"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 28th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms
Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds - Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available - Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards - Clean objects and surfaces you touch often (such as door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products - Clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example, by wiping the surfaces you have touched
Concern over 'silent' oxygen deprivation prompts new approach to virus
Silent hypoxia is “quite newly observed but also quite significantly concerning”, said Jeremy Rossman, lecturer in virology at the University of Kent. Although telling people to self-isolate at home helps curtail the spread of the virus, some cases of serious illness are being “missed” until people are “critically unwell,” he said. A Covid-19 guide published by the UK’s health service in April warned that “‘silent hypoxia’ is common”, though the NHS could not provide any data to support the claim. A guide published by a group that represents London doctors said pulse oximeters — simple, clip-on-the-finger devices that measure oxygen — could be “a very useful tool in helping to monitor and assess patients”. In Brazil, Esper Kallas, an infectologist and professor at the University Hospital of São Paulo, said that by the middle of April: “We had begun to see a lot of people arriving at the hospital when they were already very sick. Most of them didn’t know they had hypoxia and were not feeling any shortage of breath.”
Italian study links social isolation to elderly COVID-19 cases
The study authors did find a correlation between the proportion of COVID-19 infections in the elderly and two variables: percentage of households with one member and the nursing home beds rate. Because both of these variables are associated with social isolation, the results suggest that social isolation is a greater risk factor for the elderly than intergenerational contact. While the authors suggested that social distancing does not necessarily imply social isolation, they similarly offered that social connectedness does not imply physical closeness with social contacts. In conclusion, they speculated that social relationships may, in fact, serve as a protective factor against increased mortality rates.
Hygiene Helpers
COVID-19 from Just One Person Can Spread to Dozens in a Few Hours
Airborne transmission of the virus may be facilitated by certain activities, including speaking, yelling, and singing. Compared with breathing alone, those vocalizations produce more aerosolized saliva. Some studies have found that certain people emit more droplets of saliva than average when they breathe or speak.
Even Covid-19 May Not Be Causing Your Doctor To Wash His Hands
A recent research letter published in The Journal of Hospital Infection examined whether it’s “possible to achieve 100 percent hand hygiene compliance during the Covid-19 pandemic.” The medical center involved in the research, Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, had reached a pre-Covid-19 hand hygiene rate of over 75 percent. Yet the hospital’s goal of complete compliance proved surprisingly elusive. In one pediatric ward devoted to suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patients, doctors and nurses followed hand hygiene rules 100 percent of the time, but in another ward with similar patients and staff, compliance was 83 percent, or about one-fifth less.
How to deep clean pubs before reopening
The countdown is on for reopening your pub. Make sure you are setting and maintaining high standards when it comes to cleanliness and good practices
Experts who helped keep Japan's COVID-19 death toll low say masks helped
There’s strong awareness of public hygiene, starting with the habit of washing our hands. And, due to historical experiences, there is widespread knowledge about preventing infections. Another social factor is that Japanese people feel comfortable wearing masks on a daily basis. Many people are allergic to pollen, so they do this during the cedar pollen season from the beginning of the year until spring, as well as to protect against influenza.
Community Activities
How is Community Radio doing during COVID-19?
Put simply, there is not enough space to list all the good things that community radio is achieving with limited means and under very difficult circumstances but let’s highlight a few to counter last week’s picture.
Senior Citizens Use Comedy to Cope with COVID-19 Isolation
From monologues to impressions, these @GreenwichHouse comedy classes are helping seniors use humor to cope with isolation during the pandemic. In US news and current events today, these seniors are using comedy to cope with isolation during the coronavirus. Jo Firestone, a comedian and former ‘Tonight Show’ writer is offering comedy classes to senior citizens in NYC. The classes help the elderly use humor to as an outlet while they remain homebound to protect themselves against COVID-19.
