prove” themselves to be a man so they can be loved, accepted or “fit in.” Supportive parents should allow boys an opportunity to explore an array of interests — as well as an array of emotions that are often guarded, shielded or repressed because of external social pressures to be accepted within male peer groups and among sports teams.
Hygiene Helpers
Study: Regular Handwashing Reduces Personal Risk of Acquiring Seasonal Coronavirus Infection | Medicine
In a new study looking at 1,633 participants of the England-wide Flu Watch project, a team of researchers found that moderate-frequency handwashing (6-10 times per day) was associated with a reduced overall risk of seasonal coronavirus infection.
Coronavirus-hit Japan dumps high fashion for health and hygiene
Japanese consumers are spending more on masks, cleaning products and personal sanitizers while sales of makeup and motion sickness medicine take a major hit.
Italy seeks 60,000 volunteers to enforce coronavirus rules
Italian officials have proposed creating a 60,000-strong corps of volunteer civic assistants who would remind people of the need to observe measures against coronavirus infection as the country emerges from lockdown.
Study tells 'remarkable story' about COVID-19's deadly rampage through a South African hospital
Now, scientists at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have published a detailed reconstruction of how the virus spread from ward to ward and between patients, doctors, and nurses, based on floor maps of the hospital, analyses of staff and patient movements, and viral genomes. Their 37-page analysis, posted on the university’s website on 22 May, is the most extensive study of any hospital outbreak of COVID-19 so far. It suggests all of the cases originated from a single introduction, and that patients rarely infected other patients. Instead, the virus was mostly carried around the hospital by staff and on the surfaces of medical equipment.
Good hygiene tips: On the science of soap and sanitiser
Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to limit the spread of Covid-19. If this is not possible, hand sanitisers can be used, but it’s important to know what ingredients the sanitisers should have. In recent days, there has been a proliferation of videos on social media about making hand sanitiser at home. This is because in the fight against Covid-19, we are continually told to practise good hygiene, especially the regular cleaning of hands using soap or sanitisers to keep them germ-free.
Don't touch! Bangkok mall puts pedals in lifts to curb Covid
A mall in Bangkok has swapped lift buttons for foot pedals in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as well as help restore normality and get shoppers spending again. Customers at Bangkok's Seacon Square were surprised and confused this week to find pedals in front of the elevators and inside, but they welcomed the new hands-free enhancement as a smart move to stay healthy. "They did a good job in preparing this. I feel much safer because we use our hands to do various things all the time," said a customer who disclosed only her first name, Watcharaporn.
How safe is it to use public bathrooms right now?
If someone goes into the house to use the restroom, let them go in alone. When they’re done, it’s critically important that they wash their hands really well. Then you’ll want to clean the restroom afterward. Almost all household cleaners have indications that they kill coronavirus. As long as you clean surfaces and wash hands, you should be safe.
Community Activities
Coronavirus: The strangers reaching out to Kyrgyzstan's lonely teenagers
Maksat (not his real name) feels alone and misunderstood. He often expresses suicidal feelings - a noticeable change, his teachers say, from the boy they knew before the curfew was brought in. And then he met a "phone pal" - Jalalbek Akmatov, a university student in the capital Bishkek. Jalabek is one of around 100 young adults taking part in a project to reach out via phone to teenagers just like Maksat, thousands of whom have been stuck at home for weeks. The scheme - called You Are Not Alone - was launched after seven teenagers took their own lives in the first two weeks after Kyrgyzstan started coronavirus lockdown in in March
Once the Helpers, Now Those in Need—Effects of Pandemic Lockdown in Italy Reaches Essential Workers
In Italy, where hairdressers, daycare centers and bars have begun to reopen, many are still trapped inside their homes. They are dealing with the economic fallout of the pandemic by staying at home, waiting for help or finding other ways of coping while furthering the country's extended humanitarian crises. The systems and volunteers which have worked to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are now, after two months of lockdown, battling a rise in abuse, extortion, and what are known as "deaths of despair" (suicide, alcohol and drug overdose). In April, the National Council of the Order of Psychologist
Donors are ignoring hygiene in the fight against COVID-19
Despite being critical in the fight against COVID-19, efforts to improve hygiene are mostly absent in donor commitments to tackle the coronavirus, according to WaterAid. Instead, the focus is on vaccines. “Vaccines and therapeutics are clearly essential in ending this pandemic, but until they are available the only defence we have against COVID-19 is prevention,” said Tim Wainwright, CEO of WaterAid UK, in a statement. “Three billion people have nowhere to wash their hands with soap and water at home, and many doctors and nurses in developing countries work in a healthcare centre without the most basic hygiene provision.”
