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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 26th Oct 2020

Isolation Tips
Navigating the Transition From Classroom to Online
Training connects people. It connects people to ideas and new ways of thinking. It connects people to growth and attainment of goals. It connects individuals to a larger purpose and helps move organizations forward. One of the most wonderful things about classroom learning is seeing those connections form right before your eyes. When you read the body language of participants who experienced a paradigm shift, you can almost see the lightbulbs glowing above their heads. Watching them make the connection between the concept and how it may be directly applied to their lives is an adrenaline rush like no other. Until, of course, a pandemic closes your training room. When our workforce was sent home, people were scared. They experienced every level of anxiety for themselves, their families, their friends, the people they serve, and the world at large. They heard heartbreaking stories and worked hard to offer their assistance. This new remote work, however, often left them emotionally drained and disconnected from the support system inherit in their physical workplace.
'Generation Covid' hit hard by the pandemic, research reveals
Young people, particularly those from deprived backgrounds, have had their earnings and job prospects hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, adding to fears for the long-term impact on their futures. BBC Panorama found people aged 16-25 were more than twice as likely as older workers to have lost their job, while six in 10 saw their earnings fall, according to new research. It also highlighted the impact of school closures on young people and added to growing evidence that students from poorer backgrounds have fallen behind their more privileged peers. A quarter of pupils - some 2.5 million children - had no schooling or tutoring during lockdown, the survey by the London School of Economics (LSE) suggests. But, the study adds, nearly three quarters of private school pupils had full days of teaching (74%) - almost twice the proportion of state school pupils (38%).
Hygiene Helpers
Slovaks begin mass testing in virus hotspots as cases surge
Thousands of Slovaks lined up to be tested for the coronavirus in the country’s worst-affected areas on Friday, taking part in a pilot programme that will eventually go nationwide. The government hopes the antigen tests, along with a partial lockdown, can help control a sharp rise in infections. It also offered an incentive to take part, saying those who test negative will be subject to less stringent rules, meaning they can leave home to go to work, take country walks or visit post offices and banks. Those who do not take a test will face a stricter lockdown regime including a ban on commuting to work.
Japan researchers show masks block coronavirus, but not perfectly
Japanese researchers have shown that masks can offer protection from airborne coronavirus particles, but even professional-grade coverings can’t eliminate contagion risk entirely. Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a secure chamber with mannequin heads facing each other. One head, fitted with a nebulizer, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. The other mimicked natural breathing, with a collection chamber for viruses coming through the airway. A cotton mask on the receiver head reduced its viral uptake by up to 40% compared with no mask. An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90%. However, even when the N95 was fitted to the face with tape, some virus particles still managed to get in. When a mask was attached to the coughing head, cotton and surgical masks blocked more than 50% of the virus transmission.
Community Activities
Northwich cafe owner offers remote working deal to customers
With the hospitality industry taking a battering this year due to lockdown and further restrictions brought in to combat a rise in coronavirus cases, businesses are having to be creative ways to fill the void. Arabica Caffe, a Northwich coffee shop and cafe located within Gadbrook Business Park, has seen its customer base pretty much vanish since the lockdown was announced in March. For owner Chris Buck, the fact many of the local office workers in the neighbourhood have either been furloughed or are working from home, has led to him offering them a space in his cafe instead.
How Teachers Can Foster Community in Online Classrooms
The school year is difficult for both teachers and students, to say the least. Some districts are using a hybrid of remote and in-person learning, while others are on Zoom entirely. And that means teachers are stretched thin and unable to build community with their students, and classmates are unable to get to know their peers well. But there are some choices you can make to combat that. Melanie Gottdenger, a New York-based seventh-grade teacher in a selective middle school, says, “Studies show that strong communities produce more holistically successful people—rather than students who can ace a test or become a doctor, education professionals are starting to understand that the humanity in us all is what makes our world better, and proves our ‘success’ as teachers.” These tools can be used in a variety of places, with your class, business, or community.
At 75, I've volunteered for a Covid vaccine trial. It could set people free
There’s a 50% chance that this week I was injected with a vaccine designed to protect me from Covid-19. If not, I got the saltwater placebo instead. I won’t know until the study ends in 13 months, which is a shame. It would be nice to walk the streets without looking balefully around me at young people not wearing masks and thinking: I’m 75, this virus kills people my age. It killed my chum Mike Pentelow, who was having a lot of fun in his retirement, writing books with titles such as A Pub Crawl Through History, and Mike was a year younger than me. Perhaps he’s the reason I volunteered to be a guinea pig for one of the companies working on a vaccine.
