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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 1st May 2020

Isolation Tips
Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely: How to connect during coronavirus isolation
Regan Gurung, a professor of Psychological Science at Oregon State University, thinks there are plenty of ways to mitigate our collective suffering. “Social isolation is a state of mind,” Gurung said, when I called him to talk about isolation and loneliness. “Of course, isolation is a physical thing, but I think social isolation is a state of mind.” Instead, he said, it’s the quality of the interactions we have with each other that matters. “You can have two very close friends that you’re texting every day,” Gurung said, “and that will be better than somebody who is communicating with five so-so friends.”
After the restlessness finally there's stillness: my last stage of coronavirus isolation
I’ve been to monasteries and religious retreats seeking calmness. The pandemic is giving me the same experience at home
Lockdown should be easy for me, so why is it like doing time?
One day this pandemic will be in the past tense. We will look at this time with distance, and sadness, and relief. We will suffer from other things then. And we will try to piece out how the experience of self-isolation changed us. Did we take advantage of it? Were we even able to? Did we enjoy being with our families, or did we want to hide even from them? Did we actually unplug, or did we plug in harder? Did a break from society free us from a system that holds us captive, slaves to commerce and media? Or did time outside of the system paralyse us? Are our minds really free?
Hygiene Helpers
Disney unveils new cloth face masks, to donate up to $1 million in profits to MedShare | TheHill
Disney has unveiled a new line of reusable, cloth face masks featuring some of its most iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, Winnie The Pooh and those from Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, with the company saying it planned to donate a portion of profits to help combat the coronavirus. The company said in a statement announcing the mask line Thursday that it decided to introduce the new items following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts urging the public to wear face coverings to limit the spread of COVID-19
Coronavirus: Professor of infectious diseases ‘rinses deliveries to ward off the pathogen’
A professor of infectious diseases has revealed she is “rinsing” her deliveries amid the coronavirus outbreak. Professor Sally Bloomfield from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine identifies as being in a “vulnerable group”. To be on the safe side, she rinses deliveries that arrive in non-perishable packaging under running water. The risk of catching the coronavirus while unpacking shopping is thought to be “small”, however, Professor Bloomfield believes it is “worthwhile to take precautions”.
Community Activities
Coronavirus in Australia: Relaxed social distancing rules mean you can have visitors at home in NSW – but there’s a catch
“This may include conducting the visit outdoors if possible, having visual cues (such as) rearranging the furniture in a room to help us keep our distance, and making sure that we only visit when we are completely well and the people we are visiting are completely well,” the NSW Health spokesperson said. “This helps protect the most vulnerable members of the community and reduces the impact on essential, lifesaving health services.”
Times coronavirus appeal: Befriending offers vital support to isolated care leavers
Ms Jampel is helping him to manage, however. Although they can no longer meet in person she telephones him often and at her suggestion they are both watching the Netflix series Stranger Things and chatting about episodes. “It puts your mind at ease, you can talk about any little thing,” Mr Deer said. “It really helps.” The mentoring for care leavers in London is run by Family Action, one of the charities supported by The Times Coronavirus Charity Appeal. Its success has led the charity to launch a national befriending scheme, Listening Works, during the lockdown to support young people aged up to 27 who spent part of their childhood in local authority care.
In times of Covid-19, a gift of hygiene for migrant labourers
National Cadet Corps girls gifted clean pair of clothes to migrant workers living in shelter homes, making sure that their personal hygiene is maintained
Glasgow schools unite to make essential PPE for frontline staff
Eforts from schools across the city to support the NHS have been brought together into three hubs to make scrubs, face shields and deliver essential supplies to families. After being overwhelmed by volunteers from school staff, education bosses have set up three main centres in St Thomas Aquinas, Govan and All Saints secondaries. Individual schools have been making the face shields for several weeks but bringing their efforts together will increase production of them to deliver to hospital staff.
In Syria's Idlib city, a caravan spreads the word about coronavirus
A white caravan splashed with images of the coronavirus roams the streets of opposition-held Idlib city in northwest Syria where a volunteer tell passers-by of the virtues of social distancing and hygiene to avoid infection. "We remind people that they should stay at home so they don't mingle and remind them of a lurking danger that could at any moment enter our areas," Ibrahim Sarmini, a volunteer in the charity called Violet, said of the campaign in the war-torn town. Syria’s northwest does not yet have a confirmed case of the coronavirus, but doctors fear the area’s ravaged medical infrastructure and overflowing camps would quickly turn any outbreak into a humanitarian disaster. "If the disease enters our areas it will be a catastrophe that no one can stop," said Abdullah al Thamer, 33, a bemused resident who watched as the caravan passed by his home.