Mubadala to manufacture medical supplies in UAE
Mubadala Healthcare and Strata Manufacturing (Strata) are collaborating to manufacture essential medical supplies and support the fight against COVID-19, utilizing additive manufacturing to produce intubation capsules, face shields and ear guards.
The coronavirus doesn't exist in isolation — it feeds on other diseases, crises
Diseases don’t just interact biologically, they also interact with social factors. Poverty, housing, education and social stigma, for example, are all powerful determinants of health. Individuals with lower incomes and less education are several times more likely to develop diabetes than more socially advantaged individuals. These same relationships play a part in other risk factors for COVID-19, like high blood pressure and obesity. And it’s precisely these interactions — between both biological and social factors — that sets syndemics apart from other epidemic events.
Working Remotely
Productive remote workers do these 5 simple things every day
As certain workers are beginning to return to the office, some are thrilled to have regained an environment more conducive to their personal productivity. For some, the office has fewer distractions and just makes it easier to get work done, particularly if their projects are highly collaborative. But for others, working from home has actually provided a large productivity boost. And working remotely could potentially provide even more effectiveness as they continue to work from home but have fewer restrictions and less uncertainty in their overall lives in coming months.
Remote working realisations: Strengthening teams and bringing people together during a global pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is changing every aspect of our lives. We are having to adapt to the new norms of self-isolation, remote working, and staying as productive as we were before the pandemic began. However, it is important to understand that the situation we’re all in is far from normal – it is a crisis situation and we have to adapt quickly and make decisions that will significantly influence our lives and businesses.
Remote working can result in higher cost savings and productivity for businesses - experts
Remote working is a growing trend and can result in significant cost savings for businesses, experts say. Thanks to COVID-19, remote working arrangements have become the norm, as social distancing measures required people to stay at home. Allowing staff to work remotely can reduce business overheads and perhaps also increase productivity. Newshub asked experts at HR Toolkit, Turner Hopkins and 4-day week to share their top tips for working from home.
More people working remotely, seeking escape from the city
Whenever the economy undergoes a shock like we’re seeing now from the coronavirus pandemic, new trends often appear in the real estate market. It appears we may be in the middle of one of those unexpected paradigm shifts, when our world jumps from one track going in a predictable direction to another track heading in an unexpected direction.
Coronavirus: What's the future for the office?
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the office was where millions of us spent about a third of our time. However, since the lockdown, almost half the UK's workforce say they have been working from home - and some companies have hinted it could become the future. "The notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past," said the boss of Barclays, while Morgan Stanley's chief said the bank will have "much less real estate". Businessman Sir Martin Sorrell said he'd rather invest the £35m he spends on expensive offices in people instead.
Virtual Classrooms
Virtual learning could still be an option for Alabama students this fall
Virtual learning may still be an option for some students this fall. Especially for those parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back to a traditional classroom during this pandemic. But state Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey said he and other school leaders are still trying to work out the details and logistics of a plan to do that. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, but school leaders at the state and local levels are still working on options for students and their families to keep them safe and comfortable this fall.
Concordia University of Edmonton joins NAIT in announcing fall semester will be mostly virtual
Most of Concordia University of Edmonton’s fall semester courses will be delivered online, the school announced Monday, following a similar announcement from NAIT last week. Some courses and programs at Concordia that require in-person interaction,
Op-Ed: Lessons from the Pandemic on How to Reimagine and Improve Schooling
‘When school resumes, we will better appreciate what we have been missing, but we should build upon what we have learned’
Redefining homework: South Dakota educators bring varied virtual classrooms to students | The Globe
When Gov. Kristi Noem first closed South Dakota's schools in mid-March and those closures were eventually stretched through the end of the school year, districts across the state quickly cobbled together distance learning plans from various combinations of familiar and new online programs, pencil-and-paper handoffs of classwork and, for some, existing plans already developed in case of school closures longer than a snow day or two. During a school year book-ended by record-setting flooding and a global pandemic, Corsica-Stickney Superintendent Scott Muckey said faculty in his district and others in southeast South Dakota had potential remote learning strategies in mind before schools closed through the end of the year.
