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Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Oct 2020

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Covid-19: First UK airport coronavirus testing begins

The test will cost £80 and a result can take a mere 20 minutes. The aim is to help people travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result is required on arrival. A growing number of countries have classified the UK as being "at risk", meaning travellers from the UK face more restrictions. The authorities in Hong Kong now require people to show they have a negative test result, taken within 72 hours of a flight from London. The rapid saliva swab, which is now available at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test.
20th Oct 2020 - BBC News

What can we learn from nations that got it right? Victoria Allen analyses UK's Covid testing farce

Why has Test and Trace fallen apart in England while other countries have managed to make the system work? The principle is simple – test people with symptoms, trace their contacts and ask them to self-isolate – but the execution has varied dramatically. England has lagged behind countries such as South Korea, which rapidly grasped the importance of testing people and tracking their contacts. And where Germany invested in local contact tracers, the English system relied on poorly performing call centres.
19th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Oct 2020

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Covid-19: Most vulnerable 'could get vaccine by Christmas'

A Covid vaccine could be given to some of the most vulnerable people "this side of Christmas", according to the chairwoman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce. But limited supplies would mean the government would have to decide who should get it, and when. Kate Bingham also said a vaccine will not be "a silver bullet" that would allow life to get back to normal overnight. And she warned that it was unlikely to protect everyone from infection. Ms Bingham said she was optimistic that a vaccine would be found that would "protect some people from infection and can reduce the severity of symptoms". But she said it was "very unlikely" to be a single jab and that ongoing revaccination would be needed - probably every few years.
18th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Restrictions on private events, no gatherings in public of more than 15 people; masks mandatory in more areas and working from home recommended

At an extraordinary meeting on 18 October, the Federal Council introduced several further national measures to combat the rapid rise in coronavirus infections. From Monday, 19 October spontaneous gatherings of more than 15 persons are not permitted in public. A mask must be worn in publicly accessible indoor areas, including in all railway stations and airports, and at bus and tram stops. Moreover, there are now new rules for private events of more than 15 persons, and in restaurants, bars and clubs food and drink may only be consumed sitting down. Following consultations with the cantons, the Federal Council has adapted the Special Situation COVID-19 Ordinance accordingly. This now also includes a recommendation to work from home.
18th Oct 2020 - Swiss Government

Coronavirus test results must come in 24 hours, says Sage scientist

A massive expansion of testing will still leave Britain struggling to keep Covid-19 infections under control unless the system can inform people they are positive within 24 hours, one of the government’s most senior scientific advisers has warned. Ministers have insisted that they are on course to hit a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of the month, with suggestions this weekend that capability of a million tests a day could be reached by Christmas. However, Graham Medley, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and chair of its subcommittee on modelling, said that returning test results “ideally within 24 hours” was as critical as capacity in a successful test-and-trace system. He said if necessary, capacity should be curbed in favour of speed
18th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Germany’s ‘bottom-up’ testing keeps Covid-19 at bay

“It is much more expensive to test too little, than to test too much”. That is the mantra Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has repeated for months as the country mobilised a vast network of private and public laboratories to quadruple its early Covid-19 testing capacity to almost 1.6m tests per week. Such early interventions helped the EU’s most populous state tame the coronavirus pandemic more successfully than most of its neighbours. Germany’s 361,000 infections represent just a fraction of the 4.5m in Europe so far, significantly lower than the 936,000 cases in Spain and the 708,000 cases in the UK, both of which have much smaller populations.
18th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times

Is tracking down every super spreader the REAL key to beating Covid-19? An approach that pinpoints the start of an outbreak may be twice as effective - as evidence shows just ...

As an average, R number masks differences in individuals and how virus behaves Studies suggest about one in five who catch Covid-19 gives it to someone else Scientists say 'super-spreaders' may be behind 80 per cent of all new infections If true, current tactic used by NHS Test and Trace is at best a waste of resources
18th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Oct 2020

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Coronavirus: How China is testing 9,000,000 people in five days

China is currently in the process of testing an entire city of 9 million people for coronavirus in five days. The country, which appears to have largely brought the virus under control, is mass testing in Qingdao after 12 new cases broke out there linked to a hospital treating patients from abroad. Six had symptoms and six did not. As of today more than 4.2 million tests have been carried out in the northern port city, with no new cases of Covid-19 found among the almost 2 million sets of results received so far. China has adopted an impressive mass testing process which has been seen nowhere else in the world.
14th Oct 2020 - Metro.co.uk

COVID-19 lockdowns averted tens of thousands of premature deaths related to air pollution

Lockdowns initiated to curb the spread of the coronavirus in China and Europe at the beginning of the pandemic improved air quality, averting tens of thousands of deaths in regions where air pollution has a significant impact on mortality, a new study shows. According to research published in The Lancet Planetary Health, scientists at the University of Notre Dame found that particulate matter concentrations in China dropped by an unprecedented 29.7 percent, and by 17.1 percent in parts of Europe, during lockdowns that took place between Feb. 1 and March 31 in China and Feb. 21 to May 17 in Europe. Particulate matter (PM2.5)—tiny airborne particles smaller than 1/10,000 of an inch in diameter—comes from various combustion-related sources including industrial emissions, transportation, wildfires and chemical reactions of pollutants in the atmosphere.
14th Oct 2020 - Phys.org


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Oct 2020

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More masks, less play: Europe tightens rules as virus surges

Governments across Europe are ratcheting up restrictions to try to beat back a resurgence of the coronavirus that has sent new confirmed infections on the continent to their highest weekly level since the start of the pandemic. The World Health Organization said Tuesday there were more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34% from the previous week. Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of the new infections. The increasing caseload is partly the result of more testing, but the U.N. health agency noted that deaths were also up 16% last week from the week before. Doctors are warning that while many of the new cases are in younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the virus could again start spreading widely among older people, resulting in more serious illnesses.
14th Oct 2020 - The Associated Press

A 'circuit breaker' in England will work only if test and trace is urgently reformed

In July, it all looked possible. England’s 12-week lockdown had reduced the number of positive cases. We could have continued to crush the R value, and built the infrastructure capable of snuffing out local outbreaks. But instead the government chose privatised call centres over community contact tracers. Our testing system, divorced from primary care, was too slow to identify cases. Those who did test positive were often uncertain about what should happen next. And in the absence of financial support, many households did not comply with isolation.
14th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Countries turn to rapid antigen tests to contain second wave of COVID-19

Countries struggling to contain a second wave of COVID-19 are turning to faster, cheaper, but less accurate tests to avoid delays and shortages that have hampered efforts to quickly diagnose and trace those infected.Germany, where infections jumped by 4,122 on Tuesday to a total of 329,453 cases, has gotten nine million so-called antigen tests a month that can give a result in minutes and cost around $ 7.75 each. This would, in theory, cover more than 10% of the population. The United States and Canada also buy millions of tests, as does Italy, whose recent tender for five million tests attracted bids from 35 companies. Switzerland, where new cases of COVID-19 are at record levels, is considering adding the tests to its national screening strategy. The German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) now recommends antigen testing to supplement existing molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which have become the standard for the assessment of active infections, but which have also suffered from shortages because the pandemic has overwhelmed laboratories and exceeded the production capacity of manufacturers.
14th Oct 2020 - France24


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Oct 2020

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Covid-19: training dogs to sniff out the virus

What does a disease smell like? Humans might not have the answer, but if they could talk, dogs might be able to tell us. Able to sniff out a range of cancers and even malaria, canines’ extraordinary noses are now being put to the test on Covid-19. Nicola Davis hears from Prof Dominique Grandjean about exactly how you train dogs to smell a virus, and how this detection technique could be used in managing the spread of Covid-19
13th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Are we still listening to the science?

Cases of Covid-19 are increasing across England and the number of people in hospital is now higher than before the full lockdown. It is at this critical moment that the gulf between the official scientific advice and the political decisions made by government has been laid bare. Documents released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) reveal a call to action three weeks ago. Prof Calum Semple, who was at the Sage meeting on 21 September, said the three-tier system had come too late and he believes that a short national lockdown could be needed within weeks. Sage is also damning of the government's supposedly world-beating test-and-trace system.
13th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Italy tells citizens they must wear a mask if a friend visits your home

Italy has introduced stricter lockdown measures which will see people required to wear facemasks when other people visit them in their own homes. The country has seen a large spike in cases in recent weeks which led prime minister Giuseppe Conte to reintroduce several of the social distancing rules which were eased over the summer months. The new legislation will affect gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities and will take effect within 24 hours, remaining valid for 30 days. Parties in restaurants, clubs or in the open air are banned and the government has strongly recommended that people do not hold parties in their homes or host more than six guests at any time.
13th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

South Korea mandates mask-wearing to fight Covid-19 as face coverings remain controversial in the US

South Korea is mandating the wearing of masks at all crowded facilities, on public transport and at demonstrations, even as the country eases up on coronavirus restrictions as the number of local infections shrinks. Anyone who violates the new face-mask policy, which kicks in next month, faces a fine of 100,000 won, or around $87, and facilities which fail to follow preventative measures could face closure, health authorities said Monday. The East Asian nation is only the latest in the region to introduce a mask mandate, a sign of how vital face coverings have been found to be in controlling infections and preventing future outbreaks. In many cases, such as in Hong Kong, such orders are largely inconsequential, as almost everyone has been wearing a mask for months now, without being told to by the government, something which has been credited for keeping cases low.
13th Oct 2020 - CNN


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Oct 2020

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Covid-19: China's Qingdao to test nine million in five days

The Chinese city of Qingdao is testing its entire population of nine million people for Covid-19 over a period of five days. The mass testing comes after the discovery of a dozen cases linked to a hospital treating coronavirus patients arriving from abroad. In May, China tested the entire city of Wuhan - home to 11 million people and the epicentre of the global pandemic. The country has largely brought the virus under control. That is in stark contrast to other parts of the world, where there are still high case numbers and lockdown restrictions of varying severity.
12th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Failures at Austrian ski resort ‘helped speed up spread' of Covid-19 in Europe

An independent commission has found that Austrian national and local authorities made “momentous miscalculations” by first hesitating and then rushing to evacuate an Alpine ski resort that has been described as the “ground zero” of the coronavirus first wave in Europe. Ischgl, a town of 1,600 inhabitants in the Tirolean Paznaun valley and one of Europe’s premium skiing destinations, has been in the spotlight since the middle of March, after thousands of tourists, including at least 180 Britons, caught the virus there during the spring holidays and carried it back to their home countries.
12th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 forecasting app for colleges launched

A new app that forecasts the spread of Covid-19 in colleges has been launched. Developed by the University of Exeter in collaboration with colleges, the free online tool is said to analyse individual college data according to various inputs such as class-based bubbles, larger year group bubbles and attendance on different days. It also allows the user to input community infection rates as well as information about how they are running their college to forecast how many people may need to self-isolate and other steps they can take to minimise disruption.
12th Oct 2020 - FE Week

Herd immunity as coronavirus solution ‘simply unethical’: WHO

The head of the World Health Organization warned against the idea that herd immunity might be a realistic strategy to stop the coronavirus pandemic, dismissing such proposals as “simply unethical.” At a media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination. Tedros noted that to obtain herd immunity from a highly infectious disease such as measles, for example, about 95% of the population must be immunized.
12th Oct 2020 - Global News

Resistance to lockdown rules is not just ‘fatigue’

The use of the term “pandemic fatigue” in the World Health Organization report is misleading (While Sturgeon takes decisive action on Covid, Johnson just blusters, 8 October). The report is concerned with the increase in non-compliance with regulations designed to counter Covid-19. It lists many putative reasons for non-compliance, including reduced trust in authorities, decreases in perceptions of risk, increased complacency and changes in values (eg, an increased emphasis on libertarianism). This matters because different reasons for non-compliance must be countered with different policies: increased libertarianism requires government information to emphasise our interdependence, increased complacency requires incentives to abide by regulations, errors in risk perception require better risk communication. Referring to every one of these very different phenomena as fatigue implies that the same policy is appropriate for dealing with them all.
11th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Novel coronavirus can last 28 days on glass, currency, Australian study finds

The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on banknotes, glass and stainless steel for up to 28 days, much longer than the flu virus, Australian researchers said on Monday, highlighting the need for frequent cleaning and handwashing. Findings from the study by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, appear to show that in a very controlled environment the virus remained infectious for longer than other studies have found. CSIRO researchers found that at 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), the SARS-CoV-2 virus remained infectious for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as plastic banknotes and the glass found on mobile phone screens. The study was published in Virology Journal.
12th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Oct 2020

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Better air during China’s mass lockdowns may have reduced hospital visits

Lower levels of harmful PM2.5 particles could have resulted in an estimated 5,000 fewer hospital admissions from late January to February, study finds. Researchers also estimate there were 60,000 fewer respiratory illnesses like asthma attacks in the period
9th Oct 2020 - South China Morning Post

Coronavirus in Africa: Five reasons why Covid-19 has been less deadly than elsewhere

Many African countries have been praised for waging an effective campaign to combat the spread of coronavirus despite their reputation for having fragile state heath systems. The continent, which has a population of more than one billion, has had about 1.5 million cases, according to data compiled by the John Hopkins University. These figures are far lower than those in Europe, Asia or the Americas, with reported cases continuing to decline. Africa has recorded about 37,000 deaths, compared with roughly 580,000 in the Americas, 230,000 in Europe, and 205,000 in Asia.
9th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus can survive for a MONTH on surfaces including banknotes and mobile phone screens

CSIRO, Australia's science agency, found that Covid can survive up to 28 days. Research found that the virus survived better in colder temperatures. Results could improve risk mitigation procedures to prevent the disease spread
11th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Spain brings military discipline to COVID-19 contact tracing

Various European countries have used their armies for logistical support in tackling COVID-19, but hard-hit Spain is now bringing military discipline to a process that health experts say is key in stemming the spread of the pandemic: contact tracing. At five army bases in Madrid, 150 volunteer soldiers spend their days calling people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, mapping recent social interactions, and asking those potentially infected to stay at home. “We try to impress upon them the idea that their help is vital to bringing an end to the chaos we are living through this year as soon as possible,” Lt. Hector Sanchez said at the Goloso military base on the outskirts of Madrid, where he is in charge of 30 tracers.
9th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

How effective ‘traffic-light’ systems have been in managing the coronavirus outbreak in other countries

The coronavirus pandemic has reached a second wave, as infection rates continue to ramp up all over Europe. In England, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is one of the leading figures to criticise the Government’s approach to local lockdowns informed by its “traffic light system” – placing the majority of the north and midlands under a raft of fresh lockdown restrictions. While the system has been met with contempt by some local leaders, it is not just the UK who have employed a traffic light-style guide to provide the public with clear messaging on the social distancing measures in place in different areas. Similar systems have been employed in France, the Canadian province of Quebec, New Zealand and Spain to name a few countries, although with varied effect.
9th Oct 2020 - iNews


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Oct 2020

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Italy Makes Masks Mandatory Outside, Imposes COVID Test For UK Arrivals

Italy has imposed stricter coronavirus regulations today as cases in the country are on the rise. It is now mandatory to wear masks in outdoor spaces across the whole of Italy, and visitors arriving from countries including the UK will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test result. With 3,678 coronavirus cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, Italy’s new cases have passed the 3,000 mark for the first time since April 24. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has brought in tougher measures in a bid to avoid another economy-crippling lockdown for Italy.
8th Oct 2020 - Forbes

Japan's response to first coronavirus wave late but had good results, report says

Japan’s virus countermeasures spanning January to July — during which time the country saw its first major wave of COVID-19 — were “belated but produced good results,” according to a report published Wednesday by the Asia Pacific Initiative, a Tokyo-based global think tank founded in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Insufficient disaster preparedness, disjointed messaging from public officials, a stubborn resistance to raising testing capacity as well as political friction between national and municipal leaders seemed to expose the shortcomings of the “Japan Model.” And yet, using only voluntary countermeasures and “soft lockdowns” that bore no punitive measures, the country did “the best it could with what it had,” the report said.
8th Oct 2020 - The Japan Times

The real lessons from Sweden’s approach to covid-19

The great thing about using a small country to support your argument is that your opponents are unlikely to know what is really going on there. Perhaps that is why Sweden, with 10.3m people, has become a much-cited example in the debate about how to deal with covid-19. Liberty-loving Swedes are supposedly pursuing a mask-free, lockdown-light strategy that will create herd immunity without bankrupting the economy. Sweden’s success, it is said, is a standing rebuke to the left-wing killjoys who love bossing folk around and shutting everything down.
10th Oct 2020 - The Economist

New Zealand’s ‘go hard, go early’ strategy seems to have worked.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is facing re-election, called the country’s reopening a validation of its “go hard, go early” response.
7th Oct 2020 - New York Times


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Oct 2020

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Covid-19: Group of UK and US experts argues for “focused protection” instead of lockdowns

Thousands of medical practitioners and public health scientists have signed a declaration arguing for an alternative public health approach to dealing with covid-19. The Great Barrington Declaration,1 published on Monday 5 October, was drawn up by three epidemiologists and public health experts from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford universities, who describe their approach as “focused protection” of the people most at risk. As of Wednesday 7 October almost 6300 medical practitioners and public health scientists from the US, the UK, and other nations had signed the declaration. The authors—Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard, Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, and Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine and economics at Stanford—said that because older people were 1000 times more likely to die of covid-19 than younger people, an “age stratified” approach could allow resources to be focused on older and high risk patients, while allowing younger and healthier people to attend school and keep businesses open.
7th Oct 2020 - The BMJ

Boris Johnson flatly rejects letting Covid-19 sweep through UK while protecting vulnerable

Boris Johnson today flatly rejected the idea of letting Covid-19 sweep through Britain while protecting the vulnerable. Downing Street made clear that such a policy, advocated by a group of academics, scientists and medics, could lead to young people infecting older generations who are at greater risk of being killed by coronavirus. No10 said the idea, being promoted under the banner of the Great Barrington Declaration, was based on an “unproven assumption” that it was possible to stop the virus being passed between generations to more vulnerable people.
7th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Why public transport could be safer than we thought

The risk of coronavirus spreading on public transport has remained substantially low through the pandemic, several international studies have shown. Safety measures imposed on public transport around the world since COVID-19 hit have made them "the safest places on earth", Dr Julian Tang, a professor of respiratory sciences at Leicester University, told Sky News. He said if people took the same precautions in other high-risk areas such as crowded streets and pubs, the number of cases would reduce there.
7th Oct 2020 - Sky News

Italy expected to make mask-wearing compulsory OUTDOORS

Italy is considering making the use of masks outdoors mandatory nationwide to fight the coronavirus. Infections in Italy - the first European country to be hit by the virus - have risen steadily over the past two months. The regions of Lazio, around Rome, and Campania, around Naples, have already made mask wearing mandatory outside. And authorities are 'working on a proposal' to make it a compulsary rule nation-wide, Health Minister Roberto Speranza told the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday.
7th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 community spread of ‘significant concern’ for nursing homes

The rise in coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes is of “significant concern” and correlates with rising infection rates in the community, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) has warned. NHI Chief Executive Tadgh Daly said there is growing concern among nursing home operators over the recent rise in new Covid-19 outbreaks following weeks where the number was tapering off. At the end of August, there were 38 active outbreaks in nursing homes but this number fell to 26 by the end of September. By October 3, the number of active outbreaks in nursing homes had increased to 31, as highlighted by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) when it recommended moving to Level 5 restrictions.
7th Oct 2020 - Irish Examiner

Genetic tracing could show how coronavirus spread through White House

There’s a way for the White House to prove exactly how the outbreak traveled among its ranks: through gene-based contact tracing. But it doesn’t appear interested in doing so — even as the circle of President Trump's associates infected with the virus expands by the hour.The Trump administration could, if it chose, search samples taken from dozens of White House staff members and visitors for tiny genetic variants. Because the virus undergoes slight changes as it moves from person to person, it’s possible to map where it has moved by looking for similarities in mutations. White House spokesman Judd Deere said tracing has been done for people who had contact with Trump. But it’s the kind recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which involves merely tracking people who were nearby those known to be infected.
7th Oct 2020 - Washington Post


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Oct 2020

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How do pandemics end?

We are in the grip of a pandemic like none other in living memory. While people are pinning their hopes on a vaccine to wipe it out, the fact is most of the infections faced by our ancestors are still with us.
4th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: How to tell which countries are coping best with Covid

As the Covid crisis has unfolded, infection rates have fluctuated and restrictions have proliferated. But it has always felt that there was one idea to cling to: that by working out which countries were doing well - and which were not - there was something to be learned. After all, historians will surely puzzle over how the countries of Western Europe, with broadly similar economies, produced such drastically different outcomes. So far, at least. We use international comparisons all the time, of course - they're a way of measuring how our own governments are doing. But even comparing the simplest data can be complex. There can be differences in how and when death is reported, how co-morbidities are reflected on death certificates, and for how long after a positive test a death is considered to be Covid-related. All will influence how a country's performance at any given moment is measured.
6th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus vaccine may be ready by end of 2020, WHO says: ‘There is hope’

A vaccine against Covid-19 may be ready by the end of 2020, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. “There is hope,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting of WHO executives gathered to examine the global response to the pandemic. “We will need vaccines and there is hope that by the end of this year we may have a vaccine.” There are currently nine experimental vaccines in the pipeline of the WHO-led Covax global vaccine facility, which aims to distribute two billion doses by the end of 2021.
6th Oct 2020 - The Independent

'Raging epidemic is not inevitable' — Dr. Scott Gottlieb believes China case count and rips U.S. response

Dr. Scott Gottlieb expressed disappointment with the state of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic. “The entire Pacific Rim has less than 1,000 infections a day. Having a raging epidemic is not inevitable,” the former FDA chief told CNBC. Gottlieb doesn’t believe China is lying about its much fewer case counts. “The entire Pacific Rim isn’t in on the conspiracy.”
6th Oct 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus can survive for up to NINE HOURS on human skin, study finds

Researchers mixed samples of the coronavirus and influenza A virus with human skin samples obtained from autopsies 24 hours prior. The flu virus survived for less than two hours on skin while the coronavirus lived for up to nine hours. Both viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by hand sanitizer containing 80% alcohol. The team says the findings show how the coronavirus has a higher risk of contact transmission than the flu and the importance of hand-washing
5th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus cases in Arizona declined by 75% during the summer after mask mandate, CDC report finds

In Arizona, coronavirus cases remained stable from early March to mid-May while stay-at-home orders were in effect and businesses were closed. After the stay-at-home order was lifted, cases rose by 151% from around 800 per day to more than 2,000 daily. On June 17, Gov Doug Ducey updated guidelines and allowed counties to implement mask policies. Cases briefly increased before declining by 75% from 3,506 cases per day on July 13 to 867 cases daily on August 7
6th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Trump could face a relapse, Dr. Fauci warns, as president opts to downplay nation's coronavirus threat despite massive death toll

President Donald Trump rolled out of Walter Reed hospital confidently urging the nation not to fear the coronavirus despite experts warning the U.S. death toll, at more than 210,000, could almost double by year's end. Experts also warn that the commander-in-chief himself may not have seen the worst of the virus just yet. "I am very worried that people will take this to mean that 'If he can beat COVID I can beat COVID,'" said Narasimhan, senior vice president for critical care services at Northwell Health. "I don’t think that we can take any real lessons (from Trump's illness) except that he did get sick. Pretending this is not real disease will not help."
6th Oct 2020 - USA Today

Trump Covid post deleted by Facebook and hidden by Twitter

Facebook has deleted a post in which President Trump had claimed Covid-19 was "less lethal" than the flu. Mr Trump is at the White House after three days of hospital treatment having tested positive for the virus. He wrote the US had "learned to live with" flu season, "just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!" Twitter hid the same message behind a warning about "spreading misleading and potentially harmful information". Users have to click past the alert to read the tweet. "We remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19, and have now removed this post," said Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook.
6th Oct 2020 - BBC News


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Oct 2020

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'Major questions unanswered' about effectiveness of NHS Covid-19 App

There are “major questions unanswered” about the effectiveness of the NHS Covid-19 App, a charity has said. The app was officially launched in England and Wales on 24 September, after months of setbacks and multiple trials. But the Health Foundation has raised concerns about the lack of published evidence from the app’s pilots, which it says could put public trust at risk.
5th Oct 2020 - Digital Health

India's new paper Covid-19 test could be a ‘game changer’

A team of scientists in India has developed an inexpensive paper-based test for coronavirus that could give fast results similar to a pregnancy test. The test, named after a famous Indian fictional detective, is based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr. Scientists estimate that the kit - called Feluda - would return results in under an hour and cost 500 rupees (about $6.75; £5.25). Feluda will be made by a leading Indian conglomerate, Tata, and could be the world's first paper-based Covid-19 test available in the market.
5th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Did early focus on hand washing and not masks aid spread of Covid-19?

From the moment coronavirus reached UK shores, public health advice stressed the importance of washing hands and deep-cleaning surfaces to reduce the risk of becoming infected. The advice was informed by mountains of research into the transmission of other respiratory viruses: it was the best scientists could do with such a new pathogen. But as the pandemic spread and data rolled in, some scientists began to question whether the focus on hand hygiene was as crucial as it seemed. Contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs and light switches – “fomites”, to use the scientific terminology – may not be such a big deal, they claimed.
5th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

French minister: colleagues who didn’t download Covid app being ‘very French’

France’s technology minister has blamed the poor take-up of the country’s Covid-19 contact alert app on “timing and culture” and says colleagues in government who failed to download it were being “very French”. Cédric O, the minister for digital transition, said that using the app, StopCovid, was essential if the French wanted to avoid further restrictions. Paris and several other cities have been put on red “maximum alert” after a rise in the spread of the virus in recent days.
5th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Australia's Victoria state to boost testing on path to easing restrictions

Australia’s coronavirus hotspot of Victoria will look into ways to increase testing for the disease to control its spread in anticipation of easing of the state’s stringent lockdown restrictions, officials said on Monday. New daily coronavirus infections in Victoria, Australia’s second most-populous state, fell to nine cases on Monday, down from 12 in the previous days. No deaths were reported.
5th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

In full: GP letter warns Hancock against new Covid lockdown

In England, a group of GPs has written to Matt Hancock, warning him against a new lockdown: "As a group of expert medical generalists, we urgently wish you to consider non-Covid harms and deaths with equal standing as the reported deaths from Covid. Restrictions and lockdown have recognised value in pandemic control and we fully supported the first lockdown when little was known about the virus. The position now is transformationally different: after the short, initial lockdown phase, the harms to long term health and wellbeing begin to outweigh the benefits. Now is a critical pivotal point: we must recognise our duty to do no harm. We are concerned due to mounting data and real-world experience, that the one-track response threatens more lives and livelihoods than Covid-lives saved."
5th Oct 2020 - Pulse


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Oct 2020

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Study reveals the most likely indicator of a Covid-19 infection

Four out of five people with sudden loss of smell or taste tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, new research has suggested. The findings suggest an acute loss of smell or taste is a highly reliable virus indicator, scientists say. They add that loss of smell or taste should now be considered globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing and contact tracing. Researchers at UCL and UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) assessed health data from primary care centres in London.
2nd Oct 2020 - Metro

Numbers show lockdowns are a 'no brainer'. Letting people die isn't

COVID-19 has killed 890 people in Australia, 802 of whom were over 70, 669 of whom were in government-supported aged care. Estimates vary on how many would have died had we not locked down. “It’s easier to estimate the negative effects of lockdown, because we don’t see [the positive effects],” says Flinders University health economist Professor Jonathan Karnon. Australians’ mental health has worsened and the number of children in hospital with anorexia has dramatically increased. But the number of suicides in Victoria has remained steady. How much of the mental health toll can be slated to lockdowns, versus the general anxiety of a once-in-a-generation pandemic? The virus does seem to pose long-term health risks to even the young and healthy, but we won’t truly know what those are for years. The same is true for lockdown's long-term damage to children’s education and the job prospects of university graduates looking for jobs amid a recession.
3rd Oct 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Kids And Superspreaders Are Driving COVID-19 Cases In India, Huge Study Finds

In the largest study ever of transmission patterns for COVID-19, researchers in India tested more than a half-million contacts of 85,000 cases to examine how and to whom the coronavirus is spreading. The first interesting finding: Children are spreading the virus amongst themselves and also to adults. Second: The greatest risk for infection among the people studied in the two southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is a long bus or train ride.
2nd Oct 2020 - NPR

Covid-19: Test and trace app incompatibility angers cross-border residents

People living near England's border with Scotland say they are angry that Covid-19 test and trace apps for the two nations are incompatible. Users living in one nation and travelling to the other can only use one app at a time. Barrister Brian Payne, who commutes to Newcastle from the Scottish Borders, called it a "significant failing". The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was working on "a technical solution".
2nd Oct 2020 - BBC News

Face masks become mandatory in Rome as coronavirus cases rise

Face masks will have to be worn at all times out of doors in the Italian capital Rome and the surrounding Lazio region, local authorities ruled on Friday in an effort to counter rising coronavirus infections. Italy on Thursday registered more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since the end of April. Lazio accounted for some 265 of those cases and has been increasingly concerned by the growing contagion. A number of other Italian regions, including Campania centred on Naples, have already made mask wearing obligatory outdoors.
2nd Oct 2020 - Reuters India

Trump's White House event in focus over Covid spread

With Donald Trump now in hospital, there are growing questions about how he and his wife were exposed to coronavirus. A crowded Rose Garden event is coming under intense focus - last week's ceremony where Mr Trump formally announced his nomination of the conservative Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. City council member Brooke Pinto told the Washington Post it was "disappointing that the White House has flaunted not wearing masks and gathering large crowds".
4th Oct 2020 - BBC News

