"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 13th May 2020

Isolation Tips
Coronavirus: Family of 14 say life in lockdown is 'calmer'
A family of 14 have said life under lockdown has been "calmer and more sedate than normal everyday life". The Shaw family live in a Victorian semi-detached house in Mapperley, Nottingham, with mum Stacy and dad Tom joined by 12 of their children. Mr Shaw said while food shopping had become more difficult, the absence of a morning school run had led to a quieter start to the day. And some siblings had even bonded well enough to build a PC together. "It's been different, but probably not in the way everyone imagines," he said, adding they were all "coping well" under the circumstances.
Loneliness is on the rise due to the coronavirus. These entrepreneurs are making tackling isolation their business
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, isolation was on the rise. In the era of connectivity and social apps, loneliness is ironically pervasive. Today, close to two-thirds (61%) of adults in the United States report feeling lonely — up from just over half (54%) in 2018. That can have major implications for our health. Studies suggest people suffering from loneliness can be more susceptible to physical health issues, such as stroke, heart disease and early mortality. One person who knows that better than most is 29-year-old Karen Dolva, co-founder of No Isolation.
In rural France, the coronavirus bolstered a sense of community and isolation
Communities that previously lamented their isolation have found that it has helped spare them from the worst of the outbreak
WHO warns heatwaves especially dangerous for vulnerable in lockdown
A summer of heatwaves is expected to hit many European cities, according to the World Health Organization. Every year, high temperatures affect the health of many people, particularly older people, infants, people who work outdoors, and the chronically ill, the WHO said. With the coronavirus in play, the extreme heat can be even more dangerous as it can aggravate existing conditions. Experts have previously dismissed the idea that warmer weather can automatically stop or slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Hygiene Helpers
Coronavirus: How to make a hospital-grade disinfectant at home to kill COVID-19
CORONAVIRUS is still running unchecked through society but there are steps you can take during lockdown to keep the risk at bay. To ensure you eradicate the pathogen from your home, it is important to use a hospital-grade disinfectant - here's how to make one.
People in Bristol urged to walk on the left to improve social distancing
"If we can get people in our pavements all walking in the same direction, it is a small thing but also a big thing - increasing the likelihood of us being able to socially distance"
Millions with health conditions at risk from Covid-19 'if forced back to work'
Eight million people with underlying health conditions should be exempted from plans to get the country back to work and normal life, according to scientists who warn that easing lockdown too quickly could propel the Covid-19 death toll to 73,000 this year. About 80% of the population have little to fear from a return to work, but 20% are vulnerable from one or more common conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart problems, say researchers from University College London (UCL) in a Lancet study published on Wednesday. Most of those are not considered clinically extremely vulnerable by the Department of Health and so instructed to shield entirely for 12 weeks.
How Coronavirus Spreads Through the Air: What We Know So Far
The virus that causes COVID-19 can persist in aerosol form, some studies suggest. But the potential for transmission depends on many factors, including infectiousness, dose and ventilation
Community Activities
Coronavirus in Ballarat: Shower bus offers hygiene services in time of great need
The One Humanity Shower Bus recommenced its free shower service to support people experiencing homelessness on Monday. The Shower Bus ceased offering its shower service in late March in response to COVID-19, but it expanded its role in the past few weeks to offer hand washing facilities to people visiting the soup bus.
Coronavirus: Amazon partners with NGOs to donate hygiene aid kits, PPEs
Amazon India on Monday said it has partnered with several Non-Government Organisations across the country to donate hygiene aid kits, Personal Protective Equipment kits and groceries in support of healthcare workers and communities most affected by COVID-19
Family-Owned Greenhouse Donates $1Million in Orchids to Healthcare Workers in 7 Hardest Hit US Cities
“In this extraordinary time, it was important to our organization to find ways we could contribute and the answer was clear,” said Scott Giesbrecht, Co-CEO of Just Add Ice brand orchids and Green Circle Growers. “We realized our nation’s healthcare workers have been experiencing some of the darkest days of our lifetimes. If our orchids can provide a bit of joy and color for these very deserving individuals, we felt it was the least we could do during this difficult time.” More than 50,000 orchids will be delivered to those on the frontline at hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, food banks, and more.