Shift To Online Was Inevitable, But Pandemic Has Fast-tracked And Enforced This: Gaurav Kumar, Edumarshal
In an exclusive chat with BW Education, Gaurav Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Edumarshal talks about the firm and more.
Public Policies
Saudi Arabia to end curfew on June 21, except in Mecca
Saudi Arabia will begin easing restrictions on movement and travel this week, more than two months after stringent measures were introduced to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, culminating in the curfew completely ending - with the exception of the holy city of Mecca — from June 21, the state news agency reported in a statement early on Tuesday. The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimmages — which attract millions of travelers from around the world — will remain suspended until further notice.
Stress, isolation, suicide: Australia's new mental health officer on the challenges of Covid-19
Australia’s new deputy chief medical officer for mental health, Dr Ruth Vine, has sounded a cautionary note over a high-profile study predicting massive increases in suicide following the Covid-19 pandemic. The research by top academics from the University of Sydney predicted a 25% increase in suicide and has been seized upon by advocates in the call for greater mental health funding and real-time suicide data. Vine, who was appointed to the newly created role earlier this month as the government unveiled a suite of mental health measures, agrees it is important to “keep a very close eye on suicide data” but warns of “the difficulty” of modelling suicide, which she says is “always multifactorial”.
Spain welcomes new stages of coronavirus deescalation plan
Residents in Spain welcomed relaxed lockdown conditions on Monday, as much of the country moved to a new stage of the government’s coronavirus deescalation plan. The regions of Madrid and Castilla y León as well as the metropolitan area of Barcelona entered Phase 1, which allows sidewalk cafés to reopen at 50% capacity and social gatherings of up to 10 people, while 14 of Spain’s 17 regions either partially or completely transitioned to Phase 2, which permits beaches and schools to reopen.
Coronavirus: Britons flock to beaches as UK basks in hot bank holiday weather
Hundreds of Britons have flocked to beaches and parks to bask in the warm bank holiday weather, prompting authorities to urge people to "use common sense". Images have emerged of packed beaches on Bank Holiday Monday, with reports of congestion around beauty spots as people take advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions in England earlier this month. Shortly before 12pm, Bournemouth Council said all its seafront car parks were full and told residents to "think twice" before visiting the beach.
In a first, coronavirus patients allowed home isolation in Andhra Pradesh
For the first time in the State, three members of a family, who tested positive for COVID-19, were allowed home isolation in East Godavari district.
One German church service resulted in more than 100 coronavirus infections
A single church service in Frankfurt, Germany, held in early May appears to have led to at least 107 reported cases of coronavirus in the area, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The outbreak highlights the risks that accompany easing lockdowns even in countries that have managed to control the spread of the virus relatively well. And it also serves as a reminder of the acute threat posed by “superspreader” events involving crowds, a pressing concern in the US as President Donald Trump encourages churches nationwide to reopen their doors to worshippers.
'Highly unlikely' we'll return to lockdown, Health Minister says
Health Minister Greg Hunt says states and territories are not likely to return to a lockdown situation again once restrictions to curb COVID-19 are lifted. Mr Hunt said in the case of any future outbreak of the coronavirus, "localised rings of containment" would instead be deployed."That is the model we have for Australia. If there is a suburban, facility-based, or regional outbreak, we want those localised rings of containment," the Health Minister said. Mr Hunt added that it would only be "if there was systemic, statewide" community transmission that a state or territory would revert back to a lockdown.
Spain urges tourists to return from July as lockdown eases
Spain urged foreign holidaymakers on Monday (May 25) to return from July as one of Europe's strictest lockdowns eased, though tourism businesses were sceptical about salvaging the summer season. The world's second-most visited nation closed its doors and beaches in March to handle the Covid-19 pandemic, imposing a two-week quarantine on overseas visitors. But that requirement will be lifted from July 1, a government statement said. "The worst is behind us," Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya tweeted with emojis of a bikini, sunglasses and a suitcase.
