"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 25th Jul 2022

Isolation Tips
China considers further easing Covid quarantine rules
China is considering a further reduction in its quarantine requirements to lessen the economic impact of strict Covid-19 controls. The announcement came on the heels of promises by Premier Li Keqiang this week that China would continue to refine its Covid-19 response with more targeted measures in terms of visa access and testing policies as well as allowing more international flights to China. Wang Liping, an infectious diseases expert with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told a media briefing on Thursday that the centre is constantly looking to improve its epidemic control playbook.
Hygiene Helpers
Mask wearing required in Kentucky's largest school district
Kentucky’s largest school district will require universal masking on school property as Jefferson County moves into the highest level of COVID-19 community spread. The change begins Monday and lasts until Jefferson County comes out of the red, media outlets reported. It comes a little more than two weeks before classes resume in Jefferson County Public Schools. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask on district property or on school buses. District policy automatically requires universal masking whenever the county has a high level of COVID-19 community spread. When community spread in Jefferson County drops, masks in JCPS become optional.
NZ has mask mandates and isolation, but the Omicron daily death rate is still 'very concerning'
Across the Tasman, New Zealanders who were once asked to lock down over a single case of COVID-19 are now being urged to wear masks as the country records a seven-day rolling average of nearly 10,000 cases a day. Authorities believe there is widespread community infection in every region of New Zealand, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 sub-variant. And for a nation of just 5.1 million people, attention is now turning to New Zealand's daily death rate, which has been among the highest in the world according to one World Health Organization measure.
WHO Prioritizes Health Care Workers And Older Populations in Latest COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy Update
After missing the target to vaccinate 70% of people in every country against COVID by July 2022, WHO’s new vaccine strategy prioritises 100% coverage for health workers and older people – but admits that every country will have to decide for itself. The World Health Organization has published an update to the Global COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy that preserves its 70% global vaccination target and 100% vaccination targets for health care workers and older populations, but acknowledges that countries will still need to determine their ‘context-specific targets’ for their own COVID-19 national vaccination programmes.
Covid-Hit LA on Track to Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandate Next Week
The Los Angeles health authority cautioned that an indoor masking mandate is on track to be reimposed next week, even for the fully vaccinated, unless Covid-19 cases take a sharp drop. A universal mandate will be put in place across the US’s most-populous county after a “high” level of community-transmission for two straight weeks. If the current trends hold, a new mandate would go into effect on July 29, according to Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director.
Community Activities
Two symptoms that mean you should 'assume you have Covid', professor says
Article reports that a professor has warned people over two symptoms that probably mean they have Covid. With free tests stopped for the majority in April, it is harder for people to spot they have the virus. Omicron BA.5 is now the dominant Covid strain, accounting for approximately 79% of UK cases as of July 18. Professor Tim Spector, who heads up the ZOE Health Study, said people should assume they do have coronavirus if they wake up with a sore throat and fatigue, despite getting a good night's sleep, The Mirror reports. Professor Spector tweeted: "Twice as many covid cases as common colds currently- the ratio has never been so high. Symptoms much the same except generally more fatigue and sore throat - so best to assume it’s Covid!
Working Remotely
Is Hybrid Work Killing Remote Summer? Yes, but It Doesn't Have To.
For more than two years, many knowledge workers have enjoyed the unfettered freedom to spend weeks or months at a time taking Zoom meetings from a lake house or filing reports while driving across the country. Now, some companies maintaining an in-office component are carving out time for people to work from anywhere, among them American Express Co., which offers 30 days. This past fall, Amazon.com Inc. went from planning to have employees in the office three days a week to letting directors of individual teams decide how frequently they will go in. The company has said it wants the majority of people to be able to easily travel to the office for a meeting on a day’s notice, but it’s still reserving four weeks of remote work for almost all corporate employees.
Boomers, bosses and Elon Musk are all wrong about remote work
The remote-work debate rages on into its third year. Elon Musk may claim that remote workers are pretending to do their jobs, but residents of New York City and San Francisco can tell you that there’s just no going back to the before-times of the five-day commute. And bosses—particularly boomers—remain steadfast supporters of returning to the office, despite the fact that just about all employees want to work from home at least some of the time. Slack’s latest Future Forum survey installment showed a clear divide between managers 50 and above, who really don’t like remote work, and younger ones, who are frankly pretty chill about the whole thing.
The future of remote work, according to 6 experts
Whether you’re a remote work booster or a skeptic, there are lots of unanswered questions about what happens next for remote work, especially as Covid-19 restrictions continue to fade and as fears of a recession loom. How many people are going to work remotely in the future, and will that change in an economic downturn? Will remote work affect their chances of promotion? What does it mean for where people live and the offices they used to work in? Does this have any effect on the majority of people who don’t get to work remotely? If employees don’t have to work in person to be effective, couldn’t their jobs be outsourced?
