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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 2nd Nov 2020

News Highlights

Slovakia to test entire population for Covid-19

Slovakia commenced a mass Covid-19 testing programme on its citizens over the weekend, with close to half its population of 5.4 million people being tested on Saturday itself. About 45,000 medical workers, army and police are carrying out the quick antigen tests, which critics say are not as reliable as the nasal swab tests. Health officials said that 2.58 million Slovaks have already been tested over the weekend, with 25,850 people testing positive and being sent into quarantine.

Johnson announces new national lockdown in the UK as virus numbers spike

After weeks of saying that no new national lockdown would be announced, Prime Minister Johnson finally ordered one in the UK, amidst warnings that the second wave striking the country could collapse the health system. Johnson announced that restaurants, bars and gyms would have to shut for at least a month, while schools and universities would remain open, and said that the government would extend wage subsidies for an additional month, to ensure that workers temporarily laid off would receive 80% of their pay.

Doctors suffer mental health issues as pandemic rages on

A British Medical Association survey has indicated that more than two fifths of doctors in the UK are reporting a deterioration in their mental health now, compared to before the pandemic. More than 43% of the 6,550 doctors polled said they were currently experiencing work related depression, anxiety and stress at worse levels, and more than a third of the doctors polled said their health and well being was worse now than it had been during the first wave of the pandemic.

Florida parents sue school board over mask mandates

A group of parents in Florida filed a suit last week against the Sarasota County school board, for requiring children to wear face masks to protect them against the coronavirus. The wearing of masks has become a political hot-button issue, especially in the U.S., with some people looking at forced regulations to wear masks as infringing on their freedom. The school board had approved an emergency 90-day mask mandate that required students attending in-person classes to wear masks for most of the school day.

Lockdown Exit
Trump rallies may have led 700 coronavirus deaths and 30,000 new infections, report claims
A Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research report released Friday says Donald Trump's rallies may have led to 700 COVID-19 deaths. A study of 18 of Trump's massive rallies held between June 20 to September 22 found the events increased subsequent cases of COVID-19. Researchers say the rallies may have led to 30,000 new virus infections. 'The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death,' the study said. However, the paper has not yet undergone peer review and has not been vetted by experts in public health or epidemiology
WHO chief in quarantine after Covid contact
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), has gone into self-quarantine, he announced late on Sunday, after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. “I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for #COVID19. I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with WHO protocols, and work from home,” he wrote on Twitter.
Coronavirus: Spain's funeral homes strike as cases rise
Staff at funeral homes in Spain have gone on strike to demand more workers as coronavirus deaths continue to rise. Unions say more staff are needed to prevent the delay in burials that was seen during the first wave of the pandemic in March. Europe is grappling with a second wave as cases and deaths continue to rise. A number of countries have introduced new measures such as curfews and lockdowns to try and bring infection rates down. On Saturday, Austria and Portugal became the latest countries to announce new restrictions.
Slovakia begins mass virus testing, in world first
Slovakia on Saturday begins a programme to screen its entire population for coronavirus with antigen tests in what would be a global first, but critics have said the plan is poorly thought out. Some 45,000 medical workers, army and police are being deployed to carry out the tests in the EU member state of 5.4 million people, collecting swabs at around 5,000 testing points. "The world will be watching," Prime Minister Igor Matovic said earlier this week, adding that the measure would save "hundreds of lives". Antigen tests give quick results - sometimes within minutes - but are not seen as being as reliable as the PCR test for which nasal swabs have to be sent to a lab for analysis.
Covid: Wales firebreak to end regardless of England lockdown
A two-week firebreak in Wales will still end on 9 November, regardless of a lockdown in England, the Welsh Government has said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second lockdown for England starting on Thursday, lasting a month. He also said the furlough scheme due to end on Saturday will be extended and it will include Wales. But First Minister Mark Drakeford is unhappy it was not extended when they asked for it for the firebreak. "Rishi Sunak said he wouldn't extend it in Wales when we asked," Mr Drakeford tweeted. "It's now clear he could have said yes," he added.
Coronavirus: Wales won't return to local lockdowns after 17-day 'fire break' ends
Wales will not return to a series of localised coronavirus restrictions once its current 17-day "fire break" lockdown ends, the country's first minister has announced. Mark Drakeford said a "simpler set of national restrictions" would instead replace the current measures rather than the local lockdowns that were previously imposed during the autumn. The current fire break period in Wales - which has seen controversy over what supermarkets are allowed to sell under the rules - is due to last until 9 November.