German state causes alarm with plans to ease lockdown measures
Negotiations in Germany over a nationwide approach to relaxing lockdown measures were said to be in disarray after the state of Thuringia announced it was going it alone. The federal government cancelled a meeting of its “corona cabinet” after Thuringia’s premier, Bodo Ramelow, announced his state would end both the obligatory wearing of face coverings and the limit on the number of people allowed to gather within the next two weeks.
Putin back in Kremlin, Russia looks to ease lockdown in some regions
President Vladimir Putin made a rare lockdown appearance in the Kremlin on Monday after officials said improvements in the coronavirus situation may allow Russia to re-open some tourist resorts soon and relax restrictions in many regions. Russia, which has reported the world's third most coronavirus cases, confirmed 8,946 new infections on Monday, bringing its nationwide tally to 353,427. Officials reported 92 new deaths, pushing the toll to 3,633. Moscow, Russia's worst-hit region, is entering its ninth week of lockdown. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said it is too early to lift restrictions but allowed state registry offices to open in the capital from Monday. Russia's borders remain closed, as are schools and most non-essential shops, but Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin urged Russians on Monday not to travel abroad on holiday this summer.
Phase two of UK lockdown could see family 'bubbles' widen and shops reopen
Boris Johnson's latest signal that the lockdown is easing as the Prime Minister confirmed the phased reopening of England's primary schools will commence on June 1. He is also, according to Government sources, set to reveal plans to ease restrictions for certain sectors of the economy - with the changes expected to signal the reopening of some non-essential shops - when the Cabinet meets on Monday. The Prime Minister is sticking to his date for schools opening in England but acknowledged "it may not be possible" for all of them to do so by June 1.
Coronavirus: All non-essential shops to reopen from 15 June - PM
All non-essential retailers will be able to reopen in England from 15 June, Boris Johnson has announced, as part of plans to further ease the lockdown. However, the move is "contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus", and retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, the PM added. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June. It comes as the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK rose by 121 to 36,914. Mr Johnson said new guidance had been published for the retail sector "detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards".
Cities are closing streets to make way for restaurants and pedestrians
The forced distancing required by the coronavirus prompted several cities to quickly close some public roads to make room so cooped-up residents anxious to get outside for exercise could do so safely. Now, following moves to shut, narrow or repurpose streets from Oakland to Tampa, cities including Washington are seeking to understand how those emergency closures might have lasting impacts on some of urban America’s most important, and contested, real estate. D.C. lawmakers are drafting legislation to make it easier for shutdown-battered restaurants to space out their tables by putting them on public roads, parking spaces and sidewalks at least for months, and to give neighborhoods a way to close streets to traffic to make walking and biking safer. A mayoral advisory group made similar recommendations Thursday.
Maintaining Services
South Korea reports 19 new coronavirus cases as children return to school
South Korea has reported 19 new coronavirus cases on the eve of the return to school for more than two million children. The majority of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues. South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also reported two more deaths, bringing the country’s total to 269 fatalities from 11,225 cases. Wednesday will see around 2.4 million pupils return to school, and health minister Park Neung-hoo urged school officials to double-check their preventive measures.
Reopening Hollywood: First major movie to be released since coronavirus lockdown
The makers of the first major movie to be released since the coronavirus lockdown have told Sky News it is the "canary in the coal mine" for an entertainment industry looking to reopen. The film Unhinged, a road rage thriller starring Russell Crowe, will hit cinema screens in the US on 1 July, months earlier than originally planned. It bucks the trend of films being delayed or released instead on television and streaming services.
New Zealand to stage pro competition as virus restrictions ease
New Zealand will stage a team-based tennis tournament for local-based men’s players from June 3, organisers said on Monday, an event marking the southern hemisphere’s first pro competition since the COVID-19 pandemic brought global sport to a halt. All 112 matches of the “NZ Premier League” will be played in Auckland without spectators but broadcast live on Sky Sport or the Youtube channel, Sky Sport Next, Tennis New Zealand said on Monday.
