"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 1st Jun 2020

Isolation Tips
Tackle the stresses of COVID-19 with these psychology tips
According to a report from the Columbus Dispatch, the Franklin County Coroner's Office reported 60 overdose deaths in the county in April, a 50% increase from April 2019. In Cuyahoga County, the medical examiner's office saw overdose deaths rise 45% from 33 in February to 48 in March 2020. "People are having a harder time adjusting to higher levels of depression or stress management, with so many added reasons for stress. People can't have a loved one come to see them in the hospital, people losing jobs, support groups are harder to access right now. This all is leaving people vulnerable right now," Van Keuren said.
Self-Care Tips For Expectant Moms Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Pregnancy is a stressful period in a woman’s life, with or without having the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with. But expectant mothers could feel more vulnerable in quarantine due to the lack of social support and extensive isolation. Prospective mothers might also harbor worries regarding their capabilities to nurture a newborn child and the pandemic might be exacerbating their anxieties.
Coronavirus Australia: How to ease your pets into your return to the office
Before dashing back to the office, experts are urging people to transition their pets to avoid stress or separation anxiety.
The coronavirus pandemic and its impact on mental health
For people who have had depression or anxiety, these fears can be ‘exacerbated’, says Debbie Workman, the team leader for the East Berkshire and Buckinghamshire branch of peer support group Friends in Need. While face-to-face group meetings and activities have been cancelled the service, which supports those who are living with mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety, or people who are socially isolated or lonely, has moved online. It is now delivering virtual activity sessions in a bid to continue supporting members during the lockdown. The group, which is funded by the NHS and run by Buckinghamshire Mind, aims to reduce social isolation and build ‘community resilience’.
Hygiene Helpers
Leaning Tower of Pisa among sites in Italy to reopen after lockdown
Some of Italy’s most famous cultural sites are coming back to life after being closed for more than three months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened on Saturday, the Colosseum and Vatican Museums will welcome visitors again from Monday and Florence’s Uffizi gallery from Tuesday. A huge exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the death of the Renaissance painter Raphael will open at Le Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome on Monday. All sites and museums are reopening with strict safety measures in place. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, which usually attracts 5 million visitors a year, is only permitting 15 people in at a time. They have to wear face masks and an electronic device that warns them if they are less than a metre of anyone else.
Coronavirus: Germans cautious dining out despite lockdown easing
Although Germany started easing lockdown measures earlier this May, it has yet to see a significant spike in infections, which experts say is because of the continuing cautiousness of Germans even after rules have eased. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control has recorded only 300 to 600 new daily coronavirus cases in the past few days. Local authorities have also agreed to pull an "emergency brake" and reimpose social curbs if the infection rate rises above 50 cases per 100,000 residents over a week.
Extra legroom and no interval: Germany plans for post-lockdown theatre
Berliner Ensemble unveils auditorium with most chairs ripped out, but some left in pairs, for a socially distanced audience who can visit the toilet during the play
Indonesians return to mosques, at a distance
Muslims in some parts of Indonesia attended Friday prayers as mosques closed by the coronavirus for weeks were allowed to start reopening in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. The guidelines for worship facilities released by religious affairs minister Fachrul Razi on Friday change many traditions in mosques. Worshippers usually pray shoulder to shoulder, and they huddle, hug and shake hands once the prayer ends, with cheek-to-cheek kisses common. Muslims in the Jakarta satellite city of Bekasi were expected to stay at least one meter (yard) apart with no handshaking, and heard shorter sermons. No children were allowed to join the prayers, and police and soldiers ensured health protocols such as social distancing and mask wearing were observed.
These Techniques Can Help Stop Coronavirus Spreading In The Home
Wearing face masks at home, opening windows and frequently disinfecting surfaces are key to stopping the spread of Covid-19 in the home, a new study has found. Researchers questioned 460 people from 124 families in Beijing on their household hygiene and behaviours during the pandemic. It’s thought most of the person-to-person transmission of Covid-19 in China occurred in families.
Community Activities
B.C. volunteers have sewn 15,000 masks since COVID-19 pandemic started
An army of volunteer sewers in B.C. has made over 15,000 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizers are now planning to create a non-profit organization to be able to organize and fundraise for the effort. Vancouver residents Tanya Faire and Britt Dolleren Wutschnik started the group Protect Frontline Workers on Facebook, after Dolleren Wutschnik posted that a friend who works in health care was looking for a mask. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept around the world, personal protective equipment, or PPE, became hard to find – and people stuck at home to prevent the spread of the virus were looking for a way to help.
