"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 24th May 2022

Isolation Tips
Shanghai makes way towards COVID lockdown exit, Beijing plays defence
Shanghai cautiously pushed ahead on Saturday with plans to restore part of its transport network in a major step towards exiting a weeks-long COVID-19 lockdown, while Beijing kept up its defences in an outbreak that has persisted for a month. Shanghai's lockdown since the beginning of April has dealt a heavy economic blow to China's most populous city, stirred debate over the sustainability of the nation's zero-COVID policy and stoked fears of future lockdowns and disruptions.
China Covid Lockdowns: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai Rules Still Widespread
Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climb, while reopening in Shanghai looks to be taking place in fits and starts, with most people still unable to move about freely. The emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant has spurred increasingly stringent pandemic curbs in China since March, in some cases snap lockdowns that carried heavy costs for the local population and economy. The pattern of transmission and restrictions across the country could offer insight into what regions may be vulnerable to disruption in the days ahead. Nationwide, overall cases are trending down. Of China’s top 50 cities by economic size, only Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai currently have widespread restrictions in place.
Hygiene Helpers
Three Doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine 80% Effective in Young Children, Company Says
Three doses of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine were 80% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and generated a robust immune response in children ages 6 months to 5 years old, the companies said. The vaccine was also found to be safe and well-tolerated among the children in the study, the companies said Monday. Many of the children had received at least some of their shots during the Omicron wave, suggesting that the three-dose series worked well against the highly contagious variant after the two doses produced mixed results. “We have a big problem called Omicron, and I think we have a good solution,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in an interview. The companies reported the findings without much detail via press release based on an early analysis of study results.
California coronavirus spread significantly worsens, with cases doubling in some areas
The number of coronavirus cases in California significantly worsened last week, hitting a level not seen since the winter’s omicron surge and raising concerns about the possibility of a big jump in infections this summer. Weekly coronavirus cases roughly doubled across wide swaths of California, including Riverside and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the Central Valley and Silicon Valley. They rose by roughly 85% in Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Statewide, the increase was 63%, bringing the case rate to 231 for every 100,000 residents. A rate of 100 and above is considered a high rate of transmission.
Two cases of new Covid-19 variant of concern confirmed in Ireland
Two cases of a newly classified Covid-19 variant of concern have been confirmed in Ireland. On May 12 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reclassified two sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, BA.4 and BA.5, from variants of interest to variants of concern. In the chief medical officer’s latest weekly report on Covid-19 to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, he says that two cases of BA.4 have been identified as of the week beginning May 7. Dr Tony Holohan said: “In the context of the international situation in relation to these variants, it should be noted that, as of week 18 2022 (May 7), two cases of BA.4 and no cases of BA.5 have been identified in Ireland.”
Drugmakers propose swift pandemic response benefiting poorer countries
Global drugmakers are lobbying for wealthy nations to fund a supply mechanism that would secure vaccines for low-income countries without delay in case of a new pandemic, but said the proposal was contingent on free cross-border trade. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said in a statement on Monday that global pandemic vaccine distribution needs to be put on a new footing because the world’s poorest countries were forced to wait for shots during the current pandemic.
Community Activities
Shanghai reopens some public transport, still on high COVID alert
Shanghai reopened a small part of the world's longest subway system on Sunday after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week. With most residents not allowed to leave their homes and restrictions tightening in parts of China's most populous city, commuters early on Sunday needed strong reasons to travel.
Tesla plans to ramp up to pre-lockdown output in Shanghai by Tuesday
Tesla Inc plans to restore production at its Shanghai plant to the level at which it had operated before the city's COVID-19 lockdown by Tuesday, a day later than its most recent recovery plan, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. Tesla will more than double its daily output to 2,600 electric vehicles at its Shanghai plant from Tuesday, according to the memo detailing the plan. That compares to around 1,000 EVs produced on Monday, according to the memo, and would bring Tesla's weekly output to nearly 16,000 units, the memo showed.