Working Remotely
The New Normal Isn’t Remote Work. It’s Better.
Based on a recent report from Gartner, it looks like many workers will continue to have the option to work from home permanently. Even amidst a global crisis, employees are reporting greater productivity and higher job satisfaction, which is translating into enormous profitability for their employers. By permitting offsite work, the businesses then get to access even more overhead savings, like lower real estate, equipment, and supply expenses. Global Workplace Analytics reports an average savings of $11,000 per part-time role that is converted from physical to virtual. With such incredible corporate and interpersonal rewards at stake, it’s easy to see why remote work may be the foundation of the future of work.
Twitter says it will allow employees to work from home 'forever'
Social media giant Twitter announced Tuesday that it plans to let all employees who wish to work from home do so for the foreseeable future, even after its offices reopen in a post-pandemic world. "Twitter was one of the first companies to go to a WFH [work from home] model in the face of COVID-19, but we don’t anticipate being one of the first to return to offices," the company said in a statement.
Manhattan Faces a Reckoning if Working From Home Becomes the Norm
Even after the crisis eases, companies may let workers stay home. That would affect an entire ecosystem, from transit to restaurants to shops. Not to mention the tax base.
Nine out of ten people want the option of working from home
Nine out of ten people want the option of working from home at least once a week after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. In the UK, those who can work from home are currently being encouraged to do so as part of lockdown measures. According to CloudPro, Google and Facebook have extended their work from home for the rest of the year, with their workforces having the option to continue working remotely despite lockdown restrictions being lifted in parts of the US. This is according to a survey by OnePoll, commissioned by cybersecurity PR agency Eskenzi PR, examining the general sentiment towards remote working. The survey found that a third of workers would like to continue working from home every day or four days a week. 35% said that an ideal scenario would be to work from home for hald the week.
Virtual Classrooms
Institutions put to virtual test with new chapter in learning
The coronavirus outbreak may have disrupted classroom teaching but learning has not stopped. Institutions in the state are now equipped with technology to reach beyond classroom walls to teach students, bringing a paradigm shift to th teaching-learning experience
Faculty Describe Challenges and Lessons Learned in the Virtual Classroom
Greater reserves of compassion, patience, and flexibility help, said Zoë Chance, a lecturer in management who teaches Mastering Influence and Persuasion. She noted that some of her students balanced class with care for ailing relatives, and some have been ill themselves. “My students are living with all kinds of really, really difficult challenges, and then they’re still trying to perform at their regular high levels, as they would for class,” Chance said. Greater patience also goes a long way when it comes to handling technical glitches. “I’ve had two situations this week where my TAs had to take over because Zoom kicked me out altogether,” Chance said. Her student teaching assistants, she notes, played a bigger role in running and organizing the Zoom classroom, along with technicians from the Yale SOM media services department and staff volunteers.
Students benefiting from virtual classes
The Bahraini Ministry of Education has provided 1,162 online lessons in the second semester with the help of Microsoft Teams, the ministry's Planning and Information assistant undersecetary said. The interaction of students in the major virtual classes has reached very high levels over the last few weeks, with daily participation averaging out around 32,000 pupils per day, the state assistant undersecretary said
Sac State To Continue Virtual Learning For Fall 2020 Semester
Sacramento State’s campus and classrooms are pretty quiet and it will continue to stay that way. CBS13 is learning from the Chancellor of the California State Universities that students will primarily will be earning their degree virtually. “A course that might begin in a face-to-face modality in the fall would likely have to be switched to a virtual format during the term if the serious second wave of the pandemic occurs, as forecast,” Dr. Timothy White, Chancellor for California State University, said. Students at Sacramento State understand the health risks are by no means a footnote when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is what 'virtual education' has been like for three primary schools in Sheffield
Staff and pupils at an academy trust in Sheffield have contributed to a video and written diary about schooling during lockdown. Laura Reid reports.
