" Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 2nd Jul 2020

Isolation Tips
Ways To Help Young Children Understand COVID-19 Pandemic
The increasing cases of COVID-19 comes with growing stress and anxiety that can also affect children. It is important to help younger people understand sudden changes around them to avoid problems with their physical and mental health. The isolation, physical distancing and restricted time outdoors can be confusing and unsettling to kids. There have been reports about young children having problems with their sleep, eating habits and mood linked to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Claire McCarthy, a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Children may also become more clingy. It may sound positive but it can be a problem for parents who are working from home.
Tips on Retiring During the Pandemic
This spring, as the coronavirus tightened its grip on Britain, my mother began preparing for the end of her four-decade career at the National Health Service. But she didn’t get the goodbye she had expected. In mid-March, on the day she had planned farewell drinks at a bar in London’s Soho, she and colleagues were told that they should work from home. The cocktails were put on indefinite hold, and Mum never went back to the office. Three months later, she’s now officially retired, but she hasn’t turned in her laptop or badge, and she has no closure. “There’s a sense of unfinished business,” she says.
Post-Covid New Zealand tackles a new threat – anxiety over an uncertain future
“It’s not so much the presence of Covid-19 that presents us with our greatest challenge, but the absence of it,” says Sarb Johal, a clinical psychologist based in Wellington, New Zealand. “We’re living with this reduced visibility of what’s coming in the future, and it feels sort of ominous and foreboding at the same time.” “It’s not so much the presence of Covid-19 that presents us with our greatest challenge, but the absence of it,” says Sarb Johal, a clinical psychologist based in Wellington, New Zealand. “We’re living with this reduced visibility of what’s coming in the future, and it feels sort of ominous and foreboding at the same time.”
Child obesity risk as lockdown causes increased snacking among teenagers
Lockdown has had a mixed impact on healthy eating among young people, with teenagers finding new enjoyment eating as a family but reporting increased snacking, research has found. Over 1,000 14 to 19 year-olds from England were surveyed by the anti-childhood obesity campaign Bite Back 2030 and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
Lockdown loneliness: COVID-19 quarantine has quarter of adults feeling like they have no friends
Disheartening survey reveals nearly four in ten people experience days without talking to a single person.
Hygiene Helpers
Cash is no longer king: coronavirus quickens shift to online shopping
Shift to touch-free transactions and e-commerce is partly driven by consumers’ pressing concern over hygiene, says Mastercard. Online grocery sales in Hong Kong rise 73 per cent in the first quarter
'No kissing': Amsterdam's red light district reopens after coronavirus shutdown
Amsterdam’s famed red light district has reopened after a long coronavirus shutdown, with sex workers and clients having to observe new rules to prevent infection. The Netherlands ordered all brothels closed in mid-March and had originally planned to keep them shut until September, but recently brought the date forward as Covid-19 cases dropped. Felicia Anna, a 34-year-old Romanian sex worker, said it “felt very good” to be back at work. “During the lockdown, a lot of sex workers ran into financial trouble so we’re very happy that we can finally start our job again,” Anna, chairwoman of the Red Light United trade union, said.
Take a look at Covid-19 measures in place at Alton Towers ahead of reopening
Alton Towers has revealed the social distancing and safety measures in place for thrill-seekers ahead of its reopening this weekend. The Staffordshire theme park has been unable to open this season due to the coronavirus pandemic but will be welcoming visitors through the gates on Saturday, July 4. A whole list of safety measures have been put in place to keep staff and visitors safe, bosses say. Restrictions will be in place on the number of guests able to visit the theme park each day, while a full overview of hygiene measures has been undertaken. This includes a requirement that guests pre-book their tickets online to ensure capacity levels can be controlled and thermometer checks carried out on entry for staff and visitors. Guests over the age of six will be required to wear a face mask on certain rides and rollercoasters. "Enhanced cleaning", hygiene stations and hand sanitiser spots have been set up at "key locations" around the park, as well as distance markers to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
How air purifiers and cleaners may help keep you safer indoors from COVID-19
As states begin to adjust to a new normal and people start spending more time indoors, experts and local officials are starting to consider the role air filtration and ventilation may play in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces. Most recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all large malls in New York will have to install “air filtration systems that can filter out the COVID virus” before reopening. This requirement comes as infectious disease experts start more aggressively studying the ways in which the virus can spread through inhaling small particles that could hang around in the air for hours -- otherwise known as aerosolized particles.