UK tourists can visit just six countries without restrictions

With a second lockdown feeling imminent, if you are desperate for an overseas holiday a last-minute break could be your best bet. Yet, with Turkey and Poland being added to the UK’s quarantine list this week, our choices of where we can go (and not quarantine at either end) are quickly diminishing. Just six countries remain which UK visitors can enter without restrictions: Sweden, Italy, Greece, San Marino, Gibraltar and Germany (although the latter has restrictions for passengers from Wales and Northern Ireland).
2nd Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus vaccine head: Less than half of the UK population could get vaccinated

Less than half of the UK population could be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the head of the country's vaccine taskforce has said. Kate Bingham said officials hope to give the vaccine to around 30 million adults - less than half of the country's population of 67 million. The head of the immunisation programme told the Financial Times: "People keep talking about 'time to vaccinate the whole population' but that is misguided. "There is going to be no vaccination of people under 18. "It's an adult-only vaccine for people over 50 focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable."
4th Oct 2020 - Sky News


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Oct 2020

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Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus

The president’s result came after he spent months playing down the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 207,000 in the United States and hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.
2nd Oct 2020 - New York Times

Smoking and obesity increase risk of severe COVID-19 and sepsis

Researchers have identified genetic evidence to support a causal link between smoking and obesity and an increased risk of severe COVID-19 and sepsis. The study, led by an international team of scientists from the UK, Norway and the USA, found that both smoking and having a higher body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) can increase the risk of severe outcomes with COVID-19.
1st Oct 2020 - Imperial College London

Coronavirus: Some users of NHS tracing app incorrectly given COVID-19 exposure alerts

Some users of the new NHS contact-tracing app have received notifications saying they'd been near someone with coronavirus, only to discover the alerts were system checks sent by Google and Apple. People who downloaded the COVID-19 app in England and Wales told Sky News they had received a notification which said: "Someone you were near reported having COVID-19." Yet, when they clicked on the message, they found no information explaining whether they should self-isolate.
1st Oct 2020 - Sky News

Rethinking Covid-19 Test Sensitivity — A Strategy for Containment

It’s time to change how we think about the sensitivity of testing for Covid-19. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the scientific community are currently almost exclusively focused on test sensitivity, a measure of how well an individual assay can detect viral protein or RNA molecules. Critically, this measure neglects the context of how the test is being used. Yet when it comes to the broad screening the United States so desperately needs, context is fundamental. The key question is not how well molecules can be detected in a single sample but how effectively infections can be detected in a population by the repeated use of a given test as part of an overall testing strategy — the sensitivity of the testing regimen.
1st Oct 2020 - nejm.org

Coronavirus: How Italy has fought back from virus disaster

Through the window of the car in front, there's a short, sharp cry from the toddler - eased with a quick lollipop or a colourful picture: a distraction aid once the swab is finished. And then the next in a long line of vehicles pulls up as Rome's "Baby drive-in" continues apace. The test serves children from newborn to the age of six. A result comes within 30 minutes. If it's negative, they can return to day-care or school, even if there's a positive case in their class.
1st Oct 2020 - BBC News

Why People Have Had Enough of Lockdowns

France, the U.K. and Spain face a triple threat: A jump in cases, a population exhausted by lockdown-induced recession, and rising resistance to tougher measures. Curfews and closures of restaurants and bars have seen business owners literally throw their keys to the ground in present-day Marseille. In Madrid, protesters have bristled at a targeted local lockdown they view as discriminatory. It’s not just conspiracy theorists on the streets in London and Berlin who are angry. Those protesting shouldn’t be dismissed as the selfish exceptions to the rule. Beyond the vocal minority, there are signs that the silent majority is also losing faith in increasingly bureaucratic strictures. Policymakers need to restore it.
1st Oct 2020 - Bloomberg

32% of people would not take Covid-19 vaccine - poll

Almost a third of people in Ireland (32%) would not take the first publicly available EU approved Covid-19 vaccine, according to a new national poll commissioned by RTÉ. The survey examined how people across the country have adapted since the start of the coronavirus crisis. It asked people aged 12 and over about their outlook in areas such as mental and physical health, the economy, finances, family and going back to work and school.
1st Oct 2020 - RTE.ie

Coronavirus updates: Cornell study calls Donald Trump biggest source of misinformation; Moderna vaccine won't come before spring 2021

Despite President Donald Trump repeatedly assuring the nation that a coronavirus vaccine would be approved before Election Day, a key vaccine developer said Thursday its product won't be released to the public until March 2021 at the earliest. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci rebutted some of the president's claims during Tuesday's debate with former vice president Joe Biden, telling ABC News his views on masks were "taken out of context." A new study out of Cornell found that Trump is the "single largest" transmitter of misinformation surrounding COVID-19, touting false "miracle cures" and giving credence to dubious claims about the origins of the virus. "Saturday Night Live," which is set to come back this week, may be in some hot water with the state of New York. The show's producers announced that it would welcome a live audience for the recording despite regulations prohibiting most live audiences. A spokesman for the state's health department said "that restriction has not changed."
1st Oct 2020 - USA TODAY

In crowded Gaza, public embraces mask-wearing to fight COVID-19

The coronavirus may have been slow to reach the sealed-off Gaza Strip, but Palestinians in the densely populated enclave have been quick to embrace mask-wearing to try to contain its spread. Five weeks into an outbreak of COVID-19 among the general population in the territory, restaurants, many shops, schools, mosques and other public facilities remain closed, and a night-time curfew is in effect. It is rare to see anyone without a mask outdoors, with the coronavirus death toll at 20 and nearly 3,000 cases reported since infections spread beyond border quarantine facilities on Aug. 24. Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt maintain tight restrictions along the frontier with Gaza, where two million people live under the rule of the Islamist Hamas group.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19 vaccine alone won't defeat spread of virus, report warns

A successful vaccine for Covid-19 will not conquer the spread of the virus alone, with restrictions on daily life likely to continue for some time, a team of experts have said. Hundreds of teams of researchers around the world are working to produce a vaccine against the coronavirus, with 11 currently in phase three human trials. The UK government has reserved access to six potential vaccines and has raised hopes that a vaccine could be on the cards by spring next year. A report from a multidisciplinary group convened by the Royal Society, called Delve (Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics), says there are serious challenges to producing a vaccine, including hurdles in manufacturing and storage, questions around how well vaccines will work, and problems with public trust.
1st Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Russia is spreading lies about Covid vaccines, says UK military chief

Russia is seeking to destabilise countries around the world by sowing disinformation about coronavirus vaccines that is shared rapidly across social media, the head of the armed forces has warned. Gen Sir Nick Carter, the chief of defence staff, said the propaganda tactic reflected a strategy of “political warfare” aggressively undertaken by Beijing as well as Moscow “designed to undermine cohesion” across the west. The senior general accused “autocratic rivals” of “manipulating the information environment” to exploit the Covid-19 crisis for strategic gain – including “pro-Russian vaccine politics” – in a speech at the Policy Exchange thinktank. Their “disinformation narratives” were designed to permeate anti-vaccination social media groups, Carter added, pointing to an example uncovered earlier this summer by Australian researchers that spread rapidly from Ukraine. In July, a fake press release was posted to websites of the pro-Russian self-declared state in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. It falsely claimed that the US had conducted vaccine trials on Ukrainian volunteers, some of whom had died.
1st Oct 2020 - The Guardian


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Oct 2020

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Coronavirus: Coordinated global lockdown could cut COVID-19 cases by 90 percent - study

Stopping future waves of COVID-19 might require coordinated lockdowns across the globe, rather than letting each country do its own thing, epidemiologists say. The pandemic started in China, but quickly made its way across the world - first devastating Europe before the epicentre moved to New York and the US, followed by a surge in South America. Presently India is recording the majority of new cases. New Zealand is believed to have eliminated community transmission of the virus earlier this year after implementing one of the world's toughest lockdowns, enjoying a brief return to near-total freedom between June and August. But with the pandemic still raging elsewhere it came back, just a week after Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said a resurgence was "inevitable".
30th Sep 2020 - Newshub

Largest COVID-19 study highlights role of super-spreaders

In the bleak ranking of worst COVID-19 outbreaks, the United States, with 7.2 million infections, is likely to be eclipsed only by India, which has 1 million fewer cases but is catching up fast. Yet parts of India have led the world in one aspect of the pandemic response: contact tracing — the labor-intensive, time-sensitive, painstaking work of identifying people who were exposed to a known infected person. Extensive contact tracing in two southern Indian states offers the strongest evidence yet that a few super-spreading individuals are responsible for a disproportionate share of new coronavirus infections, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science. It also suggests that children are more efficient transmitters of the virus than widely believed.
1st Oct 2020 - Los Angeles Times

COVID-19: How to make indoor spaces safer

Ventilation is the introduction of fresh air into an indoor space while the stale air is pushed outside. Whether at home or in public buildings, such as schools and offices, ventilation can be improved by simply opening windows and doors whenever possible. Luca Fontana, a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) specialist consultant at the WHO, told Al Jazeera ventilation is “one part of the big package of infection prevention and control measures” along with physical distancing, hand hygiene and face masks.
1st Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Ten million people have downloaded the NHS Covid-19 app

People in England and Wales have responded hugely to calls for them to download the NHS Covid-19 app, with over 10 million people downloading it so far, 6 million of whom did so on its first day - September 24, 2020. The app plays a significant part in the NHS Test and Trace service in England and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme, identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus. By midday on September 27, there had been over 10 million downloads across compatible Google and Apple devices in England and Wales.
1st Oct 2020 - National Health Executive

Largest COVID-19 contact tracing study to date finds children key to spread, evidence of superspreaders

A study of more than a half-million people in India who were exposed to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 suggests that the virus’ continued spread is driven by only a small percentage of those who become infected.
30th Sep 2020 - Princeton University

Police urged to use Covid-19 app on personal phones amid guideline confusion

Police officers have been encouraged to use the coronavirus contact tracing app on their personal smartphones while working if they wish to, amid confusion about guidelines concerning the technology. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) had initially asked officers to hold off downloading the app on both personal and work devices pending a technical assessment. A spokesman for the body denied any suggestion of “security issues” or a policy reversal, saying such checks are standard procedure for any new software used on work-issued smartphones.
30th Sep 2020 - London Evening Standard

Germany looks to tackle coronavirus rise with 3 simple strategies

Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to avoid another full national lockdown. Coronavirus infections are rising in Germany, as elsewhere in Europe. Although, so far it has not seen a surge in cases like France, Spain and the U.K.
30th Sep 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus infection rate rising but scope for more, Indian survey shows

Coronavirus infection rates among adults in India have risen sharply, a survey showed on Tuesday, although a large percentage of the population has not yet been exposed, suggesting there is scope for cases to rise much further. In the serological survey conducted in August and September, blood samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. If a person tests positive for the antibodies, it means they were infected with the virus at some point. Blood samples collected from more than 29,000 adults between Aug. 17 and Sept. 22 showed that the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies increased to 7.1% compared to 0.73% in a previous survey between May 11 and June 4, the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Balram Bhargava, told a press briefing.
30th Sep 2020 - Reuters

NIH to assess and expand COVID-19 testing for underserved communities

The National Institutes of Health has awarded nearly $234 million to improve COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable populations. A part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program will support 32 institutions across the United States and will focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These groups include African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated. “It is critical that all Americans have access to rapid, accurate diagnostics for COVID-19, especially underserved and vulnerable populations who are bearing the brunt of this disease,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The RADx-UP program will help us better understand and alleviate the barriers to testing for those most vulnerable and reduce the burden of this disease.”
30th Sep 2020 - National Institutes of Health

Covid-19: Universities roll out pooled testing of students in bid to keep campuses open

Some UK universities are introducing covid-19 screening programmes using pooled testing to help prevent outbreaks and allow campuses to stay open. The University of Cambridge and the University of Nottingham are both using pooled testing, which involves mixing several samples together and then testing the pooled sample. If the result comes back positive the people in the group then need to be tested individually. This approach increases the number of people who can be tested using the same amount of resources—saving time, supplies, and money. However, some experts have raised concerns over whether the costs, benefits, and harms of such programmes have been evaluated, and they have called for advice from the UK National Screening Committee. In July, Stanford Health Care in the US began using a pooling method for covid-19 (in groups of four to eight), which had previously been used to screen blood donations for the presence of HIV or hepatitis. The group has said that the method is not being used for all samples, as it works best in populations where most samples are expected to be negative. Pooled testing has also been used in countries including Uruguay and Rwanda, to allow screening of teachers and healthcare workers and to overcome infrastructure and financial issues
30th Sep 2020 - The BMJ

How we need to change global supply chains after COVID-19

COVID-19 blindsided us. Doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers were forced to wear garbage bags for lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). Grocery store shelves were left barren around the world while surplus elsewhere led to 3.7 million gallons of milk and 750,000 eggs being dumped and destroyed per day, according to the Dairy Farmers of America. Seemingly overnight, the pandemic plunged nearly every industry into crisis. Goods production stalled. Supply chains were crippled. The virus was fast-spreading and unforeseen; there was only so much even the best logistics experts in the world could do. As a global society, we must learn from this moment. It’s urgent that we do, as many top health experts predict that this virus could likely reemerge in varying waves across different geographies for the foreseeable future. As HP’s Chief Commercial Officer, I recognize that the perfect, fully pandemic-proof supply chain will never exist. Every business, including those in the tech industry, have had to contend with the disruption wrought by this pandemic, but I do believe that we can make our current models better.
30th Sep 2020 - World Economic Forum

The only local lockdown that worked? How Luton cut the number of Covid cases and escaped further restrictions

In July, when lockdown measures were being gradually eased in the rest of the country, Luton was one of a handful of areas to have the relaxation stalled. With cases rising at a concerning rate, the town, along with Blackburn with Darwen, was listed as an “area of intervention” and the planned reopening of leisure facilities was temporarily cancelled. By the end of the month, cases in Luton were controlled enough for the area to be brought back in line with the rest of the country. Blackburn, on the other hand, was put into local lockdown – where it has remained.
30th Sep 2020 - iNews


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Sep 2020

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EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m

The global death toll from the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year and has swept across the world, reached the one million mark on Monday (28 September) . The United States has the highest death toll with over 200,000 fatalities, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK - while Spain, France and Italy are also among the deadliest countries for Covid-19. However, the chief of emergencies at the World Health Organization, Michael Ryan, said last Friday that the global coronavirus death toll could hit two million - even with an effective vaccine in place. "Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number?" he said, calling on governments to do everything to halt the surge of Covid-19 infections worldwide. "Unless we do it all, the number [two million deaths] is not only imaginable but unfortunately and sadly, very likely," he added.
29th Sep 2020 - EUobserver

WTO should play role in COVID-19 medicine access: candidate

A key contender to head the World Trade Organization told Reuters on Tuesday she thinks the body should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, and this topic should be part of negotiations if she wins. Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, seen by delegates as a top candidate to lead the WTO, currently chairs the GAVI vaccine alliance board and stressed her credentials among five remaining candidates “at the intersection between public health and trade”. “Trade can contribute to public health - seeing that connection, invoking those (WTO) rules, actively discussing COVID-19 issues and how WTO can help,” the former finance minister and World Bank managing-director said. “For me, that would be a priority.”
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

New York City to impose mask fines as COVID-19 cases climb

New York City will impose fines on people who refuse to wear a face-covering as the rate of positive tests for the novel coronavirus climbed above 3 percent for the first time in months, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said. Officials will first offer free masks to those caught not wearing one. If the person refuses, they will face an unspecified fine, de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday.
29th Sep 2020 - Al Jazeera English


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Sep 2020

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COVID 19: The strained relationship between science and politics

In the scientific world researchers tread a slow and methodical path in the search for truth. But for some politicians, the rush to deliver quick and easy answers to the complex challenges of the COVID-19 crisis is creating new challenges of its own.
28th Sep 2020 - Deutsche Welle

WHO COVID Debrief on kids going back to school

Is it safe to send your children back to school? WHO’s Dr Abdi Mahamud explains. The role of children in transmitting the disease is not yet fully understood and scientists are working to understand more, says WHO’s Dr Abdi Mahamud in this episode of the WHO COVID Debrief. To date, few outbreaks have been reported in children in schools. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 190 countries have closed their schools, affecting some 1.6 billion students as per data released by UNESCO after surveying 94 percent of the world’s students.
28th Sep 2020 - Al Jazeera English

In Brazil's Amazon a COVID-19 resurgence dashes herd immunity hopes

The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity. When a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, its spread becomes unlikely. University of Sao Paulo researchers suggested that a drastic fall in COVID-19 deaths in Manaus pointed to collective immunity at work, but they also believe that antibodies to the disease after infection may not last more than a few months.
28th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Pubs and restaurants 'responsible for just 3.2% of Covid-19 outbreaks' in week 10pm curfew was announced

Pubs, bars and restaurants were responsible for just 3.2 per cent of confirmed coronavirus outbreaks in the week the Prime Minister introduced a 10pm curfew, new data suggests. Public Health England publishes a weekly update of data on how coronavirus and respiratory infections are spreading around the country. According to the latest figures that were published on Friday, a total of 772 respiratory infections were reported in the week leading up to September 20, and 69 per cent of these were linked to Covid-19 infections.
28th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Plastic face shields 'are not effective in stopping COVID-19 spread'

Plastic face shields now commonly worn by hairdressers, barbers and beauty salon workers are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, researchers have said. Technology in Japan involving the world’s fastest supercomputer found that nearly 100% airborne tiny droplets escaped through the plastic. The technology used in the research is called Fugaku and it can perform more than 415 quadrillion computations a second. It has also found that non-woven fabric face masks are the most effective at trapping airborne droplets of the virus.
28th Sep 2020 - Diabetes.co.uk

Pandemic disrupting your child’s sleep? These scientists-backed tips help little ones nod off

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives to some degree as families cope with isolation, job fears and in some tragic cases the death of loved ones. While young children may not fully understand the outbreak, months off school combined with anxious parents will undoubtedly have left many feeling unsettled. If this has affected their sleep, scientists from the University of Florida in Gainesville have put together their expert tips to help little ones nod off.
28th Sep 2020 - Yahoo Lifestyle UK


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People could suffer impact of having Covid for years, professor warns | ITV News

A specialist in infectious diseases has warned that people could suffer from the impact of having coronavirus for years, with many experiencing prolonged symptoms. Professor Sam McConkey, associate professor and head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), said some patients continue to have “significant dysfunction” of the lungs, heart or brain up to three or six months later. Those recovering from Covid-19 have reported feeling faster heart rates than usual, others suffer panic attacks, while some say they cannot walk as far and some have reported having “brain fog” and difficulty concentrating.
27th Sep 2020 - ITV News

One in five will refuse Covid vaccine when it becomes available

A fifth of people in the UK say they are unlikely to get a coronavirus vaccine if one is approved, a study highlighting “concerning” levels of misinformation has found. Three-quarters (78%) of 17,500 adults surveyed by University College London (UCL) researchers said they would be “likely” to get vaccinated, with 49% saying they were “very likely” to do so. But 22% said this was unlikely, and one in 10 said this was “very unlikely”, with factors including worries about unforeseen effects, preferences for natural immunity, concerns about commercial profiteering, and mistrust of vaccine benefits.
26th Sep 2020 - Wales Online

COVID-vaccine results are on the way — and scientists' concerns are growing

Two weeks ago, the UK trial of a leading vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca restarted after a six-day pause to investigate safety concerns. Halted trials of the same vaccine in South Africa and Brazil have also since resumed, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet given the green light for US studies to start again. The trial’s sponsors have so far released few details about what caused the pause, and why the trial was allowed to resume. Some scientists say this lack of transparency could erode public trust in the vaccine.
26th Sep 2020 - Nature.com

Test Results From NHS Or Government Labs Can't Be Linked With Covid-19 App, Official Admits

Tens of thousands of test results delivered each day by NHS or Public Health England (PHE) labs can’t be linked with the official Covid-19 app, officials have admitted. An issue with the long-awaited technology – which arrived on Thursday months later than hoped – means that Pillar 1 test results, which are provided by the NHS and PHE, cannot be connected to the app. On Friday, 210,375 tests were taken – 61,481 of which were handled by PHE and the NHS.
26th Sep 2020 - Huffington Post UK on MSN.com

NHS Covid-19 app refuses to let users enter negative test results and insists they STAY in 14-day quarantine in flaw that has affected 60,000 people in 24 hours

App tells users to self-isolate if they alert it to any coronavirus-like symptoms But if they fail to book a test through the app they then cannot enter the results This means they are unable to turn off a warning advising them to self-isolate The Department of Health said that they had now fixed the problem
26th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Fewer than 0.1% fined for no masks on trains

Fewer than 0.1% of people stopped by police for not wearing masks on trains received a fine, figures have revealed. British Transport Police (BTP) said it stopped 14,726 people from 15 July to 15 August for failing to comply, resulting in 14 fixed penalty notices. The rules, introduced in June, state anyone travelling on public transport must wear a face covering. BTP said enforcement in the form of fixed penalty notices was only used as a "last resort". It said, from 30 July to 8 September, officers recorded 50,729 "interventions" with passengers not wearing face coverings, with 3,545 - 7% - of those told to leave the train.
26th Sep 2020 - BBC News

England’s coronavirus tracing app positive test result function fixed but problems continue

An issue preventing users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England logging a positive test result has now been resolved. However, people who book a test outside the app still cannot log negative results. Concerns were expressed when it emerged people tested in NHS hospitals or Public Health England (PHE) labs or those taking part in the Office for National Statistics infection survey could not enter their results on the newly-launched app.
26th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: More than 1,000 New Yorkers test positive in a day for first time since June

More than 1,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for Covid-19 in a single day on Friday. It was the first time since 5 June that the state has reported a daily case number that high. Positive cases in the state have been rising steadily over the last few weeks, according to ABC7. The rise may be attributed to the reopening of businesses and schools. The state was seeing an average of approximately 660 people test positive each day. The state reported it had averaged 817 positive tests per day in the seven-day period that ended Friday
26th Sep 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus: Children behind rising demand for tests in England

Demand for coronavirus tests has almost trebled among young children in England this month - but only 1% were found to have the virus, figures show. In the first two weeks of September, more than 200,000 under-nines were tested, according to government's test-and-trace programme. That is nearly three times as many as in the previous fortnight. A large study review has also confirmed that children are less likely to be infected than adults. But the role that children and adolescents play in transmitting the virus "remains unclear", it said.
26th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Japan's remote workforce packs on a few pounds amid pandemic

Who could have known there are tangible, physical benefits to commuting to an office for work every day? Back in the first weeks of the state of emergency, working from home may have initially seemed like a dream come true. However, recent reports on websites such as My Navi and Suits Women suggest that sitting in front of a computer surrounded by all the comforts of home more than likely didn’t help workers’ waistlines, with women putting on an average of 2.6 kilograms in April and May and men an average of 3.3 kilograms. This might not sound excessive but, as people have continued to work from home during summer, shedding the extra weight seems to be proving a little more difficult.
26th Sep 2020 - The Japan Times

178,000 people given the all-clear in mass test sparked by asymptomatic workers

Two men at Qingdao port test positive for Covid-19 after working night shift unpacking frozen food - Two ships put on temporary blacklist after coronavirus found on goods they were carrying
25th Sep 2020 - South China Morning Post

Coronavirus: London placed on Covid-19 watch-list as cases rise

London has been added to the government's Covid-19 watch-list following a rise in cases in the city, officials have said. All boroughs have been classed as areas of concern, but no additional restrictions have been announced. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the city was at "a worrying tipping point" with hospital admissions increasing. Councils in the city have urged residents to abide by current restrictions. The watch-list, published each week, categorises local councils seeing a higher infection rate as "areas of concern", "areas of enhanced support" or "areas of intervention". Tighter restrictions are usually introduced for areas in the third category.
25th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: NHS tracing app problem that left tens of thousands of tests unlogged has been fixed, government says

A problem that prevented tens of thousands of people from logging the result of their coronavirus tests on the new NHS contact-tracing app has been fixed, according to a Department of Health spokesman. In a statement, they said: "Everyone who receives a positive test result can log their result on the app. "A minority of people, such as hospital patients, who were unable to log their positive result can now request a code when contacted by NHS Test and Trace to input on their app." It came after the app's developers admitted it had not been able to link more than 60,000 coronavirus tests carried out in England on Friday - just under a third of the total - to its systems
25th Sep 2020 - Sky News

NHS Covid-19: App app issue fixed for people who test positive

The government has fixed a problem with its new NHS coronavirus app in England and Wales which meant many positive test results were not being logged. Users were unable to record a positive test result, if they had booked a test elsewhere and not via the app. But the Department of Health said everyone who tests positive can now log it, however they booked the test. However, people who test negative are still unable to share their result if they did not book it via the app.
25th Sep 2020 - BBC News

UK will see 100 coronavirus deaths per day within three or four weeks claims SAGE expert

Professor Graham Medley from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, SAGE, said the high death toll was "inevitable" if the infection rate rises to 10,000 new infections per day. The 100 deaths per day is based upon a fatality rate from coronavirus remaining at 1 percent. This death rate is disputed as the World Health Organisation suggests fatalities from coronavirus is estimated at 0.5 percent.
25th Sep 2020 - Daily Express

Coronavirus mutation emerges that may outmaneuver mask-wearing and hand-washing

New preliminary research suggests a dominant strain of coronavirus may be more contagious than others. A virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) who reviewed the study said the findings suggest the virus may have become more contagious and could possibly be responding to health measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing. Other experts questioned the study, saying they have yet to identify a mutation that would change how infectious or deadly the virus is.
24th Sep 2020 - The Hill

When Will We See a Covid-19 Vaccine for Kids?

The pandemic has many parents asking two burning questions. First, when can I get a vaccine? And second, when can my kids get it? It may come as a surprise that the answers are not the same. Adults may be able to get a vaccine by next summer. But their kids will have to wait longer. Perhaps a lot longer. Thanks to the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed and other programs, a number of Covid-19 vaccines for adults are already in advanced clinical trials. But no trials have yet begun in the United States to determine whether these vaccines are safe and effective for children.
21st Sep 2020 - The New York Times


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Coronavirus UK: Traffic-light system being considered for lockdowns

Ministers have reportedly approved the plan which would see local authority areas ranked red, orange or green – depending on the severity of the pandemic locally. The system would work in tandem with the new NHS app and users would receive automatic alerts on their phone when further restrictions are coming in. The meaning of each category is still being discussed. But it’s thought if a place is marked green then no further restrictions would be needed, beyond the rules that already apply to the whole country.
24th Sep 2020 - Metro.co.uk

GPs raise concerns about patients paying privately for 'extortionate' Covid-19 tests

GPs have raised concerns about anxious patients paying ‘extortionate’ prices for private coronavirus tests after being unable to access the government Test and Trace system. Online pharmacies and private GPs are among those charging between £140 and £250 to carry out an antigen test for Covid-19. It comes after Pulse reported that GPs were being inundated by patients unable to get a test as as NHS Test and Trace continued to struggle to meet demand. Those paying for tests include parents whose children have been sent home from school or nursery but who cannot get a test through the Government online booking system and need to get back to work.
24th Sep 2020 - Pulse

As 21 states report a rise in new Covid-19 cases, CDC chief says more than 90% of Americans remain susceptible

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that even an effective Covid-19 vaccine won't replace the need for other public health measures, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the vaccine will not be 100% effective and taken by 100% of the population -- which means there still will be room for Covid-19 to spread. Fauci said he's being "practical" when he says, "I think if we can get 75 to 80% of the population vaccinated, I think that would be a really good accomplishment." "It is not going to eliminate the need to be prudent and careful with our public health measures," he said in a Facebook Live conversation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
24th Sep 2020 - CNN

This Is Why NHS Covid-19 App Privacy Concerns Are Massively Overblown

The long-awaited NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 app has finally arrived and although the technology is not a “silver bullet” in the fight against the pandemic, it is at least a positive step to aid contact tracing efforts. For it to work it will need at least seven million people to download and use it but already it’s clear not everyone is on board.
24th Sep 2020 - Huffington Post UK

Users report issues as Covid-19 app launches in England and Wales

The launch of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales has exposed problems with the programme, some of which were known about in advance, and some of which will come as a surprise to both the government and users. Although there were hundreds of thousands of downloads of the app in the first few hours on iPhones from the App Store and Android from the Google Play Store, simply accessing it caused a problem for many. Some Android users reported accidentally downloading the trial version that had been made available in Newham, east London, and the Isle of Wight. That then led to a rash of one-star reviews on the Google Play Store, giving the app an average rating of just 1.5 stars.
24th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

NHS Covid-19 app: One million downloads of contact tracer for England and Wales

NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus. It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.
24th Sep 2020 - BBC News

'Close to 100% accuracy': Helsinki airport uses sniffer dogs to detect Covid

Four Covid-19 sniffer dogs have begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hope will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus. A dog is capable of detecting the presence of the coronavirus within 10 seconds and the entire process takes less than a minute to complete, according to Anna Hielm-Björkman of the University of Helsinki, who is overseeing the trial. “It’s very promising,” said Hielm-Björkman. “If it works, it could prove a good screening method in other places” such as hospitals, care homes and at sporting and cultural events.
24th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Rethink short lockdowns, tracing is key: PM Modi to states

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked the Chief Ministers of seven states worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis to make a critical assessment of the 1-2-day lockdowns that several states have been imposing, and the adverse impact these have on economic activity. The Prime Minister stressed on the need for states to strengthen their tracing- tracking strategy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus infection. “The lockdown brought benefits. Globally too, it has been appreciated. However, now we have to focus on micro containment zones, which will ensure that the spread is contained… States have to make an assessment on how effective are the lockdowns that are being imposed for 1-2 days. Because of this, economic activity should not face problems. My suggestion to the states is to take up this issue very seriously. We have to increase our focus on effective testing, treating and surveillance, and clear messaging,” the Prime Minister said.
24th Sep 2020 - The Indian Express


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WHO on a coronavirus second wave, lockdowns and how the world responded to the pandemic

Just over six months ago, the World Health Organization designated the coronavirus outbreak a "pandemic." Since then, our lives have changed beyond all recognition. Over half of the world's population has experienced some kind of lockdown, almost 1 million people have died, and countries around the globe are bracing for an unprecedented economic collapse. ABC News recently spoke to WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris to discuss the organization's response to the pandemic, whether countries took the novel coronavirus seriously enough, fears of a second wave and why lockdowns became the preferred means of dealing with the biggest public health emergency in a century.
23rd Sep 2020 - ABC News

Britain finally launches COVID-19 app in England and Wales

The government had said the app would arrive in May, but early trials were dogged by problems, and developers abandoned home-grown technology in favour of Apple and Google’s model in June. The embarrassing U-turn followed warnings from tech experts that it would be less effective and that it should have switched to the Apple-Google software earlier. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the reworked tool was “an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer”.
24th Sep 2020 - Aljazeera.com

Glitches dent German enthusiasm for Covid contact-tracing app

As England and Wales prepare to unveil a coronavirus contact-tracing app, Germany is drawing less than enthusiastic first conclusions about the effectiveness of battling the pandemic with smartphones. A hundred days after its launch, German authorities conceded that IT glitches and poor communication channels with laboratories make the country’s Corona-Warn-App “one more tool of many” rather than a Covid-19 cure-all. The German app, which drew praise from as far as Westminster after it was launched on 16 July, had by the start of this week been downloaded 18.4m times in Germany and 400,000 times abroad – more than similar apps in all other EU member states combined.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

People didn't follow the Covid rules out of fear. They did it for the common good

As the government lurches from U-turns to full-on pile-ups, and a second wave of Covid-19 looms large, it’s worth remembering something. For three months back in the spring, we – UK citizens – did what we needed to do. The government may have dozed at the wheel, but when it finally woke up, we acted collectively by staying at home to save lives. And with some notable exceptions, we stayed the course by locking down for longer and more willingly than some predicted.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Why is Germany doing better than the UK at fighting a resurgence of Covid-19?