As Covid-19 Closes U.S. Classrooms, Families Turn to India for Homework Help
Sheri Akerele has been struggling to keep her sons in third and seventh grade focused on online classes as coronavirus fears shut down in-person classes in their school in Atlanta for months. Like many parents, she found her children weren’t absorbing their lessons completely, but she could spend only so much of her busy day walking them through their lessons. Luckily, she has online backup: an experienced teacher who lives in a small town in central India. “We get that one-on-one attention they need and it’s affordable,” she said. “It’s so hard learning from home.”
Pakistan's early exit from COVID-19 lockdown helps it win big on exports orders
Pakistan's decision to loosen pandemic restrictions early has helped the nation's exports emerge stronger than its South Asian peers. Outbound shipments have grown at a faster pace than Bangladesh and India as textiles, which account for half of the total export, led the recovery. Islamabad saw total shipments grow 7 per cent in September, compared with New Delhi's 6 per cent and Dhaka's 3.5 per cent. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's administration was the first in the region to ease pandemic restrictions, allowing export units to reopen in April, a month after locking them down to stem the spread of COVID-19. That's helped draw companies from Guess? Inc., Hugo Boss AG, Target Corp. and Hanesbrands Inc. to the South Asian nation.
Exit Strategies
Little Recognition and Less Pay: These Female Healthcare Workers Are Rural India's First Defense Against COVID-19
India’s ASHA program is likely the world’s largest army of all-female community health workers. They are the foot soldiers of the country’s health system. Established in 2005, a key focus of the program was reducing maternal and infant deaths, so all recruits are women. They have also played an essential role in India’s efforts to eradicate polio and increase immunization, according to numerous studies. But even as health authorities have leaned on ASHAs to quell the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas, where a substantial number of new cases have been reported, many of these health care workers say the government is failing them. Pay was meager to begin with, but some workers have reported not being paid for months. Their hours have increased dramatically, but pay rises, when they have come, have not reflected the increased demands. Many ASHAs have also complained about not being provided adequate protective equipment for their high-risk work.
The face mask test: which are the best at limiting the spread of Covid?
Some fabric face coverings on sale in supermarkets and high-street pharmacies could be giving people a false sense of security by letting the vast majority of large particles pass through them, an investigation by the consumer magazine Which? has revealed. Three of the masks the magazine’s researchers tested failed to capture 93% of bacterial particles, meaning that these particles could be inhaled or exhaled by the mask wearer. However, it was found that the best-performing face coverings were as good as surgical masks at blocking bacterial particles, preventing more than 99% of them from penetrating the fabric.
As Covid-19 Closes U.S. Classrooms, Families Turn to India for Homework Help
Sheri Akerele has been struggling to keep her sons in third and seventh grade focused on online classes as coronavirus fears shut down in-person classes in their school in Atlanta for months. Like many parents, she found her children weren’t absorbing their lessons completely, but she could spend only so much of her busy day walking them through their lessons.
Will the Hardest-Hit Communities Get the Coronavirus Vaccine?
It is an idea that may never have been tried in wide-scale vaccine distribution: Citing principles of equity and justice, experts are urging that people living in communities hardest-hit by the pandemic, which are often made up of Black and Hispanic populations, get a portion of the first, limited supply of coronavirus vaccines set aside just for them. A committee of experts advising Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is considering the idea. But as it comes into focus, its underlying concepts and execution must be further defined, and the approach may then face legal and political challenges, even as the medical system grapples with the anticipated logistical hurdles of distributing new vaccines.
Coronavirus: UK restricts flu vaccine exports to protect supplies
Exports of flu vaccine from the UK will be restricted to protect supplies, the government has announced. It comes amid an increase in global demand during the coronavirus pandemic. A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care said: "There is sufficient national supply of flu vaccine, with deliveries to providers continuing over the coming months.
'It's possible': the race to approve a Covid vaccine by Christmas
The race for a Covid vaccine is reaching a crucial stage, with the glimmer of a possibility that one of the leading contenders will be approved by Christmas. In an interview with the Guardian, Kate Bingham, who heads the UK’s vaccine taskforce, said the UK was in “a very good place”. But there are still hurdles to clear in the coming weeks. The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, explains the challenges ahead.
Someone leaked the COVID hospitalization data taken from the CDC
Earlier this year, the federal government made a major change to how data on the pandemic is reported, taking the aggregation of hospital data away from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and shifting it into the CDC's parent organization, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At the time, there were worries that this represented an attempt to limit the public's ability to see how bad the pandemic was—worries that were reinforced when the data was no longer made public as it came in. But some recent reporting indicated that the change was primarily the work of White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx, who wanted greater control over the data gathering and processing. Still, regardless of the motivation, the data flowing in to HHS only made its way out to the public via weekly summaries.