Working Remotely
Remote work can work out for the best
The Covid-19 pandemic has crushed the economy, sent joblessness soaring and killed over a million people worldwide. But there are a few ways in which it may prompt society to improve, and one is remote work. Though it was initially necessary to keep employees from getting sick, remote work promises to make people more productive and happier while helping the environment and preserving infrastructure. When the coronavirus struck, those who could do their jobs remotely often did. The numbers have gradually declined as our understanding of safety measures increased, but they are still substantial. And while many people will go back to the office after the pandemic is over, part of the shift will probably be permanent.
Which parts of Ireland are most prepared for remote working?
According to a new report from the Regional Assemblies of Ireland, people working in the east and midlands could be best prepared for a remote future. New research from the three Regional Assemblies of Ireland sheds light on how prepared different parts of the country may be for remote working.
Work from the Caribbean with this digital nomad visa in the Caymans
You could work remotely from a sunny Caribbean location as the Cayman Islands introduces a new visa that allows digital nomads to live there for up to two years. The program is called the Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP) and allows people to keep their job in their home country while working remotely from the Cayman Islands – moving their laptops to more tropical surroundings.
Permanently remote workers seen doubling in 2021 due to pandemic productivity: survey
The percentage of workers around the world that is permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021 as productivity has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey from U.S.-based Enterprise Technology Research (ETR).
How to Manage Your Employees Effectively When Working Remotely
The business trend of working remotely has been accelerated recently because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many employers are struggling to adapt to this sudden change and manage their teams effectively so that everyone is still working productively despite the disruption. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions to this predicament. For this reason, we encourage you to keep reading if you would like to find out some different tips and tricks for managing your employees whilst working remotely.
Lovewell's logic: Is remote working leading to employee burnout?
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, much has been written in both the industry and national press on the impact this has had on various aspects of the nation’s mental health and wellbeing. One conversation I have had several times over the past couple of weeks, however, is around the potential for remote or homeworking arrangements to lead to employee burnout. On the face of it, working remotely offers employees the opportunity to structure their working day around personal commitments such as caring responsibilities. However, some employees have reported feeling pressure to combat the perception that working from home is less productive than working in an office environment in sight of management, particularly following media reports in September that several organisations have installed monitoring and surveillance tools to keep track of what their employees are doing while working remotely.
COVID-19 pandemic: How long will remote working last?
The number of employees permanently working remotely globally is set to double in 2021, according to a new survey by a U.S. technology research firm. According to their results, the percentage of permanent remote workers will rise from 16.4% to 34.4%. This would have ramifications in areas from retail to real estate.
Why remote workers need to have conversations instead of emailing
People connect with each other when they speak in a way they don’t with email, according to research. They also make assumptions that a conversation could be awkward, which are usually wrong. As remote work looks here to stay, speaking more rather than emailing could improve our connection with colleagues, and our well-being.
Remote working? No, we prefer to keep it close to home
Everyone is on the hunt for silver linings to this pandemic trauma. Shop closures were going to end our materialism, but we’re buying more than ever now we can’t go out. Exceptional times would bring us together as a nation, then we stopped clapping and started scrapping about local lockdowns. The most persistently proclaimed silver lining is that we’ve learned that tech makes full remote working the future. Zoom, Teams and the rest are apparently going to spread out good work across the country with no need for offices or densely populated cities. Parking the fact that less dense living is a climate change disaster, what does history tell us about the impact of big improvements in communications technology? A recent study investigated the case of mobile phones, examining 15m phone calls and texts a day. The question is whether mobile communications substitute for face-to-face meetings, allowing us to build networks in places where we don’t live or work.
Virtual Classrooms
Oshkosh's Oakwood Elementary teachers continue adapting to virtual learning
The classroom looks a little different in 2020. Oakwood Elementary in Oshkosh is fully virtual. 3rd-grade teacher Tara Perry is working around the clock, "It's probably an extra hour or hour and a half each day and if I do that then I don't have to come in during the weekends," said Perry.
