"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 19th Jun 2020

Isolation Tips
Nonflict: 3 Tips On The Art Of Everyday Peacemaking For Couples
The Nonflict way can be used to bring about constructive resolution. Conflict Is Emotional. According to Hecht, “We have to deal with our emotions and conflict on its own is merely two or more different perspectives coming into contact with each other. So by definition conflict is neither positive or negative. But how we deal with it is either constructive or destructive. Because most of us don't have the tools to deal with conflict constructively, we need a structure.”
Coronavirus lockdown brings extra challenges for people with disability
But for many Australians living with a chronic illness or disability, social isolation is still their main way of staying healthy and safe, and the challenges posed by the virus are far from over. "It's frustrating hearing people go 'I really want a haircut' and I'm like, 'I really want my quality of life back'," says Emily McIntyre. Emily, 29, lives with what she describes as invisible disabilities. Her health conditions mean her immune system is compromised, which puts her at a high risk of both contracting COVID-19 and getting extremely ill if she does get it. She says she hopes Australia learns some lessons from lockdown, because she's terrified of it happening again.
How lockdown has affected mental health across UK
Millions of people are experiencing loneliness during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. The charity conducted a survey at the beginning of lockdown which revealed one in four people said they had feelings of loneliness in the previous two weeks. When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people said they had these feelings. Weeks later, social distancing left millions more people in the UK feeling isolated.
Post-lockdown divorce: jump in number of Australian couples seeking help
The coronavirus lockdown has put a strain on couples, new data has confirmed, with family therapists and lawyers noting a jump in clients seeking counselling or divorce. A study on the impacts of Covid-19 by Relationships Australia, the leading national provider of relationship support services, found that 42% of people had experienced a negative change in their relationship with their partner during the last few months. Its national executive officer, Nick Tebbey, said this statistic was directly related to the finding that 55% of people reported feeling challenged by their living arrangements during this time.
Hygiene Helpers
Italy's message to UK: 'Don't consider easing social distancing until masks become norm'
On the steps above Piazza Popolo a couple teenagers were making the most of post lockdown time with some non-social distance kissing. Beside them a rather bored friend waited for them to get back to chatting. Covid-19 hasn’t changed everything. But enthusiastic teenagers aside, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the Italian way of life. No more the double kiss greeting or the warm embrace. It looks and feels so alien.
Spain to trial coronavirus tracing app on holiday island
Europe’s latest scheme using Bluetooth technology to log contacts between people and send a warning if any of them test positive for the virus will start in late June on La Gomera, near tourist hot spot Tenerife. “The aim is to explore the potential of this mobile tracing application in a real-life scenario,” the archipelago’s government said in a statement, adding the results will be used to decide whether to roll out the app nationwide. Local authorities have committed to promoting widespread take-up to improve the reliability of the trial’s findings, the statement said. Germany’s national app was downloaded 6.5 million times in the 24 hours after its launch.
COVID-19 is making it difficult to find a safe public toilet – Poynter
“Lavatories are, unfortunately, ideal for the transmission of COVID-19. They are closed and poorly ventilated,” says Stephen Berger, M.D., an infectious disease expert and co-founder of GIDEON, the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network. “Urinals and sinks are crowded together, and partitions rarely extend upward to shield someone’s face. Although toilet stalls are isolated, droplets and aerosols will continue to linger there, several minutes after the last user has left,” he says.
Most Home Care Agencies Plan to Continue Remote Onboarding, Work Arrangements Post-COVID-19
For months now, home care experts have echoed the same prediction: COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the industry. Now, new data is backing up those anecdotal claims, painting a picture of what the nonmedical home care landscape of the future will look like. It’s not quite the Jetsons, but it’s headed that direction. When the COVID-19 crisis hit the U.S. earlier this year, home care providers were forced to pivot. They transitioned office-based staff to working from home, implemented new virtual training and care solutions, and donned personal protective equipment, in some cases, for the first time ever.
Coronavirus: why did England ignore an army of existing contact tracers?
