"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 9th Sep 2020
Coronavirus testing and quarantine rules explained - and what you're allowed to do in isolation
Self-isolation is a precautionary measure to protect those around you from potentially contracting Covid-19. It means staying at home and avoiding close contact with other people – including friends and family. But with coronavirus cases rising in the UK and Health Secretary Matt Hancock concerned that the spike is mainly among “affluent younger people” – who actually needs to self-isolate? When do you need to do it and what does it involve?
‘Despair of isolation is just as dangerous as the coronavirus’
Last Sunday, we published an article about the problems facing relatives who wish to visit care home residents during the pandemic. The response from readers was overwhelming. These are some of their stories:
New UK social work study zeros in on self-care during COVID-19
To learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on social workers, researchers in the College of Social Work (CoSW) Self-Care Lab at the University of Kentucky conducted an insightful study. "We focus a lot on the acute medical issues associated with COVID-19, and social workers are definitely doing pertinent work alongside other health care providers in that arena," College of Social Work Dean Jay Miller, lead investigator of the study, said. "But social workers are also doing work to address other problematic consequences, such as unemployment, growing mental health needs, child protection and access to education. These factors certainly make for stressful practice conditions, which can contribute to professional burnout."
Hundreds of pupils in isolation after coronavirus outbreaks at 62 schools
Scores of schools across the UK have seen staff and students test positive for coronavirus since children returned to the classroom following months away. Thousands of pupils were reunited with their friends and teachers last week as lessons resumed fully for the first time since March. Schools have introduced a range of different measures in a bid to stop the virus spreading as the new term gets underway. But there have still been confirmed coronavirus cases at 62 schools in the UK since pupils returned last week. Many have been forced to shut, while others have had to instruct full classes of pupils to isolate following outbreaks. Scotland, where children returned to school in August, has been the worst affected area of the UK.
Entire year group at Salford school must self-isolate after positive coronavirus case
An entire year group at a secondary school in Salford must self-isolate after a positive coronavirus case. Year 7 pupils at Buile Hill Academy in Pendleton must now stay at home until September 18. They had only been back to school for three days after the academy opened on Wednesday (September 2) to Year 7 students. In a letter sent to parents on Sunday which has been sent to the Manchester Evening News , headteacher Jon Marsh said a member of the 'Year 7 bubble' had tested positive for Covid-19.
Contacts of a case of coronavirus reminded to stay at home and self-isolate for full two weeks
Those contacted by a Covid-19 test and trace service are being urged to follow advice and self-isolate at home for two weeks. The reminder comes after an increase in cases in Wales. Public Health Wales revealed on Monday, September 7 that 133 new cases of the virus have been reported. Of the 18 new cases reported in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) area there were nine in Wrexham, three in Denbighshire, two in Conwy, two in Flintshire, one in Gwynedd and one on Anglesey.
Facial Masking for Covid-19 — Potential for “Variolation” as We Await a Vaccine
To test our hypothesis that population-wide masking is one of those strategies, we need further studies comparing the rate of asymptomatic infection in areas with and areas without universal masking. To test the variolation hypothesis, we will need more studies comparing the strength and durability of SARS-CoV-2–specific T-cell immunity between people with asymptomatic infection and those with symptomatic infection, as well as a demonstration of the natural slowing of SARS-CoV-2 spread in areas with a high proportion of asymptomatic infections. Ultimately, combating the pandemic will involve driving down both transmission rates and severity of disease. Increasing evidence suggests that population-wide facial masking might benefit both components of the response.
Covid-19 in children: the signs and symptoms of coronavirus in kids including high temperature and a rash - and how they differ to adults
Several schools across the UK have reported cases of Covid-19, but symptoms in children may be harder to spot. New research suggests that the virus presents differently in children than in adults - so what signs should you look out for?
Is the UK heading towards a second nationwide lockdown?
