"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 6th Aug 2021

Isolation Tips
Israelis told to 'stop embracing', elderly urged to get booster as Covid-19 cases spike
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is warning that Israelis over 60 are at risk unless they go get their third booster shot immediately.
Australia's second most populous state Victoria to enter seven-day lockdown
Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, will enter a seven-day lockdown on Thursday after a fresh outbreak of COVID-19, state Premier Daniel Andrews said
Hygiene Helpers
Fully vaccinated travellers could soon be allowed into US
The United States is working on plans to reopen to visitors from abroad, a White House official has said. Travel from Britain, the European Union, China and Iran has been restricted for more than a year due to Covid-19, with countries such as Brazil and India later included. President Joe Biden’s administration wants to welcome fully vaccinated visitors once again in a “safe and sustainable manner” the source said. A timeframe is yet to be confirmed.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants to require U.S. troops to get coronavirus vaccine
Following a directive by President Joe Biden to explore the matter, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is leaning toward requiring all U.S. troops to get vaccinated for the coronavirus. The Pentagon chief has been examining the issue as the Biden administration looks for ways to boost vaccination nationwide, while protecting military personnel who must content with viral variants even as they carry out their duties of providing for the national defense. Austin's 'inclination is towards making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory' for active-duty troops, CNN citing a Defense official.
Covid-19: Older people commissioner urges more care home staff to get jab
The Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, has urged more care home staff to get vaccinated. Official figures show that more than one in five of local care homes are currently dealing with an outbreak. About a quarter of care home staff have not yet been vaccinated. Mr Lynch said the "concerning" figures reflected the higher community transmission happening across Northern Ireland.
Teens rebel against anti-vaxx parents and hijack debate over safety of Covid jabs to say they WANT to be inoculated
Vaccine minister yesterday announced 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered jabs Jonathan Van-Tam hinted vaccine programme could also be extended this year Healthy children over 12 could be allowed to get the jab under the extension
US plans to require COVID vaccine for most travellers: Official
President Joe Biden’s administration is taking the first steps towards requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the United States to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, a White House official has said. All travellers to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are currently required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of air travel to the country.
Community Activities
COVID-19: Fit and healthy man, 42, killed by coronavirus regretted refusing vaccine - as sister issues misinformation warning
The sister of a fit and healthy man who died from COVID-19 says her brother was "beating himself up" over his decision not to get vaccinated during his final days, as she issued a warning over jabs misinformation. John Eyers, 42, from Southport, Merseyside died last week - exactly a month after catching the virus. The "fit" and "adventurous" father-of-one had been climbing Welsh mountains and wild camping a month before he became seriously ill.
Businesses face ‘horrible’ abuse amid UK’s coronavirus vaccine checks dilemma
Hospitality is back in business post-lockdown — but staff face the prospect of abuse as they grapple with “confused” government guidance on checking customers' coronavirus status. Companies who have opted to put in place checks say they have faced a social media backlash from anti-vaccine and “freedom” campaigners. The U.K. has so far tried to encourage businesses with a higher risk of COVID transmission to voluntarily adopt its NHS COVID Pass, allowing customers to prove they are free of the virus. Users can show they have either had two doses of an approved vaccine, a negative PCR or lateral flow test result within 48 hours of entry, or have natural immunity. Business owners making use of the scheme so far say they have been on the receiving end of abuse, amid confusion from customers about the scale of the checks.
Around 14% of US population is still opposed to the vaccine and most believe it is more dangerous than Covid-19 itself
Around 14 per cent of US population is still opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine. More than half of unvaccinated adults said vaccine is bigger risk to their health than getting infected with the virus itself. Some three quarters said they are 'not worried' about getting seriously sick from the virus
Cambodia’s nightlife scene tests COVID success
In March 2020, Cambodian authorities made it clear they would take no chances with COVID-19. Tourism visas were suspended. Land borders were closed, leaving citizens stranded. Curfews and domestic travel restrictions emptied the kingdom’s world-renowned archaeological sites of visitors and shut down once-bustling nightlife spots. For nearly a year, such vigilance made Cambodia a COVID-19 success story. As of January this year, the country had recorded no deaths from the coronavirus and just 463 positive cases, 86 percent of which were imported cases that were contained by what was described as a “watertight” quarantine-on-arrival system.
Working Remotely
Remote work is a breeding ground for corporate speak
Virtual work is leading employees to fall back on corporate jargon more often. Business lingo may let remote employees signal that they’re still part of the company’s “in crowd,” or help anxious, scattered workers regain some sense of professionalism. But it is also leading to frustration and misunderstandings. Some companies are even turning to AI-powered “writing assistants” for help, but these tools to curb so-called corporate-isms come with risks of their own. For many employees, the pandemic came with rapidly shifting expectations and blurred boundaries between home and the office.
How To Improve Leadership Availability In A Time Of Remote Work
In many organizations, remote work was the great equalizer. Suddenly, "buttoned-up" senior leaders who struggled with authenticity were taking video calls from their bedrooms while kids screamed and dogs barked in the background—just like the rest of us. But while remote work may have made senior leaders more approachable, it hasn't necessarily made them more visible, accessible, or available.
Virtual Classrooms
The New Digital Classroom
For a year and a half, faculty members have worked quickly and tirelessly to learn about online teaching and online teaching tools. In fact, 91 percent of professors and instructors surveyed told The Chronicle their role required a greater understanding of technology than before. Now that colleges are reopening the classrooms that have long sat vacant, what will faculty do with their newfound knowledge? And how are colleges equipped to meet the needs of faculty who may wish to incorporate new teaching technologies in their physical classrooms? In this virtual forum, The New Digital Classroom, a panel of technologists and academic leaders will join Ian Wilhelm, an assistant managing editor at The Chronicle, for a discussion of the campus classroom’s digital future.
