"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 9th May 2022

Isolation Tips
Beijing Residents Keep Faith With Government’s Zero-Covid Strategy
BEIJING—For weeks, Beijing has teetered on the edge of a hard, Covid-induced lockdown. For the most part, citizens are unruffled, confident that the restrictions that have paralyzed Shanghai for six weeks are simply unthinkable in the capital.
Shanghai tightens lockdown to hit zero-COVID goal by late May
Shanghai is tightening its already strict COVID-19 lockdown in a fresh push to eliminate infections outside quarantined areas of China's biggest city by late this month, people familiar with the matter said. Curbs will likely vary across the city's 16 districts as some have already hit the target, but the people said movement curbs will generally remain until the end of May due to fears of a rebound, despite recently falling case numbers in the country's worst coronavirus outbreak. Accounts from residents in several districts as well as social media posts showed the government of the city of 25 million accelerating and expanding an effort to transfer the close contacts of positive cases to central quarantines centres.
Shanghai's life-saving efforts against the current omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
In late February, 2022, a wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly appeared in Shanghai, China. According to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, as of May 4, 2022, 601 942 cases have been identified, including 547 056 asymptomatic carriers. 503 people have died with or from COVID-19. Phylogenetic features of SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from 129 patients in this period, and inferring their relationship with those available on the GISAID database, indicated that all of the new viral genomes in Shanghai were clustered into the SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.2 sub-lineage. Of note, BA.2 is a sub-lineage of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.159). Multiple sub-lineages of BA.2 have been characterised, many of which appear to show distinct regional distribution patterns.
Hygiene Helpers
Beijing kicks off fresh round of COVID tests as Shanghai postpones crucial exams
China's capital Beijing kicked off a fresh round of mass testing for COVID-19 on Saturday and shut more bus routes and metro stations, as it seeks to avert the fate of Shanghai, where millions of residents have been locked down for over a month. The draconian movement curbs on Shanghai, an economic and financial hub, have caused frustration among its 25 million residents and triggered rare protests over issues such as access to food and medical care, loss of income and crowded as well as unsanitary conditions at central quarantine centres.
Beijing District Shuts Gyms, Movie Theaters to Halt Covid Spread
A key district in China’s capital has ordered some businesses providing non-essential services such as gyms and movie theaters to close to prevent the spread of Covid infections after President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his stringent Covid Zero policy. Beijing’s eastern Chaoyang district, home to embassies and offices of multinationals including Apple Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., ordered companies “providing services other than those supporting residents’ livelihoods” to be closed until further notice, an official said at a briefing on Friday evening. Businesses ordered closed include karaoke bars, internet cafes, museums and art galleries, said Yang Beibei, deputy director of Chaoyang district.
Community Activities
Coronavirus Forces Cancellations in Jazz Fest's 2nd Weekend
Willie Nelson is cancelling an upcoming performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival and postponing other shows after a positive case of the coronavirus in his band. The 89-year-old musician posted on his band's website on Friday that “due to a positive Covid case in the Willie Nelson Family Band” two upcoming shows scheduled to happen May 6 and May 7 would be postponed and that Nelson's Sunday performance at Jazz Fest would be cancelled. Nelson was slated to close the Gentilly Stage — the same stage where his son Lukas Nelson is performing earlier in the day with his band the Promise of the Real. No replacement for the elder Nelson has yet been announced.
Jon Batiste 'So Disappointed' to Cancel Shows After Positive Covid Test
Jon Batiste said he was "so disappointed" as he cancelled several upcoming shows after testing positive for Covid-19. The Grammy-winning artist said he would be absent from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and have to postpone the premiere of his American Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York - a show he had been working on for years. Batiste said the decision to cancel was to "keep my family, my friends and our loyal fans safe" and reassured them that he would be returning to the stage soon.
