"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 9th Jul 2020
Doctor reveals seven practical tips to be prepared for the second wave of coronavirus lockdown
A doctor has revealed the seven practical tips for surviving isolation 'round two', after Melbourne was plunged into lockdown for the second time on Thursday. GP Dr Preeya Alexander, from Melbourne, said little things like routine and staying 'connected' with family and friends is key to combatting the malaise that can come with isolating at home to slow the spread of coronavirus. But she also said you need to watch things like your alcohol consumption and exercise levels, which can easily drop off at such a time.
Mental Health and Coping Tips
Feeling irritation, anger or denial - Feeling uncertain, nervous or anxious - Lacking motivation - Feeling tired, overwhelmed or burned out - Feeling sad or depressed Trouble sleeping - Trouble concentrating - When stress becomes too much, there are resources for help. Make sure your employees are aware of your employee assistance program resources, and post and share these resources to help those who may be struggling or experiencing a crisis. In an emergency, call 911.
UAE COVID-19: 11 Tips for protecting parental mental health in a pandemic
We asked Tanya Dharamshi, Clinical Director and Counselling Psychologist at Priory Wellbeing Centre, Dubai (www.priorygroup.ae) for her advice on staying positive during these challenging days: “Current advice in relation to the coronavirus pandemic recommends limiting social contact and going into self-isolation if displaying symptoms. This will be a significant cause of concern for many people, but for those who suffer from acute anxiety, it could exacerbate their condition so it becomes more debilitating. “It is important to normalize the feelings you are having and the impact self-isolation has. While we need to limit our interactions, in our mind our focus has shifted from living to surviving and the social withdrawal can lead to loneliness and as well as a feeling of hopelessness.
Left behind generation: Children need space to come to terms with coronavirus crisis, say experts
Children need to be given “space” to come to terms with what they have been through during the Covid crisis, experts said today. The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) also stressed that some would need long-term support. Children may even need help choosing words to express their feelings and thoughts given the complexities of what they have experienced. The Evening Standard has launched a special investigation into the impact of coronavirus on children and vulnerable families.
French children traumatised by coronavirus crisis, expert warns
The coronavirus crisis has caused an uptick in stress and anxiety disorders in French children, with some experiencing thoughts of suicide, a leading child psychologist has warned. Benjamin Landman, chief of psychiatry at Paris’s Robert-Debré paediatric hospital, told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche that lockdown measures and new social distancing norms have had a significant impact on children’s mental health. Young children were experiencing developmental regression, such as bedwetting, difficulty falling asleep and separation anxiety, while older children were showing behavioural problems, signs of agitation, sudden withdrawal and a fear of going back to school.
As Victoria goes into coronavirus lockdown, it's time to consider moving infected people outside the home
Ultimately, governments around the world face the tough choice of being proactive or reactive during the pandemic. Being proactive to small spikes might be perceived as being heavy-handed, especially economically. Victoria, so far, has been more reactive than proactive — but the time has come to consider different approaches. We know many people pick up the virus in their own homes from another family member, even if the infected individual isolates in one room. This is partially because indoor environments often have crowding and poor ventilation. It's also quite difficult to practice good sanitation, cleaning high-touch surfaces properly with detergent or bleach. The best option is to relocate an infected family member to reduce the risk of spread to the rest of the family. An option is to relocate them to hospitals or other suitable purpose-built health facilities. Victoria's numbers will get worse unless infected individuals are relocated. This is a particular risk for crowded high-rise housing. Victorians should also be wearing masks in all public places.
The way in which it was executed, India’s lockdown itself became source of virus’s spread
By having people huddle together, infecting one another, and then having the same people travel hundreds of miles, the pandemic has been made much worse than it need have been.
Miami rolls back restaurant dining as U.S. coronavirus deaths top 130,000
Florida’s greater Miami area became the latest U.S. coronavirus hot spot to roll back its reopening, ordering restaurant dining closed on Monday as COVID-19 cases surged nationwide by the tens of thousands and the U.S. death toll topped 130,000. Restaurants also were targeted for a weekend crackdown on coronavirus enforcement in California, where hospitalizations for COVID-19 have jumped 50% over the past two weeks and the state capitol building in Sacramento was temporarily closed for deep cleaning. For an eighth straight day, Texas registered an all-time high in the number of people hospitalized at any one moment with the highly contagious respiratory illness, up more than 500 admissions from the day before to nearly 8,700.
