"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 26th Jun 2020

Isolation Tips
How lockdown impacts women: From weight gain to mental health issues; self-care tips for a healthier you
We are in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but the world is already bearing the brunt of the impacts of the dreaded disease. Researchers have warned that the COVID-19 outbreak could have a major impact, particularly on women and girls globally. With the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreading rapidly worldwide, many countries had to implement strict measures, including nationwide lockdown, resulting in a number of physical and mental health issues.
Mental health trends and tips during uncertain times
With the increase of racist acts in recent weeks, Dr. Sally Chung, a clinical psychologist who owns a private practice in Bellevue said some of her patients are afraid to leave the house. “They are thinking about ways they might have to protect themselves. There is also this awfulness of not being able to trust your neighbors or the people around you.” Chung, who specializes in working with Black, indigenous, and people of color within a multicultural feminist framework, observes that “most of my patients who identify as Black or as a person of color are experiencing increased anxiety, frustration, and anger.” Washington state ranks tenth in the nation for average rate of depression, says data from QuoteWizard. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government measures, 88% of workers have reported experiencing moderate to extreme stress.
New shielding advice gives vulnerable people hope 'but the lockdown has been hard'
People deemed most vulnerable to Covid-19 received 'shielding' letters outlining restrictions which, while protecting them from the coronavirus, meant a more challenging lockdown. We spoke to two of them
Victorians with disabilities speak of 'lifetime lockdown' due to inaccessible public transport
The coronavirus pandemic has seen lockdown restrictions applied across Australia, forcing people to find new ways to interact, work and travel. But barriers like this are nothing new for the thousands of people with disabilities across regional Australia who struggle with unreliable access to public transport.
Coronavirus: Young people 'more anxious during lockdown'
The number of young people experiencing anxiety has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, a study has found. Bristol-based Children of the 90s asked 7,000 people across two generations about their mental health and lifestyle before and during lockdown. The study found the number of 27-29 year olds experiencing anxiety rose from 13% to 24% and they were more anxious then their parents. Underlying conditions and financial worries may be behind the increase.
Hygiene Helpers
Once the Center of the Coronavirus Crisis, Europe Now Looks Ahead With Hope
After lockdowns, Europeans are cautiously optimistic that any second wave won’t be as bad as the first. When the coronavirus first hit Europe, the continent was ill-equipped to detect or contain it. Now, many governments and health experts believe so much has changed that a crisis on the scale of this spring’s probably won’t be repeated. More than a month since Europe began lifting its lockdowns, new coronavirus infections are continuing to decline in most countries, despite concern about some new clusters, including among meat-processing workers in Germany.
Which Covid-19 changes will become permanent for the workforce?
Hays Talent Solutions’ Jacky Carter discusses how some of the recent work-life changes could become permanent in the future. In the world of work, the effects of social measures that governments are being forced to take have proven to be incredibly challenging for businesses and employees. However, for many business leaders around the world, they are now starting to turn their attention to the potential long-term implications of the pandemic on the next era of work.
NDSU requiring all students to wear masks in class for the fall; no plans to alter schedule
In an email. NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani said the university received a $20 million grant to help with its COVID-19 planning, which includes the launch of a new way of virtual learning. “The HyFlex world is one where students and faculty who are vulnerable, in isolation or in quarantine, can still effectively teach, learn and be an active part of the NDSU community,” Bresciani said. "We have heard the concerns of some faculty and students about returning to the classroom environment, and this model should help allay those concerns.” The HyFlex Education Model is a hybrid system of delivering classes online in a classroom that’s as close to normal as possible, according to NDSU. The school will also be introducing additional physical spacing in classes and require all students to wear face coverings while in class.