Boris Johnson's comments about why "freedom-loving" UK has higher coronavirus cases than Germany and Italy have sparked a heated debate and given us a reason to look at why Germany is coping better than the UK in the fight against a second wave. On Tuesday UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked by opposition Labour MP Ben Bradshaw if "the reason Germany and Italy have far lower Covid rates than us" is because their contact tracing and testing programmes work. Johnson rejected the argument, adding: "Actually there is an important difference between our country and many other countries around the world, that is that our country is a freedom-loving country.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Local Germany

As Covid-19 Fatigue Fuels Infections in Europe, Italy Resists Second Wave

Months after Italy’s lockdown against the coronavirus ended, Enrica Grazioli still sanitizes everything that comes into her Milan apartment, wears face masks diligently and limits interactions between her sons and their grandparents. Ms. Grazioli, a self-proclaimed social butterfly who loves to cook for guests, still hasn’t had friends over for dinner since the virus struck. “Am I overdoing it?” says Ms. Grazioli. “Maybe, but we had a national tragedy of epic proportions and you don’t quickly forget something like that.” Italy, the first nation outside Asia to suffer a major coronavirus outbreak, had one of the world’s worst death tolls this spring. Overflowing hospitals in parts of northern Italy had to choose which patients got the last intensive-care beds. The Italian army drove truckloads of victims out of the city of Bergamo, which couldn’t cope with the dead.
23rd Sep 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus: Madrid in lockdown as doctor warns Britons to follow the new rules or pay the price

A front line doctor in Madrid has urged Britons to stay strong and obey the rules as the country faces a second wave of coronavirus. "We only have to do this for a few more weeks, not forever," Dr Moreno Santiago told Sky News. "Things like wearing a mask we only need to do for a few short weeks and in that time we can control the pandemic, if not we are going to pay for this. It will be very, very, very costly."
23rd Sep 2020 - Sky News

Italy's harsh lessons help keep second wave at bay

When Covid-19 struck Europe, Lombardy’s flooded hospitals and spiralling death toll provided a grim template for Italy’s neighbours. In the past weeks, however, it is offering a more upbeat, alternative path: while Spain, France and the UK are experiencing a second surge in infections after loosening lockdown restrictions, Italy has kept the disease under control. New daily cases are on the rise to 1,535 from the low hundreds in June, when restrictions started easing. But this compares with more than 10,000 new cases in Spain and France. Life feels normal in most of Italy: restaurants and bars are open, people enjoy late-summer trips to the beach and children have returned to school.
23rd Sep 2020 - Financial Times


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Fewer than 40% of Americans plan to get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as one is available

In a new poll, 39% of US adults said they are not likely to get the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, down from 53% surveyed last month. About 43% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans said they were likely to get the jab during the rollout, a drop from 56% and 49%, respectively. Just 9% of surveyors said they were 'very likely' to be immunized with the first available vaccine, a decrease from 17% in August. Thirty percent of respondents said they would wait a few months before being given the shot while nearly one-quarter said they will not get the shot at all
23rd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Potential risk model could see 4.5m people shielding from COVID-19 this winter

People’s health, weight, age and sex will determine whether they will need to shield from COVID-19 over the winter months, according to reports. The Sunday Telegraph has said that up to 4.5million people will be advised to stay at home as part of the government’s new shielding plan. The risk model is still being considered, although Professor Peter Openshaw, an adviser to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has urged experts to “act fast” because he said a delay of just a “few days” could be dangerous. In an interview with Sophy Ridge on Sunday’s Sky News he said he thought the country was on the “edge of losing control”. He added: “It’s a bit like water seeping through a dam. It starts as a trickle and if you don’t do something about it, it can turn into a real cascade.”
22nd Sep 2020 - Diabetes.co.uk

As Covid Fatigue Fuels Infections in Europe, Italy Resists the Second Wave

Months after Italy’s lockdown against the coronavirus ended, Enrica Grazioli still sanitizes everything that comes into her Milan apartment, wears face masks diligently and limits interactions between her sons and their grandparents. The 16 health areas with an incidence rate above 1,000 cases but that are not under the new restrictions are: Lavapiés, Canillejas, García Noblejas, San Isidro, Rafael Alberti, Orcasitas, Vicálvaro-Artilleros, Campo de la Paloma, Villaamil (all located in the city of Madrid); Doctor Trueta and Miguel Servet (both in Alcorcón); Las Fronteras (Torrejón de Ardoz); Panaderas (Fuenlabrada); Villa del Prado (in the municipality of the same name); Alcalde Bartolomé González (Móstoles); and Sierra de Guadarrama (Collado Villalba).
22nd Sep 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Spain to cut coronavirus quarantine to 10 from 14 days, SER radio says

The Spanish government and regional authorities are set to cut the quarantine imposed on those who have had contacts with people tested positive to coronavirus to 10 days from a previous 14 days, Cadena SER radio station reported on Tuesday. Spain has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in western Europe and regional authorities have ordered a partial lockdown from Monday in some Madrid neighbourhoods and other regions are taking measures to curb contagion.
22nd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

French universities' new rules seek to prevent new COVID-19 clusters

Face masks are obligatory, there are separate entrances and exits on campus and many on-site facilities are restricted or closed. But despite a range of sanitary measures at universities in France, at least a dozen COVID-19 clusters have emerged since some classrooms re-opened earlier this month. September marks the start of a new academic year and the French government says children and students should return to the classrooms again. But in a post-lockdown France, where cases are surging again, lectures look and sound very different.
22nd Sep 2020 - CGTN


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Coronavirus: Medical and science experts outline four ways we can help beat COVID-19

England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have outlined four ways to beat coronavirus as we head into winter. The pair reiterated some key public health messages amid fears the virus could spiral out of control and result in 49,000 cases a day by mid-October. The four ways include limiting the spread, limiting social contact and following self-isolation guidelines.
21st Sep 2020 - Sky News

As more local lockdowns begin, the hard truth is there's no return to 'normal'

As a scientist, I’m often asked what to do and what not to do, and how to cope in this new uncertain world. Here is my advice on how best to enjoy life and get as much normality back while being a responsible citizen. My main advice is to get outside as much as possible when seeing other people. Research has shown that 97% of “super-spreading” events occur indoors, and that outdoor transmission is minimal. If an indoor setting is poorly ventilated, crowded and no one is wearing face coverings, it is best to avoid it. The upshot is that non-essential shops, outdoor hospitality and public transport look relatively safe with the use of face coverings. Now is the time to avoid non-essential travel and to visit nearby parks, and support your local businesses.
21st Sep 2020 - The Guardian

France’s vaccine hesitancy hangs over coronavirus response

As governments are putting their hopes on a vaccine to stop the coronavirus — and restart the economy — one country might face more difficulties than others. France has one of the lowest vaccine confidence rates in the world, according to a Lancet study published earlier this month. French people who are hesitant about vaccines shouldn’t be dismissed as kooky conspiracy theorists who rant about Bill Gates and 5G all day, experts say — at least not all of them. But vaccine skeptics represent a sizable chunk of the French public, big enough to hinder a vaccination campaign when a vaccine against the coronavirus will be on the market.
22nd Sep 2020 - POLITICO


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Who gets a COVID vaccine first? Access plans are taking shape

The NASEM guidance goes a step further by ranking priority groups in order of who should get a vaccine first (see ‘A tiered approach’). After health-care workers, medically vulnerable groups should be among the first to receive a vaccine, according to the NASEM draft plan. These include older people living in crowded settings, and individuals with multiple existing conditions, such as serious heart disease or diabetes, that put them at risk for more-serious COVID-19 infection. The plan prioritizes workers in essential industries, such as public transit, because their jobs place them in contact with many people. Similarly, people who live in certain crowded settings — homeless shelters and prisons, for example — are called out as deserving early access.
19th Sep 2020 - Nature.com

From adenoviruses to RNA: the pros and cons of different COVID vaccine technologies

The World Health Organisation lists about 180 COVID-19 vaccines being developed around the world. Each vaccine aims to use a slightly different approach to prepare your immune system to recognise and fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, we can group these technologies into five main types. Some technology is tried and trusted. Some technology has never before been used in a commercial vaccine for humans. As we outline in our recent paper, each technology has its pros and cons.
19th Sep 2020 - The Conversation AU

Obese Britons putting at risk hopes of widespread vaccine protection

Britain’s obesity crisis could prevent a vaccine from ending the pandemic, experts have warned. Scientists are concerned that vaccines being developed to protect against Covid-19 may be less effective in fat people, leaving them more vulnerable to infection, which could, in turn, put others at risk.
19th Sep 2020 - The Times

Coronavirus Scotland: How Sweden avoided lockdown thanks to Anders Tegnell

When the rest of the world blinked as coronavirus took hold, ice-cool Swede Anders Tegnell refused to lock down his nation. As Sweden’s death count spiralled last spring at one of the highest global rates, this once faceless scientist was accused of creating a “pariah state”. Yet when I met Tegnell, 64, in the capital Stockholm he was being lauded as if he was the fifth member of Abba. T-shirts proclaiming — in the style of the Carlsberg adverts — “Tegnell, probably the best state epidemiologist in the world” are best-sellers. For it appears his decision not to lock down may have paid off.
19th Sep 2020 - The Scottish Sun


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All countries need consistent Covid-19 messaging - WHO

The World Health Organization has warned of "alarming rates of transmission" of Covid-19 across Europe and cautioned countries against shortening quarantine periods. The WHO's regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said the number of coronavirus cases seen in September "should serve as a wake-up call for all of us." "Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region," he told an online press conference from the Danish capital Copenhagen. The health body also said it would not change its guidance calling for a 14-day quarantine period for anyone exposed to the novel coronavirus.
17th Sep 2020 - RTE.ie

Wristband Covid-19 tracker for passengers landing in Abu Dhabi

Passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi are now required to wear a tracking wristband during the mandatory 14-day home quarantine due to Covid-19, according Etihad Airways. Authorities at Abu Dhabi International Airport are giving out the medically-approved tag to all passengers arriving from all countries. "On arrival into Abu Dhabi you must self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolation must take place at home and you will be required to wear a medically approved wristband for the duration. The wristband will be provided by the authorities at Abu Dhabi Airport after you clear immigration," Etihad Airways said in the new guidelines posted on its website. "If you are holding a diplomatic passport, under the age of 18, over the age of 60, or suffering from a chronic disease, you will be exempt from having to wear the wristband."
18th Sep 2020 - Khaleej Times

One in 7 reported COVID-19 infections is among health workers, WHO says

One in seven cases of COVID-19 reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a health worker and in some countries that figure rises to one in three, the agency said on Thursday. The WHO called for frontline medical workers to be provided with protective equipment to prevent them from being infected with the novel coronavirus, and potentially spreading it to their patients and families. “Globally around 14% of COVID cases reported to the WHO are among health workers and in some countries it’s as much as 35%,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
18th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

School closures are inevitable if teachers and pupils cannot get Covid-19 tests

As executive head of an alternative provision school and two social, emotional and mental health schools (SEMH), I know from experience that the start of a new academic year brings its challenges. Pupils can take time to settle back into school life after the summer break and routines can take time to be established as well as welcoming many new children and all the issues that come with that. But in my 24-year teaching career, never before have I experienced such a difficult and frankly chaotic start to the school year on a national scale. Our teaching teams have worked tirelessly over the summer to make sure our schools are as safe as they possibly can be, meeting all government “Covid-safe" guidelines. We have introduced meticulous handwashing, created one-way systems, re-arranged classrooms, and ensured social distancing in some form or other where we can.
17th Sep 2020 - The Independent

Bugs in online booking system add to UK's Covid-19 testing crisis

The website for booking coronavirus tests is struggling to cope with the number of requests, adding more problems to those already accrued by the NHS test-and-trace scheme. People in the UK who attempt to book a test for Covid-19 online are directed – once they have passed screening questions to ensure they are entitled to the test – to a purpose-built website where they can theoretically book either a home test kit or a walk-through or drive-through test. However, in practice, an increasing number of users are reporting errors on the site itself that prevent them from even attempting to book a test.
17th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

The risk of a second lockdown exposes the UK government's failures on Covid-19

Almost two million people across Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland will face bans on mixing with other households and a 10pm curfew from midnight tonight, in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Is this a sign that the United Kingdom is heading for a second lockdown? Not according to health minister Ed Argar, who denied that a two-week nationwide lockdown is on the cards. Downing Street also remains keen to avoid a second shutdown.
17th Sep 2020 - New Statesman

Contact Tracing, the West’s Big Hope for Suppressing Covid-19, Is in Disarray

When countries across the West emerged from lockdown in the spring, governments trained legions of investigators to identify and isolate people potentially infected with the coronavirus. The goal was to prevent a resurgence of the pathogen. Four months later, the systems to find people who might pass on infections, known as contact tracing, are in disarray. Europe and the U.S. are each recording tens of thousands of new daily infections. In France, Spain and England—nations where cases are now rising quickly—investigators have been interviewing far fewer contacts of infected people than officials expected. In some U.S. states and big cities, investigators aren’t even reaching many people who test positive and those who are reached often don’t disclose their contacts. That has prevented investigators from casting a wide net to stop new infections.
17th Sep 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus cases rocket 167% in just two weeks, figures show

Cases of the coronavirus have rocketed by 167 per cent in just two weeks, figures from Test and Trace have revealed. The NHS Test and Trace programme was launched at the end of May and the figures released today show the highest weekly number of infections of the virus since the scheme was implemented.
17th Sep 2020 - The Sun


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Coronavirus: Schoolchildren and parents could be among groups prioritised for COVID-19 tests, says cabinet minister

Schoolchildren and their parents could be prioritised for coronavirus tests - after hospitals and care homes - as the government deals with "real challenges" in the system, a cabinet minister has told Sky News. The government has come under growing pressure over a lack of availability of COVID-19 tests in some areas - blamed on problems with laboratory capacity - and admitted it could take a "matter of weeks" to solve the issues.
16th Sep 2020 - Sky News

CDC director says 'masks are more guaranteed to protect you from COVID-19' than a vaccine

'I might say this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against covid than when I take a vaccine' Dr Robert Redfield said before a Senate committee. Wearing a face mask has been shown to cut a person's risks of contracting COVID-19 by up to 65% and coverings reduce the spread of infectious particles. It remains unclear how much protection a coronavirus vaccine will offer. FDA regulators set the minimum efficacy for a shot they would approve at 50%. Some people may not have an immune response to a future vaccine - and there is not yet substantial data on shots because they are not yet in use. It comes as a CDC 'playbook' said federal agencies plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine broadly and for free to Americans by January.
16th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

What we actually know about Covid-19

As the world battled the first wave of coronavirus infections, scientists and doctors pulled together in an unprecedented global effort to explore the virus, the illness it causes, and the drugs and vaccines that might bring it under control. But as many countries face a resurgence in cases, what have we found out about Covid-19?
16th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Lockdown sceptics are distorting the science

We are living through the worst infectious disease pandemic since 1918. While the human and economic costs have been very high, the global response to this threat has been remarkable. Nearly a million deaths have been reported, but mortality would have been far higher had the world not adopted measures that would have seemed inconceivable just a year ago. Throughout, policy has been guided by the work of thousands of clinicians and scientists across the world. The data collected by researchers in China gave the rest of the world invaluable insight into the threat we faced. While the early response in China was imperfect, as hospitals in Wuhan were overwhelmed, China locked down. I was sceptical that lockdown would succeed. But China controlled their epidemic
16th Sep 2020 - The Times

Warning of 'lockdown by default' as Hancock faces fury over testing shambles

Boris Johnson has defended the creaking testing system saying there has been 'huge, huge demand.' Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that Covid tests will have to be rationed amid shambles. He is drawing up a priority list while conceding that the current shortages is set to drag on for weeks. Schools have warned that it might be 'unsustainable' to stay open as so many are off with symptoms. Experts warn that 500,000 people a day display Covid-style symptoms even in year where no pandemic
16th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 cases among people in their 40s and 50s have risen by 90% since end of August

Public Health England data reveals 23.4 cases are now diagnosed for every 100,000 people aged 40 to 49. In comparison, the Covid-19 infection rate for the same age group in England was 12.4 at the end of August. Fears of a second wave are growing as number of daily cases has topped 3,000 for the first time since May Ministers have also been spooked by spiralling outbreaks in Spain and France and rising hospital admissions. Covid-19 Hospital admissions have doubled in England over the past ten days, government figures also show. More than 150 patients required NHS treatment on Sunday, up from a rolling average of 56 the week before
16th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

‘Awareness not lockdown will flatten Covid curve’

During a Corona Awareness Dialogue online programme presided b chief ministers on Tuesday, leading doctors like Dr Naresh Trehan, Dr SK Sarin and Dr Devit Shetty stated that the state must launch short-term and long-term campaigns by taking the communities into confidence. Sarin advocated the need for regulated social policing for the strict compliance of masks whle suggesting Gehlot that society needs to be brought in. Campaigns like No Masks, No Entry should be started across the state. If everyone is involved and its followed for four weeks the case curve will flatten
16th Sep 2020 - Times of India

Blood test finds 60,000 undetected Covid-19 cases in Australia

In Australia, federal government-funded research has revealed far more people have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus than anticipated. Researchers from the Australian National University have now developed a new test which picks up previous Covid-19 infection in a patient's blood. The study indicates eight in 3000 healthy and previously undiagnosed Australians had likely been infected with the virus. "This suggests that instead of 11,000 cases we know about from nasal swab testing, about 70,000 people had been exposed overall," Associate Professor Ian Cockburn said. The researchers claim the test will help authorities get a better grasp of the spread of the illness – and can help demonstrate whether or not herd immunity exists.
16th Sep 2020 - Newstalk ZB

As Covid-19 Cases Rise, Europe Enters ‘Living-With-the-Virus Phase’

Europe’s leaders choose targeted measures over nationwide lockdowns, even as cases rise. In the early days of the pandemic, President Emmanuel Macron exhorted the French to wage “war” against an invisible enemy. Today, his message is to “learn how to live with the virus.’’
16th Sep 2020 - New York Times

Top medical expert says Ontario needs smaller classes as COVID-19 cases accelerate

Classes in Canada’s high risk schools should ideally have 20 or fewer students so children can maintain safe distance from each other, a top doctor who advised the government of Ontario on school reopening said, as sometimes crowded classes resumed in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases. Dr Ronald Cohn, president of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, is one author of two reports that Canada’s most populous province cited repeatedly in drafting back to school plans. Cohn said much depends on the size of classrooms - some can accommodate only 15, while others may be large enough to teach 18 or 20 children, but likely not many more than that.
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters.com


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WHO reports highest one-day increase in global coronavirus cases since pandemic began

The World Health Organization on Sunday reported the highest one-day increase in coronavirus infections since the pandemic began: more than 308,000 new cases. India, the United States and Brazil logged the largest numbers of new infections on Sunday. The WHO also warned that Europe will see a surge in coronavirus-linked deaths in the fall as new infections have been soaring over the past weeks to levels not seen since the spring.
15th Sep 2020 - The Washington Post

COVID-19: Lockdown was effective, didn't have a huge peak in India, says ICMR DG

Applauding the nationwide lockdown to curb COVID-19 spread in the country, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Balram Bhargava on Tuesday said, "We distributed the COVID-19 curve in a way that we didn't have many deaths. It was because we had an effective lockdown. We didn't have a huge peak at all," according to news agency ANI. Bhargava further added, "US and European countries had a peak, then they came down and there is a second wave occurring there. We took learning from that."
15th Sep 2020 - Mint

COVID-19's Other Unnecessary Death Toll

“We need to learn to live with it.” That, essentially, is the current response being put forward by the United States government and many state governments, as COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, continues to wreak devastation around the country. At the time of this writing, the U.S. has over six million cases of COVID-19, with over 180,000 deaths. My institution, the University of Michigan, and my state, had a relatively successful response to COVID-19. Our medical center’s incident command center was opened on January 24, within days of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S. Our Regional Infectious Containment Unit (RICU), a unit specially designed for highly transmissible infectious diseases, opened within five days of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the state on March 10. This rapid mobilization saved lives, and allowed even the sickest with COVID-19 a fighting chance. After peaking at close to 250 inpatients (about 25 percent of our total hospital capacity) battling COVID-19 in April, our numbers rapidly declined by the beginning of June. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story.
15th Sep 2020 - Scientific American

NHS Highland looks to tech to help reduce Covid-19 spread in care homes

NHS Highland is looking to deploy technology in care homes which aims to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. The Scottish health board together with Highland Health Ventures and Wyld Networks are hoping to instal the technology which uses an app on smartphones and geozones, software-based virtual walls surrounding the care home. The software decides whether visitors and staff can or cannot enter the facility based on peoples’ health status and level of risk. Once inside the care home, the technology monitors and alerts social distancing between staff, visitors and residents. Also, heat maps are generated in real-time to visualise areas where social distancing is being inadvertently broken. Changes can then be made to the building layouts, routines and room occupancy numbers. In the case of an outbreak of the virus, those at risk can be informed and scheduled for testing within the NHS.
15th Sep 2020 - Digital Health

Coronavirus UK: 3,600 died from preventable conditions in lockdown

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan stressed patients should not fear straining the NHS. She said messaging should be clearer, after months of a 'Protect the NHS' slogan. Patients were also reluctant to seek hospital care in case they caught Covid-19 Dr Babu-Narayan said this caused some 3,600 unexpected deaths
15th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

UK's creaking COVID-19 test system puts health services at risk

Britain’s testing system for COVID-19 was creaking on Tuesday as a bottleneck prevented people including medics from getting a test in a potential threat to key health services, health sector organisations said. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a “world beating” system to test and trace people exposed to the virus. “Our members are telling us that lack of access to testing for staff is a major barrier to them delivering services,” said Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector.
15th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19 ethics: Should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? (part 1)

Would you be willing to have a dose of Sars-CoV-2 sprayed up your nose for medical research? For thousands around the world, the answer is yes. Eager volunteers have already signed up to take part in human challenge trials, where participants would be deliberately infected with the virus in order to better understand the disease, and rapidly develop a treatment or vaccine. But should such studies go ahead with a dangerous and relatively new virus? In the first of two episodes, alongside a panel of experts Ian Sample delves into some of the ethical questions of human challenge trials and asks where the balance of risks and benefits currently lies
15th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

I Got a Trial Covid-19 Vaccine. Do I Still Have to Wear a Mask?

My wife and I are participating in a clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine. We had no antibodies before we received the vaccine, but we now have a lot of them, according to two independent tests. Presumably we are like millions of others who have recovered from Covid-19 and have these antibodies, and so are immune for some time. At what point can I feel comfortable, ethically, not wearing a mask, being with others who haven’t had Covid, eating at a restaurant, going to a bar, traveling to locations with restrictions on “hot spot” visitors and the like?
15th Sep 2020 - The New York Times


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Coronavirus Australia: Melbournians escape stage four restrictions by moving to countryside

Melburnians are taking extreme measures to escape the city’s stage four lockdown by upping and moving to the countryside, which has recorded far fewer cases of coronavirus. Real estate agents and academics have noticed an uptick in interest in regional centres around Melbourne, particularly concentrated in areas like Castlemaine and Bendigo. The demand for rural properties is so high that sometimes a property is listed in the morning and it’s sold by the afternoon, according to Rob Waller from Waller Realty in Bendigo.
14th Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Philippines 30cm distancing rule seen as 'reckless'; deaths hit record

Experts described as dangerous and premature on Monday the Philippines’ decision to cut the social distancing minimum to 30 centimetres (12 inches) on public transport, as the country saw another daily record in newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Reducing gaps between passengers incrementally to a third of the 1 metre minimum could backfire, experts and medical professionals warned, and prolong a first wave of infections that the Philippines has been battling since March. The new rules took effect on Monday, when the country reported 259 new confirmed deaths, a record for the second time in three days. Total fatalities increased to 4,630, while infections have doubled in the past 35 days to 265,888, Southeast Asia’s highest number.
14th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK


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Face masks could be giving people Covid-19 immunity, researchers suggest

Face masks may be inadvertently giving people Covid-19 immunity and making them get less sick from the virus, academics have suggested in one of the most respected medical journals in the world. The commentary, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, advances the unproven but promising theory that universal face mask wearing might be helping to reduce the severity of the virus and ensuring that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic. If this hypothesis is borne out, the academics argue, then universal mask-wearing could become a form of variolation (inoculation) that would generate immunity and “thereby slow the spread of the virus in the United States and elsewhere” as the world awaits a vaccine. It comes as increasing evidence suggests that the amount of virus someone is exposed to at the start of infection - the “infectious dose” - may determine the severity of their illness. Indeed, a large study published in the Lancet last month found that “viral load at diagnosis” was an “independent predictor of mortality” in hospital patients. Wearing masks could therefore reduce the infectious dose that the wearer is exposed to and, subsequently, the impact of the disease, as masks filter out some virus-containing droplets.
12th Sep 2020 - Yahoo

Welsh Government urges people to keep working from home even after pandemic

Plans have been unveiled to allow a third of all Welsh workers to continue to work from home long-term, contradicting Boris Johnson’s ‘back to the office’ message. The Welsh Government is encouraging people to carry on doing their jobs remotely, even after the coronavirus crisis ends. It’s set a target of 30% of the country’s entire workforce to work from or near home in future because it will help to reduce pollution and congestion. The UK Government has been pushing for people to go back into the office, in part, because businesses in city centres are struggling.
13th Sep 2020 - Metro

Close case contact, dining out tied to COVID-19 spread

Studies today led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigators highlight US transmission patterns of COVID-19 and show that close contact with confirmed cases and eating out at restaurants were linked to an increased likelihood of contracting the novel virus, while children in three Utah daycare centers were more likely to spread the virus to household members than among each other.
13th Sep 2020 - CIDRAP

CDC confirms asymptomatic children CAN spread COVID-19 to adults

The CDC observed 184 Utah students, teachers and family members over a three-month period. Testing and tracing revealed that 12 of the 110 students become infected with COVID-19. They spread the virus to at least 12 family members outside the facilities, even if they themselves were not showing symptoms. The study has raised alarm bells as schools and daycare centers reopen for fall. At least four teachers in three states died from COVID-19 complications since the start of the school year began less than two months ago. Among them was South Carolina third-grade teacher Demetria Bannister, 28, who died Monday just three days after she was diagnosed with the virus
12th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: Around 30% of workers in Wales could regularly work from home

Around 30% of workers in Wales could regularly work from home even after the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh government has said. During the worst of the crisis, people from across the UK were told to work at home if possible, a move that resulted in less road congestion and pollution as well as limiting the spread of the coronavirus. Ministers in Wales have said working remotely can also improve the work-life balance and potentially drive regeneration and economic activity in communities.
13th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Belgium still at risk of coronavirus flare-up, ULB epidemiologist warns

Belgian leaders should remain wary as the country is still at risk of facing a resurgence of the new coronavirus similar to that gripping France and Spain, a Belgian epidemiologist warned. An alarming surge of new coronavirus infections could hit Belgium as early as within ten days, Yves Coppieters, an epidemiologist and professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) said in a TV interview on Thursday.
12th Sep 2020 - The Brussels Times

Fauci assures trials will find a safe coronavirus vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the trials currently underway to find a coronavirus vaccine assured that only a safe vaccine would be distributed to the public.
11th Sep 2020 - MSNBC

Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits

With increasing cases of COVID-19, Ethiopia has opened a facility to produce kits to test for the coronavirus and says its researchers are working to develop and test a vaccine. The company producing the testing kits is a joint venture with a Chinese company, called BGI Health Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to nearly 64,000 causing almost 1,000 deaths, according to government figures. On Sunday, Ethiopia also opened a field hospital to hold up to 200 severely affected Covid-19 patients, which will start admitting patients immediately
13th Sep 2020 - Washington Post

'An Open Window's Not Gonna Cut It': Ventilation Expert Warns Teachers About Classroom COVID Risks

A ventilation expert enlisted by a group of worried NYC school teachers believes the DOE is not doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in school buildings when students return on September 21st. Monona Rossol, an industrial hygienist and chemist who assesses workplace safety, held a virtual training session on Tuesday with roughly 100 members of the MORE-UFT caucus, a group that's been largely opposed the reopening of schools, arguing they’re simply not safe to reopen during the pandemic.
13th Sep 2020 - Gothamist

What if We Have to Wait Years for a Coronavirus Vaccine?