Professor warns of long-term effects of lockdown weight gain
Many more of us could have diabetes and high blood pressure if we don't lose the extra weight we've put on during lockdown, a renowned cardiologist at Keele University has warned. "This is a big ticking time bomb for our nation's health—one that hasn't had as much attention as it should have," he said. "Permanent weight gain will have a long-term impact on our health. If we don't lose this extra weight, or we get into bad habits that continue after lockdown, many more of us could have diabetes and high blood pressure. This, ultimately, makes us more at risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes." Professor Mamas has urged Britons to see the relative easing of lockdown "as an opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle." His comments come after a study showed that 48% of us believe we have put on weight and 20% of us admit to drinking more alcohol during the lockdown.
Georgia Cities in Open Revolt Against Governor Over Masks
At least three cities have issued ordinances requiring their citizens to wear masks, in defiance of Gov. Brian Kemp’s lax approach to the pandemic.
Global report: Catalonia makes mask-wearing in public compulsory
Spain’s northern Catalonia region will make wearing a mask in public spaces compulsory at all times from Thursday morning, as French prosecutors charged two men with with attempted murder after a bus driver was attacked and left brain dead for refusing to drive a group of mask-less men. The move in Catalonia was announced as the region struggles with a renewed outbreak of coronavirus around Lleida that has forced a new lockdown for 200,000 inhabitants and pushed hospitals to the brink. The announcement by the Catalan regional leader, Quim Torra, came as authorities around the globe confronted fast-emerging new peaks of the disease even as they looked for ways out of economically damaging nationwide lockdowns. “Masks in Catalonia will be mandatory,” said Torra. Spain has since June ordered the use of masks indoors and outside where 1.5 metres of social distancing cannot be maintained.
'The Second Wave' of COVID Hits Israel Like a Tsunami
What happened? If you ask Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the head of the nation’s public health service, who served as an Israeli Dr. Anthony Fauci for the past six months and quit her job on Tuesday, the government “has lost its compass.” “Israel is heading to a dangerous place,” she wrote in an 8,000-word indictment of the government’s failure to prepare in any way for a resurgence of illness. “Despite systematic and repeated warnings through various channels, and discussions in several forums, we are watching with frustration as the hourglass of opportunities runs low,” she warned. “I have come to the conclusion that in the newly created conditions under which my professional opinion is not accepted—I can no longer help to effectively cope with the spread of the virus.”
Indian city imposes 'triple lockdown' as coronavirus cases surge
Thiruvananthapuram in the southern state of Kerala implemented what it called a "triple lockdown" this week, as India overtook Russia to record the world's third-highest number of coronavirus infections. Kerala's strict early measures to curb the coronavirus's spread meant it had just about 100 cases in May, a scenario that propelled its health minister - a retired teacher with a previously low profile - to rockstar status. But since then nearly half a million people, mostly migrant workers, have arrived back in Kerala from abroad or from other Indian states. On Wednesday, the state recorded the highest single-day spike of 301 infections, taking the total to 6,301. Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had voiced concerns about an outbreak if people were not tested before coming back, has attributed the rise in numbers to the returnees, saying they account for more than 80% of coronavirus cases. "The city seems to be sitting on an active volcano," said Kadakampally Surendran, the state minister in charge of the area, urging people to "strictly follow" the lockdown measures.
Uzbekistan to introduce second lockdown from July 10
Uzbekistan will impose a second lockdown between July 10 and Aug. 1 to curb a new surge in cases of the novel coronavirus since the easing of its first set of restrictions in late May and early June. The Central Asian nation’s government said on Wednesday it will limit the movement of vehicles and close non-food shopping malls, markets, parks, cafes, restaurants and sports and entertainment venues. Uzbekistan saw a surge in fresh COVID-19 cases in June after lifting many of the restrictions introduced earlier. It has confirmed almost 11,000 cases with 40 deaths; more than a half of the latter occurred within the last two weeks. Neighbouring Kazakhstan has also imposed a second lockdown from July 5, citing a jump in cases.
CACOVID donates N1.4bn medical equipment, 26,400 test kits to boost Covid-19 testing across Nigeria
The private sector-led Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has donated N1.4 billion worth of medical supplies and additional 26,400 test kits sufficient to set up six fully functional COVID-19 medical laboratories in the fight against the pandemic. Presenting the test kits and medical equipment at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Lagos office, the MD/ CEO, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou commended the efforts of the public health institute in the fight against the virus and expressed optimism that the test kits and medical supplies provided would further expand testing capabilities across the nation to meet critical health infrastructure need to combat the virus.
