"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 13th Jul 2020

Isolation Tips
Dougy Center Director Brennan Wood on Coping With Grief, Loss, and Isolation During the Pandemic
‘Talking openly and honestly with your children about traumatic moments or tragic events creates a foundation of trust, enabling them to come to you in the future with their questions, fears, and concerns.’
Hidden victims of lockdown: ‘Mum attacked me and dragged me to the floor. Drinking made her mood swings worse’
It was when lockdown was first announced that 18-year-old Ray began to panic. The south London student had barely been coping with his mother’s drunken tirades, spending as much time out of the home as possible, but lockdown would mean there would be no escape. As the eldest of four siblings, the youngest aged nine, he felt the burden of making sure they would be all right. “At first I tried to manage lockdown by keeping myself busy and redecorating my room,” he said. “We were used to my mother drinking heavily, but as lockdown progressed, she went from shouting and becoming abusive every weekend to every night.
The lost families of lockdown
Invisible, ignored and at risk, these are the lockdown children politicians don’t discuss. Now charities and medics are 'gravely concerned' about the toxic impact of the pandemic on an already desperate situation. Jen Williams reports.
Hygiene Helpers
Marie Kondo to Sophia Hinchliffe – the Instagram ‘cleanfluencers’ who make housework hip in Covid-19 lockdown
The coronavirus outbreak has recalibrated the way we live: social distancing, mass temperature checks and mandatory use of face masks when outside are deemed part of the new normal. The past few months have also seen a revolution in decorating, decluttering, household cleaning and tidying up one's space due to the gravity of the pandemic. Cleaning is now more crucial than ever. And who better to turn to than Instagram's top "cleanfluencers"? Here are five online personalities who'll give you inspiration to keep your space neat and germfree:
Coronavirus update: Democratic Louisiana governor issues mask mandate as state’s death toll rises
Governors across the country are facing increasing pressure to pass statewide mask requirements and mount a more coherent pandemic response as coronavirus cases soar to record levels, daily deaths rise and hospitals in the South and West face a crush of patients. A growing chorus of local officials and health experts have warned that infections could continue to spiral out of control unless governors issue public health measures that apply to everyone. “We’ve been begging for a uniform response from the state,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D) of Jackson, Miss., where hospital intensive care unit beds were nearing full capacity.
Augusta Mayor mandates executive order for masks
At a COVID-19 press briefing, Mayor Hardie Davis issued an executive order mandating facial masks in Augusta-Richmond County. According to the mayor, the order officially went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday. In the executive order, it states for the protection of the public and members apart of the vulnerable population, facial masks will be required in public places and all government buildings within Augusta-Richmond County. The order does not, however, apply to religious establishments, but the use of facial coverings is highly recommended.
Perspective | Your mask feels uncomfortable? Get over it. As a surgeon, I know how vital they are.
Today, my wife returned from a visit with a friend. “She won’t wear a mask. She said it’s too uncomfortable.” Had I been there, I would have said, as I now do when I hear people complaining about the discomforts of a mask, “Sorry, you’ll get no sympathy from me.” As a surgeon, I spent much of my life behind a mask. Yes, it could be uncomfortable, especially during hay fever season, when I would excuse myself at the end of a three-hour operation to discreetly remove my snot-filled mask and wipe my face clean. Yes, you learn by trial and error how to pinch the wire across the bridge of your nose so that your breath doesn’t shoot out the top of the mask and fog your glasses. You wear a mask because, in the operating room, contamination is a no-no. You wear a mask because if you don’t, the most vulnerable person in the room — the patient — might get an infection because of you.
Florida shatters US record for new single-day Covid-19 cases
The Florida Department of Health has reported at least 15,299 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number of new cases in a single day by any state since the coronavirus pandemic began. The record-setting number from Saturday was reported by the state Sunday morning. But it's not just the number of new cases that's concerning. The test positivity rate -- which can indicate how rampantly the virus is spreading -- reached 19.6% as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Across the country, more than half the states are dealing with increased rates of new cases compared to last week. And more than half the states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of getting coronavirus under control.