As coronavirus infection rates continue to rise across the UK, health experts have warned a second lockdown may be imminent. Though death tolls have remained low, the weekly rate of new cases in the UK has now risen above 20 per 100,000 people. Sunday saw the largest rise in cases since May 22 with almost 3,000 positive cases reported. In an interview with Sky News about his concerns around a second wave, World Health Organisation’s Dr David Navarro said: ‘I’m afraid it’s coming. I don’t like calling it a second wave but I believe there are going to be more spikes and indeed some surges in cases, because the virus hasn’t changed.
Coronavirus: Politician calls for clarity on Covid-19 testing issues
Stormont's health minister has raised concerns about the UK-wide Covid-19 test booking system after some NI users were offered tests in Great Britain. Robin Swann said he has contacted UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock "seeking action on a number of concerns". He was speaking after Sinn Féin assembly member Pat Sheehan was offered a test in Scotland and called the online booking system a "shambles". Mr Swann described it as a "glitch" and said it must be resolved as a priority. Mr Sheehan tweeted details of his personal experience of the booking system after trying to organise a test for his four-year-old daughter who had developed a high temperature.
Australia's coronavirus hot spot state to deepen contact tracing
The Australian state at the centre of the country's second wave coronavirus outbreak is deepening its contract tracing programme to try and maintain a steady decline in daily new cases, amid criticism of its handling of the crisis.
Coronavirus lockdown drives rise in micro start-ups across the UK amid fears for job security
UK workers have been turning to starting their own companies in unprecedented numbers as fears over job security have spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs. The “State of the Nation” review, compiled by website builder group GoDaddy, showed there had been a 14 per cent increase in micro-businesses, start-ups with nine or fewer employees. The online group, which provides website templates to new businesses, has also experienced a 62 per cent increase in new UK customers. The survey also identified micro-business hubs which experienced bursts of activity between 2017 and 2019 and have continued their growth trajectory. The hubs suggest a suburban revival, as micro-business activity is concentrated on the outskirts of some of the UK’s largest cities.
Lockdown rules in England to be changed with new limits on who you meet
The Government is about to change the lockdown rules across England, limiting the number of people who can gather - according to reports. Sky News says the maximum number of people who can gather will be cut in a bid to stop the rise of coronavirus. It would put a temporary end to parties, wedding receptions and large family get-togethers. More than 160 places have seen an increase in infection over seven days with some places trebling the number of cases.
Slough's black communities united against the Covid threat
Slough's black communities have been reaching out via churches, podcasts and social media to confront the dangers of Covid-19. The town has now been removed from the Government's 'areas of concern' list. But efforts through the #OneSlough project to keep people safe remain at full throttle. Student Mary De-Wind, 20 - a volunteer with the Aik Saath Youth Group - has produced a podcast to talk young people through taking a coronavirus test at the Montem Lane testing centre. On her Maz Talks podcast, Mary dispels the myths associated with taking a test and adds, 'You will be out of there in a jiffy'.
Children and young people describe how their communities came together during the pandemic
In the middle of a global pandemic, it can be hard to find the positives. But I recently had an unexpectedly cheery morning judging a competition which asked young people for their silver linings – ways that the pandemic had brought their communities together. The entries were by turn moving, funny, and uplifting. The winners and runners up of the competition, run by Faiths United, a coalition of faith leaders and activists, with i as a partner, were announced on 7 September. We are delighted to publish the three winning entries.
University of Oxford to support global communities impacted by Covid
The University of Oxford is set to provide vital support to vulnerable global communities impacted by Covid-19. The project is one of 20 benefitting from vital UK government funding to aid global communities most at risk from the impact of coronavirus due to long-term conflict, food and water shortages, and crowded living conditions. The 20 new projects will will benefit from a share of £7.2 million of UK government funding and bring scientists and researchers together to develop new technology to address the challenges faced by vulnerable people such as refugees and children.