New drive-in cinema to tour the UK promising mix of 80s classic and family-friendly blockbusters
Once a hallmark of teenage life in 50s America, the drive-in movie is rolling into the UK. Touring across 11 cities in 12 weeks, @TheDriveIn will pop-up its screens from July 2 until September 27, starting with four days in south London, later returning to the capital for a stint in the east from September 17-20. The experience – which, given punters will be inside their own cars, should adhere to any social distancing rules which may still be in place – will screen six shows a day, with a mix of 80s classics and family-friendly blockbusters on the bill.
Students put on killer Queen performance during lockdown
Musical theatre students tried a little Freddie to put on a killer Queen performance during lockdown. First and second years at University Centre Shrewsbury performed the classic Somebody to Love in one of their isolation sessions and uploaded it to YouTube. The video has received positive feedback online, including from the university's chancellor Sir Gyles Brandreth, who said: "The way the whole @uochester team has responded to this pandemic has been so impressive: heartening, inspiring, moving. I’m a mightily proud Chancellor.” Students participated in the video from their homes in England, Wales, Scotland and the United States. Ewan Ceney, Musical Theatre technician, created the instrumental track and sent it to the students to record their vocals. Once the students returned their completed solos, Ceney mixed the audio and edited the video.
Working Remotely
Work of the future is all about collaboration
Commissioned by leading Australian architecture and interiors firm Bates Smart to understand the impact of the disruption of COVID-19 on workplace, work life and work operations, the survey indicates that the sudden transition to remote working has not affected productivity with 74% of respondents feeling as productive working remotely as they did in the office.
'Shark Tank' investor Kevin O'Leary says companies will 'save a ton of money' from remote working
Kevin O’Leary told CNBC that the coronavirus crisis has shown that remote working is good for employees and a business’s bottom line. “Productivity is significantly higher when you give people what they want,” the “Shark Tank” investor said. “We’re going to save a ton of money,” he added. “I’m really excited about the new America we’re going to have.”
'I feel so much better': Employees ready to work from home more often
A survey by Swinburne University researchers John Hopkins and Anne Bardoel found nearly four in 10 respondents had never worked from home before the crisis. But only 10 per cent said they will not do any work from home in future. Housing manager Lola Treadwell’s work routine was radically altered by the pandemic.
Remote working: How cities might change if we worked from home more
Major tech companies say they are open to their staff working from home permanently. Employees are coming to realise remote working is not only possible but, in some cases, preferable. A shift to a new way of working might already be under way. Such a shift could have profound implications on our home life, and by extension on the life of our towns and cities: almost a quarter of all office space in England and Wales is in central London alone. To understand those implications, we brought together four experts on city life, all of whom were working from home.
Home work: Coronavirus propels telework trend
"Our distributed workforce has proven to make us more resilient, and we do expect to have a larger number of telecommuters going forward," BlueCross spokesman John Hawbaker says. The teleworking shift, or at least parts of it, seem likely to outlast the COVID-19 crisis. "Remote work has gone from an HR-level discussion to a C-suite-level discussion," says Prithwiraj Choudhury, a professor at Harvard Business School. Before the pandemic, less than 4% of American employees worked from home full time. A study by the Brookings Institution estimates that share jumped to more than half of all workers soon after governments adopted stay-at-home orders. Among the top 20% of earners — who are more likely to have desk jobs that can be done from anywhere — that share rose to an estimated 70% of workers.
Coronavirus pandemic exposes risks and rewards of working from home
A number of the world’s biggest companies have begun canvassing their staff about how they would like their working day to look once employees are able to start returning safely to the office in large numbers, with some firms already announcing that they do not expect workers to return this year.
Will working from home become permanent?
Mark Zuckerberg is moving Facebook toward a substantially remote workforce over the next decade, making changes permanent that began in the past few months. Within 10 years, Zuckerberg told The Wall Street Journal he expects as much as half of Facebook’s employees — who currently number more than 45,000 — to work from home. There are also many other examples of working from home becoming the norm: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently told employees they could work from home permanently. Other smaller tech companies have announced similar proposals.
Virtual Classrooms
New academic year begins in Kerala, lessons go online via KITE Victers channel due to coronavirus COVID-19...
The new academic year will begin in Kerala on Monday (June 1) but this year it will be completely online using multiple virtual platforms due to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents call for virtual school for Scottish pupils
Some parents are calling for a Scotland-wide virtual school as anxieties grow at the prospect of indefinite home schooling into the autumn and beyond. While pupils transitioning into primary and secondary schools should be in class briefly before the summer holidays begin at the end of June, the majority of Scotland’s schoolchildren with not return until 11 August, and then to a blended model of in-school and at-home learning. With parents already struggling to support their children’s education, often while continuing to work from home, there was consternation when it emerged last week that Scotland’s largest local authority, Glasgow city council, is considering a model that would see children in school only two days out of every five.