Robot uses UV light to kill coronavirus by rupturing its DNA
Specialist robots have been tested in industrial environments by Fab Lab Bahrain. They will be released for sale 'as soon as possible', the developers have said. UV light kills the virus by rupturing its DNA, making it unable to replicate. Follows previous inventions in Denmark and China which also use UV light
Local Covid-19 lockdowns too blunt, say German politicians
Locking down entire communities is too blunt an instrument to fight coronavirus flare-ups, politicians from the area affected by Germany’s first “local lockdown” have complained after a week of reimposed physical distancing measures. While restrictions continue to be relaxed across the rest of the country, the Gütersloh district in the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia will from today go into a second week of closed schools, nurseries, bars and museum following an outbreak of Covid-19 at a local abattoir. A lockdown in the neighbouring community of Warendorf, however, has been lifted after mass tests found no sign that the virus had significantly spread across the local population.
Community Activities
Pop-up hygiene units: paving a way for crowds to return to football matches
Disinfect Group has created the stations that could help make fans feel safe to go back to stadiums.
Prague celebrates end of coronavirus lockdown with mass dinner party at 1,600-foot table
People in the Czech capital, Prague, built a 1,600-foot table and held a massive public dinner party on Tuesday, to celebrate the end of the country's coronavirus lockdown. Residents stretched through the city's streets and over its famous Charles Bridge after the government lifted restrictions on large gatherings. The Czech Republic was quick to implement a lockdown at the start of the global coronavirus outbreak and became one of the first countries to tell its citizens to wear masks -- helping it avoid the worst of the pandemic and ease restrictions earlier than many other nations. This meant that locals could enjoy a jaw-dropping spectacle of alfresco dining and forgo social distancing to celebrate the country's progress.
Peru's biggest LGBTQ disco gets a new look
Peru's biggest LGBTQ nightclub opened its doors on Tuesday as the government began to ease a strict lockdown due to coronavirus. But there will be no nighttime revelers and its dance floor will be filled with shelves stocked with groceries.
How Estonia's digital society became a lifeline during COVID-19
Estonia built one of the world’s most advanced digital society long before the COVID-19 pandemic, providing services such as electronic voting, online learning in schools, digital bureaucracy and healthcare. When the coronavirus crisis struck, this investment paid off as Estonia’s digital public services continued mostly uninterrupted. Public-private partnership and trust in public institutions are the secret of Estonia’s success. Citizens embraced the digital revolution because it was transparent, fair and to the benefit of all.
Working Remotely
Hollywood must adapt to remote work or suffer the consequences
It’s challenging enough to film with traditional methods while social distancing. But for many studios, the virus has also made it difficult to make creative decisions before the shoot, such as casting, set, and costume design. The same goes for postproduction tasks. These are all highly collaborative processes involving hundreds of professionals—from editors to sound engineers, Foley artists, colorists, and more during the marketing and promotion stage right up to distribution. Last-minute editing or approval change in one small scene could impact every version of the trailer and movie poster that follows.
How remote work risks a new digital jobs divide for minorities
Black and Hispanic students entering the workforce feel significantly less comfortable with remote jobs than White students, according to a recent survey. Lack of space and limited access to technology are among the career challenges underrepresented minorities face. Young workers of color may permanently be left behind if digital inequality in the labor market is not addressed by employers.
Virtual Classrooms
University of Texas at Austin to offer 2,100 classes online
About 20% of classes at the University of Texas at Austin will be taught remotely this fall. Students who choose not to return to campus can take all their courses online but will pay the same tuition rate as they would for in-person classes.
The advantages and disadvantages of online learning during the coronavirus pandemic | TheHill
Education psychologists and experts talk about the emergency remote learning situation teachers and students have been thrown into.
From classroom to e-lessons, Covid turns teachers tech-savvy
A majority of teachers were not familiar with gadgets or online classes, but now they have learnt a lot about e-learning techniques and strategies to keep their students engaged. Some of them have learnt from their children, while a few have gained knowledge from their colleagues. Rashmi Chaudhary, an English teacher of Dyal Singh Public School, main branch, said she was not familiar with gadgets and it was a bit challenging. “Covid has taught us a lot. We became tech-savvy, while earlier we were limited to receiving calls or dialing the number,” she added.
