"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 10th Aug 2022

Isolation Tips
China races to contain COVID outbreaks in tourism hubs Tibet, Hainan
China raced on Tuesday to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan, with the authorities launching more rounds of mass testing and closing venues to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Mainland China reported 828 new domestically transmitted cases across more than a dozen provinces and regions for Aug. 8, with over half of them in Hainan, a highly popular tourist destination, official data showed on Tuesday.
Hygiene Helpers
COVID in California: Vaccines, masks cut coronavirus transmission by 99.9% in classrooms, study finds
The alarming spread of omicron subvariants has again put a spotlight on how well COVID-19 rapid antigen tests work at this stage in the pandemic. Many ultra-wealthy people who left San Francisco in the early days of the pandemic decamped to ritzy ski towns. Coronavirus case rates and positive tests rates are steadily declining in California and the Bay Area, signaling that the region is finally on the downside of this summer’s record-long COVID-19 surge
Australia retires CovidSafe contact-tracing app that was barely used
Australia’s CovidSafe app is being decommissioned because it is no longer being used for Covid-19 contact tracing. The app cost around $75,000 a month to run and was touted by former prime minister Scott Morrison as an important measure on par with wearing sunscreen. It was barely used in the Delta and Omicron outbreaks despite more than 7 million Australians downloading it to help contact tracers, and since launching in April 2020, just 17 “close contacts” in New South Wales were found directly through the app that were not otherwise identified through manual contact-tracing methods.
Five Thoughts on the State of COVID-19 Vaccination and the Road Ahead
This is a confusing time in the public health emergency. Americans are thinking less about COVID-19 on a daily basis and many are eager to move on. But COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, as evidenced by quick spread of the new variant, and it will continue to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Getting more Americans vaccinated against the virus will help to move us out of the pandemic stage. We can do this by sharing the right message and using trusted messengers on multiple platforms. This is the focus of the AHA’s vaccine confidence initiative, supported by $3 million in grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One of us is president of a hospital in North Carolina and has a background in family medicine and rural health. The other is chief marketing and experience officer for a health system in Louisiana. At the AHA Leadership Summit last month we offered our thoughts on the vaccine and the road ahead. Here are five highlights:
Here's How Hong Kong Health Code System for Travelers Will Work
Hong Kong will introduce a tiered health-code system reminiscent of what’s used in mainland China to facilitate a reduction in its deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine. The new rules, which come into effect on Friday, will mean arrivals at Hong Kong’s international airport must spend three days in hotel quarantine -- down from seven. If they don’t test positive for Covid, they will then undergo four days of health monitoring, underpinned by a yellow health code that restricts entry into a raft of high-risk places. Meanwhile, anyone infected with the virus will receive a red code that means they must isolate.
Community Activities
Despite awareness of COVID-19 risks, many Americans say they’re back to ‘normal’
Many Americans know of the potential risks to themselves and their families from infection with Covid-19, but growing numbers say they have returned to living their “normal” pre-pandemic lives, according to July 2022 national survey data from the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). Increasing numbers say they personally know someone who has died from Covid-19 and personally know someone who has suffered the lingering effects such as neurological problems and fatigue that are commonly known as “long Covid,” according to the APPC survey, which was conducted July 12-18, 2022. Despite awareness of the continuing risks of Covid-19, worries about its health effects have declined, the percentage of Americans who often or always wear masks indoors with people from outside their household has plummeted, and the number saying they have returned to living their “normal, pre-Covid-19 life” has more than doubled over the past six months.
People ‘still travelling less and exercising more than before Covid’
People are still travelling less and exercising more than they did before the pandemic, despite the scrapping of most Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year, new analysis suggests. Working habits appear to have undergone a permanent change – though the amount of time spent sleeping and resting has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The way people use their time has been studied since 2014/15 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the latest figures capturing behaviour in March 2022, when almost all the UK’s coronavirus rules had been lifted. Adults spent an average of 52 minutes a day in March this year travelling, such as driving or walking, to places, the stats show. This is up from 32 minutes in March 2021, when many Covid-19 restrictions were still in place, but well below the figure of 84 minutes in 2014/15.
How We Mourn Covid’s Victims
Piece by piece, the Covid-19 sanctuary was born on a hilltop in the town of Bedworth in central England. The process was meant to be a metaphor for a human life. Like bones fused over time, it grew taller as the memorial’s creators spent months joining intricate pieces of wood into a skeletal structure that finally stood on its own, 65 feet high. Then they burned it all down. There have always been monuments to commemorate the loss of life from calamitous events, such as the thousands of memorials dedicated to world wars, the Sept. 11 attacks, the Holocaust.
Analysis: More Chinese women delay or give up on having babies after zero-COVID ordeal
Seeing Chinese authorities exercise extraordinary powers during a stringent COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai earlier this year altered Claire Jiang's life plans: she no longer wants to have babies in China. During the April-May lockdown, the hashtag "we are the last generation" briefly went viral on Chinese social media before being censored. The phrase echoed the response of a man who was visited by authorities in hazmat suits threatening to punish his family for three generations for non-compliance with COVID rules.
Working Remotely
Post pandemic Britons still spend more time working from home - ONS
British workers are spending more time working from home compared with pre-pandemic times despite the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, according to official data released on Tuesday that offered a glimpse of what the 'new normal' looks like. In March 2020 the global coronavirus outbreak triggered a radical redesign of swathes of the world economy, forcing many firms and their workers to give up on the office temporarily and adapt to working from home.