Vatican Encourages Distance Learning
The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education is urging ecclesiastical universities to expand distance learning to reach students who cannot attend in-person classes but can take courses online, the National Catholic Reporter reported. "By making use of distance learning, ecclesiastical faculties could broaden the academic formation they offer, to reach those who, in one way or another, are involved in evangelizing activities," the congregation said in new rules and guidelines for distance education. The new rules and guidelines, developed over three years, are intended to help ecclesiastical universities integrate distance learning into their programs.
Schools Expected to Leave Virtual Learning Behind in the Fall, but the Delta Variant Is Forcing a Change in Plans
Public school leaders in Des Moines, Iowa had planned on teaching all their elementary school students face-to-face this fall. But weeks before classes are set to begin, the district’s youngest students remain ineligible for vaccination against COVID-19, Iowa schools are prohibited from requiring students to wear masks in class, and the Delta variant is spreading rapidly. That combination of challenges led the Des Moines School Board to vote Tuesday to offer a virtual learning option for elementary school families who are concerned about in-person classes during another pandemic school year. “We wanted to provide an option to stay with the district, keep their child at home,” school superintendent Thomas Ahart said at the board meeting Tuesday.
Public Policies
Festivals for Britain as events get $1 bln COVID reinsurance cover
Britain launched a government-backed reinsurance scheme totalling more than 750 million pounds ($1 billion) on Thursday to cover live events against cancellation risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after intense industry lobbying. Insurers stripped coronavirus cover from event cancellation policies after the pandemic took hold last year, prompting top entertainment industry figures such as Andrew Lloyd-Webber to demand a government-backed scheme to enable events to go ahead.
Xi says China aims to provide 2 bln COVID-19 vaccine doses to world in 2021
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday said China will strive to provide 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries in 2021, state broadcaster CCTV reported. In his written message to an international COVID-19 vaccine cooperation forum, Xi also said China would donate $100 million to the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme, according to the CCTV report
Ignoring WHO call, Germany, France to give COVID-19 vaccine boosters
Global body disapproves of boosters until more people vaccinated. Some rich nations going ahead anyway to fend off Delta variant. Elderly and vulnerable to benefit first from booster shots. Low-income nations suffer from lack of vaccine supplies
Coronavirus Covid-19 jabs to be offered to teenagers aged 16-17 in Scotland
Everyone in the 16-17 age group will be offered the Covid-19 vaccination in Scotland. In line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), they will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. From Friday (August 6), people who are 16 or 17 in mainland Scotland will be invited to register their interest through the online portal at NHS Inform, and will then be sent an appointment via text or email. Eligible young people in Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles will be contacted by their health board and invited to attend clinics.
Maintaining Services
Covid-19: Huge batches of extra Pfizer doses are sent to NSW and Queensland
Queensland and New South Wales will get thousands of Pfizer doses from next week in a bid to control Covid-19 outbreaks ravaging both states. From Monday NSW will be given an extra 183,690 doses of the in-demand vaccine and Queensland will have an extra 112,320 jabs. The supplies have been not been taken from other states but have been brought forward from September allocations.
COVID: In Florida hospitals, ‘there are only so many beds’
Florida hospitals slammed with COVID-19 patients are suspending elective surgeries and putting beds in conference rooms, an auditorium and a cafeteria. In Georgia, medical centers are turning people away for lack of space. And in Louisiana, the sick are left waiting and waiting some more in the emergency room before being airlifted elsewhere. “We are seeing a surge like we’ve not seen before in terms of the patients coming,” Dr. Marc Napp, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, said Wednesday. “It’s the sheer number coming in at the same time. There are only so many beds, so many doctors, only so many nurses.”
Healthcare Innovations
Covid-19 vaccine programme should extend to 12-year-olds to reduce virus spread, scientists say
The Government should consider extending the vaccination programme to children as young as 12 according to scientists who said it would reduce the spread of Covid-19 further. The call comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the rollout should be extended to include 16 and 17-year-olds after reviewing the latest data. Ministers have accepted the recommendation and the NHS is making preparations to start giving first doses to around 1.4 million children who will not need to obtain parental consent. The teenagers are expected to receive the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for use in the UK for people aged 12 and over.
Monoclonal antibody could inform development of pan-coronavirus vaccines
Researchers in the United States have demonstrated the potential of a monoclonal antibody to inform the design of pan-coronavirus vaccines that could prevent the outbreak of future pandemics such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, had already shown that the antibody – called CV3-25 –neutralizes the B.1.351 (beta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Furthermore, the antibody cross neutralized SARS-CoV-1 and displayed cross-reactive binding to recombinant proteins derived from the human coronaviruses OC43 and HKU.
Coronavirus vaccine does protect against spread: RIVM research
Coronavirus vaccines are extremely effective at preventing the spread of the Alpha variant of the disease but the impact may be less on the more infectious Delta variant, according to researchers at Dutch public health institute RIVM. The researchers studied how often people who have been fully vaccinated infected others in their household between February and May, when the Alpha variant was dominant in the Netherlands. The study showed that people living in the same household as people who were fully vaccinated, but picked up coronavirus, were 71% less likely to be infected than household members of unvaccinated people.
Moderna says its COVID-19 shot 93% effective six months after second dose
Moderna Inc said on Thursday its COVID-19 shot was about 93% effective through six months after the second dose, showing hardly any change from the 94% efficacy reported in its original clinical trial. However, it said it still expects booster shots to be necessary ahead of the winter season as antibody levels are expected to wane. It and rival Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE have been advocating a third shot to maintain a high level of protection against COVID-19.