Community Activities
Blackburn with Darwen Council coronavirus 'worker bees' hailed
The coronavirus has brought new challenges and working practices for thousands of town hall staff across East Lancashire. Now one local authority is highlighting how its employees have adapted to the Covid-19 lockdown and social distancing. Blackburn with Darwen Council’s ‘Worker Bee’ social media campaign will show how backroom staff have moved onto the frontline and key staff helping the public have adapted to the pandemic. It features 11 of its employees who have been conducting 'window meetings' with residents, delivering services digitally, moving to virtual ways of working from home or transferring to its coronavirus 'Help Hub' to support 3,500 vulnerable and self-isolating individuals.
How to volunteer and donate in New Jersey during the coronavirus outbreak (07/12/20)
As the coronavirus continues to cause disruption to the lives of New Jerseyans, some residents have been disproportionately affected and many service agencies have been critically impacted. Information on assisting agencies and nonprofit organizations is detailed below. Readers are encouraged to check back frequently, as the list will be updated regularly. To add your nonprofit organization to the guide or email newsletter
How Muskoka's artists are rising to the challenges presented by COVID-19
With online ordering, deliveries, curbside pick up and safe studio visits offered by Muskoka artists, finding amazing original artwork for your cottage or home is still going to be part of your summer this year.
6 Solutions To Local COVID-19 Problems, From Free Veggies To Virtual Church : Goats and Soda
Cardboard beds. Urban farms. Roving mariachi bands. These are some of the ways that regular folks are solving problems and spreading happiness during the pandemic. The solutions aren't perfect — public health experts have some critiques and suggestions. But at the same time, they applaud the ingenuity and positive vibes. Read the stories of six grassroots change-makers — then nominate your own at the bottom of this story.
KW Flamenco Fest 2020 goes online
The show will go on for the KW Flamenco Fest 2020, but it will be following public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, all workshops and performances will be held online from July 21 to July 31. Workshops include helping participants develop or improve their foot work, singing, guitar skills and more. On the final day of the festival, a video performance will be released. Claudia Aguirre is one of the co-organizers of the festival, and a co-owner of local flamenco studio, CaluJules -- Flamenco Plus
Working Remotely
Corporations begin cautious return to UK offices after lockdown
After months of Zoom video calls, a number of major businesses are getting ready for a return to (relative) normality. Last week accountancy firm PwC reopened all of its UK offices, while its competitor Deloitte began to allow staff back to some sites in the capital and other regional cities, and employees of law firm Slaughter and May were once again able to opt to work from its London headquarters.
University professors fear returning to campus as coronavirus cases surge nationwide
As coronavirus cases start to surge in more than 30 states across the U.S., some professors are pushing back when it comes to returning to campus for in-person teaching. More than 50% of colleges and universities have announced they will be hosting professors or students back on campus in the next few months, per data tracked by the Chronicle of Higher Education. NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team spoke to professors at various colleges who expressed fears of physically returning back to work. “There’s a tremendous amount of insecurity and a tremendous amount of anxiety,” Crary said.
Covid impact: Professionals who can work from home are ditching the uncongenial cities
When the novel coronavirus pandemic began making its presence felt in India and the first lockdown was announced in March, Vinitha (surname withheld on request) thought she and her husband could comfortably ride out the crisis in their Bengaluru apartment. After all, work from home was an option for her, a researcher in a private firm, and her husband, a software engineer. Besides, unlike in other big metros, the situation seemed to be under control in Bengaluru —even at the end of May, there were less than 400 cases in the city of over 1.2 crore.
With remote working on the rise, people are moving to the coast as sales surge by the seaside
Estate agents are reporting a surge in demand for seaside properties from workers eager to escape city life, with many believing the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a more permanent shift to home working. Britain has more than 11,000 miles of coastline and is home to a wide array of beaches and outstanding beauty spots. As someone who moved from London to the coast last year, I can vouch for the benefits. Daily walks are taken parallel to the sea and on a hot day I can pop out for an ice cream in minutes. The chatter of seagulls is a constant refrain as I work from my desk at home. I have been even more grateful for the space and picturesque views during lockdown, which has meant I haven’t felt claustrophobic
Nearly half of employed in UK worked remotely in April 2020
In more evidence of how the coronavirus outbreak has changed the working habits of the nation, with millions adapting to doing their job from home over the past few months, a study for the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that in April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home, 86% of whom did so as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Virtual Classrooms
COVID-19: Pelosi says Trump 'messing with' children's health on school reopenings
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of "messing with" children's health on Sunday (Jul 12) and said federal guidelines on reopening schools amid the coronavirus outbreak should be mandatory. The Democratic House of Representatives leader sharply criticised the Trump administration for advocating a return to school in the fall as coronavirus infections surge across the country, particularly in states that reopened their economies earliest during the pandemic.