Teaching in the time of coronavirus: Finding creative ways to engage students
“The challenge is for us to make it engaging, high interest,” said Dave Peterson, a fifth-grade teacher at Juniper Elementary in Escondido, who created digital badges inspired by gaming rewards, which students could earn for completing assignments. “We also have to give them some incentive to show up.” It’s perhaps fitting that this generation of students, often referred to as iGen because of their familiarity with digital media, should be the ones to beta test online education on a large scale. For some districts, it’s hastening changes that were already in the works. In Vista Unified School District, which began a transition to “personalized learning” years ago, it was a relatively smooth transition, Superintendent Matt Doyle said. The district had already invested heavily in mobile devices such as Chromebooks and hotspots, and had retooled classrooms so that students could be more active in their own educations.
Public Policies
Greece bans Brits when it reopens to tourists due to poor coronavirus record
Greece has released its latest travel advice and told millions of Brits hoping for a summer holiday to Greece that they're not welcome when the country reopens to tourists next month
Spanish tourism minister says UK must 'improve' its Covid record before Brits will be allowed in
Spain's tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto said UK must improve Covid-19 rate. The prospect of Brits returning to Spanish beaches in next two weeks dashed German and Nordic countries most likely to be involved in tourism 'test-run'. Tourists arriving at Balearic Islands to be tested and isolate at airport for 6 hours. Comes after pressure on British government to scrap new quarantine rules
Health officials make last-minute plea to stop lockdown easing in England
Royal College of Nursing also fears lifting of more restrictions on ‘happy Monday’ is too early
Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England – Sage advisers
Government advisers have voiced unease over the decision to lift England’s lockdown while thousands of people a day are still becoming infected with the coronavirus, warning that loosening restrictions could easily lead to a second wave. “We cannot relax our guard by very much at all,” said John Edmunds, a professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who attends meetings of Sage, the scientific advisory group on emergencies. There are still 8,000 new infections every day in England without counting those in hospitals and care homes, Edmunds said. “If you look at it internationally, it’s a very high level of incidence.” World Health Organization statistics suggest it is the fifth highest in the world.
Coronavirus: Dubai updates rules on wearing face masks in public
Updates to the guidelines, made by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, say people can now temporarily remove their face masks in the following conditions: When eating or drinking in indoor or outdoor settings, Driving alone or with family members (which is still limited to three people including driver per vehicle), Engaging in strenuous exercise, When alone, Swimming or skydiving, Undergoing specific medical treatment
Contact tracing may help avoid another lockdown. Can it work in the US?
To contain the spread of Covid-19, Alaska is planning to triple its number of contact tracers. Utah has retrained 150 state employees. And New York and other states are hiring thousands of people. And that, health experts say, might not be enough. To suppress their epidemics to manageable levels, countries around the world have turned to contact tracing — tracking down people who might have been exposed to the coronavirus to ensure they don’t pass it to others, a way of stalking routes of viral spread and severing them before they reach more people. And, to varying degrees, it has worked. But, for it to succeed in the United States, experts are cautioning that it’s going to take more people, more money, and more cooperation than the country has in place.
Spain will open gradually to tourism, beginning with European countries
Spain usually welcomes more than 80 million visitors each year, making it one of the most visited countries in the world, with tourism a key part of its economy. But it has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis and wants to be cautious as it opens to visitors from Jul 1, Gonzalez Laya said. “In this very atypical year of 2020, we will not be able to behave as usual,” she said. “It's health. It's making sure that we do not import cases as we are trying to control the cases we have in the country. It's very prudent management on our side to make sure we put COVID under control.” Much remains to be decided as to who will be able to travel where and on what criteria, with talks going on first with European countries on when a territory can be deemed safe, Gonzalez Laya said.
Coronavirus: Early testing and swift lockdowns prevented 'up to 100000 deaths' in Germany
Germany’s early response to the virus in terms of developing and deploying coronavirus tests at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the government’s quick response to scientists’ recommendations has prevented thousands of deaths in the country, according to a leading virologist. In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine (link in German), Christian Drosten, director of the Virology Institute at Berlin’s Charité hospital, said that without his lab’s work developing a coronavirus diagnostic test in January, Germany would have been less well-prepared for the outbreak. “In mid-February we were able to routinely test for Sars-CoV-2 in Germany,” Drosten said. “If we hadn't been able to test so early, if we scientists hadn't informed politicians, I believe we would now have 50,000 to 100,000 more deaths in Germany.”