Harvard, MIT Sue Trump Administration Over International-Student Policy
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration in federal court Wednesday over new rules barring international students from staying in the U.S. while taking classes entirely online this fall. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from enforcing rules that were laid out Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement governing how foreign students can—and can’t—enroll at U.S. universities this fall in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Homeless choose to stay housed, but new faces appearing on streets
People who have been chronically homeless are choosing to stay in permanent housing - some for the first time in more than 20 years. Organisations working with rough sleepers say the change in attitudes is "phenomenal". But they are warning it's no time to get complacent about homelessness, especially as new faces start to emerge on the streets. Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly is well acquainted with people sleeping rough. There is one man in particular he never thought would be housed. He's been on the streets for 22 years. "He was reluctant. Three days into lockdown, when all of his mates had gone, he was sitting there alone and said to his case-worker 'I think it's time to go inside. But, I want a room with a view'." He's been in housing for three months now. Last weekend he took his first trip in many years out of Auckland, to visit family.
We Are in Desperate Need of Quarantine Hotels
Right now, even considering how many cases of the coronavirus there are circulating in the country, it is very possible we’re in a relative lull compared with what the virus could do this fall. Which means that, right now, we need to be doing way more work to prepare for that possibility than we currently are. In addition to improving our testing and contact tracing capacity, the big thing America should be doing is figuring out how to keep people safe indoors. Part of that should mean setting up places for people to safely and comfortably isolate, away from other members of their household. I am talking (dreaming?) about quarantine hotels, which are common in countries with experience with viruses like SARS. They’re often used to quarantine incoming travelers, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be used more broadly—for travel within a country or to help anyone who wants to carry out a recommended isolation.
Coronavirus: Working from a holiday home! Barbados to offer year-long stays to remote workers
People working from home during the coronavirus pandemic could be given the opportunity to relocate to the Caribbean under a proposal from the Barbados government. Prime Minister Mia Mottley is considering introducing a "Barbados Welcome Stamp" which would allow international arrivals to live on the island while working remotely for up to a year. Ms Mottley has proposed the scheme as short-term travel has been become more difficult during the pandemic. Tourism makes up 40% of Barbados' GDP and 30% of its workforce is employed in the sector, according to Travel Market Report.
Strains of hope: Chilean nurse serenades COVID-19 patients with violin
When most Chilean nurses finish their long shifts caring for the country’s many COVID-19 patients, there is little else on their minds but seeing their families, eating and sleeping. Not so Damaris Silva, who twice a week when she finishes her shift at 6 p.m. picks up her violin and returns to the ward. Silva, 26, spends several hours walking the corridors of the Hospital El Pino, in the capital Santiago’s poor southern La Pintana neighbourhood. She plays a mix of popular Latin songs, bringing a moment of levity for both patients - some of whom have spent weeks in critical care - and exhausted colleagues. “As soon as I walk in the patients brighten, they seem happier; they smile and applaud,” she told Reuters.
Analysis | The Fight Over a Coronavirus Vaccine Will Get Ugly
For most people, a vaccine against the coronavirus can’t come soon enough, as it will be the only tolerable way to achieve herd immunity. So it’s encouraging that more than 100 drug candidates in 12 countries are in development, and eight are already entering clinical trials. To accelerate the process, some people are heroically volunteering to expose themselves to infection. With luck, some of us can get our shots next year. And yet, there’s still a danger that humanity will fail in its quest to control Covid-19. The culprit wouldn’t necessarily be the medical complexity, fiendish as it is, of engineering a vaccine. It could also be the ensuing politics surrounding inoculation. The fights will be intense, irrational and sometimes nasty.
Should Leaders Allow Their Teams To Work From Home Post Coronavirus Crisis?
Not so fast, according to Mike Goleman, author of ‘Breakthrough Leadership Team’. With over thirty years of experience consulting, he has helped brands like Verizon, Disney, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Dillard’s, Liz Claiborne, and Levi Strauss. Although views on how productive we can be working from home have dramatically changed for the positive over the last few months, he worries many companies may overreact. While some companies can make it work, many companies are not ready for this shift, so let’s look at both sides of the argument.