Public Policies
Nurses among losers in move to axe free London travel for over-60s as part of £1.6 billion Government bailout
Nurses were today revealed to be among the losers from the decision to axe free early-morning travel for older Londoners. People over 60 lost their right to free bus and Tube travel before 9am a fortnight ago as part of the Government’s £1.6 billion bail-out for Transport for London. The Royal College of Nursing said many of its older members were now having to pay to get to work, or when returning home from night shifts, as a result of the temporary changes.
Hebron sees 200 new virus infections in hours, area ordered locked down
Neighborhoods in virus hotspots Ashdod, Lod to be placed on lockdown Ministers agree on a seven-day lockdown of neighborhoods in virus hotspots Ashdod and Lod to stem the spiraling COVID-19 outbreak. The so-called coronavirus cabinet will convene on Thursday to debate additional measures, tweets Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Today: Philippines extends lockdown in central city : The Asahi Shimbun
The Philippine president has retained a strict lockdown in a central city he described as a new coronavirus hot spot, while the capital and the rest of the country were placed in lighter quarantines. President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement Tuesday night on TV, further stretching three-month lockdowns and quarantines that officials call successful but his critics describe as ridden with failures and confusion. The Philippines has among the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 37,500 people infected, including 1,266 who have died. Duterte blamed Cebu city, which will remain under a lockdown up to July 15, for many violations of the rules that led to infection spikes. “Cebu is now the hot spot for COVID. Why? Many of you did not follow. So don’t get mad at me,” he said.
London boroughs respond to local lockdown rumours amid 'coronavirus spike'
Nine boroughs who were reportedly 'most at risk' of being put into lockdown again have issued statements
There is no need for another nationwide lockdown: Experts
The country needs a combination of targeted localised approaches to overcome the Covid-19 crisis and another nationwide lockdown is not the answer to increasing cases as each state will see the pandemic peaking at a different time, public health experts say. There cannot be a common date of its downturn for all parts of the country, they said. “Calendar of Covid-19 will vary across India and another nationwide lockdown is not needed," said K Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India. "There are several areas relatively unaffected by the virus as yet.
Rising coronavirus infections in pockets of UK raise fears of further local lockdowns
Parts of Kent, London, north Wales and Scotland are still battling significant Covid-19 outbreaks, sparking fears from scientists and public health directors that Leicester’s return to lockdown is set to be repeated. Bars and restaurants are preparing to reopen on Saturday in what the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has dubbed “Independence Day”. But infections have risen in the Medway, the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham and Ealing in London and Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, according to publicly available figures relating to tests by NHS and Public Health England laboratories. All areas have seen increases of 10 or more weekly infections between 18 and 25 June.
LATEST: Italy keeps travel ban in place as EU opens borders
Most EU countries have agreed to reopen their external borders on July 1st to visitors from 15 countries - but Italy will be keeping its travel ban in place. Here's what you need to know. The EU 27 member states on Tuesday agreed on a list of 15 countries whose citizens would be allowed to travel to European Union from July 1st. But later on Tuesday Italy, which had seemed to be in favour of reopening, announced it would not be lifting its ban on travel from outside Europe. The 15 non-EU countries on the "safe list" are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Coronavirus is growing': Jacinda Ardern rejects calls to open New Zealand borders
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hit out at calls from her political opponents to reopen the nation’s borders - calling the suggestion “frankly dangerous”. The pacific island nation has been able to keep its coronavirus case number dramatically low after introducing lockdown measures early - with only 22 instances of the virus currently confirmed in the country and one hospitalisation. The result has been a return to normality for much of the country - including mass attendance at sports events and a full return of the nation’s hospitality sector.
COVID-19: Air New Zealand suspending services to Melbourne
Air New Zealand is stopping flights between Aotearoa and Melbourne for two weeks as the city suffers a second wave of COVID-19. The suspension went into effect immediately on Wednesday, meaning multiple flights scheduled for the day were either cancelled or will operate as cargo flights only. "Due to Australian Government restrictions Air NZ will not operate passenger services from Auckland to Melbourne from July 1 to July 14," the airline said in a statement. "The airline was due to operate two return services to Melbourne today. NZ123 from Auckland to Melbourne is operating as a cargo only flight, with NZ124 operating with inbound passengers to Auckland. "NZ127 and NZ128 today will be cancelled."