Coronavirus: Tyneside flats isolation disco unites people around the world
An isolation disco started during the coronavirus lockdown has brought neighbours together in a colourful display either side of the River Tyne. For the past month, residents have grabbed torches and put on their best fancy dress to dance in their homes each night in North and South Shields. Started as a "little joke" by friends and neighbours Scott Miller and Graham Moralee, people as far as Belgium and Australia now post videos of their best dance moves on the Facebook group. Scott said: "It has grown into something beautiful in these dark days. Lifting everyone's spirits and bringing a little colour into our lives."
Virtual entertainment picks: Novel Stages fest, Walker Free First Saturday, 'The Diary of Anne Frank'
With venues across Minnesota closed by the coronavirus pandemic, artists and organizations have turned to the internet to connect with audiences. The Star Tribune will run this calendar each week.
Working Remotely
Workforce Management What COVID-19 Has Revealed About Working Remotely Use these three insights to improve
Deloitte made the pivot as well. For the roughly 11,000 professionals in our audit and assurance business, remote work suddenly became a consistent reality. The COVID-19 crisis in the United States broke just as year-end audits were wrapping up and first-quarter filers were about to begin. But we did it largely due to more than a decade of investments in our organization’s digital transformation. Through the current crisis, we realized three important insights that may help other businesses navigate the brave new world of scaled digital working.
Will working remotely change how we communicate?
Whether you’re conducting an internal meeting with fellow remote employees or with clients in multiple locations, we have all been answering this for the past month as the shape of the workplace has continued to evolve and previously existing social and business norms have been replaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telework: an opportunity to reduce inequality with regard to those with disabilities
The forced pattern of remote working is an opportunity to plan for a more egalitarian and more inclusive working network for people with disabilities and able-bodied people.
Why Higher Remote Working Rates Should Be One Of The Things We Keep After The COVID-19 Crisis [Infographic]
One key trend has emerged in the background and it has been largely overlooked - namely the swift and efficient transition most office workers made in order to do their jobs from home. That has to be one of the key changes society keeps and indeed embraces in the post-COVID-19 world and these are the reasons why.
60% of People Have Better Mental Health Working Remote
Aside from advantages to their mental health, many respondents also shared improvements in physical health now that they’re working remote. 40% said that their diet had improved, and 44% claimed to be engaging in more exercise. The impact that remote working has on an employee’s life is often closely linked to the size of the business they work for. Aside from freelancers, the study found that people in large companies had the best outcomes (55%), followed by those in mid-sized (46%) and then small companies (43%).
Businesses advised to train employees to spot signs of poor mental health whilst working remotely
Companies across the UK are being urged to train employees to spot the warning signs of pooCompanies across the UK are being urged to train employees to spot the warning signs of poor mental health and risk whilst working remotely.
'The Voice' Goes Remote — and Live — for Final Rounds
NBC has mapped out how to finish the current season of The Voice with all participants filming remotely during the coronavirus pandemic — including live results shows. Similar to ABC's American Idol, the final rounds of the NBC singing competition will feature the remaining contestants doing pretaped performances from their homes and judges Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, John Legend and Blake Shelton conferencing in from theirs. Carson Daly will host from The Voice's empty studio, in front of the red swivel chairs, working with a skeleton crew that will abide by social distancing protocols — a relative handful of crewmembers will be spread across two large soundstages.
Virtual Classrooms
Non-profit founder launches virtual classroom to keep kids engaged during pandemic
Children's author and the founder of the non-profit Every 1 Voice Matters Sherrikka Myers has some tips on how to keep kids occupied during this new normal
Montezuma-Cortez schools adapt grading system to virtual classrooms
“We have engaged students and non-engaged students, so we will need to approach the grading piece carefully,” she told The Journal. Mancos administrators and staff are working on the details but have emphasized at board meetings that students’ social-emotional well-being is a top priority. The Cortez district detailed its plan in a letter posted on the district’s website. “Throughout school closures, teachers will continue to provide students with instruction that is designed to build upon the learning trajectory already established in the classroom,” the letter states.