The Leeds bakery that gave away 200 meals to families struggling to feed children
Taking over a successful family business right before a pandemic would be enough to make anybody anxious. But Samantha Atkin is somehow unflappable. In Bramley, a suburb of Leeds, the 28-year-old runs Carol’s Confectioners, a bakery and sandwich shop that specialises in Jewish bread. It is one of the many cafes, pubs and restaurants that offered free meals to children during the half-term holidays. “We watched it on the news and there was just absolutely no way, in the position we’re in, to not make a sandwich for a child,” Atkin said.
Partisan Exits
Brazil's Bolsonaro says fresh COVID lockdown measures are 'crazy'
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a longtime critic of stay-at-home measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, said on Thursday that it was “crazy” for countries to start locking down again to control second waves of the virus. Most Western countries and parts of Latin America have reported their highest single-day surges in the past few weeks. Many governments, with the notable exception of the United States, have started taking stronger measures to bring the spread of the virus under control.
France faces lockdown resistance as small shops pay the price
The French government promised on Sunday to protect the nation’s beloved independent shops that fear losing their business to international giants, such as Amazon, as it sought to quell opposition to a new coronavirus lockdown. In common with other European nations suffering from an upsurge in the novel coronavirus, France has entered a second strict lockdown, which includes closing non-essential stores for at least 15 days.
Florida parents sue school board over mandate that requires students to wear masks
A group of parents in Florida is suing the Sarasota County school board for requiring students to wear face masks, which are recommended by federal health officials to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The suit was filed last week in a Sarasota County court by parents Amy Cook, Gustavo Collazo, Nicholas Eastman, and Catherine Gonzales after the school board approved an emergency 90-day mask mandate that extends its policy through to the end of the year. The policy requires students attending in-person class to wear masks, with a few exceptions, for most of the school day, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Dominic Cummings should face prosecution for breaking lockdown, says former top prosecutor
Nazir Afzal submitted evidence to suggest Dominic Cummings may have lied. The evidence relates to the chief aide's controversial trip in April to Durham. Mr Afzal's dossier is based on new eyewitness claims said to be 'wholly inconsistent' with account that Mr Cummings gave when he admitted travelling
Victoria's coronavirus lockdown might be finally be over, but we are still deeply divided
It shouldn't be surprising that in the midst of a pandemic we still find ourselves mired in politics. I suppose the stakes are too high for us not to be: The hardship, the loss of life, the preventable deaths, the economic destruction, the psychological toll. But let's be blunt for a moment — Daniel Andrews plays a mean game of chicken. The Victorian Premier, with his health officials, has pursued a virus-reduction strategy that has put him in the political crosshairs for months.
Three in four more worried about impact of lockdown than catching coronavirus, poll finds
Almost three in four people are more concerned about the impact of lockdown. The results come from a poll of 2,000 adults by the Recovery group. Recovery put forward its 'five reasonable demands' as they call for ministers to balance the need to tackle Covid with the impact its policies are having
Fact check: Will private insurance be required to cover a Covid vaccine if Obamacare is overturned?
On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced rules for insurers to cover the cost of administering a Covid-19 vaccine when one is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Yet on the campaign trail, former Vice President Joe Biden has been warning that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, as the Trump administration is attempting to do, vaccines would not necessarily be covered by insurance, and that many people will have to pay for them out of pocket. "[O]verturning the ACA could mean that people have to pay to get Covid-19 vaccine once it's available," Biden said Wednesday. "That's right. The law that says insurers are required to cover vaccines for free is the Affordable Care Act."
Hungary to get coronavirus vaccine in winter, says Orbán
Hungary will get a first shipment of coronavirus vaccines in December or January, and will be able to "declare victory over the pandemic" by next spring, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said today. Orbán said Hungary was talking to China and Russia and could have access to two or three different vaccines by early next year, Reuters reported. As yet, there is no clinically proven vaccine against the coronavirus. Orbán said in a radio interview that there were enough hospital beds and ventilators to treat coronavirus patients and he believes "the key is to obey the existing rules ... and that masks must be worn.
Trump’s Surgeon General Battles Rising Covid Vaccine Skepticism
A coronavirus vaccine may be available as soon as the end of the year, but that will “mean nothing if people don’t trust it,” says Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, a job known as the nation’s doctor. Many people don’t, and time is running short to convince them otherwise. Adams, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said he spends his days, nights and weekends racing to boost vaccine confidence. It is a daunting challenge, given that overcoming the pandemic hinges on vaccine use and the administration he works for has at times undermined confidence that a shot will be safe and effective.