Two-thirds of employers plan on offering flexible working post-COVID-19
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of employers plan on offering flexible working to their employees following the coronavirus pandemic, a new study from job board, CV-Library found. The rise in home working due to the pandemic has created a shift in workers’ expectations with people looking to flexible working to create more balance between their personal and professional lives, according to CV-Library. Some 93% of employers said they understand that more professionals will want to work flexibly or remotely going forward. The coronavirus pandemic has “forced many companies to shake up their traditional working practises and move away from the traditional 9-5, office-based operation,” said Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library.
Women Leading Work From Home Innovations Post-COVID-19
COVID-19 forced about two thirds of Americans to hastily pack up their offices and head to homemade workstations. Many will never go back. These six women are making WFH the new reality.
COVID-19: Many Working Remotely In NYC Looking For 'Winter Homes' In Suburbs
The race is on for New Yorkers who have become accustomed to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and are already looking to lock down a “winter home” away from the city months before snow is even a threat to start falling.
3 Ways AI Will Continue To Accelerate The Transition To Remote Work
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to quickly adapt to remote work. Many experts predict that this year’s rapid transition to remote work constitutes a point of no return. In many ways, the growth of remote work parallels the growth of artificial intelligence (AI). It wasn't so long ago that AI was confined to the realm of science fiction. Now, like remote work, AI promises to transform nearly every industry and every company. As we look to the future, AI will almost inevitably accelerate our transition to remote work after Covid-19.
Sturgeon Bay first graders to learn virtually following positive COVID-19 test
First grade classrooms at Sturgeon Bay's Sawyer Elementary will move to virtual learning for the next two weeks following a positive COVID-19 test. District superintendent Dan Tjernagel says a staff member was made aware last week of a relative who tested positive for the virus, whom the staff member had seen the previous weekend.
Lane College transitions to virtual learning after 18 students test positive for COVID-19
Lane College closed its residence halls, stopped in-person classes and converted to virtual learning until Sept. 21 because 18 students tested positive for the coronavirus, causing those in contact to also have to quarantine for 14 days. The Friday announcement said the college does not have enough space to quarantine everyone who may have been in contact with the students who tested positive. The 18 positive cases or students unable to return home may quarantine on campus in the residence halls. Lane College President Logan Hampton reiterated that the 18 positive cases were not the problem; the challenge was trying to quarantine all the people the 18 students had been in contact with.
Character-Building Still Possible in Virtual Classroom
Teachers can still shape students' character to transform them into future-ready citizens in a virtual classroom, according to India-based software development company Zoho Corporation. Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim aims to strengthen character education in addition to literacy and numeracy. The minister believed encouraging exemplary qualities such as creativity and co-operative skills would prepare students to face future challenges. Nurturing positive character traits, however, can be challenging amid the Covid-19 pandemic as classes shift to the virtual realm.
Thousands of students going to virtual classrooms
More than 16,000 students in the Windsor-Essex region will flip open their laptop or some other device next week and launch into a completely virtual new school year. No back-to-school clothes or backpacks necessary, just grab a seat at the dining room table.
Virtual learning, near-empty classrooms, many Delaware students return to school
In the hallway of Seaford Central Elementary School, teachers directed students to their new classrooms on Tuesday. But there were no hugs or high-fives on this first day of school. No catching up with friends in the hallway or standing around a neighbor’s desk. Instead, teachers bent down to third-grade heights to bump elbows with students filing in. Squinted eyes and raised eyebrows offered up the smiles covered by masks. Photos covered the wall of one hallway, showing what teachers and staff looked like with and without masks. Natasha Waters’ projector displayed a typical first day of school message – “Welcome to fifth grade!” – as her students found their way to their desks.
First Day Of School: In Person Learning, Virtual Classrooms and Hybrid Models
Many kids across the metro Detroit region are heading back to school this week. This new school year is unlike any other as communities across the country are still managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some schools are welcoming students back to the classroom, other districts are offering some mix of in-person and virtual learning and a lot of schools are going virtual-only to keep kids safe during a global pandemic. Listen: What does the first day of school look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
Social gatherings of more than six people to be banned in England
Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday as the Government seeks to curb the rise in coronavirus cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use a press conference on Wednesday to announce the change in the law after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000. The legal limit on social gatherings will be reduced from 30 people to six. It will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.
Covid-19 in Britain: a summer of mixed messages
Public trust in the government’s ability to handle the coronavirus crisis has been tested by a summer of mixed messages, during which advice on the precautions people should be taking to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as well as forecasts on the outlook for the UK, have often been contradictory.
Skyrocketing Indian Virus Cases Could Eclipse U.S. Outbreak
Six months after the start of the pandemic—as the developed world tries to restore some semblance of normalcy—the virus is arriving with a vengeance in India’s vast hinterland, where 70% of its more than 1.3 billion citizens live. The country is now adding more than 80,000 confirmed infections per day, with about 71,000 deaths so far, numbers experts say are likely being under-counted. On Monday it galloped past Brazil to become the world’s second-biggest outbreak, a sobering preview of what could happen once the coronavirus spreads in earnest across other poor, densely populated places from Nigeria to Myanmar. With such a vast reservoir of potential hosts and minimal ability to contain infections, it seems inevitable that India will at some point overtake the U.S. to have the most cases
Spain passes 500,000 coronavirus cases in Western European first
Spain became the first country in western Europe to register 500,000 infections on Monday, after a second surge in cases that coincided with schools reopening. Health Ministry data showed a total of 525,549 cases, up from 498,989 on Friday and a further 2,440 infections registered in the last 24 hours.
Fauci says a coronavirus vaccine is 'unlikely' by U.S. election
The CDC has asked states to ready facilities to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1. Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a health conference that it’s more likely a vaccine will be ready by “the end of the year.” Drug companies Moderna and Pfizer are racing to complete patient enrollment for their late-stage vaccine trials by the end of September.
Israel announces partial lockdown on 40 cities, communities amid coronavirus surge | English.news.cn
Israel announced on Tuesday a partial lockdown on dozens of cities and communities to battle a surge in coronavirus infections. The new restrictions, which have been approved by a special ministerial committee, will be imposed on 40 cities and neighborhoods across Israel, according to a joint statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office and the Health Ministry. The seven-day lockdown will start on Tuesday evening, including a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and closure of all schools and kindergartens. The communities involved are the mostly Arab and ultra-Orthodox ones hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, including nine large Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the settlements of Beitar Illit and Emanuel, and the Arab cities of Umm al-Fahm and Nazareth in northern Israel.
The New Normal: Lockdown spurs green recovery
Carbon emissions have fallen, there’s clear water in Venice canals, and China’s air quality has improved – for now. But will COVID-19 have a lasting impact on the environment?
COVID-19 Has Nearly Destroyed the Childcare Industry—and It Might Be Too Late to Save It
Jenna Antico, a 31-year-old childcare operator in Sarasota, Fla., thought 2020 would be a pivotal year for her business. The daycare facility she started building in 2015 was turning a steady profit, so she leased a second building in October 2019, then purchased a third in late February 2020. As it turned out, this year has indeed been pivotal—but not in the way she had hoped. When COVID-19 hit the United States like a tsunami in March, shuttering schools and businesses, and prompting companies to start working remotely, daycares like Antico’s got caught up in the current. Parents pulled their kids from the centers and local governments began issuing strict guidelines that providers would have to meet before they could welcome children back.
School buses in focus as kids return to classes amid coronavirus pandemic
As more students get ready to head back to the classroom for in-person learning, all eyes are on how school districts will handle the COVID-19 pandemic. Allison Mack has fourth and second graders; both are starting the school year with virtual learning and she is worried about eventually sending them back school in Texas. She said, “I don’t want to be the statistic of the certain percentage of kids that go back and then get the whole household sick, and God forbid hospitalization, so it’s a very scary time to try to decide what is best.”