Abattoir air cooling systems could pose Covid-19 risks, expert warns
Air cooling systems used at abattoirs could be an overlooked risk factor accounting for Covid-19 outbreaks, according to scientists who have studied conditions at a meat-processing plant at the heart of a cluster of infections in Germany. Martin Exner, a hygiene and public health expert at the University of Bonn, spent two days analysing the Tönnies plant in Gütersloh, a western German city sent back into lockdown this week after around 1,500 employees were infected with coronavirus. At a press conference, Exner said the air filtration system in the slaughter area had contributed to the spread of aerosol droplets laden with the virus, describing it as a “newly recognised risk factor”.
Sweden’s Covid-19 expert ‘willing to reconsider’ use of face masks
Anders Tegnell has repeatedly made international headlines since advising against a full lockdown of the Scandinavian country. He has so far argued against the WHO’s recommendation to use face masks, saying there’s ‘very little scientific evidence’ that they work
Community Activities
Professional tennis set to return to Australia following lockdown
For the first time since March, professional tennis is returning to Australia. Competitors will play for prize money in a UTR pro series starting this weekend in Sydney. The series, which will involve local competition for Australia-based men and women according to the Associated Press, is set to probably run through August. Former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur is going going to take part in it, while top-ranked Ash Barty is opting out to focus on practicing instead. In Australia, players have returned to practice at the national tennis academy and community tennis has returned in recent weeks. Those participating must adhere to social distancing guidelines, but the moves have made way for tennis to return not just in the aforementioned Sydney, but also in other hub cities across the country.
'Tears of joy': Eiffel Tower opens after 104-day virus lockdown
Tourists and Parisians ready for a workout gathered at the Eiffel Tower on Thursday as the iron monument reopened after its longest closure since World War II, a highly symbolic move as France emerges from its coronavirus lockdown. Journalists from around the world outnumbered about 50 people, mainly French, who began the steep climb by stairs to the first two levels, as elevators and the top observation deck will remain closed because of social distancing concerns. "I'm tearing up, but they're tears of joy. It's an emotional moment after these difficult months," said Therese, visiting from the southern French city of Perpignan.
'Stay away from us': New Zealanders returning home to Covid 'lifeboat' face backlash
Some Kiwis find a harsh homecoming amid concern about importing coronavirus after months of lockdown sacrifice by ‘team of 5 million’
Ottawa artists keep creative in a time of COVID-19
Many small businesses and self-employed individuals have felt the effects of the isolation and shutdown because of COVID-19, including visual artists. With galleries closed and public showings not permitted, many artists have been forced to adapt or face serious hardship. The Orange Art Gallery in Centretown has helped to represent several local artists through virtual vernissages, ensuring they could continue showing their work through the pandemic. These Ottawa artists have taken the stress produced by the pandemic and turned it into art:
Working Remotely
How the coronavirus pandemic will — and won't — transform work-from-home
After the coronavirus suddenly moved millions of Americans from their commercial office to their homes for work, some major companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Nationwide are making the arrangement permanent for some or all of their workers even after the pandemic ends. Could this be the future of work? Not necessarily, one expert said. While more people will work remotely going forward — which many employees welcome — the increase probably won’t be as significant once the world returns to normal. “Not everyone will be working from home,” Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed Hiring Lab said. “There are likely to be challenges that arise, some of those people have already experienced, and some of which people might not have yet realized.”
‘Virtual training is the way of the future’
Online classrooms will become a permanent fixture in the delivery of pub training according to the head of training at Star Pub & Bars.
The future of remote working
The outbreak of COVID-19 saw governments around the world ordering employers to let their staff work from home wherever it was possible to do so, but the swiftness of the imperative caught some companies unawares
The small US manufacturer’s Covid-19 mantra: control what you can
The uncertainty makes it impossible to craft long-term plans. Still, Mr Hoskins tries for patience, even as he acknowledges the situation is unnerving. “Every day I thank God that we aren’t where a lot of other people are,” he said. “All we can do is plan for the future and try not to make any huge pitfalls that you can avoid. But if you can’t control it, you can’t control it.”