NEFB Foundation Agriculture in the Classroom lessons now virtual
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has been providing Agriculture in the Classroom lessons for over 30 years, but this year it has been virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Executive Director Megahn Schafer says more than 154 virtual classroom visits have been scheduled since the beginning of the school year. Schafer says to keep kids engaged in the virtual lessons, they do hands-on learning. "We mail out activity kits that go along with all of our virtual lessons. These kits have items so each student can do their activities in a socially distant manner. It provides an opportunity to have the lesson on the screen, but then take a screen break and do something hands-on to continue that learning."
We need more innovation to close the gap between physical and virtual learning
One of the more controversial segments is education, particularly K-12, where there is great debate as to whether kids can be educated effectively over Zoom. At its recent Zoomtopia digital conference, Zoom dedicated much of the show to a handful of industries — education one of them. I’ve talked to dozens of parents and teachers who have tried to educate over Zoom and have reached epic levels of frustration. One of the Massachusetts-based teachers I interviewed, Jillian Santucci a sixth-grade teacher with the Leominster School District, recently took a leave of absence because the process of teaching virtually was so onerous.
FEATURE: School trips in Japan go virtual during pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has changed much about how children study, from online learning to parents carrying the teaching load, but in Japan schools are looking to the internet to maintain one much-beloved tradition -- the school trip. With multi-day in-person school trips often no longer an option, excursions are being conducted on a new platform, where technology is being deployed to give students a safe simulation of the real thing when hitting the road is not possible.
Zooming in to class: Virtual and in-person learning at Westminster College
When Nate Leonard stepped in to the classroom Thursday afternoon to teach his playwriting class at Westminster College, he knew some of the seats would remain empty. Instead of trekking onto campus and up the stairs to grab a seat beside masked and socially distant peers, some of Leonard's students stayed home. But that doesn't mean they missed class. Leonard still had to teach the virtual students and keep them engaged through a computer screen — a difficult juggling act educators across the country have found themselves experimenting in. For Leonard, Westminster's recent technological overhaul made it a little easier.
What it's like to be a virtual preschool teacher during COVID-19
Julia Weaver is a preschool teacher in Ohio who has been teaching her students virtually during the pandemic. She teaches a group of 17 preschoolers through a mix of live Zoom calls and pre-recorded lessons uploaded to a Google Drive. Keeping her 3-year-old students' attention spans engaged has been a challenge; so has staying flexible for their parents' work schedules.
Public Policies
Sturgeon unveils five-level Covid lockdown rules for Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a five-level system for restricting people’s movements and limiting physical contact as part of new measures to combat the spread of Covid-19. The system includes a top level that is tougher than the highest of England’s three tiers, which Sturgeon said would be closer to the lockdown imposed across the UK in late March. It would involve the closure of all non-essential shops, bars, restaurants and leisure venues; strict controls on travelling and using public transport; and potentially a “stay at home” message similar to that coming into force in Wales on Friday evening.
Italy set to introduce its harshest pandemic restrictions since May
The governments of Italy and Spain, the European countries hardest hit by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, announced sweeping measures on Sunday to combat a surge in the number of new cases. Italy said it would introduce the harshest public health restrictions since the end of its first national lockdown in May as new coronavirus cases hit a fresh daily record. Spain announced a nationwide curfew and triggered emergency powers after the country’s infection rate jumped by almost a third over the past week.
Spain's government to decree COVID-19 state of emergency, tighten controls: local media
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a new state of emergency on Sunday in an effort to curb soaring coronavirus infections, imposing local nighttime curfews and banning travel between regions in some cases. The measures go into force from Sunday night and will require all regions except the Canary Islands to impose a nighttime curfew and limit the number of people allowed to meet to six. “We are living in an extreme situation ... it is the most serious health crisis in the last century,” he told a news conference following a cabinet meeting. Catalonia was one of the first regions on Sunday to use the new legislation to impose a curfew, which will take effect at 10 p.m. Establishments open to the public will have to close at 9 p.m.
Europe suffers record case numbers as France's Macron warns crisis may last until summer
European countries are reporting record numbers of Covid-19 cases as the continent prepares for the pandemic to intensify through winter. Those affected include Europe's political class. Polish President Andrzej Duda tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, according to a tweet from Presidential Minister Blazej Spychalski Saturday. Duda said that he was feeling well, was asymptomatic and would continue working in isolation. "As you can see, I am full of strength. I hope it will stay this way. However, the fact is that I must isolate. Together with my wife, we abide by the rules of isolation in an iron manner," he said in a video posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Brazil's health regulator allows the import of six million doses of a coronavirus vaccine from China
Brazil's health regulator has authorized the import from China of a potential vaccine against the coronavirus, just days after President Jair Bolsonaro insisted he wouldn't allow doses to be shipped from the Asian nation. The health regulator, Anvisa, said in a statement on Friday that Sao Paulo state's Butantan Institute can import 6 million doses of the CoronaVac shot that Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac is developing. The potential vaccine cannot be administered to Brazilians as it isn't yet approved locally, the statement said.