EU reopens to outside visitors in bid to save tourism
The European Union has reopened its borders to visitors from 15 countries, but excluded the United States where deaths are rising again and a top health official warned the country was heading in the "wrong direction". The final list of nations safe enough to allow residents to enter the EU did not include Russia, Brazil or the US, where the daily death toll passed 1,000 yesterday for the first time since 10 June. US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said the US could see 100,000 cases a day if the current trend continued, and several US states imposed 14-day quarantines on travellers from other states.
Getting people to follow coronavirus restrictions is harder the second time around
With residents in 10 Melbourne postcodes banned from non-essential travel until at least July 29, the need for continued vigilance is clear. Across Victoria, the ongoing spike in coronavirus cases means a range of restrictions are still in place, yet for people outside the worst-affected areas these restrictions may seem more like guidelines than rules. There may be many different interpretations of the reinstated restrictions. Also, having been granted some freedoms after the initial lockdown period, people will be reluctant to go back.
Welsh Government urges Ryanair to postpone 'lockdown breaking' flights to Spain and Portugal
The Welsh Government is urging Ryanair to postpone scheduled flights from Cardiff Airport to Spain and Portugal this weekend. The budget airline is planning to run flights to Faro and Malaga on Friday and Saturday. But passengers boarding the flight would be in breach of Welsh coronavirus lockdown rules which restricts non-essential travel to five miles. That restriction is not expected to be lifted until Monday. The Welsh Government, which owns the airport, is urging Ryanair to postpone the flights Wales Online reports.
Around 1,000 grieving relatives of coronavirus victims want public inquiry into slow lockdown
Families who've lost loved ones to coronavirus are preparing legal action against the Government over claims they would not have died had ministers locked down the country sooner. Around 1,000 grieving relatives say the Government 'gambled' with people's lives when they failed to act quickly enough or heed the warnings from other countries as Covid-19 tore across Europe. They also want an investigation into the flawed testing regime, the levels of protective clothing that was available and other issues surrounding planning for the pandemic.
Coronavirus: Local testing data to be shared with councils
Local authorities are to be given access to postcode-level data about the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in their areas after it was agreed with the Department of Health. It comes after Leicester became the first city to have a local lockdown imposed following a rise in cases. Labour leader Keir Starmer said there had been a "lost week" due to city officials not having full testing data. The prime minister said the figures had been shared with all local authorities. But, at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Sir Keir said officials in Leicester had only received full figures on Thursday. Until now local authorities have not routinely had full access to the data on people who are tested for the virus in the community. But the agreement, signed individually with councils over the past week, now gives them access to a digital dashboard which shows test results down to a postcode level.
Maintaining Services
Government's $70 million lifeline for New Zealand film and TV industry
The Government has handed a $73 million lifeline to New Zealand's film and TV industry, which has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wednesday's funding boost will cover new and existing projects and is expected to save thousands of jobs. While many people heralded the resurrection of high-profile movie Avatar last month, most of New Zealand's domestic film industry remains in lockdown. "There were 47 films in production at various stages before COVID lockdown, but only one has started up again," Dame Kerry Prendergast, chair of NZ Film Commission, said. The $3 billion, 16,000 job industry was at serious risk of a dramatic shrinking but after continued pleas, they netted a huge multi-million dollar cash injection. Kelly Martin, the producer of the upcoming Robyn Malcolm film This Town says it's "amazing". "It's fantastic that the Government is acknowledging the screen sector needs support," Martin said.
'Utter abandonment' of special needs families during lockdown
Families of children with special educational needs have felt "utterly abandoned" during school closures, an MPs' committee has been told. Witnesses told the education committee those with extra educational, physical or emotional needs had seen support "fall off a cliff" amid lockdown. Risk assessments linked to Covid-19 had been used by some schools to prevent SEND pupils attending, it heard. There was also concern national catch-up plans do not mention SEND children. Witnesses from the special educational needs and disability (SEND) world painted a bleak and disturbing picture of life for pupils with additional needs.
