"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 12th Aug 2022

Isolation Tips
Thailand's hotel-based COVID-19 isolation facilities to be phased out from September
Beginning September 1st, all hotel-based COVID-19 isolation services will be phased out and private and state hospitals will get direct access to supplies of antiviral medication, as the country is transitioning into a post-pandemic period. Prof. Dr. Udom Kachinthorn, chairman of the national reform committee on public health said today (Thursday) that both private and state hospitals can claim refunds from the government for the drugs prescribed to COVID -19 patients. He said that, as COVID-19 is to be re-classified as an “infectious disease under watch”, instead of a “dangerous infectious disease” on October 1st, pharmacies should have access to antiviral drugs as well, pending an announcement to be issued by the Thai Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), adding that drug stores can dispense the medications to patients, but they need a doctor’s prescription to prevent misuse.
CDC Drops Quarantine Recommendation After Covid-19 Exposure
Federal health officials scaled back guidance for quarantining and testing to screen for Covid-19 in settings including schools, a relaxation of pandemic precautions that reflects higher protection from vaccines, treatments and prior infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said it no longer recommends that people quarantine after being exposed to the virus, as long as they don’t feel sick, get tested after five days and wear a high-quality mask around others for 10 days. People should still isolate from others for at least five days if they test positive, the CDC said.
Several cities in China add COVID curbs as millions still under lockdown
Several COVID-hit Chinese cities from the country's east to west imposed fresh restrictions and lockdowns on their populations on Thursday to contain flare-ups that are again threatening to disrupt local economies. Reducing people's unnecessary movement for a few days - a softer type of lockdown - as soon as dozens of new cases emerge is a key practice of China's "dynamic COVID-zero" strategy. The aim is to avoid turning efforts to halt an outbreak into the extended nightmares seen in Shanghai and Wuhan
Hygiene Helpers
Universal vaccine needed to tackle future Covid waves, study suggests
A universal Covid jab is “urgently needed,” scientists have warned after a study confirmed prior infection or vaccination offers only limited protection against new variants.
Moderna CEO says Covid vaccines will evolve like 'an iPhone'
Forget taking two to three Covid shots a year. Moderna hopes to roll out a single-dose annual booster to cover the coronavirus, the flu and another common respiratory virus within the next five years. As Covid-19 continues to mutate, Moderna will need to keep updating the vaccines that turned it into a global household name while trying to make it more convenient for consumers, CEO Stéphane Bancel said in an interview with CNN Business Wednesday. He estimated a timeline of "three to five years" for the new combined product, and likened the development of the life-saving jab to that of a smartphone. "You don't get the amazing camera, amazing everything the first time you get an iPhone, but you get a lot of things," he said. "A lot of us buy a new iPhone every September, and you get new apps and you get refreshed apps. And that's exactly the same idea, which is you'll get Covid and flu and RSV [respiratory syncytial virus] in your single dose."
Let's talk about Covid-19 boosters
There's been a lot of talk about Covid-19 booster shots in recent weeks. It makes sense -- with colder months just around the corner in the northern hemisphere, public health authorities across the world are getting ready for a potential spike in coronavirus cases. Getting people at risk of severe disease boosted is a big part of the plan. But guidance on who, when and how depends largely on who you ask. Let's start with the basics: All adults should have had their first booster by now. The data shows clearly that an extra shot of an mRNA vaccine increases protection, including against severe disease. "If you are 18 and older and have not yet had any vaccines beyond your primary vaccination, you should get your booster now," said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
COVID rebound is surprisingly common — even without Paxlovid
After the game-changing COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid began to be used in late 2021, researchers noticed a perplexing trend. In some people taking the drug, symptoms and detectable virus vanish, only to mysteriously return days later. After months of grasping at straws, scientists are beginning to make some headway in understanding ‘Paxlovid rebound’. Two recent studies suggest that it is surprisingly common for SARS-CoV-2 to return in untreated cases of COVID-191, while hinting that the virus’s comeback is fiercer and more common in people who take Paxlovid
Mask mandates return in New Delhi as COVID-19 cases rise
The Indian capital reintroduced public mask mandates on Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country. The New Delhi government reinstituted a fine of 500 rupees ($6) for anyone caught not wearing a mask or face covering in public. India's Health Ministry said 16,299 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours nationwide, with a positivity rate of 4.58%. Nearly 2,150 infections were reported in New Delhi. On Wednesday, New Delhi reported eight deaths due to the coronavirus, the highest in nearly six months. People in most parts of the country began discarding face masks as infections dropped following two devastating earlier waves of COVID-19. New Delhi’s top elected official, Arvind Kejriwal, said that COVID-19 cases were on the rise but there was no need to panic because most of the new cases were mild.
New Covid vaccines targeted at Omicron may not be ready for autumn boosters
Next-generation Covid vaccines are in doubt for the autumn boosters campaign, as ministers and the NHS wait for regulators to sign off on new jabs targeted at the Omicron variant. Studies suggest that the new versions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may reduce transmission of Covid-19 and prove more effective in preventing hospitalisation. But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is still considering whether to approve jabs, and some insiders fear it may be too slow for the autumn vaccine rollout.
Community Activities
Covid-19 and Politics: Pandemic Deepened Countries' Divisions, Survey Says
The Covid-19 pandemic created deeper social divisions compared to the beginning of the outbreak, exposing weaknesses in political systems, according to findings of a survey conducted in 19 upper- and middle-income countries. Overall, 61% of respondents said their countries became more divided during the pandemic, according to the recent Pew Research Center survey. The perception of increased social friction was highest in the US, where 81% of those surveyed held that view, and two-thirds said the country’s pandemic response revealed political frailty.