Peru rejects AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine purchase deal
The Peruvian government said on Thursday that it refused to sign a coronavirus vaccine purchase agreement with AstraZeneca PLC because it did not provide sufficient data from its studies and offered minimal amounts of inoculations. Prime Minister Walter Martos said in a news conference that the government had asked AstraZeneca for data from its vaccine studies, but that the firm had not sent the information.
5 takeaways from the FDA's closely watched coronavirus vaccine meeting
The U.S. government's most detailed airing of its plans for approval, production and distribution of coronavirus vaccines came Thursday at a marathon meeting of a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee. Independent experts convened by the FDA debated whether the agency has set an appropriate bar for approving experimental shots, and how research should continue following any emergency clearance that might be granted in the coming months. Presentations by officials from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, meanwhile, shed important light on lingering questions about how mass immunization programs will be rolled out. Addressing distribution hurdles and likely vaccine hesitancy among certain groups were a particular focus.
Malaysia’s king rejects PM’s push for COVID emergency rule
Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah has rejected a request by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for him to declare a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis, saying he did not see the need. The king’s move on Sunday is a significant setback for Muhyiddin, who is facing a leadership challenge from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and infighting within his governing coalition.
Poland adopts nationwide 'red zone' lockdown
Poland's prime minister said on Friday that "red zone" measures including the partial closure of primary schools and restaurants would be adopted nationwide in the face of a record spike in coronavirus infections
U.S. sees daily record of nearly 80000 new COVID-19 cases
A record of nearly 80,000 new COVID-19 infections over the course of a day were reported in the United States on Friday, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Between 8:30 p.m. Thursday and the same time Friday, 79,963 infections were recorded, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to nearly 8.5 million in the country. The United States had already approached the bar of 80,000 daily cases in July, largely due to new infections in southern states such as Texas and Florida, where the virus was then spreading out of control. The worst current outbreaks are in the north and Midwest, and some 35 of the 50 states are seeing an increase in case numbers.
Britain records 23,012 new COVID cases on Saturday, up from Friday
Britain recorded 23,012 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, up from 20,530 on Friday, government data showed. There were 174 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, down from 224 on Friday.
Czech PM tells health minister to quit after lockdown violation
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis moved to sack his health minister on Friday for holding a meeting in a restaurant closed under government restrictions as the country combats Europe’s fastest spread of the novel coronavirus. Health Minister Roman Prymula rejected calls to resign, including from Babis and his junior coalition partner, and said the meeting with two other officials took place in a private room and no regulations were broken. The Blesk newspaper published pictures of Prymula leaving a restaurant late at night and entering a car without a face mask, apparent violations of rules that closed restaurants and require wearing masks in most places, including chaffered cars.
US COVID-19 deaths could hit 500,000 by February, researchers say
The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States could exceed 500,000 by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks, researchers said on Friday, as the country set a new single-day record for new cases. The latest estimate by the widely cited University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reflects concern that cold winter weather will drive Americans indoors, where the coronavirus spreads more easily, particularly in confined, poorly-ventilated spaces.
Brazil will import Chinese-produced coronavirus vaccine Sinovac for trials
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said last week China lacked the creditability to develop a cure for the coronavirus. Whoops. Now a Sao Paulo research centre, partnered with China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd, was granted “exceptional” permission to bring six million doses fo the COVID-19 drug into the country for phase three trials.
As it hits one million coronavirus cases, Colombia prepares for vaccine
In a warehouse near Bogota’s airport, behind a heavy cold storage door, sit boxes upon boxes of lifesaving vaccines for everything from yellow fever to polio, awaiting transport to the furthest reaches of Colombia.The tall shelves, kept at a chill 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), are half-empty - leaving plenty of room for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Colombia surpassed 1 million infections on Saturday afternoon, becoming the eighth country globally to do so, tallying 1,007,711 confirmed infections and 30,000 deaths. As scientists around the world race to find a coronavirus inoculation, Colombia says it is ready to distribute any vaccine which proves effective.