Face masks, COVID-19 screening: EU issues guidelines for return to cruising amid pandemic
On Tuesday, the EU released 49 pages worth of interim guidance for the cruise industry to adhere as cruising begins to resume, the same day it announced Americans would be barred from entering. The EU's Healthy Gateways program, which provides ground rules on public health for member countries' borders, ports and airports, stressed that reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection should be the cruise lines' should be top of mind from the booking process all the way through to the time passengers and crew members return home.
UVI To Reopen This Fall With Mandatory Face Masks, Reduced Classrooms And Strict Social Distancing
University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) President Dr. David Hall addressed the UVI community on Tuesday during a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the University’s fall 2020 semester plans and operations, in light of the continued challenges posed by COVID-19. According to UVI, Dr. Hall outlined plans to gradually resume in-person instruction this fall with restrictions and preventative measures to ensure the safety of students, employees and the public. In the virtual meeting hosted on Zoom, Dr. Hall also answered questions from students relative to University housing and dining services, the resumption of classes and Coronavirus testing.
Peru's biggest LGBTQ nightclub reopens as grocery store to survive pandemic
As Peru begins to ease its strict coronavirus lockdown, the country's biggest LGBTQ nightclub opened its doors on Tuesday, but there will be no nighttime revelers; its dance floor will instead be filled with shelves stocked with groceries. Instead of slinging cocktails at the bar or dancing on stage, ValeTodo Downtown's famed staff of drag queens will sell customers daily household products as the space reopens as a market while nightclubs are ordered to remain closed. The Peruvian government will lift the lockdown in most regions of the country at the beginning of July, but will keep borders closed, as well as nightclubs and bars. The lockdown has been a struggle for the club's 120 employees like drag queen Belaluh McQueen. Her life completely changed when the government announced the quarantine. Her nights were spent at home, rather than performing as a dancer at the club in vivid-colored costumes.
Ryanair resumes flights from Leeds Bradford to Spain and France | ITV News
The airline Ryanair will resume 40 percent of its flights from today - including from Leeds Bradford Airport to Spain and France. It's introduced new guidelines such as fewer bag checks, online check-in and temperature measures at airport entry, More than 1,000 flights per day will be operated by Ryanair, which has run a skeleton schedule since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is restoring almost 90% of its route network but frequencies will be lower than normal, with just 40% of its normal July capacity.
Coronavirus: Threat of significant fines and jail time as Melbourne tightens lockdown rules
More than 300,000 people in Australia are going into lockdown for a month - with a neighbouring state threatening to fine or jail anyone who travels from coronavirus hotspots. More than 30 suburbs in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, are going to face tightened restrictions for four weeks - prohibiting them from leaving home unless they are buying food, exercising, or have a health appointment. New South Wales (NSW), a nearby state that includes the cities of Canberra and Sydney, has now imposed measures designed to deter visitors from Victoria.
No 2nd second lockdown in Colombia's capital after major ICU capacity boost
The mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota said she wouldn’t call a second lockdown, claiming the health ministry would provide more intensive care units (ICU’s) to treat COVID-19 patients. Following a meeting with Health Minister Fernando Ruiz, Mayor Claudia Lopez said the ministry vowed to give the capital more than the 425 ICU’s promised before the end of August. “There won’t be another lockdown” Consequently, “there’s won’t be another lockdown,” said Lopez. Lopez had stepped up pressure on the government of President Ivan Duque, threatening to suspend the government’s economic reactivation plans if a 75% ICU occupancy rate forced her to declare a red alert. The increased number of ICU’s, however, “added to those already bought by Bogota,allow us to have a good care system in July,” according to the mayor.
Covid-19 accelerates trust adoption of mobile technology for ICU nurses
Hospital nurses at a Surrey trust have adopted mobile technology during the coronavirus pandemic to take part in “remote” ward rounds and arrange “virtual” visiting for patients. Staff at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust are using robust smartphones that meet NHS hygiene guidelines to communicate and carry out “remote” ward rounds in the 24-bed intensive care unit.
Lockdown easing pits Irish health officials against airline bosses
Ryanair used its return to a more regular schedule on Wednesday to pile pressure on its home market of Ireland to ease travel restrictions in a debate that has pitted airline bosses against increasingly cautious health officials. Ireland’s then caretaker government said last week it planned to lift a 14-day quarantine for anyone travelling to and from countries that have also suppressed the coronavirus from July 9 and would publish a list of safe countries. However, new prime minister Micheál Martin, appointed last weekend, said on Monday he would take a cautious approach to opening up air travel after health authorities warned this could reignite the coronavirus crisis in Ireland. “We can’t say we’re somehow different, close the doors and throw away the keys. On that basis we may as well move out to the Aran Islands,” Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair’s main airline unit, told the Newstalk radio station, referring to the tiny Irish islands off its west coast.