The long shadow of racism in medicine leaves Black Americans wary of a COVID-19 vaccine
As the coronavirus pandemic has progressed, and the need for a vaccine has become more urgent and apparent, the number of Americans who say they would take such a vaccine keeps falling. In particular, Black Americans — who have been among those hit hardest by the pandemic — are resistant to the idea. A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that only 27 percent of Black Americans and 46 percent of white Americans plan to get a coronavirus vaccine if and when one becomes available. The perceived politicization of the vaccine process and unprecedented pace of Operation Warp Speed has led to doubts nationwide. Until very recently, President Trump was predicting that a vaccine could arrive ahead of Election Day, Nov. 3, contradicting members of his own coronavirus task force, who have repeatedly given less optimistic time frames that have turned out to be more realistic.
Simon Dolan: Coronavirus lockdown restrictions were unlawful, entrepreneur tells judges
A verdict on the legality of past lockdown rules is crucial as the government is pushed to impose further measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, senior judges have been told. Lawyers for Simon Dolan, an entrepreneur and former racing driver, told the Court of Appeal yesterday that another national lockdown “would seem to be the inevitable consequence if the most recent measures to try to reduce the infection rate fail to do so”. Mr Dolan is arguing in a judicial review that the UK’s lockdown rules were among “the most onerous restrictions to personal liberty” in almost four centuries.
Continued Lockdown
COVID-19 pandemic threatens young Australians' mental health: survey
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the mental health of 75 percent of Australians aged 18 to 24, according to a poll published by Ipsos and Nine Entertainment newspapers on Friday. By comparison, 65 percent of those polled aged 25 to 39 said the pandemic and restrictions have impacted on their mental wellbeing, 49 percent of those aged 40 to 54 and 35 percent of those aged 55 and over. Ian Hickie, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Sydney, said the education and social lives of young people have been most disrupted by the pandemic worldwide. The University of Sydney has published modelling that projected a 30-percent rise in the suicide rate for Australians aged 18-24 over the next five years. In Victoria, the state hardest-hit by the pandemic, it was projected to rise 36.7 percent.
First mental health trust signs up to Nursing Times wellbeing campaign
Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has become the first mental health provider to sign a pledge supporting the principles of the Nursing Times Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign. The Yorkshire mental health trust signed up to support the campaign, after its director of nursing, Cathy Woffendin, responded to a call made by Nursing Times to an initial group of trusts. It becomes the fourth trust overall to back Covid-19: Are You OK? and the third one from Yorkshire to do so.
Hundreds of GPs a month seek mental health support as COVID-19 pressure bites
More than 200 GPs a month are seeking mental health support as COVID-19 drives up pressure on the NHS - and demand for help is rising fastest among doctors in primary care, figures from a confidential support service suggest.
National Union of Students issue Covid mental health warning
Half of students in Scotland said money worries or financial pressures had affected their mental health - before the Covid pandemic struck. Research by the National Union of Students also found 72% of undergraduates said they had most concerns in their first year. The union argues the effects of the pandemic on the sector make these issues more important than ever. Universities Scotland said the mental health of students was "paramount." The NUS research, which was carried out in January and February, involved 3,097 college and university students. It found almost half of students claimed coping with course workload had a negative impact on their mental health.
Coronavirus: Lockdown contributing to rise in mental illness in children, NHS says
One in six children in England has a probable mental disorder, according to an NHS study. The Mental Health and Young People Survey highlights how the coronavirus lockdown has made conditions like depression, anxiety and sleeping problems worse among boys and girls. The study is based on data collected in July from 3,570 children and young people, who took part in a similar survey in 2017.
'Second Pandemic' Warning Issued As Mental Health Crises Rise
Mind received up to 500 helpline calls a day in October – twice the usual number for this time of year.
Alarming impact of Covid-19 crisis on mental health of North East GPs revealed
A survey of North East GPs revealed that 80% said the pressure of dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak has left them with mental health problems. The research was carried out by the North East & Cumbria Regional LMC which also revealed that 61% of GP practices had seen morale deteriorate while 60% of doctors said the chance of them leaving the profession, retiring early or emigrating had increased compared to before the pandemic.