Vaccine developers call on FDA to offer clarity on COVID-19 trials
Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide clarity over retaining and attracting participants for COVID-19 vaccine trials after a vaccine becomes available to the public. The comments were made in letters sent before an FDA advisory committee met yesterday to discuss issues relating to the development and authorisation of potential COVID-19 vaccines. J&J urged the FDA committee to discuss the potential challenges of continuing trial enrolment in large-scale studies after the vaccines receive approval.
HHS Release Redacted Moderna COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine Contract : Shots - Health News
Even as the companies enlisted by the government's Operation Warp Speed project to develop COVID-19 vaccines say they're making quick progress, details of their lucrative federal contracts have been slow to emerge. But late Friday the Department of Health and Human Services released its August contract with Moderna. When announcing the deal, HHS said it was worth $1.5 billion and would secure the first 100 million doses of the company's vaccine and the option to buy up to 400 million more. Overall, there is a lack of disclosure around the terms of the federal contracts with companies involved in the crash program to make COVID-19 vaccines. Most of the contracts haven't been released.
Trudeau announces $214M for Canadian coronavirus vaccine research
The federal government says it’s spending $214 million to support “made in Canada” coronavirus vaccine research. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that $173 million would go to Quebec-based Medicago, while Vancouver’s Precision NanoSystems would receive $18.2 million for development and testing. “This is about securing potential vaccines for Canadians while supporting good jobs in research,” he told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa.
The Trump Administration Shut a Vaccine Safety Office Last Year. What’s the Plan Now?
As the first coronavirus vaccines arrive in the coming year, government researchers will face a monumental challenge: monitoring the health of hundreds of millions of Americans to ensure the vaccines don’t cause harm. Purely by chance, thousands of vaccinated people will have heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses shortly after the injections. Sorting out whether the vaccines had anything to do with their ailments will be a thorny problem, requiring a vast, coordinated effort by state and federal agencies, hospitals, drug makers and insurers to discern patterns in a flood of data. Findings will need to be clearly communicated to a distrustful public swamped with disinformation.
Coronavirus vaccine may not be available until Spring next year, says top UK scientist
A lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine will not be available until Spring next year, according to the UK Government 's top scientist. Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said that while there has been “remarkable” progress made around the world, vaccines will not be in widespread use until some time next year. He said it was too early to speculate about how effective a vaccine might be, but said the aim would be for a vaccine to allow the “release” of measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing. He said: “That’s got to be an aim that we would all wish for and that’s why so many companies around the world are working on vaccines and why there has been such remarkable progress.
Maintaining Services
Germany grapples with coronavirus spike months after it was hailed for good practice
A few months can make a world of difference during a pandemic. After being lauded for its response to Covid-19 after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government flattened the curve this spring, Germany is now grappling with more than 10,000 daily coronavirus infections, the most it has seen since the outbreak started, and admissions to hospital intensive care units have doubled in the last two weeks. In response, the country is betting on a different, more local approach to the crisis.
Italy orders bars, restaurants to close early as COVID infections surge
Italy on Sunday ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6 p.m. and shut public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools to try to halt a rapid resurgence in the coronavirus that has pushed daily infection rates to new records. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the measures were aimed at protecting both public health and the economy and should bring the rising curve of the epidemic under control in the next few weeks to allow a “serene” Christmas.
Initial lockdown in France substantially curbed COVID-19, but many remain susceptible to the virus
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic first started in late December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. From there, it has spread across the globe. During the first peak of cases in March, France is one of the hardest-hit countries, with the cases now reaching more than 1 million, with at least 34,000 deaths. The government has imposed an initial lockdown in March, banning large gatherings and closing schools. In August, when restrictions were eased, there was a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases. Now, a new study by researchers at the Santé Publique France conducted seroprevalence estimates in France, one of the countries with high COVID-19 cases in Europe
Dr Reddy's: Covid vaccine-maker suffers cyber-attack
Pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy's, which is developing a Covid-19 vaccine, says it has been hit by a cyber-attack. Sites around the world have been affected, including those in the UK, Brazil, India, Russia and the US. The India-based company said it had isolated all of its data centre services to contain the attack. Last week, Dr Reddy's was given permission to begin its final stage trials of Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. The company refused to comment on whether or not its manufacturing facilities had been affected.