Victoria's coronavirus lockdown means it's back to remote learning for thousands of students. Here are some tips that could help
After an extra week of school holidays for many students in Melbourne, the Victorian Government has confirmed it's back to remote learning for prep to year 10 students in locked down parts of the state from July 20. When schools across Australia first began moving to remote learning back in April, the ABC spoke to a number of education experts and parents about what worked (and what didn't) for them. So from ideas for play to structuring your day, here's a survival guide to homeschooling… if you're one of the parents who needs it again.
More Colorado families consider online education as COVID-19 risks loom over upcoming school year
When growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus triggered the abrupt shuttering of Colorado schools in March, families and faculty were forced to finish the academic year from the confines of their homes. The transition wasn’t easy for many. Parents had to double as caretakers and teachers, while students tried to adapt to a revolving door of online classroom solutions. Educators needed to find new ways to engage with students practically overnight, as districts doled out laptops and internet hotspots to ensure families had the technology to connect virtually.
Foreign students in NC fear online classes mean deportation
Although most North Carolina universities — including Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State — still plan to bring students back to campus for some in-person classes starting next month, international students are fearful of what could happen if classes move entirely online. They would be forced to leave the country, according to new guidelines announced this week by federal immigration authorities.
In D.C. wards hit hardest by covid-19, sending kids to school is a risk some parents won’t take
At Capital City Public Charter School in Northwest Washington, three students’ parents have died after contracting the coronavirus. Many more grandparents and relatives of the school’s nearly 1,000 students, most of whom are black or Hispanic, have been killed by the virus. So when Capital City surveyed families this month to determine how to reopen in the fall, the response was clear: Most said they would prefer to continue full-time with virtual learning. They just weren’t ready to go back.
Texas reopening schools leaves teachers frustrated, worried about health
Many Texas Education Agency employees are working from home, but the agency is requiring schools to open five days a week for in-person instruction this fall. Teachers say that mandate has grave implications for their health.
Almost half of Fort Worth ISD parents have asked for online classes amid COVID-19
Fort Worth parents are divided on whether they want their children to go back to school in person or continue learning online. Parents were given the option to choose how they wanted their children to learn amid the novel coronavirus pandemic when they registered them for the 2020-21 school year. So far, 57% have said they’d like in-person instruction and 43% want virtual instruction, said Clint Bond, a spokesman for the Fort Worth school district. Nearly 12,000 students have registered for the school year, scheduled to start Aug. 17, Bond said.
How the coronavirus pandemic is changing virtual science communication
Researchers flocked to join Skype a Scientist after COVID-19 closed their labs. The squid biologist who founded it explains how the science-communication platform has adapted.
Public Policies
Virus brought ‘under control’ in Jordan, king says
Monarch wants to restart pandemic-battered economy of tourism-dependent kingdom, which has recorded 1,179 cases of the virus including 10 deaths
Iran's president calls for ban on weddings, wakes to halt virus spread
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in coronavirus infections, but insisted the country’s economy had to stay open. Shortly after Rouhani’s televised speech, a police official in Tehran announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice. Iran has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, but has recently reported a sharp rise in the infection rate. The death toll on Saturday rose by 188 over the previous 24 hours to 12,635, while the total number of diagnosed cases reached 255,117, up by 2,397 during the same period, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV. “We must ban ceremonies and gatherings all over the country, whether it be wakes, weddings or parties,” Rouhani said. “Now is not the time for festivals or seminars,” he said, adding that even university entrance exams may have to be suspended.
Trump wears coronavirus mask publicly for first time during visit to Walter Reed military hospital
Before departing for Walter Reed, Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn that he would “probably have a mask” while visiting the hospital. Walter Reed requires visitors to wear masks when maintaining a safe social distance isn’t possible. Trump has resisted wearing a mask in the past.