Everyone’s over remote work except for the workers themselves
The economy has a case of remote work. That’s the story corporate America told in second-quarter earnings calls. To some CEOs, any ills their companies face inevitably come down to the fact of people logging on from home. As a result, if their business hinges on a steady hum of commuters, they’ve struggled to adapt to the reality of prolonged telework. To paraphrase William F. Buckley Jr., the mid-century media mogul behind the conservative National Review, many CEOs are standing athwart the remote work era, yelling for it to stop. Especially the ones whose business relies on foot traffic in core urban centers.
Why overthinkers struggle with remote work
Anyone can suffer under the isolation of remote work – even for the least social people, spending workdays with only a webcam or messaging platform to contact people they once saw all the time can eventually take a toll. But this isolation can be particularly hard on one type of worker: the ‘overthinker’. These are individuals who tend to over-analyse events around and pertaining to them, and need reassurance that everything is OK.
Virtual Classrooms
Five reasons why going digital is good for your learners
Before 2020, a digital revolution was happening across every industry, but following the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses, it can be said that this digital revolution has accelerated. With many businesses now working from home, a flexible working structure being called for, and less face-to-face contact between colleagues and peers, digital work practices have now become a necessity. But converting to digital has often been perceived as time-consuming, costly and irrelevant. And though businesses are now recognising it is very much relevant, it is still a daunting prospect. We spoke to our Chief Learning Officer, Sarah Baker, to understand what the benefits of digital transformation are for your learners and their future success.
Public Policies
EU regulator begins review of Pfizer-BioNTech's variant-adapted COVID shot
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a rolling review of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, it said on Tuesday. The so-called bivalent vaccine targets two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID - the original strain first identified in China, and the Omicron offshoots BA.4/5 that are currently behind most cases in Europe. A rolling review means the EMA assesses the data as it becomes available, and the process continues until there is enough data for a formal marketing application.
Here’s How Hong Kong’s New China-Inspired Health Code Will Work
Hong Kong will introduce a tiered health-code system reminiscent of what’s used in mainland China to facilitate a reduction in its deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine. The new rules, which come into effect on Friday, will mean arrivals at Hong Kong’s international airport must spend three days in hotel quarantine -- down from seven. If they don’t test positive for Covid, they will then undergo four days of health monitoring, underpinned by a yellow health code that restricts entry into a raft of high-risk places. Meanwhile, anyone infected with the virus will receive a red code that means they must isolate.
Maintaining Services
Pfizer readies ‘robust’ manufacturing capabilities to deliver 2 COVID-19 variant vaccines
Pfizer is planning to deliver COVID-19 vaccines against two sets of omicron subvariants in the autumn in the belief its “robust manufacturing capabilities” are up to the task.
Health experts urge making fourth COVID vaccine more available
As Mexico’s fifth wave of coronavirus infections continues, two health experts have criticized the federal government for its slow and limited rollout of fourth shots of COVID-19 vaccines. The government has offered second booster shots to seniors, people with existing medical conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness and health workers, but not all younger adults have had access to a fourth dose. According to The New York Times vaccinations tracker, 72% of Mexicans (adults and children) are vaccinated and 63% are fully vaccinated, but only 44% have had additional shots. Most of the booster shots administered to date have been third doses. Francisco Moreno, an infectious disease specialist and head of COVID-19 care at the ABC Hospital in Mexico City, said that Mexico is behind where it should be in terms of fourth-dose coverage.
Healthcare Innovations
Study details post-COVID-19 symptoms and conditions among children and adolescents in the US
In a recent article published as part of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), researchers assessed the incidence of post-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms and conditions among children and adolescents. The researchers found some previously unreported post-COVID conditions and symptoms, including acute pulmonary embolism, blood coagulation, hemorrhagic disorders, acute renal failure, venous thromboembolic event, and cardiac dysrhythmias, in the study participants.
COVID-19 vaccination reduces infection-related myocardial infarction and stroke risk
COVID-19 vaccination significantly reduces the risk of both an acute myocardial infarction and stroke among those infected with the virus. COVID-19 vaccination provides individuals with a reduced risk of experiencing an acute myocardial infarction or ischaemic stroke after becoming infected with the virus according to the findings of a study by Korean researchers. It has now become recognised that following an acute infection with COVID-19, beyond the first 30 days, individuals with COVID-19 have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and which includes cerebrovascular disorders, dysrhythmias, ischaemic and non-ischaemic heart disease, pericarditis, myocarditis, heart failure and thromboembolic disease. While it is clear that a COVID-19 vaccination is safe and offers protection against severe COVID-19, hospitalisation and death against all current variants of concern, what is less clear is whether vaccination is able to reduce the post-infection cardiovascular sequelae.
Covid-19: What we know about the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants
When and where were these subvariants detected? - BA.4 and BA.5 were first detected in South Africa in January and February 2022, respectively.1 They are offshoots of the omicron variant BA.2, though their additional mutations seem to have given them a transmission advantage. - What’s the difference between BA.4 and BA.5? - The World Health Organization has said that BA.5 now accounts for more than half of the world’s cases, while BA.4 accounts for just over one in 10.3 Why BA.5 has overtaken BA.4 is a mystery, because they’re so similar. Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine event, Thomas Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, said, “They have identical spikes, more or less. So that means it has to be something outside the spike. And really our understanding of that from a virological perspective is very poor.”
Loss Of Smell Linked To Long Term Covid Cognitive Impairment
The Argentinian research team investigated the long term Covid-19 cognitive impairment in older adults through a one-year prospective study design. All 766 participants were randomly invited from the health registry in Jujuy, Argentina, which holds all Covid-19 testing information for its region. Investigators split the group by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing status: 88.4% who had Covid-19 and 11.6% without—in other words, the control group.