“With all the challenges regarding developing, testing, manufacturing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine — no matter how much effort so many scientists and companies put on the problem — it could still take years or even longer,” Dr. George Yancopoulos, the chief scientific officer of the biotechnology company Regeneron, told Dr. Mukherjee.
10th Sep 2020 - The New York Times


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English tracing scheme shows weekly jump in number of COVID-19 cases

The weekly number of positive COVID-19 cases in England jumped 43% at the end of August compared to the previous week, the latest data from the test and trace scheme showed on Thursday. MHS Test and Trace said on Thursday that 9,864 new people rested positive for Covid-19 in England in the week from Aug to Sept 2, the highest number of weekly positive cases since the scheme launched at the end of May.
10th Sep 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19: 170 new cases in Ontario; Quebec to fine people not wearing masks indoors

Premier Doug Ford says it’s too early to say whether Halloween trick-or-treating will be permitted. “It just makes me nervous, kids going door to door. I’d prefer not to. It’d be a shame, but we’ll check that out.” Province announces $14.75 million investment to improve access to mental health and addictions services. Ontario reports 170 new cases, including 55 in Toronto, 28 in York and 22 in Peel. Another person has died, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 2,814. 54 people are hospitalized, with the disease, including 14 in ICU and nine on ventilators Ottawa Public Health reports 12 new cases as of Thursday, down from 17 cases Wednesday and 37 on Tuesday. That brings the total number of cases in the capital region to 3,163. There are 226 active cases
10th Sep 2020 - Ottawa Citizen

Covid-19: An efficient and effective test trace regime is not a numbers game

We need a targeted testing strategy, not a blunderbuss, say Maggie Rae and Ellis Friedman. The government’s “moon shot” plan to test millions of people daily for covid-19 risks repeating the mistakes of the early days of test and trace. The ambition to deliver a further substantial increase in testing is welcome, but as the push for 100,000 daily tests exposed, an efficient and effective test trace regime is not a numbers game. Testing is not a medical intervention and on its own does nothing to control the disease. It only has value if the test is reliable and a positive test triggers a quick and effective response, which means immediately tracing the contacts of the infected person, investigating the source of their infection, and effectively preventing further transmission of the virus. Identifying large numbers of asymptomatic carriers has the potential to significantly strengthen our ability to manage the disease, but—as the continuing problems with laboratory capacity demonstrate—we are unlikely to ever have the capacity and public compliance to allow us to repeatedly test millions of asymptomatic people and then report the results and trace contacts efficiently. Even in areas where there are major outbreaks, such as Bolton, randomly offering tests to the public will not work effectively and will waste valuable resources. We need a targeted testing strategy, which is part of a well designed control strategy—not a blunderbuss.
10th Sep 2020 - The BMJ

University of Exeter to offer students Covid-19 tests

A university has signed a contract with a private company to buy thousands of coronavirus tests for students and staff. The University of Exeter will be offering the tests to anyone showing symptoms or who is deemed at high risk. Deputy vice chancellor Tim Quine said the safety of staff and students was the university's "first priority". The saliva-based tests, provided by Halo, will give results within 24 hours, it claimed. Mr Quine told BBC Radio Devon the university had to do its own bit to help prevent the spread of the virus. He said: "By bringing students to the region we know we are changing the risk dynamic".
10th Sep 2020 - BBC News

The most dangerous phase of the US Covid-19 crisis may be yet to come

Studies have shown that living through a pandemic negatively affects confidence that vaccines are safe and disinclines the affected to vaccinate their children. This is specifically the case for individuals who are in their “impressionable years” (ages 18-25) at the time of exposure because it is at this age that attitudes about public policy, including health policy, are durably formed. This heightened skepticism about vaccination, observed in a variety of times and places, persists for the balance of the individual’s lifetime. The difference now is that Trump and his appointees, by making reckless and unreliable claims, risk aggravating the problem. Thus, if steps are not taken to reassure the public of the independence and integrity of the scientific process, we will be left only with the alternative of “herd immunity”, which, given Covid-19’s many known and suspected comorbidities, is no alternative at all.
10th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands download Covid-19 tracing app

More than 500,000 people have downloaded Scotland's new contact tracing app since it went live. It became available to download free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play on Thursday. The Protect Scotland app lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. The Scottish government has said the software will support the Test and Protect system and is "another tool in the fight against Covid-19". Up until now, contact tracing has been done manually using a method followed for years to help control the spread of infectious diseases.
10th Sep 2020 - BBC News


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France to open 20 new Covid-19 testing centres in Paris region

French health officials are to open 20 new Covid-19 testing centres in the Paris region after demand for tests soared at la rentrée, last week’s grand return to work and classes following the long school holidays. The authorities said testing capacity in and around the French capital had risen more than fourfold from 45,000 to 200,000 a week and 1 million people were being tested nationally every week – about 140,000 a day – but there were still queues and delays. The new diagnostic centres will be open to all those wishing to be tested, but certain hours will be reserved for patients considered a priority and those with Covid-19 symptoms or at risk of contamination. The health minister, Olivier Véran, has blamed the delays on a surge in demand from people returning from holidays and said the government was hoping to improve access to tests in the next few weeks.
9th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: Government plans to spend £100bn on expanding testing to 10 million a day

The UK government has drawn up plans to carry out up to 10 million covid-19 tests a day by early next year as part of a huge £100bn (€110bn; $130bn) expansion of its national testing programme, documents seen by The BMJ show. The internal correspondence reveals that the government is prepared to almost match what it spends on the NHS in England each year (£130bn) to fund mass testing of the population “to support economic activity and a return to normal life” under its ambitious Operation Moonshot programme. A briefing memo sent to the first minister and cabinet secretaries in Scotland, seen by The BMJ, says that the UK-wide Moonshot programme is expected to “cost over £100bn to deliver.” If achieved, the programme would allow testing of the entire UK population each week. A separate PowerPoint presentation prepared for the government by the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, also seen by The BMJ, says the plans had the potential to grow the UK’s testing capacity from the current 350 000 a day to up to 10 million tests a day by early 2021. Critics have already rounded on the plans as “devoid of any contribution from scientists, clinicians, and public health and testing and screening experts,” and “disregarding the enormous problems with the existing testing and tracing programmes.”
9th Sep 2020 - The BMJ

Coronavirus: Too many people getting COVID-19 tests are 'not eligible', says health secretary

People with no coronavirus symptoms getting tests are to blame for the system reaching its limit, the health secretary has suggested. Matt Hancock told Sky News the reason many people have reported being unable to book a test is because the proportion of those asking for them who have no symptoms has risen to 25%. "We have seen an increase in demand including from people who are not eligible for tests, people who don't have symptoms," he said on the Kay Burley programme. "You are eligible for a test if you have symptoms of coronavirus or if you have a very specific reason otherwise. We have seen an increase, and about 25% of people who are coming forward don't have symptoms and aren't eligible."
9th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus Australia: Expert says we 'can't bank on a vaccine'

A health expert has revealed a coronavirus vaccine is far from a given despite worldwide investment. In an explosive interview with the Herald Sun, Brian McNamee, the chair of CSL – the firm tasked with producing vaccines in Australia – said the treatment could face a lengthy delay, if one arrives at all. “If they had asked us we would have told them that drug development is a very complex thing,” Dr McNamee said. “We can’t bank on a vaccine. I think the treatments are improving but we have to learn to live with COVID. We have to manage it.” However, Dr McNamee said the company was “cautiously optimistic”, but warned of “risks”. “…that’s why at CSL we’ve got two vaccines we could manufacture because the likelihood of both working is not high,” he told the publication.
9th Sep 2020 - NEWS.com.au


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Hundreds of pupils in isolation after coronavirus outbreaks at 62 schools

Scores of schools across the UK have seen staff and students test positive for coronavirus since children returned to the classroom following months away. Thousands of pupils were reunited with their friends and teachers last week as lessons resumed fully for the first time since March. Schools have introduced a range of different measures in a bid to stop the virus spreading as the new term gets underway. But there have still been confirmed coronavirus cases at 62 schools in the UK since pupils returned last week. Many have been forced to shut, while others have had to instruct full classes of pupils to isolate following outbreaks. Scotland, where children returned to school in August, has been the worst affected area of the UK.
8th Sep 2020 - Evening Chronicle

Entire year group at Salford school must self-isolate after positive coronavirus case

An entire year group at a secondary school in Salford must self-isolate after a positive coronavirus case. Year 7 pupils at Buile Hill Academy in Pendleton must now stay at home until September 18. They had only been back to school for three days after the academy opened on Wednesday (September 2) to Year 7 students. In a letter sent to parents on Sunday which has been sent to the Manchester Evening News , headteacher Jon Marsh said a member of the 'Year 7 bubble' had tested positive for Covid-19.
8th Sep 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Contacts of a case of coronavirus reminded to stay at home and self-isolate for full two weeks

Those contacted by a Covid-19 test and trace service are being urged to follow advice and self-isolate at home for two weeks. The reminder comes after an increase in cases in Wales. Public Health Wales revealed on Monday, September 7 that 133 new cases of the virus have been reported. Of the 18 new cases reported in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) area there were nine in Wrexham, three in Denbighshire, two in Conwy, two in Flintshire, one in Gwynedd and one on Anglesey.
8th Sep 2020 - Rhyl Journal

Facial Masking for Covid-19 — Potential for “Variolation” as We Await a Vaccine

To test our hypothesis that population-wide masking is one of those strategies, we need further studies comparing the rate of asymptomatic infection in areas with and areas without universal masking. To test the variolation hypothesis, we will need more studies comparing the strength and durability of SARS-CoV-2–specific T-cell immunity between people with asymptomatic infection and those with symptomatic infection, as well as a demonstration of the natural slowing of SARS-CoV-2 spread in areas with a high proportion of asymptomatic infections. Ultimately, combating the pandemic will involve driving down both transmission rates and severity of disease. Increasing evidence suggests that population-wide facial masking might benefit both components of the response.
8th Sep 2020 - The New England Journal of Medicine

Covid-19 in children: the signs and symptoms of coronavirus in kids including high temperature and a rash - and how they differ to adults

Several schools across the UK have reported cases of Covid-19, but symptoms in children may be harder to spot. New research suggests that the virus presents differently in children than in adults - so what signs should you look out for?
8th Sep 2020 - The Scotsman

Is the UK heading towards a second nationwide lockdown?

As coronavirus infection rates continue to rise across the UK, health experts have warned a second lockdown may be imminent. Though death tolls have remained low, the weekly rate of new cases in the UK has now risen above 20 per 100,000 people. Sunday saw the largest rise in cases since May 22 with almost 3,000 positive cases reported. In an interview with Sky News about his concerns around a second wave, World Health Organisation’s Dr David Navarro said: ‘I’m afraid it’s coming. I don’t like calling it a second wave but I believe there are going to be more spikes and indeed some surges in cases, because the virus hasn’t changed.
8th Sep 2020 - Metro

Coronavirus: Politician calls for clarity on Covid-19 testing issues

Stormont's health minister has raised concerns about the UK-wide Covid-19 test booking system after some NI users were offered tests in Great Britain. Robin Swann said he has contacted UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock "seeking action on a number of concerns". He was speaking after Sinn Féin assembly member Pat Sheehan was offered a test in Scotland and called the online booking system a "shambles". Mr Swann described it as a "glitch" and said it must be resolved as a priority. Mr Sheehan tweeted details of his personal experience of the booking system after trying to organise a test for his four-year-old daughter who had developed a high temperature.
8th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Australia's coronavirus hot spot state to deepen contact tracing

The Australian state at the centre of the country's second wave coronavirus outbreak is deepening its contract tracing programme to try and maintain a steady decline in daily new cases, amid criticism of its handling of the crisis.
7th Sep 2020 - Reuters


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Rapid Covid-19 testing system 'quite some way' from being reality, says Sturgeon

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said her administration is in discussions with the UK Government about a rapid testing system. She said pilot work is under way. “We are as keen as anybody to see these kinds of scientific developments give us more solutions to Covid than we have right now,” the First Minister said. “But we have to be realistic, we are still quite some way from that being a reality on a mass scale across the country.” Discussing a vaccine, she said: “We all hope there will be an effective vaccine as quickly as possible. “But we cannot right now bank on it, just as we can’t bank on some of these other scientific developments.”
7th Sep 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Test and trace could be overwhelmed if 'dramatic' rise in Covid-19 cases

The nation’s test-and-trace system will be overwhelmed if there is a “dramatic” rise in Covid-19 cases, ministers were warned today after the biggest daily leap since May. Concerns are rising after some people were being asked to travel hundreds of miles to get tested because there were no slots available at their local testing centre.
7th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Health experts welcome Melbourne lockdown extension but question curfew

Public health experts have backed the Victorian government’s decision to extend Melbourne’s stage four lockdown and only lift all restrictions once there is no community transmission of Covid-19, but have questioned the effectiveness of the overnight curfew. The stage four lockdown has been extended for two weeks with some allowances made for single people living alone and a doubling of the time permitted for exercise. After that, from 28 September, the harshest measures of stage four will continue – including the curfew – but people will be able to meet in larger groups outdoors and some students will return to school.
7th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Latest Covid-19 trend suggests younger people could avoid future lockdowns while elderly shield themselves

Older people appear to be voluntarily shielding from the spread of Covid-19 with figures showing new infections are mainly confined to younger adults. Experts are now suggesting more mature citizens should be covered by any future restrictions while younger people continue to work - avoiding the threat of strict new lockdown rules. There has been a steady rise in coronavirus infections but no significant rise in the number of patients hospitalised, the Express reports. New data suggests the peak age range for new coronavirus cases covers people under 40.
7th Sep 2020 - Wales Online


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Senegal's quiet COVID success: Test results in 24 hours, temperature checks at every store, no fights over masks

It's Senegal, a west African country with a fragile health care system, a scarcity of hospital beds and about seven doctors for every 100,000 people. And yet Senegal, with a population of 16 million, has tackled COVID-19 aggressively and, so far, effectively. More than six months into the pandemic, the country has about 14,000 cases and 284 deaths. "You see Senegal moving out on all fronts: following science, acting quickly, working the communication side of the equation, and then thinking about innovation," said Judd Devermont, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank. Senegal deserves "to be in the pantheon of countries that have ... responded well to this crisis, even given its low resource base," Devermont said.
6th Sep 2020 - USA TODAY

Tiny village offers window into India's surging COVID-19 caseload

The quaint, sugarcane growing village of Rajewadi in India's west did not have a single case of confirmed coronavirus until mid-August. Now one in every four people there is positive for the virus, with police blaming a local religious event for the spread.
6th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

The US coronavirus death toll is projected to reach 410,000 in the next 4 months if mask use wanes

More than 410,000 people in the US could die from the coronavirus by January 1, more than doubling the current death toll, a new model often cited by top health officials predicted Friday. That would mean 224,000 more lives lost in the US over the next four months.
5th Sep 2020 - CNN

Coronavirus: Even limited use of contact-tracing apps has effects, says study

Contact-tracing apps reduce transmissions and deaths even at very low levels of adoption, according to a new study from the University of Oxford and Google. The study provides reassurance regarding the value of coronavirus contact-tracing apps, which some had suggested would need to be used by 60% of the population to be effective. But the research emphasises that digital notifications to people who may have been exposed to the virus still work best when complemented by manual contact tracing, when researchers take histories from patients to find out who they had been in close contact with.
3rd Sep 2020 - Sky News

Australia should attempt to drive coronavirus cases to ZERO, former health boss says

Australia should drive new COVID-19 cases to zero, public policy think tank says The Grattan Institute report said 'short-term pain' will pay off on the other side Zero cases means Australia can avoid reimposed lockdowns and more deaths
3rd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail


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Covid-19 tracing tool to be built into phones, Apple and Google announce

Future versions of Android and iOS operating systems are set to have a Covid-19 notification system built-in, Apple and Google have announced. The system will replace the need for users to install contact-tracing apps developed by public health bodies. The exposure notification system uses Bluetooth signals to measure time and distance between devices to determine a user’s risk of Covid-19. The system, dubbed exposure notification express, would still require a user to opt-in and does not collect location of identity information. Previously Apple and Google’s API required users to download a contact-tracing app to allow it to track time and distance between device and send push notifications to users who may have been exposed to the virus. Under the new system no app is required, meaning public health authorities would be able to send notifications to those considered at risk of Covid-19 without needing to develop and maintain an app. “As the next step in our work with public health authorities on exposure notifications, we are making it easier and faster for them to use the exposure notifications system without the need for them to build and maintain an app,” a joint statement from Apple and Google read.
3rd Sep 2020 - Digital Health

Covid-19: Reusable face masks to be provided for school transport

Reusable face masks will be provided to approximately 80,000 pupils in Northern Ireland entitled to free home-to-school transport. Each pupil will get a pack that includes 10 reusable masks. Schools will also be provided with home testing kits to be distributed to parents of pupils with symptoms of Covid-19. Every school in Northern Ireland will receive 10 kits in the first instance as part of the scheme. Pupils in the vast majority of schools returned to class on Tuesday. Face coverings on dedicated school buses are not compulsory, but are strongly recommended by both the Department of Education (DE) and Translink.
3rd Sep 2020 - BBC News

Why COVID-19 vaccines need to prioritize 'superspreaders'

A committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health – has proposed an equitable way to allocate the vaccine. They recommend first responders and health care workers take top priority. Older adults in congregate living situations would also be part of a first vaccination phase, according to the plan. We are faculty at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Southern California who have spent decades studying health economics and epidemiology. One of us is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Having seen firsthand the real risks of rapid, asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 among younger adults, we disagree with some of the recommendations. Asymptomatic spread is shutting down schools and universities nationwide and threatening surrounding communities. We argue that this pandemic requires a different model for making vaccination choices. After taking care of essential workers, vaccinations should be given to the biggest transmitters of the virus – mostly the young – and only then to the most vulnerable.
3rd Sep 2020 - Fairfield Citizen


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Sep 2020

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Protect Scotland 'proximity contact tracing app' will be based on Ireland's Covid Tracker

A new ‘proximity tracing app’ which alerts users when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is set to be released later this month by the Scottish Government. Protect Scotland will be based on joint Apple and Google technology that has been in use in Ireland in the development of its Covid Tracker app, which has seen 1.5m downloads, equivalent to a quarter of the population, since its launch on July 7. The Bluetooth-enabled technology, developed by software company NearForm, based in Waterford in the south east of the country, on behalf of the Irish Health Services Executive (HSE), is being adapted for use in Scotland by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS). The application – described by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as a “significant enhancement” to the Scottish Government’s Test & Protect regime – uses an ‘exposure notifications system’, which facilitates contact tracing apps’ access to Bluetooth and allow phones running the operating systems to swap anonymous IDs.
2nd Sep 2020 - FutureScot

Coronavirus testing rationed amid outbreaks

The coronavirus testing system is struggling to keep up with demand as a growing number of people apply for swabs. People with symptoms applying for drive-through tests have been directed more than 100 miles (161km) away. The government says areas with fewer coronavirus cases have had their testing capacity reduced, in order to cope with outbreaks. But public health experts warn this could miss the start of new spikes. Although cases are now at a relatively low level, the UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty has said he expects containing the virus to be more difficult as we go into winter. And the return to school and workplaces could lead to even more demand for testing.
2nd Sep 2020 - BBC News


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Sep 2020

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‘Second coronavirus lockdown is accepting we learned nothing from first wave,’ warns expert

The health secretary Matt Hancock has recently warned Brits that the government may need to put extensive lockdown measures back in place if there is a second wave of Covid-19. However, when appearing on This Morning today, Prof Carl Henegan explained how this move would be the government’s way of accepting they learned nothing from the past six months. When chatting to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, the expert shared his views on the pandemic and how he feels another lockdown is not inevitable.
1st Sep 2020 - Metro

More testing alone will not get us out of this pandemic

What’s more, after decades of discrimination and mistreatment, communities of colour are rational in hesitating to get tested, provide personal information to contact tracers or download a tracing app. Many have experienced unfair surveillance by law enforcement. Racism can even be baked into medical technologies. Pushing these towards disadvantaged communities could be ineffective, or even backfire. Finally, the test–trace–isolate approach makes some sense for those with a relatively spacious home and the ability to work remotely. But for those in crowded apartments who cannot get paid time off or work from home, ‘isolation’ is almost impossible.
2nd Sep 2020 - Nature.com

Scotland to get dedicated Covid-19 tracing app

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new "proximity tracing app" to combat the spread of Covid-19. Ms Sturgeon described Protect Scotland as a "significant enhancement" to the existing test and protect system. And she vowed that important assurances about privacy and confidentiality would be given when it launches later this month. She added: "I encourage everyone to download and use the app as soon as it becomes available." The announcement comes as the number of confirmed cases increased by 154, including 66 in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
1st Sep 2020 - BBC News

Europe’s fractured contact tracing linked to post-holiday Covid-19 surge

In early August, seven groups of young people returned home from Croatia, Greece and Malta to the Italian province of Padua, one of Europe’s early battlegrounds against Covid-19, and tested positive for the virus. The new clusters, involving at least 25 positive cases, led to 159 other people also being placed in isolation for having had potential contact with the virus, according to public health documents reviewed by the Financial Times. But the positive cases were only detected by track-and-trace protocols after they had developed symptoms — a lag of weeks in many cases. Faster tracing across borders or testing before travel would have limited the spread, experts say.
1st Sep 2020 - Financial Times

France Tightens Mask Protocols After Surge in Virus Infections

From Tuesday, masks will be mandatory for companies with groups working in enclosed spaces, Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne said Sunday on BFM TV. While opera singers are among those who can be granted exemptions, mask-wearing is becoming entrenched in daily life. Cities from Paris to Marseille are making masks compulsory, even outside, while students over 11 years old will have to cover their faces when returning to school next month. President Emmanuel Macron is trying to avoid another nationwide lockdown, but cautioned he couldn’t entirely rule it out. That comes as the government plans to unveil another recovery package next Thursday, after the economy shrank by 14% during the second quarter.
1st Sep 2020 - bnnbloomberg

Coronavirus: South Korea returns to lockdown and pleads with citizens to adhere to social distancing guidelines

South Korea has implemented a second nationwide lockdown to fend off a new wave of coronavirus and pleaded with its citizens to again adhere to social distancing rules. “Government officials and administrative orders alone cannot stop the daily activities of citizens,” said Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement on Sunday. “We urge the public to practice complete social distancing over the next week.”
1st Sep 2020 - The Independent on MSN.com

New Zealanders wear face masks as Auckland lockdown lifted

Schools and businesses reopened in Auckland on Monday after the lifting of a lockdown in New Zealand’s largest city to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus, but face masks were made mandatory on public transport across the country. The Pacific nation of 5 million people had appeared to have succeeded in halting community transmission of COVID-19, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown earlier this month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scaled back the restrictions in Auckland on Sunday, but made masks compulsory on public transport.
1st Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Face mask sales soar as Swedes eye potential guideline change

Sweden is seeing a spike in demand for face masks, several drug stores said, ahead of a possible U-turn by the authorities, who have so far doubted their effectiveness in fighting the spread of the new coronavirus. Unlike most other European countries, Sweden has kept many businesses, restaurants and most schools open, while not recommending the use of face masks, which remain a rare sight unlike in neighbouring Denmark, Norway and Finland. But after the public health agency (FHM) said two weeks ago that it may issue new recommendations, Swedes appear to be stockpiling. Face mask sales at online pharmacist Apotea have increased to around 400,000 units a week in the past two to three weeks from 150,000 in previous weeks, CEO Par Svardson said.
31st Aug 2020 - Reuters


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Sep 2020

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Covid vaccine rush could make pandemic worse, say scientists

The rush to immunise populations against Covid-19 could lead to the rollout of a vaccine that is not very effective and risk worsening the pandemic, leading scientists have said. Politicians and commercial companies are competing to be the first to license a vaccine, but experts say the world would be better served by waiting until comprehensive results showed at least 30-50% effectiveness. Ministers announced on Friday that the UK would take emergency powers to push any vaccine through the regulatory processes with unprecedented speed before the end of the year. Donald Trump wants to be able to announce the US has a vaccine before tthe presidential election on 3 November. A vaccine is vital to stopping the pandemic, but Prof Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University and an adviser to the World Health Organization, said the first vaccine would be bought and used all over the world even if it had low efficacy. Even if it protected only a minority of the population, it would be regarded as the standard by which later vaccines would be measured. That could even lead to inferior vaccines being approved, because they would not have to show that they were any better.
30th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

New Zealanders wear face masks as Auckland lockdown lifted

Schools and businesses reopened in Auckland on Monday after the lifting of a lockdown in New Zealand’s largest city to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus, but face masks were made mandatory on public transport across the country. The Pacific nation of 5 million people had appeared to have succeeded in halting community transmission of COVID-19, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown earlier this month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scaled back the restrictions in Auckland on Sunday, but made masks compulsory on public transport.
31st Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

France Covid-19: Paris compulsory face-mask rule comes into force

Wearing a face mask in public has become mandatory across Paris and several surrounding areas, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in France. On Friday the country recorded 7,379 new infections - its highest number since early May. The number of "red zones" where the virus is in active circulation has risen from two to 21. Announcing new local curbs on Thursday, PM Jean Castex said he wanted to avoid another general lockdown. He said the coronavirus was "gaining ground" across France, and that if the government did not act fast infection growth could become "exponential". Despite a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks, daily death tolls have remained low. Overall, more than 3
31st Aug 2020 - BBC News

Refusal to wear a facemask linked to sociopathy | News

People who refuse to follow rules on wearing facemasks are more likely to have malevolent sociopathic traits, a study suggests. Individuals who showed signs of the so-called dark-triad of personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy — were also more likely to trivialise the risks posed by Covid-19 and to avoid regular hand-washing and social distancing. Researchers from Brazil asked about 1,600 volunteers to fill in two questionnaires often used by psychologists to assess empathy and expose personality disorders. They also asked them about their attitudes on rules and guidelines designed to contain the virus. They then divided their subjects into two groups. About 1,200 people qualified for an “empathy group”: those who had displayed an interest in underrstanding other people’s feelings and motivations.
31st Aug 2020 - The Times

Coronavirus: Masks now mandatory for secondary pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland now have to wear face masks in school corridors and communal areas to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The new rules, which kick in today, apply to all children over 12 in Scotland - and on school transport for primary pupils five and above. In Northern Ireland, post-primary pupils and teachers will also have to wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas. Masks on school buses are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
31st Aug 2020 - Sky News

New guidance says Kentucky students should wear masks at all times, even if 6 feet apart

Kentucky’s students and staff should wear masks at all times while they are in school, even if they are at least 6 feet apart, according to updated #HealthyAtSchool guidance from Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration. The updated mask guidance for public school students and staff was discussed Monday during a Kentucky Department of Education Superintendents' Advisory Council meeting. "The use of cloth face coverings (masks) should be required by all students and staff at all times while in the building or on the bus, unless medically waivered," the new #HealthyAtSchool guidance says. "Students and staff should only lower their masks while actively eating or drinking."
31st Aug 2020 - Courier Journal

Face mask sales surge in Sweden after country warned it may advise people to wear them in

Sweden's public health agency director said on Aug. 18 there were some instances - such as on public transport - that wearing a mask could be beneficial. Face mask sales at have soared by more than 100% at some pharmacists. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell had said they can do more harm than good
31st Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

China's offer of coronavirus tests for all in Hong Kong meets with public distrust

A Chinese government offer to test all Hong Kong residents for the novel coronavirus is meeting scepticism from the city’s medical community and public and is emerging as a politically charged issue ahead of the launch of the plan next week. A 60-person mainland Chinese team will carry out tests and build temporary hospitals in the first direct help from Chinese health officials for the semi-autonomous city in its battle with the epidemic. But it comes at a sensitive time for the former British colony, with anxiety running high about what many of its 7.5 million residents see as Beijing’s efforts to rein in their freedoms, in particular with a national security law imposed in June. Against this background, some democracy activists have suggested that people’s DNA will be collected and abused under the cover of testing. The city government has dismissed that saying no samples would be taken out of the city.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Aug 2020

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Covid-19: Five ways to avoid catching the virus indoors

Good ventilation could be the key to avoiding coronavirus as autumn approaches and people spend more time indoors. For months we've been told to wash our hands and maintain social distancing to beat coronavirus. But scientists and engineers say we also need to think about the air we breathe, as children go back to school and more people return to offices. Good ventilation matters in five ways.
27th Aug 2020 - BBC News