Coronavirus: School return begins and more businesses reopen
Children in England in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 can start returning to the classroom today. Many won't though - up to half potentially kept off by worried parents, according to a survey. Others can't go back because their local council has said no to schools reopening.
Maintaining Services
What a post-lockdown lockdown bar could look like - including thermal imaging cameras and some staff in visors
Thermal imaging cameras, bar staff in visors and orders on an app: this is how one of Manchester's most popular bars plans to finally reopen. Albert’s Schloss has today revealed the measures it’s putting in place to keep staff, customers and the venues performers safe. It could be a taste of things to come at hospitality venues across Greater Manchester and the rest of the UK. Before being seated or served, customers will face a temperaturescreening from a thermal imaging camera which alerts staff to anyone with an elevated temperature. If staff suspect anyone on site is unwell - customer or otherwise - they are likely to be asked to leave and seek medical attention.
Mayor Tory urges employers to allow remote work to continue until at least September
Toronto Mayor John Tory is urging companies to continue to let their employees work remotely until at least September to ensure a safe restart during the city's recovery period. Tory said working from home, phasing in employees return to work and staggering start times where possible will help businesses and organizations reopen safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic."Such an approach will help take the pressure off our subway system downtown and help ensure that we have a slower, steady and safe restart," Tory said during the city's COVID-19 briefing on Friday
Western Australia to finally relax lockdown laws with gyms to open and 300 people allowed in pubs
Western Australia will enter stage 3 of eased lockdown restrictions on June 6. The relaxed laws will increase gathering limits and allow up to 300 people. Patrons must be seated at all times inside pubs, restaurants and food courts. Gyms, health clubs and beauty services will be able to operate as normal
French bistros turn on their stoves as lockdown eased
France was promised a return to an “almost normal life” yesterday as the prime minister authorised restaurants to reopen and city dwellers to start planning trips to the seaside. Édouard Philippe unveiled a battery of decisions to ensure “freedom will become the rule and restrictions the exception” in the second phase of the government’s lockdown exit strategy. Chefs will be able to turn on their stoves again, the Mona Lisa will once more greet visitors to the Louvre and tourists will be able to return to the Eiffel Tower. Mr Philippe said France wanted Europe’s internal borders reopened on June 15, but insisted that if Britain went ahead with its plan to quarantine people arriving from France for 14 days, Paris would impose a similar quarantine period
Australian pubs face a long road back after lockdown
Publican Leisa Wheatland says a large empty pub is a bit like a school with no kids, "it's pretty sad and lonely without patrons." Coffee windows, jam jar cocktails, takeaway dinners and "takeovers" by patrons are keeping Australia's shuttered pubs afloat, but as the industry toasts the lifting of lockdown laws next week, publicans say bouncing back from the brink is not as simple as pouring a pint.
Healthcare Innovations
Covid-19 expert Karl Friston: 'Germany may have more immunological “dark matter”'
Neuroscientist Karl Friston, of University College London, builds mathematical models of human brain function. Lately, he’s been applying his modelling to Covid-19, and using what he learns to advise Independent Sage, the committee set up as an alternative to the UK government’s official pandemic advice body, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
UK regulator halts antibody home tests for coronavirus
UK regulators have asked all coronavirus antibody test providers that use a blood sample taken with a finger prick to halt operations as doubts persist over their accuracy. On Wednesday, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s director of devices, Graeme Tunbridge, said the use of unvalidated samples may lead to unreliable results. “People who have purchased one of these sampling kits, and received an antibody test result, should not consider the result to be reliable and should not take any action on it,” he said.
AstraZeneca Says It May Consider Exposing Vaccine Trial Participants to Virus
The chief executive of AstraZeneca, which is developing a leading coronavirus vaccine with Oxford University, said it is too early to deliberately expose vaccine trial participants to the pathogen, but it may become an option if ongoing trials hit a snag. The British drugmaker has started phase 2 and 3 trials of a vaccine, and will need a certain number of participants to become infected in the course of their normal lives to achieve a reliable reading from the study over the next few months.
Scientific Doubt Tempers COVID-19 Vaccine Optimism
"If all the cards fall into the right place and all the stars are aligned, you definitely could get a vaccine by December or January," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last week. But Fauci said a more realistic timeline is still 12 to 18 months, and experts interviewed by Medscape Medical News agree. They say that although recent developments are encouraging, history and scientific reason say the day when a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available will not come this year and may not come by the end of 2021