Is Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown really the longest in the world? Here's how other countries stack up
Melbourne’s lockdown is one of the longest and strictest in the world, with curfews that won’t be lifted for at least another seven weeks. The Victorian capital has been under social restrictions since 16 March, which were initially extended to 11 May. On 8 July, restrictions were then reimposed in Melbourne specifically following a second outbreak, with a state of disaster and an 8pm-5am curfew ordered on 2 August. Melburnians now face an extra two weeks in Stage 4 lockdown under the roadmap revealed on 6 September, although from 14 September the nightly curfew will start an hour later at 9pm and run until 5am.
Covid-19 death rate among African Americans and Latinos rising sharply
The death rate in the US from Covid-19 among African Americans and Latinos is rising sharply, exacerbating the already staggering racial divide in the impact of the pandemic which has particularly devastated communities of color. New figures compiled by the Color of Coronavirus project shared with the Guardian show that both total numbers of deaths and per-capita death rates have increased dramatically in August for black and brown Americans. Though fatalities have also increased for white Americans, the impact on this group has been notably less severe. The latest figures record that in the two weeks from 4 to 18 August the death rate of African Americans shot up from 80 to 88 per 100,000 population – an increase of eight per 100,000. By contrast the white population suffered half that increase, from 36 to 40 per 100,000, an increase of 4 per 100,000.
Risking jail, some parents in Spain resist sending kids back to school
Ángela López hardly fits the profile of a rule breaker. But López, the mother of a 7-year-old girl with respiratory problems, has found herself among parents ready to challenge Spanish authorities on a blanket order for their kids to return to school. They are wary of safety measures they see as ill funded as a new wave of coronavirus infections sweeps the country. They fear sick students could infect older relatives who are at higher risk of falling ill from the virus. And they say that they have invested in computers and better network connections to prepare for online lessons, even preparing to homeschool their children if necessary.
Covid-19 ‘could be endemic in deprived parts of England’
Covid-19 could now be endemic in some parts of the country that combine severe deprivation, poor housing and large BAME communities, according to a highly confidential analysis by Public Health England. The document, leaked to the Observer, and marked “official sensitive”, suggests the national lockdown in these parts of the north of England had little effect in reducing the level of infections, and that in such communities it is now firmly established. The analysis, prepared for local government leaders and health experts, relates specifically to the north-west, where several local lockdowns have recently been put in place following spikes in numbers. But it suggests that the lessons could be applied nationally. Based on detailed analysis of case numbers in different local areas, the study builds links between the highest concentrations of Covid-19 and issues of deprivation, poor and crowded accommodation and ethnicity.
Getting kids back to school was easy compared with what will come next
There is growing evidence of the role of children in this pandemic. Since early summer in the US, rates of infection have been rising faster among children than in the general population. Recent outbreaks there, including at two camps in Georgia and a number of schools, indicate that when conditions are right, coronavirus can spread quickly within groups of children. Today it is being reported that dozens of schools across England and Wales are facing outbreaks.
Rates of Child Hospitalization Similar Between COVID-19, Flu: Study
While adults face raised odds for hospitalization with COVID-19, a new study shows that the risk for kids infected with SARS-CoV-2 is about equal to that seen with influenza. The researchers found that kids with COVID-19 or the seasonal flu have similar rates of hospitalization, admission to intensive care units (ICUs) and ventilator use. But the average age of children hospitalized differed: The average child hospitalized with COVID-19 was about 10 years of age, while kids hospitalized with flu average just over 4 years of age.
LabCorp to launch single home swab test spanning COVID-19, the flu & RSV
LabCorp announced plans to launch a new at-home COVID-19 diagnostic that allows people to also get tested for the flu and respiratory syncytial virus from a single sample. The combined test is currently offered through doctors’ offices, hospitals and other healthcare providers, while the future, home-based version will be made available through LabCorp’s Pixel service, pending the FDA’s review and authorization. “The U.S. is facing the most challenging health crisis in a century and is about to enter flu season, which has the potential to put additional strain on our healthcare system and cost lives,” said Brian Caveney, LabCorp Diagnostics’ president and chief medical officer.