Public Policies
Should Mild Coronavirus Cases Isolate at Home? Many Asian Countries Say No
This approach is vastly different from much of the West, where those that need medical care are admitted to hospitals, while mild cases, which make up the majority of infections, are largely asked to self-isolate. Many public-health experts in Europe and the U.S. say it is time to change that, while others argue it goes too far by constraining civil liberties and separating people from their loved ones.
NHS contact tracing app: how does it work and when can you download it?
With Britain in lockdown, the Government has been racing to find ways to ease restrictions without putting public safety at risk. One solution is a contact-tracing app that can enable digital contact-tracing on a large scale. On May 4, the government revealed further details of the app, which will be tested on the Isle of Wight and then launched to the rest of the UK, if it proves successful. The app goes live on the island on May 5. The UK is planning to use trained teams to find people who have coronavirus symptoms, working with the Army to make thousands of calls a day to track the spread of Covid-19, all of which will be complemented by the contact-tracing app.
How a COVID-19 Testing Model No One Is Talking About Could Save Thousands of Lives
With solid data in short supply relating to the characteristics and spread of COVID-19, many governments and health officials are struggling to formulate suitable health and economic policies. As a consequence, some although not all, countries are effectively waging a war against the coronavirus based on the dynamics of a game of chance. This in turn is producing considerable anxiety about when lockdowns might end and the first steps towards economic activity might begin to occur.
Six takeaways from Anthony Fauci’s and other health officials’ testimony
White House coronavirus task force medical expert Anthony S. Fauci delivered his long-awaited coronavirus testimony Tuesday to a Senate health committee. The appearance came after the White House blocked Fauci from testifying in the Democratic-controlled House but allowed him to testify in the GOP-controlled Senate. Fauci and the committee’s chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), appeared via video after being exposed to people who had come down with the novel virus.
Wuhan to test all residents for coronavirus in 10 days after new cases emerge
Millions of people in Wuhan will be tested for the novel coronavirus within the coming days, after a new cluster of cases emerged despite a strict 76-day lockdown that was intended to eliminate the virus from the central Chinese city. Over the weekend, six new cases were reported in the city, the first in 35 consecutive days. None of the new cases were imported from overseas, sparking concern that the infection could still be spreading in the city where the virus is thought to have first emerged. In response to the outbreak, authorities in Wuhan will conduct city-wide nucleic acid testing over a period of 10 days, according to an emergency notice issued by local authorities and circulated by state run media outlet The Paper.
Washington has 1,371 people trained and ready to begin tracking down the coronavirus
Washington has nearly 1,400 trained contact-tracing personnel who are beginning to contact each new person who tests positive for the novel coronavirus, in an effort to track down other people they may have infected, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday. The newly trained brigade of contact tracers are part of what Inslee called a three-pronged approach to locking down the virus: broad-based testing, isolation and contact tracing.
The way these Indian states handled coronavirus shows where you live matters
Although India has been under a strict nationwide lockdown since late March, cases have continued to rise -- the country of 1.3 billion now has more than 74,000 confirmed cases, including more than 2,400 deaths. But Kerala, a thin strip on the country's southern coast, has appeared to buck that trend. Although its has a population of around 36 million -- almost as big as Canada -- it has reported just 519 cases and four deaths. As of Saturday, it had only 16 active cases, according to the state's finance minister, Thomas Isaac.
South Korea Delays Reopening Schools As Coronavirus Cases Resurge
South Korea has delayed reopening schools another week as dozens of new coronavirus cases linked to nightclubs in Seoul continue to emerge daily. Since a clubgoer tested positive last Wednesday, 102 infection cases from the cluster have been confirmed. The country had prepared to start on-site classes this Wednesday in what would be another milestone in South Korea's steady recovery. New daily infections had stayed close to zero for days as the country eased social distancing restrictions last week and opened public museums and libraries for the first time in over 70 days.