Telecommuting exposes fault lines in COVID-19 economy
The COVID-19 crisis is not hitting all workers and sectors equally, and new research points to one reason for the imbalance. Industries whose workers were likely able to telecommute have been much better able to adapt to the challenges created by the pandemic — experiencing smaller declines in employment, stock market valuation, and projected revenues, according to the study.
Dystopia or utopia? The future of cities could go either way
Cities are always changing, but rarely as fast as this huge experiment changing how we all live, for better or worse
An ETF called WFH offers new way to ride remote working trend
Working from home has become part of millions of people’s daily lives. Now it is also an investment strategy. Fund provider Direxion launched an exchange traded fund on Thursday using the ticker WFH, to tap into US-listed companies positioned to benefit from the mass move to remote working. The ETF tracks the Solactive Remote Work Index, which is made up of 40 equally weighted companies across four sectors — cloud technology, cyber security, remote communications and online document management.
Virtual Classrooms
The Virtual Classroom Must Address Its Problems
“Failure in the Virtual Classroom” (June 22) shines a light on the educational neglect of distance learning this spring. Based on my three kids’ remote-learning experiences in “Keep Portland Weird” Oregon, I believe the root cause is weird education policy. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) blocked transfers to virtual public charters. ODE took a full month to initiate “Distance Learning for All.” Many teachers simply posted a list of assignments rather than teach, despite school-issued laptops and free Wi-Fi options for everyone in our school district. Student motivation plummeted since ODE mandated pass/no-fail-incomplete grading. High-school seniors weren’t educated at all. My daughter was told “seniors who were passing as of March 13 aren’t required to continue distance learning.” And districts forced teachers to stop working on Fridays, to take advantage of unemployment benefits including $600 a week from the Cares Act.
MIT Arab SciTech Virtual IDEAthon rethinks learning during Covid-19
This spring, the MIT Arab Student Organization hosted a virtual IDEAthon with the theme “Learn from Home: Rethinking Learning during the Covid-19 Crisis.” The IDEAthon was the first step to tackle the challenges facing more than 200 million students in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region who had their education disrupted due the current global pandemic. The goal of the IDEAthon is to develop a large quantity of high-impact ideas that can improve current educational outcomes in the MENA region.
Online education: how Hong Kong got ahead of the game
When the Hong Kong government first funded Responsive4U, a blended learning experiment between four local universities, it couldn’t have known how prescient that investment would be in the Covid-19 era. Since 2018, the project has allowed students to take for-credit courses taught by partner universities via a combination of online and in-person classes. The participating institutions – the University of Hong Kong (HKU), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) – had to work together to find solutions to technological, scheduling and other logistic hurdles. Currently, the project has 11 courses taken by 2,000 students, but is looking to expand.
UC students must ready for an online, socially distanced fall
The majority of UC campuses have released guidelines and policies for the next school year. UC guidelines call for the vast majority of classes to be taught online, sparsely populated dorms and regular symptom surveys of students and employees.
Fayetteville schools to offer choice of in-person or virtual classes in 2020-21
Official said virtual students will address the same key skills and concepts as the in-person students, and will be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities and other events. The virtual option will utilize a web-based curriculum, Google Classroom, online assessments, games, and interactive tools. A device for home use will be provided, according to the document. Students must participate in the virtual environment daily, meaning attendance will be taken, but schedules can be adjusted to meet individual needs. Enrollment in the virtual option will be for a minimum of one semester and will be extended to the full year unless a parent or guardian notifies the student’s principal by Nov. 13, 2020. Officials said virtual learning is different from the AMI assignments that students had in the spring. Through the virtual option, students will be provided with a class schedule and instruction in grade-level content from a licensed Fayetteville Public Schools teacher.