Coronavirus mutation rate faster in Bangladesh than global average: BCSIR
Coronavirus mutation rate in Bangladesh is faster than the global average and virus is changing rapidly, according to a study by Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR). It found the coronavirus mutation rate in the world at 7.23 per cent, while the rate in Bangladesh is 12.6 per cent. This information was given by a research team of the Genomic Research Laboratory of BCSIR. The observation was made at a press conference on Sunday morning. The study result was based on data of 263 cases of genome sequencing. The samples were collected between 7 May and 31 July.
Hundreds of thousands have been given Covid-19 vaccines without a single infection, Chinese drug firm says
An official from China National Biotec Group says the evidence from an emergency use scheme suggests the products are working. Company is also confident its vaccines can offer protection for up to three years.
Study shows COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective among obese people
Obese people who become infected with COVID-19 are nearly 50% more likely to die from it and any potential vaccine may not be as effective, researchers have said. The newly published study used coronavirus data from around the world and is likely to ramp up the pressure for governments around the world to take urgent action to tackle obesity. The US and UK have some of the highest obesity rates in the world. According to figures by the American government, more than 40% of US citizens are obese and in England, the condition impacts 27% of adults.
What bats can teach us about developing immunity to Covid-19
Viruses love bats. The flying nocturnal mammals make outstanding hosts because — just like people — they live in large, dense groups, their air travel spreads germs between populations and their longevity enables a virus to persist for years in an individual animal. The big difference is that bats’ remarkable immune system tames and tolerates many viruses that cause havoc when they spread to humans, including the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19. “We should look at what bats are doing to control the virus and emulate that in some way,” says Bernard Crespi, professor of evolutionary biology at Simon Fraser University in Canada, one of a growing group of scientists finding clues to the pandemic through bat immunology.
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trials put on hold after suspected 'serious' reaction
Late stage trials for the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University have been put on hold. A 'serious adverse event,' a possible reaction to the shot was reported in the UK. It's not clear what happened to the individual, but an adverse event is considered 'serious' if it requires hospitalization, is life-threatening or deadly. Stat News reported that the individual is expected to recover, but little else is known about their identity. It is not clear if regulators, AstraZeneca or Oxford called for the trial hold. The shot was dubbed the best hope for a vaccine by the WHO and is one of nine in phase three trials - the last tests before approval can be sought
London NHS staff join trial to see if 'super sniffer' dogs can detect coronavirus
London NHS workers have been recruited to a trial that aims to determine whether dogs can sniff out Covid-19. A team of 25 volunteers from University College Hospital (UCLH) in Euston are allowing trained “bio-detection dogs” to smell their socks and T-shirts to see if they can detect whether a person has the virus. They are among 3,500 NHS staff nationwide signed up in the trial. The £500,000 government-sponsored project is being led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University.
China expands supply of seasonal flu vaccine; urgent-use COVID-19 vaccinations exceed 100000
China is reportedly expanding the supply of seasonal flu vaccines this year as more people are expected to seek an inoculation in the face of a double threat from the flu and COVID-19. Newly developed COVID-19 vaccination are being administered for urgent use. More than 15 million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine have been approved for market this year, but experts expect 50 million doses, double the number in 2019, will be approved, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday, Approval procedures are also being accelerated, as nearly 7 million doses were approved in the first eight days of September, according to the report. Some Chinese cities like Shanghai, Shijiazhuang and Zhangjiakou in North China's Hebei Province and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province also reportedly launched this year's vaccination campaign against flu earlier than usual. Zhangjiakou started offering vaccinations as early as August, according to media report. National authorities are preparing for the possibility that more people will want to get vaccinated against the flu this year, Lü Mengtao, operation director of Beijing Zhimed Medical Science, told the Global Times on Tuesday. The immunization rate against the flu is not very high in China, but the COVID-19 epidemic has raised awareness of vaccines, so more people will want to be inoculated this year, said Lü.
Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 1) – podcast
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet – both on a population level, and on the human scale