The New York Times has reported that despite the UK having had nearly 300,000 cases of the disease and more than 40,000 deaths, some contact tracers have not yet spoken to a single person. But when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, there was already a group of people who were very well prepared to help the government’s tracking efforts – the NHS workers who carry out contact tracing in cases of sexually transmitted infections. In the world of sexually transmitted infections, contact tracing is known as partner notification. The task of health advisers, employed in sexual health clinics since the 1950s, is to support people who have been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections to get their sexual contacts tested and treated as well. They work with other highly trained professionals who are also used to having difficult conversations with people who have been exposed to infection, in the health protection teams of Public Health England and local government Environmental Health Departments.
Community Activities
Coronavirus Isn't Over. New Yorkers Are Acting as if It Were.
All over the city, bars, stores and people themselves are bending or ignoring social distancing rules, irking officials trying to keep the coronavirus curve flat.
The flight to the suburbs is real and growing, as coronavirus changes the way people live
As the real estate market began to recover in May, home searches in suburban zip codes jumped 13%, according to realtor.com, one of the largest real estate listing websites. That doubled the pace of growth in urban areas. More than half of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are seeing increased interest in the suburbs.
UN agencies urged to support women in Covid-19 crisis
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nesa Indira urged the United Nations (UN) Women and International Organizations to support women's employment and development during the global coronavirus pandemic. "Women around the world are facing a variety of financial, social and health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. Women are losing their jobs and entrepreneurs' businesses have been closed," she said this recently while delivering a virtual speech at a conference. The state minister addressed a video conference "Towards Gender Responsive Covid-19 Recovery: Experience from Asia and Pacific" at the UN Women's Regional Office in Bangkok.
Working Remotely
Employees working from home during lockdown 'want to continue when crisis ends'
Greater flexibility with working hours, no commuting and being around family are given as some of the most popular advantages
Sharp learning curve for bosses as WFH goes global
Two weeks into the coronavirus lockdown and Sergei Holmeckis, a boss at Deutsche Telekom’s Czech operations in the city of Brno, was frustrated with staff video calls. His team didn’t like turning on their cameras and the discussion was stilted. “I started to show them my cat,” Holmeckis said. “It showed the human side of me more and really changed the perception. It got people to switch on their cameras and be more engaged.” Such tactics obviously won’t appeal to everyone. But they do show how the world’s biggest experiment in working from home is forcing managers to reassess their methods - especially as surveys predict higher levels of remote working post-pandemic.
Younger employees find remote working more difficult
It is highly unlikely that there will ever be a return to work as we knew it following the Covid-19 outbreak, but more research from London-based tech developer Studio Graphene has emerged suggesting that it is younger workers who have struggled most to adopt to the new normal of remote working.
People new to home working want to continue in the future, survey suggests
The majority of employees working from home for the first time due to coronavirus hope to continue doing so in the future despite having concerns about motivation, a survey suggests. According to a study of 4,002 adults, half of people are currently working remotely (49%) all or most of the time during lockdown, with 39% among them who did not tend to work from home prior to the pandemic. Among home working newcomers, seven in 10 (68%) said they would like to carry on working this way when the crisis is over.
More power to remote working ways | Analysis – Gulf News
Tech giants have given their go-ahead to staff, and only time before more follow
Virtual Classrooms
University of Illinois will reopen with face masks and COVID-19 testing but also virtual classes; other colleg
In a welcome announcement for restless college students, the University of Illinois confirmed Thursday that all three of its campuses will hold modified classes on campus this fall as long as the masses of students coming back wear face masks, undergo coronavirus tests and practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means dorms, dining halls, research labs and other campus facilities will begin to reopen in some fashion, with amended protocols to protect students and faculty from falling ill, according to a joint statement issued by university leaders. “Plans to restore in-person instruction were developed through weeks of exhaustive review that brought together literally hundreds of key stakeholders and considered every available option, from a full return to traditional instruction to remaining fully online,” said the message, also signed by university President Tim Killeen.
COVID-19 forces ORNL researchers to take STEM education online
COVID-19 has upended nearly every aspect of our daily lives and forced us all to rethink how we can continue our work in a more physically isolated world. And none more so than teachers; from kindergarten classrooms to college campuses, America’s educators have been forced to go virtual virtually overnight. Just ask researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who regularly volunteer at area schools through the Oak Ridge Computer Science Girls, or ORCSGirls, program to help cultivate the next generation of female STEM professionals. Begun by ORNL’s Thomas Proffen, ORCSGirls aims “to inspire middle school girls in East Tennessee to actively explore the possibilities of technology to empower their future careers.” Since its founding in 2017, the program has inspired more than 2,000 females aspiring to make a career in the science and tech arenas. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced ORCSGirls mentors, including ORNL’s Katie Schuman, Samantha Erwin, Anne Berres, Dasha Herrmannova and Pravi Devineni to take their instruction online, a transition that has had both benefits and challenges.
Littlehales hosts virtual classroom as part of Paralympic Education Program
Para-canoeist Dylan Littlehales hosted a virtual classroom as part of the Paralympics Australia Paralympic Education Program. The Paralympic Education Program provides a range of free online curriculum-linked resources for Australian classes focusing on Paralympic values. It was launched in February has gained momentum despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20-year-old Littlehales, who made his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, joined Paralympics Australia’s education manager and goalball player Jenny Blow to deliver a virtual classroom to students from Ashwood School in Melbourne. "It’s a great experience for me to be able to share my story and hopefully it’s helping kids to build on their own stories by giving them the opportunity to ask questions about how I got to where I am," Littlehales said.
Public Policies
The Prison Was Built to Hold 1,500 Inmates. It Had Over 2,000 Coronavirus Cases.
Prison overcrowding has been quietly tolerated for decades. But the pandemic is forcing a reckoning.
UK virus-tracing app switches to Apple-Google model
In a major U-turn, the UK is ditching the way its current coronavirus-tracing app works and shifting to a model based on technology provided by Apple and Google. The Apple-Google design has been promoted as being more privacy-focused. However, it means epidemiologists will have access to less data. The government now intends to launch an app in the autumn, however it says the product may not involve contact tracing at that point. Instead the software may be limited to enabling users to report their symptoms and order a test.
Ditched Government coronavirus app only detected 4% of contacts on iPhones
The Government's ditched coronavirus app only picked up contacts with iPhones 4% of the time, the Mirror understands. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to announce the NHSX app has been scrapped - with the test and trace team putting all their efforts into a system offered by Apple and Google. It follows months of warning by experts that the Government's in-house system would not work. The Mirror understands the app under testing on the Isle of Wight only detected Android phones 75% of the time - and iPhones just 4% of the time.
Senior Tory 'confident' UK quarantine measures will be eased within weeks
Quarantine measures are likely to be relaxed within weeks and the two-metre social distancing rule will be changed by September, a senior Tory has said. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the treasurer of the 1922 Committee, said he was "confident" the quarantine measures on UK arrivals, aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, would be relaxed soon. Sir Geoffrey said: "It will be fully reviewed on June 28 and I am pretty confident that by June 28 or thereabouts we will have had some negotiations on air corridors with countries which have lower rates that ours.
Some Venezuelans welcome relaxing of lockdown after 14 weeks inside
Maduro decreed a national quarantine on March 17 to contain the virus, which so far has killed 26 people among 3,000 confirmed cases, according to the socialist government. Medical experts have expressed doubts about the government’s testing regime and the validity of the official figures. Authorities began to relax the lockdown on June 1, allowing some complexes like gyms, shopping centers and drive-in cinemas to open, while courts, schools and bars remain closed. Health workers warn that a recent acceleration in the number of cases coincides with the easing of lockdown measures, with the weekly case count rising from 45 to 450. They say Venezuela’s dilapidated health system, where some hospitals lack basics like soap and running water, would be unable to deal with a significant leap in severely sick patients.
Catalonia to enter “new normality” after lifting state of alarm
Catalan premier Quim Torra on Thursday announced that the region is lifting the state of alarm imposed in mid-March by central authorities in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The move, effective at midnight, means that Catalonia as a whole will have spent just 24 hours in Phase 3, the last stage of a national deescalation plan that’s been underway for weeks. Barcelona and its metropolitan area as well as Lleida only entered Phase 3 on Thursday morning, while other parts of the northeastern region did so earlier.