Working Remotely
Nearly Half of Remote and Hybrid Government Employees Say Team Performance Has Improved During Past Two Years
As the pandemic has put immense pressure on government employees to deliver public services, new research finds that teleworking has improved team performance. Forty-six percent of government employees who telework – both fully remote and hybrid employees – say their team’s performance improved during the past two years. Only 35 percent of in-person government workers say their team’s performance has improved during the period, according to new research from Eagle Hill Consulting.
Gen Z worker demands include flexible work and wellness perks
When Ginsey Stephenson moved to San Francisco for work in February, she finally met and mixed with her colleagues for the first time. It was something the 23-year-old had longed for since entering the professional world out of college seven months prior. The boutique public relations firm she works for follows a hybrid schedule of three days in the office per week, meaning she no longer has to nervously message people on Slack she had never met in person. Most importantly, being in the office has helped her transition from working from her parents’ Virginia home to life as a working adult.
Virtual Classrooms
How To Give Feedback To Students In The Online Learning Environment
Feedback is essential when it comes to education, as it can supplement growth and development. However, it can be quite a challenge when it comes to the online learning environment. In this article, we will discuss three ways in which educators can give feedback to students who use online resources. We will also mention a few tips as to how you can ensure that your feedback is constructive.
Public Policies
Flush with wins, finally COVID-free, Biden to hit the road ahead of U.S. midterms
President Joe Biden plans to travel across the United States in the coming weeks to tout a series of legislative wins on climate change, gun control and drug pricing in a bid to boost his party's chances in the looming midterm elections, White House officials said on Thursday. His Democrats face an uphill battle to retain their narrow control of the House of Representatives and Senate in the Nov. 8 elections. Biden, whose public approval rating rose this week to its highest since early June, plans to use the recent victories in Congress to rally support for Democratic candidates, White House officials Kate Bedingfield and Anita Dunn wrote in a memo distributed to allies in the party and shared with reporters.
All go in health concerns as EU pushes for COVID and monkeypox vaccines and welcomes Digital Decade policy programme
The Commission welcomes the political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the 2030 Policy Programme: Path to the Digital Decade. The programme sets up a monitoring and cooperation mechanism to achieve the common objectives and targets for Europe's digital transformation set out in the 2030 Digital Compass. This concerns the area of skills and infrastructure, including connectivity, the digitalisation of businesses and online public services as well as the respect of the EU's Digital rights and principles in achieving the general objectives. A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “The Digital Decade is about making digital technology work for people and businesses. It is about enabling everyone to have the skills to participate in the digital society. To be empowered. It is about empowering businesses. It is about the infrastructure that keeps us connected. It is about bringing government services closer to citizens. Europe's digital transformation will give opportunities for everyone.”
Maintaining Services
Africa CDC hopeful Aspen will get COVID vaccine orders
Africa's top public health body said on Thursday it was hopeful South African pharmaceutical firm Aspen Pharmacare would get orders for its own brand COVID-19 vaccine. Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last month that it is in detailed discussions with buyers to generate demand for Aspen's COVID-19 vaccine Aspenovax. Just one fifth of adults in Africa are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but demand has fallen across the continent which already receives donated vaccines from Western countries and has supplies to hand from earlier purchases.
Healthcare Innovations
Long Covid Symptoms: Big Drop in Stress Hormone Cortisol Shown in Study
Striking decreases in the stress hormone cortisol were the strongest predictor for who develops long Covid in new research that identified several potential drivers of the lingering symptoms afflicting millions of survivors. Levels of cortisol in the blood of those with the so-called post Covid-19 condition were roughly half those found in healthy, uninfected people or individuals who fully recovered from the pandemic disease, researchers at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York found. No one knows yet what causes the constellation of symptoms, often termed long Covid, that afflict some 10% to 20% of people after the acute phase of infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The US government is spending more than $1 billion to learn why it occurs and to devise strategies to treat and prevent the condition.
Ensovibep no better than placebo for hospitalised COVID-19 patients
A trial of a novel designed ankyrin repeat protein, ensovibep, for the treatment of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 proved no better than placebo. Ensovibep treatment for patients hospitalised with COVID-19 was no better than placebo and, in fact, the trial was terminated early because of futility, according to the findings of randomised trial by researchers from the ACTIV-3/TICO group. The early treatment of patients infected with COVID-19 using anti-virals such as molnupiravir reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death in at-risk, unvaccinated adults. However, to date, there are no effective anti-viral agents for those who have been hospitalised due to virus. One new class of treatment is designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), which represent a novel class of specific binding molecules, that can recognise targets with specificities and affinities that equal or surpass those of antibodies.
COVID-19 infection in pregnant women linked to increased risk of adverse outcomes
COVID-19 infection in pregnant women is associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes compared to women who are not pregnant, according to a review published in JACC: Advances from the American College of Cardiology Cardiovascular Disease in Women Committee. Cardiovascular complications include heart attack, arrythmias, heart failure and long-haul symptoms that may be difficult to distinguish from other cardiac complications of pregnancy and require the cardiovascular care team to be vigilant when assessing pregnant women with COVID-19. As COVID-19 cases increased globally, awareness of cardiovascular complications also increased, especially in certain high-risk populations. Heart attacks is estimated in up to 12% of patients.
Key blood clotting protein could be 'warning light' for COVID-19 cases
University of Aberdeen team suggest results indicate that protein PAI-1 could be an early indicator of severe COVID-19 A protein that could be an early indicator of severe COVID-19 has been identified by scientists at the University of Aberdeen. Patients who get seriously ill following a COVID-19 infection frequently show evidence of a severe form of lung disease and in around 30% of patients blood clots are evident. Blood clots arise due to deposits of fibrin within the lung contributing to pneumonia and respiratory distress. These fibrin deposits restrict the amount of oxygen absorbed into the lung.