The new normal for schools in COVID-19 pandemic
A new normal has emerged for schools around the globe because of COVID-19 and it has made way for so many questions to surface in the minds of educators, teachers and parents as we have to transform the conventional classrooms into online classes rapidly. Many schools like ours who were equipped with the infrastructural facilities immediately shifted to the online learning platform successfully from the end of March 2020. We quickly understood and accepted the fact as educators and parents that this is our new normal and that the face of schools will perhaps never be the same. Education has to continue without any pause even when we confront a crisis such as the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Public Policies
Europe sees rise in number of Covid-19 cases for first time in months, WHO warns
Health systems will be "pushed to the brink" if new outbreaks are not controlled
England leaves lockdown
On june 23rd Boris Johnson declared an end to “our great national hibernation”. Pubs, restaurants, hotels, heritage sites and hairdressers would be able to reopen from July 4th, he announced, albeit with dividing screens, lots of protective kit and doors wedged open “to reduce touchpoints”. Two households would be able to meet indoors, so long as they kept at a safe distance once there. Weddings would be allowed, too, so long as the guest list did not extend beyond 30 people. And the two-metre rule would become the “one-metre-plus rule”, with people encouraged to cover their faces, but allowed to get closer than they have in months
Life almost as we know it: England's lockdown changes on 4 July
As multiple lockdown measures are eased on 4 July, England will enter uncanny valley territory: life almost as we know it, but with notable exceptions. Weddings can go ahead at religious venues – but with a cap of 30 participants and no singing. Two households can meet indoors, but must make an effort to stay physically distanced. Hugs will have to wait for now. Playgrounds and pubs can open, but casinos and swimming pools will remain shut.
Coronavirus: Prof Chris Whitty warns public over gatherings in hot weather
People must follow social distancing guidance while enjoying the sun, or Covid-19 cases "will rise again", the UK's chief medical adviser has warned. Prof Chris Whitty's remarks on social media came after a major incident was declared in Bournemouth when thousands of people flocked to the Dorset coast. "Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all," he said. The UK's coronavirus death toll is now 43,320, a rise of 149 since Wednesday. The latest figures, released by the Department for Health and Social Care, showed 307,980 people have tested positive across the UK.
Lockdown Measures Could Return In Winter As Scientists Warn Of 'Long Haul'
Boris Johnson’s decision to ease the coronavirus lockdown is “absolutely not risk free” and strict measures could return in winter, the top scientists advising government have warned. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said if people believe “this is all fine now” and the disease has “gone away”, then the UK “will get an uptick” in cases. It came as the PM announced cinemas, galleries, museums and pubs were all set to reopen their doors on July 4, provided social distancing measures were in place. The two-metre rule will be replaced with “one-metre plus” regulation, which means a metre distance is acceptable with another protection or “mitigation” – such as a face covering or screen.
Easing Lockdown in England Raises Questions for Welsh Government
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister made a raft of announcements related to easing coronavirus restrictions in England. This included relaxing the 2 metre rule to 1 metre ‘plus’ and announcing that hospitality, tourism and some other businesses can reopen on 4th July, alongside some other changes. Whilst the Prime Minister’s announcement relates singularly to England, it does raise questions about how we ease out of lockdown around the UK, including here in Wales. This news will be welcomed by many businesses across the border and there will be inevitable pressure on Welsh Government to review how we can reopen more of Wales in a way that keeps Welsh businesses competitive with their English counterparts as well as ensures the safety of employees, customers and business owners themselves.
US Public Schools Must Share COVID-19 Aid With Private Schools
A new policy ordering U.S. public schools to share emergency COVID-19 relief funds with private schools regardless of their wealth will take effect immediately, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said, despite opposition from many public education supporters. "The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is a special, pandemic-related appropriation to benefit all American students, teachers and families impacted by coronavirus," DeVos said. "There is nothing in the law Congress passed that would allow districts to discriminate against children and teachers based on private school attendance and employment."
Daily Coronavirus Cases Peak Once Again As Lockdown Measures Lift
“Our #COVID19 numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote on Twitter. He told the city council Wednesday that Houston’s intensive-care units were at 97% capacity, with more than one-quarter of patients infected with the coronavirus. Several states have considered imposing orders mandating that people wear masks outside. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) did so this week, saying the move was “about saving lives,” and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) followed suit, delaying reopening measures for at least three weeks. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut went a step further, announcing a travel advisory for visitors from a handful of states that have “significant community spread.” Those travelers will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the tri-state area.