Coronavirus: Shops in Scotland to reopen from 29 June
Most shops in Scotland are to reopen from 29 June as part of a further easing of the country's lockdown rules. The changes will also see anyone who lives on their own - or only with children - to form an "extended group" with one other household from tomorrow. People will also be able meet outdoors with two other households at the same time rather than just one. Face coverings are to be made compulsory for everyone using public transport from Monday. And people who have previously been told to shield during the lockdown because they are at high risk are now able to meet other people outside for the first time. No decision has yet been made on when pubs, restaurants or beer gardens will be able to reopen.
Germany Sees Largest Local Covid-19 Outbreak Since Lifting Lockdown
Germany has recorded its largest local Covid-19 outbreak since it started reopening its economy in early May, with more than 600 employees of a slaughterhouse testing positive for coronavirus this week, authorities said on Wednesday. The announcement highlighted the risk of a new spike in infections even as the pace of the coronavirus pandemic is slowing across Europe.
Virus cases reduce by 90pc in area under lockdown
The enforcement of smart lockdown has begun to bear fruit as it was revealed on Wednesday that the number of coronavirus cases reduced by 90 per cent in an area of the federal capital which was sealed on March 13. “Around 100 cases were being reported daily from Sector G-9, but after enforcement of smart lockdown the number of cases has reduced to 8-9 per day. It is nothing but benefit of the lockdown as the movement of people has been minimised,” Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat told the media. He said no one was being allowed to unnecessarily go inside or outside the area under lockdown and even movement was being discouraged to reduce the chances of human to human transmission of the deadly virus.
Coronavirus lockdown: International students to begin returning to Australia
Hundreds of international students will be brought to Australia on charter flights as part of a plan developed by the government in concert with universities.
Florida and Texas governors blame spike in cases on increased testing
The explanations echo the Trump administration's current positioning on the state of Covid-19 in America: denial and excuses. At a time when Floridians continue to pack bars and restaurants, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brushed away questions about his culpability in aggressively reopening his state during a press conference this week. In remarks layered with racial overtones, he blamed the surge in cases, in part, on crowded living conditions in migrant families. He said the state would also take a closer look at the spread of the virus among construction workers and day laborers, who he said are "overwhelmingly Hispanic."
'Our bills won't wait': the Florida town where farm laborers risk their lives to work amid Covid-19
A lack of healthcare access and a dearth of testing has led to one of the densest concentrations of Covid-19 cases in the state
Maintaining Services
Relaxing Lockdown: Overdue or a Ticking Time Bomb? – Byline Times
The uncomfortable truth is that, at this stage, we cannot predict the trajectory of the Coronavirus. Opinions to the contrary are a by-product of confirmation bias. No high-quality data on the immediate and downstream effects of specific social distancing and lockdown interventions exist. ‘Lockdown versus no lockdown’ remains a crude metric. The murky data remain compatible with a wide range of death-to-infection ratios, also known as infection fatality rates (IFR). If the true IFR and health burden of COVID-19 turns out to be much lower than the initial indications of around 1%, and suppression strategies prove unsustainable in the long-term, then blanket lockdown strategies may turn out to have been an overreaction.
‘Transgender people will be more harmed than other LGBT+ people’: Coronavirus economy especially harsh on those who identify as transgender
As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the country, there are concerns that an already marginalised group will be further left behind, according to interviews with more than a dozen experts who work with the transgender population. “Transgender people are going to be more harmed by the impact on the economy than other LGBT+ people,” said Rebecca Rolfe, executive director of the San Francisco LGBT+ Centre. “People who are most marginalised are going to be most impacted. They’re going to be the last hired, the lowest paid.”