Working Remotely
Facebook is promoting remote working - here's what it means
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has offered his staff the opportunity to work from home on a permanent basis. The move gives employees the chance to relocate, but their salaries would be adjusted according to living costs. Zuckerberg expects half of Facebook’s workforce to take up the offer of working from home permanently over the next 5-10 years.
As Coronavirus Lockdown Rules Ease, Some Want to Keep Working From Home
As states begin to lift the stay-at-home restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic, some workers now say they are just fine working from home and would like to do so permanently.
Coronavirus has shown us the future of work and it could mean more Australians living in regional areas
More Australians working from home during the coronavirus pandemic could pave the way for people to move out of the cities and take their jobs with them.
Virtual Classrooms
Coronavirus: Home schooling to continue for most pupils until September, says minister
The return of pupils will be balanced with the "overwhelming objective of ensuring they are as safe as possible", MPs are told.
International students torn as UK universities go virtual
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown Britain's universities into a state of uncertainty. One in five students in the UK is from overseas, and what attracts students to Britain are its highly collaborative seminars, which may not be possible in the era of social distancing. Universities and their surrounding communities are bracing for a massive financial hit. Potential students who are weighing their options; the switch to online-only courses could be an opportunity to cater to students with differing cultural norms.
This is what theatres could look like when they reopen after lockdown
A theatre company in Germany has offered a first look at how social distancing will work when audiences return. Normally there is space for around 700 people in the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin – but, amid the coronavirus crisis, only 200 guests will be welcomed to watch plays at one time. A picture posted to the Berliner Ensemble’s social media shows the bizarre circumstances theatre-goers will find themselves under, with seats arranged metres apart, in groups of one or two. Speaking on Twitter, the theatre company said it would be the ‘new reality’ from when it reopens in September.
University of Washington plans hybrid learning approach for ‘largest freshman class ever’ this fall
As the University of Washington prepares for the first virtual graduation in its 159-year history, President Ana Mari Cauce is focused on what happens a few months later. Speaking at a virtual town hall with other university presidents Wednesday, Cauce said she expects to welcome UW students back to campus in the fall despite uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s more, the class of 2024 is poised to be “our largest freshman class ever,” Cauce said. To make that possible, UW is planning for a hybrid approach combining online learning with small-scale in-person education. Large lectures will likely be held online but smaller classes, particularly those that require laboratories, could be held in-person with physical distancing.
The Future of College Is Online, and It’s Cheaper
The coronavirus forced a shift to virtual classes, but their continuation could be beneficial even after the pandemic ends.
Public Policies
Coronavirus: Government's test and trace programme to launch today
The government's coronavirus test and trace system is due to be up and running in England today. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19 will be asked to isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms. Boris Johnson has acknowledged that being told to self-isolate was a "huge imposition" but people should be aware of why the programme was needed. And he warned that if the initial voluntary system was not respected, fines could be introduced for people who fail to comply.
How will the new coronavirus test-and-trace system work?
Thousands of people are still catching coronavirus every day and scientists have warned the virus is likely to be a feature of life in Britain permanently. Finding a way to release the lockdown and get people back to work, reopen schools and revive the economy, without creating a second surge of infections, is vital. The new NHS test-and-trace system being launched throughout England on Thursday is designed to help the country switch from an all-encompassing nationwide lockdown into a more targeted approach, as and when infections flare up and people develop symptoms.
Ministers threaten to fine the public if they don't 'do their civic duty' and obey 14-day isolation orders from coronavirus Test and Trace staff as new scheme comes into effect ...