Texas Covid-19 cases soar weeks after state lifts lockdown restrictions – video
Texas reported an all-time daily high of 5,489 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, weeks after the state became one of the earliest in the US to ease its coronavirus lockdown measures. The significant increase in cases has left hospitals in Houston near capacity, with some adult ICU patients treated at Texas Children’s hospital
Coronavirus: Expert warns of second wave risk to Australia
A breakdown in communication around proper quarantine methods could be behind the recent spike in coronavirus cases across Victoria, according to a COVID-19 expert. The recent outbreak in Victoria should mark as a warning to all Australians of the threat of a second wave hitting the nation, COVID-19 Coordination Commission board member Jane Halton said. "The good news is this is a warning sign and I think now we have paid the right attention to it, I'm sure people will get that under control," Ms Halton told Today.
France closes two Paris schools as precaution after coronavirus cases
French authorities have closed two schools in Paris as a precautionary measure after the discovery of coronavirus cases but they have not been classed as potentially dangerous clusters, authorities said Wednesday. France, unlike some other European countries which have taken a much more cautious approach, on Monday resumed obligatory schooling for all pupils after the coronavirus shutdown. Some schools had already been open at least partially for several weeks after the initial easing of the lockdown. But a school in the 12th district of Paris with 180 pupils has been closed until the end of the week after three cases were discovered, the local health authority told AFP.
Maintaining Services
Doctors urge holidaymakers to act with “extreme caution” over second Covid-19 wave fears
The British Medical Association (BMA) has pleaded with holidaymakers to practice social distancing ahead of the tourism industry reopening next weekend
Europe sees surge in cases since easing of lockdowns, says WHO
Europe has reported an increase in weekly coronavirus cases for the first time in months, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Hans Kluge, the regional director of the WHO in Europe, said the continent continues to report nearly 20,
Surge in virus numbers highlights challenges, renews concerns over school reopening plans
Florida has seen a dramatic rise in confirmed cases of the virus, with the state Department of Health reporting over 3,000 new cases in six of the last seven days, including a record 5,511 new cases Wednesday. As of Wednesday, Florida's total number of cases stood at 109,014, with 3,281 deaths, the agency reported. Brevard has seen more than 1,000 cases since the pandemic began, with 17 deaths. Despite the sudden spike, which has coincided with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' phased reopening plan, parents remain deeply divided on the question of whether and how schools should open in August. A school district survey has so far garnered over 9,000 community responses but yielded little consensus on issues like staggered school schedules, distance learning and masks in the classroom. And while some parents worry about returning their children to the crowded school setting, many are eager to have their kids back in the classroom.
Spain squashed coronavirus. Will British tourists undo all that hard work?
In this first round of the Covid-19 pandemic, two countries vie for the gruesome title of having suffered the most deadly consequences – Britain and Spain. Between them, they currently share 107,000 dead, measured in terms of excess mortality. The comparisons end there. Spain had Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdown, with children housebound for weeks and army patrols to enforce it. That has produced a dramatic tail-off. Spain’s mortality rate returned to normal on 10 May, after exactly two months of excess deaths compared with the same period over the previous five years. Britain continues to register excess deaths and, in the downward race to be the worst, has edged ahead. This is not just a matter of contrasting British failure with Spanish success. For, as Spain opens its frontiers, it threatens to become something else – a clash of Covid-19 cultures in which Spaniards can only lose.
Covid-19 Impacts in the Democratic Republic of Congo | Crisis to Opportunities Series
The global Covid-19 crisis has shed a light on the deep-seated inequities in the way our rivers and the people who depend on them are treated. With the exposure created by this crisis comes an opportunity. As International Rivers adapts to current circumstances, we are strengthening our support network to partners and communities facing immediate challenges, while working toward solutions that re-imagine a healthier future for our rivers. We are grounding this work in the direct experience of our long-time partners and those facing increased threats. The following blog series, “Crisis to Opportunities,” is written by our regional campaign staff. For each region, we seek to answer two questions: And what solutions are arising?