Working Remotely
More than 80% who worked from home in the pandemic say they will do hybrid working in future
More than eight out of 10 people who had to work from home during the pandemic are planning to carry out hybrid working in future, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). And the proportion planning to work primarily from home rose from 30% in April 2021 to 42% in February 2022. It shows that many people are ignoring the government's calls to return to the office in favour of what can be a better work-life balance.
Working from home: Why woc don't want to return to the office
Many of us have embraced a new normal despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This new reality that has so far shaped our 2020s has seen us spend more time working from home and has shifted our definition of work – and for many women of colour, this idea of remote working has alleviated many of the stresses that come with working in an office where you are often a minority. A new study conducted by Harvard Business Review found many women of colour who work in the tech industry don’t want to return to the office, with 81% of women saying they experienced at least some racism. In comparison, 90% said the same for sexism.
Virtual Classrooms
Pandemic school reopenings were not just about politics
Almost as soon as some schools reopened for in-person learning in the fall of 2020, research was suggesting a tidy, albeit dark, conclusion about why they did: politics. Early analyses indicated that Covid-19 health factors had virtually nothing to do with reopening decisions, and partisan politics could explain nearly all the variation. Further analyses show a more complicated picture.
What Should We Call the In-Person and Virtual Meetings?
For teaching and learning, we use the term “hybrid” to describe a course that has both in-person and online components. A hybrid degree program is customarily understood as one delivered primarily online and that contains some expectations of on-campus and face-to-face contact hours. The closest language that we have for mixed in-person/Zoom meetings in a course setting is HyFlex. Students in a HyFlex course can choose if they want to attend physically (in class) or virtually (by Zoom or whatever platform is used).
Public Policies
WHO says no evidence monkeypox virus has mutated
The World Health Organization does not have evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated, a senior executive at the U.N. agency said on Monday, noting the infectious disease that has been endemic in west and central Africa has tended not to change. Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat that is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme, told a briefing that mutations tended to be typically lower with this virus, although genome sequencing of cases will help inform understanding of the current outbreak.
Covid-19—How Europe's vaccine donations went tragically wrong
Covid vaccine equity remains out of reach, as wealthy nations drag their feet on donations, and vaccine stocks pass their use-by dates, write Lucien Hordijk and Priti Patnaik On 21 December 2021, a truck piled with brown cardboard boxes drove to the Goja rubbish dump in Abuja, Nigeria. Inside the boxes were a million doses of AstraZeneca’s covid-19 vaccine, which were tipped onto the heap, among dirty plastic bags and papers. Two months earlier, Nigeria had agreed to receive 2.6 million doses of the vaccine from the Covax facility, an initiative set up to distribute covid-19 vaccines equitably worldwide. The vaccines, in large part coming from Europe, had been close to expiry. “Some of these vaccines came in with a shelf life of about four weeks,” said Faisal Shaibu, a Nigerian government official tasked with organising vaccination of the country’s 200 million population against covid-19. Following quality inspections and regional allocations, Nigeria administered 1.53 million doses. But the rest were thrown away. Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and Indonesia have destroyed vaccines received from Europe and North America because they arrived close to expiry
U.S. Justice Department to appeal judge's ruling on COVID border migrant rules
The U.S. Justice Department will appeal a federal judge's decision blocking the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions that empower agents at the U.S.-Mexico border to turn back migrants without giving them a chance to seek asylum. "The Department of Justice intends to appeal," spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.
U.S. drug regulator lifts clinical hold on Ocugen's COVID vaccine trial
Ocugen Inc said the U.S. drug regulator has lifted the clinical hold on a mid-to-late stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by its Indian partner Bharat Biotech. The Food and Drug Administration paused the trials of the shot, Covaxin, in April after an inspection of a Bharat Biotech facility by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed deficiencies in the manufacturing process.
Oman ends all COVID protective measures
Oman announced on Sunday the lifting of all measures that had been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in all venues and for all activities, state TV reported, citing a statement from the government committee dealing with the pandemic. There have been 389,943 infections and 4,260 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the sultanate since the pandemic began, according to Reuters data.