Okinawa governor wants tougher action as 61 Marines infected
The governor of Japan’s Okinawa island demanded a top U.S. military commander take tougher prevention measures and more transparency hours after officials were told that more than 60 Marines at two bases have been infected with the coronavirus over the past few days. Okinawan officials on Sunday reported a total of 61 cases — 38 of them at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is at the center of a relocation dispute, and another 23 at Camp Hansen — since July 7. They said that U.S. military officials told them the two bases have since been put in lockdown. The disclosure of the exact figures came only after Okinawa’s repeated requests to the U.S. military.
Colombia's healthcare saturates: lawmakers urge emergency basic income as 2nd lockdown looms
Lawmakers urged Colombia’s government to decree an emergency basic income on Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic is saturating hospitals and causing hunger. The National Health Institute reported a record number of 5,336 newly confirmed COVID-19 infections and 187 deaths. According to newspaper El Tiempo, the test results on average take 10 days to return, leaving a high number of suspected cases. Healthcare facilities in the central Santander province allegedly refuse to do testing unless someone has private insurance.
French bus driver dies following attack by passengers who refused to wear masks
A French bus driver declared brain dead after an attack by passengers who refused to wear face masks has died, according to his family. Philippe Monguillot, 59, died in hospital on Friday, his daughter Marie told Agence France-Presse. “We decided to let him go. The doctors were in favour and we were as well,” she said. Monguillot was attacked in the south-western town of Bayonne on Sunday after he asked three passengers to wear masks – in line with coronavirus rules across France – and tried to check another man’s ticket.
Maintaining Services
Beauty salons to open as coronavirus restrictions relaxed in England
Beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops are to open for the first time in four months as part of the latest relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England. Spas, massage studios and physical therapy businesses will also be able to welcome customers again on Monday. But businesses will be required to meet coronavirus guidelines, and restrictions on treatments which involve work directly in front of the face will not be available. Government guidance states that face waxing, eyelash treatments, make-up application and facials should not be provided because of the greater risk of Covid-19 transmission.
In Pacific Northwest, camping on rise amid coronavirus
Kampgrounds of America, which bills itself as the “world’s largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds,” recently released its annual North American Camping Report, this year gauging leisure travelers’ attitudes toward camping during and after the pandemic.
Coronavirus: Outdoor pools and lidos struggling to reopen
Operators of outdoor swimming pools have criticised the timing of the government announcement allowing them to reopen. Some have decided not to open, claiming a lack of preparation time has made a shorter summer season "unviable". Many are run by community groups or charities and have mounted fundraising efforts in order to survive. The government said "comprehensive guidance" was available to leisure operators.
Walt Disney World reopens in Florida amid Covid-19 surge
Walt Disney World Resort has begun to reopen in Florida despite a coronavirus surge across the US state. The site's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opened on Saturday. Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios are expected to follow from 15 July. Visitors will be required to wear masks and adhere to other safety measures across the complex in Orlando. Over a quarter of a million cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Florida, along with 4,197 deaths. Disney first closed the resort in March during the early months of America's outbreak. While infections were largely concentrated in New York and California at first, Florida is among several states recording a rise in cases in recent weeks. In Orange County, where the resort is based, authorities have reported 16,630 cases - some of the highest numbers in Florida.
Georgia to reactivate makeshift hospital at Atlanta convention center
Georgia officials are racing to expand hospital capacity to cope with soaring numbers of coronavirus cases, unveiling plans Friday to reopen a makeshift medical facility at the sprawling convention center in Atlanta and other efforts to add more beds. Gov. Brian Kemp's office said the temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center, which opened in April and shuttered a month later, will soon be reactivated to relieve healthcare systems struggling with rising numbers of coronavirus patients.