Op-ed: Why companies need to stay in 'emergency mode' during Phase two of remote work
Due to COVID-19, many organizations, both large and small, have now had their entire workforce working remotely for months. Now equipped with business continuity plans companies need to maintain this new ‘emergency mode’ for weeks and months to come, says Wendy M. Pfeiffer, CIO, Nutanix. Technologies such as Zoom, Slack, AI and machine learning have helped employees collaborate and remain productive.
‘It’s been quite easy’: Insights from the heart of the remote working revolution
“We have 150,000 employees globally. So when [the lockdown] happened, we effectively switched on 95 per cent of our team members to virtual work from home environments. We had the technology enablers to help us to do that. Our employees have worked from time to time from home and have the technology to do it, so we rapidly switched to it.”
How covid-19 changed the rules of classroom teaching
As the classroom has shifted to the virtual realm—mostly for schools in urban centres, where most students are likely to have better access to the internet—teachers have turned into disembodied voices. The school, as the physical space we knew it to be, has shrunk to the size of electronic screens. Instead of walking down the aisles, ensuring discipline and checking the progress of their students, teachers now appear as thumbnails, while chalk-and-board lessons unfold on PowerPoint. Most alarmingly perhaps, their performance is no longer privy to the eyes of their students alone. Parents and guardians, too, can now sit in on their lessons and judge their merits.
School reopening plans are now part of COVID-19 politics. Teachers fear for their safety.
Teachers' unions concerned about the health and safety of students and staff have balked at that order, with one Florida union official calling it "catastrophic." The state continues to set records for daily new infections. Districts, meanwhile, face another alarming prospect: If millions of students elect to return to class while millions of teachers don't, it could create a staffing shortage unlike anything seen in modern times. Nationwide, 1 in 5 teachers said they were unlikely to return to school if their buildings opened this fall, according to a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll in late May.
Call for teachers to work in schools even if students learn from home
The president of the Victorian Principals Association says teachers should be allowed to return to work on school campuses in term three, as the state government considers a return to remote learning. Anne-Maree Kliman said staff would do a better job of teaching students remotely if they were not also confined to their homes.
Martin County teacher: Full capacity schools aren't safe
But how do Martin County teachers feel about going back to school in the fall? Kim Davis, a veteran teacher of 20 years, said the coronavirus has changed everything. She and many of her colleagues have been losing sleep over the coming school year. "Schools at full capacity do not make for a safe environment, for the students [and] for us," said Davis. As a parent, Davis won’t be sending her daughter back to high school in person. She is choosing the online option. "To be honest with you, I think most of us are trying to figure out how we would not contract the virus all day," said Davis. "Our staff and students are our No. 1 resource, so their safety is our priority," said Julie Sessa, the coordinator of risk and employee benefits for the Martin County School District.
With No End in Sight to the Coronavirus, Some Teachers Are Retiring Rather Than Going Back to School
So Christina Curfman—who has an autoimmune disease that makes her more vulnerable to COVID-19—consulted her doctor, weighed the risks of returning to school and decided to retire early after 28 years of teaching. At 55, she’s eligible for partial retirement benefits and will take home less pay than if she had worked for a few more years, but the decision gave her peace of mind.
Coronavirus Is Blowing Up America’s Higher Education System
With the coronavirus upending the service model and the economics of universities across the country, it is not at all clear how flexible America’s higher education system will be in the face of high costs, institutional barriers to change, and a longstanding belief in the value of the way things are traditionally done. A professor at Columbia Business School once told me that “all businesses will be disrupted in the digital age,” but added with a self-satisfied smile, “except for us, of course.” The American affection for the residential model is understandable, but as Mitchell Stevens, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, told me, it also comes with an astronomical price tag: student costs significantly higher than those in other countries; oppressive student debt; and exclusion from top universities for a wide range of students who can’t afford to leave behind family commitments to spend years on campus.
Sage sidelined as Government takes direct control of coronavirus response
The Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) appears to have been sidelined as ministers take more direct control of the response to coronavirus. Instead, an expanded Joint Biosecurity Centre will take a more prominent role in co-ordinating the Covid-19 response. Last month, Downing Street appointed a senior spy to lead the unit to monitor the spread of coronavirus, advise ministers on the alert level for the virus and recommend actions to suppress new outbreaks. Now it has emerged that Sage – the committee led by the chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and the chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty – is to meet less often, with its sub-groups asked to provide advice directly to the Government
Covid-19 news: UK could eliminate coronavirus entirely, say scientists
The UK government has “given up” on trying to eliminate the coronavirus, says a new report published today by Independent SAGE – an independent group of scientists. They propose a new strategy aimed at the complete elimination of covid-19. It would replace what the report calls the government’s “failing NHS Test and Trace system” with a locally controlled contract tracing and testing system that has more laboratory provision, as well as tighter lockdown measures and restriction of international and domestic travel. The report also points out that the UK’s death toll has been one of the highest in the world but says it’s not too late to change that trajectory. “We believe that a clear strategy based on proven public health principles is now required to see us through the next 9 to 12 months,” says the report. But the report has been criticised by researchers, including epidemiologist Mark Woolhouse at the University of Edinburgh, for being overly simplistic. “This is a worthy but extremely ambitious aim,” says Woolhouse.