France to make face masks mandatory everywhere in Paris

Face masks must be worn everywhere in the French capital Paris from Friday morning in order to curb a surge in coronavirus infections, police said on Thursday. The measure applies to all pedestrians as well as cyclists in Paris and its suburbs in an area that includes three neighbouring departments that form the Petite Couronn inner ring around Paris, a densely populated area with a total population of nearly seven million people. Motorists will not have to wear a mask inside their car. “The deterioration of the health situation...has led the prefect to take this strong measure in the interest of the population,” the Paris police prefecture said in a statement.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Active Irish COVID-19 tracing app users drop on battery problem - HSE

A brief technical issue led some people to delete Ireland’s COVID-19 tracing app, leaving 1.2 million active users compared to the 1.65 million who downloaded it since early July, the head of Ireland’s health service operator said on Thursday. Ireland’s app has been downloaded by 33% of the population - among the highest take up rates in Europe - and its developers have since been hired to roll out a similar service in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar and Pennsylvania. Like many European versions, Ireland’s app uses architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google and Apple. A Google Play Services update caused the app to rapidly drain handset batteries for a two-day period earlier this month. “There were some issues, which we have addressed with Google and Apple. We’ve a total of 1.65 million downloads, there were of course some that were deleted and we’ve probably about 1.2 million active users but we are seeing people reloading,” Health Service Executive (HSE) chief Paul Reid told a news conference.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

California, Florida, New York, Texas will not follow new U.S. COVID-19 testing plan

Several large U.S. states are not heeding new federal health officials’ calls to reduce COVID-19 testing of some exposed to the virus, joining a broad rebuke of the Trump administration by public health leaders.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters

WHO warns young people flouting lockdown rules could lead to spike in deaths of elderly this winter

As the winter months get nearer, a stark warning about a possible increase in coronavirus deaths has been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). During a briefing on Thursday morning, WHO’s European regional director Hans Kluge warned that as youngsters stay in more during the colder months they may be more likely to spread coronavirus, especially if they visit multiple households. Kluge said there was growing evidence that young people were infecting people at social gatherings and said that this could result in increase hospitalisations and deaths. He said: "The younger people are not necessarily going to die from it but it's a tornado with a long tail…
27th Aug 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Aug 2020

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Face masks in schools: Boris Johnson performs U-turn on advice

Boris Johnson has abandoned advice that pupils should not wear face masks in English secondary schools. The prime minister performed his latest U-turn in the face of growing pressure from headteachers, teaching unions and medical experts. Face coverings will be mandatory for children in all schools that lie in areas subject to stricter coronavirus restrictions.
25th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Column: Megacities after coronavirus

Densely populated and highly connected megacities such as London and New York have been the most dynamic centres of the modern economy but for the same reasons have proved especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Density and connectedness have supported a wealth of innovation and high productivity, but crowded housing, workspaces and transport systems have created ideal conditions for the transmission of pulmonary disease. Regional, national and international connectedness ensured megacities were the first to receive the virus, and then transmitted it onward to secondary and tertiary cities and eventually rural areas. High density ensured that once the virus had entered a megacity it would spread quickly and cause high death rates, forcing urban lockdowns to bring transmission back under control.
25th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Remote working during Covid-19 pandemic inspiring many people to flee pricey capital for new life in countryside

Remote working has inspired many people to flee the pricey capital and find a new life in the countryside. High rents and house prices in Dublin may act as an inspiration for some, but others just
25th Aug 2020 - Irish Sun

COVID-19 and schools reopening: Now is the time to embrace outdoor education

Whether and how schools will reopen in September given COVID-19 has been discussed in news and social media throughout the summer. Smaller class sizes, alternating attendance patterns, face-to-face or online instruction and equipment such as mandatory masks have been debated by both politicians and the public. But there is another, more obvious answer that allows for social distancing and addresses the risks of transmitting COVID-19 indoors. Moving classes outside deserves serious consideration not only for better ventilation, but also to introduce more public education devoted to learning on, from and with the land.
25th Aug 2020 - The Conversation CA

New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly

...Still, because of the close connection between the pandemic and economic activity, many epidemiologists and economists say the economy can’t recover while the virus is out of control. “The virus is going to determine when we can safely reopen,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in April. The Federal Reserve said in late July that “the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus.”
26th Aug 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Tips on how to keep kids safe when they return to school

it's been over six months since the coronavirus lockdown closed schools to the majority of children. The new school year sees them set to reopen but with new precautions put in place. Treated.com Clinical Lead, Dr Daniel Atkinson, offers tips on how parents can best prepare their children for returning to school.
24th Aug 2020 - Bradford Telegraph and Argus

Young Italians blamed for rise in coronavirus cases

Cases of the coronavirus have surged in Italy, topping 1,000 on both days of the weekend and raising fears that the country may be facing a devastating second wave. The new clusters are scattered around the country and are being blamed on young holidaymakers who ignore government guidelines as they drink and socialise. Yesterday there were 953 new cases and four deaths. Several German states said that they were preparing to restrict gatherings to try to control a rise in infections there. Italy was the first European country to be engulfed by the pandemic and one of the first to emerge after a strict 70-day national lockdown.
25th Aug 2020 - The Times


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Aug 2020

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'Clear direction' needed on face coverings in schools, union says | ITV News

"Clear direction" is needed from the government on whether pupils should wear face coverings in schools, a teaching union has said. Despite England's education secretary insisting the measure is not needed as schools in England prepare to reopen, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is calling for the issue to be kept under review. It comes as the Scottish Government is expected to state its decision on face coverings in schools in light of the latest guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask. The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said as evidence continues to emerge, Westminster should review its guidance.
25th Aug 2020 - ITV News

Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon asks public to ‘bear with us’ over testing

Nicola Sturgeon has appealed for patience after Scots requesting Covid tests were misdirected to centres in England and Northern Ireland. The First Minister asked people to “bear with us” while “issues” at the system, which is run by the UK Government, were corrected after a weekend of high demand. It followed reports of multiple technical problems with the booking system, including people in Edinburgh being advised their nearest testing centre was in Newcastle. The BBC reported some Glasgow residents were being offered tests in Stranraer instead of Glasgow airport.
25th Aug 2020 - HeraldScotland.com

Coronavirus: Scottish high schools to introduce new face covering rules

The use of face coverings in corridors and communal areas of secondary schools is set to be introduced in Scotland. The government is in the "final stages" of consultations with teachers and councils about having pupils wear face coverings while moving between classes. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was acting in response to new guidance from the World Health Organization. Ministers are also considering whether to make masks mandatory on school transport - but not inside classrooms. The use of face coverings in schools is currently voluntary, although some schools have started advising staff and pupils to wear them to help combat the spread of Covid-19.
24th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Silent Spreaders?

This article is part of Harvard Medical School’s continuing coverage of medicine, biomedical research, medical education and policy related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the disease COVID-19. In the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date, Harvard Medical School researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children provide data showing that children may play a larger role in the community spread of COVID-19 than previously thought.
20th Aug 2020 - Harvard Medical School


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Aug 2020

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Children over 12 should wear face masks to combat Covid, says WHO

The World Health Organization says children aged 12 and over should wear masks to help tackle the pandemic. Masks should be worn when 1-metre distancing cannot be guaranteed and there is widespread transmission, it advised. It is the first time the WHO has issued guidance on masks for children and comes less than two weeks before pupils in England return to school. Although a small number of schools – including James Gillespie’s high school in Edinburgh and Eaton Mill primary school in Milton Keynes – have said they will require children to wear masks, the government says that masks are “not recommended” for primary or secondary school children.
23rd Aug 2020 - The Guardian

UK's cheap food could fuel Covid-19 spread, says WHO envoy

Britain’s demand for cheap food could be fuelling the spread of the coronavirus in factories, a leading health expert has warned, as analysis shows nearly 1,500 cases across the UK. Cramped conditions in some factories and in low-paid workers’ homes, spurred by the UK’s desire for cheaply produced food, may have driven infection rates in the sector, according to David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special envoy on Covid-19. In the early stages of the pandemic, the UK avoided the scale of Covid-19 outbreaks seen in meat factories and other food processing plants in countries such as the US. But a Guardian analysis suggests that reported UK outbreaks of the disease are now increasing in frequency, with examples of cases spreading into the wider community.
21st Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Teachers have duty of care beyond school gates, top PHE scientist says

Teachers have been warned that they are spreading Covid-19 after a leading government scientist said they were far more likely to transmit the virus than children. New research from Public Health England revealed that two thirds of outbreaks arose from staff-to-staff transmission, or staff-to-pupil. In June the number of schools open was between 20,500 and 23,400, with pupil numbers increasing from 475,000 to 1,646,000. In June and last month 200 children and staff were affected by the illness. Over the same period 25,470 cases were recorded across England as a whole. Thirty outbreaks, defined as two or more linked cases in one school, were recorded between the start of June and the end of last month.
22nd Aug 2020 - The Times

Germany COVID concerts: Experiment to study virus transmission

Scientists in Germany have held three pop concerts to study the risk of virus transmission during large events. The mass experiment, staged with nearly 2,000 people in the city of Leipzig, comes at a time the country has banned all such gatherings until at least the end of October.
22nd Aug 2020 - Aljazeera.com

Socialising pushes Spain’s Covid-19 rate far above rest of Europe

Coronavirus is spreading far faster in Spain than in the rest of Europe, confronting the country with a race against time to bring the outbreak under control before the return to school and work next month following the holiday season. Figures published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an EU agency, on Friday indicated that in the previous 14 days Spain had reported about 145 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of population. Apart from Malta, no other European country had a ratio above 100, and the Spanish figures compare with ratios of 51 in France and 21 in the UK. In three districts of Madrid, the Spanish region with most cases, the equivalent ratio is above 400 and in one it is almost 600. On Friday, the regional government of Madrid urged people in the worst-affected areas to stay at home.
21st Aug 2020 - Financial Times


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Aug 2020

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Europe can fight coronavirus without lockdowns - WHO

Europe can combat Covid-19 without full lockdowns now that authorities are better prepared and have gained knowledge about how to fight it in recent months, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. "With the basic nationwide and additional targeted measures, we are in a much better position to stamp out these localised virus flare-ups," the head of the WHO's European branch, Hans Kluge, told reporters. "We can manage the virus and keep the economy running and an education system in operation," he added. Europe has seen a steady rise in the number of cases for the past two months, he said. In the first week of August, 40,000 more cases were reported than in the first week of June when cases were at their lowest.
20th Aug 2020 - RTE.ie

Virtual Classes Can't Stop Explosion of Off-Campus Virus Cases

Even with more universities replacing in-person classes with virtual ones, the threat of Covid-19 lingers in college towns with their shared apartments, Greek houses and spirit of untrammeled off-campus freedom.At University of Notre Dame in Indiana, a surge of more than 150 positive cases in two days among its 12,000 students prompted the school to move to virtual instruction for at least two weeks. Contact tracing efforts, however, found that most of those cases stemmed from seniors living off campus.Five of Sean Ebben’s six roommates tested positive this week. Still, Ebben said he plans to stay in the six-bedroom split-level home they share. The school moved one infected roommate to a quarantine apartment, but the four others are planning to stay in the house, based on guidance from the university, Ebben said. He tested negative Tuesday morning through a rapid test at the football stadium.
21st Aug 2020 - bnnbloomberg

Fauci explains why temperature checks to fight COVID-19 are unreliable

“We have found at the NIH, that it is much much better to just question people when they come in and save the time, because the temperatures are notoriously inaccurate, many times,” Fauci said last week. The nation’s top infectious disease expert went on to say the White House done away with temperature checks altogether. Not everyone who has the coronavirus will experience fever as a symptom, and a significant portion of people who become infected with the virus have mild or no symptoms at all.
19th Aug 2020 - The Hill

Coronavirus antibodies tests 'put public at risk'

Poor regulation of antibodies tests - that could indicate if someone has had coronavirus - could be putting the public at risk, doctors have warned. The Royal College of Pathologists has written to the health secretary, calling for rules to be tightened on kits sold direct to consumers. The letter warns they can "mislead the public and put individuals at risk". No antibodies test has been officially approved for at-home use in the UK - but many different types are available. It is still not known whether having antibodies will protect people from a second infection.
20th Aug 2020 - BBC News

COVID-19 in babies and children

Children of all ages can become ill with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But most kids who are infected typically don't become as sick as adults and some might not show any symptoms at all. Know the symptoms of COVID-19 in babies and children, why children might be affected differently by COVID-19 and what you can do to prevent the spread of the virus.
20th Aug 2020 - Medical Xpress

These variables affect whether you live, die or get help during the pandemic

As the US continues to grapple with the dual crises of coronavirus and racism, two things have become clear: People of color are being hit hardest by the virus, and systemic inequities are largely to blame. Eight months into the pandemic, race and ethnicity data on Covid-19 now paint a more complete picture than before. The numbers are stark, confirming what experts and minority communities have long suspected. Black, Latino and Native American people are nearly three times as likely to be infected with Covid-19 than their White counterparts. Those three groups are about five times as likely to be hospitalized. And people of color across the board are more likely to die of the virus.
21st Aug 2020 - CNN

Covid-19 face masks call as Ireland's main churches 'recommend' use

The four main churches in Ireland have issued a joint statement in which they are “formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship”. The move comes amid growing concerns about rising Covid-19 infection rates across the island. The Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church have issued the statement. They say: "At this time, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, the governments have not formally made mandatory the wearing of face coverings at services of worship. "This is, in part, due to the fact that as churches we are committed to maintaining 2 metre physical distancing between household groups and strict adherence to all government guidance on hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation etc.
20th Aug 2020 - Belfast Live

Are New Yorkers Wearing Face Masks? Here’s What We Found

The mask rule Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo handed down on April 15 leaves some room for interpretation. It requires that those over age 2 who can medically tolerate covering their mouths and noses do so “when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance,” which is understood as six feet from other people. But if you walk by someone and happen to pass within four feet for a split second, does that count as being “unable to maintain” social distance? Who knows. At the corners where we did our counts, sometimes people were closer than six feet apart. Sometimes they weren’t.
20th Aug 2020 - The New York Times


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Aug 2020

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Disability homes at risk of Covid-19 exposure, royal commission hears

Carers working across multiple disability group homes and the aged care sector could spread the virus into the disability community, the royal commission has heard. Prof Anne Kavanagh, the director of the Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne, said on Thursday federal and state authorities needed to look at ways to ensure “minimised movement of workers”, and also warned about a lack of PPE training for some carers. Describing a “perfect storm”, she said that the closure of NDIS day-programs once lockdowns began meant carers “started working across multiple group homes because the residents were home more”. “That’s a real issue and some of them work for multiple service providers and some work in aged care,” she said.
20th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

WHO says Covid spread by 'unaware' youth; European rules tighten – as it happened

France plans to make masks compulsory in almost all workplaces and Finland will ration common medicines in anticipation of a second wave this autumn as new coronavirus infections continue to rise around Europe. Amid evidence from several countries that the increase on the continent is being driven mainly by younger people, the World Health Organization said 20- to 50-year-olds were also the main spreaders of the virus in the western Pacific region.
19th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Millions return to schools lacking handwashing facilities: UN

A joint report (PDF) published last week by the WHO and UNICEF, the UN children's fund, revealed that 43 percent of schools worldwide lacked facilities for basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019, affecting 818 million children - more than a third of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In the least-developed countries, seven out of 10 schools lack basic handwashing facilities, and half of all schools lack basic sanitation and water services, the agencies said.
19th Aug 2020 - Al Jazeera English

All Workers In France Must Wear Masks Starting Sept. 1

The French government says people will be required to wear face masks in workplaces, following a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections since the country began lifting lockdown restrictions in July.
19th Aug 2020 - NPR

Britain to bring in mass testing to curb spread of COVID-19

Britain plans to bring in regular, population-wide testing for COVID-19 so it can suppress the spread of the virus and ease restrictions that have crippled its economy without triggering a second wave in one of the worst-hit countries in the world. Health minister Matt Hancock said the government was trialling a range of new, faster tests that can give instant results and hoped to roll them out towards the end of the year. “The mass testing, population testing, where we make it the norm that people get tested regularly, allowing us therefore to allow some of the freedoms back, is a huge project in government right now,” he told BBC Radio. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been criticised by political opponents and health experts for being too slow to go into lockdown and in rolling out testing to know how far the virus had spread.
19th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Aug 2020

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Wearing a mask helps stop Covid-19 spreading, study confirms

Wearing a face covering lowers the risk of spreading Covid-19 to others through speaking and coughing, new research suggests. Speaking and coughing without face protection exposes people nearby to droplets carrying the virus that could otherwise be stopped by wearing a mask, according to the study. Researchers found someone standing two metres from a coughing person with no mask is exposed to 10,000 times more droplets than someone half a metre from someone coughing and wearing a covering. Lead researcher Dr Ignazio Maria Viola, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, said: ‘We knew face masks of various materials are effective to a different extent in filtering small droplets.
18th Aug 2020 - Metro.co.uk

COVID-19 linked to increase in type 1 diabetes in children

A new study suggests there could be a link between COVID-19 and the development of type 1 diabetes in children. Thirty children in hospitals across north-west London presented with new-onset type 1 diabetes during the peak of the pandemic, approximately double the number of cases typically seen in this period in previous years, with clusters of cases in two of these hospitals. Twenty-one children were tested for COVID-19 or had antibody tests to see whether they had previously been exposed to the virus. A total of five children with newly diagnosed diabetes had evidence of past or current coronavirus infection.
18th Aug 2020 - Imperial College London

Coronavirus digest: Younger people driving COVID-19 spread, says WHO

The proportion of people aged under 50 who are infected with the coronavirus is growing globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. "The epidemic is changing," WHO's Western Pacific regional director, Takeshi Kasai, told a virtual briefing. "People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread." He said many of them were not aware they were infected, increasing the risk of their infecting vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those with medical conditions that put them in greater danger of contracting a severe form of COVID-19. The WHO also warned drugmakers to take all due precautions and carry out all the prescribed research and development steps when producing vaccines against the disease.
18th Aug 2020 - Deutsche Welle

COVID-19 Response Team key as MSU reopens campus amid pandemic

As in-person classes resumed Monday, the university launched a new resource on the campus: The COVID-19 Response Team. "This team will be response for our on-the-ground work related to the coronavirus," said MSU President Clif Smart. Students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed are to contact the team at COVID19@MissouriState.edu
18th Aug 2020 - Springfield News-Leader


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Masks 'tremendously effective' at curbing Covid-19 spread

Wearing a face mask significantly cuts the risk of spreading Covid-19 through speaking and coughing, research suggests. A new study by scientists at the University of Edinburgh has found face coverings can block out 99.9 per cent of potentially lethal droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or talks. The findings show that a person is exposed to 10,000 times more particles from a person who coughs with their face uncovered while standing two metres away than from someone half a metre away who is wearing a mask.
18th Aug 2020 - The Scotsman

Coronavirus: Why face masks DO work, according to study

Droplets expelled by the mouth and nose are the main way Covid-19 can spread Scientists conducted experiments with real people and mannequins. They compared droplet levels on surfaces with and without the use of masks. 'Not a single droplet' was omitted by the participants wearing a face mask
17th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

How can I help shielded trainees return to work?

Radha Sundaram, consultant in intensive care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, says, “Most shielding trainees, although physically removed from the workplace, have kept in touch with their peers and departments. “Encourage them to seek an occupational health appointment so that an individual risk assessment can be carried out, along with getting tailored advice on risk mitigation at work. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that these risk mitigation measures are put in place and, wherever possible, reasonable adjustments are made to support a return to work. “Welcome them for an informal chat with their supervisor, either face-to-face or virtual, ahead of their first day at work. Confirm that they are fit tested for the personal protective equipment currently available at the hospital. “Arrange shadowing shifts and a phased return. Recognise that along with their health vulnerabilities, these doctors will also have apprehensions around skill retention and team integration. Make sure that they have a mentor who they could meet for informal chats to discuss their experience. It also helps to prepare the team that they are joining so that insensitive remarks about a prolonged break are not made.
17th Aug 2020 - The BMJ

Poor housing linked to high Covid-19 death rate in London borough

Appalling housing conditions and crippling rents in one of the UK’s poorest boroughs helped turn it into a hotspot of Covid-19 deaths, according to a poverty inquiry that examined links between local inequalities and the pandemic. The Brent Poverty Commission, which had been running for two months when Covid-19 struck, said chronic overcrowding and widespread poverty in the north-west London borough had created ideal conditions for the virus to thrive. Latest figures show Brent has the worst death rate of any local authority in England and Wales per 100,000 population, with 490 deaths to the end of July, including 36 deaths alone in one of its most deprived neighbourhoods, Church End. The chair of the commission, Lord Best, said there was a clear link between coronavirus deaths and poverty, inequality and poor housing. “It’s definitely the case that those people who have had Covid-19 and died of it come from the poorest areas, the most deprived estates and parts of the borough. That’s just a fact.”
17th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Germany warns local coronavirus outbreaks are 'mostly connected with celebrations'

Health Minister Jens Spahn has warned stricter event bans could be put in place in Germany amid a rise in coronavirus outbreaks. Spahn attributed rising cases in Germany to holidaymakers returning to the country. But he said celebrations among people, such as weddings, were also causing problems. He urged people to only celebrate within a close family circle. "There are more infections in the country due to returning travellers, but there are also local outbreaks, which are mostly connected with celebrations, said Spahn to German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday night. "This is what we have to keep in mind beyond travel," the politician, who's a member of Angela Merkel's centre Christian Democrats (CDU), said. When asked about a possible new lockdown or stricter measures to contain the pandemic, Spahn said that in his view there was no point in closing retail stores or outlets like hairdressers again. With mandatory face masks and distance rules (1.5 metre from others not in your household) the situation could be managed, he said.
17th Aug 2020 - The Local Germany

Face masks, smaller classes and distanced desks: Europe's back-to-school plan

Across Europe, the start of the new school year was meant to signal a return to normality. Countries such as Italy kept pupils at home from March to the summer holidays, while others such as Denmark allowed schools to reopen for the remainder of the term after the worst of the pandemic's first wave had passed. All tried to reassure parents and children that in-person teaching would restart in the fall. Yet the planned reopening of schools could not come at a worse time: Many European countries, from Spain to Poland, are experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases. Already the spike has forced some schools to close their doors again, including in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern where four schools had to partly shut after reopening last week due to coronavirus cases.
16th Aug 2020 - Politico


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Local lockdowns can be successful – here's what we need to make them work

Local lockdowns also have the potential to increase inequalities, especially in disadvantaged areas. Demographic and socioeconomic factors may play a role in localised increases in cases, and we already know that certain ethnicities are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission. Local hot spots will probably be in areas of increased disadvantage, particularly among black, Asian and minority ethnic groups who are more likely to live in densely populated urban areas and are also disproportionately represented in high-risk essential jobs. This was reflected in a statement from Independent Sage, which provides independent advice on how the government should deal with the coronavirus epidemic, on the “predictable and avoidable” situation in Leicester – “a city rich in multiple cultures and traditions, [which] also has high levels of disadvantage and poverty”. To prevent local lockdowns making inequalities worse, they should be implemented for the shortest time possible to minimise disruption to people’s lives. Certain requirements need to be met for this to happen.
13th Aug 2020 - The Conversation UK

Britons will accept local lockdowns if a Covid vaccine can't be found, survey finds

Britons will accept local lockdowns, home schooling and bans on live audiences for the foreseeable future if a coronavirus vaccine is not found, a survey suggests. As parts of the UK grapple with local lockdowns, 87 per cent of people said they would accept these being imposed in the future, and 85 per cent said they would accept their own local area being subject to such restrictions. The wide-ranging research by King's College London, which has been tracking attitudes throughout the pandemic, revealed what people would expect and tolerate in the long-term if a vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 does not transpire.
16th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Huge anti-mask crowd protests against lockdown restrictions and 5G phone networks

Unmasked campaigners came together for a 'freedom gathering' in protest of the coronavirus lockdown. Tens of people congregated in Victoria Square in Birmingham on Saturday to make their views on face masks known. They gathered around a speaker and a sign which read 'Covid-19 is a smokescreen for a bigger agenda', the Birmingham Mail reported. The speaker said: "Everyone can't go to pop concerts until he (Boris Johnson ) says so. "What is it all about? It's about control, exactly. Many of you already know this. "So many people are walking around with masks on. What about the masks issue? Do masks protect you? Look at the scientific studies.
15th Aug 2020 - Mirror Online


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WHO urges the public to avoid routine dental work amid the coronavirus pandemic

With the cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) skyrocketing globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now warning the public to avoid routine dental procedures to reduce the risk of infection. In a new interim guidance released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the health agency advises that routine non-essential oral health care, which includes dental check-ups, oral prophylaxis, and preventive care, should be delayed until there has been sufficient reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates from community transmission to cluster cases.
13th Aug 2020 - News Medical

Finland recommends use of facemasks on public transport

Finland recommended the use of face masks in public for the first time on Thursday as the number of coronavirus cases rises. Prime Minister Sanna Marin said masks should be worn in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport. People aged 15 or over who will stay for more than 15 minutes in crowded places should wear them, excluding regions where no new cases have been found in two weeks, the public health authority also recommended. Prior to Thursday, Finland had not officially backed the use of masks. Health authorities reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a daily record since the end of May, bringing the total to 7,683 since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 333 people have died.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

CDC warns US faces 'worst fall' ever if Americans ignore COVID-19 guidelines

A top CDC official has warned that the US must brace for the “worst fall” ever in the history of public health disasters if Americans don’t follow coronavirus guidelines. “For your country right now and for the war that we’re in against COVID, I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told WebMD. “I’m not asking some of America to do it. We all gotta do it.” If people fail to follow those tips, next season could be “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,” he said.
13th Aug 2020 - New York Post

South Korea installs anti-virus bus shelters with temperature sensors and UV lamps

South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters in the capital with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will slide open only if their temperature is below 37.5C. A separate camera is installed lower down to test children. Inside the glass-walled booths – which cost about 100m won ($84,000) each – the air-conditioning systems have ultraviolet lamps installed to kill viruses at the same time as cooling the air. Free wifi is also included.
13th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

20 offices turned into 2,000 individual pods for post-Covid working

Welcome to cube city. Xu Weiping, a Chinese multimillionaire, has a vision for the future of office work in the post-Covid-19 pandemic world: thousands of office pods where each person works in their own self-contained 3m x 3m cube. Xu reckons the coronavirus pandemic will have such a fundamental impact on the way people work that he is converting 20 newly constructed office buildings in east London into 2,000 of the individual cube offices. If the cubes, which feature a kettle, fridge, microwave, videoscreen and fold-down bed as well as a chair and desk, prove popular Xu plans to convert all of his £1.7bn 35-acre regeneration project in east London into more than 10,000 of the individual cubes.
13th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Local lockdowns can be successful—here's what we need to make them work

Since then, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases following the lowest recorded estimate in June, as well as spikes in transmission in certain areas. In response, rather than locking down the whole country again, the government has brought in local lockdowns in affected areas.
13th Aug 2020 - Medical Xpress

COVID panel expert says local lockdowns may be needed - English

Agostino Miozzo, the coordinator of the CTS panel of experts advising the government on the coronavirus emergency, on Thursday warned that local lockdowns "may become inevitable if the situation gets out of hand". Italy has seen an increase in COVID-19 contagion in recent weeks, with the number of new cases registered each day going from around 200-300 to 400-500. Miozzo said the danger exists because "there is always a party to dance at, a barbecue to have or a funeral to hold". "400 cases a day are neither many nor few," he added. "It tells us that the virus is here and it is present all over the country. "We still have a manageable situation. But it is a precarious situation and the quantum leap can be very fast and that is the real risk". He also said that Italy's night clubs and discos "must stay closed". "Mass gatherings are devastating, impossible to manage" he said. Miozzo also stressed, on the other hand, that another national lockdown was "decidedly improbable".
13th Aug 2020 - Agenzia ANSA

New powers to tackle coronavirus mask refusers as England’s lockdown eases

Fines for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask could soar to £3,200 and organisers of illegal raves could face a £10,000 penalty, Boris Johnson announced ahead of further easing of England’s lockdown. At present, people who refuse to wear a face covering where it is required face a £100 fine, which can be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. Under the new measures, that penalty will double for subsequent offences, up to a maximum of £3,200.
13th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Covid-19: New trial for England's revamped NHS contact-tracing app

England’s new look NHS contact-tracing app is set to begin public trials today, after months of setbacks. The app will be based on Apple and Google’s decentralised model. NHSX has been working with the tech giants to develop a new version of the app after abandoning its original model in June. Both versions of the app used Bluetooth to track time and distance between smartphone devices, but Apple and Google’s version was hailed as more privacy-centric as it only sends alerts between devices when Covid-19 is detected, rather than large quantities of data being stored on a central database. The trial, beginning on August 13, will again involve the Isle of Wight as well as NHS volunteer respondents in the UK. Then from next week, residents in the London borough of Newham will start trialing the app.
13th Aug 2020 - Digital Health

Coronavirus: Vaping teens and young adults up to seven times more likely to contract COVID-19, study finds

Teenagers and young adults who vape may be up to seven times more likely to catch coronavirus, a study has found. Researchers, who surveyed 4,351 Americans aged 13-24 years in May, found those who had used both e-cigarettes and cigarettes were seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Those who had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days were 4.7 times more likely to experience symptoms of the illness compared with those who never smoked or vaped. Among people tested for coronavirus, those who used just e-cigarettes were five times more likely to test positive for the disease.
13th Aug 2020 - Sky News