Coronavirus: South Asian people most likely to die in hospital
South Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital in Great Britain, major analysis shows. It is the only ethnic group to have a raised risk of death in hospital and is partly due to high levels of diabetes. The study is hugely significant as it assessed data from four-in-10 of all hospital patients with Covid-19. The researchers said policies such as protecting people at work and who gets a vaccine may now need to change. Twenty-seven institutions across the UK, including universities and public health bodies, as well as 260 hospitals, were involved in the study.
Bulgarians complain of long border queues after Greece eases lockdown
Hundreds of trucks and cars from Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia waited in long queues at the border with Greece on Wednesday after Athens eased coronavirus restrictions to try to salvage the summer tourism season. A line of cars stretched back more than 10 km (six miles) at the Kulata-Promachonas border crossing between Bulgaria and Greece, and the queue for trucks was over 15 km long, witnesses said. “People are angry, because the queues are scary. We are travelling with two kids. We had no idea it would be such a nightmare,” Bulgarian public radio BNR quoted a woman in the queue of cars as saying.
France lifts its limit of 20 mourners at funerals
The French government has scrapped the limit of 20 participants who can attend a funeral, a measure introduced during the lockdown as the country fought to contain its Covid-19 transmission rate.
Coronavirus: Big drop in cancer referrals in Wales
The number of patients referred for cancer treatment in April dropped by more than 51% compared to the previous month, according to official figures. People with possible symptoms have been urged not to put off getting them checked out during the pandemic as part of a new Welsh Government campaign. Swansea Bay health board, where referrals were down 52%, attributed it to a fear of visiting hospitals or GPs. Charities have warned of a cancer "timebomb" due to Covid-19 disruption.
Coronavirus UK: Major outbreak hits meat factory in Wales
One quarter of workers at the 2 Sisters meat factory are now self isolating. The factory in Anglesey, North Wales, produces meat for takeaways and shops. The 2 Sisters group is one of the largest producers of chicken in Britain. Officials confirmed they are dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak at the factory
Which international destinations are reopening to tourists?
Although most governments are still advising against "nonessential" international travel, a host of popular destinations are beginning to ease their Covid-19 lockdown measures and border restrictions and are moving toward welcoming tourists back. Back in May, the European Union unveiled an action plan to reopen its internal borders in time for summer, while countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed "travel bubbles," lifting restrictions for each other's citizens. Some Caribbean islands are already beginning to open their doors to foreign visitors again, while destinations such as Mexico and Thailand are planning to reopen region by region in the coming weeks. If you're one of many travelers eagerly awaiting news on where you can travel to this year, here's a guide to the top destinations making plans to reopen, as well as some of those that are keeping their borders firmly closed for now.
Healthcare Innovations
Priority vaccination queue headed by frontline workers and over-50s
Mr Hancock said: “As soon as [a vaccine] comes available, just as we did for testing will be guided by the clinical science prioritising those in most need.” He said advice published yesterday by the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation recommended priority vaccination for two groups: frontline health and social care workers, and those at increased risk of serious disease and death from coronavirus, including adults over the age of 50 and those with heart and kidney disease. Mr Hancock went on: “As we learn more about the virus we will continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable, including for example those from ethnic minority backgrounds so we can protect the most at risk first should a vaccine become available and get this country back on our feet as soon as we possibly can.” He said the Government’s approach to vaccines “is to throw everything at it as fast as we can and rigorously to test and make sure that they're safe before deployment”.
COVID-19 patients without disease symptoms may have weaker immune response: Study
The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, presents an analysis of the clinical and immunological manifestations of 37 asymptomatic patients infected with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Explained: How rapid antigen test detects Covid-19, where it will be used
PCR, the rapid antigen detection test too seeks to detect the virus rather than the antibodies produced by the body. On Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved one more kind of test for diagnosis of Covid-19. The rapid antigen detection test is to be used in specified settings, and kits from only one manufacturer have got approval.
Lockdowns in Europe saved millions of lives, say researchers | News
A research team at Imperial College London estimates that COVID-19 measures averted over 3 million deaths in 11 European countries from March to May. Published in the journal ‘Nature’, the study assessed the impact of restrictions in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The team used data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the recorded deaths in the 11 countries. By early May, about 130 000 people had died from coronavirus.