Spain begins reopening restaurants, cafes and beaches as lockdown loosens
Coronavirus lockdown rules are being eased in Spain after two months of restrictions. Beaches, cafes and restaurants are reopening to visitors from Monday. The country was among the worst hit in Europe with its death toll climbing to over 28,000.
Italy grapples with a new rhythm as it emerges from 2-month lockdown
The tension between embracing change and upholding tradition is palpable on the streets of Milan. A decade ago, when the city moved to reduce smog, the linchpin to its sustainability plan was increasing use of public transit. Now, with a 30 per cent cap on transit capacity because of social distancing requirements, the city is boosting other alternatives to private cars: bicycles, electric scooters, mopeds and vehicle sharing.
Asia Today: South Korea to require masks on transit, flights
South Koreans will be required to wear masks when using public transportation and taxis nationwide starting Tuesday as authorities look for more ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus as people increase their public activities. Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho on Monday said masks will also be required on all domestic and international flights from Wednesday. From June, owners of “high-risk” facilities such as bars, clubs, gyms, karaoke rooms and concert halls will be required to use smartphone QR codes to register customers so they can be tracked down more easily when infections occur.
When will hotels open in the UK? Latest on domestic holidays, and current lockdown rules explained
Lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease across the UK, with some businesses beginning to reopen their doors to the public. But when will hotels, B&Bs and other holiday accommodation be allowed to do the same? This is everything you need to know.
Coronavirus: Countries try 'travel bubbles' to save post-lockdown tourist season
The European nations of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia have already created what they are calling a "Baltic travel bubble," allowing one another's citizens to travel among the three states without having to self-isolate on arrival. All three countries managed to contain their viral outbreaks with only dozens of deaths. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told NBC News the "bubble" is important for the country's tourism sector, which makes up five percent of its gross domestic product, or GDP, and is the first of its kind in the European Union. For nationals of other countries, quarantine restrictions will still apply, he said.
Bosses Begin Testing Workers for Covid-19
Companies are asking more workers to take coronavirus tests, but the logistics are complicated. Covid-19 testing regimes are taking hold at big companies as they try to get back to business and prevent outbreaks on the job. Employees at Smithfield Foods Inc., Ford Motor Co. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. have begun reporting to tents and clinics or getting kits in the mail for coronavirus testing. The tests, combined with mandatory face masks and social-distancing practices on the job, are intended to protect staff and provide managers with a real-time sense of the virus’s presence in their ranks.
Dancing with disinfectant: China's nightclubs back in the groove post-Covid-19 lockdown
Nightclubs in China have mostly come back to life as owners and customers feel increasingly comfortable that the novel coronavirus epidemic is under control, but disinfectant, disposable cups and masks have become part of the experience. At 44KW, a club for electronic music lovers in the financial hub of Shanghai, customers sat, danced and mingled with little sign of social distancing on the weekend. The club reopened in mid-March after closing for about six weeks, but it took a while for business to get back to normal.
Gaganyaan cosmonauts resume training in Moscow after COVID-19 lockdown ends
The training of four Indian astronauts for the country's first manned mission to space, Gaganyaan, which had been halted in Russia due to COVID-19 lockdown, has resumed. "Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) on May 12 resumed training of the Indian cosmonauts under the contract between Glavkosmos, JSC (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) and the Human Spaceflight Center of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)." Russian space corporation, Roscosmos pointed out in the official statement.
Churches hold first Sunday mass across France as lockdown eases
French government allows churches, mosques and synagogues to reopen after two months of coronavirus lockdown.
Masks, distancing as Kiev metro opens after lockdown
Ukraine's capital on Monday welcomed passengers into its subway system after more than two months of lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Kiev metro, which normally transports 1.5 million people daily, remained deserted, with only 20 passengers or fewer in each car even during rush hour, AFP journalists saw. Posters at platforms urge passengers to observe social distancing of at least 1.5 metres (five feet) and audio messages encourage Ukrainians to "protect their health".