Coronavirus lockdown rules have led to relatives refusing to speak to each other, research finds
One in 12 people is no longer speaking to a friend or family member because of disagreements about the pandemic. When and how the UK should emerge from lockdown restrictions has divided not only the nation but also families and friends – even leading to some relatives refusing to talk to each other, research has revealed. People who rely on social media for coronavirus information are more likely to have been involved in confrontations and reports to the authorities over lockdown rules, the study by King’s College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori also found. They are at least five times as likely to say they have been reported and four times as likely to have been confronted for not wearing a face covering. A small minority have challenged others about following the rules too carefully, the researchers found, and one in 12 is no longer speaking to a friend or family member because of disagreements about the pandemic.
'I was just sat in my room all day': lonely students seek mental health support
University students are struggling with loneliness and anxiety due to campus lockdowns, with the risk that their mental health will deteriorate further unless urgent action is taken, counsellors and charities are warning. Nightline, a phone line run by 2,951 student volunteers that reaches 1.6 million of their peers, has reported higher demand than usual for this time of year as self-isolation takes its toll on students’ mental health. “We normally see significant numbers of calls dealing with loneliness, and this year that number is higher,” says Brendan Mahon, a Nightline trustee.
Covid-19: Two fifths of doctors say pandemic has worsened their mental health
More than two fifths of doctors in the UK say that their mental health is now worse than before the pandemic, a BMA survey has found. The association received responses from 6610 doctors working across England to a snapshot survey it conducted in October. Of the 6550 doctors who responded to a question about their mental wellbeing, 43% said that they were currently experiencing work related depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, emotional distress, or other mental health condition and that it was worse than it had been before the pandemic started. A further 12% said they had a work related mental health problem but it was no different than it had been before the pandemic, while 39% said they did not have a work related problem, and 6% preferred not to say. Of 6559 doctors who responded to a follow-up question, a third (32%) said that their health and wellbeing were slightly worse than it had been during the first wave of the pandemic and 10% said it was much worse. More than a third (37%) said it was the same, while 21% said it was better.
Scientific Viewpoint
Household spread of Covid-19 is common and quick, a new CDC study finds
The spread of Covid-19 among members in a household after one person is infected is "common" and occurs quickly after illness onset, according to a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person exposed or suspected of having Covid-19 should be isolated before getting tested and before test results come back to protect others in the home, said the study, published Friday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
It may be time to reset expectations on when we'll get a Covid-19 vaccine
The ambitious drive to produce Covid-19 vaccine at warp speed seems to be running up against reality. We all probably need to reset our expectations about how quickly we’re going to be able to be vaccinated. Pauses in clinical trials to investigate potential safety issues, a slower-than-expected rate of infections among participants in at least one of the trials, and signals that an expert panel advising the Food and Drug Administration may not be comfortable recommending use of vaccines on very limited safety and efficacy data appear to be adding up to a slippage in the estimates of when vaccine will be ready to be deployed. Asked Wednesday about when he expects the FDA will greenlight use of the first vaccines, Anthony Fauci moved the administration’s stated goalpost.
Johnson & Johnson to test coronavirus vaccine in children
“We plan to go into children as soon as we possibly can, but very carefully in terms of safety,” Jerald Sadoff, senior advisor with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine division, said according to Reuters. Sadoff said the company also has plans to test the vaccine in children younger than 12 if it’s shown to be safe among those 12 to 18. The vaccine is one of four currently in late-stage clinical trials.
Sewage testing shows a country flush with coronavirus cases
When Rosa Inchausti and her colleagues started testing wastewater in Tempe, Arizona, it was 2018 and they were not looking for coronavirus. They were tracking the opioid epidemic. But because they were set up to sample the city sector by sector, they were able to switch gears and begin sampling sewage for evidence of coronavirus. "We were ready for this," Inchausti told CNN. Now the city is regularly sampling sewers to keep an eye on the pandemic. And things are not looking good in parts of Tempe.
Coronavirus Vaccine Project's Contract With Moncef Slaoui : Shots
The Department of Health and Human Services has released the contract of pharmaceutical industry veteran Moncef Slaoui, a key adviser to Operation Warp Speed, after questions from the press, members of Congress and advocacy groups. Operation Warp Speed is the Trump administration's multibillion-dollar push to develop and manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine. Slaoui has been instrumental in guiding the effort, but the terms of his employment raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
UK's MHRA begins rolling review of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has begun a rolling review of Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, will be reviewed on a rolling basis, meaning that the MHRA will begin an independent assessment of the vaccine using information submitted by Moderna. The MHRA will then accept and consider new evidence when it becomes available until the application is sufficient to warrant authorisation of the shot.