Healthcare Innovations
Thailand plans November human testing for potential coronavirus vaccine
Thai researchers plan to begin human trials of a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus in November and are preparing 10,000 doses, a senior official said on Sunday, aiming for a vaccine that could be ready for use by late next year. Following favourable results in trials on primates, the next step is to manufacture doses for human trials, said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University vaccine development program. “At first we were going to send them in June, but it was not easy to plan everything,” Kiat told a news conference. There are no approved vaccines for the virus that causes COVID-19, but 19 candidates are being trailed in humans globally. China is leading the race, with an experimental vaccine by Sinovac Biotech Ltd
First cases of coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome identified in children in South Carolina
Two children in South Carolina have been diagnosed with the coronavirus-related pediatric inflammatory syndrome, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control. The children are both under the age of 10, DHEC said in a news release Sunday. One is located in the Midlands region in central South Carolina. The other is in the Pee Dee region in the northeastern part of the state. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, is a potential complication seen in some children and teenagers following Covid-19 infections or exposure to those with Covid-19. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory to doctors across the country in May, warning them to be on the lookout for the syndrome. Symptoms include fever, stomach pain, vomiting, a rash and fatigue, according to the CDC.
Infectious virus could survive in the air for more than an hour
Professor Wendy Barclay, a virologist from the Govenrment's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has warned that the novel coronavirus could spend more than an hour airborne
Getting Covid-19 twice: Why I think my patient was reinfected
“Wait. I can catch Covid twice?” my 50-year-old patient asked in disbelief. It was the beginning of July, and he had just tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, for a second time — three months after a previous infection. While there’s still much we don’t understand about immunity to this new illness, a small but growing number of cases like his suggest the answer is “yes.” Covid-19 may also be much worse the second time around. During his first infection, my patient experienced a mild cough and sore throat. His second infection, in contrast, was marked by a high fever, shortness of breath, and hypoxia, resulting in multiple trips to the hospital.
Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests
King’s College London team found steep drops in patients’ antibody levels three months after infection. People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds. In the first longitudinal study of its kind, scientists analysed the immune response of more than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust and found levels of antibodies that can destroy the virus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms then swiftly declined.
India’s Biocon secures approval to use drug on Covid-19 patients
India's Biocon Ltd has received regulatory approval for its drug Itolizumab to be used on coronavirus infected patients suffering from moderate to severe respiratory distress, the biopharmaceutical company said in a statement on Saturday.
Coronavirus: German vaccine study draws thousands of volunteers
Researchers say they are surprised at the number of people who have offered to take part, as they usually struggle to find enough guinea pigs. The study will test the success of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by CureVac.
About half of health care workers positive for COVID-19 by serology have no symptoms, study finds
A new study suggests that front-line health care workers are at high risk for COVID-19 and that many health care workers with the virus may not have typical symptoms of a respiratory infection.
Dozens More Cases of Neurological Problems in COVID-19 Reported
SARS-CoV-2 generally attacks the lungs, but researchers are also stressing its effects on the brain in a fraction of patients.
Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity
Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported on Monday. The findings show that 95% of Spain's population remains susceptible to the virus. Herd immunity is achieved when enough of a population has become infected with a virus or bacteria -- or vaccinated against it -- to stop its circulation. The European Center for Disease Control told CNN that Spain's research, on a nationwide representative sample of more than 61,000 participants, appears to be the largest study to date among a dozen serological studies on the coronavirus undertaken by European nations. It adds to the findings of an antibody study involving 2,766 participants in Geneva, Switzerland, published in the Lancet on June 11.
Fast COVID-19 vaccine timelines are unrealistic and put the integrity of scientists at risk
We contend that a safe and effective vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the causative agent of coronavirus disease COVID-19, most likely cannot be made available to the public in time to make a substantial difference to the natural outcome of this pandemic. People often cling to hope even when prospects of success are low. However, this can have negative consequences if that hope is not realized. We are academic scientists who manage vaccine research programs. In fact, Dr. Bridle received COVID-19-focused funding to develop a novel vaccine platform. Although many of us are working hard towards developing vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, we worry that some in the scientific community have offered too much hope for this to be accomplished in a timely fashion. Sometimes these promises are used by politicians and governments to inform public policies. As a result, the integrity of the scientific community is now in the limelight and, arguably, at risk.
Analysis: How close are we to COVID-19 herd immunity?
This week a clip of Dr Michael Ryan, from the World Health Organization, went viral when he provided a strong rebuke about hopes that herd immunity could help us to control the coronavirus. "Humans are not herds,” he denounced, almost in anger. He went on to say: “I think we need to be really careful when we use terms in this way around natural infection in humans because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the centre of that equation."