Children Return to Australian Schools After Weeks of Lockdowns
More than one million students are back in class Monday, as state and private schools in New South Wales resume full-time learning after two months of lockdown. Authorities in the neighboring Australian state of Queensland have also reopened schools. Many children in Tasmania are also returning to class. Victoria will begin a phased return to on-site schooling Tuesday. Social distancing measures are in place, and parents and carers are not allowed onto school premises.
Healthcare Innovations
Virginia Department of Health creates COVID-19 symptom checker website
In a partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, Buoy Health has developed the COVID-check website.The digital company came from the Harvard Innovation Lab's doctors and data scientists. COVID-Check has three sections: check your symptoms, find a test, and get answers. You can start by going to the "symptoms" section. It'll ask questions about symptoms related to coronavirus.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Call for NZ clinical trials after Govt's $37m vaccine spend
Scientists have hailed a just-announced $37m Government spend toward a Covid-19 vaccine – and now a major clinical research organisation has called for trials to be carried out here. This afternoon, ministers revealed the fund would be sending $10m toward local vaccine research and $5m for exploring manufacturing a vaccine here. Up to $15m would also be steered toward global research collaborations and $7m would go to Gavi - an alliance that distributes vaccines to developing nations. Alongside the fresh funding, the Government unveiled its long-awaited vaccine strategy, which aimed to secure enough doses of a safe, effective vaccine for New Zealand at the earliest possible time.
Ulster University develop COVID-19 symptom checker, diagnostic and contact tracker app
The app collects information, checks for symptoms, helps perform diagnostics and provides advice. Data from the app can also be used to aid contact tracing and inform policy and decision makers in their overall recovery strategy. A novel add-on to improve overall result accuracy is the ability to read an antibody test result that is performed in the home setting. Led by Professors Jim McLaughlin and Chris Nugent, the Connected Health Innovation Centre Team project team used technology based on their Xprize Tricorder success in 2017 where they finished joint third in a global competition to address similar diagnostic solutions currently required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fitbit introduces COVID-19 tab in South Africa
South Africans can now access a tab which will house all local COVID-19 information. Fitbit is introducing a designated COVID-19 tab on its app so South Africans can access information, support and resources in one place. The update includes tools which remind users to keep up healthy habits, such as new clock faces with reminders to wash hands, to move, to include at-home workouts and take mindfulness breaks. In addition, the tab will add real-time updates from the World Health Organization on the virus.
Remdesivir Results Published
Preliminary results regarding the use of remdesivir against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been updated and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (An earlier accounting, which we also reported here, led to the drug's emergency approval by the FDA.) Over 1000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were randomized to receive either 10 days of remdesivir or placebo. The mean time to recovery — the primary outcome — was shorter in the remdesivir group than the placebo group (11 vs. 15 days). Recovery was defined as a patient no longer requiring hospitalization or hospitalization no longer requiring supplemental oxygen or ongoing medical care. Results were significant only among those receiving oxygen — but not more intensive support — at baseline. At 14 days, mortality was 7.1% in the remdesivir group and 11.9% in the placebo group, but the difference was not statistically significant. The authors write: "Our findings highlight the need to identify Covid-19 cases and start antiviral treatment before the pulmonary disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation. However, given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient."
COVID-19: Vaccine Trial / Hydroxychloroquine
Vaccine trial: A phase I trial in China found CanSino's non-replicating adenovirus type-5 (Ad5) vectoredvaccine to be safe and induce an immune response in humans. Over 100 healthy adults were randomized to receive various doses of the vaccine candidate. Fever, headache, muscle pain, and fatigue were common among recipients. A positive antibody response was found in 97% of the low-dose group, 94% of the middle-dose group, and 100% of the high-dose group. Hydroxychloroquine & chloroquine: A large registry study in the Lancet found hazards associated with use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19. Researchers compared roughly 15,000 hospitalized for COVID-19 who were given hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a second-generation macrolide with 81,000 who weren’t given these treatments. All of the hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine groups had higher rates of in-hospital mortality (16-24%) than the control group (9%). They also had higher rates of ventricular arrhythmia during hospitalization (4-8%) versus controls (0.3%). Meanwhile, the World Health Organization announced that it had temporarily halted a hydroxychloroquine trial owing to safety concerns,