People should not fear spread of COVID-19 in food, packaging: WHO

The World Health Organization said on Thursday it saw no evidence of coronavirus being spread by food or packaging and urged people not to be afraid of the virus entering the food chain. Two cities in China said they had found traces of the coronavirus in imported frozen chicken wings from Brazil and on outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp, raising fears that contaminated food shipments might cause a new outbreak. “People should not fear food, or food packaging or processing or delivery of food,” WHO head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing in Geneva. “There is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in transmission of this virus. And people should feel comfortable and safe.” WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said China had tested hundreds of thousands of packages and “found very, very few, less than 10” proving positive for the virus.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Spain's Canary Islands curb smoking amid COVID-19 worries

The Canary Islands became Spain’s second region to all but ban smoking in the streets on Thursday as part of measures to stop a resurgence of coronavirus infections, and other regions considered a similar ban. Smoking will be banned when people cannot maintain a 2-metre (6.5-foot) distance between each other on the islands, which are popular with tourists. Authorities also imposed new restrictions including the use of masks in public at all times, a limit of 10 people in gatherings and restrictions on nightclub capacity. “The last few days point to an increase in positive cases ... We will increase checks to make sure people follow the rules because otherwise it will be our health and economy paying the price,” regional leader Angel Victor Torres said.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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'Hundreds dead' because of Covid-19 misinformation

At least 800 people died around the world because of coronavirus-related misinformation in the first three months of this year, researchers say. A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene says about 5,800 people were admitted to hospital as a result of false information on social media. Many died from drinking methanol or alcohol-based cleaning products. They wrongly believed the products to be a cure for the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously said that the "infodemic" surrounding Covid-19 spread just as quickly as the virus itself, with conspiracy theories, rumours and cultural stigma all contributing to deaths and injuries.
12th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Measure the risk of airborne COVID-19 in your office, classroom, or bus ride

Amid the pandemic, once normal activities are now peppered with questions and concerns. Can kids go back to crowded schools? Is it safe to eat dinner with friends? Should we worry about going for a run? A recent modelling effort may help provide some clues. Led by Jose-Luis Jimenez at the University of Colorado Boulder, the charts below estimate the riskiness of different activities based on one potential route of coronavirus spread: itty-bitty particles known as aerosols. Coughing, singing, talking, or even breathing sends spittle flying in a range of sizes. The closer you are to the spewer, the greater the chance of exposure to large, virus-laden droplets that can be inhaled or land in your eyes. But many scientists have also grown concerned about the potential risks of aerosols—the smallest of these particles—which may float across rooms and cause infections. It’s a worry that's greatest where ventilation is poor and airborne particulates could build. While the World Health Organisation recently acknowledged that aerosol transmission cannot be ruled out for some situations, they emphasised more research is needed to conclusively demonstrate its role in the spread of the virus.
12th Aug 2020 - National Geographic UK

Vaping linked to risk of COVID-19 in teens, young adults

Vaping may be associated with a five to seven times increased risk of COVID-19 among U.S. teenagers and young adults, a study published on Tuesday suggests. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine analyzed nationally representative survey data collected in May from 4,351 participants aged 13–24 years. The findings were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. “Young people may believe their age protects them from contracting the virus or that they will not experience symptoms of COVID-19, but the data show this isn’t true among those who vape,” study leader Shivani Mathur Gaiha said in a press statement. Participants were asked if they had ever used vaping devices or combustible cigarettes, whether they had vaped or smoked in the past 30 days, and if they had experienced COVID-19 symptoms, been tested for COVID-19 or been diagnosed with the infectious disease.
12th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Aiding staff wellbeing and resilience in the coronavirus pandemic

Wellbeing, knowledge and effective management are vital for healthcare staff, particularly at times of extreme stress, as with the coronavirus pandemic. This article reports on a wellbeing and resilience session, delivered by four mental health nurses to over 250 staff who were redeployed or recruited during the crisis. It examines the personal and professional impact of Covid-19 on staff, and considers the need for further education and ongoing support to safeguard the wellbeing of all healthcare staff.
12th Aug 2020 - Nursing Times

Bus stop newest front in South Korea's Covid-19 battle

South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. Ten advanced facilities have been installed in a northeastern district of Seoul, offering protection from monsoon rains, summer heat, and the novel coronavirus. To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will only slide open if their temperature is below 37.5C. A separate camera is installed lower down to test children.
12th Aug 2020 - RTE.ie

Why we fear the reopening of schools will create a second wave of Covid-19 infections

We also now have a clearer idea of how Covid-19 affects young people. The first major study to address this – ­involving 82 paediatric centres in 25 European countries, and published in the Lancet in late June – found that more than half with proven Covid-19 display standard cold symptoms. Only a quarter have a cough, and at least a third have no fever at all. This study involved only the sickest children, most of whom had been referred to ­hospital. The picture among paediatric cases in the wider community is even more nebulous.
12th Aug 2020 - New Statesman

New Zealand considers freight as possible source of new coronavirus cluster

The discovery of four infected family members in Auckland led Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to swiftly reimpose tight restrictions in the city and social distancing measures across the entire country. The source of the outbreak has baffled health officials, who said they were confident there was no local transmission of the virus in New Zealand for 102 days. "We are working hard to put together pieces of the puzzle on how this family got infected," said Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield. Investigations were zeroing in on the potential the virus was imported by freight. Bloomfield said surface testing was underway at an Auckland cool store where a man from the infected family worked. "We know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time," Bloomfield said during a televised media conference. The New Zealand unit of Atlanta, U.S.-based, Americold Realty Trust, a refrigerated storage specialist with operations in the United States, Canada, Argentina and Australia as well as New Zealand, identified itself as the owner of the cool store.
12th Aug 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Parties lead Germany to biggest spike in coronavirus cases in three months

Germany today reported its largest daily spike in new cases of coronavirus in more than three months, as authorities blamed people returning from holiday and boozy parties across the country. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 1,226 to 218,519 today, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed — marking the biggest daily increase since 9 May. However the number of German coronavirus deaths edged up by six, remaining low at a total of 9,207.
12th Aug 2020 - City A.M.

All rest homes going into level 4 lockdown for three days

Aged Care Association chief executive Simon Wallace told Nine to Noon no visits from family would be allowed. "We have decided that we will go into full lockdown. So every rest home in New Zealand will go into full lockdown immediately, we will be in that situation until midnight on Friday and then the situation will be reassessed at that point," he told Nine to Noon. Full lockdown meant rest homes would be operating under level 4 restrictions, he said. "It means there will be no visits, no family visits to their loved ones in rest homes and all the guidance and all the precautions that applied when we were at level 4 will apply for the next three days."
12th Aug 2020 - RNZ

England's revamped contact-tracing app to begin public trials on Aug 13

A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday (Aug 13), BBC News reported on Wednesday. The software will be modelled after Apple and Google's privacy-centric method of one smartphone detecting another, the BBC said. Engineers were still trying to resolve issues with the Bluetooth-based tech wrongly flagging people as being within 2 metres of each other. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits, as well as implementing Apple and Google's method of detecting other smartphones, the BBC reported. The test-and-trace programme is key to reopening the economy but has been dogged by problems. A smartphone app developed by the National Health Service (NHS) was initially expected to be rolled out in May but did not materialise. In June, the government pivoted away from a homegrown model for the app to use the Apple and Google system.
12th Aug 2020 - The Straits Times


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Coronavirus: Local Covid-19 tracing 'needs more resources'

Joint working between local and national teams on coronavirus testing and contact tracing should be properly funded, says a public health official. Deputy director of public health for Luton Lucy Hubber said more resources should be allocated to councils to cover the costs of finding people. It comes after the government said it will provide councils with with "ring-fenced teams" of the contact tracers. Initial trials of joint working has improved the success of the system.
10th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Did London's lockdown work? Capital has the same level of coronavirus antibodies as Stockholm

Official data shows around one in six people in both cities have caught the virus Two British experts who compiled research said UK's measures came too late UK shut down economy on March 24 while Sweden stayed open throughout
12th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

WHO advises dentists to delay carrying out 'routine, non-essential dental work' over Covid-19 fears

The World Health Organisation has said routine, non-essential dental work should be delayed until Covid-19 transmission rates drop sufficiently, cautioning against procedures that produce aerosol spray from patients’ mouths. The WHO said check-ups, dental cleanings and preventive care could be postponed, as it released guidance for dentists on how to minimise the risk of transmission during the coronavirus pandemic.
11th Aug 2020 - TheJournal.ie

Coronavirus infections stabilise in Australia's virus epicentre

Australia’s second-most populous state reported only a small rise in new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, boosting hopes that case numbers are stabilising after a second wave forced authorities to put the city of Melbourne back into lockdown. Victoria state, which currently accounts for nearly all of Australia’s new cases, detected 331 COVID-19 infections and 19 deaths in the past 24 hours, up from 322 infections and the same number of fatalities a day earlier, health officials said. Daily infections in Victoria peaked at 725 on Aug. 5 and have been trending lower in recent days, following the imposition of a hard lockdown in Melbourne on July 19. While the lockdown has caused significant economic harm, authorities said the restrictions that will run until September are bearing fruit. “We continue to see numbers coming down. Exactly how long that takes and to what the lowest number is we can get to, only time will tell,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Why a second wave of coronavirus cases in Greece has prompted new restrictions

Greece has formally entered a second wave, following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. The country had become a top destination for British holidaymakers following the changes to quarantine guidelines for people visiting Spain, who now have to isolate for two weeks on their return to the UK. But the Greek government has now imposed new restrictions and curfews on bars and restaurants coming into effect on Tuesday across major tourist areas, including the islands, while holidaymakers from certain countries will now need proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering.
11th Aug 2020 - iNews


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How Did New Zealand Control COVID-19?

New Zealand, a modern small island nation, has become an emblematic champion of proper prevention and response to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Leading into this weekend, the country of approximately 5 million has just 2 dozen active COVID-19 cases—a full month after having reported absolutely none, on the backbone of strict initial travel policies, science-based government action, and strategies responsive to testing limitations. What else went into New Zealand’s pandemic response—and what could serve as guidance for other countries?
10th Aug 2020 - Contagionlive.com

Reopening after COVID-19 lockdown and impact on disease

In the absence of any effective vaccine or antiviral preventive or therapeutic drug, the only possible response to an extraordinarily contagious and unknown disease was in the form of multiple non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). China implemented what some describe as a ‘Draconian’ lockdown, with total closure of public transport, and all residents ordered to stay at home. Similar measures restricting travel, quarantining people with suspected or confirmed disease, and tracing contacts, were put in place in other Asia countries, and a month later, in Europe. The latter was also characterized by school and non-essential closures, limits on the number of people who could gather, bans on international travel, and shelter-in-place mandates. The response in the US was quite different in many ways. For one thing, both state and local authorities decided on the measures to be taken. Overall, in most affected areas, stay-at-home orders were passed by March 21, 2020. In the early part of the pandemic, there was a significant reduction in the number of people moving around places like retail, grocery, workplace locations, pharmacies, and parks. Research focused on this time showed that combinations of NPIs had significant success in lowering viral transmission. The greatest impact was observed with an intensive reduction in contacts, such as lockdowns.
10th Aug 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Coronavirus: Which face covering works best? Scientists test 14 masks - and find one actually increases risk of infection

Scientists have tested 14 different types of face-covering and found that one of them actually increases the risk of coronavirus infection. Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina tested coverings ranging from the kind worn by healthcare professionals to neck fleeces and knitted masks. The study's authors compared the dispersal of droplets from a participant's breath while they were wearing one of the coverings to the results of a control trial where their mouth was fully exposed.
10th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Contact tracers to be reduced by 6,000 in England

The NHS test and trace system in England is cutting 6,000 staff by the end of August, the government has announced. The remaining contact tracers will work alongside local public health teams to reach more infected people and their contacts in communities. It comes after criticism that the national system was not tapping into local knowledge. The approach has been used in virus hotspots like Blackburn and Luton. And it's now being offered to all councils that are responsible for public health in their area. Test and trace is staffed by NHS clinicians and people who were trained to become contact tracers during the pandemic. NHS staff who offer advice to people who have tested positive for coronavirus will not be laid off.
10th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Europe's biggest countries are seeing Covid surges -- but not this one

A horrifying moment in the Covid-19 pandemic hit Italy on March 27, 2020, when the civil protection authorities announced that 969 people had died in just 24 hours. In the weeks before that, images of coffins stacked up in church parlors and being driven down the streets of the northern Italian town of Bergamo in a caravan of military trucks poured into the homes of Italians, by then locked down for nearly three weeks. Now, just four months later, life in Italy, the country Vice President Mike Pence once said "no one wanted to be like," is nearly back to normal, despite occasional spikes in cases that have been attributed to migrants arriving in the country or living in close quarters.
10th Aug 2020 - CNN

‘Door knocks’ a possibility for Covid-19 contacts as 6,000 staff cut

People who have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases may get a knock on their door if tracers are unable to reach them over the phone. Health officials have announced plans to strengthen regional test and trace powers in England, while 6,000 national contract tracers will be cut in a fortnight. In pilot schemes, local authorities have been able to visit people at home where national contact tracers have been unable to reach them. The changes come after criticism that the national system was not tapping into local knowledge. Labour said the new plans showed that the system was nowhere near “world-beating” as the Government claims.
10th Aug 2020 - Belfast Telegraph


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Coronavirus: Face masks reduce severity of symptoms in wearer, scientists find

Earlier this year, researchers in China used hamsters to test the theory, The New York Times reported. They housed coronavirus-infected and healthy animals in adjoining cages, some of which were separated by partitions made of surgical masks. Many of the healthy hamsters behind the partitions were not infected. And those animals that did get the virus became less sick than their “maskless” neighbours. The experts say their findings suggest masks are even more important than previously thought, as they both reduce the virual dose – the amount hitting the face – and the viral load, the amount of infection in the body.
10th Aug 2020 - The Independent

No Jab No Play comes into effect today in South Australia: What does this mean for your kids?

The South Australian Government's No Jab No Play laws come into effect today, with children up to the age of six who have not been fully immunised now unable to attend early childcare services. The law attempts to ensure children and the people they encounter are protected against preventable diseases. "Families should be able to send their child to an early childhood service, confident that it's as safe as it can be," Health Minister Stephen Wade said. In Australia, the vaccination schedule starts from the time a child is born and continues until they are four.
7th Aug 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus: Only half of Britons say they would get a vaccine, poll reveals

Just over half of the UK would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with "damaging misperceptions" affecting potential uptake, a poll has revealed. Only 53% of Britons would be certain or very likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers at King's College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori found. One in six (16%) said they would definitely not get a vaccine or it would be very unlikely, the poll of 2,237 people between 16 and 75 showed. The study found that people were more likely to reject the vaccine because of their attitudes and beliefs about science and authority than reasons related to coronavirus itself.
8th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Half of people in direct provision ‘unable’ to social distance

Half of people living in direct provision have been unable to social distance from other residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, while more than 40 per cent continue to share a room with a non-family member, according to new research seen by The Irish Times. The Irish Refugee Council’s (IRC) Powerless report, which examines the experiences of direct provision residents during the pandemic, says asylum seekers are suffering “fear and trepidation” because of their “inability to control” their health and safety during the pandemic. The call to end direct provision has become “more compelling than ever” in the context of the pandemic, the council says. The new Government has committed to ending the system.
8th Aug 2020 - The Irish Times

Coronavirus: Face covering use expanded in England and Scotland

Face coverings have become mandatory in more indoor settings in England and Scotland following a recent spike in coronavirus cases. Places where coverings must now be worn in both countries include museums, places of worship and aquariums. Other new settings in England include cinemas and funeral homes, and in Scotland, banks and beauty salons. Coverings will also become compulsory in all public enclosed spaces in Northern Ireland from Monday.
8th Aug 2020 - BBC News

An Urban Planner’s Trick to Making Bike-able Cities

When the citizens of Barcelona returned to the streets in mid-May after a 2-month lockdown, they discovered a changed city. Not only was it overgrown with plants and wildlife, but the streets had been transformed by 13 miles of bright yellow bike lanes painted over the old car lanes. Adria Gomila, the chief of mobility services in Barcelona, is leading the metamorphosis. His team of 30 has turned Spain’s second-largest city into one of the most bike-friendly metropolises in southern Europe. The pandemic, though a tragedy, has also turned into an opportunity.
8th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 infection rates soar in Italy

The number of daily new coronavirus infections in Italy jumped 38% higher Friday, with 552 confirmed cases registered compared to the previous day, the highest daily new caseload since late May. Two weeks ago, Italy had been registering roughly 200 new cases a day. The northeastern region of Veneto, which performed nearly 16,500 swab tests in a day, registered roughly a third of those new cases. Veneto Governor Luca Zaia said the new infections were found in residents who recently returned home from Spain, Peru, Malta, Croatia and Greece. “Vacations are a risk,” he said in his daily briefing. “Everyone must decide where they want to go on vacation, but it’s also true, that by us, for a couple of weeks now, we’re seeing a concentration of patients who were infected on vacation.″ Northern Italy is where Italy’s outbreak began in February, and which registered the highest number of cases and deaths throughout the pandemic.
8th Aug 2020 - EU Today

A city divided: COVID-19 finds a weakness in Melbourne's social fault lines

New analysis by The Sunday Age and The Sun-Herald that matches geography with demography and the disease burden shows clearly that COVID-19 is not affecting us all the same. Melbourne is a city divided. Of its five most disadvantaged municipalities, four of them have the most active COVID-19 cases. The fifth disadvantaged area is Dandenong, where the Spotless laundry is. In Brimbank, in Melbourne's west the number of active cases is in excess of 800 - that's more than 10 times the level of Boroondara in the leafy inner east. These five areas are also where the most insecure work is. It is minimum wage workers, often migrants, and often in contingent or casual jobs who are suffering unduly from the disease.
8th Aug 2020 - The Age

UK 'heading back into lockdown next month', says government's ex-chief scientist

Britain could be heading for full lockdown again by the end of the month. And the PM must act NOW to prevent it, a former government chief scientific adviser warns today. Sir David King said: “We need a proper test and trace system by September. Otherwise full school opening will put us right back.” Sir David says we are “nowhere near” the safe reopening of schools. He is urging Boris Johnson to “get it right” in August – or face a second wave of coronavirus infections. And he blasted the Government’s track and trace policy as “disastrous”.
8th Aug 2020 - Mirror Online


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Leeds researchers find Covid-19 patients can suffer with PTSD months after leaving hospital

Leeds researchers have found that some Covid-19 patients suffer with breathlessness, fatigue and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for months after they leave hospital. Researchers from the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust assessed 100 people who are recovering from the virus after being treated in hospital and identified several longer-term symptoms. Patients were found to have suffered from fatigue, which was the most common symptom, as well as breathlessness and issues with concentration and memory. The researchers also found that almost half of the Covid-19 survivors who had been in intensive care had some of the symptoms of PTSD. More than two thirds (68.8 percent) of the intensive care patients and just under half (45.6 percent) of the people who were treated in other hospital wards told researchers their overall quality of life had deteriorated.
6th Aug 2020 - Leeds Live

Coronavirus: England's contact-tracing app readies for launch

A second attempt at a Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England will soon be tested by members of the public. Officials hope to confirm the date for the limited roll-out within a few days. It could be as soon as next week. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to log venue visits, as well as implementing Apple and Google's method of detecting other smartphones. But efforts are still ongoing to deliver medical test results within the product. Users will get alerts if others they have recently been close to declare that they have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The software will provide information about the prevalence of the disease in the local area to encourage people to be more cautious if levels rise.
6th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Denmark Drops Plan to Lift Curbs on Public Gatherings as Infections Spike

Denmark will not raise a limit on public gatherings, originally planned for this month, after seeing a spike in COVID-19 infections, the Danish health ministry said late on Thursday. As part of the Denmark's gradual reopening following a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the government had planned to raise the limit on public gatherings to 200 people on August 8, up from the current limit of 100 people. "It is crucial that we maintain the good position Denmark is in, where we have the epidemic under control," health minister Magnus Heunicke said.
7th Aug 2020 - The New York Times

Northern Ireland launches UKs first Covid-19 contact-tracing app

Northern Ireland has released its contact-tracing app – the first country in the UK to roll-out the technology. The app, StopCOVID NI, uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Those who test positive will be sent a code by SMS, which can then be put into the app. Users will then be asked to share the random IDs their phone has been swapping with other app users over the last 14 days. Once a user agrees, these ‘diagnosis keys’ will allow the app to tell those people that they have been exposed to Covid-19. Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann urged the public to download the app, which uses the exposure notification APIs developed by Apple and Google. “Deploying this world leading technology can prove a major factor in helping our efforts to curb Covid-19 and prevent its spread. Its potential to be a game changer will, however, be totally dependent on the support of the Northern Ireland public,” he said.
6th Aug 2020 - Digital Health

Brussels set to make face masks compulsory in public places

The local Brussels government is preparing to force people to wear face masks in public spaces and in private places accessible by the public, should the recent surge in coronavirus infections continue. According to Rudi Vervoor, the minister-president of the Brussels region, the order will be imposed as soon as the daily number of cases rises above 50 in every 100,000
6th Aug 2020 - City A.M.

Germany fights virus uptick with mandatory testing for travellers

Germany announced mandatory tests for travellers returning from high-risk regions after new coronavirus cases breached the 1,000-a-day threshold for the first time since May, fuelling fears of a return to an economically disruptive lockdown. Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Thursday free compulsory testing would be in force from Saturday after the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health agency, reported 1,045 new cases in a single day. Part of the increase was due to more tests taking place, he said, but the impact of holidaymakers returning to Germany and of flagging social distancing discipline was also significant. Germany classifies almost all the world outside the European Union as high risk, as well as some regions within the bloc, including Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre in Spain, and Belgium’s Antwerp province. The compulsory tests mean travellers will not have to quarantine for two weeks. Anyone who refuses to take the test could face a fine of up to 25,000 euros (22,485 pounds).
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Dutch PM urges tourists to avoid busy parts of Amsterdam

The Netherlands’ Prime Minister on Thursday called on tourists to avoid busy parts of Amsterdam, following a sharp acceleration in the number of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte cut short his summer vacation after the National Institute for Health (RIVM) reported 601 new cases on Thursday, from 426 a day earlier, following weeks of gradual increases. “Very specifically for the city of Amsterdam, I say to tourists foreign and domestic, and partly on behalf of the mayor: avoid the busy parts of the city,” Rutte told reporters in The Hague. Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema on Wednesday began mandating masks in areas including the central Red Light prostitution district, which is a magnet for foreign tourists.
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters


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A needle-prick is a small price to pay to suppress Covid-19

Few relish a jab in the arm with a needle. If the syringe prevented Covid-19, then many might think it a pain worth suffering — but by no means all. Tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Berlin over the weekend, some to voice their discontent at the possibility of being coerced by the state into getting vaccinated. The situation is far from unique to Germany. In Italy, where the broader anti-vaccination movement enjoys widespread support, both main anti-establishment parties campaigned last year against compulsory routine vaccinations for children. In the US, a fifth of people say they would never submit to inoculation against coronavirus; another third remain unsure. A recent online survey of UK residents showed a quarter would decline a vaccine if the government made it “available tomorrow”.
5th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

NYC Sets Up Traveler-Registration Checkpoints to Enforce Quarantine Orders

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that checkpoints will be set at entry points to the city, in order to enforce a quarantine order for people coming from states with high rates of Covid-19
5th Aug 2020 - Wall Street Journal

More French cities make masks mandatory amid public support

Masks may become obligatory in certain public places in Paris as mayor Anne Hidalgo pushes for the measure, as other cities such as Toulouse introduce it, and the public is largely in favour of the move. Ms Hidalgo has this week (Tuesday August 4) submitted a proposal to make masks mandatory in certain public areas of Paris, to head of the capital’s police, Didier Lallement. The measure, if it is introduced, is likely to apply first to busy shopping streets, public parks and gardens, the banks of the River Seine, and covered markets. Paris deputy mayor in charge of health, Anne Souyris, said: “Wearing a mask is unpleasant, especially when it is hot, but it is a really necessary move now that the epidemic is restarting. “We will therefore demand that it becomes obligatory in exterior areas where there are a lot of people, and where respecting the distance of a metre between people is difficult.” She said that currently, “90% of people in the streets do not have [a mask]” and that there is much variation between neighbourhoods.
5th Aug 2020 - The Connexion

Nations tighten mask rules, lockdowns as Covid-19 deaths approach 700,000

France and the Netherlands are gearing up for stricter mask-wearing rules to fight the coronavirus as the global death toll from the pandemic neared 700,000. Paris, Toulouse and other cities announced that the wearing of masks would be compulsory in particularly busy streets and squares. People already have to wear them inside most private businesses and all public buildings. A scientific committee advising the French government warned that the country could lose control of its spread "at any time." In the Netherlands, the same mask-wearing measure will be applied in Rotterdam and the famous red-light district of Amsterdam from Wednesday.
5th Aug 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

Nations tighten mask rules, lockdowns as Covid-19 deaths approach 700,000

France and the Netherlands are gearing up for stricter mask-wearing rules to fight the coronavirus as the global death toll from the pandemic neared 700,000. Paris, Toulouse and other cities announced that the wearing of masks would be compulsory in particularly busy streets and squares. People already have to wear them inside most private businesses and all public buildings. A scientific committee advising the French government warned that the country could lose control of its spread "at any time." In the Netherlands, the same mask-wearing measure will be applied in Rotterdam and the famous red-light district of Amsterdam from Wednesday. And Ireland postponed the reopening of pubs and other nightspots on the advice of scientists, concerned about rising infections.
5th Aug 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Covid testing and contact tracing key for safely reopening schools, two new studies suggest

Researchers in Britain found that schools could reopen safely so long as enough contact tracing is in place. Contact tracing strategies involve enough testing to find cases, isolating those people, then tracking down and quarantining their contacts. And a team in Australia found that even though schools remained open in New South Wales between late January and early April, children and teachers did not contribute significantly to the spread of Covid-19 — because good contact tracing and control strategies were in place. Both studies, published in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health on Monday, aim to help inform global discussions around reopening schools.
4th Aug 2020 - CNN Philippines

Determining the optimal strategy for reopening schools, the impact of test and trace interventions, and the risk of occurrence of a second COVID-19 epidemic wave in the UK: a modelling study

As lockdown measures to slow the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection begin to ease in the UK, it is important to assess the impact of any changes in policy, including school reopening and broader relaxation of physical distancing measures. We aimed to use an individual-based model to predict the impact of two possible strategies for reopening schools to all students in the UK from September, 2020, in combination with different assumptions about relaxation of physical distancing measures and the scale-up of testing.
5th Aug 2020 - The Lancet

Coronavirus UK: Preston set to be next city in local lockdown

The infection rate in the Lancashire city has more than doubled in seven days. More than 34 people per 100,000 were diagnosed with Covid-19 last week Lancashire director of public health said matter of days before lockdown comes
5th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

'Uncertainty' about origin of outbreak and 'rapidly accelerating' transmission forced Aberdeen lockdown decision

Nicola Sturgeon has said the uncertainty over the origin of the outbreak of Covid-19 in Aberdeen and the ongoing “rapid transmission” of the virus created a tipping point for the Scottish Government to reimpose lockdown restrictions in the city. The First Minister, speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing with chief medical officer Gregor Smith, announced those living in Aberdeen will face tougher restrictions from today due to the outbreak which was first reported last week.
5th Aug 2020 - The Scotsman


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Council in town with England's highest coronavirus rate set up their OWN contact tracing teams

Reopening schools could result in another crisis that could yield a second wave 2-2.3 times the size of the first. But it could be avoided if testing reaches 75% of cases and NHS contact tracing system reaches 68% of public. However, scientists say current system is 'not good enough' and a fraction of symptomatic cases are tested The authors said without improvements in testing it will be 'absolutely essential' to introduce other measures
4th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Radical shift in COVID-19 testing needed to reopen schools and businesses, researchers say

“America faces an impending disaster,” says Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. Testing, he says, needs to focus on “massively increasing availability of fast, inexpensive screening tests to identify asymptomatic Americans who carry the virus. Today, we are conducting too few of these types of tests.” Rebecca Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), agrees. To stop outbreaks from overwhelming communities, she says, “we need fast, frequent testing,” which could mean faster versions of existing RNA tests or new kinds of tests aimed at detecting viral proteins. But researchers say the federal government will need to provide major financial backing for the push.
4th Aug 2020 - Science Magazine

Brits were less likely than French or Italians to follow lockdown guidelines

Only 71% of Brits, Americans and other English speakers around the globe followed guidelines set by their governments during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to a new study from Durham University Business School. This was drastically lower than French and Italians – where 89% of respondents followed guidelines. The research was conducted at the end of April 2020, the height of the global pandemic, when many countries were at the strictest stage of their lockdowns. Sascha Kraus, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School, Andrés Davila, Professor at ESCE Paris, and an international team of academics research the topic to understand people’s views towards Covid-19 voluntary compliance behaviours, and who was most likely to follow these. The researchers also found that only 70% of native English speakers were happy to take preventative steps such as wearing a mask indoors, social distancing, avoiding crowds, staying at home and washing their hands frequently.
4th Aug 2020 - PharmiWeb.com

We're thinking about Covid-19 the wrong way. It's not a 'wave' – it's a wildfire

We have no previous experience with a worldwide coronavirus pandemic, so when Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, began spreading, public health experts leaned on our experiences with influenza pandemics to inform their predictions. These pandemics are often described in terms of “waves” and “troughs”. We have now seen enough to replace the ocean analogy with a better one: wildfire.
4th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 decision-making 'shrouded in secrecy' – top scientist

Sir Paul Nurse, the director of the Francis Crick Institute, said the Government should “treat the public as adults” in its communications over Covid-19. He told the BBC’s Today programme: “I think we need greater openness in the decision-making. “It sometimes seems somewhat shrouded in secrecy. “And not only that, but better communication of what’s happening. “Treat the public as adults.”
4th Aug 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

UK coronavirus cases experience highest daily increase since June

The number of new coronavirus cases in the UK has risen by 938 across 24 hours – the highest daily increase in confirmed infections since late June, the government has confirmed. The latest figures from the department of health and social care (DHSC) brought the total number of cases since the beginning of the UK’s outbreak to 305,623. The daily increase in cases is the highest confirmed figure since 26 June, part of a gradual upward trend in infections since the bulk of lockdown measures were eased in early July.
4th Aug 2020 - The Independent

Testing key to prevent Covid-19 lockdowns across region, say councils

After new lockdown rules were brought into play in large parts of northern England, council leaders and public health bosses have said widespread testing is now more important than ever to reduce the prospect of similar action in the region. Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils are urging people who have Covid-19 symptoms or who have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive to get tested. The seven local authorities also reiterated the importance of businesses contacting Public Health England as a case is identified – either confirmed or suspected – in a staff or customer.
4th Aug 2020 - Express & Star

Teachers returned to a Georgia school district last week. 260 employees have already gone home to quarantine.