Maintaining Services
Coronavirus: Rail firm seeks Covid-19 guidance from supermarkets
Rail firm Transport for Wales is looking at steps taken by supermarkets for guidance on keeping people safe from coronavirus. Chief executive James Price said this included "guidance and help" on social distancing and access to hand washing facilities. The firm is currently operating a reduced timetable for essential users only. Mr Price said now was "not the time" to invite all passengers back. He insisted customer and staff safety was "at the forefront" of everything the company did.
Every Premier League club must appoint an official coronavirus officer as part of new hygiene rules
New draft of top-flight's hygiene guidelines has been sent to clubs and players. Person should be a senior employee who holds the appropriate qualifications. But the officer must not already be a member of the club's medical staff. Premier League stars will inform bosses they would rather not return to training
Need for hygiene standards for cabin surfaces in the spotlight - Runway Girl
During a RedCabin webinar dedicated to looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on airline cabin design and operations, industry experts discussed the need for standards that would help define and certify the effectiveness of antibacterial and antiviral surface treatments.
'Back to work day' in England with the first steps to reviving the economy
Ministers insist that 'employers have a duty to keep employees safe in the work place' and complaints will be followed up.
Coronavirus: Ryanair plots July return with passengers and crew required to wear face masks
Ryanair plans to restore 40% of its flight schedule from July, with all crew and passengers required to wear face masks and pass temperature checks. The budget airline said it hopes to have nearly 1,000 flights per day, with 90% of its normal network on offer. This would be dependent on governments lifting restrictions on flights within the European Union, restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Healthcare Innovations
The Independent SAGE scientific coronavirus report
On 4 May 2020 a 13-strong committee convened by former UK government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King discussed some aspects of the science behind the UK strategy in a two and a half hour meeting. Leading experts in public health, epidemiology, primary care, virology, mathematical modelling, and social and health policy, raised ideas and issues for consideration which we are pleased to share. Our Independent SAGE focuses on the priorities for measures to be taken to support a gradual release from social distancing measures through a sustainable public health response to COVID-19. This will be essential in suppressing the virus until the delivery of an effective vaccine with universal uptake. We do not address, except as it is directly relevant, the clear structural and procedural weaknesses that contributed to the current situation as we expect these to be addressed in a future inquiry. We draw extensively on the policy considerations proposed by the World Health Organization, which provide a clear structure on which an effective policy should be based given the inevitability that the virus will continue to cross borders.
Scanning for answers to a pandemic
The greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network—or SCAN—is a first-of-its-kind disease surveillance platform for COVID-19 that allows participants to use a self-swab test to collect their own nasal samples and send them to a lab without leaving home. As a surveillance program, SCAN’s goal isn’t to test every person or serve as a replacement for medical care. Instead, SCAN is testing a sample of people in the Seattle region, including those who are healthy as well as those who are feeling sick. The test results and other data (like a person’s age, gender, race, zip code, and any underlying health conditions) are used by researchers, data modelers, and public health officials to paint a clearer picture of how COVID-19 is moving through the community, who is at greatest risk, and whether physical distancing measures are working
Coronavirus patient DNA study could tell us why some fare worse
Doctors hope that analysing their DNA will reveal genetic variations that affect the course of the infection in different people, and potentially point to specific drugs that patients might benefit from. Nearly 2,000 Covid-19 patients have already donated DNA for the £28m study, run by Edinburgh University and multiple NHS hospitals. The work is backed by the UK government, Genomics England and the Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care consortium of researchers.
How to pick a real winner in the Covid-19 vaccine race
The important, but counter-intuitive, message is that when one has a great many vaccine candidates for the same disease — as is the case today — estimating and managing correlations in the portfolio can be more important than adding yet another “winner”.