NHS Test and Trace programme will launch this morning but it will go live without the crucial NHSX app. The roll out of the app has been delayed after problems were experienced during a lengthy Isle of Wight pilot. It means the new system will initially be entirely reliant on human testimony to slow the spread of the virus. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms will be told to self-isolate at home for seven days and to order a test. Anyone who then tests positive will be told to provide the NHS with contact details of people they have seen. Contact tracers will then track people down using email addresses and phone numbers telling them to isolate Those people who are contacted will be told to isolate for 14 days even if they do not have any symptoms
COVID-19 hygiene measures must be enforced in schools set to reopen in West and Central Africa, says Save the Children - Burkina Faso
Save the Children said "the reopening of schools must include comprehensive plans to keep children and educational staff safe and support the most marginalized children, including girls, to return to school. This means the Government must first ensure all health measures are in place including social distancing, availability of protective equipment and handwashing facilities. We must do everything we can to protect this generation of children and ensure that they can continue to learn in a safe environment."
EXPLAINED: What to know about Germany's new social distancing rules
Here's an overview of the general rules, although the restrictions may differ slightly in each of Germany's 16 federal states. Check with state authorities for the most up-to-date restrictions list...
No lockdown, few ventilators, but Ethiopia is beating Covid-19
Pick-up the phone in Ethiopia these days and you are greeted not by a ringtone but with a jingle urging the benefits of handwashing, social distancing and face masks. Churches and mosques are closed, with services conducted electronically. According to officials, community health workers have screened an astonishing 40m people in 11m households, verifying their travel history and conducting routine temperature checks. Authorities have readied quarantine places for 50,000 people and 15,000 beds in isolation centres. Most of these have not been needed. For whatever reasons, Ethiopia has, thus far, avoided the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
First to close — first to reopen: Denmark’s gain from virus response
Its swift response seems to have paid off. As Covid-19 cases plummeted, Denmark last month became the first EU nation to reopen primary schools. Its restaurants, hairdressers, shops, museums and zoos have now all followed suit. The authorities in Copenhagen are promising a massive ramping up of testing to minimise the risk of a second wave of infections. “Denmark is top of the class when it comes to a fast response. We have built a bubble around Denmark,” said Soren Riis Paludan, professor of virology and immunology at Aarhus University. But he added that the country’s biggest challenge was not a second wave of infections but ensuring the economy recovered. “We have been hit at the very heart of our economy and our culture. We are an outward-facing nation and we can’t be that at the moment — that is the challenge,” he said.
Students return to school in South Korea
More than 2 million more South Korean students returned to school Wednesday as the country saw a resurgence of confirmed novel coronavirus cases. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed a total of 40 new cases, highest in 49 days, in the morning. Among them, 36 cases were reported in densely-populated Seoul and its surrounding areas. The rise in the number of cases is largely attributed to local transmissions from a club cluster infection that started in the nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul in early May. Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, some 560 schools and kindergartens across the country postponed their reopenings.
Coronavirus: Spain seeks lockdown exit before tourist flights land
Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister, said this week that he would welcome visitors from abroad and that they would not be quarantined on arrival. Health experts have said that to meet a deadline of mid-June and please the tourism sector may involve loosening Spain’s cautious plan to ease restrictions for its citizens. The government presently envisages the country coming out of lockdown towards the end of June, in four steps, each lasting two weeks and dependent on criteria including infection rates and the readiness of health services.
Malaga and Granada expected to move into Phase 2 of Spain’s lockdown in less than a week
The President of the Junta de Andalucia, Juanma Moreno, believes that Malaga and Granada provinces have now met the requirements to move into the next phase of the lockdown. Business owners in Malaga and Granada were dismayed recently when other regions were allowed to move into the next phase and petitioned the government heavily regarding the move against them. “With infections and death rates well down there is no reason why the move to Phase 2 can not be allowed,” said a local Costa del Sol bar owner. “We need to hurry up and open before the season is lost,” he went on to say.
Test replaces 2-week isolation after Covid duty for medics
The state government has decided to do away with the 14-day mandatory quarantine in hotels or other accomodations for health workers after they complete two weeks duty at a Covid-19 hospital.
Coronavirus: Denmark opens borders to divided lovers
Denmark has opened its borders to couples who were separated from their partners by the coronavirus lockdown. As of Monday, cross-border couples who reside in the Nordic countries or Germany can now visit Denmark. Rules currently require people to prove their relationship with photos, text messages and emails. But the justice minister has announced these regulations will be relaxed in the coming days, so all that is needed is a letter signed by both parties. "If you say you are a boyfriend and sign [the letter], we will assume it [is true]," Justice minister Nick Hækkerup told broadcaster TV2.
Maintaining Services
How Covid-19 could redesign our world
The coronavirus crisis is reshaping the world. One transformation that might be here to stay? How our restaurants, gyms, bars and parks are designed – and how we use them.
How Europe has gone back to the shops after coronavirus lockdown
The UK's plan to re-open shops on June 15 comes more than two months after Austria started opening stores. Safety measures include compulsory masks, plexiglass screens and maximum numbers of people in shops. Some Italian stores say they will not get enough business because there are still few tourists and commuters
Madrid toasts lockdown easing as outdoor terraces partially reopen
A year ago, it would have seemed like a perfectly ordinary spring day in the Spanish capital, but for most of its residents today, it was almost a landmark event. It was the first day after more than two months of a strict lockdown that citizens were able to meet up with friends and family from other households in groups of no more than 10 people. Monday was also the first day that the city’s restaurants, cafes and bars could reopen outside seating areas, albeit partially, as part of the first phase of the government’s four-stage easing of the lockdown. The terrace itself was sparsely populated, just four of the usual eight tables laid out with a distance of two meters between each. Wearing gloves and a mask, the waiter milled around the handful of people who had managed to grab a seat.
Coronavirus: Film workers among 150 given exemptions to enter NZ amid border lockdown
Film workers are among a few thousand people allowed past New Zealand’s closed borders amid the Covid-19 lockdown. It comes as the Government undertakes a review of its current strict border restrictions. It is understood Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford was given special powers on April 21 to use his discretion to let in key individuals from the screen industry.
Healthcare Innovations
More than 500 scientists to map Covid-19 effects and treatments in blood
More than 500 scientists from around the world have formed a coalition to share data on coronavirus based on techniques which examine people’s blood. The Covid-19 MS Coalition is made up of leading mass spectrometry experts who will work together to look at the ways the virus is present in patients’ blood and examine how it is structured. The aim is to refine testing approaches, look at treatment options, and determine isolation requirements. Mass spectrometry (MS) is able to measure molecules that change in a patient’s blood as the infection takes hold
Trinity Biotech expects Covid-19 immunity test to be authorised shortly
Trinity Biotech expects to receive emergency use authorisation to roll-out a Covid-19 test that can determine whether people immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus by the end of next month. The Irish life sciences company said it is also at an advanced stage in developing a rapid point-of-care test that could diagnose cases of the virus in just 12 minutes.
Isolating the ill and prioritising remote work are key strategies in combating the coronavirus
In March of this year, Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Helsinki launched a joint project aimed at investigating airborne transmission and spread of coronavirus in indoor spaces. When a person speaks, cough or sneezes, droplets are generated from their respiratory tract, and these can carry pathogens such as coronaviruses. Researchers have now published the first, preprint version of the paper, which has been submitted for peer-review and published at Arxiv.org. The paper details how they have modelled the airborne transport of different-sized droplets. These are emitted through coughing, so the study evaluated the quantities of particles that someone could come into contact with upon entering a supermarket or any other indoor public space.
Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be more common than suspected
New estimates of the number of asymptomatic people with the coronavirus suggest that "silent" COVID-19 is much more prevalent than once thought, according to two studies published Wednesday. The first study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that 42 percent of cases from a group of people in Wuhan, China, were asymptomatic. The second study, published in Thorax, found much higher rates of asymptomatic individuals: 81 percent of cases on a cruise to Antarctica.
Blood markers discovered for COVID-linked syndrome in children
Findings from a large, multinational study could help speed development of an accurate diagnostic blood test for the mysterious inflammatory illness.