On Wednesday, teachers in Georgia’s largest school district returned to elementary, middle and high school campuses to start in-person planning for the fall semester. By the next day, 260 district employees had been barred from entering their schools, either because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had been directly exposed to someone who had. Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, which serves more than 180,000 students, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that most of the cases were tied to community spread, rather than being spread at the schools. Some of the employees who reported exposure to the virus had not come to work yet, Roach added.
4th Aug 2020 - The Washington Post

Singapore’s quick response to coronavirus saved thousands of lives. There’s no excuse for the UK’s failure

In February I travelled to Singapore to visit an old university friend. So it was chance that I found myself in the safest part of the world, where they knew what to do and acted with great speed to aggressively suppress the lethal virus
4th Aug 2020 - The Independent

China Says It Can Boost Hong Kong Virus Testing by 20 Times

China aims to boost Hong Kong’s coronavirus testing capacity to 20 times its current ability, said the leader of a support team sent from Guangdong province to aid the city in its worst outbreak ever. The Chinese testing team of about 60 people will work with the Hong Kong government and three mainland Chinese testing companies to process 100,000 to 200,000 samples every day, said Yu Dewen in a state media video interview released on Monday. “Our main mission is to help the Hong Kong government conduct testing on a large scale for the population,” said Yu, who is an official with Guangdong’s health commission. Yu also led the Guangdong delegation earlier sent to help Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged
4th Aug 2020 - MSN.com


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Testing, Tracking Can Keep Students’ Virus Risk Low, Studies Say

Only 1.2% of people caught the virus after they were in contact with 27 children or teachers who were infectious, according to a study of schools and nurseries in New South Wales, Australia, where track, trace and isolation measures were used. Further analysis of seven sites found the disease was less likely to spread from child to child than from staff to staff, researchers said Monday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal. Concerns over resurgent infections have grown as countries struggle to re-open schools and childcare centers full-time. Federal data show that children account for more of total infections than previously thought in some U.S. states, spurring those such as California to reverse course and continue with online classes. While children account for a very small proportion of Covid deaths, researchers still aren’t sure of their overall role in the pandemic.
3rd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: Test and Trace needs 'scaling up' for schools to reopen safely | ITV News

The NHS Test and Trace programme needs to be scaled up in order to reopen schools safely, researchers have said. A new modelling study has suggested reopening schools across the UK in September must be combined with a high-coverage test-trace-isolate strategy to avoid a second wave of coronavirus later this year. Researchers warned in a worst-case scenario, a second wave could be 2.3 times higher than the first, according to the study published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health. The study comes as Australian research found there were “low” levels of Covid-19 transmission in schools and nurseries.
3rd Aug 2020 - ITV News

Spain to roll out COVID-19 app twice as effective as human tracers in pilot

Spain aims to roll out a COVID-19 contact-tracing app across the country in September after saying on Monday that a pilot showed it could detect almost twice as many potential infections as human trackers during a simulated outbreak on a tiny island. In the absence of a vaccine or cure, states are deploying Bluetooth wireless technology to log contacts and alert people when someone they have been near tests positive. Spain used a new system developed by Google (GOOGL.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) which holds data on individual devices to ensure privacy, to build an app it tested on La Gomera, an island next to the tourist hotspot of Tenerife in the Canary archipelago, in July.
3rd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Three weeks without Covid-19 death

Northern Ireland has gone three weeks without a death from Covid-19. The latest figures from the Department of Health show it has been 21 days since the last person died from coronavirus, with the death toll remaining at 556. Over the weekend another 40 positive cases of Covid-19 were confirmed bringing the total to 5,988 since the pandemic began. The new cases were detected after 4,632 tests were carried out on 3,206 people. There are currently three Covid-19 patients in Northern Ireland's hospitals with two in intensive care units. In Northern Ireland's care homes there are currently five active outbreaks of the virus with 171 being closed after the virus was found to no longer be present.
3rd Aug 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Coronavirus: Sewage testing for Covid-19 begins in England

Sewage testing is being conducted across England in a bid to develop wastewater-based Covid-19 surveillance. Scientists discovered early in the pandemic that infected people "shed" the virus in their faeces. Further research concluded that wastewater sampling could provide a signal of a coronavirus outbreak up to a week earlier than medical testing. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says this has begun at 44 wastewater treatment sites. A Defra spokesperson said the government was working with scientists, water companies and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They would "monitor for fragments of coronavirus genetic material".
3rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Lockdown 'reverse gear' warning after pub cluster

Scotland's national clinical director has said there has to be a "reverse gear" over easing lockdown after 27 Covid-19 cases were linked to a pub. Prof Jason Leitch was speaking after the cluster emerged on Sunday linked to the Hawthorn Bar in Aberdeen. NHS Grampian said contact tracing efforts were continuing to find all those associated with the outbreak and 123 people had now been contacted. The pub said cases were linked to customers who visited on 26 July.
3rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

Philippines to reimpose stricter coronavirus lockdown in capital as cases spike

The Philippines will reimpose a stricter coronavirus lockdown in and around the capital for two weeks from Tuesday, authorities said on Sunday, as the country struggles to contain infections that have jumped to more than 100,000 cases. President Rodrigo Duterte has approved placing Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan under so-called “Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine” (MECQ) until Aug. 18, his spokesman Harry Roque told reporters. Some businesses and public transport are expected to be closed in the capital, which is currently under the less restrictive General Community Quarantine classification.
3rd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Smartphones and COVID-19 transmission: What we know so far

As uncertainty around COVID-19 transmission continues, experts say it's unlikely you'll be infected by your smartphone -- but you should probably sanitize it anyway. Although there haven't been any documented cases of transmission through a smartphone, experts say that sanitizing your phone is just good hygiene, akin to washing your hands.
18th Jul 2020 - ABCNews.go.com


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Can you get Covid-19 through your eyes? Possibly. Should we all be wearing goggles? Probably not.

We know that the coronavirus can enter the body through the nose and mouth -- hence the constant recommendations from doctors to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. But what about the eyes? Should we all be wearing goggles or face shields as well? It's certainly possible that a person could get Covid-19 through the eyes, said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. There is "emerging evidence" that people are catching the virus from droplets floating in the air, the World Health Organization confirmed earlier this month. One of the ways those droplets can enter your body is through the eyes. It's also possible to get infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the eye, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
31st Jul 2020 - CNN

Aboard the Diamond Princess, a Case Study in Aerosol Transmission

Technology has tried to tease out the ways in which the virus passed from person to person in the staterooms, corridors and common areas of the Diamond Princess. It found that the virus spread most readily in microscopic droplets that were light enough to float in the air, for several minutes or much longer. The new paper has been posted on a preprint server and submitted to a journal; it has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it was shown by Times reporters to nearly a dozen experts in aerosols and infectious disease. The new findings, if confirmed, would have major implications for making indoor spaces safer and choosing among a panoply of personal protective gear.
30th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

The Coronavirus Infected Hundreds at a Georgia Summer Camp

The staff and counselors gathered at the overnight camp in late June. Within a week of the camp orientation, a teenage counselor developed chills and went home. The camp, which the C.D.C. did not name, started sending campers home the next day, and shut down a few days later. By then, 76 percent of the 344 campers and staffers whose test results were available to C.D.C. researchers had been infected with the virus — nearly half the camp. The study is notable because few outbreaks in schools or child care settings have been described to date, said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “The study affirms that group settings can lead to large outbreaks, even when they are primarily attended by children,” she said. “The fact that so many children at this camp were infected after just a few days together underscores the importance of mitigation measures in schools that do reopen for in person learning,” Dr. Rivers added.
31st Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Northern Ireland launches UK's first COVID-19 tracker app

Northern Ireland on Friday launched the United Kingdom’s first COVID-19 tracing app, and the first one that can also trace users in another country, Ireland, who have been in contact with someone suffering from the disease. The developer NearForm, which hopes the app will become a blueprint eventually synching up all of Europe, launched a similar app in Ireland on July 8, and cases can now be traced across the island’s open border by two separate health services. NearForm’s technical director Colm Harte said the technical approach it used in developing StopCovid NI would work with apps across the rest of the UK and that it could apply across Europe if countries agree how to share and store data.
31st Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Greece extends mask-wearing requirement as coronavirus infections flare up

Greece will make mask-wearing compulsory in all indoor public spaces and also in outdoor spaces where proper social distancing cannot be observed, its deputy civil protection minister said on Friday, following a further rise in COVID-19 infections. Greece reported 78 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections on Friday, its highest tally in about two months. Overall, it has so far confirmed 4,447 COVID-19 cases with 202 deaths, a relatively low number compared to many European countries, after imposing an early lockdown in the spring. “The decisive factor in successfully confronting the pandemic in the first phase was citizens’ responsibility, the individual responsibility of every one,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said in a televised address. “This was the ‘secret’ of Greece’s success and we must all show the same responsibility and alertness in this phase.”
1st Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Germany adds 3 coronavirus-hit Spanish regions to quarantine list

Germany on Friday (July 31) added three northern Spanish regions to its list of high-risk destinations, meaning anyone arriving from those areas will have to produce a negative coronavirus test or go into quarantine for 14 days. Germany's Foreign Ministry said it had toughened up its warning against travel to the regions of Catalonia, Navarre and Aragon following a spike in Covid-19 cases there. The move comes after Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control added the three regions to its high-risk list.
31st Jul 2020 - The Straits Times

Vietnam braces for a fresh wave of coronavirus despite earlier success in containing the outbreak

Vietnam, once praised for its success in containing the coronavirus outbreak, is now battling a resurgence in cases and has warned that the disease could spread wider across the country. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned that every province and city in the country is at risk of further infections, reported Reuters, citing state broadcaster Vietnam Television. Authorities have tightened containment measures in Danang, such as stepping up contact tracing, limiting crowd sizes and halting non-essential services. Flights to and from the city have also been temporarily suspended.
31st Jul 2020 - CNBC


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Coronavirus: Under-5s spread infection as easily as older kids

Children under five years old can transmit the novel coronavirus just as easily as older kids can, a new study suggests. Researchers found that although youngsters only develop a mild illness, they have viral loads in their noses up to 100 times greater than adults. The team, from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, says the ability of younger children to spread COVID-19 has likely been under-recognized because most schools and daycares closed by late March due to the pandemic. Children kindergarten-age or younger had viral loads between 10-fold and 100-fold greater amount in their upper respiratory tract. 'We found that children under five with COVID-19 have a higher viral load than older children and adults, which may suggest greater transmission, as we see with respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV,' said lead author Dr Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Lurie Children's. 'This has important public health implications, especially during discussions on the safety of reopening schools and daycare.'
30th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

As a Covid-19 survivor, I don't have blind faith in health experts. Here's why

When WHO officials walked back their statement that asymptomatic transmission was “very rare”, Andy Slavitt, a former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, tweeted that WHO officials should “stop expressing certainty when you don’t have it.”. It is equally important that the media and public retain a critical eye when seeking to understand information from WHO officials. Scientists have been criticized before for being bad communicators, but as Slavitt points out, “public health communication isn’t ancillary to public health. It is the central component in battling it.” Unfortunately, a knowledge gap still exists between scientists, public health officials and the public they are supposed to serve.
30th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

The U.S. Can Control Covid Without a Second Lockdown

It’s also time to stop blaming each other — which is tearing us apart. As Sandman pointed out, “all public health failures are policy failures.” If people don’t follow a policy, it’s because it’s the wrong policy or was badly communicated. This is what policy makers are supposed to think through. A few brave souls in the public health community, trying to help people find a level of much-needed balance, have come forward to say that some activities are relatively low risk. Being around other people outdoors is safer than indoors, and short exposures are safer than long ones. If everyone wears a mask, getting a haircut is OK. Getting exercise outdoors is reasonable. Outdoor restaurant tables are safer than indoor ones.
30th Jul 2020 - BloombergQuint

Wisconsin Mandates Masks, Declares Public Health Emergency

Wisconsin's governor on Thursday ordered residents wear masks when indoors and not in a private residence, joining dozens of other U.S. state leaders mandating face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus. In a statement, Governor Tony Evers said Wisconsin was seeing an increase in significant community spread and rise in COVID-19 cases which required he declare a new public health emergency and require face coverings statewide.
30th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

After the surge, the psychological impact of Covid-19 is hitting home

Having dealt with the months-long terror of crammed ICUs, unavailable PPE and the fear of getting infected, the coronavirus crisis is taking its toll on healthcare workers' mental health
30th Jul 2020 - Wired.co.uk

Dutch government will not advise public to wear masks: minister

The Dutch government on Wednesday said it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven. The decision was announced by Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark after a review by the country’s National Institute for Health (RIVM). The government will instead seek better adherence to social distancing rules after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country this week, Van Ark said at a press conference in The Hague. “Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the Cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks” Van Ark said.
30th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Scotland expected to have Covid-19 tracker app by autumn

Scotland is at an “advanced stage” in developing a coronavirus proximity tracing app to be available by the autumn, the First Minister has said. Nicola Sturgeon revealed she hopes to give more details about the software soon after a question from Gillian Martin MSP on Thursday.
30th Jul 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Australian state makes masks compulsory as COVID-19 spreads

Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, Victoria state, will make wearing masks compulsory after reporting a record 723 new cases on Thursday, mostly among the vulnerable residents of aged care homes. Masks have been compulsory for the past week in the state capital, Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city with 5 million people, and a neighboring semi-rural district. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said masks or similar face coverings will become compulsory across the state starting late Sunday. Residents around the city of Geelong will not be allowed to have visitors in their homes from late Thursday in a second measure aimed at slowing the spread of the virus from the city.
30th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK


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'One big wave' – why the Covid-19 second wave may not exist

The Covid-19 pandemic is currently unfolding in “one big wave” with no evidence that it follows seasonal variations common to influenza and other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, the World Health Organization has warned. Amid continued debates over what constitutes a second wave, a resurgence or seasonal return of the disease, Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, insisted that these discussions are not a helpful way to understand the spread of the disease. “People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and this one is behaving differently,” Harris told a virtual briefing in Geneva, urging vigilance in applying measures to slow transmission that appears to be accelerated by mass gatherings
29th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 news: Young people may be driving spikes in cases, says WHO

Rising coronavirus infections among young people could be driving recent spikes in cases across Europe, said Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s Europe regional director, in a BBC report today. Kluge said he has two daughters and understands that young people “do not want to miss a summer,” but added that they have a responsibility toward themselves, their family members and their communities. The Netherlands is among countries which have reported higher infection rates among younger people, with about a quarter of people who tested positive there last week aged 20 to 29. Earlier this week, officials in Brittany, France ordered curfews on beaches, parks and gardens in an attempt to prevent large gatherings of young people in particular, according to local leaders. Officials in Spain have also imposed similar curfews, with bars and nightclubs in Catalonia required to close by midnight since Friday.
29th Jul 2020 - New Scientist

Italy 'walking a fine line' on coronavirus infections

Italy was the first European nation to be engulfed by coronavirus, but as the prospect of another lockdown looms in some of its neighbours, the country has managed to avoid a resurgence of infections. At least so far. Three experts who spoke to the Guardian put this down to good surveillance and contact-tracing, as well as most of the population diligently following safety rules, with many people wearing face masks outside even though it is not mandatory. On 4 May, when Italy began easing lockdown restrictions, more than 1,200 new cases were reported in a day. Since 1 July, the daily increase has been relatively static, reaching a high of 306 on 23 July, and falling to 181 on Tuesday. Several coronavirus clusters have emerged across the country, but this has mostly been due to infections imported from abroad.
29th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

The graph that shows a worrying and steep rise in Oldham's Covid-19 cases

This graph charts the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in Oldham over the last week. In the week leading up to July 25, confirmed incidences of the virus increased 'dramatically' with 119 new positive cases being recorded across the borough.
29th Jul 2020 - Manchester Evening News

Is Europe seeing a second wave? What WHO says about spike in Covid-19 cases in Spain and other countries - and where cases are rising fastest

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed concerns that Europe is showing signs of a “second wave” of coronavirus, following a recent spike in cases in Spain. Mr Johnson defended the government’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine restriction on travellers who return from Spain, including the Balearics and Canary Islands, and warned the UK must be “vigilant” over the threat of a second wave here.
29th Jul 2020 - Edinburgh News

Germany: Coronavirus vaccine unlikely to be widely available before mid-2021

German Research Minister Anja Karliczek said on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine was unlikely to be widely available before the middle of next year. “We must continue to assume that vaccines for the broader population will only be available from the middle of next year at the earliest,” she told a news conference.
29th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Outbreaks highlight disparities in UK test and trace regimes

Prime minister Boris Johnson promised a “world-beating” test and trace programme to stop the spread of coronavirus by June. Carlisle — and the rest of England — is still waiting. Public health officials in the northern city have been fighting a rise in cases for four weeks. But efforts to manage the outbreak have been hampered by incomplete data, overstretched local officials and a lack of testing facilities.
30th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Hong Kong faces worst wave of virus, but tiny apartments mean it can't just lock down

Once a coronavirus success story, Hong Kong is facing its worst outbreak yet, and policymakers are realizing how little they can do without making a bad situation worse. New infections have broken records on nine of the last 20 days. But unlike other global cities, Hong Kong has been reluctant to impose stay-at-home restrictions or close nonessential businesses. Instead, the rules have gotten incrementally tighter, changing by the week. Public gatherings were limited to four people, then two. Dining-in was banned for dinner, then lunch. Masks were required on public transport, then all indoor public spaces, now everywhere outdoors as well.
29th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

Interview: Renowned respiratory specialist proposes extensive testing for Hong Kong | English.news.cn

Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan has called for extensive nucleic acid screenings in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), where daily reports of new COVID-19 infections have continued to rise. In an interview with Xinhua, Zhong advised Hong Kong to ramp up testing to find asymptomatic carriers, some of whom, he said, still have a high capacity to pass on the infection. "My suggestion is a Hong Kong-wide nucleic acid screening ... so as to timely trace and quarantine (the infected) and reduce human-to-human transmissions," he said. "I strongly support universal nucleic acid testing in Hong Kong. Of course, this may be expensive," Zhong said, noting that in the Chinese mainland, the test fee has dropped to 60 yuan (8.6 U.S. dollars), compared to more than 1,000 Hong Kong dollars in Hong Kong.
30th Jul 2020 - Xinhua

India coronavirus: 'More than half of Mumbai slum-dwellers had Covid-19'

More than half the residents of slums in three areas in India's commercial capital, Mumbai, tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, a new survey has found. Only 16% of people living outside slums in the same areas were found to be exposed to the infection. The results are from random testing of some 7,000 people in three densely-packed areas in early July. Mumbai has reported more than 110,000 cases and 6,187 deaths as of 28 July. The survey was carried out by the city's municipality, the government think-tank Niti Aayog and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. It found that 57% of the people tested in slum areas of Chembur, Matunga and Dahisar had been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
29th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Papua New Guinea outbreak spreads beyond capital

Papua New Guinea ramped up coronavirus testing and rushed to build field hospitals on Wednesday after an outbreak was found to have spread beyond its locked-down capital. More than 70 people have been isolated and contact tracing was underway at four hotels in the second city of Lae, after a health conference attendee tested positive for COVID-19, the provincial health authority said. It was the first infection detected in the city.
29th Jul 2020 - Jakarta Post

Germany begins mass coronavirus testing at airports

Berlin's Tegel airport began large scale coronavirus testing on Wednesday, as airports across Germany prepared for the advent of free, compulsory testing for many passengers from next week. Two rooms were set aside for tests, but an airport spokeswoman said a larger space was being prepared, indicating that authorities are preparing for testing to remain a fixture for a long time to come. "These rooms are of course a bit small, as you can see," said spokeswoman Sabine Deckwerth. "That is why the large Terminal D in Tegel is being prepared to host a bigger one."
29th Jul 2020 - SwissInfo

Brazil hits record 69,000 daily coronavirus cases as restrictions eased

Brazil set daily records on Wednesday for new COVID-19 cases and related fatalities, as the world’s second-worst outbreak hurtles toward the milestone of 100,000 dead amid easing lockdowns. Brazil is the country worst hit by COVID-19 outside of the United States in both its death toll and case count. The 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 additional deaths reported by the Health Ministry pushed the country past 2.5 million infections and 90,000 killed. President Jair Bolsonaro has fought against restrictions on economic activity, and the disease has advanced as governors and mayors have yielded to the pressure. In some cases, Brazilians have packed into bars and crowded public squares without masks, often in defiance of local rules.
29th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

US records a coronavirus death every minute as total ...

One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world The United States recorded 1,461 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest one-day increase since 1,484 on May 27, according to a Reuters tally. U.S. coronavirus deaths are rising at their fastest rate in two months and have increased by 10,000 in the past 11 days.
29th Jul 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Coronavirus: Hydroxychloroquine ineffective says Fauci

US President Donald Trump has again defended the use of hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus, contradicting his own public health officials. He said the malaria medication was only rejected as a Covid-19 treatment because he had recommended its use. His remarks come after Twitter banned his eldest son for posting a clip promoting hydroxychloroquine. There is no evidence the drug can fight the virus, and regulators warn it may cause heart problems. On Wednesday Dr Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the BBC that hydroxychloroquine was not effective against the virus
29th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus Australia: Sydney’s ‘best chance to avoid lockdown’

The Committee for Sydney has called on the NSW government to introduce mandatory mask wearing in the metropolitan area. The group said following Victoria’s lead and making masks mandatory in Sydney was our “best chance to avoid a second lockdown”. “People in Sydney are still not wearing masks,” the committee wrote in a statement. “Even as COVID-19 cases in Melbourne remain intractably high, and even as we see the increase in community transmission in Sydney that may foretell a true ‘second wave’, a deeply ingrained cultural resistance to mask-wearing has not budged.” The recent advice from NSW health authorities is to wear a mask if you are in a situation where you can’t practice social distancing, like on busy public transport.
29th Jul 2020 - NEWS.com.au


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Coronavirus: WHO director general says New Zealand's apt Covid-19 response prevented a large-scale outbreak

New Zealand’s Covid-19 response has once again been put on a pedestal by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus​, WHO’s director general, noted New Zealand was one of the countries that followed advice from WHO around physical distancing, hand hygiene, testing, contact tracing and quarantining. “Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they’re not, cases go up. “Countries and communities that have followed this advice carefully and consistently have done well, either in preventing large-scale outbreaks – like Cambodia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam, and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean – or in bringing large outbreaks under control – like Canada, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea,” he said at Monday’s Covid-19 media briefing.
28th Jul 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

Blaming Obesity Is Not The Solution To Coronavirus

Health campaigns, a weight loss app or even banning adverts and promotion deals will not help the poorest households afford a healthy diet, Dr Nisreen Alwan writes.
28th Jul 2020 - HuffPost UK

Oldham takes measures to avoid full coronavirus lockdown

People in Oldham have been told to stop visiting friends and family to avoid a full local lockdown after the number of coronavirus cases more than quadrupled in a week. Health officials in the Greater Manchester town imposed new restrictions on Tuesday after the confirmed number of Covid-19 cases rose from 26 to 119 in the week to 25 July. Oldham council urged residents not to have social visitors beyond those in their support bubble and said clinically vulnerable people would now have to shield for a further two weeks, until 14 August. Care homes in the town will no longer relax visiting restrictions.
28th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

'Negligence to blame' for Germany coronavirus spike

Negligence is to blame for Germany’s steady rise in new coronavirus infections, one of its senior health officials has said. Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the government agency responsible for disease control, said Germans had become careless about social distancing. His warning came as several European countries experienced COVID-19 spikes. Wieler said on Tuesday: “The new developments in Germany make me very worried. The rise has to do with the fact that we have become negligent.”
28th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Reopening the Office? Here's How to Stymie Transmission of Covid-19.

Work that requires physical interactions — construction, retail, food service, entertainment, sports, medical care, education, and salons – will require significant changes to the physical environment and individual behaviors. In designing those changes, leaders should aim for a path-breaking strategy: creating behavioral protocols and built environments that break transmission paths. In other words, effective re-opening strategies focus on breaking up connecting paths rather than just reducing number of connections. Two workplaces might have equal numbers of potential connections through which the virus can spread; but if one workplace disrupts more pathways, it will be doing more to stop the spread of the virus.
28th Jul 2020 - Harvard Business Review

Midwest Could See Surge In COVID-19 Cases Unless States Are More Careful, Fauci Warns

The Midwest could be the next area to see a big surge in coronavirus cases, the top U.S. infectious disease specialist warned Tuesday. But there's still time to stop the upswing, he said, if states follow the national guidelines on reopening safely. While the Southern United States has been seeing the fastest rise in cases, that now appears to be on the downswing, Fauci told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America. Fauci's concern is that states including Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky are showing signs of impending danger. Based on the number of positive coronavirus tests in those states, they "are starting to have that very early indication" of a surge, he said. "That's a surefire sign that you've got to be really careful."
28th Jul 2020 - NPR

The art of contact tracing for the new workplace

I took the step out of curiosity. It was interesting to see a table blocking the entrance of the local temple and unless you enter your name and contact details after removing your shoes, you are not allowed to the almighty – as per NZ government rules. After all, the virus does not care about its creator. It only cares about one thing – reproduction. To its credit, the New Zealand government did try to learn the art of contact tracing during lockdown which reduced its cases to less than 50 in the country. All businesses, temples, churches, gyms, schools have a contact tracing register now. Going to a gym? You are not allowed entry – unless you enter your name and contact number in a register. This level of strictness made the island nation keep its numbers low, which reduced to zero at one point before increasing back to 20s (all in quarantine in government sponsored hotels).
28th Jul 2020 - The Times of India Blog

Coronavirus Is Back With a Vengeance in Places Where It Had All but Vanished

Australia reported only a handful of new coronavirus cases in early June, while Hong Kong went three weeks without a single locally transmitted infection that month. Japan had already lifted a state of emergency in May after the number of new cases dropped to a few dozen nationwide. All three reported new high-water marks in daily infection numbers in the past week, showing how difficult it can be to keep the virus at bay, even in places lauded for taking early and decisive action. The number of infections in all three places are still small in comparison to the world’s hardest hit countries, but the fresh waves demonstrate the tricky balancing act authorities face as they attempt to reopen their economies. One misstep can quickly undo the gains from weeks of closures, and public-health experts say some complacency and fatigue with social-distancing restrictions is inevitable in a long pandemic
28th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

No lockdown as China rolls out virus-testing blitz

Beijing is responding to coronavirus cases flaring up in Xinjiang and Liaoning with tactics proven to have helped the Chinese capital squash a viral resurgence in June and swiftly return to normal. Xinjiang officials say they found 41 new infections on Monday, bringing the overall tally to 254 since the first Covid-19 patient in more than five months in the far western region was identified and segregated on July 15. The re-emergence of cases in the vast and still restive border region has mainly hit Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, but the city of more than four million residents has never been placed under a sweeping lockdown. Rather, within a fortnight, two million locals were said to have been tested as cadres scrambled to roll out mandatory yet free testing schemes covering each neighborhood.
28th Jul 2020 - Asia Times

Calls for 'New Zealand-style' stage-four coronavirus lockdown in Victoria

As daily cases of coronavirus surged beyond 500 for the first time in Victoria on Monday, a growing number of experts are urging the state government to enforce a stricter lockdown. The president of Victoria’s Australian Medical Association, Associate Professor Julian Rait, believes if a similar lockdown that was rolled out in New Zealand was implemented across metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, it could provide a quicker route out of the current crisis. "What New Zealand did for a month is that they closed pretty much all businesses other than pharmacies, medical clinics, grocery stores, petrol stations and really curtailed a lot of retail shopping, and a lot of businesses," he told Melbourne radio station 3AW. "That’s the model that I would look to and clearly they were able to achieve elimination through that with a month of such measures.”
28th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News Australia


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Health workers in US coronavirus units NINE TIMES more at risk

For the first study, researchers compared asymptomatic healthcare workers in coronavirus units to those not working with coronavirus patients. About 5.4% of employees in COVID-19 units had positive test results as did 0.6 percent from non-COVID wings. In a second study, a team looked at the amount of microdroplets expelled by someone who breathes and coughs to assess coronavirus risk. Hospital ventilation systems have about 10 air exchanges per hour, which means the concentration plateaus after around 30 minutes. By comparison, a typical office only has about three air exchanges per hour, so the concentration increases for more than one hour
27th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