The unpopular rules returning and support ending as UK lockdown measures ease, from free NHS parking to rent evictions
The coronavirus pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on the lives of many people, leading the Government to suspend various policies to support Britons during these unprecedented times. But as the country begins to emerge from the lockdown, it appears that business is returning to normal. Some of those policies – many of which were unpopular in the first place – are beginning to be reinstated or are slated to return over the next few months.
Has Italy Beaten COVID-19?
Menicanti attributes Italy's success to surprisingly high levels of compliance with social distancing measures from the Italian people. "In the beginning, all of us were shocked by the rules. To be locked in, not being able to travel or meet people, that's very strange for us. Italians love crowded places," Menicanti said. "But the population, incredibly, has followed the rules." Other towns that didn't implement such a strict lockdown right away, such as Bergamo and Cremona, were hit harder, and scenes of coffins piling up in churches were burned into the national psyche. Mario Carminati, a priest in Bergamo, told the BBC that the "sound of ambulance sirens was constant. This was a reminder to be on the lookout, that if you didn't do as they said, you could be next." "We don't want to forget what happened," Carminati said. "We want it to be a reminder of how to live in a certain way."
Hundreds of Cases, But No Lockdown: What’s Changed in Japan?
As of Monday, the ratio of cases in Tokyo whose infection path can’t be identified stood at 39%, compared with more than 70% at the height of the pandemic. That’s significant because contact tracing and cluster-busting has been the core of Japan’s response to the virus -- identifying and shutting down locations where multiple people were infected, and aggressively testing those linked to these clusters.
Colombia coronavirus lockdown extended until Aug. 1
Colombia’s national lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus will be extended by just over two weeks until Aug. 1, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday. The Andean country has reported more than 124,400 cases of the novel coronavirus and 4,359 deaths. Duque declared a national lockdown in late March to slow coronavirus infections across the country. While thousands of businesses have begun reopening, the lockdown was due to be lifted on July 15. “After analysing the country and considering we have cities where the rate of cases has accelerated and grown, as well as the mortality rate, we have continued to work on preserving the mandatory preventive isolation as the general concept,” Duque said in a nightly televised broadcast.
Thousands protest against Serbian leader despite warnings of virus risk
Serbian police fired tear gas at anti-government protesters after being pelted with flares and stones on Wednesday as thousands protested in front of the Belgrade Parliament despite warnings that such gatherings could spread coronavirus infections. The evening before, violence erupted when a crowd stormed Parliament in protest of plans to reimpose a lockdown following a new spike in COVID-19 cases. Forty-three police officers and 17 protesters were injured and there were 23 arrests. Although President Aleksandar Vucic hinted Wednesday he may back down from his plan to introduce a weekend lockdown, demonstrators began gathering in front of the Serbian Parliament building around 6 p.m
Serbian President Retracts COVID-19 Curfew After 60 Hurt in Violence
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has retracted his decision to reimpose a coronavirus curfew and has urged people to stop attending anti-government rallies after a violent clash between protesters and police. The president said Wednesday that new measures could still include shortened hours for nightclubs and penalties for those not wearing masks. On Tuesday, Vucic said at a news conference he would implement a curfew Friday, “probably” to run from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. on July 13. The president added that gatherings would be restricted to five people starting Wednesday, citing a rising number of coronavirus cases in the country and hospitals running at full capacity.