Piers Corbyn fined over ‘murder’ claim at Covid vaccine clinic
Piers Corbyn has been fined £250 after accusing NHS staff at a London Covid-19 vaccination clinic of murdering people. The brother of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had arrived with a group of anti-vaxxers at Guy’s hospital in central London on 18 January with a “cease and desist” letter that they claimed was to prevent NHS staff from administering the Covid-19 vaccine. Corbyn told Chelsea Butcher, a nursing sister: “We are not leaving, you are murdering people here,” and another member of the group said, “This is a crime scene,” Westminster magistrates court heard. Iestyn Morgan, prosecuting, said Corbyn, 75, and David Burridge, 44, from Hounslow, west London, refused to leave the hospital’s atrium despite requests from NHS staff and police.
Working Remotely
Airbnb CEO: The office is 'anachronistic' and 'from a pre-digital age'
For Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, working at the office is now a relic of the past. In an interview for Time's The Leadership Brief, Chesky said he believes the office is "an anachronistic form" that's "from a pre-digital age." His comments come after Airbnb announced earlier this week that it will let employees work remotely forever with no pay cut, citing the ability to widen its talent pool and noting the company had its most productive two-year period ever while working remotely.
Remote Work Doesn't Negatively Affect Productivity, Study Suggests
A research team from the Texas A&M University School of Public Health found that employee and company resiliency may be enhanced through the opportunity for employees to work remotely during natural disasters and other events that cause workplace displacement. This study, which was published in IOS Press in February, offers important insights into information workers who have become increasingly used to and interested in working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Instill a Culture of Learning Into Your Hybrid Workplace
A world of uncertainty and continuous disruption requires agility from individuals and organizations. To stay agile and innovative, you must take this opportunity to root your culture in learning. This article outlines three ways to instill a culture of learning into your hybrid workplace to ensure that every employee in your organization has the tools and skills they need to take on future challenges.
Virtual Classrooms
How a tutoring service helps students with learning deficits
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, students continue to struggle to make up the learning deficit that came with reduced and compromised learning opportunities. Math test scores saw the greatest loss according to research from The Anneberg Institute. Of the $122.7 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act, 20% is to be used by local elementary and secondary education agencies to address learning loss. “There’s really a need for programs that can address the learning loss that’s happened in the last couple of years,” Kevin Kemper, co-owner of online math tutoring program My Math Experts.
Taiwan donates multimedia classroom equipment to Saint Lucia
Taiwan's embassy in Saint Lucia recently donated equipment for two multimedia classrooms, to help strengthen basic education and digital literacy in the Caribbean island nation. The equipment, which includes 65-inch interactive screens and high-definition cameras and speakers, can be used to facilitate remote classes, musical performances and virtual meetings, according to the Taiwan embassy in Saint Lucia.
Public Policies
China Rejects Its Exclusion From WTO Vaccine Waiver Proposal
China objected to a key provision of a World Trade Organization proposal to waive intellectual-property rights for Covid-19 vaccines that Beijing said would discourage shipments of doses to poorer nations. The development may complicate the WTO’s multi-year effort to reach an agreement to help speed production of vaccines in the developing world by permitting certain countries to authorize the use of Covid-19 jabs without the consent of the holders of the patent rights. China’s opposition is problematic because WTO agreements require support from all 164 members, meaning any one government can block the adoption of a vaccine IP waiver for any reason.
White House Warns of Fall, Winter Surge Without Additional Covid-19 Funding
The Biden administration estimates 100 million Americans may become infected with Covid-19 in the fall and winter without additional funding to help combat the pandemic and buy new vaccines for a fall booster campaign. The infections would result from a virus that is rapidly adapting and waning natural and vaccine immunity, as well as from lack of money for updating vaccines and for stockpiling tests and treatments, a senior administration official said Friday. The cases would amount to a million a day over the course of three to four months, according to a senior administration official, who shared the estimate as part of a White House push to secure $22.5 billion in new funding to combat the pandemic.
Xi Jinping attacks ‘doubters’ as he doubles down on China’s zero-Covid policy
Xi Jinping has confirmed there is no intention to turn away from China’s zero-Covid commitment, in a major speech to the country’s senior officials that also warned against any criticism or doubting of the policy. Addressing the seven-member politburo standing committee, China’s highest decision-making body, specifically about the Shanghai outbreak, the president said China’s response was “scientific and effective”. He told officials to “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of dynamic zero-Covid”. “We have won the battle to defend Wuhan, and we will certainly be able to win the battle to defend Shanghai,” he said, according to a translation by Sinocism’s Bill Bishop.