Oxford coronavirus vaccine scientists will be rewarded for saving world
The last time Oxford University saved the world from infectious disease, with the development of penicillin, it made barely a penny. This time, with its vaccine, it has worked hard to ensure that it does not repeat the mistake. The university has negotiated a 6 per cent stake in any royalties from its vaccine if it is successful, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.
Australian production of non-protein Covid-19 vaccine may take an extra year, minister says
It could take up to a year for Australian biotech company CSL to develop the capability to make a Covid-19 vaccine if a non-protein-based version proves safe and effective, the country’s industry minister has said. Karen Andrews said CSL would be able to immediately start making a protein-based vaccine, but “significant work” would be required if it was another type based on mRNA, or messenger ribonucleic acid. Vaccines traditionally introduce proteins into the body to provoke the immunity system into responding but if an mRNA vaccine of the kind being developed by US company Moderna is approved it would be the first of its type, experts say.
In the restaurant where I work, Covid has brought out the worst in customers
Waitressing can be a difficult job at the best of times. The hours are long, the work is exhaustingly physical and the customers have a tendency to take out on you whatever frustrations have been building in them all week.
Virus is pummeling Europe’s eateries — and winter is coming
As the Friday night dinner service began earlier this month at the De Viering restaurant outside Brussels, it seemed the owners’ decision to move the operation into the spacious village church to comply with coronavirus rules was paying off. The reservation book was full and the kitchen was bustling. And then Belgium’s prime minister ordered cafes, bars and restaurants to close for at least a month in the face of surging infections. “It’s another shock, of course, because — yes, all the investments are made,” said chef Heidi Vanhasselt. She and her sommelier husband Christophe Claes had installed a kitchen and new toilets in the Saint Bernardus church in Heikruis, as well as committing to 10 months’ rent and pouring energy into creative solutions.
Rush for results could lead to inferior Covid vaccine, say scientists
Scientists have warned that early adoption of a Covid vaccine with only moderate effectiveness could disrupt efforts to test and create improved versions. Immunising against the disease is not going to be a simple business of turning off the virus once the first vaccine appears, they say. In fact, there could be considerable confusion as researchers struggle to pinpoint the best versions for different vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. “The vaccines coming through fastest are the most experimental. It is possible they won’t be all that great and that others – created using more tried-and-tested but slower methods – might be better,” said Professor Adam Finn of Bristol University. “But to prove that point will become very difficult if lots of individuals have already been given the first vaccine. It will need vast numbers of people to demonstrate which is best or if a different vaccine is more suitable for particular groups, like the elderly.”
People are traveling across China in the hopes of getting an experimental Covid-19 vaccine shot
When Anny Ku heard that there were coronavirus vaccines on offer in Yiwu, a city in China's eastern Zhejiang province, she traveled more than 600 miles (965 kilometers) for a chance to get the shot. Ku worked in Chile for more than 20 years as an importer and exporter, but she returned to her home in southern China earlier this year after the coronavirus pandemic worsened and a large number of cases appeared in South America. There had been no official announcement that a vaccine was available in Yiwu -- just a series of articles in local media -- but Ku believed she needed the shot in order to leave China and get back to her job overseas. "If one has (the vaccine), it's much safer to leave the country," she said
Australia's COVID-19 hotspot sees more school cases before easing curbs
Australia’s Victoria state, the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, reported four cases related to infections in schools on Saturday, a day before the expected easing of strict social distancing restrictions. Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s second-most populous state, is emerging from a second wave as a hard lockdown since July has brought daily infections of the new coronavirus down to single digits from an August peak over 700. In the previous 24 hours, the state found seven new cases, officials said, including four related to a cluster linked to two schools in Melbourne’s northern suburbs that prompted authorities to order 800 people to self-isolate.
Dutch transfer patients to Germany again as COVID infections spike
The Netherlands began transferring COVID-19 patients to Germany again on Friday, as hospitals come under increasing strain from a second wave of infections. The Flevo hospital in the central Dutch town of Almere said it would transfer two of its intensive care patients by helicopter to a hospital in Muenster, around 65 km (40 miles) east of the Dutch-German border. The transfers were the first during the second wave that began in the Netherlands early last month. During the first wave in March and April dozens of Dutch patients were transferred to Germany, where intensive care capacity is larger.