Lockdown might be easing, but the NHS still needs protecting
This week, many doctors, including myself, were rightly disturbed by the results of the latest BMA survey. It found that more than a third of BAME doctors in the UK are still not being given access to potentially life-saving Covid-19 risk assessments – nearly two months after NHS England issued recommendations that risk assessments should be carried out for all staff as a precautionary measure. For white doctors, 42% said they haven’t had risk assessments yet. Results also showed that BAME doctors are still less likely to feel fully protected from coronavirus compared to their white colleagues, and far more likely to often feel pressured into treating patients without appropriate personal protective equipment, which is incredibly worrying.
What it's like to visit Paris post-lockdown
To preserve the ambience, Jégo was forced to rethink the layout of the restaurant he's helmed over the last 17 years. He quickly came up with a concept that takes the bistro back to its original roots, when it sold coffee, wine and sandwiches alongside newspapers and produce to the neighborhood locals nearly a century ago. The reinvented restaurant now features a small garden market in the front window that sells local produce -- cherries, heirloom carrots and tomatoes -- along with housemade paté and terrines. To draw in the after work and apéro crowd, bar stools, high tables and a tapas bar have been set up at the front of the bistro, while a separate space inside sells a selection of the chef's favorite wines. In a bid to make Chez L'Ami Jean more accessible, only a few reservations will be accepted at a time, according to the chef.
How waste management companies have worked to keep collection personnel safe during COVID-19
As COVID-19 concerns accelerated in mid-March, waste management companies heeded the call to help keep collection workers safe.
Healthcare Innovations
French consortium wins further approval for saliva-based coronavirus test
French technology company Vogo said a saliva-based product it was developing with partners to test for the coronavirus had won ‘CE marking approval’, denoting it meets required health standards set out by regulators. Vogo and its partners SKILLCELL and the CNRS SYS2DIAG laboratory aim to place their ‘EasyCov’ saliva-based coronavirus testing product on the market.
Coronavirus infection may make pregnant women more severely ill, CDC says
Pregnant women may be at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 compared with women who are not expecting, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women who get infected are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit and put on a ventilator, the CDC said in its weekly report on Thursday. The CDC previously has said on its website: "Although there are currently no data showing that COVID-19 affects pregnant people differently than others, we do know that pregnant people are at greater risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses than people who are not pregnant." Now the new MMWR report has provided data; but there are some important limitations.
CDC head warns pregnant women with COVID-19 face greater risks
Pregnant women have increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to women who are not pregnant, the head of the US Centers for Disease Prevention Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday, warning that states with rising coronavirus cases need to take action. The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said. The agency said that pregnant women did not have a higher risk of death. The added it does not have data yet on how COVID-19 affects the outcomes of those pregnancies.
Europe-wide study shows child Covid-19 deaths 'extremely rare'
Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for Covid-19 end up dying - although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, a new Europe-wide study showed on Friday. A team of researchers led by experts in Britain, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of nearly 600 children under 18 infected with the novel coronavirus and found that only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions. This is in sharp contrast to adults, among whom the vast majority of patients have underlying health problems. The team found that more than 60 per cent of Covid-19 positive children required hospital treatment, and that 8 per cent needed intensive care. Of the 582 children studied, just four died. On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 per cent, showed no symptoms at all.
Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine
The Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) is in talks to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Italian researchers, the dean of the Brazilian university told Reuters. With the world's worst outbreak outside the United States, Brazil has become a key front in the global race for a vaccine, as vaccine clinical trials are likely to yield results faster in places where the virus is widespread. "We are already in advanced discussions with Italy's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute," Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview on Wednesday. "We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we'll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine."