Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jul 2021

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Facebook and YouTube are still full of covid misinformation

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all banned harmful covid-related misinformation as the pandemic took hold throughout the world. But the false claims are still proliferating. On YouTube, the accounts of six out of 12 anti-vaccine activists identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate as being responsible for creating more than half the anti-vaccine content shared on social media are easily searchable and still posting videos. On Facebook, researchers at the left-leaning advocacy group Avaaz ran an experiment in June in an effort to show how anti-vaccine material gets pushed to people. Two new accounts it set up were recommended 109 pages containing anti-vaccine information in just two days.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

New Jersey hospital system fires 6 workers who failed to get vaccinated against coronavirus

A half-dozen senior health-care workers who refused to comply with a New Jersey hospital system’s coronavirus vaccine mandate have been fired, the latest example of a company taking action against those who push back against vaccine policies. RWJBarnabas Health, the largest health-care system in the state, said in May that all team members at the supervisory level or above would be required to complete their course of coronavirus vaccinations no later than June 30. The idea was they would set an example for other staff members, and the state’s residents, in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Iceland warns against stockpiling as Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Co-op experience shortages amid 'pingdemic'

Customers at Sainsbury's have been warned its stores "might not always have" the products they want while Tesco was understood to be experiencing "temporary low availability across a small number of products".
22nd Jul 2021 - Sky News

YouTube pulls Jair Bolsonaro videos for Covid-19 misinformation

YouTube has removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his statements about the pandemic. YouTube said in a press release the decision was taken “after careful review” and without consideration for Bolsonaro’s job or political ideology. The far-right former army captain, who has overseen the world’s second deadliest outbreak, has won widespread criticism for railing against lockdowns, touting unproven cures, sowing vaccine doubts and shunning masks.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Thousands descend on UK music festival amid rise in COVID cases

Thousands of people poured into the grounds of the Latitude music festival in eastern England on Thursday, one of the biggest gatherings since most coronavirus restrictions were lifted earlier this week. The four-day festival, expected to attract around 40,000 people, comes as COVID-19 cases across the country broadly rise. Music lovers arriving on a balmy summer's day had to show they had been vaccinated twice or tested negative for the disease.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

UK ‘pingdemic’ raises fears of food shortages

The United Kingdom’s supermarkets, wholesalers and hauliers are struggling to ensure stable food and fuel supplies after an official health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate themselves after contact with someone with COVID-19. On Thursday, newspapers carried front-page pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets, while shoppers also took to social media to highlight shortages of certain products in stores across the country.
22nd Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jul 2021

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'A form of brainwashing': why Trump voters are refusing to get a vaccine

In downtown Little Rock, a chorus echoes around the room at Willy D’s Rock & Roll Piano Bar as groups of friends clutching beers and each other sing along to the soul hit “Stand By Me”. Yet far from standing together, the capital of Arkansas is deeply divided over how to deal with a resurgence of Covid-19. Cases are increasing, hospitals are filling up and health officials are struggling to convince residents in the city and across the state to be vaccinated. The pace of vaccinations in US states has become starkly correlated with politics, with Republican voters less likely than Democrats to have a jab, just as they are more reluctant to wear a mask or observe social distancing.
21st Jul 2021 - Financial Times

More than 1.5 MILLION children around the world lost a parent, grandparent or caregiver due to COVID-19, study finds

More than 1.5 million children lost a parent, grandparent or primary caregiver due to COVID-19, a new study estimates. Researchers at the CDC and Imperial College London made this estimate based on Covid mortality and fertility statistics in 21 nations. In the U.S., more than 110,000 children lost their parents or primary caregivers. The researchers say support is urgently needed for these children, who face higher risks to their health, safety, and wellbeing
21st Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

White House has held discussions with Fox News over its Covid-19 coverage

The White House is trying to fix the problem of slowing Covid-19 vaccinations by engaging with an unlikely source: Fox News. The network, which Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch has called the "loyal opposition" to President Joe Biden's White House, has been a hub for vaccine hesitancy and outright hostility. As the pandemic has gone on, and Covid-19 vaccinations have slowed, vaccine resistance among Republicans -- the Fox News audience base -- has been a recurring theme, leading many observers to scrutinize Fox's coverage.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

US life expectancy falls by more than a year due to Covid-19 pandemic, CDC study says

Life expectancy in the United States fell by a year and a half in 2020 primarily due to increases in death due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to early data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "U.S. life expectancy at birth for 2020, based on nearly final data, was 77.3 years, the lowest it has been since 2003," researchers at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics wrote in a new report published on Wednesday.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

My uncle died of Covid-19 before he could get a vaccine in Kenya, and I got mine in a US drugstore. This is what vaccine inequality looks like

Every time I see a call from home, my heart sinks. I always fear that they're ringing to say that my grandmother has died. She has been on a ventilator for four weeks and my anxiety is near breaking point. The dreaded call could come at any time: Covid-19. Again. Even at 96, my Kenyan grandmother was among hundreds of millions in the developing world who was not vaccinated until recently because rich nations have hoarded most of the available shots. Though I'm more than 60 years younger than her, I was fully inoculated by April because I was living in the United States, where anybody over 12 can get a vaccine if they want one.
21st Jul 2021 - CNN

COVID Vaccines And Infertility? How Misinformation Spreads In 6 Steps : Shots - Health News

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can appear almost anywhere: from an uncle's Facebook post to a well-trusted news commentator. But where does it come from, and why do some myths spread further than others? With the help of the internet research firm Graphika, NPR analyzed the rise of one persistent set of lies about COVID-19 vaccines: that they can affect female fertility. Despite a mountain of scientific evidence showing the vaccines are safe and effective, the false information persists.
21st Jul 2021 - NPR

Covid: The Mexican villages refusing to vaccinate

In November Pascuala Vázquez Aguilar had a strange dream about her village Coquilteel, nestled among the trees in the mountains of southern Mexico. A plague had come to the village and everyone ran to the forest. They hid in a hut under a tall canopy of oak trees. "The plague couldn't reach us there," Pascuala says. "That's what I saw in my dream." A few months later the pandemic had engulfed Mexico and thousands of people were dying every week. But Coquilteel and many small, indigenous towns in the state of Chiapas were left relatively unscathed. This has been a blessing but it also presents a problem.
21st Jul 2021 - BBC News

More Than 200 Facebook Groups Have Been Actively Circulating Coronavirus Vaccine Misinformation

After President Biden came down hard on Facebook last week over coronavirus vaccine misinformation, the company responded with almost equal force, insisting in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t responsible for how that type of content has spread on the web. But new research released Tuesday suggests Facebook does indeed remain a place where such misinformation is circulating: Media Matters for America, a liberal tech watchdog organization, says it has found 284 active private and public Facebook Groups currently distributing vaccine misinformation, more than double the amount the researchers found in April. Over a half million users belong to these groups.
20th Jul 2021 - Forbes

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jul 2021

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80% of new COVID-19 cases in Spain among non-vaccinated people, health minister says

The vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in Spain in the past five weeks were detected among non-vaccinated people, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Monday, as new infections rose by 27,286. Just 5.5% of new cases within the period were detected among people who had been fully vaccinated, Darias said, adding 11.4% were partially vaccinated and 83.1% were unvaccinated.
21st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths are increasing, and the vast majority were not vaccinated

The surge in Covid-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy has now led to increasing rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows: The average number of new Covid-19 cases each day the past week was 32,278. That's a 66% jump from the average daily rate the previous week, and 145% higher than the rate from two weeks ago. An average of 258 Americans died from Covid-19 each day this past week -- up 13% from the rate of daily deaths the previous week.
20th Jul 2021 - CNN

Olympic athletes, baseball players, soccer stars: Why we're still seeing Covid-19 cases among top athletes

The close proximity that athletes spend time in could be a breeding ground for infectious diseases, he said. It should be noted that vaccine programs vary in nations around the world, and not as much is known about some vaccines given in some countries, he added. And some teenage athletes might come from countries that don't vaccinate people that age, he said. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, reporting from Tokyo, said the Olympics bring a unique challenge. More than 11,000 athletes representing 206 national Olympic committees have come to an island nation that has seen a surge in cases.
20th Jul 2021 - CNN International

COVID Vaccines And Infertility? How Misinformation Spreads, In 5 Steps

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can appear almost anywhere: from an uncle's Facebook post to a well-trusted news commentator. But where does it come from, and why do some myths spread further than others? With the help of the internet research firm Graphika, NPR analyzed the rise of one persistent set of lies about COVID-19 vaccines: that they can affect female fertility. Despite a mountain of scientific evidence showing the vaccines are safe and effective, the false information persists.
20th Jul 2021 - NPR

"Don't get sick": Indonesia's poor miss out on COVID care

In the teeming, impoverished North Jakarta neighbourhood of Muara Baru, people have made a grim joke out of the acronym for the Indonesian government's lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic: PPKM. "Pelan Pelan Kita Mati," Herdayati, a 48-year-old mother of six and sole breadwinner for a family living in a narrow, claustrophobic alley, said, explaining the gallows humour.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Nearly a third of hospital workers in New York City are still unvaccinated against COVID-19

Nearly one-third of employees at New York City hospitals have still not gotten COVID-19 vaccines, city data show. Figures from the state Health Department reveal only 70 percent have completed their vaccine series since the shots were rolled out in December 2020. Of the five boroughs, Manhattan has the highest percentage of vaccinated workers with 76 percent having received their shots. Queens has fared second best with more than two-thirds of health care workers, or 67 percent, being vaccinated. However, almost 40 percent of hospital staff in the remaining three boroughs have either refused the COVID-19 vaccine or not gotten it yet.
20th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Young people are not immune from the government’s reckless policies

One of the reasons why Britain’s vaccination programme has been so successful is that the bulk of the population has been convinced that it is safe. Throughout the accelerated research and the rollout, safety has been the paramount consideration under which everyone concerned, including ministers and public health. But....
20th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jul 2021

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Migration and Covid deaths depriving poorest nations of health workers

The loss of frontline health workers dying of Covid around the globe, is being compounded in the hospitals of developing nations by trained medical staff leaving to help in the pandemic effort abroad, according to experts. With new Covid waves in Africa, and with Latin America and Asia facing unrelenting health emergencies, the number of health worker deaths from Covid-19 in May was at least 115,000, according to the World Health Organization. Its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, acknowledged data is “scant” and the true figure is likely to be far higher.
19th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Why the UK's new Covid-19 strategy is uniquely dangerous

I know of no episode in history where a government has willingly aided and abetted the spread of a dangerous infectious disease among its own population. History is being made. The government of the United Kingdom seems to actually want people to catch Covid-19 in the summer, rather than in the autumn and winter. Ministers reason that the understaffed and underfunded NHS will be in major trouble over the winter. To “go now” with the removal of all legal restrictions, thus producing an even higher level of infections, appears to be regarded as the right thing to do as it will reduce the inevitable problems later this year. This extraordinary policy has been revealed to the population in small dollops via Downing Street press conferences where the Prime Minister is flanked by civil servants. There is no obvious strategy and there is no published plan. In the view of much of the rest of the world, and most of the medical organisations in the UK, there is no possibility that this will be anything other than yet another failure that will cost lives and livelihoods.
19th Jul 2021 - New Statesman

COVID-19: 'It's not freedom day for everyone' - vulnerable people's fears over ending of coronavirus restrictions in England

People who are at high risk of catching the coronavirus have called the ending of restrictions in England "really frightening" and urged the government to give "more thought" to the vulnerable community. Restrictions such as limits on gatherings and social distancing, as well as face coverings, will no longer be legal requirements, although masks in certain spaces - including supermarkets and on public transport - is still being encouraged. There are around 3.8 million clinically vulnerable people in England with many saying they will do what they can to keep themselves and others safe - while charities have criticised the government for the blanket easing of coronavirus restrictions.
19th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Indonesian soup kitchen brings food to COVID-19 patients stuck at home

As coronavirus surges in the Indonesian capital, volunteers like Badie Uzzaman are pitching in to help, delivering food to people who have tested positive but are forced to quarantine at home as hospitals run short of beds. The 26-year-old driver of a three-wheeler, Badie drops off the packages in front of patients' homes, calling out that their food has arrived and making small talk from a distance.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters

'I want to dance': London clubbers cheer end of COVID restrictions

London clubbers on Monday flocked to one of the first rule-free live music events since the pandemic began last year, dancing through the night and rejoicing in human interaction as England lifted most COVID restrictions at midnight. Britain, which has one of the world's highest death tolls from COVID, is facing a new wave of cases, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is lifting most restrictions in England in what some have dubbed "Freedom Day". Epidemiologists are generally skeptical that lifting restrictions is the right thing to do, but many young British people have had enough of more than 1 1/2 years of lockdowns, and said they crave a party.
19th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jul 2021

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Did an Eid al-Fitr mass exodus kick-start Indonesia’s COVID chaos?

In the run-up to the holiday, the Indonesian authorities banned people from returning to their hometowns – a process known as “mudik”, usually involving some 20 million people – in a move designed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Roadblocks were set up, toll roads barricaded and checkpoints erected to prevent what was deemed unnecessary travel from May 6. But despite the ban, clandestine routes called “jalan tikus” (rat runs) mushroomed as travellers flouted the restrictions and went home anyway. Others were allowed to travel because of work or other reasons. By sheer coincidence, the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the date of which changes every year in line with the lunar calendar, coincided with Ascension Day, a Christian holiday. As a result, on May 13, a double holiday was celebrated by Indonesia’s Christian minority and Muslim majority communities across the archipelago.
16th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Opera singers are teaching long-term Covid-19 patients to breathe again

Covid-19 shoved Jeff Sweat into a medical coma for three weeks last winter, face down on a ventilator, on death's trap door. "I took care of him when he was literally near death," said Dr. Nida Qadir, a pulmonologist and co-director of the Intensive Care Unit at UCLA Medical Center. "He has no memory of meeting me." But now the pair are well acquainted -- the lung specialist and the 49-year-old married father with three teenagers -- as he sings his way to recovery in a unique therapy program at UCLA. Sweat and several other patients with serious medical complications caused by the virus attend weekly opera classes via video conference, conducted by members of the Los Angeles Opera and music educator Rondi Charleston.
18th Jul 2021 - CNN

Covid 19: More than one third of Londoners unvaccinated

More than one third of Londoners have not had their first vaccine dose making it the area with the lowest uptake in England, latest figures show. The data from NHS England also shows 55% have not had a second dose. Across England, 88% of people have had a first dose and 68% the second. Figures also show the city has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 cases, with 298 per 100,000. Sadiq Khan said "everything possible" was being done to vaccinate everyone.
18th Jul 2021 - BBC News

England’s Covid unlocking is threat to world, say 1,200 scientists

Government advisers in New Zealand, Israel and Italy were among those who sounded alarm bells about the policy, while more than 1,200 scientists backed a letter to the Lancet journal warning the strategy could allow vaccine-resistant variants to develop. An adviser to New Zealand’s government told the summit he and his colleagues were astounded at the approach being taken in England. “In New Zealand we have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it’s so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles,” said Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago and a member of the New Zealand ministry of health’s Covid-19 technical advisory group.
17th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Boris Johnson pursuing Covid policy of mass infection that poses ‘danger to the world’, scientists warn

Boris Johnson’s government has come under pressure to urgently reconsider its plan to end Covid restrictions in England on Monday, as international scientists warned that the move poses a “danger to the world”. More than 1,200 scientists from around the globe have condemned the prime minister’s decision to forge ahead with so-called “freedom day” on 19 July, describing it as “unscientific and unethical”. Some of the experts convened an emergency summit on Friday, warning that the UK government’s decision to lift its rules on social distancing and masks amounted to a “murderous” policy of “herd immunity by mass infection”. The group of scientists – who all signed a recent letter to The Lancet warning against the plans – fear next week’s reopening in England will allow the Delta variant to spread rapidly around the world.
17th Jul 2021 - The Independent

C.D.C. Director Warns of a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’

As the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels outbreaks in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Friday that “this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far below last winter’s peak, and vaccines are effective against Delta, but the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, urged people to get fully vaccinated to receive robust protection, pleading: “Do it for yourself, your family and for your community. And please do it to protect your young children who right now can’t get vaccinated themselves.”
17th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

Just 5% think 'Freedom Day' will mark return to normal as Brits stay cautious

A new poll shows 85% of Brits will keep on social distancing - and nearly 40% believe it's too soon to lift Covid-19 restrictions
17th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Moscow cancels QR code COVID-19 restriction for bars and restaurants

Moscow residents will no longer have to present a QR code demonstrating they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have immunity in order to sit inside cafes, restaurants and bars from July 19, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Friday. Russia, which reported a record daily rise in coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, is in the grip of a surge in cases that authorities have blamed on the more contagious Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations
16th Jul 2021 - Reuters

New poll finds confidence in science has plunged among some groups

Forty five percent of Republicans have either a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in science. More than 40 years ago, Republicans had more confidence in science than Democrats. The average adult at 33 percent either has "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in public institutions.
16th Jul 2021 - The Hill

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jul 2021

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Child diseases on rise as COVID-19 slows routine vaccinations -U.N.

22.7 mln children missed routine vaccines in 2020 -U.N. Measles can be a killer disease of unvaccinated children. 'Large, disruptive' measles outbreaks in Afghanistan, Africa. WHO fears 'perfect storm' as nations lift pandemic curbs
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters

India’s digital divide is hampering its mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign

Millions of Indians do not have access to the internet or a smartphone, yet vaccine registration can only be done online through a government portal Other challenges include vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, people lacking identification documents, and the status of refugees such as Rohingya
15th Jul 2021 - South China Morning Post

The US Surgeon General Is Asking You To Help Fight COVID-19 Misinformation : Shots - Health News

With about a third of adults in the U.S. still completely unvaccinated, and cases of COVID-19 on the rise, the U.S. surgeon general is calling for a war against "health misinformation." On Thursday, Dr. Vivek Murthy released the first surgeon general's advisory of his time serving in the Biden administration, describing the "urgent threat" posed by the rise of false information around COVID-19 — one that continues to put "lives at risk" and prolong the pandemic. Murthy says Americans must do their part to fight misinformation.
15th Jul 2021 - NPR

'Freedom day' or 'Anxiety day'? England to end COVID-19 curbs

July 19 sees removal of legal COVID restrictions. Clubs to reopen but fear another shutdown. Concern remains about deaths, long COVID and vulnerable. Modellers cite uncertainty about public's behaviour
15th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

We’re not virus police, French cafes say of new COVID pass

French restaurant owners and workers are as worried as anyone about the coronavirus — but they’re also concerned that new mandatory COVID passes will turn them into virus police instead of purveyors of culinary pleasures. Starting next month, all diners in France must show a pass proving they’re fully vaccinated, or recently tested negative or recovered from the virus. For restaurants – seen as the lifeblood of France -- the new rule presents yet another headache after a punishing pandemic.
15th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

US steps up fight against COVID-19 misinformation

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Thursday called for a national effort to fight misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, urging tech companies, health care workers, journalists and everyday Americans to do more to address a problem “that cost us lives”. In a 22-page advisory, his first as President Joe Biden’s surgeon general, Murthy wrote that bogus claims have led people to reject vaccines and public health advice on masks and social distancing, undermining efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

French police fire tear gas as anti-vaccine protest turns violent

Police in Paris fired tear gas and made arrests as they tried to disperse demonstrators, many of them sceptical of vaccines, the so-called “anti-vaxxers“, who marched throughout France over new coronavirus restrictions. Some of the protests began as early as Wednesday morning in Paris as the annual military parade for the traditional Bastille Day parade, watched by President Emmanuel Macron, was taking place along the Champs-Elysees.
15th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jul 2021

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Olympics COVID cluster at Olympic hotel as Tokyo cases surge

New COVID-19 cases at Brazil delegation's hotel. Russia women's rugby team isolating after masseur infected. Host city records most daily cases in nearly six months. Global public interest in Games at low level - poll
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

In Athens, thousands rally against COVID-19 vaccinations

More than 5,000 anti-vaccine protesters, some them waving Greek flags and wooden crosses, rallied in Athens on Wednesday to oppose Greece's coronavirus vaccinations programme. Shouting "take your vaccines and get out of here!" and calling on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign, the protesters gathered outside parliament under heavy police presence.
14th Jul 2021 - Reuters

South Africa violence: Troop numbers on streets double to 5,000 amid looting - and more could be deployed

The number of soldiers deployed on the streets of South Africa has doubled to 5,000 as the army and police struggle to quell days of looting and violence. President Cyril Ramaphosa is considering boosting troop numbers even more, as at least 72 people have been killed in the worst unrest in the country for years. And some citizens are arming themselves to protect their property and businesses from the rampage, which has hit two of South Africa's nine provinces - KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is located, and Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg.
14th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Politics is causing needless deaths in the fight against Covid-19

In what is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, almost every adult American can make a choice not to die a needless death from Covid-19. But the task of persuading holdouts, skeptics and the merely disinterested to get their shots is being complicated by the further politicization of the pandemic -- a trend that will cost lives and exacerbate an already stark tragedy that has deepened the nation's ideological estrangement.
14th Jul 2021 - CNN

Almost half of this capital city's population may have contracted Covid-19, survey finds

Nearly half of Jakarta's residents may have contracted Covid-19, according to a health survey -- more than 12 times the number of cases officially recorded in the Indonesian capital at the time when the research was carried out. The survey, published July 10, tested for coronavirus antibodies in the blood of about 5,000 people across the city from March 15-31. The results showed 44.5% of those tested had antibodies, indicating they had been infected with Covid-19. The report was a collaboration between the Jakarta Provincial Health Office, the University of Indonesia's Faculty of Public Health, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology and staff from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Indonesia.
14th Jul 2021 - CNN

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jul 2021

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‘Increasingly hostile incidents’ target London vaccine workers

A number of “increasingly hostile incidents” targeting London vaccine workers were revealed on Tuesday as the capital’s jabs roll-out slowed alarmingly. Mayor Sadiq Khan and the capital’s top doctor, Vin Diwakar, warned a “zero tolerance” approach would be taken as concerns grew about the threats and abuse being hurled at staff at the frontline of the jabs roll-out. Last month the Standard revealed that anti-vax campaigners had been targeting vaccine buses attempting to deliver jabs to “hard to reach” communities on housing estates, prompting councils to provide security guards.
13th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

New Zealand scientists say UK’s ‘awful experiment’ on Covid will threaten the country

Scientists in New Zealand have expressed concern at Britain’s unlocking of Covid restrictions, describing it as an “awful experiment.” On Monday Boris Johnson announced plans to scrap a number of coronavirus lockdown measures on July 19, including ditching social distancing and dropping the legal requirement to wear a face mask.
13th Jul 2021 - The Independent

Analysis: Ministers shift responsibility for fighting coronavirus to the public

The government today passed the baton for fighting coronavirus to the public, as Boris Johnson confirmed that the last of the emergency Covid restrictions would be lifted from next week. After 16 months of government-imposed curbs on our everyday life, it appears the government has decided that enough is enough and that it’s time for it to depart the pitch, mid-game, as a summer wave of infection builds. Johnson’s message was simple. It is up to each and every one of us to look out not just for ourselves but for each other, because the government has now returned to the idea of herd immunity as the only way out of the pandemic.
13th Jul 2021 - The Independent

When and how will we know if we need Covid-19 booster shots?

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the data behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s renewed push to change their two-shot Covid vaccination series to a three-shot regimen. But as various factions bicker about whether a third shot is going to be needed, one thing is certain: The final decision will not rest with the companies. Public health officials, not pharmaceutical executives, will be making the final call on when and whether booster shots will be needed. Pfizer and other manufacturers will surely try to push for approvals; Moderna is already testing a Delta-variant-specific booster. Depending on how their conversations go with vaccine regulators at the FDA, companies may apply for a change to their emergency use authorizations
13th Jul 2021 - STAT News

Deaths from Covid-19 remain low despite cases soaring ahead of lockdown finally lifting

Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales remain low despite soaring cases, new data shows. A further 109 Covid deaths have been recorded across England and Wales between June 26 and July 2, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. Although this is a slight increase on the week before, it is still a low figure when compared to the sharp spike in cases. Over the same period more than 150,000 new Covid infections were recorded across the UK. ONS data showed that the number of deaths recorded in the latest week in England and Wales was actually lower than the five-year average.
13th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Tennessee fires official Michelle Fiscus because of coronavirus vaccination guidance

Tennessee fired its top immunization official Monday, the official said, in retaliation for her attempts to let teenagers choose whether to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Michelle Fiscus said she was fired from her job as director of immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health on Monday afternoon as retaliation for the department’s efforts to vaccinate teenagers against the coronavirus, a plan that angered several state lawmakers.
12th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Philippine vaccine hesitancy drops as safety concerns ebb, poll shows

The number of Filipinos willing to get inoculated against the coronavirus rose to 43% in June from just 16% in February, an opinion poll showed on Monday, as concerns over the safety of vaccines eased. The Pulse Asia survey of 2,400 respondents took place from June 7 to 16, more than three months after the Philippines began its vaccination drive on March 1. So far, nearly 9.7 million people have been given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 3.5 million have been fully vaccinated, about 3.2 % of the 110 population.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jul 2021

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Europe is racing to vaccinate residents. But in some countries, undocumented immigrants have been left out.

As Europe races to vaccinate its residents against covid-19 and outpace the highly infectious delta variant, efforts to inoculate the continent face a major gap: undocumented immigrants. An estimated 4.8 million unauthorized immigrants lived in 32 European countries as of 2017, according to the Pew Research Center. Studies show they are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than European populations at large. But many countries have excluded them from vaccination drives in policy or in practice — and deep distrust among some immigrant populations toward authorities has caused complications for more inclusive campaigns.
12th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Cuban Protests Demand Freedom, Food, Covid-19 Vaccines

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets in a wave of demonstrations in Havana and at least 14 other cities throughout the Communist island, demanding an end to the 62-year dictatorship and protesting the lack of food and Covid-19 vaccines. “We are not afraid! We are not afraid!” people shouted as they marched through the streets on Sunday, videos posted on social media showed. “Freedom! Freedom!” The protests are unprecedented in a country with tight police control and surveillance on dissidents, analysts say. In a televised address on Sunday, President Miguel Díaz-Canel blamed the protests on the U.S., which he said seeks to economically strangle Cuba and bring about a social explosion
12th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Fears of four-hour airport queues when Covid-19 restrictions lift

Passengers could be forced to sit in aircraft on runways to prevent lengthy queues building up in airport terminals when foreign travel resumes en masse next week. The contingency plan in place at Heathrow and other airports is one of several “operational triggers” that will kick in if queues at border control exceed four hours. Officials have warned that Britain’s border infrastructure is not ready to cope with the influx of travellers following the decision to lift quarantine requirements for amber countries.
12th Jul 2021 - The Times

Covid-19 at the Euros: WHO official says lack of restrictions at Wembley for Euro 2020 final ‘devastating’

A leading World Health Organisation (WHO) epidemiologist has said it was “devastating” to see unmasked crowds crammed together at the Euro 2020 final. Maria Van Kerkhove expressed concerns during Sunday night’s match between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium that it would spur transmission of Covid-19. “Am I supposed to be enjoying watching transmission happening in front of my eyes?” tweeted the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, as more than 60,000 fans packed the stadium.
12th Jul 2021 - iNews

Kuwait shuts down children's activities to combat coronavirus - Cabinet

The Kuwaiti Cabinet decided on Monday to close down all activities for children, including summer clubs, from July 25 until further notice, as a precautionary measure to combat the spread of coronavirus. After a briefing by the health minister, the Cabinet also ordered the ministry of defence and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) to put their hospitals at the service of the country's healthcare system, according to a Cabinet statement.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

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G20 warns of risk to global recovery from virus variants

Variants, vaccine shortfalls raise risks-G20. Global tax deal on course for October signing. But US, EU hurdles could complicate things. Call for financial stability to be ensured
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Philippines relaxes COVID-19 curbs to allow children outdoors

The Philippines on Friday loosened coronavirus restrictions to allow children out of their homes so they can return to parks, playgrounds, and hiking trails in the capital region and some other provinces after a slowdown in infections. Children aged five and above, who were previously confined indoors, will also be permitted to go to outdoor tourist sites and dining establishments, and play non-contact sports outside, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Opinion | Uganda Did Everything Right on Covid. And the Worst Is Still Here.

Early in the pandemic, Uganda bought itself precious time at great economic cost to protect its people from Covid-19. There were lockdowns, international travel was restricted, and border screenings were introduced to prevent entry of the coronavirus. Cases of Covid-19 identified at borders or in communities were isolated, and people who had been in contact with those infected were quarantined and checked on by public health authorities.
10th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

As the Delta variant spreads, Republican reluctance will mean thousands more deaths

Unfortunately, millions of Trump's followers were convinced by his behavior during his last year in office that COVID was not a crisis. No matter what he says today, they remain convinced that the virus was a political attack, a hoax or simply overblown, regardless of the monumental body count. And then there's the relentless disinformation campaign coming from right-wing media. Here's a little taste:
9th Jul 2021 - Salon

COVID cases climb as Southeast Asia feels force of Delta variant

Having escaped the worst when the coronavirus pandemic erupted last year, Southeast Asia is now suffering dramatic rises in deaths and cases, while vaccination shortfalls and highly contagious variants derail containment efforts. As countries like Britain, Germany and France prepare to remove most remaining restrictions after devastating outbreaks, governments in Southeast Asia are tightening measures, hoping targeted lockdowns will act as circuit-breakers in arresting record jumps in cases and deaths that started rising in May.
9th Jul 2021 - Reuters

#BoycottHeineken Trends After Brewer Celebrates Vaccines

Heineken NV ran a minute-long ad on social media Thursday showing senior citizens dancing in a nightclub and racing to take a dip at a nearby beach. It ended with the message, “The night belongs to the vaccinated. Time to join them.” By Friday, bands of aggrieved users on Twitter were threatening to #BoycottHeineken. Some uploaded videos of themselves opening bottles of the brewer’s namesake lager and pouring it down their kitchen sinks in protest. Others described the ad as pro-vaccination propaganda.
9th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

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Missouri governor doesn't want door-to-door vaccine help

Federal officials are pushing back after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he doesn’t want government employees going door-to-door in his state to urge people to get vaccinated, even as a COVID-19 outbreak overwhelms some hospitals. Missouri asked for help last week from newly formed federal “surge response” teams as it combats an influx of cases that public health officials are blaming on fast-spreading delta variant and deep-seated concerns about the vaccine. After President Joe Biden mentioned the possibility of door-to-door promotion of the vaccine, Parson tweeted: “I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would NOT be an effective OR a welcome strategy in Missouri!”
9th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Rural India sinks deeper into debt as COVID wipes out work

Interviews with 75 households in a cluster of villages in Uttar Pradesh state show household incomes have slumped nearly 75 percent on average. Heavy debt and low income in the countryside will hold back any economic recovery the government is trying to make and also dent private savings and investment for longer than expected, economists say. “It will have a huge impact and prolong the recovery process. Private consumption and investments both will be hurt. There is merit in finding ways to put money in the hands of the people,” said NR Bhanumurthy, economist and vice chancellor at Bengaluru-based BR Ambedkar School of Economics.
8th Jul 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Olympics bans spectators after Tokyo declares COVID-19 emergency

The Olympics will take place without spectators in host city Tokyo, organisers said on Thursday, as a resurgent coronavirus forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in the capital that will run throughout the event. Although widely expected, the move marked a sharp turnabout from just weeks ago, when organisers said they aimed to hold the global sporting showpiece with some spectators, and all but robs the July 23 to Aug. 8 Games of their last vestige of pomp and public spectacle. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it was essential to prevent Tokyo, where the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant was spreading, from becoming the source of another wave of infections.
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Is COVID coming home? England at risk from Euro 2020 euphoria

England awaits first major soccer final for 55 years. Young, mainly male, adults spread COVID during Euro 2020. Issue extends outside stadiums to bars and pubs Politicians urge prudent celebrations as Italy eyes final
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters UK

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Animals at Wisconsin zoos to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Some animals at the zoos in Madison and Milwaukee will receive an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. Animals susceptible to the respiratory disease are expected to be inoculated with the vaccine authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture by late July. No COVID-19 infections have been found in animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo or the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, but some of the big cats at the Bronx Zoo became sick when the pandemic was peaking in New York City.
7th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Fiji police deliver groceries, toilet paper amid COVID-19 spike

Fiji on Wednesday began distributing groceries to some households as it urges people to stay at home amid rising infections of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. Authorities posted pictures on social media of bags of supermarket supplies - including packaged food and toilet paper - being delivered to homes around the capital, Suva, as they reinforced calls for people to obey social distancing rules and get vaccinated.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 Pushed 22 Million Out of Job Market in Major Economies

Labor markets in developed nations have recovered only half of the loss of employment they suffered in the pandemic, with the young and low-skilled hurt most. That’s the conclusion of a 400-page study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which found that about 22 million jobs disappeared by the end of 2020 in industrial nations. The Paris-based institution said a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels of employment won’t come until the end of next year.
7th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Trump Country Rejects Vaccines Despite Growing Delta Threat

Larry Krauck awoke in a strange hospital, the date written on a dry-erase board in his room: Dec. 12, 2020. That can’t be right, he thought. He remembered being treated for Covid-19 at a different hospital in Springfield, Missouri, on Nov. 1. Could the last six weeks really be blank? He told a nurse her board was wrong. She slipped out of the room and returned with a summary of his procedures, scrawled on a sticky note, including thirty-three days on a blood oxygenation machine called an ECMO. One day, Krauck had flat-lined and was resuscitated. Krauck, 50 at the time, caught the coronavirus and nearly died well before vaccines were available. Since his ordeal, he’s become an advocate for the shots — the type of local, trusted messenger that health officials hope can woo the skeptical.
7th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

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Doctors are arrested for Covid vaccine scam after injecting 2500 people with SEA WATER in India

14 people have been arrested so far on charges of manslaughter and criminal conspiracy. Doctors and medical staff allegedly used hospital access to make fake vaccine certificates. The organisers made over £20,000 before the programme was uncovered. Authorities have reported over 400,000 Covid deaths in India, but experts believe the number is far higher
6th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid: Why Boris Johnson's 'freedom day' is terrifying for millions

There are millions of these frail people. For those whose immune systems are compromised or suppressed, the efficacy of vaccines is much reduced. For others among the frail, any residual risk of becoming infected is too great, because for them it is literally a matter of life or death. So when you hear politicians and others talking about the important freedom to choose not to wear a mask and not to keep a respectful distance from others, note that their freedom is felt as oppression by those who through no fault of their own are more at risk from this awful disease.
6th Jul 2021 - ITV News

'Long Covid' Will Surge Among Young, England's Chief Medic Warns

So-called long Covid is set to soar among younger people in England when remaining coronavirus restrictions are lifted, England’s chief medical officer warned. Chris Whitty said that while he expected deaths to be “much lower” proportionally compared to previous waves, long Covid remains “a worry.” “Since there’s a lot of Covid at the moment and the rates are going up, I regret to say I think we will get a significant amount more long Covid -- particularly in the younger ages where the vaccination rates are currently much lower,” he said at the Local Government Association’s virtual conference Tuesday.
6th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Trish Greenhalgh: Freedom Day, but at what cost?

I hope I am wrong, but it looks like the UK is once again setting up a colossal natural experiment which will put wave three of the pandemic into a super-exponential growth phase. Given that we appear to be powerless to stop this happening, we should at least ensure that we collect the right kind of high-quality data to document and analyse what unfolds.
6th Jul 2021 - BMJ Blog

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Nightclubs and mass events to reopen on July 19 with no cap on attendance

Organisers of highly anticipated large events including festivals and the Premier League will be left to decide their Covid policy themselves - including whether to ask for certification
5th Jul 2021 - The Mirror

Majority of Russians Still Not Ready for Covid-19 Vaccination – Poll

A majority of Russian (54%) are still not ready to get vaccinated against the coronavirus despite a mounting surge driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, according to an independent poll published Monday. Russia set new records for coronavirus deaths for five consecutive days from June 29-July 3 as infections reached levels not seen since the peak of the country’s second wave in early January. The spread of the Delta variant, which Moscow officials say accounts for 90% of the city’s cases, has prompted several Russian regions to order compulsory vaccination for certain workers.
5th Jul 2021 - The Moscow Times

Vaccinate or repent, Russian church says amid hundreds of daily COVID-19 deaths

Russia's powerful Orthodox Church admonished people refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, calling them sinners who would have to atone for the rest of their lives, as the country reported another jump in new infections and deaths. The church urged all its faithful to be inoculated as another 24,353 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Monday, including 6,557 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,635,294. The government coronavirus task force said 654 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 138,579.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Staging Euro 2020 semis and final in London is 'recipe for disaster.' Is football -- and Covid-19 spike -- coming home?

Coronavirus cases in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East rose by 10% last week, World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge told a press briefing in Copenhagen on Thursday. A 10-week decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in the 53-country region "has come to an end" Kluge said, with rising cases driven by increased socializing, travel, gatherings and easing of restrictions. Kluge said the situation and was "rapidly evolving" and warned that the Delta variant -- first identified in India -- is spreading at a fast pace, resulting in increased hospitalizations and deaths.
5th Jul 2021 - CNN International

Sparse showing at Sydney's beaches during COVID-19 lockdown

Residents are allowed outside for exercise and recreation. In the winter sunshine, joggers exercised on the boardwalk and others walked on the beach. Later in the day, more people were seen at Coogee Beach, singly or in small groups. Sydney went into lockdown on June 26 as authorities in New South Wales (NSW) state tried to contain a fast-spreading outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant in Australia's largest city.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Pop-up ‘coronabikes’ test German love of order

Berlin’s 10 “coronabikes” are part of a private sector mass-testing infrastructure that has sprung up in pop-up tents, cafes, night clubs and shisha bars across Germany over the last three months, in a speedy fashion at odds with Germany’s reputation for fastidious bureaucracy. A number of high-profile cases of fraud, and enduring questions over the accuracy of antigen (also known as lateral-flow) tests, have prompted criticism of health minister Jens Spahn’s scheme for triggering a free-market free-for-all, something Die Welt newspaper called a “testing gold-rush”. “It’s an absurd system, and very atypical for Germany”, said Matthias Orth, of the Institute of Laboratory Medicine at Stuttgart’s Marienhospital. Earlier this year, Germany’s disease control agency reported that one commonly used antigen test – which only detects Covid-19 cases on days the viral load is highest – had missed 61% of asymptomatic infections at the emergency ward of a Stuttgart’s Katharinenhospital clinic.
5th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

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Woman Afraid of Vaccine Side Effects Dies From Delta Variant: 'I Couldn't Convince Her'

A woman in Missouri was afraid of the side effects from COVID-19 vaccines and chose not to get the shots, but later contracted the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus and died in the hospital. Deborah Carmichael, the mother of now-deceased 45-year-old Tricia Jones, is speaking out and urging those hesitant about the vaccine to get the jab after losing her daughter in June. She spoke to Kansas City's news channel Fox 4 WDAF-TV about her daughter's death and vaccine hesitancy in an interview broadcast this week.
4th Jul 2021 - Newsweek

Scenes From San Francisco Tech Companies

Silicon Valley should be one of the first places to spring back to life as the pandemic eases in the U.S. Nearly three-quarters of eligible people have been vaccinated, and more than 80% have gotten at least one shot—a milestone San Francisco reached faster than any other city, according to the mayor. And yet, many tech industry offices are sitting nearly empty. Only 19% of office workers in the San Francisco metro area had returned as of June 23, the lowest share of 10 major U.S. metro areas tracked by building security provider Kastle Systems. The region's tech giants, among the first to send their office workers home when coronavirus pandemic deepened last year, may be among the last to coax them back.
3rd Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

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Rebuilding in COVID's awful wake: One small step at a time

As a study of how people are trying, as best they can, to get through it all, The Associated Press honed in on Sartor and her family in Montmartre and on a couple in Brazil. Why them? Because their pandemic has been, on the whole, unremarkable — if one can say that of a world-changing cataclysm. It didn’t kill them or people they love. But it turned their lives upside down, and still is: They are us all.
1st Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Teenagers are figuring out how to fake positive Covid tests using lemon juice and hacks from TikTok

British teenagers are using TikTok to learn and share tips for faking positive Covid-19 tests as hundreds of thousands of pupils in “bubbles” are already being forced to miss school. Clips of young people applying various liquids to lateral flow tests have racked up millions of views on the popular video app, with many users offering suggestions. Videos uploaded under the search term #fakecovidtest have been viewed more than 6.5 million times, with the dedicated account @.fakecovidtests gaining more than 20,000 followers. Education leaders have warned that the practice is “massively unhelpful” as schools already battle to keep education going amid outbreaks.
1st Jul 2021 - iNews

Covid-19: Taskforce appeals for the return of live music

Live music can resume from 5 July, as ministers press ahead with some further relaxations of Covid-19 rules. Music performed indoors will be restricted to an ambient sound level only, with screens placed in front of musicians, the executive has confirmed. No volume restrictions will apply to live music at outdoor events. From 17:00 BST on Friday, the cap on outdoor gatherings will be removed, and from Monday, more households will be able to gather in a private garden. The Northern Ireland Executive said it had decided to push ahead with relaxations despite the increase in coronavirus cases linked to the Delta variant.
1st Jul 2021 - BBC News

Germany could ease travel curbs as Delta variant takes over

Germany expects the Delta variant of COVID-19 to account for up to 80% of infections this month, meaning it could ease travel restrictions from countries like Portugal and Britain where it already dominates, the German health minister said on Thursday. Jens Spahn told a news conference that Germany could reduce the current 14-day quarantine requirement that it imposes on travellers from countries with high levels of the Delta variant once it is sure that vaccinated people are protected.
1st Jul 2021 - Reuters

Fairness not the ultimate virtue in a pandemic

Plans to limit indoor dining to those who can prove their fully-vaccinated status have caused quite a ruckus. Having given up so much to protect the health of the older and more vulnerable, the youngest are last in line to get their old lives back. “It’s unfair,” Tánaiste Leo Varadkar concluded. And maybe he is right. But so what? The general appeal to fairness has proven itself to be an indefatigable instinct throughout the pandemic, whether it be about vaccines or restrictions or rule-breaking. But it isn’t always a sound one.
1st Jul 2021 - The Irish Times

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Thailand bets on 'Phuket sandbox' program to save tourism

Since Thailand’s pandemic restrictions on travel were imposed in early 2020, tourism has fallen off a cliff, and nowhere has it been felt more than the resort island off the country’s southern coast, where nearly 95% of the economy is related to the industry. So, despite spiking coronavirus numbers elsewhere in the country, the government is forging ahead with a program known as the “Phuket sandbox” to reopen the island to fully vaccinated visitors. It hopes it will revive tourism — a sector that accounted for 20% of the country’s economy before the pandemic.
30th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Tuskegee relatives promote COVID-19 vaccines in ad campaign

Tuskegee is the one-word answer some people give as a reason they’re avoiding COVID-19 vaccines. A new ad campaign launched Wednesday with relatives of men who unwittingly became part of the infamous experiment wants to change minds. Omar Neal, 63, a former mayor of the Alabama town, said he was hesitant at first about the shots. Neal is a nephew of Freddie Lee Tyson, a family man who was among several hundred Black men who decades ago became involved without their consent in the federally backed syphilis study. Neal said he agreed to appear in the national campaign after doing research to gain confidence in the vaccines.
30th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Covid: Vaccine refuser regrets turning down jab after catching virus

A Covid-19 vaccine refuser "stared death in the eyes" as he lay gasping for breath in hospital after catching the virus. Abderrahmane Fadil, 60, was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary earlier this month struggling to breathe. The father of two said declining his vaccination invite in February was "the biggest mistake" of his life. He has thanked NHS staff for saving his life and urged others to get vaccinated. "I will never forget when the paramedics were taking me down the stairs and my kids were crying and looking at me," Mr Fadil said.
30th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Aspen to partner with finance institutions to boost vaccine know-how

A group of global finance institutions led by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) said on Wednesday they would help to facilitate an increase in vaccine manufacturing know-how in Africa by partnering with South African pharmaceutical company Aspen Pharmacare. As a first step, the IFC, French development institution Proparco, German development finance institution DEG and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation jointly loaned 600 million euros ($712 million) to the company.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Fearing COVID, struggling Malawian women forgo prenatal care

Prenatal services at the health clinic were free, but the motorcycle taxi fare cost more than Monica Maxwell could afford. Just four weeks before delivering her baby, she cobbled together 1,400 kwacha ($1.75) for the 50-kilometer (31-mile) round trip. It was only her third visit -- fewer than her first two pregnancies. The money she made selling tomatoes at the local market dried up due to the pandemic. Her husband’s income selling goat meat also dwindled. “It was the most difficult period of our lives. We had no money for our daily survival,” Maxwell, 31, said as she waited outside with other women to be seen by a medical midwife. “Mostly we stayed home.” In a country where hospitals are so bare that women are expected to bring their own razor blades for cutting their babies’ umbilical cords, the deepening poverty brought on by the pandemic is further imperiling women’s lives.
29th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

The ‘Great Reshuffling’ Is Shifting Wealth to the Exurbs

White collar workers are trading their expensive lives in the nation’s most densely populated areas for cheaper, greener pastures. Online real estate company Zillow Group ZG calls it the “Great Reshuffling.” These moves will reshape transportation, real estate and an emerging fixture of American life: the exurb. Fringe outlying communities of major metropolitan regions were prized for their extreme privacy or more affordable housing before the pandemic, but were typically much less wealthy than the denser cities and affluent suburbs they surrounded
29th Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Russia says people can decline its vaccine. But for many, they'll get fired if they do

If you ask the Kremlin whether Covid-19 vaccination in Russia is voluntary, its officials will tell you it is. Yet authorities in Moscow have put together a policy that essentially gives people in public-facing roles little choice but to get their shots. Faced with stubbornly low vaccination rates, Moscow authorities announced just over a week ago that at least 60% of staff in service industries -- spanning everything from catering to housing and transport -- must get vaccinated with at least one shot by July 15. "Vaccination remains voluntary," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. But while Peskov says someone can refuse a vaccine, they just might lose their livelihood for doing so.
29th Jun 2021 - CNN

Ireland might demand a vaccine to drink inside pubs and restaurants

Ireland said on Tuesday it will restrict indoor drinking and eating in bars and restaurants to those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have previously been infected by it due to concerns about the Delta variant. The country joins a handful of places in Europe to introduce the measure, including Austria, Denmark and Israel, while Moscow has brought in similar restrictions. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin, who announced a general slowdown of the easing of public health restrictions, said that health officials told him they thought that the variant made indoor hospitality too dangerous for the unvaccinated.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Aussie Rules teams flee COVID outbreaks, rugby league crowds banned

Four Australian Football League (AFL) teams are set to base themselves in Melbourne as COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns across the country play havoc with the competition's schedule. The Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions were booked on a charter plane for Melbourne to beat a snap three-day lockdown starting late on Tuesday in Brisbane and surrounds. Perth-based teams Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles are also heading to Melbourne after authorities in Western Australia state locked down Perth after new cases of COVID-19
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

As cases, deaths soar in Russia, why are vaccination rates low?

“The vaccine is being perfected on us. I don’t want to be a guinea pig,” Kulchina, a grandmother, told Al Jazeera. Instead, she tries to stay away from people. She lives in seclusion in her summer house outside Moscow planting zucchini, raspberries and flowers, binge-watching TV series or spending hours on the phone with her friends – most of whom are also hesitant about the vaccine. A staggering 62 percent of Russians do not want to get vaccinated, and 56 percent are not afraid of getting the virus, according to a survey by the Levada Center pollster conducted in April.
29th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Amish put faith in God's will and herd immunity over vaccine

When health care leaders in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country began laying out a strategy to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, they knew it would be a tough sell with the Amish, who tend to be wary of preventive shots and government intervention. Early on, they posted flyers at farm supply stores and at auctions where the Amish sell handmade furniture and quilts. They sought advice from members of the deeply religious and conservative sect, who told them not to be pushy. And they asked three newspapers widely read by the Amish to publish ads promoting the vaccine. Two refused. By May, two rural vaccination clinics had opened at a fire station and a social services center, both familiar places to the Amish in Lancaster County. During the first six weeks, 400 people showed up. Only 12 were Amish.
28th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

COVID-19: More than 50 arrested for string of offences after thousands attend illegal rave in Steyning, West Sussex

More than 50 people were arrested after police shut down an illegal rave attended by thousands in the South Downs. Police were called to the "large unlicensed music event" in fields near the town of Steyning in West Sussex during the early hours of Sunday. As many as 2,000 people, most of whom had travelled from outside the area, were at the event, despite coronavirus rules banning gatherings of more than 30 people. Eight people were identified as potential organisers of the rave and arrested, while sound equipment was seized, Sussex Police said.
28th Jun 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Covid-19: Crowds flee Dhaka ahead of strict Bangladesh lockdown

Crowds have flocked to Dhaka's ferry terminals for a second day to get out of the city before a strict national lockdown comes into force. For seven days from Thursday, no one in Bangladesh will be allowed to leave their homes unless in an emergency. As a result, people are fleeing the busy capital city for their homes in towns and villages. Covid cases in the country have surged, many linked to the Delta variant first identified in neighbouring India. The latest wave of the virus in Bangladesh began about six weeks ago. On 15 May there were 261 new cases and 22 deaths reported. On Friday there were 5,869 new cases and 108 deaths - the country's second-highest daily death toll of the whole pandemic.
28th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Show must go on, say dancing protesters urging Britain to fully reopen

Hundreds of people danced and blew whistles in time to dance music on the streets of central London on Sunday, part of a protest against coronavirus restrictions that have pummelled the entertainment industry, particularly nightclubs. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to remove the remaining restrictions on July 19 after being forced to postpone a reopening this month. But Save Our Scene, a campaign group for the music and hospitality sectors that organised the protest, says lockdown curbs should end immediately.
28th Jun 2021 - Reuters

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Mallorca probes COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of partying students

Authorities in Mallorca are investigating a coronavirus outbreak involving more than 600 students celebrating the end of term in the Spanish island, just as it prepares for British tourists to return following the easing of travel curbs. Students visiting from the mainland went to a music concert at a bullring in the capital, Palma, as well as parties on boats and in hotels, and officials said on Saturday they wanted to find out if venues had adhered to virus-control measures.
26th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Anti-lockdown protesters march on London in day of demonstrations

London saw a wave of protests on Saturday, marking the start of a weekend of demonstrations across the capital. The Metropolitan Police have called it “a busy weekend” of protests, with thousands of people hitting the streets to vocalise their opposition on a range of issues, ranging from inequality, Covid-19 restrictions and the framing of the climate crisis.
26th Jun 2021 - The Independent

Women Did Three Times as Much Child Care as Men During Pandemic

Child care demands at home skyrocketed during the pandemic, but men and women did not split the burden equally. Globally, women took on 173 additional hours of unpaid child care last year, compared to 59 additional hours for men, a study released Friday by the Center for Global Development, a poverty non-profit, found. The gap widened in low- and middle-income countries, where women cared for children for more than three times as many hours as men did.
25th Jun 2021 - Bloomberg

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Community Covid Bus launches in Sheffield

Sheffield’s new Community Covid Bus launches this week as a one-stop place for all things Covid-related, including lateral flow tests for those without symptoms with results in 30 minutes. The minibus will be travelling all over Sheffield to parks, schools, community events, vaccine clinics and will provide information and advice about Covid 19, lateral flow tests for those without symptoms, free boxes of home testing lateral flow device kits, vaccinations advice and support to book an appointment. Advice and support on self-isolation will also be available, including help to access financial support.
24th Jun 2021 - The Star

Carl Frampton backs initiative helping older people cope with isolation and loneliness

When a 75-year-old east Belfast man answered his phone recently, he got the surprise of his life when former boxing world champion Carl Frampton was on the other end of the line. Frampton made the call as part of an Age NI initiative aimed at helping older people cope with isolation and loneliness, particularly amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Launched last year, the 'Check In and Chat' service provides a weekly phone conversation with a friendly volunteer with more than 20,000 calls made so far.
24th Jun 2021 - Irish Times

Nearly all COVID deaths in US are now among unvaccinated

Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine. An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 0.1%. And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average. The AP analyzed figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.
24th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Portugal’s Lisbon rolls out new COVID curbs as cases surge

Authorities in Portugal’s Lisbon region are reintroducing coronavirus restrictions due to a surge driven by the delta variant, which now accounts for more than seven in 10 new infections in the capital. Two months after Portugal began to ease a prolonged lockdown, the country reported 1,556 new infections on Thursday – the highest number since February 20. More than 1,000 of them were in the Lisbon region, where some 2.8 million people live, with officials warning that hospital admissions are increasing at a “worrying” level.
24th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Britain will not demand climate talks delegates be vaccinated against COVID-19

Britain will not require delegates attending November's international climate conference in Glasgow to have been vaccinated against COVID-19, an official responsible for organising the event said on Wednesday. Britain will strongly recommend that delegates are vaccinated but it will not be a mandatory requirement, Rosalyn Eales, Chief Operating Officer of the COP26 conference, told a group of lawmakers. Climate and health experts have said poorer nations struggling to access COVID-19 vaccines could find sending delegates to an in-person meeting difficult.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Save Our Summer: UK pilots and cabin crew issue travel sector rescue plea

British pilots, cabin crew, travel agents and other workers are urging politicians to save the summer holiday season by reopening routes abroad or risk destroying tens of thousands of jobs as companies fail. Workers from the travel industry demonstrated across Britain on Wednesday. Protesters outside parliament held banners saying “Speak up for travel” as pilots and air stewardesses from British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic lined up in full uniform, to highlight the threat to their jobs from the government’s strict rules. England is expected to re-open from a third COVID-19 lockdown in July but the travel sector remains effectively shut, with the government advising against travel except to a handful of destinations.
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

‘No zero risk’: UK move to increase Wembley fans questioned

The British government faced accusations of mixed messaging Wednesday that could threaten its plan to fully lift lockdown restrictions in England next month after it decided to allow more than 60,000 people inside Wembley Stadium for the latter stages of soccer’s European Championship. Following a request from UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, to allow more fans inside the London stadium for the semifinals on July 6 and 7 and the final on July 11, Britain agreed to increase Wembley’s 90,000-seat capacity to 75%. That will make the three matches the largest gatherings at a sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic took root in the country in March 2020. In contrast, only around 20,000 people were inside the stadium on Tuesday night when England beat the Czech Republic 1-0.
23rd Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Covid gender gap widens as cases surge in Scotland

A Covid cases gender gap has opened up as the total number testing positive in the past 24 hours hit nearly 3,000. On Wednesday five new deaths were reported, and 2,969 cases recorded - the highest daily number since the start of mass testing. In recent days about two thirds of cases in the 15 to 44 age range have been male. Behaviour expert Prof Stephen Reicher has suggested that men meeting up to watch Euro 2020 is behind the rise. National Clinical Director Prof Jason Leitch said he believed indoor socialising was the main factor, though not necessarily linked to football.
23rd Jun 2021 - BBC News

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Do we have to learn to live with Covid-19?

A new wave of Covid-19 cases is threatening to disrupt another summer in the UK as the government extends restrictions for England into July amid concern about the rate of spread of the Delta variant. The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, tells Anushka Asthana that this time around we are in a very different position with most adults now having had two vaccine jabs. However, there is still a prospect of a sharp rise in Covid cases and with it more hospital admissions and deaths. Boris Johnson has said cases of the Delta variant are rising at about 30% a week.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Guardian

A QUARTER of American adults under 40 do not plan to get a COVID-19 shot due lack of trust in vaccines and fears of potential side effects

A new CDC report finds that 24.9% of Americans under 40 do not plan on getting vaccinated. Over 56% report they do not trust the vaccine, while 56% also report they fear side effects of vaccine. Other reasons included thinking they do not need a COVID-19 shot or that the virus is not a big threat to them. President Joe Biden has set a target of hitting 70% of the population vaccinated by July 4, which is unlikely
22nd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

How Bolton brought down Covid infection rates

Community engagement and cooperation between public bodies has played a key role in lowering Bolton’s Covid-19 infection rates, health chiefs have revealed. Health officials took on a targeted approach by identifying areas where there were a particularly high number of cases and worked closely with communities there. Barriers to accessing the vaccine such as financial or transport issues were identified and overcome by the introduction of the Vaccine Bus, which brought the jab to the people. As the health teams, the army and volunteers worked hard to bring vaccines and testing to the community, the community itself played a part in enabling the effort to succeed.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Bolton News

Euro 2020: WHO concerned about easing COVID restrictions

The World Health Organization has said it was concerned about the easing of COVID-19 restrictions by nations hosting Euro 2020 matches, noting that some were already seeing rising cases. “WHO is concerned about easing of restrictions in some of the host countries,” Robb Butler, an executive director at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe, said in an emailed statement to the AFP news agency.
22nd Jun 2021 - Aljazeera.com

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Young people have stepped up over the Covid-19 vaccine – for that they should be applauded

In the race between the Delta variant and the Covid vaccines, it would seem that the vaccine is at least keeping pace. Not to push the analogy too far, there was an increasing danger that the faster spread of the new mutation of the virus would mean that it would establish itself and cause a spike in cases before the usual effects of “herd immunity” started to protect the community as a whole. That was certainly evidenced in the trends in the northwest of England, Bedford and elsewhere. Even though the link between infection, hospital admissions and death have been weakened by the vaccine programme and improved treatments, there was every possibility of a third wave of Covid. Hence the decision to postpone the so-called freedom day until 19 July.
21st Jun 2021 - The Independent

Community Foundation distributes £2.2m in Covid-19 response

The Community Foundation for Lancashire has published a report detailed how the county raised £2.2m to deal with the Covid-19 and how those funds were used. The foundation co-ordinated corporate donors, private individuals, public sector partnerships including the Lancashire Resilience Forum, public donations and funders such as the National Emergencies Trust to raise much-needed cash. More than 320,000 people were supported by the foundation's work, including helping to address food poverty, the impact on mental health and wellbeing, service provisions to the vulnerable, and unemployment and loss of income. As lockdown continued, domestic abuse and digital exclusion were added as high priorities.
21st Jun 2021 - Lancashire Business View

Former Swiss "Magic Mountain" TB clinics treat COVID to stay relevant

Swiss mountain sanatoriums whose fresh-air and sunlight cures once drew tuberculosis patients from across Europe are reinventing themselves for a new generation: Patients suffering from the lingering effects of COVID-19.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

U.S. employers wrestle with COVID vaccine requirements in regulatory "hairball"

America's largest garlic farm needs 1,000 workers to harvest its annual crop, but faces an unexpected hurdle in this year's recruitment drive: it now must document and track the COVID-19 vaccine status of these seasonal laborers. Employers in California's Santa Clara County, including Christopher Ranch, are required as of June 1 to ascertain if their workers have been vaccinated and check in every 14 days on those who say they have not or who decline to answer.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Exclusive: Pandemic prompts close to 4m Londoners consider moving in quest for a better life

The pandemic and subsequent UK lockdowns have had a transformative impact on UK employees, with more than a third aged 18-34 moving house so as to secure a better quality of life. The corresponding figure for those aged 55+ is just 9 per cent, while the UK average is one-in-five, according to research from Close Brothers, shared with City A.M. this evening. It is notable that people in London are most eager to make the change, with 39 per cent – or nearly 4m people – moving or thinking to move to get that better quality of life. It is a significantly greater proportion than the next most likely regions, the East Midlands and the East of England (both 23 per cent). The region in which employees are least likely to have made the shift is the North East (9 per cent). The research highlights the extent to which the past 12 months have changed the financial plans of employees across the UK.
9th Jun 2021 - City A.M.

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Nudge, nudge: the secret behind our Covid vaccine success

The Polish government organised a million zloty (£189,000) lottery, New Jersey in the US is offering a “shot and a beer” and vaccinated people in Moscow can win a car. No such eye-catching incentives are needed here: Britain boasts one of the highest vaccine take-up rates in the world. More than 64 per cent of the population have had one dose, meaning the UK should overtake Israel for first doses per person next week. More than 96 per cent of all adults aged 50 and over have been vaccinated. There is no sign of that slowing. When bookings opened to adults aged 18-20 on Friday, more than 721,000 people signed up in a single day in what officials described as a “Glastonbury-style rush”.
20th Jun 2021 - The Times

South Holland groups helped through Covid-19 pandemic thanks to grants from Lincolnshire fund

A new report has demonstrated the positive impact a community group has had in helping our area cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 300 companies have been helped by financial grants from the Lincolnshire Covid-19 Crisis Fund. This cash has targeted areas such as mental health and wellbeing, ill health, food supplies, digital inclusion and loneliness. The Lincolnshire Community Foundation also used ‘social value’ calculations to determine that every £1 they have invested has brought about a ‘social return’ of £12.
20th Jun 2021 - Spalding Today

Three-day COVID travel ban in force in Lisbon as Delta variant spreads

As a three-day coronavirus travel ban came into force around Lisbon on Friday afternoon, drivers stopped by police asking them their reason for travelling said they felt concerned about the worrying rise in infections . People living in the 18 municipalities of Lisbon's metropolitan area will be banned from leaving from 3 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m on Monday. Those living outside the area will not be allowed in.
19th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Delta Variant: What to Know For Summer Travel

With vaccinations on the rise and mortality rates related to Covid-19 going down in Europe and other parts of the world, many people are making plans to travel this summer and beyond. But experts say the quickly circulating Delta variant is a new concern for travelers, particularly those who are unvaccinated. The European Union said on June 18 that the United States would be added to its “safe list” of countries, a decision that should allow even unvaccinated visitors from the U.S. (who can provide proof of a negative coronavirus test) to enter its 27 member states for nonessential travel. These countries, however, can impose their own restrictions and requirements for entry.
19th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

UN: Nearly 3 million fled homes in 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic

Nearly 3 million people fled their homes in 2020 despite the global pandemic that closed many borders over the past year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. The Global Trends report Friday showed the total number of refugees has increased to 82.4 million people, making 1 percent of the world displaced. "People were forced to flee their homes throughout the year despite an urgent appeal from the U.N. Secretary-General on 23 March 2020 calling for a global ceasefire to enable a concerted response to the pandemic," the report reads. "UNHCR data shows that arrivals of new refugees and asylum-seekers were sharply down in most regions – about 1.5 million fewer people than would have been expected in non-COVID circumstances, and reflecting how many of those seeking international protection in 2020 became stranded."
19th Jun 2021 - The Hill

In COVID hit Asia, mixed messages on refugee vaccinations

“The refugees were vaccinated in conjunction with the local government,” Nasruddin, the humanitarian coordinator of Geutanyoe Foundation, an NGO which provides education and psychosocial support to refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia, told Al Jazeera. “When we found them, they were in a crisis situation on the island with no food, water or electricity, so local residents brought them food and we also brought them 50 tanks of water,” he added. “The feeling on the ground was that we needed to share our vaccines with the refugees in order to protect them as well. No one complained that the vaccines were being given to refugees.” Aceh Province has been widely praised by humanitarian groups, NGOs and the general public for vaccinating Rohingya refugees, but elsewhere in Southeast Asia, asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers have not been so lucky.
19th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Tokyo cancels public viewing sites for summer Olympics

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has cancelled all public viewing sites for the summer Olympics, diverting some venues to be COVID-19 vaccinations centres instead. Foreign spectators are banned from attending the Games, delayed by a year due to the pandemic, but the government and Tokyo 2020 organisers have for months held off on deciding whether to allow Japanese spectators into the stadiums.
19th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Fans who had AstraZeneca vaccine won’t be allowed into Bruce Springsteen’s New York concerts

Anyone who has had the AstraZeneca vaccine will be barred from attending Bruce Springsteen’s comeback shows in New York next week. The intimate five-night run at the St James theatre will be the first Broadway show to reopen since last March and will require attendees to show proof of vaccination, reports The Telegraph. However, the list will be limited only to jabs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration - Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson. Any potential concert-goers who received their Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine overseas will be left with the prospect of being turned away at the door should they book tickets.
18th Jun 2021 - Evening Standard

Canada: Pfizer, Moderna preferred 2nd dose after AstraZeneca

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization said Thursday people who got the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose should get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their second shot. On June 1, committee had said AstraZeneca recipients “could” get Pfizer or Moderna for their second shot if they wanted, but Thursday went further to say an mRNA vaccine was the ”preferred” choice. Since the advisory committee “first looked at mixed vaccine schedules, new evidence is starting to emerge suggesting immune responses are better when a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is followed by an mRNA vaccine as a second dose,″ said its vice-chair Dr. Shelley Deeks, in the new guidance documents.
18th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Community pharmacy COVID-19 test distribution service extended

The government has extended its free Pharmacy Collect service, which provides COVID-19 lateral flow tests to patients through community pharmacies in England, until the end of July 2021. In a statement to The Pharmaceutical Journal, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) added that it was “considering” extending its contracts with wholesalers, beyond their June 2021 expiry, to continue providing tests to pharmacies at no cost. The service, also known as the ‘Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution’ service, launched on 29 March 2021 as an advanced service and was due to be reviewed at the end of June 2021.
17th Jun 2021 - The Pharmaceutical Journal

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iPads donated to Shropshire school to enable virtual learning

An ambitious project to enable whole class virtual learning at a small Shropshire school has become reality following the donation of 36 iPads. Teachers and parents at Tibberton CE Primary School set about raising funds for the new devices earlier this term and thanks to the support of local businesses and others in the community they have reached their goal ahead of schedule. It means from September each child in class will have access to their own iPad and associated digital resources to support whole-class learning during lessons.
17th Jun 2021 - shropshirestar.com

Japan PM Suga urges Japanese to watch Olympics on TV to prevent spread of COVID-19

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday called on the public to watch the upcoming Tokyo Olympics on TV to avoid the spread of COVID-19 infections, as the organisers debate whether to allow domestic spectators into Olympic venues. Suga, speaking at a news conference to announce the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo and several other areas, said that the most important thing was to avoid a rebound in the number of infections and the collapse of the medical system.
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Families mourn the loss of loved ones who hesitated on the Covid-19 vaccine

Despite vaccines being widely available for teenagers and adults, demand has slowed drastically since mid-April. At the time, the country was administering an average of 3.4 million doses per day. That moving average is now close to 600,000 per day as of Tuesday, the most recent day for which the figure is available, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Local governments are offering financial incentives for people to get the shot. Medical experts and officials are also seeing effective strategies by local pastors, coaches and community leaders working on a grass-roots level to encourage people. The word-of-mouth approach from trusted voices can be powerful, said the Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., a prominent pastor who leads the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida​. This spring, his church invested in a mobile medical unit to make health care more accessible in his community.
17th Jun 2021 - CNN

Disneyland Paris reopens, but Mickey Mouse won't give hugs

The Disneyland Paris theme park opened to visitors on Thursday after being shuttered for nearly eight months during the pandemic, but safety measures were in force to stop the virus spreading. While cast members dressed as favourite Disney characters - among them Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy - were on hand as usual for selfies with visitors, they were keeping their distance. According to the park's revised rules, "close interactions, including hugs, will be temporarily suspended." Visitors over the age of six are also required to wear masks. Nevertheless, visitors streaming through the gates at opening time were ecstatic to be there.
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Community centres to share £270,000 Covid recovery fund

In Shropshire, the Covid-19 emergency funding provided to the council by government in 2020 and 2021 is aimed at enabling a number of community centres to restart, recover and once again become vibrant community assets in a safe and secure way. Cabinet member for cooperative communities, engagement and partnerships, Councillor Paul Watling said: “During the pandemic these community hubs have been the glue that has held everything together and enabled Telford & Wrekin Council to support its communities. They are right at the heart of people’s lives and have for many been a lifeline – a place where we can extend our support to the most vulnerable.
17th Jun 2021 - Shropshire Star

Empowering Indian women who lost their partners to COVID

Thousands of Indian women have lost their husbands to the coronavirus pandemic, most of those men were the sole earners in their families. Nichelle worked as a human resource professional for seven years before quitting her job nearly two years ago. Soon after her husband’s death, another reality hit her: she needed to find a job, at a time when the pandemic had caused huge job losses across India and forced millions of people out of work. She was contacted by a volunteer from COVID Women Help – an initiative that seeks to empower women who lost their partners to the pandemic by providing them financial and professional help. Less than a month after Shawn’s death, Nichelle got a job with a human resource solutions company with the help of COVID Women Help.
17th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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COVID-19: People aged 21 and 22 able to book coronavirus vaccine from today

Around one million people aged 21 and 22 are now eligible to book their coronavirus vaccination. Some 972,000 text messages will be sent out starting today, inviting them to schedule appointments for both doses via the national booking system. Dr Emily Lawson, lead for the NHS COVID Vaccination Programme, said "the largest ever NHS vaccination campaign is in the home stretch of the first dose roll-out," and getting the jab is "the most important step you can take to protect yourself, your friends and family so it's really important everybody in the latest eligible groups books themselves in to get their jab and plays their part in this huge national effort".
16th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Deaths in Brazil near half a million as controversial football tournament gets under way

Brazil continues to report a high number of covid-19 infections and deaths against the backdrop of a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s management of the pandemic and a controversial football tournament plagued by virus outbreaks. The country is expected to reach half a million deaths from covid-19 in the coming days as teams from around Latin America compete in the Copa America, which kicked off in Brasilia on 13 June. “The situation is not coming under control since [politicians] are still in denial of the pandemic, including the president,” said Helena Nader, biomedical scientist at the Federal University of São Paulo and former president of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science. At least 31 Copa America players and 10 members of staff have been infected so far, as health experts and players alike voice their concern over the health risk posed by the controversial decision to host the tournament in one of the nations worst hit by covid-19 in the world.
16th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

London: Man charged after journalist mobbed at anti-lockdown protest

A man has been charged after a BBC journalist was mobbed by a group of anti-lockdown protesters in London. Video footage shared on social media showed Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt being physically intimidated and chased through the streets near Downing Street on Monday afternoon. Met Police launched an investigation into the incident after identifying a ‘number of possible offences’ in the video. Martin Hockridge, 57, from Harpenden in Hertfordshire, was interviewed under caution by officers and later charged with a public order offence on Tuesday evening.
16th Jun 2021 - Metro.co.uk

Taj Mahal reopens for tourists as India eases COVID-19 curbs

The Taj Mahal reopened to the public on Wednesday as India, still reeling from a disastrous second wave of the pandemic, pushes to lift restrictions in a bid to revitalise its economy. The 17th-century white marble mausoleum, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra, was closed in early April as India introduced strict lockdown measures in an effort to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections that is still killing thousands every day. Only 650 tourists will be allowed inside the premises of the Taj Mahal at any time, said Prabhu Singh, district magistrate of Agra. The monument normally attracts 7 million to 8 million visitors annually, or over 20,000 people per day.
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters India

Germany set to end work from home obligation, Merkel aide tells weekly

Germany will not extend beyond the end of June a rule which forces companies to allow working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Germany has gradually lifted lockdown measures in the last six weeks as infections fell. After first introducing a working from home obligation in January, the measure was anchored in "emergency brake" legislation that allows the government to impose lockdown measures if infections rise beyond certain thresholds. As coronavirus infection numbers are sinking, the home office rule does not need to be extended on June 30, when the emergency law regulating the lockdown expires
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters

UNICEF Helps Refugees Get Their Fair Shot At COVID-19 Vaccines

In Jordan, refugees are eligible for vaccination along with Jordanians and those of other nationalities. To support Jordan's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, UNICEF is providing procurement and logistical support for vaccine delivery and has donated 1.3 million syringes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, UNICEF has responded to refugees' growing needs by helping Jordan's Ministry of Health safeguard the roughly 120,000 who live in the nation's four camps
15th Jun 2021 - Forbes

Alarm rises in India over COVID-19 risks as crowds return to malls and rail stations

Having barely got over a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections, India was gripped with alarm on Tuesday over risks of a resurgence as crowds thronged railway stations and shopping malls a day after major cities relaxed curbs on movement. The capital New Delhi, in the north, and tech hub Bengaluru, in the south, were among the cities that have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections dropped to its lowest level in more than two months. After a strict five-week lockdown, authorities in Delhi have fully re-opened shops and malls, and allowed restaurants to have 50% seating. Suburban rail networks can run at 50% capacity, and offices have been partially reopened.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Anti-lockdown protests boost Germany's far-right, says security agency

The number of politically motivated crimes in Germany rose last year, as protests opposing government measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic gave a boost to the far-right, Germany's domestic intelligence service said. More than half of the 44,692 politically motivated crimes registered in 2020 were committed by far-right radicals, the agency said in its annual report published on Tuesday. "Extremists and terrorists are not going into lockdown," Thomas Haldenwang, head of the BfV domestic security agency, said at a news conference to present the report.
15th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Comfort During Covid-19 Can Come Equally From Sanitation Measures And Community Feeling, According To New Data

Comfort in returning to stores, venues, and other public spaces amid Covid-19 comes from two key sources: sanitation and feelings of regularity and familiarity. This is according to a new quantitative study conducted by Greater Divide. For large commercial spaces, such as malls and chain stores, the main factors driving feelings of comfort was a large interior space and clear signs of proper sanitation procedures. Smaller spaces, on the other hand, were more likely to be perceived as safe if they felt local, familiar, and an ongoing part of the person’s community.
15th Jun 2021 - Forbes

Amazon has made its Covid-19 test available online, alongside a diagnostics portal for consumers

Amazon has made its FDA-cleared Covid-19 test available to consumers online, alongside a consumer diagnostics website where people can view their results. The consumer diagnostics website, AmazonDx.com, previously only had a login for Amazon employees. As of Tuesday, however, it appears any customer can sign into the site using the same login information they use to access the shopping portion of the tech giant’s website.
15th Jun 2021 - STAT News

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‘A rumour can explode in one day’: Meet the pioneer fighting vaccine mistrust

When anthropologist Heidi Larson secured the seed funding to establish the Vaccine Confidence Project a decade ago, it was a humble set-up housed in a corner of the venerable London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Bloomsbury. Now, in a global pandemic, her expertise as one of the world’s foremost authorities on anti-vaccine sentiment and the rumours, misinformation and emotions that shape our perception of vaccines means that Professor Larson is in serious demand. In the past fortnight she has delivered the John Maddox Lecture at the Hay Festival, collected the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for her work to understand and tackle popular misconceptions of vaccines and joined UK health minister Matt Hancock and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a Science Museum summit to explore ways to boost confidence in the Covid-19 vaccine.
14th Jun 2021 - Evening Standard

Get Covid vaccine and chance to win a car as Moscow's death toll grows

The mayor of Moscow is offering people who receive a coronavirus jab the chance to win cars as daily deaths in the Russian capital hit a four-month high and suspicion of vaccines remains widespread. Officials said yesterday that 69 people had died from Covid-19 in Moscow in the preceding 24 hours, the most since early February. The city of 12 million people recorded 7,704 new cases, the highest figure since late last year. Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor, ordered all non-essential workers to remain home next week, with full pay. He also ordered food courts to close. Restaurants, bars and clubs will be barred from serving customers between 11pm and 6am. He has ruled out a lockdown.
14th Jun 2021 - The Times

Anti-vax groups rack up victories against Covid-19 push

The partisan divide over the country's pandemic response has reinvigorated the anti-vaccine movement nationwide, with mostly Republican lawmakers in nearly 40 states backing bills to restrict Covid-19 vaccine mandates or vaccine passports. Anti-vaccine fervor that was previously concentrated in specific communities — like Orthodox Jews in New Jersey and New York, and Somali immigrants in Minnesota — spread more widely during the pandemic as the U.S. government urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
14th Jun 2021 - POLITICO

How Kendall Toole Built A Mental Health Community During Covid-19 On Peloton

Kendall Toole, an instructor for Peloton, explained that, of course, the quality of the exercise is great and the people who make the content and work for the team at Peloton put out fantastic exercise classes and that is part of why it works. But, to her, “really kind of the secret sauce, especially through the pandemic, is that you could connect with people.” She notes that people feeling alone or isolated could bond together by doing the same exercise, and find like minded people for support, both in class and online, like someone else who is a first responder, or a mom, or even a healthcare worker.
11th Jun 2021 - Forbes

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Saudi to allow 60,000 vaccinated residents to perform hajj

Saudi Arabia announced Saturday it will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual hajj, state media reported. The hajj ministry said this year's pilgrimage would be "open for nationals and residents of the kingdom, limited to 60,000 pilgrims", according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The pilgrimage, scheduled to be held at the end of July, would be limited to those who have been vaccinated and are below 65 years of age with no chronic illnesses, it said.
12th Jun 2021 - FRANCE 24

Queen's Birthday Honours: Covid-19 community supporters honoured

People who helped their communities in Devon during the Covid-19 pandemic are among those recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. David Cox, 58, from Teignmouth, set up services which delivered 200 meals a day during the Covid-19 crisis. Claire Twitchin, 50, raised money for NHS scrubs and Elaine Cawthraw, 70, co-ordinated local support for villagers. Nicholas Hindmarsh, 60, from Harberton, led a charity helping the vulnerable during the pandemic.
12th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Black and Latino communities are left behind in Covid-19 vaccination efforts

When vaccines became increasingly available throughout America, US health officials moved quickly to try to convince large numbers of Americans to get vaccinated. But amid the mass vaccination rollout, Black and Latino communities, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, have been left behind in vaccination efforts, creating racial disparities about who was more likely to get a Covid-19 shot. Amid federal and local efforts to address vaccine disparity, vaccination rates for Black Americans and Latinos lag behind the general population, leaving many communities of color still unprotected against the Covid-19 pandemic.
12th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Community spirit in the age of Covid

Anecdotal evidence tells us that communities have been coming together in the last 18 months, with neighbours helping each other out, or shopping for those who are shielding. My research with my colleague James Laurence, though, suggests that people’s perceptions of neighbourliness have declined during Covid. We used data from one of the world’s largest panel surveys to compare people’s lives before and during the early months of the pandemic, and found that the proportion of people who felt they could trust others in their neighbourhood fell from nearly 70% in 2014/15 to 56% in June 2020 – although by November 2020 it increased to 61%. The lockdown also seems to have made people feel more isolated, with a decline in whether people feel they are similar to others in their neighbourhood. In June 2020, only 45% of people felt similar to others living around them, 16% down on 2014/15. However, this also increased (to 50%) by November.
12th Jun 2021 - PoliticsHome

UK Covid memorial wall should be made permanent, MPs say

It started as an almost guerrilla act of memorialisation. In March, grieving relatives began inscribing red hearts beside a Thameside walkway – one for every person in the UK who died from coronavirus. Now stretching 500 metres, the Covid memorial wall should be made a permanent national landmark, say more than 200 MPs, peers and mayors. Boris Johnson is facing calls to “make this wall of hearts a, if not the, permanent memorial to the victims of the pandemic” from a cross-party alliance including the mayors of London and Greater Manchester, Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham.
12th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid-19 ventilators donated by Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi left abandoned in warehouse

Life-support machines donated by the footballer Lionel Messi are sitting abandoned in a warehouse in Argentina despite a brutal second wave of infections leaving hospitals desperate for supplies. Through his foundation, the Barcelona star had sent 32 ventilators by private jet in August last year to his home town of Rosario. For almost a year, however, the machines have been left unopened in an airport repository, pending authorisation from the national health regulator. The case has baffled the Messi Foundation, which had successfully delivered medical equipment to Argentina only a few months before, in May last year.
10th Jun 2021 - The Times

David Hasselhoff joins German vaccine appeal

Former “Baywatch” TV star David Hasselhoff is appearing in a video released by the German health ministry calling on people to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The video makes a play on Hasselhoff's 1989 "Looking for Freedom" album, which was popular in Germany after its title song become a soundtrack for the fall of the Berlin Wall. "Aermel hoch! ("Sleeves up!"), Hasselhoff says in German in the video released on Monday that had already been viewed on Twitter almost 200,000 times by Wednesday.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Abu Dhabi restricts many public areas to those free of COVID

Abu Dhabi, the second-most populous emirate in the UAE, will restrict access to shopping malls, restaurants, cafes and other public places from June 15 to those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently tested negative. The new rules were announced late on Wednesday as the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven emirates, has seen daily cases rise over the past three weeks. The UAE, which does not give a breakdown for each emirate, recorded 2,179 new infections on Wednesday, up from 1,229 on May 17. The restrictions will also apply to gyms, hotels and their facilities, public parks, beaches, swimming pools, entertainment centres, cinemas, and museums, Abu Dhabi's media office said
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

U.S. National Cathedral bells toll 600 times to mark COVID-19 victims

On a rainy Thursday evening in Washington D.C., the bells at the National Cathedral tolled 600 times, once for every 1,000 Americans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Fifteen months into the pandemic, the official U.S. death toll is approaching 600,000, even as a national vaccination program has successfully reduced the rate of daily infections and deaths. As of June 10, the overall COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is 596,059, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the international figure at 3,758,560.
10th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Germany starts rolling out a digital EU vaccination pass

Germany on Thursday started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gets ready for the key summer travel season. The country’s health minister said starting this week vaccination centers, doctors practices and pharmacies will gradually start giving out digital passes to fully vaccinated people. The CovPass will let users download proof of their coronavirus vaccination status onto a smartphone app, allowing them easy access to restaurants, museums or other venues that require proof of immunization. The vaccination passport should be available to everyone in Germany who is fully vaccinated by the end of this month, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
10th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

High COVID vaccine uptake may protect the unvaccinated

Higher levels of COVID-19 vaccination in a population are tied to lower rates of infection in unvaccinated youth younger than 16 years, who were ineligible for the vaccine at the time of the trial, according to an observational, real-world, Israeli study today in Nature Medicine. Researchers from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa led the study, which involved mining vaccination records and COVID-19 test results gathered during a rapid vaccine rollout in 177 communities. They found that vaccination rates in each community were linked to a large subsequent decline in COVID-19 infections in the unvaccinated youth. For every 20 percentage points of vaccinated people in a population, on average, COVID-19 test positivity declined about twofold.
10th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

How vaccine hesitancy is being tackled in Bristol’s diverse communities

The five areas in Bristol with the highest populations of ethnic minorities are also the five areas with the lowest Covid vaccine uptake, analysis by the Cable has found. But Bristol has been proactive in tackling the disparity, with a targeted campaign to answer people’s questions and fears around the vaccine and to take vaccine clinics into communities. “The only way we have is for trusted people to have the vaccine and to talk about their experience,” said Mohammed Elsharif, Community Development Manager for Bristol City Council’s vaccine campaign. The model is simple but labour-intensive: bringing the vaccine to communities by creating vaccine clinics in community and religious centres, getting trusted community leaders and faith leaders to publicly take the vaccine, having ‘community champions’ to encourage people within their communities to take the vaccine – and sometimes even making appointments with them. They also put on webinars where people have the chance to air their concerns about the vaccine and get answers to their questions
9th Jun 2021 - The Bristol Cable

As Britons return to lives post-Covid, a care provider is urging people to continue supporting elderly neighbours

Community networks set up during the first lockdown meant some people had more visitors and help with medication and food than before the pandemic. As restrictions ease, Radfield Home Care is worried that this support will now drop off and elderly and disabled people will return to lives of loneliness. Research carried out by the care provider found that 73 per cent of people aged 60 and over were nervous about the UK’s planned easing of restrictions on 21 June. Fifty-three per cent said they had concerns about infection rates rising when lockdown lifts, while just over 10 per cent were worried about interacting with others and eight per cent feared visiting supermarkets, shops and restaurants.
9th Jun 2021 - Homecare

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Foundation to spend $1.3B to vaccinate Africans for COVID

One of the world’s largest foundations will spend $1.3 billion over the next three years to acquire and deliver COVID-19 vaccines for more than 50 million people in Africa. It’s a first-of-its-kind effort for a Western nonprofit to bolster Africa’s lagging vaccination campaign amid widespread fears of a third wave of infections on the continent. The Tuesday announcement from the Toronto-based Mastercard Foundation, which has more than $39 billion in assets, comes days after the World Health Organization said Africa was encountering an alarming mix of a spike in virus cases and “a near halt” of vaccine shipments. The delays have been tied to India’s halt on vaccine exports, among other things. The foundation will purchase single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines at the discounted rate negotiated by the African Union during its 220 million dose deal with the vaccine manufacturer. Those vaccines will begin to be delivered to the AU’s 55 member states from July to September, with an option to purchase an additional 180 million doses through next year.
9th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Hospices Extending Community Partnerships Developed During COVID

The coronavirus pandemic took a heavy toll on communities across the country as many fell ill and lost loved ones to the deadly disease. Hospices reached deeper into their communities with collaborations to procure and provide resources amid heavy COVID-19 headwinds. The pandemic’s persistence remains at the forefront of many hospice providers’ minds, with COVID-19 continuing to pummel their operations and finances. Some built up partnerships with various local personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers or became avenues of community support themselves during the public health emergency. These community collaborations represent an opportunity for hospices to develop valuable relationships that can extend beyond the pandemic.
9th Jun 2021 - Hospice News

Global COVID-19 patterns reflect dual-world track

In its weekly snapshot of the pandemic yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said overall cases declined 15% last week, led mainly by steep drops in its Europe region and Southeast Asia region, which includes India. Deaths dropped by 8%. The five highest-burden countries are India, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and the United States. Some of the countries reporting the steepest rises over the past week include Zambia (191%), Uganda (137%), South Africa (22%), the Philippines (19%), and Colombia (17%). More than 80 countries have now reported the more transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant,
9th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Covid-19: Four small words make a difference in the pandemic

During the pandemic, four small words have been making a difference for some people. "How are you feeling?" is the question community pharmacists have been posing to their customers, regular and new, in a bid to create conversation around mental health. For people in Belcoo, in County Fermanagh at the edge of Northern Ireland, a trip to the doctor involves a 16-mile round trip, because there's no local surgery. That means community pharmacist Joe McAleer has found himself on the frontline. "We see the patients on a daily or weekly basis, and we know that just that simple question - how are you feeling? - opens the door to a lot of answers," he said.
9th Jun 2021 - BBC News

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Mastercard Foundation donates $1.3 billion to boost Africa’s coronavirus response

The Mastercard Foundation announced a $1.3 billion donation on Tuesday to boost Africa’s response to the coronavirus, which public health experts hailed as a significant step to get vaccines to some of the world’s poorest people. “Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent,” Reeta Roy, the foundation’s chief executive, said in a statement. “This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent.” The funding, which will be distributed over three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to help acquire vaccines for more than 50 million of the continent’s 1.3 billion people, improve its vaccine manufacturing and delivery system, and strengthen public health institutions.
8th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents told to minimise travel as variant cases rise

Greater Manchester and Lancashire are to receive a "strengthened package of support" to tackle a rise in the Delta coronavirus variant, Matt Hancock has announced - with residents told to minimise travel. Addressing the Commons, the health secretary said: "I can tell the House that today, working with local authorities, we are providing a strengthened package of support based on what is working in Bolton to help Greater Manchester and Lancashire tackle the rise in the Delta variant that we are seeing there."
8th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Charity awarded funding to help over 50s living in Northumberland to prepare for a Covid reset

Age UK, based in Ashington, Northumberland has received funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to run a new project that will help older people in the county get back to a 'new normal' way of life. The 12-month project, 'A time to live – Covid reset and beyond,' will focus on supporting older individuals as the region begins to return to normal times following the coronavirus pandemic. The project will provide a range of activities, exercise classes, befriending services, practical and bereavement support.
8th Jun 2021 - inyourarea.co.uk

Ghosts in the machine: Malicious bots spread COVID untruths

Malicious bots, or automated software that simulates human activity on social media platforms, are the primary drivers of COVID-19 misinformation, spreading myths and seeding public health distrust exponentially faster than human users could, suggests a study published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Led by University of California at San Diego (UCSD) researchers, a team analyzed a sample of roughly 300,000 posts on heavily bot-influenced public Facebook groups to measure how quickly the posts' links were shared. When multiple accounts share links within seconds of each other, it is a sign of bot accounts controlled by a computer program that coordinates their operations. The researchers found that the most heavily bot-influenced Facebook groups shared identical links within, on average, 4.28 seconds, versus 4.35 hours for the least-influenced groups. Heavily influenced groups were considered those that hosted identical links at least five times, with at least half of them posted within 10 seconds.
8th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Red Cross to provide emergency support to thousands in Myanmar

The Myanmar Red Cross has said it was stepping up emergency support to hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the upheaval resulting from the military coup on February 1. The organisation, part of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), estimates about 236,000 people across Myanmar are facing worsening poverty and in urgent need of food relief and cash assistance, it said on Tuesday.
8th Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

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Hundreds of former leaders urge G7 to vaccinate poor against Covid-19

One hundred former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have urged the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations to pay for global coronavirus vaccinations to help stop the virus mutating and returning as a worldwide threat. The leaders made their appeal ahead of a G7 summit in England which begins on Friday, when US President Joe Biden will meet the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. It's the first time the G7 leaders have met since the start of the pandemic. The three-day summit will cover a range of issues, with a particular focus on how the group can lead the global recovery from coronavirus. In their letter to the G7, the former world leaders said global cooperation had failed in 2020, but that 2021 could usher in a new era.
7th Jun 2021 - CNN

COVID-19 misinformation was mainly spread online by bots in Facebook groups, study finds

Bot accounts used Facebook groups to quickly and massively distribute misinformation, a new study claims. Researchers looked at posts about a Danish study that found inconclusive data as to whether or not wearing a mask reduced transmission of COVID-19. Bot-created posts misinterpreted the findings and claimed masks were harmful to their wearer - a conclusion that never appears in the research. Not all public health experts agree that Facebook and other social media platforms should 'censor' misinformation
7th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Honda India Foundation opens COVID-19 isolation centres in Haryana & Rajasthan

Facilitating healthcare infrastructure and support for COVID-19 patients, Honda India Foundation has set up COVID care isolation centres in the states of Haryana and Rajasthan. With a focus on medical support and care for patients, especially in rural areas, the foundation has already started operations at these centres with a capacity of 100 beds at Naurangpur (Haryana) and 50 beds at Tapukara (Rajasthan) respectively. The two facilities, set-up in association with Haryana and Rajasthan state governments, have round the clock supervision by trained doctors and nurses along with other medical arrangements.
7th Jun 2021 - Manufacturing Today

78 percent of unvaccinated Americans unlikely to change their minds: Gallup

More than 3 in 4 Americans who have yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine say it is unlikely they ever will, according to a new poll. Among U.S. adults who do not plan to be vaccinated, 78 percent said in a Gallup poll released Monday they are unlikely to reconsider their plans. Roughly half — 51 percent — indicated they are "not likely at all" to change their mind and get vaccinated. Overall, just 1 in 5 vaccine-reluctant adults said they are open to reconsidering, with 2 percent saying they are "very likely" and 19 percent saying they are "somewhat likely" to ever get inoculated.
7th Jun 2021 - The Hill

With Covid-19, as with HIV, science and partnerships with communities lead the way

Like so many of her generation, Josephine Nabukenya wasn’t aware of her HIV status during her early childhood in Uganda. But when she was 8 years old, she came across a letter written by her mother that revealed the devastating news: Josephine and her mother and father were all living with HIV. Josephine was HIV-positive at birth. Now a 27-year-old youth worker at the Makerere University Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration in Kampala, Uganda, Josephine is one of the hundreds of thousands of children who belong to a generation born HIV-positive but who are alive today due to the power of antiretroviral medication — and political activism.
7th Jun 2021 - STAT News

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Praise for Oldham volunteers during Covid pandemic

A charity which has served the community in Oldham during the coronavirus pandemic has spoken about the value of its "invaluable" volunteers in leading the efforts. Action Together acted as a network before the health crisis, signposting people in the borough to causes that could help them. But following the demand for support during the pandemic, Action Together started taking on its own emergency response volunteers. And they have proved to be imperative in Oldham's fight against the virus. During June, the charity is holding a month of celebration in honour to volunteers who have supported the areas.
6th Jun 2021 - The Oldham Times

If we can vaccinate the world, we can beat the climate crisis

It would only cost $50bn to ensure 40% of the world’s population is vaccinated by the end of the year, and 60% by the first half of 2022. This is a recent estimate from the IMF, the latest institution to join a chorus of voices calling for a global vaccination programme to bring Covid-19 under control. The IMF has highlighted the economic benefits of global vaccines, which would be huge. But there is another powerful reason for a worldwide campaign. Vaccinating the world will be crucial if countries are going to act together to confront the climate crisis, which will require many of the same things as delivering vaccines: resources, innovation, ingenuity and a true partnership between rich and developing countries. The Cop26 climate conference in November will be an opportune moment for building this partnership. But to do so, rich countries need to deliver on their early promises to deliver global vaccines.
5th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Coordination was the right path for the EU's vaccine strategy, but lessons need to be learned

The EU’s vaccination campaign has gathered pace and is expected to further accelerate in the coming weeks following a surge in available vaccines. This gain in momentum is sorely needed: there is much public frustration over the EU being outpaced by countries like Israel, the United States and—probably most painfully—its former member, the United Kingdom. Inevitably, the question arose whether the EU was acting smartly by attaining and distributing vaccines as a joint effort rather than having member states negotiate contracts individually.
5th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

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Rabbit holes of information on social media ‘make users less willing to get jab’

People who use social media to obtain information are less willing to receive a coronavirus vaccine due to the “rabbit holes” of hesitancy they find themselves stuck in, according to a study. Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Southampton said some users see content suggestions “aligned with their fears”, creating an “echo chamber” effect, naming video-sharing website YouTube as a particular concern. Recommendations appear based on a person’s viewing history.
3rd Jun 2021 - Evening Standard

Brazilians bang pots in protest as 2,500 more die of COVID-19

Pot-banging protests have erupted across several cities in Brazil as President Jair Bolsonaro addressed the nation, just days after protesters took to the streets over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed almost half a million people in the country. The last few days have been rocky for the right-wing leader, whose popularity had already been flagging amid persistently high daily COVID-19 deaths and cases.
3rd Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Indian doctors protest herbal treatments being touted for COVID-19

As India struggles with one of the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks, thousands of doctors across the nation fighting to save patients amid shortages of oxygen, medicine, and vaccines wore black armbands yesterday to call for the arrest of India's most popular yoga televangelist. Baba Ramdev, founder of a traditional medicine empire, is peddling unproven herbal pills and yoga cures for COVID-19, while calling modern drugs “stupid" and blaming the country’s hundreds of thousands of coronavirus deaths on modern medicine. But far from being fringe, Ramdev has close ties to India’s Hindu nationalist government and has enjoyed the support of the health minister. Since the pandemic began last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been aggressively promoting Ayurveda—a traditional system of medicine with deep links to Hinduism that originated 5,000 years ago and is still widely practiced by hundreds of millions of Indians. Ayurveda uses plant-derived products, yoga, diet, and behaviour changes to treat the mind and body, and is included in India’s official COVID-19 management protocol as a prevention and cure for the pandemic.
3rd Jun 2021 - National Geographic UK

UK to remove Portugal from safe travel list in blow for airlines - BBC

Britain removed Portugal from its quarantine-free travel list on Thursday, essentially shutting down the UK's international leisure market just weeks after it reopened and sparking outrage from embattled airlines. The industry questioned why British people could not travel when the country had some of the highest vaccine rates in the world. Portugal said the decision lacked logic. Airports demanded a cash lifeline. Transport minister Grant Shapps said however that coronavirus variants had been detected in Portugal, forcing the UK to shut off the one big European holiday destination it had sanctioned and prioritise its national reopening instead.
3rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

COVID Discord group helps Indians find oxygen, answers, and community

Arnab Biswas first noticed the cries for help on Instagram. In mid-April, the 25-year-old started re-sharing stories of people looking for life-saving resources to fight COVID, like ventilators and oxygen cylinders, in his home country of India. However, being an Instagram intermediary soon became unmanageable as requests flooded in. So he turned to Discord, a group chat service, to connect people who had essentials with those with COVID or trying to save people suffering from the disease. He found a better digital solution to an ever-growing problem as COVID cases rose precipitously during India's deadly second COVID wave, resources dwindled, and misinformation flourished. Now, less than two months later, the chat group called "COVID Fighters (India)" has attracted more than 12,000 members throughout the country.
3rd Jun 2021 - Mashable

Indonesia cancels Hajj again amid concerns over COVID

Indonesia has cancelled the Hajj pilgrimage for people in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation for a second year in a row, due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. For many Indonesians, the pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with an average wait time of 20 years due to a quota system. “Due to the pandemic and for the safety of the pilgrims, the government has decided that this year it won’t allow Indonesian pilgrims to go again,” the minister of religious affairs, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, said in a statement on Thursday. Yaqut said Saudi Arabia had not opened access to the Hajj.
3rd Jun 2021 - Aljazeera.com

The World Should Learn From India’s Covid-19 Cataclysm

In cities at least, India’s nightmarish second wave of Covid-19 finally seems to be ebbing. Delhi has brought its test positivity rate below 2% for the first time in two months. The pandemic’s scars won’t be easily erased, however — and they should be a warning to other developing nations. Those countries must learn from India’s experience if they don’t want to repeat it. The first and most obvious lesson is to avoid overconfidence. A relatively small change in how transmissible the novel coronavirus is can have large, non-linear effects on how fast it spreads. That means strategies that kept the pandemic at bay in 2020 won’t necessarily work in 2021. As new variants emerge, health authorities might need to lock down more firmly and in a more targeted fashion to remain safe.
31st May 2021 - Bloomberg

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New Mexico Announces $5 Million Award for Vaccination

When the book is written about how states across the country tried to persuade people to get coronavirus vaccines, it will not accuse New Mexico of being subtle. On Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a lottery program through which the state will award cash prizes totaling $10 million, including a $5 million grand prize — among the largest single cash awards being offered by any state with a similar program. New Mexico’s program is called Vax to the Max. And its website does not downplay the program’s key enticement: “Get Vaccinated for Your Chance to Win the Grand Prize of $5,000,000!!!” a headline blares. Further down on the website is a large pile of $100 bills. As Governor Grisham wrote on Twitter: “Register to win! And let’s keep N.M. safe and healthy!”
2nd Jun 2021 - The New York Times

Free beer, other new incentives for Biden’s ‘vaccine sprint’

Dangling everything from sports tickets to a free beer, President Joe Biden is looking for that extra something — anything — that will get people to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 shots when the promise of a life-saving vaccine by itself hasn’t been enough. Biden on Wednesday announced a “month of action” to urge more Americans to get vaccinated before the July 4 holiday, including an early summer sprint of incentives and a slew of new steps to ease barriers and make getting shots more appealing to those who haven’t received them. He is closing in on his goal of getting 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day — essential to his aim of returning the nation to something approaching a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy this summer.
2nd Jun 2021 - Associated Press

Sudan initiative harnesses youth, medical savvy to fight Covid at community level

Two US-based Sudanese doctors have created a grassroots programme using a video mentoring system to deploy volunteer medical students across Sudan to help Covid-19 sufferers in their homes. Sudan is still recovering after a 30-year dictatorship and does not have the infrastructure to tackle the Covid crisis at the local level, says Dr Nada Fadul, one of the co-founders of Sudan’s Community Medical Response Team (CMRT). “We leveraged youth organisations that led to Sudan succeeding in overthrowing this dictator, finding that energy, directing it into a new channel to help get the country over this crisis,” says Fadul, an infectious disease physician at the University of Nebraska in the US. Medical students, many of whom were sitting at home because of Covid-19 school closures, already had the trust of community members in their neighbourhood, along with the energy, knowledge and training.
2nd Jun 2021 - RFI

Covid Community champs to deliver key health messages

Training is under way for Covid Community Champions to ensure key health messages are provided about the pandemic. The champions have also prepared videos to highlight the importance of surge testing and vaccine availability. Covid Community Champions are people from all areas of Blackburn with Darwen, from different cultural backgrounds and across age groups who all want to make a difference in their neighbourhoods and help local communities recover from the damaging impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
2nd Jun 2021 - Lancashire Telegraph

Covid: India's Sikh community steps up amid pandemic

Harteerath Singh, who lives in the northern Indian city of Gurgaon, has contracted the coronavirus twice. In both instances, he took some time to recover, only to return and lead his nonprofit organization's work on the ground. The Hemkunt Foundation was set up by Harteerath's father in 2010, but this year, the NGO was catapulted into the limelight after it provided thousands of oxygen cylinders — free of cost — to COVID patients who were facing breathing difficulties. This organization is not alone in providing humanitarian aid amid India's COVID crisis. The UK-based international nonprofit Khalsa Aid and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) are also carrying out on-the-ground relief work to bridge gaps in medical supplies. There is one common thread that ties these organizations — their faith.
2nd Jun 2021 - Deutsche Welle

COVID: Thousands of Indian children orphaned by pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has devastated families across India, has left thousands of children orphaned or without one parent. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1,700 children have lost both parents, while 140 have been abandoned and more than 7,400 have lost one of their parents to the virus, according to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The NCPCR submitted the report to the Supreme Court on Monday, detailing the problems of children orphaned during the pandemic and the need to provide them with food, shelter and clothing. The northern state of Uttar Pradesh reported 2,110 children who were orphaned, lost one parent or were abandoned, followed by Bihar at 1,327 and Kerala at 952, according to government data. Child rights activists believe that this number is likely a significant underestimate. In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government last week announced measures to help orphaned children, with around 1 million rupees (€11,220, $13,700) set aside to be given to each child as a stipend, from the ages of 18 to 23. The funds would be offered from the PM-CARES scheme.
2nd Jun 2021 - Deutsche Welle

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Turkey eases COVID-19 measures, partly re-opens restaurants

Turkey further eased measures meant to curb coronavirus infections on Monday including partially lifting a weekend lockdown and opening restaurants to a limited number of guests. President Tayyip Erdogan said the lighter measures, in response to falling cases, would go into effect Tuesday. Under the new rules, nationwide daily curfews are delayed by an hour to 10 p.m. Erdogan lifted virtually all social restrictions in March but backtracked in April when daily cases soared above 60,000, making Turkey briefly second globally. A partial lockdown was imposed from the end of April to May 17.
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Roma mistrust in governments is an obstacle to COVID-19 recovery

As countries across Europe race each other to vaccinate their populations against COVID-19 in the hopes of controlling the spread of the deadly virus and restoring some sense of normality, there is a danger that our already vulnerable and marginalised Roma communities will fall through the cracks. There are more than 12 million Roma in Europe, making up the continent’s largest minority. In some European countries, such as Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, Roma comprise almost 10 percent of the population. Therefore, if Europe is to defeat COVID-19, it is essential for Roma communities to take up the vaccine.
1st Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

COVID-19: Major shopping centre forced to close as anti-lockdown protest causes 'significant disruption'

Anti-lockdown protesters caused one of the UK's biggest shopping centres to close early on Saturday after forcing their way inside. Demonstrators clashed with police as they pushed to get into Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush, west London. Officers started forming a protective line around the centre at about 4.30pm as the protest became heated and police were seen using batons to keep demonstrators back. Some still managed to force their way into the building and footage shows crowds standing on tables and chanting "What do you want? Freedom! When do you want it? Now!"
30th May 2021 - Sky News

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Antivaccine activists use a government database on side effects to scare the public

On 5 May, Fox News host Tucker Carlson delivered a 10-minute monologue casting doubt on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines on his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight. He announced that almost 4000 people had died after getting COVID-19 vaccines, and added that those data “comes from VAERS,”—the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, a U.S. government program that collects reports of side effects possibly caused by vaccines. It was a misleading statement. The reporting of a death to VAERS indicates nothing about what caused it, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) subsequent investigations have found no indication that deaths were caused by COVID-19 vaccines, save in a small subset with an extremely rare clotting disorder linked to one vaccine. But the TV segment pulled VAERS, a 31-year-old early warning system widely relied on by scientists, even deeper into the culture wars over vaccination. After the broadcast, a new phalanx of antivaccine activists began plumbing VAERS for data to scare the public about vaccination, says Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a left-leaning nonprofit that is monitoring anti–COVID-19 vaccine activity on social media. “We have been tracking these attacks since February and this one resonated in a different way after Tucker hit it,” Carusone says.
29th May 2021 - Science Magazine

Florida rock concert tickets are $18 if you're vaccinated – $1,000 if you're not

Fans looking to see punk bands Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin in St. Petersburg, Fla., on June 26 will have to spend just $18 to get in if they’re vaccinated — while unvaccinated attendees will be charged $999.99 per ticket. “To be eligible for the DISCOUNT, you will need to bring a government issued photo ID and your PHYSICAL COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card,” the website where tickets can be purchased states. “We’re just trying to do a show safely. And they should go out and get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families and their community,” promoter Paul Williams told WFTS.
29th May 2021 - The Hill

Hong Kong tycoons offer $1 million flat to boost Covid jabs

Hong Kongers reluctant to get the coronavirus jab have been given a million-dollar reason to roll up their sleeves after property tycoons donated a brand new flat to a vaccine lottery. Worth HK$10.8 million (US$1.4 million), the one-bedroom apartment will be the lucky draw's grand prize, the property developers announced Friday. They will also offer 20 other prizes worth HK$100,000 each. Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world to have secured more than enough doses to inoculate all 7.5 million people. But rampant distrust of the government combined with a lack of urgency in a comparatively virus-free city -- has led to hesitancy and a dismally lagging inoculation drive.
29th May 2021 - Yahoo News

Brazilians stage nationwide protests against President Bolsonaro's COVID response

Brazilians staged protests against President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in at least 16 cities across the country on Saturday, carrying signs such as "Out with Bolsonaro" and "Impeachment now." Bolsonaro's popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 460,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader played down its severity, dismissed mask wearing and cast doubt on the importance of vaccines.
29th May 2021 - Reuters

The COVID evictions ban is ending – and renters face an uncertain future

In less than a week, the COVID evictions ban in England will end, opening the doors to bailiff enforcement and setting the stage for a likely surge in court action by landlords seeking to oust their tenants. Many of these evictions will be under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 – so-called ‘no fault’ evictions – despite the fact the government first committed to abolishing Section 21 evictions more than two years ago. Then-housing secretary James Brokenshire announced the plans would stop private landlords from simply evicting tenants at the end of a fixed-term tenancy contract ‘without good reason’, effectively creating open-ended tenancies, in the words of the government.
28th May 2021 - Open Democracy

No COVID-19 cases found after well-controlled indoor concert

No attendees at an indoor concert that employed rapid COVID-19 lateral-flow screening, N95 respirators, and a well-ventilated venue tested positive for COVID-19 in the next 8 days, showing no increased virus transmission risk associated with the event, according to preliminary findings from a randomized, controlled trial published yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
28th May 2021 - CIDRAP

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How Native Americans launched successful coronavirus vaccination drives: ‘A story of resilience’

Native American tribes, among the hardest-hit by covid-19, are celebrating a pandemic success story. Navajo Nation, the largest of the 574 Indian tribes in the United States, is now about 70 percent fully vaccinated, according to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. Other tribes are reporting similar numbers. By late March, Blackfeet Nation in Montana reported that 95 percent of its population had received its first vaccine dose. The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation’s vaccine drive went so well that leaders offered surplus doses to a neighboring school district. The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi, with 70 percent of its eligible population fully vaccinated, is nearing herd immunity. Tribal leaders attribute this success to several factors, including tribal sovereignty, which gave tribes the flexibility to create their own methods of distributing the vaccine, and cultural values that prioritize elders and community.
27th May 2021 - The Washington Post

Mobile clinics help get vaccine to homeless community

The Vermont Health Department is working with community groups around the state to help Vermonters experiencing homelessness get vaccinated against COVID-19. A team from Community Health Centers of Burlington is helping to distribute the vaccine in Chittenden County, Vermont Public Radio reported. On a recent day, the team arrived at the Committee On Temporary Shelter or COTS daystation around noon in an outreach van to give nine people their second Pfizer doses. They had a supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccines for walk-ins. They also go to motels housing people who are homeless during the pandemic.
27th May 2021 - Associated Press

Covid-19 vaccine booking opens for everyone over 18 in NI

Covid-19 vaccinations have been made available to everyone over the age of 18 in Northern Ireland. Appointments are available to book online on the Health and Social Care website and by telephone. More than one million people in Northern Ireland have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. The Department of Health said vaccine supplies had become limited and 20,000 slots would be available each week. The limit is to help manage the availability of the Pfizer vaccine after regulators said under 40s should be given an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the department said.
27th May 2021 - BBC News

Age UK's Befriending Service's £31k National Lottery win will help combat loneliness and isolation among Bromsgrove's older people

A scheme aimed at eradicating loneliness, isolation and loss of confidence among older people caused by the pandemic has been given a £31,000 National Lottery funding boost. The cash was awarded to Age UK Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest to support its Befriending service. The charity supports people aged 50 and over in North Worcestershire and will use the money to support members of the communities, helping them overcome some of the longer-term effects of Covid-19. Befriending is one of the charity’s core charitable services, providing local people with friendship and support through regular calls or visits from a volunteer.
27th May 2021 - Bromsgrove Standard

Facebook won’t remove posts claiming Covid-19 is man-made

Facebook says it will no longer remove claims that COVID-19 is human-made or manufactured “in light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts.” There is rising pressure worldwide to investigate the origins of the pandemic, including the possibility that it came from a lab. Since the pandemic began, Facebook has been changing what it allows on the topic and what it bans. In February, it announced a host of new claims it would be prohibiting -- including that COVID-19 was created in a Chinese lab. Other claims it added at the time included the false notion that vaccines are not effective or that they are toxic.
27th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Ohio announces 1st $1 million Vax-a-Million lottery winner

A southwestern Ohio woman won the state’s first $1 million Vax-a-Million vaccination incentive prize, while a Dayton-area teen was awarded the first full-ride college scholarship offered by the program, the state announced Wednesday night. The winners were selected in a random drawing Monday and had their information confirmed before the formal announcement at the end of the Ohio Lottery’s Cash Explosion TV show. The lottery announced that Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton near Cincinnati was the $1 million winner, while Joseph Costello of Englewood near Dayton was the college scholarship winner.
27th May 2021 - Associated Press

The CDC’s latest blunder is really about trust, not masks

The announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear face coverings indoors, unless specified by their states or local jurisdictions, triggered a backlash from public health experts. They called the new guidelines premature — rightly so — and said that the coordination and rollout should have been better planned with the states and the rest of the Biden administration. While the criticism is accurate, the guidelines reveal another deep problem that the CDC can’t fix on its own: Americans don’t trust each other, and around half don’t fully trust the CDC.
27th May 2021 - STAT News

India’s Covid vaccine rollout favours the wealthy and tech-savvy

When all Indian adults became eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations on May 1, Postcard Hotels & Resorts, a boutique hotel chain, swung into action to get its staff inoculated. Managers scoured the country’s online jab-booking platform, Co-win, to secure appointments. Hotel cars ferried workers to clinics as far as two hours away. The company paid for the inoculations, some of which cost as much as Rs1,300 (£13) per dose. Within a week, 200 employees had received a first dose. “We ran it like an army operation,” said Kapil Chopra, the company’s founder and chief executive. “I did it for the safety of my team, which is in the line of fire.”
26th May 2021 - Financial Times

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Coronavirus vaccine conspiracy leaflets packed with 'disturbing' claims are circulating in Bristol

Pamphlets packed with "disturbing" claims about the coronavirus vaccine are being spread in parts of Bristol. One recipient posted a picture of the leaflet on social media platform Reddit yesterday (Tuesday, May 25), and said they were being handed out along Stapleton Road in Easton. Others reported receiving copies posted through their letterboxes, while another said they had been distributed in their workplace at a Fishponds pub. Headlined 'the mark of the beast 666', the pages and pages of text urge people not to get jabbed, voicing outlandish conspiracy theories about nanotechnology, 5G, a "media hoax" and "gene editing technology". It makes references to the Bible and false claims that the vaccine roll-out is a ploy by "Freemasons who worship Satan" to seize control of people, warning that anyone who takes it will "go to hell". Leaflets making similar claims have been reported elsewhere in the UK during the pandemic, though it is not clear which person or group is behind those circulating in Bristol.
26th May 2021 - Bristol Live

Covid-19 time limit on indoor dining makes no sense, say publicans

Imposing a 105-minute limit on customers dining indoors makes “no sense” and will encourage pub crawls, bar and restaurant owners have said. It is understood that guidelines for indoor dining, due to be published today, will say that there will be no time limit on outdoor dining, but customers will only be able to dine indoors for an hour and 45 minutes. One-metre distancing will be put in place between tables, with a limit of six people per booking, for both indoors and outdoors.
26th May 2021 - The Times

COVID-19: Risk of death in Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities higher in second wave, new data says

Mortality rates for people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds in England increased during the second COVID-19 wave, while other ethnic groups saw a drop in relative risk compared to white Britons, new figures suggest. Most people from ethnically diverse backgrounds remained at higher risk of death involving COVID-19 compared to white Britons, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). However, the mortality rate changed between the first and second wave.
26th May 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: Public debate is needed to decide how UK will live with SARS-CoV-2, says ethics collaborative

As the UK eases its covid-19 restrictions, and the initial two-dose vaccination rollout nears its end, more radical forms of public engagement will be essential when resolving the difficult questions about how the country will live with SARS-CoV-2, the UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator collaborative has said. As part of the collaborative, researchers from the universities of Oxford, Bristol, Edinburgh, and University College London considered some of the challenging ethical questions that the pandemic has raised. The accelerator has been funded by £1.4m from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as part of the rapid response to covid of UK Research and Innovation, the non-departmental government body that directs research and innovation funding. The pandemic has resulted in 130 000 covid-19 deaths in the UK and three million worldwide. Many people have also been affected by long covid.
26th May 2021 - The BMJ

South Tyneside to use £500,000 recruiting 'Community Champions' to protect against Covid

A fresh call has been made for ‘Covid Community Champions’ to help keep at-risk groups safe from coronavirus in South Tyneside. More than £500,000 has already been secured by South Tyneside Council to fund the scheme which aims to tackle misinformation around the virus. The community champions provide up-to-date, accurate health information to help people correctly follow Government guidance as the world begins to open up. Working in partnership with the third sector and local voluntary sector umbrella organisation, Inspire South Tyneside, some funds have already been allocated to charities and groups to carry out communications with at-risk groups.
26th May 2021 - ChronicleLive

'Tackling loneliness' - Wildlife Trust's £880k plan for coronavirus recovery

A project designed to fight the isolation and loneliness caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has been announced today, after Morecambe Bay was awarded £880,000 in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Around 400 people experiencing poor mental health will be prescribed nature by GPs and other health care professionals. People referred to the project will spend time surrounded by the natural beauty of Morecambe Bay, with growing evidence showing that more time in nature helps improve mental health.
26th May 2021 - nwemail.co.uk

Experts question Olympic COVID readiness, ask WHO to weigh in

A group of infectious disease experts yesterday raised concerns about several gaps in the International Olympic Committee's (IOC's) COVID-19 protocols, and they called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to convene an emergency committee to weigh the risks and make recommendations for the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. If a WHO emergency committee takes up the issue, it would mark the second time in recent years that international experts have tackled the safety of the Summer Games. In 2016, a WHO emergency committee weighed in on the Zika threat to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, saying that the event—by comparison, a relatively modest mosquito-borne outbreak—posed a very low threat.
26th May 2021 - CIDRAP

Why India’s doctors are furious over yoga guru Ramdev’s remarks

Doctors fighting a ferocious second wave of the coronavirus in India are furious over “insulting and insensitive” remarks made by a yoga guru and businessman, with their union serving a defamation notice and demanding an “apology within 15 days”. “Allopathy is a stupid and bankrupt science. First Chloroquine failed, then Remdesivir failed, then their antibiotics failed, then steroids, now a ban has been imposed on plasma therapy. Now they are prescribing Fabiflu which too has failed,” Ram Kisan Yadav, aka Baba Ramdev, told his followers last week.
26th May 2021 - AlJazeera

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MP Sarah Atherton celebrates Wrexham's covid community champions

Wrexham's MP Sarah Atherton has celebrated local Covid community champions. In April, Ms Atherton launched a campaign to celebrate those in the town and the surrounding area that have given back to the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Atherton has now announced the winners of her search for Wrexham’s ‘Covid Champions’, saying that she had “so many amazing nominations, all of whom showed that Wrexham’s community-minded spirit had in no way subsided during the pandemic.”
25th May 2021 - LeaderLive

Schools try pep-rally tactics to get students vaccinated

A growing number of public schools are using mascots, food trucks and prize giveaways to create a pep-rally atmosphere aimed at encouraging students to get vaccinated against the coronavirus before summer vacation. Districts from California to Michigan are offering free prom tickets and deploying mobile vaccination teams to schools to inoculate students 12 and up so everyone can return to classrooms in the fall. They are also enlisting students who have gotten shots to press their friends to do the same. Officials are concerned that once school lets out, it will be even tougher to get enough teens vaccinated in time to guarantee widespread immunity on campuses.
25th May 2021 - Associated Press

White House encourages COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Today Andy Slavitt, the White House senior advisor for COVID-19 response, said during a White House press briefing on the pandemic that he was inspired by Ohio's "Vax-A-Million" lottery, which will award $1 million to a person each week for 5 weeks, with winners drawn at random with proof of vaccination. Slavitt said since the program was announced by Gov. Mike DeWine, the state has seen a 55% increase in 20- to 49-year-olds getting vaccinated, and in several counties rates of vaccination have doubled. "In other words, this program is working," Slavitt said. Maryland, New York, and Oregon have announced similar programs, and Slavitt said the Biden administration, via the American Rescue Plan, is encouraging states to get creative in offering cash incentives, lottery winnings, or other prizes as a way to draw attention to the vaccine.
25th May 2021 - CIDRAP

In NYC’s furthest flung neighborhood, vaccine a tough sell

If there’s one place where people could fear the coronavirus more than a vaccination needle, it’s the Far Rockaway section of Queens: Nearly 460 residents of the seaside neighborhood have died of COVID-19. That’s one out of every 146 people who live there, making for one of New York City’s highest death rates. And yet, no other place in the city has a lower percentage of vaccinated people. As of Monday, only 29% of people living Far Rockaway’s ZIP code, 11691, had received even one vaccine dose, according to data from the New York City Health Department. That compares to a rate of 49% citywide and nationally. The situation in the community of around 67,000 people illustrates the challenges facing health officials in many places as they try to overcome hesitancy fueled by mistrust, misinformation and fear.
25th May 2021 - Associated Press

COVID-19 vaccine acceptance rises but needs boost

UK researchers leading the first study, published yesterday in JAMA, sent online questionnaires to participants in the Understanding America Study every 14 to 28 days from Oct 14, 2020, to Mar 29, 2021. A total of 7,420 participants completed 42,154 questionnaires that asked how likely they were to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and how much they trusted "the governmental approval process to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for the public" and "the process in general (not just for COVID-19) to develop safe vaccines for the public." Estimated vaccine hesitancy dropped 10.8 percentage points, from 46% in October 2020 to 35.2% in March 2021. While substantial declines in hesitancy were seen in all demographic groups, the largest reductions were among Hispanic and Black participants (-15.8 percentage points, from 52.3% to 36.5%; -20.9 percentage points, from 63.9% to 43%)
25th May 2021 - CIDRAP

Social media heavyweights wooed for Pfizer smear campaign

Social media influencers in France with hundreds of thousands of followers say a mysterious advertising agency offered to pay them if they agreed to smear Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine with negative fake stories
25th May 2021 - ABCNews.go.com

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COVID-19: London's Vaxi Taxi scheme is driving vulnerable people to get their jabs

Throughout the pandemic, we have heard time and time again that "no one is safe until everyone is safe". That message is echoed by the London GP Dr Sharon Raymond, who is putting her words into action in the form of the Vaxi Taxi project, which helps vulnerable people access COVID-19 vaccinations. She started the initiative in February, through the COVID Crisis Rescue Foundation, which she is the director of. The foundation has partnered with NHS England and third sector organisations, like housing charities, to support people who have difficulties accessing healthcare. Black cabs pick people up and take them to pop-up vaccination centres, or they can receive their jab in the back of the taxi
24th May 2021 - Sky News

Covid: Newport and Merthyr Tydfil projects showcase lockdown arts and crafts

Creative communities have turned lockdown on its head by harnessing online platforms to make art more accessible to everyone. Some people have said that although lockdown has taken a lot of creative social spaces online, it has not stopped people getting involved. A continuing study has found people have turned to arts as "a form of coping". One woman said being part of a group had encouraged her to "keep going" whilst under restrictions. One group who moved online for lockdown is made up of over-60s who are part of a project run by The Reality Theatre Company in Newport. The aim is to tackle loneliness and isolation through creative projects. They have been organising a pantomime and a summer carnival over video calls.
24th May 2021 - BBC News

Revealed: Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy highest among among 25- to 34-year-olds as nearly one in 10 say they will refuse jab

Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy is highest among Ireland’s 25- to 34-year-olds, despite a growing majority of the population saying they will take the jab. A tracker poll on vaccine take-up shows nearly 9pc – almost one in ten – of 25- to 34-year-olds say they will not get the vaccine. And 12pc in this age group are unsure about accepting the jab, the latest poll from the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA), representing the big drug companies, shows today. Last month, 10pc of this age group said they would refuse a vaccine and 8pc were unsure. If this group turn down the offer of a vaccine, it would mean a substantial number of people will remain susceptible to the virus and be at risk of passing it on to others.
24th May 2021 - Independent.ie

Officials ‘hounded’ over PPE contract approval, High Court told

Senior officials in the UK were “hounding” colleagues over the approval of a PPE supply contract worth a quarter-of-a-billion pounds to a hedge fund with “close ties” to the Government the High Court has heard. The Good Law Project and EveryDoctor are bringing legal action against the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), claiming that contracts awarded to PestFix, Clandeboye and Ayanda Capital were given unlawfully at the height of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in April and May 2020. The two groups allege DHSC has failed to provide proper reasons for why the contracts were awarded and say the Government violated principles of equal treatment and transparency when making the deals worth more than £700 million.
20th May 2021 - Evening Standard

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The silent helpers who relieve COVID-related distress

An estimated one in 10 people who contracted COVID-19 needed some form of additional help from NGOs operating behind the scenes. Their problems ranged from access to food and medicine, handling children with special needs and challenging behaviour, even assistance with pets and farm animals, to loneliness and the “simple need for more attention”, said Tanya Melillo, who leads the Public Health Response Team. Her team is responsible for gathering contacts of positive cases and looking for the source, but they found themselves facing other problems caused by the pandemic and stepped in to help. Melillo’s case management morphed into a more humanitarian role as the team reached out to patients with the collaboration of NGOs. She expressed gratitude towards the Foodbank Lifeline Foundation and SOS Malta, who also helped them check in on the elderly and deliver food and medicines.
23rd May 2021 - Times of Malta

COVID-19: Just 15 people test positive among nearly 60,000 who attended trial mass gatherings, figures show

Just 15 people tested positive for coronavirus among nearly 60,000 who attended trials of mass gatherings including the FA Cup final and the Brit Awards, official figures show. Nine large-scale events were staged as part of the government's plan to allow for the return of big crowds this summer. Those who attended were exempt from certain coronavirus rules, such as the rule-of-six.
22nd May 2021 - Sky News

California to lift most COVID-19 limits, freeing up businesses

California will lift most remaining crowd-capacity limits and physical distancing requirements related to COVID-19 on June 15, proceeding to fully reopen its economy as the pandemic abates and vaccination rates rise, health officials said on Friday. The new policy will end California's complicated, color-coded system of tiered restrictions, imposed on a county-by-county basis last August. California, the most populous U.S. state with some 40 million people, was the first to impose statewide stay-at-home orders and mandatory business closures in March 2020 as the pandemic began to take hold.
22nd May 2021 - Reuters

France urges citizens to keep a lid on post-lockdown euphoria

French officials urged citizens not to let down their guard against COVID-19, after some people responded to the easing of restrictions by staging street parties late into the night. Starting on Wednesday, cafes and restaurants were allowed to serve customers in outside areas, and the nightly curfew was pushed back by two hours, to 9:00 pm (1900 GMT). In the city of Rennes, 350 km (217 miles) west of Paris, a large crowd of people danced around a bonfire in a central square after the 9:00 p.m. curfew fell on Wednesday evening, video footage posted on social media showed.
22nd May 2021 - Reuters

Workers struggle with COVID-19 mask guidance

Across the U.S., restaurant, retail, and grocery store workers are struggling to handle shifting mask guidance 1 week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated Americans no longer have to wear masks in most indoor settings. In the week since the CDC’s announcement, Kroger, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Macy's, Costco, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, and Target have all said vaccinated customers can ditch masks in states without mask mandates in place, according to the Associated Press. However, workers interviewed said they do not trust patrons to be honest about vaccination status. Workers wearing masks describe being yelled at, cussed at, and berated for wearing facial coverings
21st May 2021 - CIDRAP

Breaking evangelical resistance to coronavirus vaccines will be hard

Evangelicals make up one quarter of the United States population and they are the Americans least likely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Even as the Biden administration works fervently to overcome vaccine hesitancy and some in the evangelical community like Franklin Graham, son of legendary preacher Billy Graham, pledge to help them, they face a daunting task. The hurdle: For many evangelicals, the vaccine, and proof that you have had it, are tools of the Antichrist.
21st May 2021 - The Washington Post

Why Covax, the fund to vaccinate the world, is struggling

Early on in the pandemic, global health experts envisioned a nightmare scenario: Covid-19 vaccines are created, but they go almost exclusively to rich countries that can afford to buy them. People in poorer countries are left to get sick and die. To prevent this, the experts set up an international initiative called Covax, designed to make sure every country in the world gets access to vaccines regardless of its ability to pay. In the fall of 2020, Covax set a clear goal: Buy 2 billion doses and make them available to nations in need before the end of 2021. But we’re now nearly five months into the year, and Covax has delivered just over 68 million doses. In other words, it’s only 3.4 percent of the way to its goal.
20th May 2021 - Vox

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'Vax & Scratch' lottery scheme aims to up New York COVID-19 shots

You gotta get poked to win, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday, unveiling a $5 million lottery prize incentive for New Yorkers who get their first COVID-19 vaccination shots next week. The "Vax & Scratch" program provides free state lottery scratch-off tickets to New Yorkers age 18 and older who get a first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech, shot or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from May 24 to May 28.
21st May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccination hesitancy

Lack of confidence in vaccines for covid-19 poses direct and indirect threats to health, and could derail efforts to end the current pandemic. Concerns about unknown future effects, side effects, and a lack of trust are common reasons given by people who say they are unlikely to have a covid-19 vaccine. No single intervention is likely to be able to address vaccine hesitancy. Consider barriers to uptake of vaccination at a population level and in groups who have lower rates of vaccine uptake. Develop local approaches by engaging members of the community and co-producing communications and materials that meet population needs
20th May 2021 - The BMJ

Nearly 1 million excess deaths in 29 nations during pandemic

Nearly 1 million more people than normal died in 29 high-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to a time series study yesterday in BMJ. University of Oxford researchers led the study, which involved calculating weekly excess deaths for each included country in 2020, adjusting for age, sex, and seasonal and annual mortality trends in the previous 5 years. They estimated that 979,000 more people than expected died of all causes during the pandemic, with rates generally increasing with advancing age. All countries, except for Demark, New Zealand, and Norway, had more deaths than expected, especially in men. But the excess death rate in the United States was higher among women than men in the 85 and older age-group.
20th May 2021 - CDRAP

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Working mothers come together to make virtual learning work during pandemic

Nearly three million women left the workforce over the past year, according to CBS News. The number of working women dropped about one percent across the United States in 2020. While some were due to job loss or furloughs, others were because they had to stay home with kids for virtual learning. It is the tough reality so many parents faced this year - if they go to work full time, what will their kids do for virtual school? While some moms and dads quit jobs to stay home, one group of moms leaned on each other to get through. A group of five working moms each picked one day of the week to host all the kids at their house. Then, they were able to work the other four days.
19th May 2021 - MSN.com

YouTube and England's NHS join forces to tackle vaccine scepticism

England's National Health Service (NHS) has joined forces with YouTube to launch a campaign to counteract vaccine hesitancy among younger generations. The UK has vaccinated more 36 million people (53% of population) with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data. The 'Lets Not Go Back' campaign aims to drive credible information towards young people, in order to prepare the nation’s 18-34 year old's, for when they have the jab. The first of its kind campaign highlights the importance of getting vaccinated in the form of short videos, billboard and bus stop adverts. The campaign was spurred on by recent data from the ONS, which shows vaccine hesitancy rates are highest in younger people (13% of 16-29s) and almost double the national average in the UK (7%).
17th May 2021 - Euro News

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COVID-19: Thousands of British tourists head overseas - some ignore advice to avoid amber list countries

Thousands of British holidaymakers have started to fly out of the country - with some heading to amber list destinations - as the ban on overseas leisure travel is lifted in England, Wales and most of Scotland. Travel firms have reported a surge in demand for trips to Portugal, after the government put it on its green list - meaning travellers will not need to self-isolate on their return, and are only required to take one post-arrival COVID-19 test. However, some passengers catching flights at Gatwick Airport on Monday morning were travelling to amber list destinations - despite ministers warning against travel to amber and red list destinations.
18th May 2021 - Sky News

Excitement and anxiety on eve of New York City reopening

Bahar Bybordi remembers hearing a “code blue” every 10 to 15 minutes or so; it was the early days of the coronavirus pandemic at The Brooklyn Hospital Center – and that intercom message meant someone was dying or needed to be resuscitated. The frequent wailing of family members of the deceased would be so loud that Bybordi, on her breaks, would lock the door to her office and turn up the music to drown out the cries.
18th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Disparities in US COVID vaccine distribution spotlighted

Two studies today describe US COVID-19 vaccination disparities, one evaluating vaccine allocation plans aimed at reducing distribution differences, and the other revealing urban versus rural inequities. The first study, led by University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia researchers and published in Nature Medicine, involved analysis of COVID-19 vaccine allocation plans provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) 64 jurisdictions, which consist of 50 states, five large cities, eight territories, and Washington, DC. In the second study, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC researchers examined COVID-19 vaccination disparities in rural and urban US counties from Dec 14, 2020, to Apr 10, 2021. Specifically, they assessed county-level vaccine administration information on adults who received their first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in 49 states and Washington, DC.
18th May 2021 - CIDRAP

Ecuador: community education during the Covid pandemic

As Covid-19 ravaged Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, in the first months of the pandemic and spread through the rest of the country, smaller and more isolated communities were often the safest but forced to look to themselves to educate their children. As the photographer Johis Alarcón discovered on her visits to the indigenous village of San Clemente in the Andean highlands and the African-Ecuadorean hamlet of Playa de Oro in the coastal rainforest bordering Colombia, a renewed sense of community grew. Isolated populations were hit hardest by the closure of schools during the pandemic, which affected 4.6 million students, of whom two-thirds do not have internet access. The lack of smartphones, internet connectivity and a drop in income for their parents became a major obstacle to their continued schooling. The response was to relaunch community schools that promote their cultural identity and language, the protection of the local environment and whose teachers are also part of the community
18th May 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid-19: Thousands head overseas on holiday as rules ease

Thousands of British holidaymakers have begun taking advantage of the easing of lockdown rules on overseas travel. Travellers from England, Scotland and Wales are jetting off to some countries in what the crisis-hit tourism industry hopes is the start of a recovery. Travellers can now visit 12 countries on the government's green list, including Portugal and Israel, without isolating on their return. The bosses of British Airways and Ryanair said confidence was returning. The vast majority of tourist destinations remain on the amber and red lists, meaning travellers must quarantine when they get back. Bookings also remain well down on pre-pandemic levels
17th May 2021 - BBC News

Pop-up barista van combats loneliness in rural villages, one cup of coffee at a time

Rural Community Council, a charity based in Hinckley has launched a coffee van to travel across the county bringing people together over a cup of coffee. Last week, the Rural Coffee Connect van stopped in the village of Wing in Rutland, where High Sherrif of Rutland, David Wood, spent the morning with locals. "It was interesting to the number of people who came out," he said. "There were people there who otherwise might not talk to people during the week." Throughout the lockdown, weekly coffee mornings in the village had to stop. But the coffee van has offered residents a new alternative.
17th May 2021 - Leicestershire Live

Bengaluru Group Delivers Free, Fresh Meals To Families In Covid Isolation

With hospital beds hard to find as India battles a devastating second wave of Covid infections, asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms are being encouraged to isolate themselves at home. But the fatigue caused by the infection makes it difficult to find the energy to cook healthy meals. This is where a group of Bengaluru-based NGOs, CoronaCare Bengaluru, has stepped in with their service, 'Food to your doorstep'. As part of the initiative, fresh and nutritious meals are being provided for free to Covid patients in home isolation and their families. The meals are being cooked at various kitchens spread across the city and delivered to the doorstep.
17th May 2021 - NDTV

Joy for UK pubs and hugs tempered by rise in virus variant

Drinks were raised in toasts and reunited friends hugged each other as thousands of U.K. pubs and restaurants opened Monday for indoor service for the first time since early January. Yet the prime minister sounded a cautious tone, warning about a more contagious COVID-19 variant that threatens reopening plans. Theaters, leisure venues and museums were also reopening as part of the latest step in easing nationwide restrictions, raising hopes that Britain’s economy may soon start to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. Andy Frantzeskos, a chef at Nopi, an upmarket Mediterranean restaurant in London’s Soho district, said he felt “a bit of anxiousness ... but more excitement than anything.”
17th May 2021 - The Associated Press

In New Vaccination Push, Biden Leans on His ‘Community Corps’

The federal government has set up mass vaccination sites at stadiums, sent doses to pharmacies and clinics serving lower-income Americans, and, on Friday, enticed the unvaccinated with the prospect of finally being able to shed their masks. But with the ranks of the willing and able dwindling, the campaign has in many places already morphed into a door-to-door and person-by-person effort. The Black Doctors Covid-19 Consortium is one of about 11,000 members of what the Department of Health and Human Services is calling its Covid-19 community corps, a loose constellation of volunteers, corporations, advocacy groups and local organizations working to vaccinate Americans often left behind by the nation’s health care system.
17th May 2021 - The New York Times

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Police move revellers off streets as Barcelona parties after lockdown easing

Spanish police said they cleared 9,000 revellers from Barcelona's city centre streets and the nearby beach on Sunday to prevent dangerous overcrowding on the first full weekend after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Many in the crowd had taken part in mass drinking sessions known as "botellones", police said. Culture Minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, speaking at an event in Madrid, urged young people to continue to follow social distancing rules.
16th May 2021 - Reuters

Peterborough’s Sikh community raises thousands to support Covid relief effort in India

India is currently experiencing a deadly second wave of the virus that is stretching what is already a fragile health system in many areas of the country to breaking point. One of the main problems is the lack of space in hospitals and scarcity of oxygen supplies. To help with this, Sikhs from the Gurdwara Baba Budha Sahib Ji on Royce Road put out an appeal for help within the city’s Sikh community. In just over a week, they were able to raise £8000, which was presented as a cheque to Khalsa-Aid International
16th May 2021 - Peterborough Today

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021: Cambridgeshire charity opens up about supporting people through lockdown

Over the last year, living in and out of lockdowns and under a range of restrictions, it has become more important and apparent than ever before, that we need to take care of our mental health. Many people have suffered during the pandemic, from the anxiety of living through a global health pandemic to the feelings of loneliness and isolation as we were told to keep our distance from friends and family. One Cambridgeshire charity has been on the frontlines of this, helping those who are struggling with their mental health. Lifecraft has been in operation for around 25 years and is a user-led mental health organisation based in Cambridge. Given the pandemic, Lifecraft has had to adapt its services, moving face-to-face groups online and over the phone.
16th May 2021 - Cambridgeshire Live

Bradford's Hindu community rallies to support Covid-19 appeal in time of crisis

The Hindu community in Bradford has been contributing to national efforts to help those in India devastated by Covid-19. The country has been hit hard by the virus in recent weeks, with terrible scenes broadcast across the world. The Bradford Hindu Council (BHC) has been helping to fundraise for Sewa UK, which has been sending out things like oxygen concentrators (pictured above) and essential family kits, as well as supporting orphanages and elderly homes.
14th May 2021 - Telegraph & Argus

Critics of Tokyo Olympics submit petition urging cancellation

Critics of Japan’s plan to hold the Tokyo Olympics despite a fourth wave of coronavirus infections submitted a petition on Friday signed by 350,000 people over nine days calling for the Games to be cancelled. "Stop Tokyo Olympics" campaign organiser Kenji Utsunomiya said the global festival of sport - already postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic - should take place only when Japan can welcome visitors and athletes wholeheartedly.
14th May 2021 - Reuters

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th May 2021

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Covid 19 coronavirus: Vaccine conspiracy campaign raises $50,000 for 'misleading' flyer drop

An organisation attacking public faith in New Zealand's Covid-19 strategy claims it has raised $50,000 towards printing two million virus "fact" flyers to be dropped nationwide - and is considering printing more. The flyers, which Voices For Freedom intends to deliver to every letterbox in the country, outlines multiple conspiracy theories about Covid-19 vaccines and their effects. Their contents have been described as "misleading" and in some cases "palpably false". Voices For Freedom co-founder Claire Deeks claimed $50,000 had been raised from "hundreds of donors" for the mass drop. People across the country have contacted the Herald, saying they had received the flyer. A mass printing retailer estimated the cost of printing two million of these flyers would be about $30,000. When asked when she expected the entire two million flyers to be delivered, Deeks said the flyer drop would end when there were no more flyers, before suggesting more could be printed.
13th May 2021 - New Zealand Herald

NGOs set up isolation centre for poor COVID patients

In India, a host of voluntary organisations joined hands with the town-based Bodepudi Vignana Kendram (BVK) to lend a helping hand to COVID-19 patients from poor and lower middle-class families amid the unabated surge in COVID-19 cases. The BVK in association with the District NRI Foundation, the NRI Parents Association, Chetana Foundation and several other like-minded organisations and individuals have set up a COVID-19 isolation centre with 30 beds on the campus of a private school hostel at Gattaiah Centre
13th May 2021 - The Hindu

Vaccinated Americans can go maskless in most places: CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took a significant step in moving the United States beyond the COVID-19 pandemic by easing indoor and outdoor mask-wearing guidelines for fully vaccinated people on Thursday. The new guidance allows those who have been immunised to go mask-free in most places, the CDC announced, crediting data showing the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines that are being administered across the US. The CDC also no longer recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds.
13th May 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th May 2021

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COVID-19 pet boom has veterinarians backlogged, burned out

During the gloomiest stretches of the pandemic, Dr. Diona Krahn’s veterinary clinic has been a puppy fest, overrun with new four-legged patients. Typically, she’d get three or four new puppies a week, but between shelter adoptions and private purchases, the 2020 COVID-19 pet boom brought five to seven new clients a day to her practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. Many are first-time pet owners. Like many veterinarians across the country, she’s also been seeing more sick animals. To meet the demand, vets interviewed by The Associated Press have extended hours, hired additional staff and refused to take new patients, and they still can’t keep up. Burnout and fatigue are such a concern that some practices are hiring counselors to support their weary staffs. “Everyone is working beyond capacity at this point,” said Krahn, who added evening hours last year.
13th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Anti-Maskers Ready to Start Masking—To Protect Themselves From the Vaccinated

A conspiracy ripping through the anti-vax world may finally drive some anti-maskers to do the unthinkable: wear a mask and keep their distance. The conspiracy—which comes in several shapes and sizes—more or less says the vaccinated will “shed” certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects. The main worry is the “shedding” will cause irregular menstruation, infertility, and miscarriages. The entirely baseless idea is a key cog in a larger conspiracy that COVID-19 was a ploy to depopulate the world, and the vaccine is what will cull the masses.
12th May 2021 - VICE

Uber And Lyft Will Give Free Rides To COVID-19 Vaccination Spots, White House Says

Anyone needing a ride to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot will be able to get a free trip from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, the White House announced Tuesday, in the latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. "The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4," the White House said. People who want to use the program would need to select a vaccination site near them and then redeem the companies' offer of a free ride. The two ride-sharing firms will promote the offer in their apps. The initiative is a new facet of President Biden's push to ensure 70% of all U.S. adults get at least one vaccine shot by July 4.
12th May 2021 - NPR

'Want the COVID-19 vaccine? Have a U.S. visa?' Latinos travel north for the shot

"Want the COVID-19 vaccine? Have a U.S. visa? Contact us," reads a travel agency advertisement, offering deals to Mexicans to fly to the United States to get inoculated. From Mexico to far-flung Argentina, thousands of Latin Americans are booking flights to the United States to take advantage of one of the world's most successful vaccination campaigns, as rollouts in their own countries sputter. Latin America is one of the regions worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with the death toll set to pass 1 million this month, and many do not want to wait any longer for their turn to get vaccinated. Some people are going it alone, while others have tapped travel agencies, which have responded by offering packages that arrange the vaccine appointment, flights, hotel stay and even offer extras such as city and shopping tours.
12th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid pandemic should serve as ‘Chernobyl moment’ for global health reform, international experts say

The Covid-19 crisis should serve as a “Chernobyl moment” for global pandemic preparedness, triggering a series of actions to speed the end of this pandemic and to ensure it’s the last of its kind the world ever faces, according to a report from an international panel of experts. The report by the panel, which was established at the behest of member states of the World Health Organization, calls on wealthy countries with Covid vaccine to share their supplies in large volumes and quickly, with 1 billion doses donated by September and another 1 billion by the end of the year. The report calls for swift negotiations to lift intellectual property protections for Covid vaccines — and an automatic waiver if the negotiations fail to deliver within three months.
12th May 2021 - STAT News

‘We won’t be bouncing back’ – the unsettling truth about the big reopening

If we had to close down again,” says Andrew Lloyd Webber, “we couldn’t survive.” Webber is staging his new musical Cinderella, with book by Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell, in a full-capacity theatre in July, having already delayed its premiere twice. He has mortgaged his house in London and will be selling one of his seven theatres. “It cost £1m a month to keep them dark,” he says. “You can’t just lock them up and throw away the key. I don’t run the theatres for profit and there wasn’t a reserve.” Across the UK, the arts are reawakening after over 14 months of unprecedented disruption. As venues reopen – dates differ across the nations, though 17 May is a key date in Scotland and England – there will be much to celebrate, and many delights in store for audiences. But the pandemic hit culture and entertainment more severely than any other part of the economy, including hospitality, throwing fresh light on already deep inequalities.
12th May 2021 - The Guardian

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th May 2021

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One Good Thing: 98-year-old hosts virtual woman's group

When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the Levis Jewish Community Center last year, 98-year-old Trudy Berlin sprang into action to keep her weekly women’s group active. For Berlin, who began hosting “The Ladies Room” at the JCC’s Sandler Center in 2000, the show needed to go on. So with a little help from Stephanie Owitz, the Boca Raton, Florida, center’s director of arts, culture and learning, the show went virtual. “When the pandemic hit, of course, she was very disappointed we were shutting down the JCC,” Owitz said. Then, the center decided to make some classes, including Berlin’s, available on Zoom
11th May 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Hugs, indoor pints and friends at home as most of Scotland moved to level 2 of restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from 17 May in most of Scotland - with hugs for loved ones allowed again. The first minister moved most of the country down from Level 3 to Level 2, which means up to six people from three households can socialise indoors in a private home. And for the Scottish islands there was even better news. Ms Sturgeon said there, the situation was so under control that "we are able to ease restrictions there more quickly than we will do on the mainland".
11th May 2021 - Sky News

Foreigners return to Mount Everest as Nepal battles second COVID-19 wave

Foreigners climbed Mount Everest for the first time since Nepal’s government reopened the mountain after it was shut last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite recent coronavirus cases at its base camp. Thirty-eight climbers including ten Bahraini and two British mountaineers climbed the world's highest mountain on Tuesday, according to hiking companies. It comes as a few climbers were evacuated from the Everest base camp in April after they fell sick with COVID-19 symptoms as Nepal battles a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections.
11th May 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Global Justice Now activists protest outside AstraZeneca in Cambridge, calling for ‘People’s Vaccine’

Activists have blocked the entrance to an AstraZeneca building in Cambridge where its AGM is taking place and hung a banner demanding that its Covid-19 jab becomes a “People’s Vaccine’. Police made four arrests at the demonstration in Hills Road, held by Global Justice Now, which is demanding that the Cambridge-headquartered biopharmaceutical company openly licenses its Covid-19 vaccine and commits to sharing the technology and know-how with the World Health Organization (WHO).
11th May 2021 - Cambridge Independent

Paris catwalk shows to reopen in July after long COVID closure

Parisian catwalks reopen in July as the French government unwinds coronavirus lockdown measures, allowing live fashions show to resume, in fashion industry body announced on Tuesday. The annual Haute Couture Week will take place from July 5 to July 8 and fashion houses will be allowed to organise live shows and presentations, according to a statement from the French fashion industry body “Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode” on Tuesday. Depending on how the pandemic progresses, physical shows would be allowed to welcome guests, in line with government guidance on public events, it said.
11th May 2021 - Reuters

Eat out, work out, see a film: Belgium to ease lockdown

Belgium plans to ease nearly all lockdown measures from June 9 provided the country's vaccination campaign keeps up its momentum and the number of people in intensive care units remains under 500, the government said on Tuesday. The plans to reopen mark a turnaround for Belgium, home to NATO and the European Union headquarters. It has one of the world's highest per capita death rates from COVID-19, but its vaccination drive is now among the most efficient in the bloc. "The more people are vaccinated, the faster we will get our freedom back," Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a news conference.
11th May 2021 - Reuters

Hong Kong drops ‘discriminatory’ vaccine plan for foreign workers

Hong Kong has scrapped a plan to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for foreign domestic workers after the Philippines and labour groups criticised the proposal as discriminatory. Still, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, on Tuesday ordered another round of mandatory testing for all foreign domestic helpers as a “precaution” against more infectious variants of the coronavirus. Labour groups representing domestic workers also said they felt they were being singled out, noting that the families they worked for – as well as locals working in environments such as care homes – were not required to get vaccinated.
11th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Amazon, Salesforce execs weigh in on how tech can help with Covid — and how it can’t

For all the progress on Covid-19, we are still far from a post-pandemic world. “If you’re living on Planet Earth, I assure you the pandemic is not over,” Geeta Nayyar, executive medical director of Salesforce, said at the 2021 STAT Health Tech summit on Tuesday. “India and Brazil are great examples of the forest still being on fire. When we don’t go to help our fellow global neighbors, we can rest assured that the fire is spreading.” Everyone has an obligation to help, but tech companies in particular can have a huge, international impact on the response to Covid-19, she said. Together with Vin Gupta, chief medical officer for Amazon’s Covid-19 response, Nayyar outlined how health tech is well-suited to pitch in on the pandemic response, and also pointed to areas where the industry has to step back.
11th May 2021 - STAT News

NHS keyworkers fighting battle against COVID-19 go head-to-head for charity fundraiser

Frontline NHS workers from two Derbyshire GP practices are in a head-to-head fitness battle raising funds for end-of-life charity Treetops Hospice. More than 130 members of staff from Park Medical and Overdale surgeries – including those who helped prepare Derby Arena ahead of their mass Covid vaccination programme – are walking, jogging and cycling a total of 8,187 miles; the equivalent number of miles between Derby and Tokyo, where the postponed Olympic Games is set to take place.
11th May 2021 - Charity Today

Across faiths, US volunteers mobilize for India crisis

Volunteers at Hindu temples, Muslim groups and Sikh relief organizations across the United States are mobilizing to support India as the world’s second most populous country struggles to handle a devastating surge of the coronavirus. From coast to coast, faith groups tied to the Indian diaspora have collected hundreds of oxygen concentrators and electrical transformers to ship to overwhelmed hospitals, raised millions for everything from food to firewood for funeral pyres and gathered in prayer for spiritual support for the Asian nation.
11th May 2021 - Associated Press

Ethnic groups step in as Myanmar’s COVID response falls apart

As Myanmar’s national COVID-19 response collapses following a February 1 military coup, one ethnic armed organisation in the country’s north has quietly vaccinated 20,000 people in areas it governs, with support from across the border in China. The vaccines, produced by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, were supplied and administered with assistance from the Red Cross Society of China, a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The KIO is one of approximately 20 ethnic armed organisations operating along Myanmar’s borders with China, Thailand and India. Several of them have run their own COVID-19 responses from early on in the pandemic. Although the turmoil and intensifying civil war since the coup have disrupted their efforts, the KIO and Karen National Union (KNU), two of the country’s most well-established ethnic armed organisations, told Al Jazeera that they were continuing as much as possible
10th May 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th May 2021

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COVID-19 has only made loneliness worse among seniors. Here's how Anthem is tackling this issue

COVID-19 has only worsened social isolation, but Anthem is addressing senior's loneliness through a "wrap-around" program that encourages them to reach out. Through Member Connect, seniors are assigned a social care partner, who assists with connecting them to community services to address their social needs. They also have a phone pal, a volunteer Anthem associate who reaches out to them weekly.
10th May 2021 - Fierce Healthcare

Singing group provides 'lifeline' for members throughout lockdown as virtual rehearsals keep people connected

A singing group which moved online during lockdown has been a ‘lifeline’ for members by providing social opportunities and support. Fine Voice Academy, which has just moved into Portsmouth Guildhall, is a school of music and singing which has continued to meet virtually throughout the pandemic. Singers from age 10 up to 80 have been singing together over Zoom twice a week, and the group now hopes to boost numbers to make a larger, grander chorus for events on the Guildhall stage. Singing member Maureen Levesque, aged 70, said: ‘Being able to sing twice a week has been a lifeline during lockdown.'
10th May 2021 - The News, Portsmouth

COVID-19 Lays Bare the Price of Populism

As populism has experienced a resurgence in recent years, many have focused on the hazards the ideology poses to democratic systems. But today’s complex and highly technical global threats—pandemics, climate change, cyberattacks, financial crises—that demand technocratic solutions have driven home a grim reality: Populism can place us all at risk. In 2018, a burst of anger over government corruption propelled a populist politician named Jair Bolsonaro to Brazil’s presidency. Brazil, which is currently suffering from one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, is a prime example of how populist governance in one country can threaten the whole world. If the way out of the pandemic is through science, in the form of mass vaccination and other containment measures, the corollary is also true: The way we remain mired in it is, in large part, through the kind of anti-science worldview that populists frequently champion.
10th May 2021 - The Atlantic

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th May 2021

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Vlad the vaccinator: Dracula's castle lures visitors with COVID-19 jabs

Visitors to Dracula's castle are more likely to find puncture marks in their arms than their necks this month, after medics set up a COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Transylvanian attraction. Doctors and nurses with fang stickers on their scrubs are offering free Pfizer shots to all-comers at 14th century Bran Castle, which is purported to be an inspiration for the vampire's towering home in Bram Stoker’s novel "Dracula". Castle staff hope the service will bring more people to the site in Romania's Carpathian mountains, where tourist numbers have plummeted since the start of the pandemic.
8th May 2021 - Reuters

Sconetime easing seniors' loneliness with delicious food, a cuppa and friendship

In Australia, hot scones loaded with freshly made strawberry jam and cream are the drawcard of a new social scene for seniors that's tackling the serious issue of isolation and loneliness. Former restaurateur and chef Martin Duncan launched Sconetime three years ago in the Cooroy Memorial Hall in the Noosa hinterland. Despite months of cancellations caused by COVID-19, the morning teas have proved so popular that they are also being held in Caloundra and the Glass House Mountains.
9th May 2021 - ABC.Net.au

The misinformation bubble threatening Brazil's indigenous people

False information from the mouths of politicians and preachers is reaching remote villages in the Amazon via WhatsApp, reports BBC News Brasil's Juliana Gragnani. A helicopter loaded with health workers and coronavirus vaccine doses took off from Labrea, in the southern part of the Amazon, heading to a village some 50km away. But the villagers, part of the indigenous Jamamadi group, greeted the chopper armed with bows and arrows - and demanded that it leave. They'd been hearing false rumours about vaccines and wanted reassurances from a religious missionary - not doctors - before getting jabbed. The helicopter left without administering any of the doses.
8th May 2021 - BBC News

COVID-19: Safety fears and potential side effects putting people off vaccine, official figures show

Safety fears are the most common reason for people not getting a coronavirus vaccine, official figures have shown. The speed at which the jab has been developed and potential long-term side effects were also among concerns, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Another major reason is many think catching COVID-19 does not pose a significant risk to their health - particularly young people and those who believe their immune systems are strong enough to fight the virus without the jab.
8th May 2021 - Sky News

California Man Arrested In Suspected Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Card Operation

A California bar owner has been arrested for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in what's believed to be the first thwarted scheme of its kind. Undercover agents with the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control bought the bogus cards for $20 each during multiple visits to the Old Corner Saloon in Clements, a small town in San Joaquin County. The agents were told to write their names and birth dates on sticky notes and watched as employees cut the cards, added phony vaccination dates and laminated them, the Associated Press reported.
8th May 2021 - NPR

What is COVID-19 anxiety syndrome?

As lockdowns and restrictions ease in various locations, some people find it extremely challenging to reacclimate to “normal” life. As the pandemic recedes, some consider this phenomenon as the next emerging mental health crisis.
8th May 2021 - Medical News Today

Black doctors read COVID tweets in fun, fact-filled campaign to raise vaccination awareness

Dr. Reed Tuckson laughs as he reads a tweet from his phone: “‘Once COVID is over’ is starting to sound a lot like ‘when Rihanna releases a new album.’” The former commissioner of public health in Washington, D.C., isn’t just checking his Twitter feed, though. He’s reading tweets posted by Black people about COVID for a new public health campaign. The humorous observations are entertaining, but for Tuckson and the Black Coalition Against COVID—which he co-founded—the tweets also serve as jumping off points for discussion in the new “Black Doctors Read COVID Tweets” effort. Just now rolling out on social media, the tweet re-readings are the latest content in the coalition's COVID-19 advocacy work. The group of Black doctors, nurses and researchers began by getting the word out in the Black community about public health guidance and then started working to enroll people in vaccine trials. Now, they're answering questions about vaccines and encouraging vaccinations.
7th May 2021 - Fierce Pharma

It's too soon to declare vaccine victory — four strategies for continued progress

Innovation. Vaccines should be delivered along with other health and social services that address the negative economic impacts that have left millions unemployed and unable to afford housing, food and other necessities. Enlisting trusted community leaders will be essential in advancing such efforts. Collaboration between mainstream and digital media platforms and the medical and scientific communities can interrupt the spread of misinformation and increase the availability of accurate and engaging content. Engagement with key social and economic sectors beyond health. More conversations are needed across educational institutions, businesses, healthcare providers, the agricultural sector, and the security, law enforcement, and military communities to engage their respective communities in dialogue about vaccines in the context of post-pandemic recovery. A top line priority needs to be creating hyperlocal strategies to win over skeptical Republicans and evangelicals while continuing fruitful engagement with Black, Latinx and Native American populations. Vaccines could go the way of masks in America, and become highly politicized, if proactive listening and engagement with these groups does not occur. Fortunately, Republican elected leaders and opinion makers are increasingly stepping forward publicly and privately in defense of vaccines. Those initiatives will be bolstered significantly if other trusted local messengers — the family doctor or nurse, community faith leaders and family members — join in also.
6th May 2021 - The Hill

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Pfizer, BioNTech to provide Covid-19 vaccine to Olympic athletes

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said on Thursday they would donate doses of their Covid-19 vaccine to help vaccinate athletes and their delegations participating in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The companies said initial doses are expected to be delivered to participating delegations at the end of May with the goal of ensuring the delegations receive second doses ahead of arrivals in Tokyo. The plan was put into effect after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had a meeting with the Japanese government following Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla’s offer to donate vaccines to athletes and their delegations.
6th May 2021 - NBC News

What the government could learn from the community response to covid

As we begin the slow journey along the road map to freedom here in the UK, the picture across the world is very different. It has been impossible to escape the devastating images and statistics flooding from India in recent weeks. There has been a relentless stream of heart-breaking stories and horrendous milestones; a baby girl dying on the steps of the hospital, surpassing 20 million recorded cases, ,more than 3,500 deaths in a single day. So here at Feed The Hungry, we decided to take a leap of faith and turn to the covid-weary British churches and wider communities for support. Trying to keep our expectations realistic, we set up the ‘Oxygen for India’ campaign, calling on people to donate to India. Four hours later we had raised over £9,000
6th May 2021 - Politics.co.uk

Pleas for help in India as COVID-19 leaves children without carers

When an Indian children's rights group tracked down two boys aged 6 and 8 after it was told that their parents were both severely ill with COVID-19 and unable to care for them, the children had not eaten for days. The case, reported by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) group which located the boys in a small town in India's rural heartland, was one of a growing number of emergencies involving children affected by India's devastating coronavirus crisis. The exponential rise in infections and deaths has left some children, particularly in poor communities, without a carer because their parents or other relatives are too ill to cope or have died.
6th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Helen Mirren joins Italy's best known comic in light-hearted sketch to promote Covid-19 vaccine

Helen Mirren has starred with one of Italy's best known comics in a light-hearted but eccentric video extolling the benefits of being vaccinated against Covid-19. She stars alongside Checco Zalone, the stage name of Italian comic and actor Luca Pasquale Medici, who has produced and starred in some of Italy's most commercially successful films. In the video he stops to ask her directions on a dusty road in Puglia and promptly falls in love with her after asking if her off-the-shoulder look is because she has just been vaccinated.
30th Apr 2021 - The Telegraph

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th May 2021

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How an NHS Covid-19 vaccine scam showed me just how credible today’s fraudsters have become

Earlier this year, I got a text message. It made me leap out of my chair. “Wow!”, I told my family, “I’ve just been invited to get my Covid jab!” Then I felt a twinge of suspicion: I wasn’t in the elderly or clinically vulnerable bracket. Following the link to ‘book my jab’ took me to a website with spot-on NHS branding, but also clumsy language and spelling errors. The fraudsters had goofed – never annoy a grammar pedant. By the time I reached the stage of being asked for my bank details, the penny had dropped. But I only figured it out as I went along. This was a uniquely Covid-flavoured con, one I had never come across before. Initially it hooked me, dangling the bait of a vaccine I look forward to receiving.
5th May 2021 - iNews

‘She needs me’: The COVID positive carers on India’s front line

April 21, 2021 was an ordinary night at Sushila’s* house in Nagpur in western India’s Maharashtra state. In the bathroom, a bucket filled up with hot water in preparation for the 93-year-old’s sponge bath; in the kitchen, her night-time beverage – a pot of milk – boiled on the stove, nearly spilling over; and in the bedroom, her blood-pressure medicines were laid out neatly on the bedside table. Bindu*, the professional caregiver who sees to Sushila through the night, navigated the two-bedroomed house with familiarity, as she tended to the elderly woman she fondly calls Ajji Bai (meaning Grandmother-Madam in Marathi).
5th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Ghaziabad society launches free meal service for Covid-19 patients in home isolation

As high-rises in the national capital region become Covid-19 containment zones, apartment dwellers at a society in Ghaziabad have come up with an initiative to provide free home-cooked meals to patients in home isolation. A group of residents of Ghaziabad's Crossings Republik have undertaken the initiative with a view to keeping the Covid-19 positive persons indoors so that the chain of transmission could be broken. Shobhit Chitransh, Ujjwal Mishra, Sunjeet Malik, and Sharad Bhardwaj are among the good Samaritans who have taken care of meals for around 250 families in home isolation in their society.
5th May 2021 - India Today

Global economy rests on cutting vaccine inequity: US trade chief

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai says that making vaccines more widely available throughout the world is needed to end the coronavirus pandemic and foster economic recovery. In remarks to a Council of the Americas conference on Tuesday, Tai said the world had made real strides towards ending the pandemic but that a lot of work lies ahead. “That includes making the vaccine widely available and addressing the global inequity in vaccine access,” she said. “This is not just a public health requirement. Our economic recovery depends on it.” Tai is due to discuss demands from developing countries for a World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver of intellectual property rights on coronavirus vaccines during a WTO General Council meeting later this week.
5th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Time for the ethical management of COVID-19 vaccines

The ethical distribution of life-saving medical and public health interventions to vulnerable groups has often been overlooked. Valuation of life linked to an individual's country of origin, the pharmaceutical industry's prioritisation of profit, the exploitation of vulnerable groups in clinical trials, and the resulting hesitancy towards drugs and vaccines have, among other factors, made the human right to health unattainable for many people. The COVID-19 pandemic presents itself as an opportunity to reverse this long-standing trajectory of unethical practices in global health. By ensuring the ethical inclusion of vulnerable groups in the vaccine development process and making a safe, effective vaccine accessible to all, pharmaceutical companies, governments, and international organisations can usher in a new era of global health that relies solely on ethical decision making.
4th May 2021 - The Lancet

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Denmark to reopen further, but no rocking for Roskilde

Denmark announced plans to reopen schools and allow a range of indoor activities this week, but a cap on gatherings led to the cancellation of several summer music festivals, including the renowned Roskilde Festival. The Nordic country has avoided a third wave of COVID-19 with broad lockdown measures introduced in late December, which drove down daily infections from several thousand to between 500 and 800 in recent months. “Denmark needs to get back to normal as fast as possible, and it has to happen responsibly,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Tuesday.
4th May 2021 - Reuters

"Like old times again" as Greece re-opens bars and restaurants

Greece allowed restaurants and bars to open from Monday as it took a further step towards easing coronavirus restrictions ahead of the planned start of the tourist season on May 15. Six months after the government reimposed lockdown measures in the face of a second wave of the pandemic, the chance to return to bars and tavernas was like a small step towards normality for many enjoying warm Easter weather. "When they brought me the glass of water, I thought, 'its like old times again'. It's great," said Grigoris Kirlidis as he sat at a cafe in Athens.
4th May 2021 - Reuters

India halts cricket league as coronavirus cases cross 20 million

India halted its hugely popular cricket league on Tuesday as COVID-19 infections surged past 20 million in the world’s second-most populous country and the opposition leader said a nationwide lockdown was now the only way out. Cricket officials suspended the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) as the pandemic spirals out of control, with the country adding 10 million cases in just over four months, after taking more than 10 months to reach the first 10 million.
4th May 2021 - Reuters

Sheffield charity’s hunt for dual language students to boost its anti-loneliness work

A Sheffield charity hopes multi-lingual students will sign-up as volunteers to help cut loneliness amongst older people in the city. George Joseph is one of a handful of students from Sheffield Volunteering – University of Sheffield, Students’ Union – to have already signed up to Sheffield Church’s Council for Community Care’s ‘Good Neighbour Scheme’, which matches volunteers with isolated, older residents. The 23-year-old’s ability to speak Malayalam as well as English means he could in the future be matched to an older person whose alternative first language means they are even more isolated within their community.
4th May 2021 - Charity Today.co.uk

Virus cases plunge and LA, San Francisco come back to life

When Angeleno Wine Co. reopened its tasting room, co-owner Amy Luftig Viste teared up seeing old friends reunited for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic had shuttered so many businesses that it left major cities looking like ghost towns. Even with limited capacity, animated conversations flowed from the tables set among barrels of aging wine and echoed off the brick walls of the winery hidden in an industrial section on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles. “It felt like the winery had come alive again,” Luftig Viste said Sunday, the day after it reopened after being closed all but two weeks over the past 13 months. The din in the small space is destined to get louder when capacity is allowed to double to 50% as Los Angeles and San Francisco lead the way toward a broader reopening of California businesses.
4th May 2021 - The Associated Press

In Europe, Gibraltar offers glimpse of post-pandemic life

“It’s really liberating,” said Samuel Calvente, a Gibraltar hotel worker, when asked how it feels to be mask-free outdoors. “Having that mask on all the time was claustrophobic and stressful, particularly because this is a hot, humid place in summer. Wearing a face mask in 40-degree heat when you’re sweating away is extremely unpleasant.” Weeks ago, Fabian Picardo, the chief minister of the tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, announced that with a hugely advanced vaccination programme, for the first time in nine months, there were zero active COVID-19 cases among Gibraltar’s resident population – as continues to be the case – and that some of the most stringent public health measures, such as wearing face masks outside, could finally be lifted. A world-leading total of 85 percent of Gibraltar’s population is now vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as all of its 15,000 foreign workers.
4th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Income inequality tied to more COVID-19 cases, deaths

A study yesterday in JAMA Network Open identifies an association between US county-level income inequality and higher rates of COVID-19 infection and death in summer 2020. The ecological cohort study, by Stanford University researchers, analyzed coronavirus case and death data from Johns Hopkins University on 3,220 counties in 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, from Mar 1, 2020, to Feb 28, 2021. County income data, obtained mostly from the 2014 through 2018 American Community Survey, were used to estimate the Gini coefficient, which measures unequal income. Coefficient scores range from 0 to 1, with 0 representing perfect income equality and 1 representing perfect income inequality, in which one person earns all the income.
4th May 2021 - CIDRAP

Rickshaw ‘ambulance’ offers free oxygen to India’s COVID patients

When Indian auto-rickshaw driver Mohammad Javed Khan saw people carrying their coronavirus-stricken parents to hospitals on their backs as they were too poor to afford an ambulance, he knew he had to help. Khan, a 34-year-old driver in the central Indian city of Bhopal, sold his wife’s jewellery and converted his three-wheeled vehicle into a small ambulance, fitting it out with an oxygen cylinder, an oximeter to measure oxygen levels in the blood, and other medical supplies.
4th May 2021 - AlJazeera

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‘No one knew we were homeless’: relief funds hope to reach students missing from virtual classrooms

About 1.5 million school-age children in the United States are homeless, according to federal data. Last fall, researchers estimated that many of them were among the 1 to 3 million students potentially missing from classrooms during remote learning. Even homeless students who have a device might not have wifi or a place to charge a laptop. “Identification is hard because we depend on teachers and social workers and others to see what the signs are,” said Deborah Dempsey, a homeless student advocate for the Kane County Regional Office of Education, outside Chicago. The 34-year-old Education for Homeless Children and Youths program, also known as McKinney-Vento, ensures that children living in shelters, hotels or “doubled-up” with other families can stay in their school. It guarantees transportation and access to additional services, such as referrals to housing, food and health care. But the law wasn’t designed with distance learning in mind, and many families are reluctant to volunteer that they’re living in a car or moving from couch to couch.
2nd May 2021 - The Guardian

All aboard! Cameroon’s race to vaccinate every child

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers and health workers step aboard a make-shift boat, headed to Manoka, a remote island off the coast of Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital. The boat is made of traditional wooden materials, steered by its passengers and driven by an outboard motor. Wearing life jackets and face masks, the group sits as socially distanced as they can, sharing the space with some water – a necessary carry-on for the journey – and mini-fridges. By reaching Manoka’s zero-dose children, health workers and volunteers unlock a door that brings the entire community into contact with the health system.
29th Apr 2021 - Gavi - The Vaccine Alliance

A Normal Summer Depends on These Key Vaccine Holdouts

By June or July, if we immunize most American adults and adolescents, levels of virus transmission will decrease precipitously. In an epidemiological modeling study with the CUNY School of Public Health, we found that roughly three-quarters of the susceptible U.S. population would need to be vaccinated to significantly slow or stop virus transmission. However, the new B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant, among others now accelerating across the country, is more transmissible than the original virus lineages examined in our study. This means even higher levels of vaccine coverage, possibly 80 percent or higher, may be necessary.
22nd Apr 2021 - The Daily Beast

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Japan business leaders suggest ways for govt to speed up vaccination rate

Japanese business leaders and a Nobel-prizewinning biologist called upon the government to reform its vaccination programme, including allowing drive-through inoculations, as the nation struggles to contain a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan has secured the largest quantity of COVID-19 vaccines in Asia, as it gears up for the summer Olympics. But it has inoculated only 1.6% of its population so far, the slowest among wealthy countries. Government data on Wednesday showed that Japan has only used about a fifth of the coronavirus vaccine doses it has imported so far, underscoring logistical hurdles such as a shortage of medical staff
29th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 community art project in Kirkby Lonsdale brings wellbeing benefits

In Cumbria, a Kirkby Lonsdale art project, about the emotional impact of Covid-19, is uniting the community and raising funds to help young people struggling with mental ill health. In total the Lunesdale Learning Trust fundraiser, for Brathay, has raised £2790.43 to help young people in Cumbria affected by poor mental health.
29th Apr 2021 - Lancaster Guardian

Medway hospital staff video urges BAME community to take up Covid vaccine after figures show uptake 25% lower

In Kent, hospital staff from a wide range of cultural backgrounds have produced a special video urging members of ethnic minority communities to step forward for their vaccine. The employees at Medway NHS Foundation Trust from a wider variety of cultural backgrounds came together to produce the film. It comes in response to data showing up to a quarter of members of the BAME community are less likely to take up a Covid-19 vaccine. The video features messages from trust staff in 12 different languages – English, Marathi, Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Bajan dialect, Yoruba, Malayalam, Egyptian Arabic, Urdu and Bengali.
29th Apr 2021 - Kent Online

Sold his SUV to buy oxygen for people: India’s good Samaritans

On Sunday, Maria Mehra, a 56-year-old COVID-19 patient, was gasping for breath at her home in Mumbai. Her oxygen level had dropped to 76 and she needed immediate hospitalisation. But there were no beds available, given the record number of infections across the metropolis over the past several weeks. Her desperate family tried frantically to arrange a hospital bed or an oxygen cylinder for her but couldn’t find one until Maria’s brother-in-law Jackson Quadras, 47, reached out to Shahnawaz Shahalam Sheikh. Sheikh provided them with an oxygen cylinder around midnight. Hours later, Quadras secured a hospital bed in Malad, a suburb in north Mumbai, for Maria but remains thankful to Sheikh whose timely intervention helped her. “Shahnawaz bhai (brother) is everything for us. He saved the life of my sister-in-law,” Jackson told Al Jazeera.
29th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

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Pharmacists offer COVID-19 jab to the homeless in charity event

Two pharmacists have worked alongside other healthcare professionals to vaccinate the homeless and undocumented migrants against COVID-19 in central London. Sikh charity NishkamSWAT and London-based charity The Connection at St Martin’s jointly launched a vaccination initiative for the homeless, in partnership with the NHS. They ran two vaccination clinics last week and one on Monday outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in central London. Volunteering alongside a dentist, a GP and a clinical director were Gurinder Singh, a community pharmacist and lecturer at the University of Reading, and Captain Dal Singh Virdee, an army pharmacist who runs the healthcare arm of NishkamSWAT. Following the success of the first clinics, the charities are now receiving requests from other local homeless organisations in east and west London to run similar pop-up sites.
28th Apr 2021 - Chemist+Druggist

Covid-19: Indians in London unite in wake of crisis as death toll passes 200,000

As a second wave of the Covid pandemic rages in India, leaving hospitals without oxygen and bodies on the streets, the Indian Diaspora in London are coming together. Community members have launched fundraisers to buy oxygen concentrators, as well as gathering to pray for relatives and friends suffering thousands of miles away. Yogesh Patel, 64, who works with the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London, known as the Neasden temple, told The Standard the situation in India was “dire” and there was a lot of apprehension within the London community. The temple has also launched an international emergency appeal campaign to support their relief efforts across India -which have so far included the building of a makeshift hospital in Atladara, district of Vadodara, pictured below.
28th Apr 2021 - Evening Standard

3food4u launches Contain Outbreak project to help Covid-19 sufferers

A community project that has provided a lifeline for many people during the pandemic is stepping up its service in response to the emergence of new variants of coronavirus. The 3food4u charity is launching a pilot scheme from this week offering a free food and essential delivery service to anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and must self-isolate as required. The 3food4u Contain Outbreak project will be for two months and is being run in collaboration with Essex County Council and Essex Association for Local Councils.
28th Apr 2021 - Epping Forest Guardian

Indians step up to the plate to cook for COVID patients, families

Concerned by a spike in COVID-19 infections in her gated community in Noida, a city bordering New Delhi, Plaksha Aggarwal wanted to help and started cooking for the patients and their families. After catering to a few families within her apartment complex earlier this month, she started getting calls from around the city. “I could not refuse people. They wouldn’t be calling unless they needed help. Some orders were for people who had just lost family members,” she told Al Jazeera. Within a week, Aggarwal was preparing 120 meals a day. “While in home isolation, having someone take care of your food or your kids’ meals because you cannot cook for them is just one less thing to stress about,” she says.
28th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

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Harry and Meghan to lead ‘Vax Live’ fundraising concert

Prince Harry and Meghan will serve as the campaign chairs of Global Citizen’s effort to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to medical workers in the world’s poorest countries. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will appear at “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World,” to be taped Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and air on ABC, CBS, FOX, YouTube and iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations on May 8, Global Citizen, the anti-poverty nonprofit, announced Tuesday. Harry and Meghan are also leading an effort to raise money for the vaccine-sharing program COVAX, which hopes to produce $19 billion to pay for the vaccines for medical workers.
27th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

New Consumer Research on COVID-19 Vaccination Reveals Barriers in Reaching Herd Immunity

New DISQO research asking COVID-19 unvaccinated U.S. adults about their intentions to get vaccinated raises concerns over the country’s ability to reach the threshold widely believed necessary for herd immunity (70% of the population being vaccinated). DISQO found that 23% of unvaccinated people were “unsure” about whether they will get a vaccine when available to them, and 22% said they “would not.” DISQO fielded the new study, “ Moving the Needle, Persuading the Vaccine Unsure,” to understand COVID-19 vaccine attitudes, trust about information sources, and willingness to be vaccinated at pharmacy retailers. 22,000 U.S. adults answered survey questions and more than 30,000 opted in to share their online browsing, enabling DISQO to understand attitudes and actual behaviors.
27th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Hunger in Times of Covid-19: Help Rio’s Favelas by Donating to Community Campaigns

With over 4000 people just in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas dead from Covid-19, we have now entered the most critical phase where threats from food insecurity are competing with those from the pandemic. Families are struggling due to a combination of high rates of unemployment, lack of government support and skyrocketing food prices. Now more than ever, Rio’s favelas require attention from the international community. Favela-based community organizations have provided us with links to their virtual fundraising platforms and bank accounts in order to purchase foodstuffs and hygiene products. The number of campaigns has surged in recent weeks, in response to the third and most deadly wave of Covid-19 to hit Rio de Janeiro.
27th Apr 2021 - RioOnWatch

Lockdowns, quarantines, restrictions: British Muslims forge digital pathways to family during a lonely, Covid Ramadan

Muslims across the UK are observing the month of Ramadan in the absence of familial traditions due to Covid-19 restrictions, but they're using technology to bridge the gap. Ramadan generally is known to be a time for community. Prior to the pandemic, centres, mosques, and universities organised iftar dinners, and invited the local community to join in and eat together. But that too came to an end as Covid lockdown restrictions came into effect, and with that real life gatherings were replaced by digital communication.
27th Apr 2021 - alaraby.co.uk

Mayor of Hartlepool honours town Covid heroes for outstanding efforts during pandemic

The Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, Councillor Brenda Loynes, launched a new awards scheme to recognise those who have helped others during the pandemic. Cllr Loynes said: “I have always said that the community spirit in Hartlepool is second-to-none and these accolades are once again testament to that. “People rose to the challenge and gave unstintingly of their time and energy to help and support other local people in need during the darkest of times.”
27th Apr 2021 - Hartlepool Mail

Vaccinations are plateauing. Don’t blame it on ‘resistance’

The U.S. vaccine rollout is plateauing. A remarkable 230 million shots have been given in a few short months, fully vaccinating about 95 million Americans as I write this. The next 100 million shots will be harder. News reports are chronicling a slowdown in appointments across the nation. The number of daily doses administered is down from the peak of 4.6 million on April 10 to about 3 million today. By now, this historic effort has captured the vaccine-hungry individuals who are eager, well-resourced, technologically savvy, and excited to get vaccinated. But as fewer people sign up to get their shots, a dominant narrative is emerging: It’s because of hesitancy — too many people don’t want to get the vaccine. Some even call this vaccine resistance. Those are convenient narratives. But they are false, and can have harmful consequences. Instead of talking up hesitancy, it’s time to talk about what motivates people to get vaccinated and identify the ongoing barriers to vaccination.
27th Apr 2021 - STAT News

In Africa, vaccine hesitancy adds to slow rollout of doses

Some Africans are hesitating to get COVID-19 vaccines amid concerns about their safety, alarming public health officials as some countries start to destroy thousands of doses that expired before use. Malawi and South Sudan in recent days have said they will destroy some of their doses, a concerning development on a continent where health officials have been outspoken about the need for vaccine equity as the world’s rich nations hold the bulk of shots. Africa, whose 1.3 billion people represent 16% of the world’s population, has received less than 2% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world, according to the World Health 0rganization.
27th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

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Hyde Park: Police attacks at anti-lockdown protest condemned

An anti-lockdown protest in which eight police officers were injured will be raised with senior bosses with "utmost urgency", a policing leader has said. Demonstrators hurled bottles at police as they attempted to disperse crowds in Hyde Park on Saturday evening.
26th Apr 2021 - BBC News

Over £5.5 million in Covid-19 funding distributed by Community Foundation Wales

Community Foundation Wales has awarded over £5.5 million in funding to groups across Wales to help them to support their local communities through the Coronavirus pandemic. The scale of this emergency support for the third sector in Wales is revealed in Community Foundation Wales’ Coping with Covid-19 report published today. As an independent Welsh charity, Community Foundation Wales is well placed to help communities to respond to a local emergency or crisis. Whilst they have done that in the past in the case of local incidents, this is the first time that they have had to galvanise rapid Wales-wide support to bring vital funding to people all over Wales.
26th Apr 2021 - Wales247

Italy opens again amid hopes for real economic relaunch

Lunch-time diners filled tables on Milan’s landmark Piazza Duomo even on a cloudy, windswept Monday, proof of the pent-up demand for eating out as Italy begins its second, and many hope last, reopening of the COVID-19 pandemic. After six months of rotating on-again, off-again closures, restaurants, bars, museums and cinemas opened to the public in most of the country under a gradual reopening plan that is seen as too cautious for some, too hasty for others. The nation’s weary virologists and health care workers fear that even the tentative reopening laid out by Premier Mario Draghi’s government will invite a free-or-all, signs of which were seen over the weekend with parks and squares filling up in cities from Rome to Turin, Milan to Naples. “It is illusory to think that you give a sign of opening, and you don’t see people around. Perfection doesn’t exist,” Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said Monday. “You also have to be a little tolerant, and also a little careful.”
26th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Amid Brazil’s COVID chaos, socialist Marica forges different path

Located just 60km from Rio de Janeiro, Marica has modelled itself into a very different city, paying residents a universal basic income, using its own digital currency and procuring its own vaccines. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil seems set on beating its own tragic records on a daily basis. By April, 4,000 Brazilians were dying every 24 hours — an average of one every 20 seconds — and many while waiting for beds in overcrowded intensive care units. Hundreds of hospitals were running out of intubation kits in what the country’s leading health institution, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), called the worst “sanitary collapse” in Brazilian history.
26th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English

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TikTok: 'My nan has helped me get millions of views'

Lewis Leigh and his grandma Nanny Phyllis have become an unlikely social media sensation on TikTok. The pair, from Merthyr Tydfil, may have over half a century between them but together their dance videos have racked up millions of views and gained fans all around the world. Phyllis, 76, says their lockdown exploits have given her a new lease of life after the death of her husband and have brought grandma and grandson even closer together.
25th Apr 2021 - BBC News

Covid spread as overcrowding doubles among private renters in England

The proportion of private renters living in overcrowded homes has doubled during the pandemic, adding to concerns that living conditions helped the virus spread, particularly among ethnic minorities. Figures out last week from the English Housing Survey’s household resilience study found that the proportion in November and December last year was 15%, up from 7% a year earlier. That means more than one in seven private renters are enduring overcrowding, compared with only one in 50 homeowners. Overcrowded housing is believed to be linked to higher rates of coronavirus infection because it makes social distancing and self-isolation harder. Research last year by the Health Foundation and University College London’s Institute of Health Equity pointed to a relationship between overcrowding and Covid death rates.
24th Apr 2021 - The Guardian

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Nation Faces ‘Hand-to-Hand Combat’ to Get Reluctant Americans Vaccinated

Now that President Biden has met his goal to have all adults eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, health officials around the country are hitting what appears to be a soft ceiling: More than half the nation’s adults have received at least one dose, but it is going to take hard work — and some creative changes in strategy — to convince the rest. State health officials, business leaders, policymakers and politicians are struggling to figure out how to tailor their messages, and their tactics, to persuade not only the vaccine hesitant but also the indifferent. Officials in many states are looking past mass vaccination sites and toward having patients get vaccinated by their own doctors, where people are most at ease — a shift that will require the Biden administration to ship vaccine in much smaller quantities.
22nd Apr 2021 - The New York Times

#COVIDSOS: Indian Twitter becomes a platform of hope amid despair

After spending hours fruitlessly calling government helplines in a search for a hospital bed for a critically ill COVID-19 patient, Indian lawyer Jeevika Shiv posted an SOS request on Twitter. “Serious #covid19 patient in #Delhi with oxygen level 62 needs immediate hospital bed,” Shiv, part of a 350-member COVID-19 volunteer Medical Support Group, said on Twitter late last week. Help came quickly. The patient found a bed and was soon showing signs of recovery. “Finally, it was help online that worked as people responded with information,” Shiv said. People are bypassing the conventional lines of communication and turning to Twitter to crowdsource help for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds and other requirements.
22nd Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Sunni the Spaniel relieving loneliness in Mackay aged care homes

Aged care residents in Mackay have received some relief from the loneliness created by the coronavirus pandemic, with the help of a four-legged therapist. Once a week, a friendly spaniel named Sunni visits residents at an aged care facility in the city, including those in the secure dementia wing. For some of the residents, it can be the only affectionate contact they have with another living creature. Aged care resident Elvie Fawcett said Sunni had a way of getting people out of their rooms. "It brings joy to their faces. It gets the older people out," Ms Fawcett said. "Especially the men." Sunni's owner Ros Ballantine, who is a psychologist and uses therapy animals in her work, said there was always a positive response to their visits.
22nd Apr 2021 - ABC.Net.au

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Community pharmacy teams to offer free Covid-19 test kits

Community pharmacy teams across Ely and East Cambridgeshire have started to offer free Covid-19 test kits. The ‘pharmacy collect’ service will make lateral flow devices available to people without symptoms free of charge from local NHS pharmacies. It comes after NHS Test and Trace research found that people prefer to access testing close to home. Anil Sharma, pharmacist at Haddenham Pharmacy, said: “There is so much that pharmacists and their teams can do to help our communities as Covid-19 restrictions are eased."
21st Apr 2021 - Ely Standard

Twitter becomes platform of hope amid the despair of India's COVID crisis

After spending hours fruitlessly calling government helplines in a search for a hospital bed for a critically ill COVID-19 patient, Indian lawyer Jeevika Shiv posted an SOS request on Twitter. “Serious #covid19 patient in #Delhi with oxygen level 62 needs immediate hospital bed,” Shiv, part of a 350-member COVID-19 volunteer Medical Support Group, said on Twitter late last week. Help came quickly. The patient found a bed and was soon showing signs of recovery. "Finally, it was help online that worked as people responded with information," Shiv said.
21st Apr 2021 - Reuters India

Most Americans say they should be vaccinated before the U.S. donates Covid-19 shots elsewhere

Three-quarters of Americans believe the U.S. government should start donating Covid-19 vaccines to other countries, but only after every person in the U.S. who wants a vaccine has received one, according to a new survey from STAT and The Harris Poll. At the same time, just over half of Americans said they agree with the idea that the Biden administration should immediately start donating vaccines to other countries in order to achieve global herd immunity, which reflects growing concern that the coronavirus cannot be contained until most of the world is vaccinated. “The data says that most everybody is on the same page — Americans clearly prioritize ensuring they get vaccinated as a top priority,” said Rob Jekielek, managing director at The Harris Poll, which queried 1,963 people between April 9 and 11. “But you also have a really good chunk of the population who also believes we need to put a global lens on the issue.”
21st Apr 2021 - STAT News

Social Media Influencers Are Spreading Wild Rumors About COVID-19 Vaccines and Periods

A few media outlets have written about vaccines and menstruation—back in February, it was in the news in Israel, where the vaccine rollout is further along. In the United States, there has been a flurry of coverage over the last few weeks, first in smaller outlets like The Lily and a few days ago in the New York Times. A few weeks ago, Dr. Kathryn Clancy, a professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, tweeted about her own post-vaccine menstrual irregularity. She heard from so many people with similar experiences that she and a colleague decided to run a survey to collect data on post-vaccination cycle changes. It has received more than 19,000 responses since it launched in early April. Over the last few days, social media accounts from those opposed to vaccines have begun to promote the outlandish idea that simply being around people who have been vaccinated causes menstrual issues and even miscarriage.
21st Apr 2021 - Mother Jones

New Mexico prepares to fight vaccine hesitancy in some areas

New Mexico health officials said Wednesday they are preparing to respond to pockets of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in some communities at the same time that overall interest in getting vaccinated increases. Health Secretary Tracie Collins said the state is exploring recruiting “community champions” — trusted residents of regions with vaccine hesitancy who can address concerns about safety and effectiveness. Town halls also are a possibility to vet concerns and possible misinformation. And video testimonials about coronavirus vaccines already have been recorded. “We’ve got a lot of work we’re going to be doing these next few weeks to really get ahead of this vaccine hesitancy,” Collins said. She said precise statistics showing the vaccine hesitancy trends are not yet ready to be released. Medical providers also have a crucial rolU.Se in listening and addressing people’s fears, Human Services Secretary David Scrase said in a virtual news conference.
21st Apr 2021 - Associated Press

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There is a real danger that covid-19 will become entrenched as a disease of poverty

Since reaching a height of around 70 000 confirmed covid-19 cases a day in England at the start of the year, the third lockdown has brought cases down to around 2500 a day (at the time of writing). Hospital admissions are back to levels last seen in September 2020, and over half of the adult population has received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine. We’ve experienced almost six months of national lockdown in the past year and are just emerging from what has been promised to be the last one. But while we have all experienced this pandemic together, we have not all had the same experience. Deprived and minority ethnic communities have borne the brunt of the pandemic so far and there is now a very real danger that covid-19 will become entrenched as a disease of poverty.
20th Apr 2021 - The BMJ

Australia’s stolen generations survivors experienced ‘retriggered’ trauma during Covid lockdown

Australia’s stolen generations survivors felt more disconnected from their communities, lonely and isolated during Covid lockdowns, with many finding the experience re-triggered their trauma, new research suggests. Survivors also experienced an increased decline in both physical and mental health, the Healing Foundation found after examining the impact of the coronavirus and the public health response. The research found the necessary and swift public health response to protect First Australians also created “unprecedented disruption to cultural practices and normal relational and collective practices” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, leaving people feeling vulnerable and disconnected from their community.
20th Apr 2021 - The Guardian

Norwich children help to tackle loneliness through pen friend scheme

Primary school children in Norwich have been helping to tackle loneliness amongst older people as they pen regular letters to bring a smile to faces. The Norwich Together Alliance has teamed up with Age UK Norwich and Drayton CofE Junior School for the scheme which sees 50 isolated people receive a handwritten postcard throughout April, asking if they would like to be pen pals. The children, who are aged from 7-11, will then continue writing to the lonely people with messages and pictures about what they have been up to.
20th Apr 2021 - Norwich Evening News

Community raises £7k in memory of retired GP who died with Covid

A local community has embarked on a significant fundraising challenge in memory of its ‘much-loved’ GP who died with Covid. Dr Om Prakash Chawla died on 2 January after testing positive for the virus. He had spent more than 25 years at Wingerworth Surgery in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, until retiring in 2018. Paying tribute, more than 70 relatives and friends, including practice colleagues, have surpassed their target fundraising for the town’s Ashgate Hospicecare. With one participant alone racking up 700 miles, the current total stands at approximately £7,000.
20th Apr 2021 - Pulse

COVID vaccine shortfall: The Abu Dhabi art dealer peddling jabs

From a small office in an Abu Dhabi skyscraper, Ukrainian national Natalya Muzaleva and her Hungarian husband Istvan Perger run an art gallery, a real estate agency and an oilfield services company. They have also pursued another venture: selling COVID-19 vaccines into Europe. Muzaleva wrote a proposal to the Czech ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, reviewed by Reuters and dated February 24, offering to procure and sell at least one million doses to the Czech Republic of Covishield, the shot from Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca. She said the vaccines would be supplied by an unnamed partner from AstraZeneca’s “UK and India plant” and delivery would follow within 45 days of payment being received. While the Czech government did not take up the offer, it came to light on March 3 when Prime Minister Andrej Babis, singling Muzaleva out by name, told a news conference he would not support the “black market”.
20th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

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Intutorly, free virtual tutoring service for kids, wins first prize in high school entrepreneurship competition

Intutorly, a free online tutoring service started by high school teenagers amid the pandemic, won first prize in the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship's Diamond Challenge on Friday, weeks after it was featured in "CBS This Morning's" series A More Perfect Union. The story highlighted how high school students from around the country are helping younger kids bridge the digital divide through the service that pairs tutors with tutees. When the piece aired, Intutorly included about 1,000 kids — 500 tutors and 500 tutees. Intutorly's co-founders, Virginia teenagers Alex Joel and his younger brother Ben, say that in the month since then, the program has grown to help hundreds more kids.
19th Apr 2021 - CBS News

Greta Thunberg joins fight for coronavirus vaccine equity

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has urged governments, vaccine developers and the world to “step up their game” to fight vaccine inequity after the richest countries snatched up most COVID-19 vaccine doses and those in poorer nations have gone lacking. Her comments on Monday came as the World Health Organization announced 5.2 million new confirmed virus cases during the latest week, the largest weekly count yet, according to the UN health agency.
19th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID vaccine shortfall: The Abu Dhabi art dealer peddling jabs

From a small office in an Abu Dhabi skyscraper, Ukrainian national Natalya Muzaleva and her Hungarian husband Istvan Perger run an art gallery, a real estate agency and an oilfield services company. They have also pursued another venture: selling COVID-19 vaccines into Europe.
19th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English

What To Know Before Your Second Dose Of The AstraZeneca Vaccine

Dozens of HuffPost UK readers have shared questions and concerns about the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Since rumours surrounding the AstraZeneca jab and a possible link to blood clots began swirling, there has been some worry about what that means for those who’ve already had their first dose of the vaccine. “If I’ve had my first AstraZeneca vaccine, will I be at risk of getting a clot on my second?” asks HuffPost UK reader Ashleigh. While reader Jacqueline asks: “I had the AstraZeneca jab in February and was very ill for over a week and still don’t feel well. I am reluctant to have the second dose. Could I have the Pfizer?”
19th Apr 2021 - Huffington Post

COVID variants are hitting US young hard

Throughout previous waves of Covid, children and young adults eluded the pandemic’s gravest consequences, exhibiting mild symptoms or none at all. Now faster-spreading variants are sending more to the hospital. Fatalities remain low, but doctors say the virus is now making the young sicker, some gravely. Cautionary tales are beginning to multiply. University of Alabama students are mourning the death of the basketball team’s unofficial mascot, Luke Ratliff, a 23-year-old plaid-clad campus fixture. The student affectionately known as Fluffopotamus died from Covid-19 complications early this month as the team went on an NCAA tournament run. In Michigan, where Covid-19 is spreading at one of the planet’s fastest rates — an average of almost 8,000 new cases a day — hospitals are seeing far more youths. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 50 pediatric cases in hospitals Thursday, the most since the post-holiday surge in early January.
19th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Tredegar Covid community film wins major European award

A "remarkable" documentary about a community coming together during the pandemic has won a European film award. As people isolated, volunteers in Blaenau Gwent were filmed as they completed 15,000 tasks including delivering food and prescriptions. The documentary, called Together - Volunteers of a Covid community, won two awards at the North Europe Fusion International Film Festival. One of these was for the best film of the entire festival. "A big part of why this film was chosen was because this group of film-makers are selfless and the work they have done is incredible," said festival director Steve Grossmith in announcing the results.
18th Apr 2021 - BBC News

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New book captures Waltham Forest community kindness during Covid

Waltham Forest Community Hub (WFCH) came together to create a book featuring stories of local kindness during lockdown. Here, the creators and designers describe making the book. “As soon as we had 100 simple acts of kindness, we were ready to work on publishing the book – but we were very aware that we haven’t captured everyone and everything. I hope that more similar projects will manifest – as the legacy of a crisis like this can teach us about the importance of community.”
18th Apr 2021 - Waltham Forest Echo

Celebrities make a stand for COVID vaccines on TV special

President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and a slew of celebrities including Billy Crystal, Jennifer Hudson and Lin-Manuel Miranda are part of a special aimed at boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates. “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” airing at 7 p.m. EDT Sunday on NBC, will feature Matthew McConaughey interviewing Dr. Anthony Fauci to help separate “fact from fiction” about the vaccines, the network said. Biden will make a direct appeal in support of the effort, while Obama will be joined by basketball greats Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal to reinforce the role of vaccines in allowing Americans to get their lives back on track.
16th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

Qatar Seeks Covid-19 Vaccinations for All World Cup Visitors

Qatar said it’s in talks with coronavirus vaccine makers to ensure all 2022 soccer World Cup visitors are vaccinated. “Right now there are programs under development to provide vaccination to all the attendees of the World Cup,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Friday during a virtual conference. “We will be able, hopefully, to host a Covid-free event.” The Gulf state has seen a resurgence in Covid-19 cases despite pushing ahead with its inoculation program, forcing a lockdown to be reimposed. Qatar has administered 1.2 million jabs - enough for 21.6% of its people, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. Qatar, one of the richest countries on the planet per capita, is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure construction ahead of the FIFA event, fueling an oversupply in property.
17th Apr 2021 - Bloomberg

Police ramp up patrols in crackdown on first weekend of new lockdown freedoms

Police forces across the country have upped their patrols this weekend as people enjoy their new freedoms from the coronavirus lockdown. It comes as thousands of drinkers packed out pubs and streets last night as they enjoyed the first Friday evening where they go for a drink out with friends. An astonishing five million pints and 500,000 bottles of wine were thought to have been drunk on ‘Fab Friday’ – the biggest night out across the country for six months.
17th Apr 2021 - Metro

Brazil: Battling Bolsonaro’s COVID misinformation

How leading media outlets in Brazil have joined forces to take on Bolsonaro and his COVID denial.Some of Brazil’s biggest media companies have come together to combat COVID-19 misinformation – a lot of which is coming from President Jair Bolsonaro’s office.
17th Apr 2021 - Aljazeera.com

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Ivanka Trump causes MAGA meltdown after sharing photograph getting vaccine

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump took to Twitter to announce that she got the Covid-19 shot and encouraged others to do the same, a move that has caused a meltdown among anti-vaxxers and conservative supporters of the former president. The former first daughter broke her three months of social media silence on Wednesday posting a photo of her taking the coronavirus vaccine injection, with the accompanying note: “Today, I got the shot!!! I hope that you do too! Thank you Nurse Torres!!!” Ms Trump’s enthusiastic tweet about the coronavirus vaccine met with several angry responses from Trump supporters who called it a disappointment and accused her of “virtue signalling.”
15th Apr 2021 - The Independent

Shop workers, hairdressers and bar staff key to tackling loneliness and mental health in pilot scheme launched in York

Shop workers, hairdressers and bar staff across North Yorkshire will be part of a new scheme aimed at tackling isolation, loneliness and mental health following the Covid-19 pandemic. The pilot - named Community Conversations - will be launched in the Groves and Clifton areas of York and will involve staff at numerous businesses and organisations having specialist free training to help them spot the signs that someone may be at risk of mental health and as a result engage with them and signpost them to help and support.
15th Apr 2021 - Yorkshire Post

Homeless Americans finally getting a chance at COVID-19 shot

Homeless Americans who have been left off priority lists for coronavirus vaccinations — or even bumped aside as states shifted eligibility to older age groups — are finally getting their shots as vaccine supplies increase. While the U.S. government has only incomplete data on infections among homeless people, it’s clear that crowded, unsanitary conditions at shelters and underlying poor health increase the danger of COVID-19 infections, severe complications and death. COVID-19 outbreaks have been documented at homeless shelters in cities such as Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. Vaccinating in vulnerable areas will be a key to achieving herd immunity, the goal of building a barrier of protected people to stop uncontrolled spread.
15th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

1 in 5 Americans say they won't get COVID-19 vaccine

A poll published yesterday from Monmouth University found that 1 in 5 Americans remain unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Partisanship continues to be the defining factor determining which Americans are willing to get vaccinated and which are not: 43% of Republicans say they will avoid the vaccine, compared with just 5% of Democrats, and 22% of independents say they want to avoid getting the vaccine altogether. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 45% of Republicans are unwilling to get the vaccine. A poll from the University of Michigan also suggests age may be a factor. Only 20% of teens and young adults polled last October said they were unwilling to get vaccinated, and that percentage shrank to 15% last month.
15th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

Unsung COVID vaccine heroes—and biotech science giants—star on influencer's TikTok

Ready to meet the science heroes behind the world's first COVID vaccines? Ready to watch them dance on TikTok? Anna Blakney thinks you are. She’s an assistant professor and vaccine researcher at the University of British Columbia coaxing some of the mega-accomplished scientists behind the vaccines to join her in off-the-cuff choreography and conversation. So far, she’s been joined by Robert Langer, MIT Institute professor and Moderna co-founder, and Pieter Cullis, the co-founder of Acuitas Therapeutics behind the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.
15th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

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Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy: Not helpful to 'lump people together' under BAME, says public health expert

Tackling Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in minority ethnic communities in Scotland is not helped by grouping people together under the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) umbrella, a public health expert has said.
14th Apr 2021 - The Scotsman on MSN.com

‘Super-spreader’: Over 1,000 COVID positive at India’s Kumbh Mela

More than 1,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at the site of a major Hindu festival in India in two days, officials said, as huge crowds of mostly maskless devotees descend on the Ganges River in the northern Uttarakhand state. The virus was detected in the city of Haridwar, which lies along the river where the weeks-long Kumbh Mela, or the pitcher festival, is being observed, officials said. Of some 50,000 samples taken from people in Haridwar, 408 tested positive on Monday and 594 on Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government said.
14th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

It's time to reward our Covid-19 heroes

In Wales, community has garnered a new sense of importance over the past year. Local businesses have taken priority, neighbourly support thrives within every street, and community spirit has carried us through our darkest days. Emotionally, financially, physically and socially, there are community heroes who have dedicated hours upon hours to helping others, and this year's South Wales Evening Post Community Awards will celebrate them. On Thursday, April 29, the South Wales Evening Post Community Awards will be streamed virtually so that we can both support our community and keep everyone safe, too.
14th Apr 2021 - WalesOnline

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Covid-19: Government faces legal action over contract for antibody tests

The non-profit organisation the Good Law Project has been given the go ahead to mount a High Court challenge to the UK government’s decision to award contracts to Abingdon Health to produce rapid antibody tests for covid-19. The Department of Health and Social Care for England bought a million lateral flow test kits from the UK Rapid Testing Consortium, a group of manufacturers led by Abingdon Health and assembled by John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and the government’s life sciences adviser. The contract, which was awarded without competitive tender, included a provision for the government to buy more kits if the test was approved for home use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency by a specified date. But the approval was not forthcoming, and England’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced in January that the government was moving to a different procurement strategy.
13th Apr 2021 - The BMJ

Ramadan 2021: Muslims can get Covid-19 jab without breaking fast, Manchester’s public health chief confirms

Muslims are being advised that they can take the Covid-19 vaccine during Ramadan without breaking fast. Taking a coronavirus test, either PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or lateral flow test (LFT), is also safe during this time, Manchester’s public health chief has added. The month of Ramadan is marked by acts of devotion, including completely abstaining from eating or drinking between dawn and sunset. Islamic scholars, working in partnership with the Muslim Council of Britain, have shared messages of reassurance to worshipers confirming that getting the Covid-19 vaccine during Ramadan is permitted.
13th Apr 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Befriending service could be the answer for lonely residents

Isolated or lonely over 50s – or even younger residents – could find the support they are looking for through the Powys Befriending Service. Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) has seen an increased demand for the service it runs to maintain social networks for the county’s older residents during the coronavirus pandemic, but in a surprising twist it has also helped younger generations as well. Those who have asked for more support have been referred to PAVO’s Powys Befriending Service, but it is only able to help those who are aged 50 or older. So, to solve this problem, isolated or lonely younger residents have been asked to volunteer and make phone calls to older residents.
13th Apr 2021 - Powys County Times

COVAX reaches over 100 economies, 42 days after first international delivery

More than one hundred economies have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX. The milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th. COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers, AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII). Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment. Despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
13th Apr 2021 - Gavi

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100 Covid Community Champions helping Somerset stay safe

A major milestone has been reached with more than 100 trained Covid Champions now in place to help people in Somerset stay up to date with the Covid-19 latest advice. The Covid Community Champion Network has been going from strength to strength since it was first launched in October. There are now just over 100 trained Champions across Somerset, sharing messages about Covid-19 and how to stay healthy, happy and safe with their friends, family and work colleagues.
12th Apr 2021 - Burnham-On-Sea.com

Czech COVID-19 daily tally lowest since September as pupils return to classroom

The Czech Republic reported its lowest daily tally of new COVID-19 cases since September on Monday, the same day a six-month state of emergency expired and many pupils return to the classroom. The central European country was badly hit by the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Czech government managed to slow the spread of infections by imposing its toughest lockdown yet. Students in grades 1-5 were set to return to school on Monday and restrictions on movement eased with people allowed once more to travel outside their home districts.
12th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Dutch tourists trade lockdown at home for confinement in Greek resort

Almost 200 Dutch tourists traded lockdown in the Netherlands for eight days of voluntary confinement in a Greek beach resort, as part of a test to see if safe holidays can be arranged during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m very excited,” said Amy Smulders, 25, a graphic designer who travelled with her sister, beaming beneath her face mask as she waited for her luggage on Rhodes island on Monday. “It feels very strange to be here, but (I’m) really excited to go on holiday.” For 399 euros ($475) each, participants will have “all-inclusive” access to the pool, restaurants and other facilities of the Mitsis Grand Hotel Beach, but nothing else.
12th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK

US colleges divided over requiring student vaccinations

U.S. colleges hoping for a return to normalcy next fall are weighing how far they should go in urging students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including whether they should — or legally can — require it. Universities including Rutgers, Brown, Cornell and Northeastern recently told students they must get vaccinated before returning to campus next fall. They hope to achieve herd immunity on campus, which they say would allow them to loosen spacing restrictions in classrooms and dorms. But some colleges are leaving the decision to students, and others believe they can’t legally require vaccinations. At Virginia Tech, officials determined that they can’t because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only allowed the emergency use of the vaccines and hasn’t given them its full approval.
12th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Biden launches community corps to boost COVID vaccinations

Seeking to overcome vaccine hesitancy, the Biden administration on Thursday stepped up its outreach efforts to skeptical Americans, launching a coalition of community, religious and celebrity partners to promote COVID-19 shots in hard-hit communities. The administration’s “We Can Do This” campaign features television and social media ads, but it also relies on a community corps of public health, athletic, faith and other groups to spread the word about the safety and efficacy of the three approved vaccines.
1st Apr 2021 - Associated Press

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China Knocks on People’s Doors to Speed Up Domestic Covid-19 Vaccination

A year after Covid-19 swept through China, the virus is under control. Now authorities have to motivate a population that feels little urgency to get vaccinated by using a mix of social pressure, incentives, education and coercion. While surveys show vaccine acceptance remains high, the motivation to go out and get inoculated is lagging in the world’s second-largest economy given low infection rates. China’s public health officials say the aim is to get 40% of the population vaccinated by summer. With the country administering more than 4.5 million shots a day in the past week, 161 million had been given by the end of Friday, according to the National Health Commission. Oxford University data-tracking project Our World in Data said about 11% of China’s population had received at least one dose.
10th Apr 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Irish photographer takes lockdown portraits of families at home during pandemic

Ireland has been under strict lockdown for much of the past year, with people largely confined to their households for months at a time. Medjber normally photographs top music acts and festivals. When Ireland was first ordered into lockdown in March 2020, her work also went on pause and Medjber said she remembered an idea she'd had years before while walking around Dublin of using people's illuminated windows to frame them. "When lockdown hit. I suddenly realized that ‘God, everybody across Ireland is at home right now.' I remembered the idea I had years ago, and I thought now it has relevance. Now it means something." Medjber first set herself the goal of doing just 16 homes, enough for an Instagram post. After she posted them though, Ireland’s main national newspaper The Irish Times published the images on its front page, and she was flooded with requests from people asking her to photograph them.
10th Apr 2021 - ABCNews

UK’s Sikh community prepares for second Vaisakhi under lockdown

Half a million British-Sikhs are preparing to mark the Vaisakhi festival under coronavirus lockdown restrictions for the second year running. Harmeet Singh, general secretary of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall, said: “This Vaisakhi will remind us that the virtues Guru Gobind Singh Ji instilled in the Khalsa are more important than ever. During the pandemic, Sikhs across the world have shown their compassion and commitment by serving their local communities with langar – free kitchens – serving anyone and everyone, regardless of their background, recognising humanity’s oneness. Volunteers have shown immense courage, working to feed those on the front line."
10th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera

Wrexham’s MP launches campaign to celebrate local ‘Covid Community Champions’

Wrexham’s MP has launched a campaign to celebrate those in the town and the surrounding area that have given back to the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sarah Atherton MP is encouraging everyone across Wrexham to take part and celebrate the town’s ‘Covid Community Champions’. This can include anyone from an NHS worker or care worker, a teacher, someone who started a community group during the pandemic, or anyone who has been an inspiration to others during the past year.
10th Apr 2021 - Wrexham.com

Pandemic, hunger force thousands into sex work in Mexico

Hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic have forced former sex workers in Mexico back into the trade years after they left, made it more dangerous and reduced some to having sex in cars or on sidewalks for lack of available hotels. Claudia, who like most of the sex workers interviewed asked to be identified only by her first name, had stopped working the streets a decade ago after she married one of her former clients. But when her husband lost his job early in the pandemic, the couple fell four months behind on rent for their apartment. The only solution Claudia saw was to go back to working the streets.
10th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

One of Britain’s youngest Imams is leading Covid community efforts

One of Britain’s youngest Imams is supporting community efforts in south west London during the Covid-19 pandemic. Adeel Shah, 26, is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Mr Shah said: “The reason we’re doing this is because Islam teaches us to help our neighbours and to play our part in society.” Since March last year, the Ahmadiyya community has delivered 673,000 pieces of PPE on behalf of the government and 10,036 food packages to front line workers. Using a hotline, the Ahmadiyya community assisted vulnerable people with errands and emotional support. The effort helped 21,407 households.
9th Apr 2021 - SWLondoner

Covid-19: a disaster five years in the making

The covid-19 pandemic is not a one-off extraordinary event but the culmination of a five year unravelling of progress in global health, writes Peter Hotez. We live in extraordinary times in global health. Through two decades of the United Nations’ millennium and sustainable development goals, the number of childhood deaths from measles and some other vaccine preventable infections has fallen by as much as 87%.1 The launch and support of global vaccination programmes through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and mass treatment programmes for HIV-AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases have produced enormous global health gains.1 We are also moving towards the elimination of neglected tropical diseases including onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, scabies, yaws, and trachoma, with major falls in the incidence of AIDS in Africa and elsewhere. The benefits of these successes go beyond public health to reduced poverty through improvements in productivity, child development, and maternal-fetal outcomes. Global security has also been strengthened. Over the past 5-6 years, however, we have seen abrupt reversals in these developments leading to the emergence or re-emergence of both vaccine preventable diseases and neglected infections in multiple areas of the world. And that’s before the onset of covid-19. Humanity is able to make tremendous gains against global disease like never before—but we have allowed those gains to unravel. The novel coronavirus has shown us the consequences of this.
9th Apr 2021 - The BMJ

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Exclusive: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky Unveils Initiative to Address Racism in Health

The reason for that skewed impact doesn’t have so much to do with biology or genetics as it does a myriad of other factors, such as where people live, how clean the air they breathe is, what they eat, whether they work and if they do, what jobs they hold, and whether they rely on public transportation to get around. Dr. Rochelle Wolensky, the new director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), knows this dynamic well. As division director for infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, her research and clinical work focused on HIV, and she has served on Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 advisory board, helping to shape pandemic policy in that state. “I came from a place of taking care of patients with HIV and infectious diseases and those who work in public health have known forever that the diseases afflicting the poor, and afflicting those with access to health care, and afflicting racial and ethnic minorities are different than the diseases afflicting white Americans, or more privileged Americans,” says Walensky. “I came to the job with that reality every single day.”
8th Apr 2021 - TIME

In the Covid-19 vaccine push, no one is speaking Gen Z’s language

Useful Covid-19 information isn’t reaching the Instagram generation. There’s almost no messaging specifically tailored to them from federal or state public health officials. There’s hardly anything official on Tik Tok. And even the limited efforts to reach them where they are — like Instagram’s links to its “Covid-19 information center”— aren’t working. Just ask Kymon Palau, a 21-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., who has over 18,000 followers on the site.
8th Apr 2021 - STAT News

Achieving human rights to water and sanitation amid COVID-19

Amid a pandemic, huge sections of the global population are still being left behind in their access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Before the pandemic hit, 40 percent of the world’s population already lacked access to basic hand-washing facilities at home, and children at almost half of the world’s schools did not have water and soap. While many governments have increased the provision of public hand-washing stations during the pandemic, the economic fallout of COVID-19 has only exacerbated what was already an urgent need in homes, schools, and healthcare facilities all over the world. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic may contribute to the first increase in global poverty in more than 20 years, and by 2021, an additional 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty.
8th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English

How humility can save us from Covid-19

The hospital and health system had to constantly improvise, rethink, and change course. I believe that what saved us — and saved lives — was having the humility to continually reassess and admit when we needed to shift. From June through December, our teams simulated Arizona’s pandemic triage protocol, the process for determining in the fairest way possible who gets a scarce resource like a ventilator. We pushed on the medical staff and role-played panicked families and stressed health care workers. We pushed on nurses and administrators during these simulations to find equipment across the Banner system. And even after running the simulation numerous times, we still found it needed to be revised. For now, it’s as good as we can make it. If we ever have to use it, we will stay humble and look to improve it even more
8th Apr 2021 - STAT News

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Coronavirus: Irish teachers could strike over vaccine priority

Teaching unions in the Republic of Ireland have said members will be balloted for industrial action, potentially involving strike action, if the profession is not re-prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination. The Irish government has changed its strategy to focus on age groups. The Minister for Education Norma Foley said she understood the news was difficult for teachers. She said evidence showed schools to be areas of low transmission. The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) have been holding their annual conferences online.
7th Apr 2021 - BBC News

‘We failed the test’ of COVID-19, says human rights champion

Agnès Callamard is best known for her investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and has made a career uncovering extrajudicial killings. The French human rights expert’s focus on rights abuses is taking on new dimensions as she assumes leadership of Amnesty International and turns her attention to what she says is one of the world’s most pressing issues — vaccine equity to end the coronavirus pandemic, which has eroded freedoms globally.
7th Apr 2021 - Washington Post

Survey: Even as schools reopen, many students learn remotely

Large numbers of students are not returning to the classroom even as more schools reopen for full-time, in-person learning, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Biden administration. The findings reflect a nation that has been locked in debate over the safety of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic. Even as national COVID-19 rates continued to ebb in February, key measures around reopening schools barely budged. Nearly 46% of public schools offered five days a week of in-person learning to all students in February, according to the survey, but just 34% of students were learning full time in the classroom. The gap was most pronounced among older K-12 students, with just 29% of eighth graders getting five days a week of learning at school.
7th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

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U.K. Community Leaders Step In to Aid Vaccination in Ethnically Diverse Areas

Minority communities in Britain have long felt estranged from the government and medical establishment, but their sense of alienation is suddenly proving more costly than ever amid a coronavirus vaccination campaign that depends heavily on trust. With Britons enjoying one of the fastest vaccination rollouts in the world, skepticism about jabs remains high in many of the very communities where Covid-19 has taken the heaviest toll. “The government’s response to the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities has been rather limited,” said Dr. Raja Amjid Riaz, 52, a surgeon who is also a leader at the Central Mosque of Brent, an ethnically diverse borough of North London. “Those people have not been catered for.”
6th Apr 2021 - The New York Times

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COVID-19: Pope Francis pays surprise visit to Vatican vaccine centre for homeless people

Pope Francis visited the Vatican's vaccination centre for the poor and homeless on Good Friday. Francis, 84, surprised doctors, nurses, charity workers and those getting their jabs when he arrived at the pop-up clinic. The makeshift centre has been set up in the Vatican audience hall to give free vaccines to homeless people or those in need.
2nd Apr 2021 - Sky News

Biden launches community corps to boost COVID vaccinations

The Biden administration is unveiling a coalition of community, religious and celebrity partners to promote COVID-19 shots as it seeks to overcome vaccine hesitancy
1st Apr 2021 - ABC News

International travel: Will I be able to go on holiday abroad this summer?

Under England’s roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions, which Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday was on track, the earliest that foreign holidays could be permitted is May 17. The government’s Global Travel Taskforce will provide a report later this week on how international leisure travel can resume. Boris Johnson said the government will set out “well before May 17th what we think is reasonable”. He added: “I know that people watching will want to know exactly what they can do from May 17th but we’re not there yet.
5th Apr 2021 - ITV News

‘Divisive and discriminatory’: UK MPs to oppose COVID passports

More than 70 legislators, including 41 MPs from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party, have said they would oppose so-called vaccine passports in a rare show of cross-party unity in the United Kingdom. The UK, like several other countries, is considering making such certificates mandatory to help to open the economy as it starts lifting COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
2nd Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Many still hesitate to get vaccine, but reluctance is easing

So few people came for COVID-19 vaccinations in one county in North Carolina that hospitals there now allow anyone 16 or older to get a shot, regardless of where they live. Get a shot, get a free doughnut, the governor said. Alabama, which has the nation’s lowest vaccination rate and a county where only 7% of residents are fully vaccinated, launched a campaign to convince people the shots are safe. Doctors and pastors joined the effort. On the national level, the Biden administration this week launched a “We Can Do This” campaign to encourage holdouts to get vaccinated against the virus that has claimed over 550,000 lives in the U.S.
2nd Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

Over 70 pct of S. Koreans Willing to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Shots: Poll

Over 7 out of 10 South Koreans are willing to receive coronavirus vaccine shots, a poll showed Friday. In a survey on 1,000 people aged 18 and above conducted on Wednesday and Thursday by Gallup Korea, 71 percent said they would like to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Among them, 50 percent said they will “definitely” receive vaccine shots. Only 23 percent were not willing to join the nationwide inoculation campaign, with 8 percent of them saying they will “never” get vaccinated. Compared with the pollster’s similar survey carried out from Feb. 23-25, just before the vaccine rollout kicked off here, the rate of those who said they will “definitely” or “never” receive vaccine shots rose by 2 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively. By age bracket, those in their 20s were evenly divided on the matter, with 49 percent showing eagerness toward coronavirus vaccination and the other 49 percent not.
2nd Apr 2021 - The Korea Bizwire

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£14.7m Lottery cash boost to tackle loneliness in East Lindsey's older people

Ageing Better was originally a six-year (2015-2021), £78 million programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing loneliness and developing creative ways they can be actively involved in their local communities. Almost 150,000 people have been supported through Ageing Better across 14 locations, from Torbay to Middlesbrough and the Isle of Wight to East Lindsey, with 60% feeling less lonely and a third being more involved with local activities. The National Ageing Better Programme was due to end in 2021, but the partnerships have been awarded a further £6 million with the funding intended to alleviate the difficulties experienced by communities as a result of COVID-19.
31st Mar 2021 - Louth Leader

COVID-19: Millions of people told they no longer need to shield from coronavirus

More than 90% have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. People who were shielding can access priority supermarket delivery slots until 21 June if they have already registered.
31st Mar 2021 - Sky News

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Sir Lenny Henry has written an open letter urging black Britons to take the Covid-19 vaccine

Film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton, author Malorie Blackman and radio DJ Trevor Nelson are among the signatories of an open letter written by Sir Lenny Henry urging black Britons to take the Covid-19 vaccine. In the letter, actor and comedian Sir Lenny acknowledged the "legitimate worries and concerns" that people feel, adding: "We know change needs to happen and that it's hard to trust some institutions and authorities." He said: "But we're asking you to trust the facts about the vaccine from our own professors, doctors, scientists involved in the vaccine's development, GPs, not just in the UK but across the world including the Caribbean and Africa.
30th Mar 2021 - The Scotsman

Trapped in gloves, tangled in masks: Covid PPE killing animals, report finds

The masks and gloves protecting people from coronavirus are proving a deadly threat to wildlife when thrown away, a report has found. A fish trapped in the finger of a rubber glove in the Netherlands, a penguin in Brazil with a mask in its stomach and a fox in the UK entangled in a mask were among the victims. The researchers searched news sites and social media posts from litter collectors, birdwatchers, wildlife rescue centres, and veterinarians and found incidents on land and in water across the world. But they said much more information is needed and have launched a website where anyone can submit a report. The study, published in the journal Animal Biology, is the first overview of cases of entanglement, entrapping and ingestion of Covid-19 litter by animals. The PPE litter was mainly single-use latex gloves and single-use masks, consisting of rubber strings and mostly polypropylene fabric.
29th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

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Survey Finds COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy Remains Unchanged

Daily national surveys by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) show that although COVID-19 vaccine uptake has increased, the proportion of vaccine-hesitant adults has remained unchanged. The concerns about adverse effects (AEs) remain high, especially among females, Black adults, and those with an eligible health condition, according to the study. “Prior research by the CDC has found that Black and Hispanic adults are the least likely to receive the annual flu vaccine each year,” said Alex Reinhart, assistant teaching professor in CMU's Department of Statistics & Data Science and a member of the Delphi Research Group, in a press release. “Our survey suggests that COVID vaccine hesitancy follows a similar trend.”
29th Mar 2021 - Pharmacy Times

‘There’s a sense of community’ – how a west Cork town became Ireland’s first rural remote-working hub

Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen is proof that any business can be run from rural Ireland with the right connectivity. The west Cork town launched the country’s first rural remote-working hub in 2016 after local entrepreneurs decided they were sick of seeing students leave for college and never return. When Vodafone and the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) came together to make Skibbereen Ireland’s first gigabit broadband town, it set in motion a rural revival that exceeded all expectations.
29th Mar 2021 - Independent.ie

Covid: Ethnic jab gap 'not due to area or education'

Where people live, how poor that area is and their level of education explains only a fraction of the difference in Covid vaccination rates between ethnic groups, the Office for National Statistics has concluded. The ONS highlighted higher vaccination hesitancy among some ethnic groups. White people were the most and people of black African ethnicity were the least likely to have had a jab. But location, education and health accounted for just 30% of this gap.
29th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Rule of six and weddings resume as millions take step out of lockdown

Friends and families will be reunited from today as England takes a second major step out of lockdown. Two households or groups of up to six can socialise in parks and gardens once more, while outdoor sports facilities can reopen and small weddings can resume. Weddings will be limited to six people, including the couple, for at least two weeks until April 12, when 15 guests will be allowed. Boris Johnson urged Brits to take caution as Covid cases continue to rise across Europe, amid fears the new variants could trigger another UK wave despite more than 30 million receiving a jab.
29th Mar 2021 - Metro

London street theatre company offers doorstep performances from singers and dancers in lockdown

Street Theatre provides range of performances for people on their doorsteps Singers and dancers put on five-minute-long shows outside homes for just £30 Set up to support the performing arts as theatres remain closed until May 17
29th Mar 2021 - Daily Mail

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Covid: Boris Johnson urged to share vaccines with poorer nations

A group of charities is urging Boris Johnson to "swiftly clarify" how many Covid vaccine doses the UK is prepared to donate to poorer countries. Save the Children and the Wellcome Trust are among those calling on the PM to start donating jabs through Covax. This scheme aims to provide jabs for low and middle-income countries. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the UK does not currently have a surplus of vaccines, but when it does that surplus will be shared. The UK, which has ordered 400 million vaccine doses and will have many left over, has said it will donate most of its surplus vaccine supply to poorer countries.
28th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Exclusive: Facebook freezes Venezuela president Maduro's page over COVID-19 misinformation

Facebook has frozen Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s page for violating policies against spreading misinformation about COVID-19 by promoting a remedy he claims, without evidence, can cure the disease, a company spokesman said on Saturday. Maduro in January described Carvativir, an oral solution derived from thyme, as a “miracle” medication that neutralizes the coronavirus with no side effects, a claim doctors say is not backed by science. Facebook has taken down a video in which Maduro promotes the medication because it violates a policy against false claims “that something can guarantee prevention from getting COVID-19 or can guarantee recovery from COVID-19.”
28th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Covid vaccine: Social media urged to remove 'disinfo dozen'

Facebook, Twitter and Google have been urged by a US lawmaker to ban a dozen people who it is claimed are spreading the vast majority of disinformation about Covid vaccinations. Representative Mike Doyle made the call to remove their accounts during a US congressional session on how the three firms were dealing with fake news. He challenged Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pinchai to deplatform the dozen people immediately. None have responded to the call so far. Facebook said that it was looking into the matter to see if the accounts violated its community standards.
26th Mar 2021 - BBC News

How we can show hesitant Black D.C. residents that coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective

Black Americans are dying at nearly twice the rate of White Americans from the coronavirus. In the nation’s capital, about 75 percent of coronavirus deaths are among Black Americans — despite making up less than half of the population. So, it’s particularly troubling that 44 percent of Black D.C. residents say they won’t get vaccinated. As Black doctors and voices within the health-care community, we have a responsibility to address these views about vaccines. Among Black people who are unsure, the most common two reasons given are worries about side effects and a desire to see how other people respond to the vaccine. These are perfectly reasonable concerns; no one wants to be a guinea pig.
26th Mar 2021 - The Washington Post

Volatility of vaccine confidence

How can vaccine hesitancy be addressed? Communication about vaccines must be delivered in an empathic manner to avoid stigmatizing those who question inoculation. This requires leveraging established relationships to address concerns of the vaccine hesitant. Examples include the Engaging in Medical Education with Sensitivity initiative during the 2019 measles outbreaks, in which Orthodox Jewish nurses empowered parents in that community to reach their own conclusions about vaccines while listening to their concerns and helping them contextualize information. Also, the University of Maryland's Health Advocates In-Reach and Research network of Black barbershops and salons trains personnel as health educators to encourage customers to pursue healthy behaviors.
26th Mar 2021 - Science Magazine

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Teens organize free virtual tutoring programs to aid kids with remote learning amid pandemic

Many children in the U.S. have spent more than a year attending school virtually, raising significant concerns about a growing inequality gap. For the "CBS This Morning" series A More Perfect Union, Jan Crawford introduces high school students around the country who are on a mission to bridge that divide by teaching what they've learned to younger students.
26th Mar 2021 - CBS News

Dodford farm in fundraising drive to help children post-Covid

A children's farm which supports disadvantaged children with mental and physical health difficulties is trying to raise funds to enable it to continue its services post-Covid. Dodford Children's Farm, in Dodford, Worcestershire is seeking funding so that it can get children out into the countryside and be active, thus supporting their mental health and wellbeing, to kick-start their recovery after the pandemic. This will involve supporting children, many of them being from inner-cities, in a Covid-safe environment, outside in bubbles.The project will involve refocusing the Children's farm and re-engaging with the local community after the lockdown, and developing a team of local supporters and funders to build a community within Dodford and Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, to help in achieving its goals.
25th Mar 2021 - inyourarea.co.uk

Covid-19: Bristol BS3 group offers 'amazing' lockdown support

In Bristol, a Covid-19 community support group has helped 700 people since it was set up during the first national lockdown. BS3 Covid Response offers support, shopping and prescription collections, and phone call chat services. The group based in Bedminster and Southville was set up in March 2020 using social media and messaging services to co-ordinate help. Since its creation, it has grown to include 5,500 members and 1,000 registered volunteers. Analytics manager Becky Lewis-Jones, 39, has coordinated a 20-strong core team from her home in Southville, despite shielding due to asthma. "The community really has come together in so many ways and many connections and friendships have been forged through this," she said.
25th Mar 2021 - BBC News

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New Zealand Olympians to get early access to Covid-19 vaccine

Athletes representing New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics later this year will be able to apply to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they depart. Chris Hipkins, the minister responsible for New Zealand's response to the global health crisis, said people would be eligible to jump the queue for the vaccine on compassionate grounds or to compete in events of "national significance". The latter category would include Olympians, Paralympians and the national cricket team, who will be travelling to Britain to play India in the final of the ICC World Test Championship in June.
24th Mar 2021 - Sky Sports

Covid community heroes honoured in art project

An art project has named eleven people and organisations as "community heroes" from around Derbyshire. First Art, as part of its Shine a Light campaign, have recognised them for their commitment and for going the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nods could be given for all manner of selfless acts, as long as they helped others during this difficult year of their lives. Among the winners is a motorcyclist, Simon Jones, who helped deliver PPE to those need around Clay Cross by setting up Volunteer Riders UK.
24th Mar 2021 - Derby Telegraph

Facebook, Twitter must do more to stop COVID-19 anti-vaxxers, US states say

Attorneys general for 12 U.S. states on Wednesday accused Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc of doing too little to stop people from using their platforms to spread false information that coronavirus vaccines are unsafe. In a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the Democratic attorneys general said “anti-vaxxers” lacking medical expertise and often motivated by financial gain have used the platforms to downplay the danger of COVID-19 and exaggerate the risks of vaccination. They called on both companies to enforce their own community guidelines by removing or flagging vaccine misinformation.
24th Mar 2021 - Reuters

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Covid-19 vaccines and the danger of religious misinformation

As coronavirus vaccines slowly roll out across the world, leaders are working hard to build confidence in them. Religious leaders in particular can play a crucial role in convincing people to vaccinate. Many are working hard to spread the news that vaccines are safe and effective, but as the BBC’s population reporter Stephanie Hegarty has been finding out, there are figures in almost every faith who are undermining that message, with some spreading misinformation which could lead to vaccine hesitancy.
23rd Mar 2021 - BBC News

Community has got Britain through the pandemic. How can we create more of it?

The loss of social connection during the pandemic has shown us the dangers of taking social relationships for granted. We are social animals and a sense of community is essential to our wellbeing. This is crucial to remember in our ever more atomised society, where social relationships are commodified and patients and students are regarded as “clients” and “consumers”. As the UK recovers from the pandemic, finding ways to build healthy social relationships should be a key part of addressing public health. But even as it has distanced us from loved ones, the pandemic has also brought us closer together in other ways. At a street, neighbourhood and even national level, the shared experience of crisis has forged a greater sense of unity. As a groundbreaking body of new psychology has shown, a sense of belonging to communities can protect people against depression, improve cognition in older people, dramatically improve people’s health prospects on retirement and greatly improve recovery from heart attacks. Our membership of groups and communities is its own type of “social cure”.
23rd Mar 2021 - The Guardian

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COVID long-haulers speak about living with brain fog, rancid smells and crushing fatigue

In February, the NIH announced a four-year, $1.15 billion dollar initiative to study what causes long COVID, but even before the initiative was put forth, clinics were springing up around the country to research and treat the growing number of long-haul patients. Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have also drawn connections between long COVID and myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, which is characterized by symptoms like fatigue and brain fog and can be triggered by infectious diseases like mononucleosis, Lyme disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. Dr. Sara Martin is working to get one such initiative off the ground. The Adult Post-Acute COVID clinic at Vanderbilt University, which launched this week, brings together specialists from internal medicine, infectious disease, pulmonology, cardiology, ophthalmology, psychology, physical medicine, ear, nose and throat, speech pathology and neurology.
20th Mar 2021 - ABC News

Lessons from a year of lockdown: UK regional leaders on how their communities have tackled the Covid pandemic

Wales has forged its own route through the coronavirus crisis following its first case in Swansea on 28 February last year and its first case of community transmission in Caerphilly less than a fortnight later. A poll last month found that people in Wales overwhelmingly think the First Minister Mark Drakeford and the Welsh Government, which has imposed an unprecedented series of “made in Wales” measures, has handled the crisis better than Boris Johnson and the UK Government. While the death rate in both countries was similar at the peak in January this year, it was at its biggest gap in February between the two nations since March 2020 at 272.2 deaths per 100,000 in Wales compared with 393.2 in England.
22nd Mar 2021 - i on MSN.com

COVID-19: The patriarchal pandemic

From Argentina to Malaysia and Sudan to the United Kingdom to the United States, there has been a surge in reports of violence against women. To be sure, there are more opportunities for domestic violence when people are confined to domestic space. And yet the pandemic has disproportionately affected women in other ways, as well. In numerous countries, females are overly represented in industries, such as hospitality and food services, that have suffered high job losses.
22nd Mar 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Covid One Year On: Charities 'blessed' with community spirit

Throughout North Somerset, community-led initiatives have been launched during the pandemic, each with the goal of supporting people. Nailsea Community Group, formerly Nailsea Covid Support Group, has evolved from a band of neighbours helping each other with their shopping to close to 200 volunteers. Vice-chairman Jules Richardson estimates that more than 11,000 people combined have used the groups delivery service. Clevedon Foodbank experienced a rapid rise in the number of residents reliant on its services during 2020 compared to previous years which eventually led to the creation of Yatton Foodbank. Trustee, Alison Kember, told the Times: "Usually we help around 2,000 to 3,000 people but the number surpassed 5,000 last year.
22nd Mar 2021 - North Somerset Times

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Scuffles and arrests as anti-lockdown protesters march through London

Scuffles broke out as anti-lockdown protesters marched through central London on Saturday, defying police warnings for them to stay away due to coronavirus restrictions. Police said they had made 33 arrests, most for COVID regulation breaches, after up to 10,000 people gathered holding banners with slogans such as “Stop Destroying Our Kids’ Lives” and “Fake Pandemic”. Crowded close to one another, protesters also set off flares. Under England’s coronavirus rules it is unlawful for groups to gather for the purpose of protest, but opposition to such measures has grown this week, not specifically related to anti-lockdown demonstrations.
21st Mar 2021 - Reuters

Police use water cannon as German lockdown protest turns violent

Police deployed water cannon and pepper spray after a gathering of some 20,000 protesters against lockdown and other coronavirus rules in central Germany turned violent, with some demonstrators throwing bottles at police. Protesters from all over Germany converged on the central city of Kassel for the march, which was organised by the “Querdenker” - “Lateral Thinkers” - online conspiracy movement. “Bottles were thrown and there were attempts to break through barriers,” police said on Twitter.
21st Mar 2021 - Reuters

Chillicothe business, school developed virtual reality classrooms in response to COVID-19

A new partnership between a local school and a small business is helping students stay connected to their class even when learning remotely. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Flaget School and Objective Reality Games — a virtual reality arcade and game studio — collaborated to provide a new educational opportunity. By using an Oculus headset, students can visit a VR classroom, participate in lectures, complete assignments and engage with their peers all from home.
20th Mar 2021 - MSN

Covid-19 leaflets: How pandemic disinformation went offline

A newspaper dropped through Mark Langford's letterbox. It was called The Light. "The first thing you saw was the main headline: 'Covid jabs kill and injure hundreds.' I was horrified." Mr Langford confronted the woman who had delivered it. She told him she was a nurse, that the pandemic was a hoax and that no-one had died from coronavirus. He said he didn't believe a nurse would say that but didn't challenge her credentials at the time. The paper itself contained an article listing people who had allegedly died after receiving the vaccine, but provided no evidence that any of these deaths had been caused by the jab. Another section of the paper claimed face masks were responsible for "thousands" of deaths from bacterial pneumonia. There is no evidence whatsoever for this claim.
20th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Community champions sought to support those most at risk from Covid-19

Telford & Wrekin Council is looking to recruit community champions to support those most at risk of Covid-19. The council is launching a community champions project to reach residents most at risk from coronavirus, after securing £50,000 funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Borough residents are urged to volunteer to help make a difference in the communities they are living in. In particular, volunteers from 'seldom heard groups' are being asked to come forward, from groups who might be struggling to access council services (such as people from ethnic minority backgrounds or from disability communities) but applications from other communities across the borough are also welcomed.
20th Mar 2021 - Shropshire Star

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Google removed more than 99 million malicious Covid-19 ads in 2020, figures show

Google blocked or removed more than three billion adverts for violating its policies in 2020, including more than 99 million linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the company has revealed. The internet company’s annual Ads Safety Report showed it suspended 1.7 million advertiser accounts for breaking Google rules. It said a major revamp of its advertising policies, including the addition or updating of more than 40 rules for both advertisers and publishers had meant a drastic increase in the number of ads removed over the last 12 months. Among the 3.1 billion adverts removed were over 99 million related to Covid-19, many for misleading claims such as miracle cures or fake vaccine doses, but also ads for N95 masks during supply shortages
18th Mar 2021 - Evening Standard

Drive to help Wirral BAME communities feel safe about Covid jab

A Wirral woman is championing a campaign to ensure ethnic communities across the borough feel safe about having the Covid-19 vaccine. Carol Haque is encouraging others in the Bangladeshi community to take up the vaccine as the safest, most effective way to tackle the virus in a campaign launched by Cheshire and Merseyside NHS. Using insight from local research, representatives from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic will address questions about the vaccine in a series of radio adverts, posters and social media adverts.
17th Mar 2021 - Wirral Globe

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Hundreds more laptops ensure students in Lancashire are fully equipped to work remotely

Lancashire County Council has secured a further 1,000 laptops for schools to ensure that all students have the technology they need to be able to work remotely. An extra £650k for the new hardware brings the council's investment in laptops for schools to £1.47m. In total the council has secured 3,350 laptops for schools with this funding. Lancashire schools welcomed back all students earlier this month, with measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. However schools must be able to support remote learning in cases where students are asked to self-isolate due to a confirmed case in their bubble.
17th Mar 2021 - inyourarea.co.uk

Google blocked nearly 100 million harmful Covid-19 ads in 2020

Google blocked or removed nearly 100 million adverts linked to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, new figures show. The company's Ads Safety Report revealed these formed a significant proportion of the 3.1 billion adverts it banned in total for violating its policies in 2020. Among the blocked Covid-19 adverts were many spreading misleading claims about fake vaccine doses and miracle cures. Others were seen to be profiteering from in-demand products such as face masks during supply shortages. Google said the figures are the result of increased investment in its automated detection technology and a major revamp of its advertising policies.
17th Mar 2021 - Wales Online

'You might be the only person they’ve seen all week': how two charities are tackling isolation during Covid

Social isolation has affected us all this past year, following Covid-19 into our lives like a grey shadow. The webs of restrictions and worries catch differently for each household, matter in different ways to each person, but we have all felt the effects of seeing fewer people. During the first lockdown, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast found up to 70% of people reported feeling “isolated, left out, or lacking companionship some of the time or often”. Other studies show loneliness has an impact on both physical and mental health, linking a lack of connection with others to increased risk of earlier death, heart disease, depression and dementia. Doctors have called for “urgent action” to make sure the benefits of shielding from coronavirus are not outweighed by the problems caused by being alone.
17th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

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Student volunteers team up with council to fight loneliness in York

York students are helping to combat loneliness in the city in a pioneering new initiative. YUSU Nightsafe has teamed up with City of York Council for a project called Door Natters, to help combat isolation during the Covid-19 Pandemic. From the University of York Students’ Union, Nightsafe normally sees volunteers help their fellow students during on nights out. Door Natters sees Nightsafe volunteers pop postcards through people’s doors across York, explaining the scheme. The volunteers then return to look out for postcards placed in windows, telling them if the person living there is vulnerable or lonely and would like a casual chat with a volunteer.
16th Mar 2021 - YorkMix

Aston Villa's Neil Taylor encourages BAME community to get coronavirus vaccine

Neil Taylor is urging BAME communities to ignore misinformation about the Covid vaccination program. Speaking in support of a campaign run by the British Red Cross to combat mistrust, the Aston Villa full back, who is of mixed Welsh and Indian descent, said he understood concerns but that the skepticism does not make sense. “We are the ones most at risk, ethnic minorities are more likely to die from this virus than anyone else so for us to be skeptical does not add up. We were all thinking; how on earth have they come up with a vaccine so quickly but it has become clear now it is working. It’s the right thing to do.”
16th Mar 2021 - The Times

COVID-19: Facebook to label all posts about vaccines with WHO information

Facebook will add labels to all posts about COVID-19 vaccines to show additional information from the World Health Organisation. The move comes amid concerns that misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines may be driving hesitancy in people receiving the jab, potentially putting themselves at risk and prolonging the coronavirus pandemic. In an announcement on Monday, the social media giant said it was working closely with the NHS and global health authorities "to deliver important public health messages quickly, helping people access credible information and get vaccinated."
16th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Raising the curtain again: London theatres prepare to re-open a year on

In an empty London theatre, producer Nica Burns sits among the once buzzing stalls hoping audiences will soon be back for good to watch live performances. A year ago, Burns shut the doors to her six theatres, where shows like “Harry Potter And The Cursed Child” and “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” played to crowds in London’s West End, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Twelve months on, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown for England, she is cautiously preparing to re-open them from mid-May.
16th Mar 2021 - Reuters

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To help people find Covid-19 vaccines, Facebook debuts new features

Facebook is rolling out a handful of new tools on its platforms to help people get vaccinated against Covid-19. The tech giant, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, announced on Monday that it will use its platforms to help assist users in learning more about Covid-19 vaccines, including where and when they can get vaccinated. "Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we're working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in prepared remarks posted to the social media platform on Monday.
15th Mar 2021 - CNN

Hungarian far-right party protests lockdown

Demonstrators in Hungary’s capital broke a ban on public gatherings on Monday to demand an end to the country’s lockdown restrictions, even as a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations sweeps the country. The demonstration was organized by a far-right party, Mi Hazank Mozgalom (Our Homeland Movement), and joined by some 1,000 people. The group broke through a police cordon and marched to Hungary’s parliament in central Budapest. They demanded an end to pandemic restrictions that have been in effect for more than four months and have placed a heavy burden on the country’s economy.
15th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

Facebook to label vaccine posts to combat COVID-19 misinfo

Facebook is adding informational labels to posts about vaccines as it expands efforts to counter COVID-19-related misinformation flourishing on its platforms. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post Monday that labels will contain “credible information” about the vaccines from the World Health Organization. They will be in English and five other languages, with more languages added in coming weeks. “For example, we’re adding a label on posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that notes COVID-19 vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved,” Zuckerberg said.
15th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

Community projects to help Lewisham recover from Covid-19

Community projects that will help Lewisham recover from the Covid-19 pandemic will be able to bid for community infrastructure levy (CIL) funding from May this year. Councils can apply a levy to developments in the borough – the money is to mitigate their impact and goes towards improving local infrastructure. An open call for projects is set to be launched in mid to late May of this year and will run for eight to ten weeks.
15th Mar 2021 - London News Online

Exclusive: Regular booster vaccines are the future in battle with COVID-19 virus, top genome expert says

Regular booster vaccines against the novel coronavirus will be needed because of mutations that make it more transmissible and better able to evade human immunity, the head of Britain’s effort to sequence the virus’s genomes told Reuters. Sharon Peacock, who heads COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) which has sequenced nearly half of all the novel coronavirus genomes so far mapped globally, said international cooperation was needed in the “cat and mouse” battle with the virus. “We have to appreciate that we were always going to have to have booster doses; immunity to coronavirus doesn’t last forever,” Peacock told Reuters at the non-profit Wellcome Sanger Institute’s 55-acre campus outside Cambridge.
15th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Addiction and behavioral health care workers should have access to Covid-19 testing and vaccines

At the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. government and private organizations rushed to support health care workers — and rightfully so — with massive ramp-ups in making available personal protective equipment and testing supplies to ensure that frontline workers had the resources they needed to keep themselves, their patients, and their families as safe as possible. These providers have been now been given priority to get the Covid-19 vaccines that are being rolled out across the country. But one group of health care workers has been excluded from these efforts: those who work in behavioral health and addiction treatment centers.
15th Mar 2021 - STAT News

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With Trump gone, QAnon groups focus fury on attacking coronavirus vaccines

Within the alternative universe of the “Q NEWS OFFICIAL TV” group on Telegram, coronavirus vaccines aren’t saving lives and bending the pandemic toward its eventual end. Rather, they are bioweapons concocted by an evil cabal of corrupt government officials and drug companies. Their goal? Depopulation. Social control. Altering the very genetic structure of our species. Such unhinged conspiracy theories once ran rampant on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But months of purging accounts that trafficked heavily in the baseless QAnon ideology — especially after it helped fuel the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol — have reduced those voices on leading social media sites.
14th Mar 2021 - The Washington Post

Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Jews get COVID vaccine but still face resentment

Outside the synagogue in Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood Har Nof, a poster bears the name of Osnat Ben Sheetrit, a pregnant mother of four who died of COVID-19, and the words: “For the ascension of her soul, get vaccinated.”
13th Mar 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Misinformation wars on WhatsApp sees faith groups take on fake news

Faith groups are leading the fight against vaccine misinformation on what one called the "lawless wasteland" of WhatsApp. Messages spreading fake COVID-19 information are widely shared on the private messaging app. This is often through a simple "forwarding" feature that copies messages to other contacts. But the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and other groups have been pushing back on that disinformation. Sky News has been collecting and analysing messages to monitor what type of misinformation is shared on WhatsApp, while also speaking to groups which are tackling the problem head on.
13th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

Nurses fight conspiracy theories along with coronavirus

Los Angeles emergency room nurse Sandra Younan spent the last year juggling long hours as she watched many patients struggle with the coronavirus and some die. Then there were the patients who claimed the virus was fake or coughed in her face, ignoring mask rules. One man stormed out of the hospital after a positive COVID-19 test, refusing to believe it was accurate. “You have patients that are literally dying, and then you have patients that are denying the disease,” she said. “You try to educate and you try to educate, but then you just hit a wall.” Bogus claims about the virus, masks and vaccines have exploded since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic a year ago. Journalists, public health officials and tech companies have tried to push back against the falsehoods, but much of the job of correcting misinformation has fallen to the world’s front-line medical workers.
13th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

The path to the post-Covid city

The basic exchange that’s required is obvious: cities need to take space from cars, offices and shops and give it to affordable housing, community and nature. The city of the future may look a lot like the city of the past, just cleaner: bicycles, farms and 18th-century-style homeworking rather than flying cars. I’ve tried to distil the best ideas for the post-Covid city, focusing on rich-country megapolises such as London, New York and Paris. Developing-world cities have different problems, but much of what follows applies to them, too.
12th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

A tantalising glimpse of a post-vaccine world

The big threat to the “dream” scenario of governments being able to ease restrictions almost entirely as inoculation programmes end is the emergence of new variants that resist existing vaccines or cause worse symptoms and higher hospitalisations even among the young and healthy. Later rounds of jabs — booster shots against mutated strains — seem inevitable. Testing programmes may be needed for some time to hunt down new variants, and as an alternative to “vaccine passports” for those who cannot or choose not to be jabbed. Little by little, however, outlines of the post-pandemic normal are becoming discernible. Rich-world governments that are making good progress with vaccinations now need to prepare to donate their surplus doses to the developing world — to ensure they are not the only ones that can enjoy that brighter future.
12th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

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Loneliness and anxiety ‘magnified’ by pandemic, say Samaritans

Loneliness, anxiety, bereavement, financial worries and relationship problems have all been “magnified” by the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health charity Samaritans Ireland has said. The organisation revealed today that their volunteers have listened to callers’s concerns for almost 73,000 hours since the pandemic began. Samaritans Regional Director Rory Fitzgerald – who also volunteers on the helpline - has estimated that three out of five calls under the current Level 5 restrictions relate to worries about the Covid-19 pandemic.
11th Mar 2021 - Irish Times

MP to host Zoom meeting to tackle post-pandemic loneliness

York Central MP Rachael Maskell is inviting constituents to a Zoom public meeting to discuss how to tackle loneliness after Covid. The Shadow Minister for Civil Society and Loneliness says she is holding the meeting because she has been contacted by a large number of people telling her they feel lonely, isolated and scared as the country eases out of its third national lockdown. She said others had experienced loneliness for a long time but longed for friends to talk to and people who cared.
11th Mar 2021 - yorkpress.co.uk

As pandemic enters 2nd year, voices of resilience emerge

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen death, economic hardship and anxiety on an unprecedented scale. But it has also witnessed self-sacrifice, courage and perseverance. In India, Brazil, South Africa and other places around the globe, people are helping others and reinventing themselves. “I’ve been adaptable, like water,” said a woman whose dream of becoming a U.S. boxing champion was dealt a blow by the crisis, though not necessarily a knockout punch. Their voices and images can inspire, even though the future is as uncertain for them as it is for everyone else.
11th Mar 2021 - Associated Press

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How virtual fitness classes are providing much-needed community right now

Among the (many) mental health challenges of a year-long pandemic is the loneliness and isolation of social distancing — and digital fitness platforms have emerged as a way for people to find meaningful connection with others. “COVID-19 altered the way people spend their time. We are no longer commuting to large offices, meeting friends for happy hour or interacting at special events,” said Kinsey Livingston, vice president of partnerships at ClassPass. “For many people, physical activity and connectedness top the list of our mental health needs, and we are turning to virtual, outdoor and distanced studio workouts as a healthy coping mechanism for pandemic stress.” Fitness has always had a strong community aspect, but being able to tap into this connection digitally has been a lifesaver for many.
10th Mar 2021 - MSN.com

COVID-19: Wales to prioritise homeless for jabs during coronavirus vaccine rollout

Homeless people in Wales will be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine as they are more likely to have an underlying health problem, the Welsh government has said. Health Minister Vaughan Gething said this includes rough sleepers, those in emergency accommodation, and people who were recently homeless and are now in supported accommodation. Mr Gething, who was speaking during a Welsh government coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, said those people will now be part of priority group six in the country's vaccine roll-out.
10th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Facebook to tackle coronavirus vaccine misinformation

Facebook is launching a media literacy campaign to tackle the spread of false information about the coronavirus vaccine. It follows vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi last month telling Sky News the government was battling a "tsunami of disinformation" around the jabs as well as the coronavirus pandemic itself. Facebook previously announced that it would be banning proven false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, but warned it would "not be able to start enforcing these policies overnight".
10th Mar 2021 - Sky News

A look at the Covid-19 disinformation pushed by China and Russia

CNN's John Avlon looks back at the disinformation around Covid-19, as the US reaches the milestone of one year into the pandemic.
10th Mar 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

Michigan vaccine hunters and angels help seniors find coronavirus vaccine appointments

Trying to find a coronavirus vaccine appointment for her elderly family members was like firing a blind shot in the dark, said Elizabeth Griem. “I’m in my 30′s, I could only imagine what it would be like as someone (who is) 80 trying to navigate that,” Griem said. After sorting out vaccines for her father and father in-law, Griem met Katie Monaghan and began helping more seniors find vaccines. Monaghan noticed vaccine hunter Facebook groups popping up in other states, so she decided to start some in Michigan. Vaccine hunting is a national trend taking place mostly on Facebook where people find coronavirus vaccines and crowdsource information about them
10th Mar 2021 - MLive.com

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Coronavirus vaccine bots: A force for good or agents of chaos?

Amateurs have been setting up automated bots to scan the websites of clinics in search of new appointment information before posting their findings on social media - a practice known as “web scraping” - which is proving popular with grateful Twitter users relieved to have had their attention drawn to an open slot on behalf of an elderly relative. South Jersey-resident Benjamin Shover tweeted his thanks to Vaccine Bot NJ, built by local software engineer Kenneth Hsu, on 23 February after securing an appointment for his father, writing: “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I GOT MY DAD AN APPOINTMENT! THANK YOU SO MUCH!”
9th Mar 2021 - The Independent

Vaccine tips and tricks: a start-up industry helps Americans find a shot

The US has now delivered first doses of a coronavirus vaccine to 21 per cent of its adult population, making it the sixth fastest Covid-19 vaccine programme in the world. On Saturday the country administered a record 2.9m shots, the White House announced on Monday. But the rollout has been patchy, with states, local health departments, individual clinics and private pharmacy chains all running their own systems. On top of this, many states are now allowing anyone with an underlying condition to claim a vaccine — a group that can account for as much as 60 per cent of the population. So many people are now eligible for so few doses that people are doing anything they can to secure highly sought-after appointments. Some are lining up for 12 hours outside supermarkets to secure unclaimed vaccines; others are tapping up networks of friendly pharmacists and nurses to find out when appointments become available; some are monitoring registration websites throughout the day and night.
9th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

More than 100 vaccine hesitant people have now had coronavirus jab - after being contacted in mother tongue

In Manchester, more than 100 people who had previously refused or ignored the coronavirus vaccine offer have now had the jab - after being contacted in their mother tongue. A multilingual team called dozens of people of Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in south Manchester to answer questions and “debunk vaccination myths”. The volunteers rang people identified by GPs at Ladybarn Group Practice, Al-Shifa Medical Centre and David Medical centre to discuss specific concerns. As a result, 110 people had their vaccinations at Chancellors Hotel, in Fallowfield, where more multilingual staff and translated materials were available
9th Mar 2021 - Manchester Evening News

Corby wellbeing programme helped by £31,000 boost from Loneliness and Isolation Fund

A Corby community-led arts consortium will be able to give their wellbeing programme a shot in the arm to help those suffering from isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Made With Many’s Corby arts programme has received a £31,000 boost for creative projects from the government’s Loneliness and Isolation Fund, to allow it to reach more people with their cultural and creative activities.
9th Mar 2021 - Northants Telegraph

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Virtual lessons on the world of farming for British Science Week

More than 200,000 primary school pupils are delving into the world of food and farming in one of the country’s biggest virtual classrooms this week, as the National Farming Union broadcasts live lessons to celebrate British Science Week.
8th Mar 2021 - shropshirestar.com

Russian Intelligence Linked to Spread of False Info About COVID-19 Vaccines

Four websites featuring articles that cast doubt about the COVID-19 vaccines have been traced back to Russian intelligence agencies as part of their alleged campaign to diminish confidence in the drug’s efficacy and safety, the Wall Street Journal reports. An official with the U.S. Department of State’s Global Engagement Center found that these online publications, which have been identified as New Eastern Outlook, Oriental Review, News Front, and Rebel Inside, are spreading false or misleading information about the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine and the United States’ role in attempting to rush its approval by Food and Drug Administration. While the readership on these sites is quite low, there’s concern that these articles could garner more attention if they were to be picked up and circulated by international outlets.
8th Mar 2021 - Yahoo

Yellen says COVID-19 having 'extremely unfair' impact on women's income, jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an “extremely unfair” impact on the income and economic opportunities of women, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday, calling for long-term steps to improve labor market conditions for women. Yellen, in a dialogue with International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, said it was critical to address the risk that the pandemic would leave permanent scars, reducing the prospects for women in the workplace and the economy.
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters

‘Disparities we had before played out during the pandemic’

Black, Asian and other minorities in the United Kingdom have been disproportionately struck by COVID-19, with some communities still experiencing a higher rate of hospitalisations and deaths as the pandemic continues. Over the past year, several reports and studies have underscored that this bleak reality is a consequence of structural racism. In an interview with Al Jazeera, British Medical Association chief Chaand Nagpaul says the government must now acknowledge the “structural inequalities that have plagued our society for decades” if it is to address healthcare disparities. He spoke about the UK’s handling of the pandemic, how lessons from a public inquiry will help save lives in the future, and why some ethnic minorities are reluctant to take the vaccine.
8th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

One in four remain unwilling to get coronavirus vaccine: poll

A new poll released by Monmouth University on Monday found that, while a majority of people reported being satisfied with the coronavirus vaccine rollout, 1 in 4 still say they do not plan on getting the shot. “The American public has become less concerned about contracting Covid-19 since vaccines have become more widely available. However, 1 in 4 remain unwilling to get the shot, even though most are satisfied with the vaccine rollout so far,” the university said in a press release. “The Monmouth University Poll also finds that public opinion of how state governors and federal health agencies have handled the pandemic remain largely positive, although not quite as positive as they were at its onset one year ago. Confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to get the outbreak under control has dipped since he first took office, but remains largely positive.”
8th Mar 2021 - The Hill

Covid-19: Essex boy's lockdown art project raises £100k for NHS charity

In England, a 12-year-old boy's lockdown art project has raised about £100,000 for charity, after 250 artists came forward to help him. Noah, who has hydrocephalus, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, began painting on cardboard at home in Dedham, Essex, a year ago. His father posted on Instagram, asking artists to finish the pictures. More than 200 pieces were then auctioned on eBay and raised more than £80,000, with the rest made up from book sales featuring the art and donations. Noah's father Nathan Jones said they had originally hoped to raise £500 and were "absolutely stunned" by the total.
8th Mar 2021 - BBC News

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Paris police clear Seine riverside over lack of social distancing

French police cleared the banks of the River Seine in central Paris on Saturday over concerns people were getting too close together and not respecting coronavirus social distancing rules. Hundreds of people were asked to leave the area - popular for strolling and picnicking on sunny days - and police officers closed the riverbanks for the rest of the day. “Social distancing rules are not being respected,” police called out through a megaphone. The police has regularly been clearing the area over the past few weeks with warmer weather bringing people out to take advantage of the sunshine before a curfew kicks in from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
7th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Night and day in South America: Buenos Aires welcomes nightlife, new lockdowns in Brazil

In Buenos Aires on Friday night the doors of the Colón Theater reopened for the first time in a year since being shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, a sign of how the capital of Argentina is slowly letting its hair down once again. In neighboring Brazil, however, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have gone in the opposition direction, both announcing tighter restrictions this week, a reflection of how the two regional powerhouses are on completely different tracks battling the virus.
7th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Dutch dance lovers offered lockdown relief at test event

Dance music lovers in Amsterdam were offered a short relief from COVID-19 lockdown on Saturday, treated to their first live show in over a year while serving as guinea pigs in a research project. A total of 1,300 people were allowed at a carefully orchestrated test event in Amsterdam’s biggest music hall, the ZiggoDome, which in normal times has a capacity of up to 17,000. Dancing to tunes delivered by Dutch DJs Sam Feldt, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and others, the fans were followed in all their movements and contacts through a tag they were made to wear, in an effort to see how events might safely be opened up for the public again.
7th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Funding joy for organisers of Bishop's Stortford's Covid-19 lifeline support scheme Operation CommUNITY

A "fantastic web of support" is keeping Bishop's Stortford-based lifeline scheme Operation CommUNITY on track – and organisers have revealed they have secured funding until the end of March. The scheme, which was launched in March 2020 at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown to support vulnerable people, ran out of funding in January but received a Covid Winter Grant of £9,634 from Hertfordshire Community Foundation to keep its vital support network going. Lisa Rodmell, of Bishop's Wellbeing and lead volunteer for Operation CommUNITY, revealed the scheme had delivered 4,999 meals to individuals, families and homeless people, and heaped praise on the community for its continued support.
7th Mar 2021 - Bishops Stortford Independent

New York cinemas reopen, brightening outlook for theaters

After growing cobwebs for nearly a year, movie theaters in New York City reopen Friday, returning film titles to Manhattan marquees that had for the last 12 months instead read messages like “Wear a mask” and “We’ll be back soon.” For a theatrical business that has been punished by the pandemic, the resumption of moviegoing in New York — is a crucial first step in revival. “It’s a symbolic moment,” said Michael Barker, co-president of the New York-based Sony Pictures Classics, which on Friday released the Oscar contenders “The Father” and “The Truffle Hunters” in Manhattan theaters. “It says that there is hope for the theatrical world to reactivate itself.”
6th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

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California to give 40% of vaccine to Latino, high-risk areas

California will begin sending 40% of all vaccine doses to the most vulnerable neighborhoods in the state to try to inoculate people most at risk from the coronavirus and get the state’s economy open more quickly, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday in the latest shake-up to the state’s rules. The doses will be spread among 400 ZIP codes where there are about 8 million people eligible for shots, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary. Many of the neighborhoods are in Los Angeles County and the central valley, which have had among the highest rates of infection.
5th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

An Uncertain Public — Encouraging Acceptance of Covid-19 Vaccines | NEJM

Having explored multiple polls, we believe that there is great potential for public willingness to receive Covid-19 vaccines but that effective public education and outreach are needed to maximize the proportion of the population that will do so quickly. We also believe that clinical physicians, rather than pharmaceutical companies, political leaders, or even medical scientists, should be at the fore of education and outreach strategies. Featuring clinicians in messaging is particularly important given that many people will not see their own physician when making vaccination decisions: current vaccine policy and cold-chain logistics mean that people will largely be attending mass-vaccination clinics. To reach communities that are less trusting of vaccine efforts, outreach should be led by, or should meaningfully incorporate, physicians reflecting the diversity of the relevant communities.
4th Mar 2021 - nejm.org

COVID-19: 'Light at the end of the tunnel' as pubs and bars announce outdoor area reopening plans

Wetherspoons will open patios, beer gardens and rooftop gardens at 394 of its pubs in England from 12 April as COVID-19 restrictions ease, the pub chain has announced. Revolution Bars, another chain, said it would reopen 20 venues from April as its boss said "the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter".The announcement comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended a business rates holiday and VAT cut for the hospitality sector in the budget, as well as extending the furlough scheme.
4th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Croydon organisation works to dispel Covid-19 vaccine myths in BAME communities

Croydon BME Forum is joining forces with local organisations in a bid to inform the black community about the Covid-19 vaccines following the recent low uptake. A recent study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that 21 per cent of black people over the age of 80, who are currently eligible to have the vaccine, have been vaccinated compared to 43 per cent of their white counterparts.Croydon BME Forum is partnering with South West London CCG and the Asian Resource Centre to deliver an outreach programme aimed at those from BAME communities to inform and answer questions. Upcoming plans include interactive Zoom events, smaller community sessions held online and video interviews with health experts.
4th Mar 2021 - inyourarea.co.uk

'Vaccine hunters': Online community helps people find COVID vaccine appointments

Since it launched on Feb. 1, the vaccine hunters Facebook group has grown to more than 20,000 members and now helps people across Minnesota find and sign up for appointments each day. Members share tips about when vaccine appointments open online, photos of themselves or their parents getting vaccines and stories of what they went through to get COVID-19 shots. The administrators also update a separate website several times a day. Winnie Williams, a freelance software developer, manages the vaccine hunter website and helps individuals book appointments from her home in Woodbury, Minn.
4th Mar 2021 - MPR News

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CRISPR rivals put patents aside to help in fight against Covid-19

Coronavirus made the rivalry less cutthroat because patents were not a paramount concern. “The awesomely good thing about this terrible situation is that all the intellectual property questions have been put aside, and everyone’s really intent on just finding solutions,” said Chen. “People are focused on getting something out there that works, rather than on the business aspect of it.” The ultimate goal for both teams is to create CRISPR-based coronavirus tests that would be like a home pregnancy test: cheap, disposable, fast, and simple, something you could buy at the corner drugstore and use in the privacy of your home. Harrington and Chen of the Mammoth team unveiled their concept for such a device in May 2020 and announced a partnership with the London-based multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to manufacture it. It would provide accurate results in 20 minutes and require no special equipment.
3rd Mar 2021 - STAT News

US Catholic group tells followers to avoid Johnson & Johnson vaccine

An American Catholic church body on Tuesday urged its followers to avoid the coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, alleging that it was “developed, tested and produced using abortion-derived cell lines.” The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged Catholics to choose between the alternatives offered by Pfizer and Moderna because the J&J vaccine raised questions about “moral permissibility.” “The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines,” said Bishop Kevin C Rhoades, chairman of USCCB. The body said the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are preferable “if one has the ability to choose a vaccine.”
3rd Mar 2021 - The Independent

Covid-19: Sprinter urges BAME groups to 'have conversation' about the jab

A British sprinter has urged black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to "have the conversation" about the coronavirus vaccine. Eugene Amo-Dadzie, from east London, said he had overcome his concerns after discussing them with a family member. New research shows people from ethnic minorities have been less likely to want to get vaccinated and trust family members' views over the government. Amo-Dadzie said he had "responsibility" over his career and family. "Let's have the conversation, let's ask the questions, let's understand what our fears and hesitancies are, and then let's deal with those and move forward," he said.
3rd Mar 2021 - BBC News

Chinese groups in UK are being taught how to handle Covid hate crimes after brutal attack on lecturer

Community groups supporting Chinese and other East Asian communities in the UK are being trained to support victims of Covid-related racial attacks, after a Chinese lecturer was assaulted last week. Peng Wang, 37, was brutally attacked by four men while he was jogging near his home in Southampton last Tuesday. He sustained facial injuries and an injury to his elbow in the attack, which took place at around 4.15pm on Vosper Road, Southampton. The men drove past Mr Wang in a car and shouted abuse at him. When the University of Southampton lecturer shouted back to defend himself, they stopped the car and assaulted him. Police arrested a 23-year-old man from Southampton on suspicion of racially aggravated assault. He was released from custody but remains under investigation.
3rd Mar 2021 - The Independent

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Rochdale charity helps older adults keep active and get online to avoid lockdown loneliness

In England, Rochdale based culture and leisure charity, Link4Life, is continuing to support the local community get through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic even as the doors remain closed on their leisure centres, Touchstones Museum and Art Gallery and their other live event venues. The charity launched ‘Link4Life at Home’ during the first lockdown to offer a virtual alternative to the pre-pandemic sessions, which take place at Link4Life’s venues, helping people stay active, creative and healthy at home. This virtual support is planned to continue for the foreseeable future to ensure accessibility for all.
2nd Mar 2021 - AboutManchester

COVID-19: Twitter expands 'warning labels' to target misleading vaccine posts

Twitter is expanding its use of warning labels, targeting tweets that contain misleading details about coronavirus vaccines. The decision has been made to strengthen the social network's existing COVID-19 guidance, which has led to the removal of more than 8,400 tweets and challenged 11.5 million accounts worldwide. Labels providing additional context are already attached to tweets with disputed information about the pandemic. However, this is the first time the firm has focused on posts about vaccines specifically. Twitter said it is starting a strike system that "determines when further enforcement action is necessary".
2nd Mar 2021 - Sky News

A third of all military personnel are refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

A third of all military personnel in the U.S. are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, and in some units just 30% of enlistees are willing to have a shot, according to a new report. The figure is alarming commanders as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the United States. Personnel who refuse the vaccine will face no repercussions due to a federal law that 'prohibits the mandatory application of medicines within the military that are not fully licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration', The Nation reports.
2nd Mar 2021 - Daily Mail

Google and University of Oxford launch global Covid-19 tracker platform

Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, along with the University of Oxford and others have launched a global data repository to help track Covid-19 variants and future infectious diseases. Global.health is an open-access store and builds on an idea first initiated by University of Oxford researchers in January 2020, which involved building a Covid-19 database which pulls together anonymised data on as many individual cases as possible. The university also launched an online tool for tracking and comparing the policy responses of governments around the world tackling the coronavirus outbreak in July 2020. Following early investment by the Oxford Martin School at the start of the pandemic, Google.org provided funding and a team of 10 fulltime Google.org Fellows and seven part-time Google.org volunteers to scale up the project. The Rockefeller Foundation has also provided funding.
2nd Mar 2021 - Digital Health

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Charity issues plea for volunteers amid spike in loneliness and isolation in Aberdeen

A north-east charity in Scotland has issued a plea seeking volunteers who can bring hope and joy to people’s lives. As part of their new befriending service, Aberdeen based TLC are calling on those in the surrounding area to step up and help support others. Starting in April, it is hoped that members of the community can help alleviate the loneliness and isolation being felt by many during the pandemic. Through their outreach work into communities across the city, the charity has witnessed a spike in people finding their physical, emotional and mental health in decline.
1st Mar 2021 - The Press and Journal

Food boxes 'only way to defeat Covid in lockdown' say Isle of Dogs volunteers

In England, a “mega food distribution” to beat isolation is being run by volunteers on the Isle of Dogs to reach households in lockdown. Members of the Island Network of voluntary groups were out at the weekend taking food packs to those staying indoors, including the elderly, disabled and anyone in poverty. The volunteers are also planning to distribute packs today, Monday, March 1, to primary schools in the area to be given to the most needy.
1st Mar 2021 - East London Advertiser

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Covid has connected UK communities and spurred volunteering, report finds

In the UK, the coronavirus pandemic has fostered “a greater sense of connection”, spurring millions to volunteer to help others in their communities, research suggests. An ICM poll found that almost three times as many people said Covid had made their community more united (41%) than said it had become more divided (13%). When extrapolated to the entire UK population, the results of the nationally representative survey of 2,373 UK adults suggest 12.4 million adults volunteered during the pandemic. Out of these, 4.6 million were first-time volunteers, of which 3.8 million people were interested in volunteering again.
28th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Germans say ‘Nein Danke’ to Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

The head of STIKO, Thomas Mertens, conceded on BBC's Radio 4 Today program Thursday morning that in terms of slow take-up, his panel's assessment "may be part of the problem." "[Even though] we always stated that [our assessment] had nothing to do with the safety of the vaccine ... we never criticized the vaccine to be unsafe," he added. Mertens noted that there are now 1.4 million doses of the vaccine in Germany, while only about 240,000 have been administered. "We are working quite hard … to try and convince people to accept the vaccine and really to build ... trust in the vaccine among the population," he said. The government is also rushing to regain this trust, assuring citizens that the vaccine provides reliable protection from severe and lethal cases of COVID-19. "The vaccine ... is safe and highly effective," tweeted government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday. "It prevents many infections and protects against serious illnesses. Vaccination can save lives."
27th Feb 2021 - POLITICO.eu

Is Covid at risk of becoming a disease of the poor?

Detailed data on uptake down to a community level is not being published by the government to the frustration of many - the figures for Birmingham were published by the council. But what information is available suggests the poorest and most ethnically diverse communities (there is a huge overlap between the two) are seeing the lowest levels of uptake.
27th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Funding boost for groups helping COVID hit communities

A housing trust has given community groups in Birmingham and Telford that are working to help those hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19 a funding boost. Bournville Village Trust has awarded grants totalling £17,500 to 15 grass-roots groups as part of a commitment to support communities through the pandemic.
26th Feb 2021 - CharityToday

Charity drive to bring North West communities together over covid rules

New research shows that more than half of the people living in the North West of England believe those who disagree on rules around covid 19 are a threat to the country’s future. The charity Engage Britain is launching a national drive to help bring communities back together. It comes after the poll asked people in the North West about how issues like the vaccine and lockdown rules are impacting their lives. Boris Johnson has laid out his road map out of lockdown, but the survey found that community spirit is still fading after battling the pandemic for almost a year. 22% of residents said they’ve become more suspicious of people in their community with a different approach to the rules.
26th Feb 2021 - ITV News

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England minorities: Higher COVID-19 cases, fewer vaccinated

England’s ethnic minority communities have higher levels of COVID-19 infections and lower levels of vaccine acceptance than other groups, according to a new study that highlights how the pandemic is worsening health inequalities. The study found that 92% of people across England either have received or would accept a vaccine. But that figure dropped to 87.6% for Asians and 72.5% for Blacks, according to the study released Thursday by Imperial College London. Researchers also found that most people of all age groups produced disease-fighting antibodies after two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
25th Feb 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Anti-fraud probe as EU nations are offered 900 million 'ghost' jabs worth €12.7bn

Fraudsters are trying to cash in on mistakes made by the EU's coronavirus vaccination campaign by offering millions of scam jabs to member states. The bloc's anti-fraud agency OLAF said around 900 million vaccines have been pitched to several countries for €12.7bn (£11bn). These offers were said to be made by "alleged intermediaries," prompting OLAF to investigate. Pharmaceutical companies involved in making vaccines against COVID-19 say they sell to governments direct only.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Almost 70,000 COVID lockdown fines handed out, with steep rise since Christmas

Police have handed out nearly 70,000 fines to people for breaching COVID-19 lockdown rules since they came into force, with more than 6,000 issued in a single week, new data shows. Figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on Thursday show that a total of 68,952 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issues by forces. Of this figure, 63,201 fines were handed out in England and 5,751 in Wales between 27 March last year and 14 February.
25th Feb 2021 - Sky News

The Good, the Bad, and the Embarrassing in America’s COVID-19 Response

The pandemic has been both a bad and an embarrassing time to be an American. Bad in an actuarial sense, because per-capita death rates here have been among the highest in the world. Embarrassing at the level of national identity. In Washington, last year, the President promised that the virus would be gone by Easter, and when it wasn’t he mused that Americans might self-treat with bleach. In Michigan, armed men guarded a barbershop that had defied public-health orders to close. On South Padre Island, in Texas, spring break proceeded as usual—packed and unmasked—even as cases were climbing. The state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, insisted that there were “more important things than living”; later, he urged Texans to keep the economy open even if it meant more deaths.
25th Feb 2021 - The New Yorker

Far right 'exploiting' anger at lockdowns to radicalise wellness community, police say

Rightwing extremist groups have “exploited” anger at Covid-19 lockdowns to radicalise Australians in wellness and alternative medical circles into adopting white supremacist ideologies, Victoria police have warned a parliamentary inquiry into extremism. The inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism has separately been warned by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation that Australians as young as 13 are involved in onshore terrorism, both in Islamist and rightwing extremist circles, and that encrypted online communication channels are preventing authorities from intervening before “lone actors” become radicalised and carry out attacks.
25th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Covid 19 coronavirus in NZ: One year into the pandemic, five lessons for 2021 and beyond

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand. What are some of the lessons we have learned about this pandemic? And what are the implications for improving our response in future? Arguably, New Zealand's greatest lesson is that an elimination strategy is the optimal response for a moderate to severe pandemic like Covid-19. The strategy provides a vivid example of how protecting public health also protects the economy when compared with mitigation or suppression strategies. This successful approach has required decisive science-backed government action and outstanding communication to create the social licence needed for an effective response.
25th Feb 2021 - New Zealand Herald

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All adults in Wales will get a coronavirus vaccine by July 31, says nation's health minister

Every adults in Wales eligible for coronavirus vaccine will receive a jab by July 31, health minister Vaughan Gething has announced. He said that Wales would be able to offer a vaccine to all eligible adults by July 31, provided that the supply promised by the UK government was fulfilled. Mr Gething said: "Our incredible vaccine programme is the other beacon of hope that will help guide us out of lockdown. I can today confirm that we will offer the vaccine to all eligible adults in Wales by 31 July, as long as the supply matches our ambition."
24th Feb 2021 - Wales Online

Italian mafia tightens grip on small businesses during lockdown

The provision of Mafia “welfare” to Italy’s struggling small businesses sharply increased during the first months of the Covid-19 lockdown according to the first comprehensive report by the country’s interior ministry on organised crime since the pandemic began. The report by the anti-mafia investigation directorate (DIA) said there was a significant threat that organised criminals would take advantage of the country’s economic crisis to take over small businesses after initially providing them with assistance.
24th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

Holidaymakers rush to book summer getaways to Greece, Spain and Turkey after PM announced aim to restart international travel from May 17 - but SAGE scientist warns don't book a trip abroad before 2023

Britons are rushing to book their summer getaways ahead of the return of international travel from May 17 - despite a SAGE professor warning holidaymakers not to go on foreign trips before 2023. Some of Britain's biggest airlines and travel firms revealed a surge in holiday bookings to destinations including Greece, Spain and Turkey in the hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the roadmap out of lockdown yesterday.
24th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

China's bid to stop Wuhan COVID-19 spread cut deaths from other causes: study

The number of deaths in China - excluding the coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan - fell slightly during the first three months of 2020, suggesting efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 reduced fatalities from other causes, a new study showed. Researchers from the University of Oxford and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysed official death registry data from Jan. 1 to March 31 last year for changes in overall and cause-specific deaths. The death rate in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was first identified, stood at 1,147 per 100,000 over the period, 56% higher than expected, they found in the study published on Wednesday by BMJ, the journal of the British Medical Association.
24th Feb 2021 - Yahoo News Singapore

EU mulls vaccination passports to resurrect tourism after COVID-19

European Union leaders will agree on Thursday to work on certificates of vaccination for EU citizens who have had an anti-COVID shot, with southern EU countries that depend heavily on tourism desperate to rescue this summer’s holiday season. Lockdowns to slow the pandemic caused the deepest ever economic recession in the 27-nation bloc last year, hitting the south of the EU, where economies are often much more dependent on visitors, disproportionately hard. With the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 now gathering pace, some governments, like those of Greece and Spain, are pushing for a quick adoption of an EU-wide certificate for those already inoculated so that people can travel again. However, other countries, such as France and Germany, appear more reluctant, as officials there say it could create de facto vaccination obligation and would be discriminatory to those who cannot or will not take a jab.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Doctors and nurses face endless covid misinformation battle

Nakhasi is one of countless health-care workers who have found themselves combating the coronavirus on two fronts during a global pandemic that is now stretching into its 12th month. Beyond spending their working hours in hospitals and clinics, many doctors and nurses have also voluntarily entrenched themselves in “the information war,” as Nakhasi calls it. It’s a fight Nakhasi and other medical professionals say feels overwhelming. Baseless claims often spread faster than facts, and purveyors of misinformation are quick to retaliate with vitriol and threats. And yet, health-care workers, many of whom are already experiencing burnout and the emotional toll of witnessing covid ravage their patients, haven’t backed down. “It’s never-ending,” Nakhasi said. “There’s not a moment where I don’t feel some level of duty or responsibility” to take action.
24th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Mission Possible: Pfizer and BioNTech star in their own vaccine discovery movie

The movie-length product placement is a behind-the-scenes look at Comirnaty, the now-authorized coronavirus shot Pfizer developed and produced in concert with its partner BioNTech. Pfizer provided the National Geographic's scientific storytellers “unprecedented access” to the vaccine's development, said Sally Susman, Pfizer executive VP and chief of corporate affairs, said. “This film is riveting and suspenseful,” Susman said in a media backgrounder from Disney Advertising Sales, the Disney group that oversees National Geographic’s CreativeWorks branded content studio, which created the film. “It is a testament to all of our employees and partners across the biopharmaceutical industry who have put in the long hours of tireless dedication and sacrifice, often working away from their families."
24th Feb 2021 - FiercePharma

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Even the World's Most-Vaccinated Economy Faces a Tough Reopening

But even as that brings hope for businesses shuttered for months, and for economies across the globe that have spent trillions of dollars to support people during lockdowns, the Israel experience shows that an emerging new normal that may not look much like the pre-pandemic world for some time to come.
24th Feb 2021 - Bloomberg

'Closer to normality': New York City arenas open doors to elated fans

On Tuesday, standing outside Madison Square Garden in the chilly February air, Cumello was grateful her long-awaited game had finally arrived. “I’m really excited that we finally got to go because I was really upset when it got canceled,” said Cumello, who plays point guard in her youth league in Fairfield, Connecticut. “I’m excited that we just get to be here and get to watch.” Cumello and her mother were among the 2,000 fans ready to watch the New York Knicks take on the Warriors, as New York City welcomed ticketholders at live sports events for the first time since the pandemic brought sports to a halt nearly a year ago.
24th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 could become disease of the poor and persist in some areas of UK, expert warns

Dr Mike Tildesley, reader in mathematical modelling of infectious diseases at the University of Warwick and member of the Government advisory group SPI-M, said that he was "concerned" that the virus might persist particular parts of the country. Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether Covid-19 could remain a "disease of the deprived", he said: "This is a real concern actually for me and I know a number of other scientists have raised this, that we may end up in a situation where we have the 'vaccine rich' and as it were, who are able to access the vaccine who have taken up the vaccine and are at much lower risk.
23rd Feb 2021 - Mirror Online

Fauci: Vaccinated people shouldn't dine indoors or go to the theater quite yet

Dr. Anthony Fauci cautions against indoor dining and theatergoing even for those fully vaccinated. The number of coronavirus cases in the US remains high. He said it'd be safer to gather indoors again as more people get vaccinated and COVID-19 cases drop.
23rd Feb 2021 - Business Insider

COVID-19: How European nations are trying to plot route out of lockdown

The details of England's route out of lockdown were revealed this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is "very optimistic" he will be able to remove all coronavirus restrictions by 21 June under his four-stage plan. But how are European countries faring in the second year of the pandemic?
23rd Feb 2021 - Sky News

Holiday bookings surge in UK after lockdown exit plans revealed

Airlines and travel companies have reported a surge in holiday bookings after the Boris Johnson announced his roadmap out of lockdown. EasyJet, Ryanair, Tui and Thomas Cook reported a jump in bookings to destinations including Spain and Greece after the prime minister said international trips could potentially resume from 17 May, subject to review and assuming there was no resurgence in coronavirus and vaccination programmes went well. The increase bolstered shares in airlines and travel companies on Tuesday. EasyJet and Tui were among the top risers on the FTSE 250, up 7% and 3% respectively. On the FTSE 100, British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group, was up 3.5%.
23rd Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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False claims tying coronavirus vaccines to infertility drive doubts among women of childbearing age

As the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine ramps up across the United States, women of childbearing age have emerged as a surprising roadblock to efforts to halt the pandemic by achieving herd immunity. Officials have encountered hesitancy among other groups, including some Black and Hispanic adults and those who believe the pandemic is a hoax. But the reluctance of women in their 20s and 30s — largely around disinformation spread on Facebook, Twitter and other social media — has been more unexpected. With such women making up a large share of the health-care workforce, vaccine uptake at nursing homes and hospitals has been as low as 20 to 50 percent in some places — a far cry from the 70 to 85 percent population target that health officials say may be needed to stop the virus.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Spanish region vaccinates 7,000 adults living with a disability in a week

In Spain, Extremadura last week took on the challenge of vaccinating 7,000 adults with need for daily care who are not in residences, and their professional carers in a week. This group included people who need help to carry out basic tasks, recognized as Grade III dependents under the Law of Dependency, those who have asked to be recognized in this category and those who, without having made any request, are accredited with suffering from a disease which requires them to have significant support measures. Thanks to the support of family and health workers, the vaccination day was “surprisingly easy,” said the coordinator of the drive, Paula Salamanca. Red Cross teams, which facilitated up to 300 trips to the center, were also key. Salamanca said that it all comes down to teamwork: “If one of us fails, we all fail.”
22nd Feb 2021 - El País

ER doctor documents COVID-19 battle in LA hospital with emotional photographs

Dr Scott Kobner, 29, chief resident at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine, documented his front-line colleagues The amateur photographer took pictures of doctors and patients at the 600-bed public hospital using Leica M6 and M10 cameras and posted them on Instagram Dr Kobner had permission from the hospital and patients. Kobner, originally from New York, doesn't photograph people he treats but comes in on his days off instead. He tested positive for the virus in the summer but recovered alone at home In LA County, more than 19,880 people have died of COVID-19. There is a long history of photographing medical treatment during disasters that gained popularity in the US during the Civil War
22nd Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

A year after its 1st COVID-19 cases were discovered, Italy is cautiously bouncing back

Italy discovered its first COVID-19 infections one year ago. The outbreak led to the first nationwide lockdown outside of China, and it has claimed more than 95,000 lives across the country. But as CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay reports, it's a very different story there now. Life has slowly been returning to normal, and Italians packed the streets over the weekend – even in the country's north, which was once the epicenter of its coronavirus epidemic. Old traditions are bouncing back across Italy, but with some differences. A year ago, something as simple as drinking a cappuccino out in the open had become unthinkable. Life is hardly back to normal; the law still requires that you to wear a mask at all times in public, even outside, except when you're eating or drinking.
22nd Feb 2021 - CBS News

This UK lockdown must be the last. Here's how we can achieve that

As the UK has yo-yoed in and out of multiple lockdowns, restrictions have harmed people’s livelihoods, businesses, mental and physical health, and their quality of life. In the first and second lockdowns, these restrictions proved insufficient to permanently drive down the prevalence of Covid-19. This time, we have been promised that all adults will have received their first vaccine dose by July – but its level of effectiveness, coupled with the potential emergence of new strains of the virus, means the vaccine rollout will not be a complete solution to the pandemic.
22nd Feb 2021 - The Guardian

French city of Nice asks tourists to stay away amid COVID surge

The mayor of Nice in southern France called on Sunday for a weekend lockdown in the area to reduce the flow of tourists as it battles a sharp spike in coronavirus infections to triple the national rate. The Nice area has France’s highest COVID-19 infection rate, with 740 new cases per week per 100,000 residents, according to Covidtracker.fr. “We need strong measures that go beyond the nationwide 6 p.m. curfew, either tighter curfew, or a partial and time-specific lockdown. A weekend lockdown would make sense,” Mayor Christian Estrosi said on franceinfo radio. Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday the government would decide this weekend on tightening virus control measures in the Mediterranean city.
22nd Feb 2021 - Reuters

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Britain to offer all adults a COVID-19 vaccine by end of July

All adults in Britain will be offered a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday ahead of a planned announcement on the cautious reopening of the economy from lockdown. Johnson will set out a roadmap to ease England’s third national lockdown on Monday, having met a target to vaccinate 15 million Britons from higher-risk categories by mid-February. Britain now aims to give a first dose to all over-50s by April 15, the government said, having previously indicated it wished them to receive the shot by May.
21st Feb 2021 - Reuters

Gen V: The Young Vaccine Heroes Convincing Their Elders To Get The Covid Jab

Neesie has recruited 20 young people aged between 18 and 25 who are from Black, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds, and teamed up with Bradford’s university and hospital to teach them about Covid and arm them with facts about the vaccine. The plan was for the young people to go out into their communities to spread awareness – but, due to the lockdown, they are speaking to community groups through online platforms to eradicate myths and misconceptions. Someone who looks like you and speaks the same language and has the same cultural or faith background as you is often better at relaying the message and being trusted
20th Feb 2021 - HuffPost UK

COVID-19: Sadiq Khan urges BAME communities to get vaccine after he receives jab

Sadiq Khan has received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and urged members of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to follow suit, declaring: "I wouldn't be taking the jab if I didn't think it was safe." The London mayor received a COVID-19 jab on Friday morning at a vaccine centre located inside a church in southwest London.
20th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Escaping lockdown: when will life return to normal?

Governments and societies will have to learn how to manage a complex series of risks, both in the short term while only part of the population has been vaccinated, and in the long term as the disease lingers even after most people have received the jab. International travel could face restrictions for some time to come. Some scientists describe a long drawn-out battle with an endemic virus that constantly evolves — with new vaccines and treatments being deployed in a way that they hope will allow much but not all of normal life to return. “The challenge is to find a way to live with it without keeping huge restrictions in place,” says Azra Ghani, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London.
20th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

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Danish supermarket to help small, shuttered businesses survive lockdown

Danish supermarket cooperative Kvickly has pledged to set aside some of its extra proceeds made while smaller retailers were shut down by coronavirus restrictions and use it for marketing to help them reopen successfully. Supermarkets, but not smaller retailers, in the Nordic country have been allowed to stay open during a lockdown introduced in December to curb the spread of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain. Kvickly said it would donate its proceeds from sales of non-food items to shuttered shops for use in marketing campaigns as they reopen for business. That would amount to at least 7-10 million Danish crowns ($1.14-$1.63 million) - but more if the current coronavirus lockdown is extended beyond March 1.
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Covid crisis: 1.9m people in UK 'have not worked for more than six months'

Almost 2 million people in Britain have not worked for more than six months during the coronavirus pandemic, amid growing risk to workers from long-term economic damage caused by the crisis. The Resolution Foundation said up to 1.9 million people in January had either been out of a job or on full furlough for more than six months, revealing the lasting impact on employment caused by Covid and multiple lockdowns. Highlighting the risks to workers from long-term unemployment, it called on the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to use next month’s budget to extend targeted support for sectors of the economy hardest hit by the crisis. The report warned that while the outlook for the economy was steadily improving thanks to the vaccination programme and as the government prepares to roll back Covid restrictions, many workers remained concerned about their job prospects.
18th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Lockdown over, tennis fans back as Australia says no new virus cases for over 48 hours

Australia said on Thursday it had gone more than 48 hours since detecting the last locally acquired case of COVID-19, as Victoria state ended a lockdown letting thousands of tennis fans back in Melbourne Park for the last days of the Australian Open. Jack Barber, a 25-year-old student, was among 7,477 spectators in the stadium watching Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeat the United States’ Serena Williams to go through to the ladies final. “Yeah, it’s awesome. I wasn’t sure if they were going to put the event on. It’s been really nice to be here. I actually kind of like the lower crowds,” said Barber, with the Rod Laver Arena limited by social distancing restrictions to half its capacity. “It’s kind of nice to be able to walk around and go wherever you want.”
18th Feb 2021 - Reuters Australia

COVID rumours hamper Brazil’s efforts to vaccinate Indigenous

Indigenous nurse Almeida Tananta battled heavy downpours of tropical rains as he rode his motorbike for hours across the red-soiled dirt tracks of Tabatinga, a municipality in Western Amazonas, which borders the Amazon rainforest and Colombia, and has the largest concentration of Indigenous Brazilians in the Amazon. Tananta was en route to apply the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the remote Umariacu villagers, in Alto Rio Solimoes. But when he arrived at the village of wooden-thatched houses skirting the banks of the Amazon river, the nurse’s hopes of vaccinating the 1,037 villagers quickly vanished.
18th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

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NYC’s rich neighbourhoods get disproportionate share of coronavirus vaccines

New York City’s vaccines are going disproportionately to wealthier neighbourhoods in Manhattan and Staten Island, according to data the city released on Tuesday. The disparities highlight the inequities of a vaccine drive that has already been criticised for what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called "profound" racial disparities. White residents composed almost half the people who had at least one dose, despite being only a third of the population. More than a quarter of those getting the coronavirus vaccine are nonresidents, who tend to be younger and are more likely to be White than those living in the city.
17th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Glasgow priest Canon Tom White takes legal action against ministers to stop UK divide on lockdown right to worship

A Glasgow priest has launched a legal action to stop a north-south divide on the right to worship during lockdown. Canon Tom White whose St Alphonsus parish is in the heart of the city’s famous Barras has issued a pre-action letter to the Scottish Government demanding it ends the blanket ban on places of worship. A response must be made before Tuesday February 23. Lockdown measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus have forced places of worship to shut.
17th Feb 2021 - heraldscotland.com

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COVID-19: 'Progress' made on vaccine hesitancy amid 'pandemic of disinformation', NHS chief says

"Meaningful progress" is being made in the campaign to overcome COVID vaccine hesitancy, but it is happening amid a "pandemic of disinformation", the head of the NHS in England has said. The country is fighting a "dual epidemic" and must take on both coronavirus and disinformation with "equal vigour", Sir Simon Stevens said at Monday's Downing Street news conference. He added that progress is being made on uptake among black and south Asian communities, and believes the involvement of local religious leaders will help build momentum.
16th Feb 2021 - Sky News

England's route out of Covid lockdown taking shape but timings unclear

While the government has said very little about how lockdown restrictions in England will start to be relaxed, there is a lot to be read between the lines. With a week to go before Boris Johnson spells out his roadmap for lifting the lockdown, leaks about new rules and timetables being discussed in multiple meetings across Whitehall will be filtering into newspapers. The chronology now seems to be taking shape. There is a hope of allowing a small easing of restrictions at the same time as schools reopen, to allow people to meet one other person for a coffee in the park, say, rather than just for exercise, without running the risk of being moved on by police. That would put the whole country under something similar to the tier 4 rules that were in place across swathes of England in December. Apart from schools reopening, the difference to a full lockdown is only subtle.
16th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

German business groups berate government over lockdown extension

The German government is coming under mounting attack from business groups angry at its refusal to ease the country’s coronavirus restrictions, as pressure grows for an exit strategy out of one of Europe’s longest shutdowns. “Businesses are growing increasingly desperate, and angry,” said Guido Zöllick, head of DEHOGA, the German association of hotels and restaurants. “More and more fear for their existence.” He was speaking after a crisis meeting with German economy minister Peter Altmaier where 40 groups representing the hospitality industry, tourism, retail trade and other sectors lambasted the government’s pandemic policies.
16th Feb 2021 - The Financial Times

Madrid: an island in a sea of coronavirus restrictions

Compared to other major European capitals, Madrid is swimming against the tide with regard to its Covid-19 strategy. Although most of Europe’s main cities are imposing heavy restrictions on both mobility and social activities in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Spanish capital is opting for relaxing restrictions despite a 14-day incidence rate of 625 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In fact, while Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Athens and Brussels remain in partial lockdown, Madrid plans to put the curfew and closing times in the hospitality sector back an hour. The Swedish capital, Stockholm, which took a controversial early approach to fighting the virus by trusting to individual responsibility, is one of the few big European cities to take a similar line. But experts warn of the risks of relaxing restrictions when transmission remains high.
16th Feb 2021 - El País

Dutch coronavirus curfew upheld temporarily after legal setback

Appellate judges ruled on Tuesday that a night-time curfew would remain in place in the Netherlands pending a government appeal of a lower-court ruling that found the measure lacked legal justification. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coronavirus policy was dealt a major blow earlier in the day when a district court in The Hague said his government had failed to make clear why it was necessary to use emergency powers at this stage of the pandemic. The government requested and was granted an injunction, or emergency order, in which the three-judge appellate panel in The Hague agreed to suspend that ruling and uphold the curfew pending the outcome of the appeal to be heard on Friday.
16th Feb 2021 - Reuters

Israel blocks shipment of Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Gaza

Israel has stopped 1,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine that are intended for front-line medical workers from entering the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian group Hamas which governs the Gaza Strip on Tuesday blasted Israel’s refusal to allow vaccine doses destined for Gaza health workers through its blockade of the territory as a “violation” of international law. Israel – which is carrying out one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns per capita – has faced international calls to share its stocks as an occupying power with Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

‘Vaccine nationalism’ will hurt all countries: New WTO chief

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) incoming chief has warned against “vaccine nationalism” that would slow progress in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and could erode economic growth for all countries – rich and poor. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Reuters news agency that her top priority is to ensure the WTO does more to address the pandemic, saying members should accelerate efforts to lift export restrictions slowing trade in needed medicines and supplies.
16th Feb 2021 - AlJazeera

Four reasons experts say coronavirus cases are dropping in the United States

The rate of newly recorded infections is plummeting from coast to coast and the worst surge yet is finally relenting. But scientists are split on why, exactly, it is happening. Some point to the quickening pace of coronavirus vaccine administration, some say it’s because of the natural seasonal ebb of respiratory viruses and others chalk it up to social distancing measures. And every explanation is appended with two significant caveats: The country is still in a bad place, continuing to notch more than 90,000 new cases every day, and recent progress could still be imperiled, either by new fast-spreading virus variants or by relaxed social distancing measures.
15th Feb 2021 - Washington Post

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Coronavirus in the UK: New BBC Panorama research reveals rise in anti-vaccine propaganda accounts on social media

An investigation for the BBC’s Panorama has revealed an alarming increase in the followers of anti-vaccine accounts on social media – and the impact of the content being shared. Research for the programme, which airs on BBC One on February 15th, analysed anti-vaccine content available on the major social media platforms. It found that anti-vaccine accounts on Instagram increased nearly five-fold in 2020, reaching over four million followers. “Naturally we didn’t have the time maybe to do the sort of preliminary work that we do when we’re introducing vaccines,” said Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England. “I think it's fair to say that we didn’t have time to do all those things as well as we would normally do but we’re very much playing catch up now.” It comes at a time when more people are seeking health information online.
15th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

The superspreaders behind top COVID-19 conspiracy theories

As the coronavirus spread across the globe, so too did speculation about its origins. Perhaps the virus escaped from a lab. Maybe it was engineered as a bioweapon. Legitimate questions about the virus created perfect conditions for conspiracy theories. In the absence of knowledge, guesswork and propaganda flourished. College professors with no evidence or training in virology were touted as experts. Anonymous social media users posed as high-level intelligence officials. And from China to Iran to Russia to the United States, governments amplified claims for their own motives. The Associated Press collaborated with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab on a nine-month investigation to identify the people and organizations behind some of the most viral misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus. Their claims were explosive. Their evidence was weak. These are the superspreaders.
15th Feb 2021 - ABC News

Landlords evicting hundreds during lockdown with government’s new ‘eviction ban’ loopholes

Hundreds of renters have been thrown out of their homes in the middle of lockdown after the government caved in to landlord lobbying and introduced loopholes to its eviction ban. New figures show eviction attempts by landlords doubled during the winter coronavirus lockdown, while more than 500 households were forced out by county court bailiffs. The government promised in March that nobody would be made homeless because they had lost their income due to coronavirus, and put a blanket ban on evictions.
15th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Australian Proud Boys sought combat-trained supporters to 'arrest' police at Covid lockdown protests

The far-right Proud Boys in Australia sought people trained in combat to help confront police during anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne last year. Amid repeated warnings from security agencies in Australia and overseas about the way far-right groups have used the Covid-19 pandemic to recruit, Guardian Australia can reveal that senior members of the neo-fascist Proud Boys group were involved in protests during Melbourne’s second-wave lockdown last year. A series of messages posted to anti-lockdown social media groups in the past year reveal the increasingly blurred line between the loose coalition of conspiracy groups that orchestrated those protests and far right groups such as the Proud Boys.
15th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Locked down and lonely, London Zoo faces fight to survive

London Zoo should be teeming with children released from school by half-term holidays. But instead, the monkeys’ pranks are unobserved, King Cobra is coiled friendless in the reptile house and the future of the world’s oldest scientific zoo is in peril. As the menagerie in Regent’s Park, central London, nurses a multi-million-pound hole in its budget and lockdown keeps visitors away, even during school holidays, the keepers are sad and anxious. “Lockdown here has been really surreal - like with no visitors here, it’s been a really sad time for the zoo,” Kate Sanders, big cats team leader at the zoo, told Reuters.
15th Feb 2021 - Reuters

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COVID-19: All restrictions must be lifted by end of April, lockdown-sceptic MPs tell Johnson

A group of lockdown-sceptic MPs has told Boris Johnson that coronavirus restrictions must be fully lifted by the end of April. In a letter to the prime minister, the COVID Recovery Group said there will be "no justification" for restrictions to remain once all over-50s have been offered a jab. The CRG described reopening England's schools on 8 March as a "national priority" that must be achieved, and said pubs and restaurants should be allowed to open in a COVID-secure way by Easter. More than 60 Conservative backbenchers are said to have backed the letter, which demands that Mr Johnson commits to a timetable for exiting lockdown.
14th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Challenges to Covid-19 Lockdowns Have Been Mostly Losing in Court

When the owners of four Albuquerque trampoline parks sued New Mexico’s governor for pandemic-related shutdowns that almost bankrupted them, they argued it wasn’t fair that they had to close when tanning salons, guided balloon tours and ice-skating rinks stayed open. The argument got nowhere with U.S. District Judge James Browning. “The Court will not recognize a new fundamental right to operate a trampoline facility,” he wrote in a Feb. 8 ruling, upholding the closures. The decision was the latest in a long line of defeats for businesses and individuals challenging lockdown rules and state emergency measures intended to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Together, the roughly 300 civil liberties lawsuits related to Covid-19 represent the most significant test in more than a century of the emergency powers of state governors and the scope of liberty in dire times.
13th Feb 2021 - Wall Street Journal

The show goes on in Madrid as cultural life continues despite pandemic

Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house is busy preparing its latest productions in what at any time would be an ambitious season. With Spain battling some of Europe’s worst coronavirus infection rates, its plans are all the more remarkable. The Real’s premiere of a production of Wagner’s four hour-long Siegfried takes place on Saturday while two other operas with largely foreign casts — Bellini’s Norma and Britten’s Peter Grimes — will be staged this month. The performances are part of a flurry of artistic activity that has continued in the Spanish capital despite the pandemic, as Madrid gives its answer to the question: how much should cultural life be closed down to keep the virus in check?
13th Feb 2021 - Financial Times

New Covid-19 outbreaks in China reopen pet owners’ wounds, but public pressure eases some lockdown restrictions

During early pandemic quarantines, many pet owners in China were forced to leave their pets alone at home or send them into the wild. Following public pressure, Daxing district in Beijing adjusted measures to allow pets to be moved to hotels with their owners.
13th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

Coronavirus: in Wuhan, a Lunar New Year rush to pay tribute to Covid-19’s victims

Early on Friday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, shops in the central Chinese city of Wuhan were selling out of chrysanthemums as residents bought them to take to the grave or home of a deceased family member. Throughout Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, it is a tradition to visit the household of a person who has died in the last lunar year to offer flowers and burn incense soon after midnight. This year, demand for the flowers for shao qing xiang or “burning incense” was particularly high, with many residents buying the yellow and white chrysanthemums to remember those who died from the coronavirus.
13th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

‘No One Is Safe Until Everyone Is Safe’ – Vaccine Rollout Misses Key People

Homeless people, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and some people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are among those struggling to get a coronavirus jab even when they’re entitled to one. The UK’s coronavirus vaccination rollout is being hailed as a rare pandemic success with the NHS on target to hit its goal of immunising 15m of the most vulnerable people by next week. But people are falling through the gaps because they face barriers to accessing healthcare. Experts say many of the people being missed out in the vaccine rollout are already at greater risk of health inequalities and have cautioned that until all communities in the population are reached with the vaccine, coronavirus cases will “keep creeping back”. Charities and campaigners say the easiest route for people to be called for a coronavirus vaccine is by being called for one by their GP. But those with an unstable immigration status are often too terrified of registering with a GP or seeking medical care as they fear they might get reported to the Home Office and deported.
13th Feb 2021 - Huffington Post

This COVID-vaccine designer is tackling vaccine hesitancy — in churches and on Twitter

Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), is one of the scientists who in early 2020 helped to develop an mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19. Developed in collaboration with biotech firm Moderna of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the vaccine is now being distributed across the United States and elsewhere. And Corbett is taking on another challenge: tempering vaccine hesitancy by talking about COVID-19 science in communities of colour. Corbett is one of many Black scientists and doctors who are doing this outreach, often virtually, in their free time. Researchers say it’s necessary to make scientific knowledge accessible in public forums, to ease health disparities.
13th Feb 2021 - Nature

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Indigenous leaders warn of missionaries turning Amazon villages against vaccines

Medical teams working to immunize Brazil’s remote indigenous villages against the coronavirus have encountered fierce resistance in some communities where evangelical missionaries are stoking fears of the vaccine, say tribal leaders and advocates. On the São Francisco reservation in the state of Amazonas, Jamamadi villagers sent health workers packing with bows and arrows when they visited by helicopter this month, said Claudemir da Silva, an Apurinã leader representing indigenous communities on the Purus river, a tributary of the Xingú. “It’s not happening in all villages, just in those that have missionaries or evangelical chapels where pastors are convincing the people not to receive the vaccine, that they will turn into an alligator and other crazy ideas,” he said by phone.
12th Feb 2021 - Reuters India

France is seeing a baby bust nine months after its first covid lockdown

When France confined more than 64 million people under one of the world's strictest coronavirus lockdowns last spring, there was widespread speculation that a baby boom would follow. Nine months on, though, instead of a boom, France is witnessing a sharp decline in births. Economic uncertainty, social stress and in some cases anxieties about the virus itself appear to have prompted families to abandon or postpone plans to have a baby. The number of babies born at the Saint-Denis hospital plummeted by about 20 percent between mid-December and mid-January and is expected to remain below 2020 levels for at least the first half of the year. While the coronavirus wards were hives of activity last week, lights in the maternity ward were dimmed and the corridors empty.
11th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Family lockdown activities for half-term: chosen by readers

Guardian readers share their tips for family lockdown activites. Travelling the world one dinner at a time is proving popular, but readers also have outdoor ideas involving oaks, fairies and common-or-garden weeds
11th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Feb 2021

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Nearly a third of US adults say they definitely or probably will not get a COVID-19 vaccine

Nearly one-third of U.S. adults say they are not likely to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to them, a new poll suggests. Conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the report found that 67 percent of Americans plan to get vaccine or have already done so. However, 15 percent are certain they will not get the jab and 17 percent said they probably will not. Many expressed doubts about the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, suggesting that substantial skepticism persists more than a month and a half into the U.S. vaccination drive that has encountered few side effects.
10th Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Facebook and YouTube ban ‘Planet Lockdown’ film filled with coronavirus falsehoods, after it was shared by millions

While thousands of families grieved the loss of loved ones and the United States’ coronavirus death toll surpassed 350,000 in early January and continued to rise, a film parroting false claims about the pandemic began to spread to millions of social media users. The video, called “Planet Lockdown,” racked up more than 20 million views and engagements, according to the social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, in late December and January. It went largely unnoticed by the social media platforms playing host to the misinformation until the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America published a detailed accounting of the film’s spread on Monday.
10th Feb 2021 - Washington Post

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COVID-19: Over-70s can now book first coronavirus jab and don't need to wait for contact from NHS

People aged 70 and over in England who have not yet had a coronavirus vaccine are being urged to book an appointment with the NHS to get a jab. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the policy is changing to make sure no-one falls through the cracks as the drive to inoculate against COVID-19 continues. It comes as the race intensifies for all those in the top four priority groups to get their first jab by 15 February before attention turns to rolling the vaccine out to the other five priority groups, reaching all over-50s by May.
9th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Navajo Nation outpaces much of US in delivering COVID vaccines

The Navajo Nation announced on Tuesday it will receive about 29,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines as the tribal area continues to outpace the broader United States in delivering jabs. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that as of Sunday, the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) delivered 74,048 of the 78,520 vaccine doses it had received, a 94 percent rate. Nez said the goal is to administer 100,000 doses by the end of February. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the broader US has delivered 42,417,617 of its total 59,307,800 doses, or about 71 percent, as of Monday. Dr Loretta Christensen, chief medical officer of the NAIHS, told Al Jazeera the Navajo Nation has been “very good with what we have received and we’ve been very efficient and timely in using that vaccine”. The success comes in administering the vaccine due to planning and high-level cooperation, Christensen said.
9th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Feb 2021

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Facebook cracks down on anti-vaccine accounts amid COVID surge

Facebook Inc. said it will take stronger steps to eliminate false information about Covid-19 and vaccines on its social network, a move that could remove major groups, accounts and Instagram pages for repeatedly spreading misinformation. The company is acting on advice from the World Health Organization and other groups to expand its list of false claims that are harmful, according to a blog post on Monday. Facebook will ask administrators of user groups to moderate such misinformation. Facebook-owned Instagram will also make it harder to find accounts that discourage vaccination, and remove them if they continuously violate the rules. The company this week will also include in its Covid-19 information center details from local health departments about when and where people can get vaccinated. If Facebook’s systems come across content that says the coronavirus is man-made or manufactured, that it is safer to get the disease than to get the vaccine, or that the shots are toxic, dangerous or cause autism, that content will be removed.
9th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

North West Academies Trust campaign to equip all pupils with laptops for home learning

Academic Trust is running a campaign to help children across Cheshire and Shropshire who don't have access to a laptop. Teachers who are part of North West Academies are working hard to maintain the highest possible standard when delivering classes remotely. The Chester-based trust decided to act when, despite distributing all school-owned laptops to pupils, an audit revealed there was still a substantial number of children without the necessary equipment to join the virtual classroom.
8th Feb 2021 - In Your Area

COVID-19: Undocumented migrants 'likely to remain fearful' despite govt's vaccine amnesty offer

The government's "vaccine amnesty" has been criticised for not giving enough assurance to those who are too scared to access healthcare in the UK. The Home Office has promised no action will be taken against people in the UK illegally if they register with a GP to be vaccinated. It is part of a government effort to get as many people as possible vaccinated against the virus, which has already caused the deaths of more than 112,000 people in the UK.
8th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Covid: BAME communities urged to have coronavirus vaccine

"I'd shout it from the street - please have your vaccinations, you don't know what we're going through." This is a plea from Shamim Abbas of Newport, who lost husband Ghulam and brother-in-law Raza to Covid. The brothers died within hours of each other last April. Concerns have been growing in recent weeks about an apparent hesitancy from some people in black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to have the Covid-19 vaccine. And even though the virus has had such a devastating impact on Shamim's family, some relatives have been unsure about having it.
8th Feb 2021 - BBC News

Web searches could help detect Covid-19 outbreaks early, study says

Using symptom-related searches through Google could allow experts to predict a peak in cases on average 17 days in advance, a group from University College London (UCL) said. Analysing internet search activity is already used to track and understand the seasonal flu. Using data on Covid-19 web searches in a similar way alongside more established approaches could improve public health surveillance methods. “Adding to previous research that has showcased the utility of online search activity in modelling infectious diseases such as influenza, this study provides a new set of tools that can be used to track Covid-19,” said lead author Dr Vasileios Lampos.
8th Feb 2021 - Aberdeen Evening Express

How Australia beat COVID-19 while the United States and Britain broke

Australia is a fortress of hope in a world conquered by COVID-19. But, even as vaccines raise the prospect of relief, the siege is growing stronger. And the cracks in our defences are growing. Incompetence. Hesitance. Partisan politics. All are being blamed across the world for overwhelmed health systems, stalled economies and soaring death rates. Australia has dodged these bullets. So far.
8th Feb 2021 - News.com.au

COVID-19: NHS staff fall victim to anti-Chinese hate crimes - amid fears violence will rise when lockdown ends

Police chiefs have warned they will "respond robustly" to anti-Chinese hate crimes amid concerns there could be a surge in offences once lockdown ends. The COVID-19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG) has told Sky News it is witnessing worrying levels of hate speech online linked to the pandemic - and it fears this will turn into violence when coronavirus restrictions are eased. One Chinese health worker told the survey: "Patients and people in general say that COVID-19 originated from China and that being of Chinese descent is culpable for the pandemic."
8th Feb 2021 - Sky News

Britons set for a post-Covid spending binge, says Bank chief

The Bank of England is braced for the possibility that a mood of national depression that engulfed Britain as it plunged into a third national lockdown will end with a spending spree when restrictions are lifted. In an interview with the Observer, the Bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said there was a chance after being cooped up for so long people would “go for it” once the vaccine programme allowed the economy to reopen. Bailey said that while the crisis of the past 12 months had accelerated the shift to online shopping and would change working patterns, the long-term structural impact on the economy would be less pronounced than the shift from manufacturing to services in the 1980s and 1990s. “It won’t be as fundamental as that”, he added.
8th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

New Zealand's Māori tribes deserve recognition for their part in vanquishing Covid-19

Global business leaders and others rightly rate New Zealand’s Covid-19 response as the best in the world. But is it equally right to simply credit Ardern and her government for this success? Partly, of course, but another group deserve credit too – iwi. When the country went into lockdown in March 2020 iwi on the East Coast of the North Island, its west coast, and its northerly tip swung into action distributing masks, sanitizer, written advice, and food parcels to vulnerable people in their region. Crucially, they also set up checkpoints to regulate movement in and out of their territory, ensuring the virus had no chance to transmit as the country went about its restrictions. In the early days some New Zealanders were furious with that particular intrusion on their movements. But despite the small yet vocal backlash, the government came around to the iwi initiatives.
8th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

'It's all open!': French flock to Madrid cafes for pandemic reprieve

French tourists weary of their strict national lockdown are flocking over the border to Madrid, where bars and restaurants are open and people can stay outdoors until 10 p.m., even as COVID-19 batters Europe in a virulent third wave. Though it made mask-wearing mandatory and slashed occupancy of public spaces by half, Madrid’s conservative regional government has set one of Spain’s loosest curfews, defying national recommendations to shut hospitality venues and non-essential shops. The city’s counter-current policies stand out in Spain which, like France, is being pummelled by a third infection wave.
8th Feb 2021 - Reuters

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Gardaí across Ireland respond to 'Jerusalema' dance challenge from Swiss police in bid to lift nation’s spirits

In Ireland, An Garda Síochána have stepped up to the challenge issued by Swiss Federal Police last month which saw Swiss forces performing a mass, socially distant dance routine set to 'Jerusalema' by Master KG. The dance routine was designed to lift spirits of the public during coronavirus restrictions across Europe. After publishing their video, Swiss police directly challenged gardaí to respond with their own version. The official Garda video shows a socially-distanced dance routine featuring members and locations spanning the island of Ireland.
6th Feb 2021 - Independent.ie

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Feb 2021

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Sixteen African nations show interest in AU COVID vaccine plan

Africa CDC director says countries asked for 114 million doses in total and allocations could be announced within three weeks. Sixteen African countries have shown interest in securing COVID-19 vaccines under an African Union (AU) plan, and allocations could be announced in the next three weeks, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said. While many rich nations have already begun mass inoculation drives, only a few African countries have started vaccinations, and the 55-member African Union hopes to see 60 percent of the continent’s 1.3 billion people immunised in the next three years.
5th Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Why Are So Many Health-Care Workers Resisting the Coronavirus Vaccine?

Despite confronting the damage of covid-19 firsthand—and doing work that puts them and their families at high risk—U.S. health-care workers express similar levels of vaccine hesitancy as people in the general population. Recent surveys suggest that, over all, around a third of health-care workers are reluctant to get vaccinated against covid-19. (Around one in five Americans say they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated; nationwide, hesitancy is more common among Republicans, rural residents, and people of color.) The rates are higher in certain regions, professions, and racial groups. This hesitancy is less outright rejection than cautious skepticism. It’s driven by suspicions about the evidence supporting the new vaccines and about the motives of those endorsing them. The astonishing speed of vaccine development has made science a victim of its own success
4th Feb 2021 - The New Yorker

Istanbul’s population falls as countryside beckons during COVID

Istanbul’s population fell last year for the first time in at least two decades as coronavirus lockdowns shuttered Turkey’s commercial capital and attracted people to the countryside. The population of Istanbul province shrank 0.4% to 15.46 million, reversing record 3% growth the year before, according to data published by the statistics office on Thursday. The trend followed patterns seen elsewhere around the world during the pandemic. For decades, Turks from around the country of over 83 million have flocked to Istanbul seeking work and opportunities. But since the coronavirus hit, the government has implemented curfews to curb socializing and restricted opening hours for shops and restaurants, making young professionals reassess what they get for their money in big cities. Surrounding provinces were the beneficiaries, with the population of Tekirdag to the west up 2.4% to 1.1 million and Kocaeli to the east up 2.3% to 2 million. The pandemic also struck Istanbul’s tourism sector and universities with tens of thousands of seasonal workers and college students staying away for much of the last year.
4th Feb 2021 - Aljazeera.com

Help parents find a way to let their children exercise, ministers urged

The government needs to give parents a helping hand in providing children the exercise they need during the lockdown half-term, the UK’s leisure industry body has said, after guidance on reintroducing sports clubs failed to materialise. With most schools across England set to break up in 10 days’ time, a period without traditional learning for many children will be followed by one without recourse to sports clubs or activities, as research continues to show a decline in physical activity among the young. Ukactive, which represents the British leisure sector, has been calling for government to provide a “recovery plan” for ensuring physical activity can be safely reintroduced into schools both during term time and holidays
4th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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Covid is the greatest test of global solidarity in decades – we have to work with, not against, each other

In September 2000, 189 countries signed the Millennium Declaration, shaping the principles of international cooperation for a new era of progress towards common goals. Emerging from the Cold War, we were confident about our capacity to build a multilateral order capable of tackling the big challenges of the time: hunger and extreme poverty, environmental degradation, diseases, economic shocks, and the prevention of conflicts. In September 2015, all countries again committed to an ambitious agenda to tackle global challenges together: the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
3rd Feb 2021 - The Independent

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Mapping coronavirus anti-lockdown protests around the world

Since the start of 2021, a growing number of countries have seen street demonstrations, some of which have turned violent, against government measures implemented to fight COVID-19. Over the same period, nearly 100 countries have imposed nationwide lockdowns or stay-at-home orders, nearly one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
2nd Feb 2021 - Al Jazeera English

As 13 million in US get COVID vaccine, minority uptake uncertain

About 13 million Americans—about 5% of the population 16 years and older—received at least the first of their two COVID-19 vaccine doses in the first month of availability, but limited data paint a foggy picture of how many doses reached key demographics like blacks, according to a report yesterday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Another MMWR study homes in on skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), finding that more than three quarters of residents and almost 40% of staff members have received at least one vaccine dose during the first month. Both studies were led by scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2nd Feb 2021 - CIDRAP

Europol warns travellers over fake Covid-19 vaccine certificates

The EU's police agency on Monday warned travellers to watch for organised crime gangs selling fake Covid-negative certificates at airports, sometimes for as much as 300 euros each. The warning from Europol comes after police busted several suspects selling forged certificates declaring people Covid-19 negative at airports in Britain and France, online and through mobile messaging chat groups in Spain and the Netherlands. Many EU countries and others now require proof that passengers are not infected by the disease, which has killed more than 2.2 million people around the world. Many EU countries and others now require proof that passengers are not infected by the disease, which has killed more than 2.2 million people around the world. "As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the pandemic, it is very likely that criminals will seize the opportunity of producing and selling fake Covid-19 test certificates," Europol said
2nd Feb 2021 - France24

Community Activities - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Feb 2021

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COVID-19: Every care home resident in England has been offered a coronavirus jab

Every care home resident in England has been offered a COVID-19 jab, the NHS has confirmed, just hours after a new record was set for vaccinations in the UK. Older people living in more than 10,000 care homes across England have either been vaccinated or offered the jab and those forced to wait because of an outbreak of the virus will be treated as soon as possible, health professionals said.
1st Feb 2021 - Sky News

Over 80% of Northern Ireland people will take the coronavirus vaccine

The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland will accept the Covid-19 vaccine when offered - but a hefty minority will not or are still unsure, the new LucidTalk poll has indicated. More than 80% of the population here will definitely get the jabs, 7% said they will not, and 10% do not know, are unsure or have no opinion. The percentage of vaccine supporters is similar to the UK as a whole and also the Republic of Ireland, but it is much higher than some other European countries.
1st Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

More than HALF of Americans say they'll delay getting coronavirus vaccine or REFUSE it altogether

Only 41 per cent of people surveyed said they are happy to be vaccinated now 13 per cent will refuse vaccinations while 31 per cent want to 'wait and see.' Survey also found divisions on political, racial and economic lines in the US. Many are reluctant to get the shots because of myths spread by anti-vaxxers. President Biden plans to roll out 100million doses in 100 days in office
1st Feb 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Volunteers step forward as vaccination taxis

With the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in full swing, people are stepping forward to volunteer to take people for their jabs. But this service can be more than just a car journey, a connection is being made with some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Carolyn Carter, 56, chairwoman of Chippenham Link Transport in Wiltshire, regularly drives clients to their medical appointments and is now helping with vaccination runs. She said: "I thought long an hard about doing it, but...I can do good by doing this. "Wednesday we were all just backwards and forwards to the surgery. Between the 11 of us we did about 40 trips over two days. "Everyone has been fantastic. They are just helping with whatever they can to get this done."
1st Feb 2021 - BBC News

'We've had enough': In France, Spain and Denmark, anti-lockdown protests continue

Marches to denounce COVID-19 restrictions put in place by various government have been taking place in cities across Europe. An authorized protest in supp