EU will wait for late-stage data before approving COVID vaccine - Spahn
The European Union will wait for late-stage efficacy and safety data before approving a coronavirus vaccine to ensure there is broad acceptance of any shot, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday. “Most important for acceptance is that we make clear from the beginning that we will wait for clinical trials in Phase III before approval,” Spahn said following a videoconference of EU health ministers.
Advisers To CDC Discuss Potential Coronavirus Vaccines
Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met virtually Friday to review what's known about potential coronavirus vaccines. The main issue is who should get a vaccine first.
Regeneron's antibody cocktail hit by safety concerns; Novo's Rybelsus emerging from pandemic slump
Regeneron suspended testing its antibody cocktail in patients on high-flow oxygen or ventilation after an independent data monitoring committee flagged safety concerns. Two other cohorts in the trial—which focuses on hospitalized patients—are continuing as planned, and a separate trial in outpatients will also continue. The CDC asked states to come up with vaccine distribution plans by Tuesday as WHO announced it's not convinced the front-runner shots actually work in the elderly. Plus, smartwatches and Fitbits could help spot COVID-19 cases and support public health efforts to slow the disease's spread, a new study found.
Study launched to establish the impact of Covid-19 on health of Wales' care workers
A study has been launched to establish the risk of Covid-19 to domiciliary care workers across Wales. The pandemic is thought to have had a significant impact on the health of 20,000 workers offering care to the elderly or people with life-limiting conditions in their homes. The study, led by Cardiff University, will assess the health of public and private care workers, including Covid-19 infection itself, mental health and other illnesses. Earlier this year, carers told ITV News they were under extreme pressure with extra responsibilities due to a lack of district nurses and GPs available to see patients in the community. Health professionals have also issued stark warnings about the potential crisis if carers' mental health needs aren't addressed.
Next crop of COVID-19 vaccine developers take more traditional route
The handful of drugmakers dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race are pushing the boundaries of vaccine technology. The next crop under development feature more conventional, proven designs. The world will need several different vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, given the sheer size of global need, variations in effects on different populations, and possible limits of effectiveness in the first crop. Many leading candidates now in final-stage testing are based on new, largely unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed. They include messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used by Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc with partner BioNTech SE <22UAy.F>, and inactivated cold virus platforms used by Oxford University/AstraZeneca Plc , Johnson & Johnson and CanSino Biologics <6185.HK>, whose vaccine has been approved for military use in China.
Maersk and COVAXX partner to supply global COVID-19 vaccines
The agreement outlines a framework for all transportation and supply chain services that will be needed to deliver COVAXX’s vaccine candidate UB-612 worldwide, once approved by regulatory authorities. COVAXX is currently developing UB-612 through a high precision, synthetic peptide platform that activates both B-cell and T-cell arms. The investigational vaccine has been manufactured to replicate natural biology and preclinical studies have outlined high immunogenicity and levels of neutralising titers against SARS-COV-2. The technology platform has been successful in commercialising blood diagnostics as well as safe and effective vaccines for infectious disease in animal health and has been tested in a number of clinical trials for other indications to date.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Russia's remote regions struggle to cope with burgeoning Covid cases
Months after the Kremlin said it had the coronavirus pandemic under control, record numbers of Russians are falling ill and dying of the disease every day, pushing the country’s health services to breaking point while Vladimir Putin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown. The official daily tally of new cases rose above 18,000 for the first time on Friday, when 355 deaths were also reported. Critics say the death toll indicated by tallies of excess deaths could be far higher. The increases have mirrored those in European countries such as France and Spain, but the brunt of the outbreak has been borne by far-flung regions that rarely make the evening news. As opposed to the spring outbreak, when Moscow, St Petersburg and the Caucasus region were worst affected, the new rise has been driven by the disease’s spread across the Urals, Siberia and the border with Kazakhstan, where colder weather has already driven many people indoors.
Half of Slovakia's population tested for coronavirus in one day
Nearly half of Slovakia’s entire population took Covid-19 swabs on Saturday, the first day of a two-day nationwide testing drive the government hopes will help reverse a surge in infections without a hard lockdown. The scheme, a first for a country of Slovakia’s size, is being watched by other nations looking for ways to slow the virus spread and avoid overwhelming their health systems. The defence minister, Jaroslav Naď said on Sunday 2.58 million Slovaks had taken a test on Saturday, and 25,850 or 1% tested positive and had to go into quarantine. The EU country has a population 5.5 million and aims to test as many people as possible, except for children under 10.