Retailers urge Welsh government not to dictate what people can buy in 'fire-break' lockdown
Retailers in Wales have written urgently to First Minister Mark Drakeford expressing alarm over new regulations that restrict the sale of “non essential” products in essential shops during the country’s two-week COVID-19 lockdown. Wales’ “fire-break” begins on Friday at 1700 GMT and ends on Nov. 9. Everybody but essential workers will have to work from home. All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourist businesses will have to close. Retailers that can stay open, such as supermarkets, were told on Thursday that the regulations require them to only sell what the Welsh government deems to be “essential” product lines, partly to protect smaller businesses that do have to close being put at an unfair advantage.
Brussels edges towards lockdown as Belgian COVID-19 cases hit record high
City's curfew has also been tightened to 10pm-6am with shops shutting at 8pm. The new changes will come in on Monday Brussel premier Rudi Vervoort said. Working from home will be obligatory and masks will have to be worn in public
India to have covid vaccine by June: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
The buzz around an imminent covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes of a way back to normalcy for the billions affected by the pandemic around the world, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Bengaluru-based Biocon Ltd. Mazumdar-Shaw is hopeful that the vaccine will be in India by June, but added delivering the vaccine to India’s over 1.2 billion population has its own challenges. "I expect that by January, some of the other vaccines could be approved like AstraZeneca’s or one of our own Indian vaccines like the one by Bharat Biotech. If we finish the clinical trials in the next 2-3 months, even those may be approved by January-February. So I would expect that in Q1FY22 we should have vaccines available in India and other parts of the world," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in an interview to Mint.
Covid: More coronavirus vaccine trials in Wales 'within weeks'
New trials of coronavirus vaccinations will start in Wales "within weeks". A top scientist who works for the body responsible for organising the pilots said different vaccines will be trialed across parts of Wales "very soon". About 500 volunteers in the Gwent area have already taken part in trials of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The new trials will be for different vaccines, but Health and Care Research Wales would not confirm which products.
Thousands of long-term care facilities have already opted into CVS and Walgreens coronavirus vaccine deal, HHS says
Thousands of long-term care and assisted living facilities have already opted into the Trump administration’s program with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer coronavirus vaccines to seniors, a senior administration official said. Between 9,000 and 10,000 facilities have opted into the program since it was announced last week, Paul Mango, a deputy chief of staff at HHS, told reporters.
Increase medical workforce to tackle covid-19 backlog, doctors' leaders urge
The NHS will not be able to meet the demands of the covid-19 pandemic and a potential second wave without more staff, doctors’ leaders have warned. In a report1 published on 19 October, the BMA, with support from medical royal colleges, said that medical workforce numbers—including consultants—must increase to overcome the backlog of work from the pandemic, reduce NHS waiting lists and waiting times, and restore activity to previous levels. To do this, medical school, foundation training programme, and specialty trainee numbers must be increased, the report said. The report set out a range of short and medium term solutions to tackle consultant shortages and meet the demands of the pandemic. Among the suggested short term measures were making the most effective use of retired doctors who would like to return to work. “During the first peak of the pandemic, 28 000 doctors made themselves available to return to work,” the report said, “but only a small proportion of them were eventually deployed.”
NHS short of over £1bn for Covid second wave and onset of winter
The NHS has been given in excess of £1bn less than it needs to tackle the second wave of Covid-19, deal with the coming winter and restart routine operations, the Guardian has learned. The disclosure raises questions about the pledge from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, at the start of the pandemic to give the NHS “whatever resources it needs” to cope with the pandemic. Hospitals across England face holes in their budget for the rest of the year of up to £20m, which they say is hampering their efforts to prepare properly for the service’s annual winter crisis and get back to pre-pandemic levels of surgery.
Healthcare Innovations
AstraZeneca resumes U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial and next week J&J prepares to do same
AstraZeneca Plc has resumed the U.S. trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after approval by regulators, and Johnson & Johnson is preparing to resume its trial on Monday or Tuesday, the companies said on Friday. The news signaled progress against the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 41 million globally, including 8 million Americans and comes 10 days before a U.S. presidential election that may hinge on plans here to fight the pandemic. AstraZeneca, one of the leading vaccine developers, paused its U.S. trial on Sept. 6 after a report of a serious neurological illness, believed to be transverse myelitis, in a participant in the company’s UK trial. J&J paused its large, late-stage trial last week after a study participant became ill.
Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford jab provides ‘strong’ immune response, analysis finds
AstraZeneca's Oxford coronavirus vaccine accurately follows its preprogrammed genetic instructions to successfully provoke a strong immune response, an analysis has found. The vaccine “is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness,” said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, which led the research. AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine alongside Oxford University researchers, is considered a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine against Covid-19. The first data from late-stage large-scale clinical trials being conducted in several countries around the world, including Brazil, the United States and Britain, are expected to be released before the end of the year.
Coronavirus: The Kiwi company closing in on world-first bio-bead COVID-19 vaccine trial
New Zealand has recorded another day of zero new cases of COVID-19 in the community - but as we make the most of the freedoms that are the envy of the rest of the world, a Kiwi company has taken a huge leap towards trialling its very own COVID-19 vaccine. The Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation has successfully grown its own 'bio-beads' - microscopic beads that have bits of the virus on them - and now it's launching a PledgeMe campaign to begin working towards clinical trials. It might look like any old lab experiment, but the barely-visible dots of bacteria scientists are working with represent a giant milestone for the COVID-19 vaccine efforts of a Kiwi company.
Moderna completes enrolment of phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial
Moderna has completed enrolment of its late-stage phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine study, with 30,000 participants now enrolled in the study. According to the company, 25,654 participants have now received their second vaccination with Moderna’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in the phase 3 COVE study. The biotech company also touted the diversity of its trial population, with participants from minority groups represented in the overall group. In total, 37% of the trial populations consists of participants from minority ethnic groups, representing 11,000 volunteers. In addition, Moderna has included participants with higher risks of contracting COVID-19 or developing severe disease, with 25% of the trial population being over the age of 65 years.
Coronavirus vaccine final-stage testing to restart in US
Two drugmakers have announced the resumption of US testing of their Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Testing of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate had been halted since early September, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine study was paused at the beginning of last week. Each company had a study volunteer develop a serious health issue, requiring a review of safety data.
Oxford coronavirus vaccine 'has only been tested on 500 over-70s'
High hopes for Oxford University's 'ChAdOx' jab but only 1,000 or so of the 10,000 people recruited to UK arm of Oxford's trial are aged 70 or over. Half of them have been given the vaccine and half have had a placebo. Last night, former immunisation 'tsar' Professor David Salisbury said relatively small numbers might not be enough to generate meaningful result
Recon: AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine packs a wallop; Merck KGaA, partners link for COVID mAbs
There are serious signs the Food and Drug Administration is getting cold feet over the notion of issuing emergency use authorizations to allow for the widespread early deployment of Covid-19 vaccines. Instead, it appears the agency may be exploring the idea of using expanded access — a more limited program that is typically used for investigational drugs — in the early days of Covid vaccine rollouts. Whereas a few weeks ago the agency’s concern was to protect against the possibility that unproven vaccines would be pushed out prematurely due to pressure from President Trump, now the fear is that early authorization of vaccines could squander a one-time chance to determine how well the various vaccines work and which work best in whom.
How Pfizer Partner BioNTech Became a Leader in Coronavirus Vaccine Race
On a Friday in late January, Ugur Sahin received an email with bad news: A new study of a deadly new coronavirus in China suggested it was more infectious than previously believed. The outbreak, he believed, had the potential to grow into a pandemic. The following Monday, the German scientist and chief executive of biotech firm BioNTech SE summoned his board to announce that the company, which had been developing next-generation cancer treatments, would start work on a Covid-19 vaccine. Human trials would need to start by April, he added, in case Europe and the U.S. had to go into lockdowns.
Roche and Atea link up for oral COVID-19 drug; UK to test coronavirus vaccine T cell responses
Swiss pharma giant Roche has partnered with Atea Pharmaceuticals to develop an antiviral oral treatment for COVID-19. The two companies will jointly develop, manufacture and distribute AT-527, Atea’s investigational oral antiviral for the potential treatment of COVID-19. According to Roche, AT-527 blocks the viral RNA polymerase enzyme required for viral replication. It is currently being studied in a phase 2 study for the treatment of patients hospitalised with moderate COVID-19. In the first quarter of 2021, a phase 3 clinical trial is expected to launch testing AT-527 as a potential therapy for COVID-19 patients outside a hospital setting. The drug could also be developed for the post-exposure prophylactic settings, added Roche.