Virtual Classrooms
Global Virtual Education Summit 2022 to be held from August 12 to August 14 2022
The Global Virtual Education Summit - 2022 is being organized by IN4OBE, USA - in collabration with Lords Institute of Engineering & Technology, Hyderabad, The Regional India Chapter of IN4OBE. ​
Online Schooling Is the Bad Idea That Refuses to Die
Nearly all of the 20 largest US school districts will offer online schooling options this fall. Over half of them will be offering more full-time virtual school programs than they did before the pandemic. The trend seems likely to continue or accelerate, according to an analysis by Chalkbeat. That’s a problem. School closings over the last two years have inflicted severe educational and emotional damage on American students. Schools should now be focusing on creative ways to fill classrooms, socialize kids and convey the joy of collaborative learning — not on providing opportunities to stay home.
Public Policies
WHO Chief Overrules Panel to Declare Monkeypox Global Emergency
The monkeypox outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern, the head of the World Health Organization said, overruling a divided expert panel to issue the group’s highest alert. The move paves the way for stepped-up global cooperation to stop the virus, which has spread to dozens of countries. The last time the WHO made a similar declaration was during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in January 2020. US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called the WHO decision “a call to action for the global health community.” President Joe Biden’s administration has made vaccines, testing and treatments available and is “determined to accelerate our response in the days ahead,” he said in a statement.
WHO Declares Monkeypox a Global Health Emergency
The World Health Organization has declared that monkeypox is a public-health emergency of international concern as global case numbers surpass 16,000. This is the first time the WHO has declared a global health emergency since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2020. The WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the emergency committee believes the risk is moderate globally, except in the European region where it assesses the risk as high.
Biden's Covid Diagnosis Is a Wake-Up Call for America
The news that President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid should serve as a wake-up call for the rest of us: Almost three years on, the pandemic is still not going very well. Perhaps it’s human nature to put bad news out of mind. Still, one reason so many people have chosen to ignore Covid-19 may be that they are wary, and weary, of public health authorities. If people admit Covid is still a big problem, they are implicitly giving regulators permission to control their lives once again. But people are tired of lockdowns, mandatory testing, canceled school sessions and travel restrictions. And so they are fighting back with the ultimate form of non-violent resistance — forgetting about the issue altogether.
‘Covid is not going to go away’: Australia will require public health measures for foreseeable future, say experts
In May 2021, Australia’s chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly, described how Covid vaccines were our “ticket out of the pandemic”. Vaccination, he said, would give Australians “a life with more certainty”. More than one year later, Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination rate is among the highest in the world. Yet daily deaths from the virus remain in the double-digits. Hospitals are overwhelmed, aged care homes and the most vulnerable are struggling with outbreaks, and there is again debate about whether more social restrictions, including mask mandates, are needed to curb virus spread. Infectious diseases expert and director of the Doherty Institute, Prof Sharon Lewin, said: “Last year, I definitely did not think we would be in this position.”
Maintaining Services
Recoveries greater than new cases as COVID total drops
After enjoying almost 2 months of being COVID free, Cambodia today again recorded new COVID cases. Today’s official daily new COVID case total (diagnosed by PCR test) was 20, bringing the COVID case total to 136,565 cases. Cambodia announced 0 new deaths, bringing the total to 3,056 direct deaths from COVID-19 in Cambodia.
South Australian COVID-19 acute commander appointed as new measures taken to free up hospital beds
A record number of people with COVID-19 are in South Australia's hospitals. New wards for patients with the virus are opening in Adelaide hospitals. Agency and student nurses will be recruited to replace some of the 1,200 infected SA Health staff.
Healthcare Innovations
Children who suffer four symptoms could develop Long Covid, study finds
Children who show at least four symptoms are most at risk of suffering from Long Covid, according to new research. The international study found the most common symptoms to be fatigue or weakness, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Researchers also found hospitalisations for 48 or more hours and being aged 14 or older are other aggravating factors. These findings could help identify vulnerable individuals who are more susceptible to Long Covid. Lead author Professor Stephen Freedman of the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, explained: "We found in some children, illness with Covid-19 is associated with reporting persistent symptoms after three months. Our results suggest appropriate guidance and follow-up are needed, especially for children at high risk for Long Covid."
New study estimates how many children will get long Covid
An international study estimates the prevalence of long Covid in children to be anywhere from 5% to 10% — a figure that's far lower than estimates of long Covid in more than a third of adults. The findings, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, also suggested that several factors could predict which children with Covid may have ongoing symptoms or develop new ones in the 90 days following infection. Those include having seven or more symptoms during the initial phase of illness and hospitalization for more than two days. Age was also a factor: Long-term symptoms were more prevalent in children 14 years and older.