19 NHS trusts are already treating more Covid-19 patients than in April, analysis
Liverpool, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Warrington, Greater Manchester, Bradford and Leeds all affected. Even some places in Tier Two lockdowns treating more coronavirus patients than at peak six months ago. Dominic Raab today hinted Government could introduce a new Tier Four set of even stricter restrictions
Britain resists full lockdown in face of rising cases and falling support
COVID-19 infections are rising so persistently in the United Kingdom that unless something can be done to reduce infections, the “reasonable worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded, scientists said on Friday. Britain has recorded more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day on average over the last week, but the government has resisted a new national lockdown even as France and Germany reintroduce country-wide restrictions. British government scientists said that numbers were heading in the “wrong direction”. They said the “reasonable worst case” planning scenario for the winter of reaching 500 deaths a day and a toll of over 80,000 is in danger of being exceeded unless infection numbers are cut, according to papers published by the government’s science advisers on Friday.
NJ governor on coronavirus lockdown: 'If we have to shut the whole place down we will'
As COVID-19 numbers continue to spike across the U.S., New Jersey became the first state to mandate safety protocols to protect workers from the coronavirus. “We can’t wait any longer,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tells Yahoo Finance. “We’re doing it now, frankly, because the federal government should be doing it, and they haven’t done it.” The executive order goes into effect at 6 a.m. on Nov. 5. It requires employers in both the public and private sector to, among other things, conduct daily health checks of workers, such as temperature screenings and visual symptom checking. Employers must also notify workers when there is possible exposure to the virus and provide them with breaks throughout the day to wash their hands.
Fears must be eased in search for coronavirus vaccine
Scepticism about vaccines is not what the world needs with the Covid-19 pandemic a continuing threat and, in some places, at its worst yet. Immunisation remains the best chance of ending restrictions and reopening economies and hopes are pinned on a handful of drugs in the final stages of testing. Public anxiety over dozens of deaths in South Korea linked to seasonal influenza shots is therefore worrying. Authorities everywhere have to allay concerns to prevent a health crisis from being made worse by a reluctance or even refusal to get jabs. Health experts have warned that the approaching flu season could exacerbate the pandemic. The South Korean government ordered 20 per cent more vaccines than usual and have launched a free immunisation programme.
State leaders facing 2nd wave resist steps to curb virus
Even as a new surge of coronavirus infections sweeps the U.S., officials in many hard-hit states are resisting taking stronger action to slow the spread, with pleas from health experts running up against political calculation and public fatigue. Days before a presidential election that has spotlighted President Donald Trump’s scattershot response to the pandemic, the virus continued its resurgence Friday, with total confirmed cases in the U.S. surpassing 9 million. The number of new infections reported daily is on the rise in 47 states. They include Nebraska and South Dakota, where the number of new cases topped previous highs for each state.
Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as coronavirus surges
Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that risks overwhelming hospitals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. "We need to take action now," she said, adding the situation was "very serious". Effective Nov. 2, private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of two households. Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, pools and gyms will be shut and concerts cancelled. People will be asked not to travel for private, non-essential reasons, and overnight stays in hotels will be available only for necessary business trips.
New Lockdown
Businesses say second second lockdown is ‘nightmare before Christmas’
Retail and hospitality leaders have laid bare the difficulties they face over the next month, as they rush to put measures in place to cope with the ‘devastating blow’ of a second lockdown. The British Retail Consortium described the latest restrictions as the ‘nightmare before Christmas’,
Lockdown in England could be extended, UK minister warns
The one-month lockdown for England announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend could be extended as Britain struggles to contain a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior cabinet member said on Sunday.
Panicked Johnson orders new lockdown, second wave on course to kill 85,000
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a sweeping national lockdown after being told the second wave striking England is more severe than the government's worst-case scenario and could collapse the health system. "Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day," Johnson said in a hastily convened press conference on Saturday night. "No responsible prime minister can ignore the message of those figures."
Britain may impose new national lockdown from Wednesday - Times
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering imposing new national lockdown measures next week, amid concerns that hospitals across the country are overwhelmed by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, The Times newspaper reported on Friday. The new restrictions could be introduced on Wednesday and remain in place until Dec. 1, the Times said. Johnson is expected to hold a news conference on Monday to announce the new measures, under which everything could be closed except essential shops and “educational settings,” the newspaper said. However, the new measures were still under discussion, and no final decision had been made, the Times added, citing a senior government source. Cabinet Office officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Experts say coronavirus lockdown in Scotland may still be necessary
Academics have predicted that Scotland’s new Covid-19 tiers may have to be replaced with a series of national circuit-breaker lockdowns to suppress the virus. With cases rising across Europe there are concerns that hospitals could be swamped in a deadly second wave unless more drastic action is taken than that laid out by Nicola Sturgeon. The first minister yesterday announced a five-tier virus suppression strategy, which will begin from Monday, with low-risk areas such as the Highlands and Islands in Level 1 and high-risk areas such as the Central Belt in Level 3.