Maintaining Services
Indian vaccine giant Serum plans African plant in global expansion
"It's never been a better time to be a vaccine manufacturer. I'm looking at expanding our manufacturing across the globe," SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "There are some great countries out there: South Africa, Rwanda, you know, to name a few that we're looking at." Poonawalla said he was meeting some African officials in Davos to discuss his plans. Asked about possible investments, he said such projects typically required at least around $300 million.
COVID: On the road with the 'vaccine convoys' critical to keeping up the fight against coronavirus
It is difficult to know what COVID is doing to the people of Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the death toll has been vastly undercounted in much of the world, but poor data collection in most African countries makes it difficult to assess the true impact on the continent. Evidence on COVID-related deaths in South Africa suggests there are serious grounds for concern. Experts at South Africa’s Medical Research Council believe hundreds of thousands of deaths have been lost in the paperwork. The real death toll is thought to be three times the official number of 101,000.
Monkeypox in Europe: Officials Call on Nations to Boost Efforts
As monkeypox cases climb in the UK, European health officials are calling on countries to review the availability of vaccines and step up efforts to identify and report new infections. Countries should check on supplies of smallpox vaccines, antiviral therapies and protective equipment for health workers, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said Monday. The recommendations come as England reported that cases almost tripled to 56 from 20. The cousin of the smallpox virus has previously been mostly confined to regions in Africa, but health authorities are concerned about cases ticking up in Europe and North America. The World Health Organization had said that 92 cases and 28 suspected cases had been identified in 12 countries outside of those African nations where it is endemic as of May 21.
Smallpox Vaccine Enters Wider Production Amid Monkeypox Outbreak
Danish vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic A/S is making more of a smallpox vaccine typically stockpiled in case of biological warfare, as governments seek doses that also offer protection against monkeypox amid an unusual outbreak around the world. Monkeypox, a viral illness that is only rarely detected outside of Africa, has been reported in recent weeks in at least 17 countries including the U.S., U.K., Spain, Portugal and Australia, according to nonprofit data platform Global.health. In the U.S., a case was confirmed in Massachusetts and at least five more are suspected—one each in Florida, New York and Washington and two in Utah, state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
Healthcare Innovations
Women who are pregnant or nursing should receive a COVID booster vaccination
In the current work, the researchers examined humoral immunity elicited by the booster dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in 63 subjects comprising breastfeeding, pregnant and age-matched nonpregnant females. They studied the antibody response to the spike (S) proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and ancestral strains in a group of 12 nursing, 31 pregnant, and 20 nonpregnant age-matched volunteers who received an mRNA-1273 or BNT162b2 booster dose after completing the primary COVID-19 vaccination. Further, the researchers analyzed the transmission of vaccine-triggered antibodies in 15 maternal-cord pairs at delivery. The eligible subjects were lactating, pregnant, and nonpregnant women aged 18 to 45 years. Moreover, all included participants were vaccinated with SARS-CoV-2 mRNA booster dose between August and December 2021. The participants were selected from two tertiary care hospitals by practitioners or were self-referred. Blood samples were taken from all volunteers four weeks following the booster dose vaccination and at delivery in pregnant women. Furthermore, umbilical cord and maternal blood were obtained during delivery for 15 women who gave birth during the research period.
Largest study to date on the effect of vaccination on long-COVID
In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers evaluated the association between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination and long COVID symptoms among adults residing in United Kingdom (UK) communities with positive COVID-19 history before vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in decreasing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections, transmission, hospitalizations, and deaths. The likelihood of long COVID may be lower among individuals who are infected by SARS-CoV-2 after vaccination; however, the association between COVID-19 vaccination and long COVID symptoms is not clear.
Long Covid 1: assessing the long-term health effects of Covid-19
Long Covid is more than a prolonged recovery from a respiratory infection; it is a multisystem, and potentially long-term and life-changing, disease. Many people carry the illness burden, including nurses, who may be disproportionately affected due to their high risk of Covid-19 infection. In this first in a series of three articles on long Covid, we look at what is known about the condition, its symptoms, causes and prognosis, and the nurse’s role, particularly in symptom management.