Brazil shuts down bar disguised as pet shop to skirt lockdown
A pet shop with no pets has been busted for being a front for a bar in Brazil. Municipal authorities in the city of Petropolis said they discovered the speakeasy after neighbours complained. Inspectors found 16 patrons drinking beer, none of them wearing a mandatory mask or keeping to social distancing rules.
Healthcare Innovations
British scientists start a study of wastewater to see if Covid-19 can be spread by sewage and help warn of future outbreaks
£1million grant will help create a standardised process to study wastewater. Scientists hope it will allow consistent data on coronavirus in sewage. Will help shed light on if coronavirus in wastewater is infectious and poses a transmission risk for humans and animals
Almost a third of people may have developed coronavirus immunity, Swedish study claims
Public immunity to Covid-19 could be as high as 30 per cent, a new study from Sweden has claimed. T cells, a type of white blood cell, could be a source of immunity for twice as many people as Covid-19 antibodies. The findings have been published by the Karolinka Institutet, in a paper that has yet to be peer reviewed and that only had a test sample of 200 people in Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden. Sweden sparked controversy by being the only European country, other than Belarus, to refuse to impose a lockdown.
Fauci: US ‘Unlikely’ To Reach Herd Immunity Even With Coronavirus Vaccine
Scientists have been moving closer to developing an effective vaccine for COVID-19. But even if it becomes available, the U.S. is "unlikely" to achieve herd immunity if the country fails to do one thing, according to the White House’s top infectious disease expert. That important step is to encourage the majority of citizens to get vaccinated. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said just a portion of the population that refuses it could jeopardize the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19. "That's one of the reasons why we have to make sure we engage the community as we're doing now, to get community people to help us, for people to understand that we are doing everything we can to show that it's safe and that it's effective and that it's for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccine," he said during the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Poor oral hygiene in COVID-19 patients can increase ..r risk of lung infections and pneumonia, says UK study
Certain enzymes change the mucosa of the mouth in such a way that it allows the lung-infection causing bacteria to stick and grow on the mucosa.
WHO warns some countries may have to reinstate lockdowns as coronavirus pandemic accelerates
Some countries might have to reimplement severe restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as “lockdowns,” a top World Health Organization official said Wednesday. The outbreak in some countries might seem “overwhelming,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said, urging national leaders to “break down” the problem. Some countries may have not fully committed to their initial coronavirus response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
BioNTech, Pfizer report progress in coronavirus vaccine trial
BioNTech of Germany and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported positive preliminary results on Wednesday from a joint project to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Known as BNT162b1, it produces antibody responses at or above the levels seen in any convalescent serum -- blood from people who have recovered -- at relatively low doses, according to BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin. The preliminary data come from a so-called phase 1/2 trial that aimed to show the vaccine is not toxic and triggers an immune system response to prepare the body to fight off the virus. Of 45 people aged 18 to 55 who took part in the trial, most received two doses, 21 days apart, of the vaccine or a placebo.
Covid-19: Evidence of effects on 'many organ systems', long-term damage
Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the Covid-19 virus, some of which may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come, according to doctors and infectious disease experts. Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for breath, the coronavirus attacks many organ systems, in some cases causing catastrophic damage. "We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs," said Dr Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. "We didn't appreciate that in the beginning."
Tracking COVID-19’s spread through an Italian town
Italy was one of the countries hit earliest as the COVID-19 pandemic spread beyond its origin in China, and the country struggled with a sudden surge in cases that threatened to overwhelm its health services. But Italy turned into a success story, as an aggressive lockdown reversed its curve, causing new daily cases to drop from a peak of over 6,000 down to a steady flow of about 300. Compared to a number of other industrialized democracies, this was a major success. Now, a team of researchers largely based in Italy is looking more carefully at the pandemic's spread there as well as the impact of control measures. The researchers have gotten most of the population of a small town to agree to testing before and after Italy's lockdown, providing a window into the behavior of the virus and how things changed during the lockdown.