Covid: France returns to lockdown amid new surge
France is now in a new national lockdown that will last at least a month as it aims to curb one of Europe's biggest coronavirus surges and ease the pressure on its hospitals. There were record traffic jams around Paris on Thursday evening, with many people heading for rural accommodation, but now the queues are much shorter. The capital's streets are, however, busier than during the March lockdown. Schools and workplaces remain open, but people need permits to leave home. The downloadable exemptions are for essential shopping, trips for medical reasons or for getting to work. Home-working is urged wherever possible. People are also allowed to go out for exercise - for a maximum of an hour - in their local area. The fine for breaking the rules is €135 (£122).
Belgium announces second coronavirus lockdown
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced a national “reinforced” lockdown starting Monday, with shops deemed non-essential to close and family visits outlawed. A planned school holiday will be extended until November 15. “We took the decision of a reinforced lockdown,” De Croo said. “These are the last-chance measures.” At a press conference Friday, De Croo said that visits to the homes of family and friends will no longer be allowed, and only one close contact will be allowed outside the household. There is an exception for people who live alone, who are allowed to have close contact with two people from outside their household.
UK extends 80% wage subsidies as England goes back into lockdown
Britain’s government will extend by a month its costly coronavirus wage subsidies to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off receive 80% of their pay, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday as he announced a new England-wide lockdown. Britain introduced the 80% wage subsidy scheme in March and it had been due to expire on Saturday to be replaced with a more targeted and less generous support. The scheme supported 8.9 million jobs at its peak, and had been forecast to cost around 52 billion pounds ($67.28 billion) over its eight-month lifespan.
Amazon drops French Black Friday ad campaign as lockdown starts
Amazon is withdrawing advertising for pre-Black Friday discounts in France, after the government said the campaign was unfair to small shops at time when a coronavirus lockdown has forced them to close. France entered its second national lockdown on Friday to try to contain a surge in infections. The curbs imposed under it include the closure of non-essential stores. A spokeswoman for Amazon AMZN.O said the group had agreed to halt its radio advertising campaign around pre-Black Friday sales. A page with discounted items under the header “Black Friday ahead of time” was live on its French website on Saturday, however.
Portugal reimposes partial lockdown in most of the country
Portugal’s government on Saturday announced new lockdown restrictions from Nov. 4 for most of the country, telling people to stay at home except for outings for work, school or shopping, and ordering companies to switch to remote working. A day after daily coronavirus infections hit a record high, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the measures would cover 121 municipalities, including the key regions of Lisbon and Porto. The affected areas are home to about 70% of Portugal’s population of roughly 10 million. The lockdown list includes municipalities where more than 240 new infections have been registered per 100,000 people for the past 14 days, and will be reviewed every 15 days, Costa said in a televised news conference.
Organised 'overkill': China shows off rapid lockdown system after latest outbreak
China’s strict formula of immediate lockdowns and mass testing even at the first signs of infection has been vital to its success in controlling the disease, allowing its economy to quickly recover from the crisis, officials say. The highly orchestrated strategy - described as “overkill” even by its own proponents - is unique among major economies at a time when Europe and the United States are facing a massive surge of new cases and often chaotic policies. At the time the girl was diagnosed, the Kashgar region of Xinjiang had reported no new cases for almost 70 days. “China has taken the most comprehensive, strictest and most thorough control and prevention measures since the COVID-19 pandemic started,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday. “The facts show China’s measures are effective.”
Coronavirus: Parisians eager to 'get rid' of virus on day one of second lockdown
Paris is a strange place to be on this first morning of a new lockdown. Usually here you need to navigate the mass of people, the crazy traffic. There are some people and vehicles out there but it's the first time I've see the road around the Arc De Triomphe with free flowing traffic. On the usually busy streets nearby where you expect to queue for a morning coffee, the cafes, bars and restaurants are shut - the area missing the pulse of the people.
28 areas coronavirus rates falling as 16 places plunged into stricter lockdown
See where your region ranks in the latest soaring case rates in our full list from Public Health England. It comes as sixteen more areas in England enter Tier 2 restrictions from Saturday with 32million people now under Tier 2 or Tier 3.