Maintaining Services
Wisconsin is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and cases
The state is experiencing an uptick in new reported deaths, hospitalizations and cases as new data analysis shows that this is not just a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The pandemic’s toll is no longer falling almost exclusively on those who chose not to or could not get shots, a Washington Post analysis that was published late last month found. During the omicron variant surge, the vaccinated made up 42% of deaths in January and February, compared with 23% of the dead in September, the peak of the delta wave, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pent-up demand prompts European travel recovery as COVID curbs ease
"There is a lot of pent-up demand. People want to see their families and travel again," said Phil Seymour, president of IBA Group, a UK-based consultancy and aircraft valuation firm. That echoes soaring domestic demand in the United States. "The big overlay is that air travel demand is back and it is back in a massive way," Sean Egan, Chief Executive of the Egan-Jones Ratings Company, told the Airfinance Journal conference. Challenges remain in the form of rising costs and staff shortages causing flights to be cancelled. Some airlines have promised more than they can deliver this summer, delegates warned.
Covid in Africa: Why the continent's only vaccine plant is struggling
Some experts blame concerns over the safety and efficacy of Covid vaccines for the slow uptake in many African countries. However others argue that after struggling to get vaccines, Africa experienced a glut of supply which was difficult to use in the required time,
Universities Have Returned in Person, But Some Disabled Students Don't Want to Go Back
Mya Pol said it takes her about 30 minutes to get from her dorm at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to her communications class. The trip across campus would take most of her peers less than half that time, she said. Ms. Pol, a 21-year-old senior communications major, uses a wheelchair. She said that every day she wonders how different her college experience would have been if she could have attended classes remotely, as she has during most of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Disabled people have been asking for remote access to work and education forever,” Ms. Pol said. “That sprung up pretty quickly with Covid and was fantastic. It created a lot more access for individuals who couldn’t make the class.”
War in Europe and China’s Battle With Covid Boost U.S.’s Business Appeal
European businesses are stepping up U.S. investment as executives search for growth and stability amid turbulence caused by the war in Ukraine and tough Covid-19 lockdowns in China. The U.S. economy has emerged strong from the pandemic, while Europe’s recovery prospects have been cast into doubt by the Ukraine war. Plus Beijing's stringent zero-Covid policy and regulatory crackdowns on technology companies and debt problems at large real estate businesses have raised questions about its commitment to economic growth. Exposure to the Chinese market has provided enormous growth and profits for European companies over the past decades. Few European executives are considering a wholesale withdrawal from China, but as its economy creaks, businesses are rethinking their investment strategies.
Healthcare Innovations
Kids get limited COVID protection from world's most popular vaccines
Three new studies offer a first look at how well some of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines protect young children from the coronavirus1–3. The results — including data from toddlers as young as three years old — have prompted mixed responses among researchers about whether the vaccines should be recommended for use in kids. The research examines two ‘inactivated’ vaccines, which rely on whole viruses that have been killed, that were developed by Chinese scientists. The results, from Argentina, Brazil and Chile, show that, in children, the vaccines provide little protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and modest protection against symptomatic COVID-19. The studies also show that the vaccines are less effective against the now-dominant Omicron variant than the earlier Delta variant. The studies have not yet been peer reviewed.
Cognitive impairment from long COVID equivalent to aging 20 years, study finds
A new study says that cognitive impairment due to long COVID is the equivalent of aging 20 years or losing 10 IQ points. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London published their findings in the journal eClinicalMedicine last week. They looked at data from 46 individuals who received care at a hospital for COVID-19 between March and July 2020 and compared them to a matched control group. Six months after their stay in hospital, the researchers invited the patients and the control group to undergo a computerized test to measure their memory, attention and reasoning. The researchers found that compared to the control group, those who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 were less accurate and displayed slower response times in the test.