The Diary Of Ms. B.: Tears And Triumph Inside A Philly Teacher's Virtual Classroom
As you read this, teachers across Pennsylvania are relearning how to do their jobs. With physical schools closed through at least the end of the academic year, education has gone virtual. Teachers are quickly trying to master the technological tools needed to salvage a pandemic-wrecked school year.
Employment training courses go online in Cambridgeshire during lockdown
Employment and skills training courses in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are now being delivered digitally to ensure training can continue during the lockdown.
Updated: Free Arts Resources for Schools During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Education technology companies and organizations have stepped forward to help educators bring STEM and STEAM experiences to students in virtual ways during the COVID-19 closures. The following is a list of free resources in the arts. We have a separate listing for crafting and making. This will be updated regularly as announcements are made. (If you know of a company that should be included on this list, please send details to dschaffhauser@1105media.com.)
New virtual cyber school gives teens chance to try out as cyber security agents from home
Thousands of young people are being offered the chance to join a virtual cyber security school as part of plans to make sure the country develops the next generation of professional cyber defenders. At a time when schools remain closed to most children, the online initiative aims to inspire future talent to work in the cyber security sector and give students a variety of extracurricular activities to do from the safety of their homes. Teens can learn how to crack codes, fix security flaws and dissect criminals’ digital trails while progressing through the game as a cyber agent. This will help them develop important skills needed for future jobs, particularly in cyber security.
Public Policies
Merkel warns of risk of new outbreak as Germany lifts lockdown
Playgrounds in Germany will on Monday reverberate with the joyful sounds of children having fun, as scholars return to museums and worshippers open the doors of churches. Some small shops have already reopened, and most regional administrations will soon announce schedules for schools and small-scale sports events. But Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently riding high in the polls as she enters the final months of her tenure as the country's leader, warned on Wednesday that there was a risk of triggering a resurgence of the coronavirus if people dropped their guard and forgot about social distancing.
Maresa Fagan: All-island Covid-19 approach could save lives and protect economy
Apart from signing a memorandum of understanding between the respective departments of health in early April it is hard to see what level of co-operation has actually taken place across the border to date. This week, however, public health experts and political and business leaders called for an all-island Covid-19 approach, in particular as the focus begins to shift away from public health towards rebooting the economy.
Coronavirus: 'Too early' to start easing lockdown - Sturgeon
It is "too early" to start lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions "in any meaningful way", Nicola Sturgeon has said. The next review of strict social distancing rules is due on 7 May. But the Scottish first minister said the margins for making any changes were still "very, very tight". Ministers are considering ways of gradually lifting the lockdown, but Ms Sturgeon warned that it "is not going to be a flick of the switch moment".
Coronavirus and South Korea: How lives changed to beat the virus
South Korea has recorded its first day with no locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 since the middle of February. It did record four new cases, but all were people coming from abroad, who were diagnosed and isolated on arrival. They brought the country's total number of confirmed cases to 10,765. It's a major milestone for a country that was once among the world's biggest virus hotspots, but it comes after significant efforts - and remarkably, without a total lockdown. "This is the strength of South Korea and its people," President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday.
Coronavirus R: Is this the crucial number?
There is a simple, but crucial number at the heart of understanding the threat posed by the coronavirus. It is guiding governments around the world on the actions needed to save lives, and it gives us clues to the extent that lockdown can be lifted. It is called the reproduction number or simply the R value.
Reopening America: A state-by-state breakdown of the status of coronavirus restrictions
With coronavirus cases beginning to level off, states are looking to jump-start economies hard hit by the virus. And with jobless claims totaling 30.3 million in six weeks, Americans are clamoring to get back to work. Governors have taken vastly different tactics in developing plans to reopen business in their states and remove social-distancing restrictions. Here’s a complete, state-by-state listing, which will be periodically updated.
Here's why New Zealand, Slovakia and Portugal have so few coronavirus cases compared to other countries
Speed in locking down - widespread testing - contract tracing appear to have been thr critical factors explaining the differences
IMF approves $411 million in coronavirus aid for Ethiopia
The International Monetary Fund said it approved $411 million in emergency assistance for Ethiopia under its Rapid Financing Instrument program to help the east African country battle the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the IMF said the board also approved Ethiopia’s request for a suspension of debt service payments to the Fund, of about $12 million through Oct. 13. The suspension could be extended up to April 13, 2022, subject to the availability of resources under the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust for poor countries.