Oxfam: Pandemic Pushing Millions to Brink of Starvation
The coronavirus outbreak has worsened the hunger crisis in the world's poorest corners, and up to 12,000 people could die each day from hunger linked to the social and economic effects of the pandemic, the humanitarian group Oxfam warned Thursday. Its report said mass unemployment, disruption to food production and declining aid as a result of the pandemic could push an estimated 122 million people to the brink of starvation this year. "The knock-on impacts of COVID-19 are far more widespread than the virus itself, pushing millions of the world's poorest people deeper into hunger and poverty," said the group's chief executive, Danny Sriskandarajah. "It is vital governments contain the spread of this deadly disease, but they must also prevent it killing as many — if not more — people from hunger." The charity said that in some of the world's worst hunger "hot spots," including Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and South Sudan, the food crisis is worsening because of border and supply route closures or a huge drop in remittances as result of the pandemic. In middle-income countries like India, South Africa and Brazil, millions of people who had been "just about managing have been tipped over the edge."
Israel's public health director resigns, criticises country's Covid-19 response
Israel’s public health director resigned on Tuesday in protest against ministers’ decision to ease lockdown so quickly, as another warned that the country has “lost control” of the coronavirus. Siegal Sadetzki, an epidemiologist, said she had resigned because her warnings were ignored, with infection rates soaring to more than 1,000 daily new cases in recent weeks.
Lockdown heroes: will they ever get a raise?
In the US, they are called “essential” staff, in the UK “key workers” and in France travailleurs clés. The Germans have the most elaborate name for the new group: systemrelevante Arbeitskräfte or “system-relevant workers”. But the essential are not always treated as essential. The pandemic has upended the hierarchy of work, demonstrating that many of the people critical to the functioning of a modern economy are also among the least well paid — from the nurses treating Covid-19 patients to the warehouse and delivery workers who provide vital supplies.
What regions of Spain are in lockdown and is it safe to travel there?
Europe might have eased many of its lockdown measures, raising hopes that summer holidays might still be on the cards – but it’s not such good news for some parts of Spain. That’s because two regions have found themselves in a local lockdown there, following a surge in Covid-19 cases. It comes after the country lifted its state of emergency last month, and reopened to most of Europe – but which areas are back in lockdown, and is it safe to visit Spain? Here’s what you need to know…
COVID-19 lock-down: How the Gauteng government plans to safely reopen schools
Since the gradual opening of the economy after lock-down there has been a sharp incline of COVID-19 cases. The government has the task of balancing the health of the people with keeping the economy going and opening the schools. How is the Gauteng provincial government helping? The Gauteng MEC for education is laying out the plans to welcome back school goers….
Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine Collaboration with Butantan Receives Approval from Brazilian Regulator for Phase III Trial | Vaccines | News Channels
Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, today announced an update to its previously announced partnership with Butantan, a leading Brazilian producer of immunobiologic products and vaccines.
Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms
Scientists at University College London are warning of the risk of brain damage from coronavirus. UCL researchers studied 43 patients who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, stroke, nerve damage or other serious effects on their brain, and say the disease can lead to severe neurological complications including psychosis and delirium. The study found nine of the patients were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections. The team said they would only usually see about one adult patient with ADEM a month, but it had risen to a "concerning" one a week while they were conducting the study. "Given the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. "Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."
FDA Authorizes Becton, Dickinson Portable 15-Minute Coronavirus Test
A new test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that results from it is now available on the market. Healthcare technology specialist Becton, Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) announced Monday that it has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antigen test that can effectively detect the presence of the coronavirus. The test is used in combination with the company's BD Veritor Plus System, a handheld electronic diagnostic machine. The small profile of this device makes it very portable, and thus ideal for situations where testing must occur at the many point-of-care locations now scattered throughout the country. According to Becton, Dickinson, it is also very fast; the company says it can produce results in 15 minutes.
Novavax, maker of Covid-19 vaccine, is backed by Operation Warp Speed
Novavax has joined the ranks of Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers being supported by the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration announced Tuesday. The Gaithersburg, Md.-based biotech has been awarded $1.6 billion to support late-stage clinical trials and expansion of its manufacturing capacity. In return, Novavax will supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses — likely enough product to vaccinate 50 million people, assuming the product is safe and effective — starting in late 2020. The full amount is expected to be made available by February, Stanley Erck, the company’s president and CEO, told STAT.
Risk of airborne coronavirus spread being underplayed, say researchers
Over 200 scientists have called for the world to take more precautions against the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. While the virus is known to spread through the air via large droplets produced when people cough or sneeze, they say it can also be spread by smaller droplets known as aerosols that can linger in the air. Preventing this means ventilating buildings and avoiding overcrowding. “Hand-washing and social distancing are appropriate, but, in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people,” states a letter written by Lidia Morawska at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. It has been signed by 239 researchers. The letter also calls for international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of this type of airborne spread and suggests precautions against it.