Maintaining Services
Hotels to make drastic changes after COVID-19 - including removing these items from rooms
Hotels are currently closed around the world amid the coronavirus lockdown. Many are now looking to the future and revealing new ways hotel stays might change following the pandemic.
Coronavirus update: New compulsory online hygiene training for hospitality sector
No hospitality business will be allowed to reopen in Western Australia until all staff have completed a new COVID-19 hygiene training course. The $1.8m state-funded online course would be free to all hospitality workers - but also compulsory, WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Wednesday afternoon.
Coronavirus UK: The state-of-the-art protective face mask Premier League clubs are in talks to use
Top-flight clubs are in talks over providing players with protective face masks. The revolutionary masks are designed to minimise risk of contracting covid-19. At least four Premier League clubs are in talks with a Dubai firm over the masks. As part of new guidelines, players will be required to wear protective equipment
Coronavirus testing allowing self-isolating NHS staff to return to work
North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group has explained how the NHS is reacting to "the greatest global health emergency in more than a century"
Half of Telecom Italia Staff to Work Remotely in Cautious Approach After Lockdown: Document
Under the company's reopening plans, agreed with national unions, around 23,200 employees, including customer care personnel, will continue to work from home, the internal documents showed. A further 8,000, including executives and managers, will start returning to their offices from May 4 but will be working in shifts, alternating work from home and from their offices, in order to avoid overcrowding. Desks in open spaces will be reorganized in a chessboard-like arrangement, allowing social distancing, and staff will need to wear protective masks while in the office, the documents showed.
Tips and recycling centres 'to re-open' in bid to avoid fly-tipping
Many councils shut household waste and recycling centres as the lockdown took hold in order to focus on refuse collections from homes
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus: Children just as likely to catch infection, study says
A study in Shenzhen, China, found that 7.4 per cent of children were infected. This was on par with the 6.6 per cent average found in the population. Low death and hospitalisation rates led to belief children might be protected. Britain was hesitant to close schools and will be keen to reopen them soon. Authorities mustn't be hasty because children could trigger spread, the expert said
South Korea admits 292 coronavirus 'reinfections' were false positives
Over the past month South Koreans cleared of the virus testing positive again The country was grappling with fears that people could be reinfected A infectious disease expert has claimed the results are due to a testing fault He said the test can pick up viral fragments left in the body even if inactive It relieves worries that immunity is short lived for people who have had the virus
Covidence-UK – The study that could find a cure for coronavirus
The Covidence-UK study will explore every aspect of the pandemic and, so long as enough people take part, it will capture the clues needed to answer hundreds of questions. It will also spotlight topics for future coronavirus research.
Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has now become pandemic. How has it managed to spread from China to all around the world within 3 to 4 months? Li et al. used multiple sources to infer the proportion of early infections that went undetected and their contribution to virus spread. The researchers combined data from Tencent, one of the world's largest social media and technology companies, with a networked dynamic metapopulation model and Bayesian inference to analyze early spread within China. They estimate that ∼86% of cases were undocumented before travel restrictions were put in place. Before travel restriction and personal isolation were implemented, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was a little more than half that of the known cases. However, because of their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the source for ∼80% of the documented cases. Immediately after travel restrictions were imposed, ∼65% of cases were documented. These findings help to explain the lightning-fast spread of this virus around the world.
Remdesivir drug shows promise -- but it is far from a coronavirus cure
The study showing that the experimental drug remdesivir might help Covid-19 patients recover more quickly is positively good news. Shortly afterward, Dr. Anthony Fauci said remdesivir will become the "standard of care" for all infected patients. But beyond the initial optimism, the study also made clear that remdesivir is far from a cure for Covid-19. "This is not a blockbuster drug," CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen said.
The problem of asymptomatic positive infections among care home staff and residents: emerging evidence and implications
As this LSE paper shows, 69% of care home residents in Belgium that tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic. The author, Adelina Comas-Herrera says ideally all care home residents and staff should be tested regularly whether symptomatic or not.