How Long Are You Contagious With Covid-19 Coronavirus? Here’s A CDC Update

You may be able to lose a guy in 10 days, based on the 2003 rom-com movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. That also may be time that it takes for you to “lose” enough of the Covid-19 coronavirus so that you are no longer contagious, based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is now saying that if you have mild-to-moderate Covid-19, keep yourself isolated from other people for at least 10 days after you first noticed symptoms. You can discontinue this isolation after the 10-day mark if you haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours and your other symptoms have improved. Note that not having a fever because you took a fever-reducing medication like Tylenol doesn’t count. That would be cheating. The fever has to have naturally disappeared. Still having a fever after 10 days means that you may need not only more cowbell but also more isolation.
27th Jul 2020 - Forbes

Expert calls for stricter mask controls to halt coronavirus spread, as Melbourne and Mitchell Shire near halfway point in lockdown

Workplace transmission remains a major concern as Victorian cases rise. Premier says too early to know if lockdown will be lifted in mid-August. More than 500 cases linked to aged care centres
28th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus: Germany considers compulsory tests for returning holidaymakers

As Germans return from holiday destinations like Spain and Italy this summer, concerns are growing that they could bring the coronavirus back with them, causing fresh outbreaks in Germany. Unlike the UK, where the government this weekend imposed a two-week quarantine on those returning from Spain, the German government is mulling a different approach — compulsory coronavirus testing in airports for arrivals from high-risk destinations. German health minister Jens Spahn told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that the government was currently looking into whether it could legally oblige people to take coronavirus tests, or whether that would encroach on their personal freedoms.
27th Jul 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

Spain’s Murcia region gets lockdown warning if COVID-19 cases carry on rising

A lockdown return could happen across more towns in the Murcia region if COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise. It rolled back Totana into Phase One restrictions after a spike in cases, with entry in and out of the municipality heavily restricted.
27th Jul 2020 - The Olive Press

Vietnam to evacuate 80,000 tourists from Da Nang after three residents contract Covid-19

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people -- mostly local tourists -- from the popular resort city of Da Nang after three residents tested positive for coronavirus, the government said. Vietnamese authorities are rushing to nip a potential new outbreak in the bud after the Southeast Asian nation recorded its first locally-transmitted case of Covid-19 in 100 days on Saturday. The patient, a 57-year-old man, had no international travel history and had been living in Da Nang for the past month, according to Vietnam's Ministry of Health. Two other cases were reported the following day. After the case was announced, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc demanded that contact tracing be ramped up and large-scale testing conducted across the city, according to a government press release.
27th Jul 2020 - CNN

Belgium Unveils Plan to Avoid Lockdown, Curfew in Antwerp

Belgium's prime minister has unveiled a set of drastic social distancing measures aimed at avoiding a new general lockdown while local authorities in Antwerp imposed a curfew amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.
27th Jul 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Hong Kong imposes restrictions as Covid-19 cases rise across Asia

China, Australia and Hong Kong have all reported rising coronavirus figures and Vietnam has detected its first locally transmitted cases since April, as countries across Asia try to fend off an apparent second wave of infections. Hong Kong banned dining out and capped group gatherings at two on Monday after recording more than 100 new cases for five days running. Authorities in the densely populated city have also closed pools and sports venues and made mask-wearing mandatory in public, urging people to stay home as much as possible in the middle of a sweltering summer. “The next two to three weeks will be critical. We need to prevent the further spread of the disease in the community,” said Hong Kong’s chief secretary, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung. “There is a high risk of a major outbreak in the community.”
27th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus Australia: Victoria reports record 532 new cases and six deaths as NSW reports 17 cases

Victoria has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 identified in a 24-hour period in Australia to date with 532 new cases announced by the premier Daniel Andrews on Monday, along with six more deaths of people aged in their 50s to 90s. “We are seeing too many people for whatever reason attending work with symptoms,” Andrews said. “That just cannot continue. Otherwise, these restrictions will be in place for longer than they should be and I’m sorry to say – we’ll see more people die, particularly in aged care. Get tested and get tested quickly and then stay home until you get you get your result.”
27th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Second wave of coronavirus in Asia prompts fresh lockdowns

Nations in Asia imposed new restrictions on Monday, while an abrupt British quarantine on travellers from Spain threw Europe’s summer reopening into disarray, as the world confronted the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
27th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Morocco shuts down major cities after spike in coronavirus cases

Morocco will stop people entering and leaving some of its biggest cities from midnight to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, the interior and health Ministries said on Sunday. The cities to be locked down include the economic powerhouse of Casablanca as well as Tangier, Marrakech, Fez and Meknes. The country eased a nationwide lockdown a month ago, though international flights are still suspended except special flights by national airlines carrying Moroccans or foreign residents.
26th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: European countries tighten controls amid COVID-19 second wave fears

Across Europe, countries are taking measures to avoid being overwhelmed by another wave of COVID-19 infections. The number of coronavirus cases in the UK on Monday passed 300,000 and in Germany, Angela Merkel's Chief of Staff Helge Braun urged Germans to bring the recent daily case numbers of more than 800 daily cases, back down below 500. The coronavirus pandemic “continues to accelerate," with a doubling of cases over the last six weeks, the World Health Organization chief said. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said nearly 16 million cases have now been reported to the UN health agency, with more than 640,000 deaths worldwide.
27th Jul 2020 - Euronews


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Rich country vaccine rush threatens supply security

The resulting patchwork of agreements has raised big questions about global vaccine access and stoked wrangles over pricing, supply security and liability for possible side-effects. “On the positive side, bilateral deals between countries and companies can drive forward the science and clinical development — and expand the world’s manufacturing capacity,” said Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, a UN-backed alliance that buys and distributes vaccines in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries. “But . . . you [also] end up with unnecessary competition, shortages of supplies and a failure to optimise a pipeline that should make the best vaccines available at scale as quickly as possible.”
23rd Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Covid-19, Coronavirus and Virus Risks: How Do People Avoid It?

For the most part, SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, spreads by close personal contact via tiny particles emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings -- or even just breathes normally. These can infect another person by falling into an eye, nose or mouth, by being inhaled or getting stuck on a hand and transferred to one of these entry sites. Here’s an explanation of the established route of contagion and other pathways under investigation.
26th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Man-made noise fell by 50% during worldwide coronavirus lockdowns

Global ground vibrations – generated by human activities such as air and road traffic and industrial work, dropped by an average of 50% between March and May 2020, researchers say. Scientists suggest the ‘drastic’ drop in seismic background noise, brought on by Covid-19 lockdown measures around the world, represents the ‘longest and most prominent global seismic noise reduction in recorded history’. The reduction gave geoscientists the chance to spot natural events such as small earthquakes that may have otherwise remained undetected, especially during daytime when there is more human activity. The researchers believe their findings, published in the journal Science, could help scientists find ways to predict upcoming natural disasters.
26th Jul 2020 - Metro.co.uk

US agency vows steps to address COVID-19 inequalities

If Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are hospitalized and killed by the coronavirus at far higher rates than others, shouldn’t the government count them as high risk for serious illness? That seemingly simple question has been mulled by federal health officials for months. And so far the answer is no. But federal public health officials have released a new strategy that vows to improve data collection and take steps to address stark inequalities in how the disease is affecting Americans. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress that the disproportionately high impact on certain minority groups is not driven by genetics. Rather, it’s social conditions that make people of color more likely to be exposed to the virus and — if they catch it — more likely to get seriously ill.
25th Jul 2020 - The Associated Press

How Sweden, Uruguay, Japan and Israel Reopened Schools During COVID-19 Pandemic

As American school officials debate when it will be safe for schoolchildren to return to classrooms, looking abroad may offer insights. Nearly every country in the world shuttered their schools early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have since sent students back to class, with varying degrees of success. I am a scholar of comparative international education. For this article, I examined what happened in four countries where K-12 schools either stayed open throughout the pandemic or have resumed in-person instruction, using press reports, national COVID-19 data and academic studies.
24th Jul 2020 - The Daily Beast

Surge in single-use PPE feeds 'toxic' pandemic waste crisis | Free to read

A study published on Thursday forecasts that the flow of plastic into oceans would nearly treble by 2040 to 29m tonnes per year if much greater action was not taken by governments and industry. “We’re getting ourselves deeper and deeper into a plastics hole without knowing where any of it is going,” said Martin Stuchtey, managing partner at SystemIQ, a sustainability group that co-authored the report. Much of the PPE used around the world is single-use by design and can contain a range of different plastics, from polypropylene and polyethylene in face masks and gowns to nitrile, vinyl and latex in gloves.
23rd Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Jharkhand’s ‘no mask’ penalty – up to Rs 1 lakh; here’s how other states are dealing with Covid rule violators

In view of the surge in coronavirus cases, Jharkhand Cabinet Wednesday approved Jharkhand Contagious Disease Ordinance under which penalty up to Rs 1 lakh and a jail term up to 2 years can be imposed against violators.
23rd Jul 2020 - The Indian Express

Why Texas is losing its fight against Coronavirus

Warning signs were there, and some experts were already worried. Face masks were only encouraged — not required — in public places where maintaining physical distance from others wasn’t possible. Because Texas had imposed one of the shortest lockdowns nationwide, it hadn’t had much time to suppress cases and build up testing capacity. And it hadn’t achieved a two-week decline in cases, one of the key benchmarks states were supposed to hit before reopening. Memorial Day weekend didn’t bode any better: Bars in Austin blew past their 25 percent capacity limits; maskless patrons stood shoulder to shoulder. Partygoers crammed into a swimming pool at one club in Houston. City authorities there received more than 200 complaints about social distancing violations in a matter of days. The weekend crowds left public health officials uneasy. They urged Texans to remain vigilant about practicing social distancing and wearing masks for their benefit and that of their neighbors. But the fatigue of the shutdown combined with inconsistent public health messaging at a federal, state, and local level had made people complacent, Umair Shah, executive director of the Harris County health department, said. “Early on, we fought this virus successfully. We did feel like we had made progress,” he said. “But then you started seeing images of people, especially young people, at parties and in pools and not respecting the fact that we were in the midst of a pandemic. ... If you just take your eyes off the ball for just a moment, that’s when it overwhelms the community.”
23rd Jul 2020 - Vox.com

Torino tests out anti-virus gate for stadium access

Torino tested out an automated anti-virus gate before its match against Hellas Verona in Italy’s top soccer division Wednesday. The device, called Feel Safe, measures match goers’ body temperature and uses facial recognition software to verify that a mask is being worn properly. It also sprays match goers with disinfectant. Capable of being set to three different safety levels, the system sends an alarm to stadium personnel when any parameter is not met. The gate is designed to speed up the entrance of fans to stadiums. Although with fans still not permitted to attend games in Italy, it was tested on journalists and other stadium personnel.
22nd Jul 2020 - Associated Press

Medics say they are not prepared to tackle Covid

The medics said they have not been properly trained on handling Covid-19, lack the appropriate protective gear and most are now experiencing burnout. Clinical officers’ union chairman Peterson Wachira said medics are at high risk of getting the disease because they don’t have adequate protective gear.
27th Jul 2020 - Daily Nation


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jul 2020

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CDC COVID-19 advice tells schools to wash hands, wear masks, don't touch. But not when to close

Parent check-list for back-to-school: Label your child's face mask with permanent marker. Have them practice putting on and taking off their mask without touching the cloth. Make a labeled, resealable plastic bag to store their mask during lunch time. Those are among the suggestions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for school administrators and parents as families prepare for school to resume in the fall. Students should wear masks, wash their hands frequently and socially distance to protect against COVID-19 as schools reopen this fall, CDC urged in new guidance documents for administrators published Thursday.
23rd Jul 2020 - USA Today

Why do asymptomatic COVID-19 cases even happen?

Health officials are concerned about why some people who test positive for the coronavirus never feel sick. Could it be the luck of genetics? The blessings of youth? Or something else?
23rd Jul 2020 - National Geographic UK

Can Widespread Mask Use Prevent Lockdowns Where The Virus Is Surging? : Shots - Health News

Now prominent scientists are proposing a radical — and hopeful — possibility: Even as coronavirus cases spiral upward across the United States to levels surpassing this spring's surge, these experts argue that if Americans start wearing masks en masse, the U.S. may yet avoid a return to lockdown measures. "Look, we've never tried to use masks as our primary strategy when outbreaks are this bad," says Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. "But I do believe that if we want to avoid a complete lockdown, we've got to at least give it a shot."
23rd Jul 2020 - NPR

France dispatches free Covid-19 face masks to 7 million amid hardship concerns

Face masks are mandatory in France as of Monday in closed public spaces with offenders subject to a €135 fine. And while the fact of donning a mask to stymie the spread of coronavirus isn't the political issue in France that it has become in some countries, the new and sudden financial burden of stocking up on the basic protective equipment has come up for debate. As a result, 40 million masks are in the mail for seven million whom the state considers most in need. Consumer groups, anti-poverty associations and left-wing political parties alike sounded the alarm this week over the high cost of masking up in France as closed public spaces like shops became inaccessible to anyone unequipped. Emmanuel Macron addressed the matter on Tuesday, pledging the state would come to the aid of the poorest, but stopping short of footing the bill for everybody. "It is not up to the State — and the French taxpayer — to pay for masks... for everyone, all the time," the French president told TF1 on Tuesday. "So I think it should remain a social-aid policy," he added.
23rd Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Coronavirus news – live: Face mask confusion in England as test and trace fails to contact 30,000 potential Covid-19 carriers

Face masks will have to be worn in shops and supermarkets in England from Friday under new government rules which have been criticised as “confusing”. The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed face coverings will be required in shops and takeaways, such as Pret A Manger, if people intend to take their food and coffee away – however customers will be allowed to remove them if sitting down to consume food or drink bought on site. Meanwhile Luton and Blackburn with Darwen were added to Public Health England’s coronavirus watchlist as “areas of intervention” due to high infection rates. It means further lockdown-easing measures such as the reopening of sports centres has been postponed in both areas.
23rd Jul 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Eight new cases of Covid-19 as Executive meets to discuss face coverings

Swimming pools, spas, bowling alleys and community centres in Northern Ireland are among the venues that will be allowed reopen from Friday in further moves agreed by ministers to ease lockdown. It comes as the Stormont Executive agreed it will give the Health Minister Robin Swann legal powers to make wearing face masks mandatory from August 20 if the level of compliance remains low after a publicity campaign. The number of people permitted to gather in a private home will also rise to 10, with the group allowed to consist of four different households. Overnight stays in other households will also be permitted. Spectators will also be allowed to attend outdoor sporting venues "where the operator can control access and ensure adherence to social distancing".
23rd Jul 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

Is this life as we know it until a vaccine is found? Where Australia goes from here

With Victoria suffering its deadliest day and clusters now springing up across NSW, many Australians are wondering what daily life looks like until a vaccine is found. Nine.com.au spoke to two coronavirus experts to try and find out if strategic targeted lockdowns are now the new normal and if a vaccine will ever be developed. UNSW Professor Mary-Louise McLaws is an epidemiologist and a member of two World Health Organisation COVID-19 advisory panels. Former secretary of the federal health department Doctor Stephen Duckett is a health economist and key member of think-tank The Grattan Institute.
23rd Jul 2020 - 9News

Covid-19 cases in Britain are still plateauing, data shows

King's College London 's COVID Symptom Tracker app monitors cases in the UK. Experts said the number of people being infected has hardly changing for weeks. Cases may be increasing in the North, but it's too early to say for definite Data also shows there are an estimated 28,048 people currently symptomatic
23rd Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus UK: Areas in England where infections are rising

Areas in the north and midlands have seen the biggest weekly jump in the number of coronavirus cases, according to fresh data which shows where the infection rate is rising and falling. The figures, for the seven days to July 19, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two). The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people. Wednesday’s update showed that in Blackburn with Darwen, in Lancashire, the rate has jumped from 48.3 cases per 100,000 people to 79.9, with 119 new cases recorded.
23rd Jul 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Flu deaths drop in Australia as coronavirus restrictions save hundreds of lives

That compares to 430 deaths in the same period for 2019. Ian Barr, deputy director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, said it was "great news" as influenza was very hard to combat. "I think if we could get this sort of effect every year, we'd be very happy," Professor Barr said.
24th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Victoria Adds 403 Cases as Australian State Fights Second Wave

Australia’s Victoria state recorded 403 new coronavirus cases as it struggles to stem a second wave that has put the city of Melbourne into lockdown. The daily tally announced Thursday followed a record 484 new cases announced the previous day in Victoria. There were five additional fatalities, State Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference. The spike in Victoria has forced around 5 million people in Melbourne back into a six-week lockdown. The shutdown of the nation’s second-biggest city, which contributes about one-quarter of gross domestic product, could prolong the nation’s first recession in almost three decades. Andrews on Thursday announced plans for a A$300 ($214) payment to encourage those feeling unwell to get tested and self-isolate.
23rd Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Victoria should have had full lockdown a week ago - Australian Medical Association president

Victoria should have gone into a New Zealand-style lockdown at least a week ago, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Professor Julian Rait says. Public health messages are not getting through to people in the state, and stricter messages need to be adopted before the virus gets out of control, Rait told Checkpoint. He wants masks to be compulsory throughout the state and construction sites and workplaces shut down except for essential workers.
23rd Jul 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

Coronavirus map: Just 3 states meet criteria to reopen and stay safe

With these metrics, states can gauge if they have repressed the coronavirus while building the capacity to contain future outbreaks should they come. In other words, the benchmarks show how ready states are for the next phase of the fight. So far, most states are not there. As of July 22, just three states — Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York — met four or five of the goals, which demonstrates strong progress. Twenty-two states and Washington, DC, hit two or three of the benchmarks. The other 25 achieved zero or one. (South Dakota and Wyoming didn’t report ICU data, but it wouldn’t be enough to change their rankings.)
23rd Jul 2020 - Vox.com

Paris Sewage Reveals COVID Still Not Flushed Away

Samples of wastewater from the Paris sewage system have been showing traces of COVID-19 again since the end of June, having vanished when France imposed a lockdown, according to the head of the laboratory leading the research. Infection rates in France are subsiding, but officials this week made the wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces compulsory after a series of localised flare-ups. To date COVID-19 has killed over 30,000 people in France. Early studies by scientists in The Netherlands, France, Australia and elsewhere suggest sewage sampling for signs of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could help estimate the number of infections in a geographic area, without having to test every person. Laurent Moulin, who heads the research laboratory run by public water utility company Eau de Paris, cautioned the findings on their own did not mean a resurgence of the virus in the population since France eased its lockdown restrictions.
23rd Jul 2020 - The New York Times


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jul 2020

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Germany's coronavirus response is a master class in science communication

Germany showed how scientific communication can be vital in fighting pandemics. Its health minister’s status rose; its chancellor, Angela Merkel, (herself a scientist) broke down complex scientific topics to the public; and its top virologist, Christian Drosten, built a podcast following in the millions. But Germany’s response to Covid-19 wasn’t perfect. We spoke to a dozen locals to find out what went well, and what could have gone better.
22nd Jul 2020 - CNBC

Covid-19: test all health and care workers weekly, says UK scientist

“My colleagues in the Crick contacted Downing Street in March, wrote to minister [Matt] Hancock in April, emphasising two main things: the importance of regular systematic testing of all healthcare workers, including not only frontline doctors and nurses but support staff, ambulance drivers and other healthcare providers, such as the care homes, GP surgeries, community nurses and the like. These all need to be tested. “At the height of the pandemic, our own research – and of course that only backs up what’s been done elsewhere – is that up to 45% of healthcare workers were infected. And they were infecting their colleagues … reinfecting patients, yet they weren’t being tested systematically.”
23rd Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Face shields worn by hairdressers DON'T protect against Covid-19, health officials say

An outbreak of 'several' coronavirus cases was discovered at Swiss hotel Those who only worse plastic visors were infected, but masks were protective Clear visors are recommended by the UK Government for many workers
22nd Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Ecuador's Amazon tribes turn to tech to track COVID-19 cases

Ecuador’s indigenous groups in the Amazon have launched an information dashboard to monitor the coronavirus and identify contagion hotspots as the disease spreads through the rainforest and threatens ancient cultures, a leading rights group said on Tuesday. The dashboard, a collection of charts that aggregates coronavirus data, shows COVID-19 infection and death rates and suspected and recovered cases by area and tribe since early May, said The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE), which gathered the information. About 250,000 indigenous people live in Ecuador’s Amazon region where they are facing a high risk of infection and death from the coronavirus due to malnutrition and a lack of drinking water, health services and COVID-19 tests. According to data on the dashboard, COVID-19 cases among the 10 indigenous nations tracked have increased to 1,733 from 47 since May 15.
22nd Jul 2020 - Reuters

Face-Mask Mandates Expand as U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 142,000

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 142,000, as hospitals in some parts of the country where the virus is spreading rapidly face increasing numbers of patients. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced statewide mandates Wednesday requiring the wearing of face masks in stores, public buildings and other indoor spaces where people gather. Mr. DeWine said the state recommends that individuals traveling from states with a 15% or above positivity rate self-quarantine for 14 days. “We’ve got to get this virus under control—wearing masks is going to make a difference,” he said at a press conference Wednesday. More than half the states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, have mandates for face coverings, according to the National Governors Association and an order issued Wednesday by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.
22nd Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Austria re-introduces face mask requirements

Austria will again make face masks mandatory at supermarkets, banks and post offices on Friday due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections. The country began requiring the use of masks in April, but eased the rules in mid-June, except on public transport, in hospitals and pharmacies, and at hairdressers, as infections dropped. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the return of tighter rules on Tuesday as the number of cases in Austria began rising in July, with the daily toll surpassing 160. Austria was among the first countries in Europe to ease lockdown measures to fully reopen its economy.
22nd Jul 2020 - NHK WORLD

DC mayor orders mandatory masks as infections rise again

With coronavirus cases rising, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an executive order Wednesday making face masks mandatory outside homes — an unprecedented step in the nation's capital. Bowser said the order would include “enforcement language” detailing possible fines for violations. After saying they had successfully blunted the infection curve in the city earlier this summer, health officials say the infection numbers have slowly crept upward, reaching triple digits on Wednesday for the first time in weeks. Limited exceptions to the order, according to material distributed by Bowser's office, include children under age 3, people “actively eating or drinking” and people “vigorously exercising outdoors” while not close to anyone else.
22nd Jul 2020 - San Francisco Chronicle

Coronavirus cases in Spain: 40% under the age of 40 and more than half asymptomatic

Spain is detecting an increasing number of young people with Covid-19, according to a new report by the Carlos III Health Institute. The study, published Monday night, showed that most new cases fall in the 15-to-29 age bracket. Two out of every 10 infections recorded since May 10, when Spain began to roll back its lockdown rules, were adolescents or young adults. Indeed, of the 25,600 cases analyzed in the report, 40% were under the age of 40. The average age of coronavirus patients has fallen from around 60 in April to 48, according to the epidemiological survey Covid-19 Situation in Spain, which is based on the information provided by regional authorities when a new case is detected.
22nd Jul 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Coronavirus Australia: Is COVID-19 elimination possible?

Australia's politicians and top scientists are split over whether we should go all in on a hard elimination plan while Melbourne shuts down. If it works, life could (almost) go back to normal. But what are the risks?
22nd Jul 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

French health ministry says Covid-19 spread is 'increasing' as people head on holidays

The French health ministry said Tuesday that coronavirus transmission is increasing during the summer holiday season, with the total number of Covid-19 deaths now standing at 30,165. The ministry's DGS (Direction générale de la santé) health directorate said it had registered "an increase in the number of emergency doctor calls, emergency room visits, the number of virus clusters and new hospitalisations" for suspected cases across the country. The directorate said a total of 547 virus clusters had emerged since May 9, just before France began lifting the strict stay-at-home orders and business closures imposed in March to limit the virus's spread.
22nd Jul 2020 - RFI English

Spain's coronavirus rate triples in three weeks after lockdown easing

The prevalence of the novel coronavirus in Spain has risen three-fold over the last three weeks as authorities struggle to contain a rash of fresh clusters, mainly in the Catalonia and Aragon regions, Health Ministry data showed on Monday. After registering thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths per day during an early April peak, Spain succeeded in slowing the number of new infections to a trickle. But since restrictions on movement were lifted and Spaniards relaxed back into daily life, some 201 new clusters have appeared, with heavy concentrations in and around the Catalan cities of Barcelona and Lleida. The occurrence of the novel coronavirus has jumped from eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants at the end of June, when the country's state of emergency ended, to 27 per 100,000, deputy health emergency chief Maria Sierra told a news conference on Monday. Over the weekend 4,581 new cases were recorded, bringing the total to 264,836, she added. More than 28,000 people have died. "Where measures have been relaxed is where these clusters appear," Health Minister Salvador Illa said. "We're talking about gatherings of extended family and spaces associated with nightlife."
22nd Jul 2020 - Yahoo News Canada

As Barcelona faces lockdown, it’s likely that the UK, too, will experience a second wave

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why we could not see the same phenomenon playing out in London or other UK cities in the weeks to come, especially as restrictions continue to be eased. I may sound like a broken record but it really is crucial that we have a foolproof test-and-trace system, or else an outbreak will emerge and we will not be able to control its spread.
21st Jul 2020 - iNews


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jul 2020

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People Are More Likely to Contract COVID-19 at Home, Study Finds

South Korean epidemiologists have found that people were more likely to contract the new coronavirus from members of their own households than from contacts outside the home. A study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 16 looked in detail at 5,706 "index patients" who had tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 59,000 people who came into contact with them. The findings showed just two out of 100 infected people had caught the virus from non-household contacts, while one in 10 had contracted the disease from their own families. By age group, the infection rate within the household was higher when the first confirmed cases were teenagers or people in their 60s and 70s. "This is probably because these age groups are more likely to be in close contact with family members as the group is in more need of protection or support," Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and one of the authors of the study, told a briefing.
21st Jul 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

How tiny Uruguay, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, has avoided the worst of the coronavirus

After watching the novel coronavirus emerge in China and spread to Europe, the country confirmed its first four cases on Friday the 13th — an apparently ominous opening for a disease that would soon burn a wide path through Latin America. But in the weeks and months that followed the March 13 diagnoses of four recent travelers from Europe, the nation of 3.4 million would keep the virus in check. Wedged between Brazil, suffering the second-worst outbreak in the world, and Argentina, where infections are now surging, Uruguay has reported just 1,064 cases and 33 deaths — unusually low numbers for a Latin American nation testing widely.
20th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

US lab giant warns of new Covid-19 testing crunch in autumn

Long delays in processing test results — which are taking more than a week to return — are exacerbating the situation and the time lag is expected to worsen in the autumn, when millions of Americans catch common colds and the flu. “There is no way that PCR capacity is going to double in the next three months,” said James Davis, an executive vice-president at Quest Diagnostics, in an interview with the Financial Times, referring to nasal swab tests that use polymerase chain reaction technology. Mr Davis said “other solutions need to be found” to detect positive patients in addition to nasal swab tests.
21st Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Leicester could have avoided coronavirus lockdown, mayor says

A lockdown in Leicester could have been avoided if local powers had been available sooner, the mayor has said. A spike in coronavirus cases in the city saw restrictions tightened again on 29 June. On Friday, Boris Johnson unveiled powers for councils to use targeted lockdowns in response to local spikes. But Sir Peter Soulsby said these were needed "three or four weeks ago", and could have saved the city from the government's "sledgehammer" approach. Mr Johnson said local authorities would be able to close shops, cancel events and shut outdoor public spaces in certain postcodes, if there was a spike in cases.
21st Jul 2020 - BBC News

Mask-wearing plays big in Europe's post-lockdown protocol

France on Monday joined the ranks of European countries which have mandated the use of face masks in all indoor public places, in another sign that the face mask is playing big in Europe's post-lockdown measures to limit COVID-19 transmission. Before France, multiple governments - from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Romania to Slovenia, Albania, and Serbia - have already obliged their citizens to cover their mouth and nose in indoor public spaces. A dozen other European countries such as Britain, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland and Malta have mandated the use of face masks on public transport.
21st Jul 2020 - CCTV

Are Spaniards the most willing adopters of face masks in Europe?

The sight of people without masks sitting at tightly packed outdoor tables in the Basque city of Hondarribia came as a shock to Santiago Moreno, the head of infectious diseases at Madrid’s Ramón y Cajal hospital, who went there on a recent trip. “I thought, if someone is infected, they will infect 25 others. The only ones with masks were the people from Madrid,” he remembers. Moreno believes that making face masks mandatory, even if social distancing can be respected, is a conceptual necessity. “By being so strict, those who don’t meet [the rules] will feel like they are breaking the law,” he explains. “It’s better for us to do too much than too little.” The spokesperson of the Spanish Association of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, María del Mar Tomás, agrees: “The only preventive measures we have at the moment are masks, distance and having outdoor meetings and contact.”
21st Jul 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Austria reintroducing face mask requirement in supermarkets, banks

Austria is reintroducing a requirement that face masks be worn in supermarkets, banks and post offices because of an increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday. Austria went into lockdown early in its outbreak in mid-March and began loosening its restrictions a month later, even scrapping the requirement to wear face masks in shops and schools on June 15. Face masks are still required on public transport, in hospitals and pharmacies and at hairdressers. While the number of daily infections here was regularly well under 50 in May and June, it has increased in the past three weeks it was over 100 almost every other day this month. “There are areas of daily life where one cannot choose whether one goes or not - the supermarket, the bank, the post office,” Kurz told a news conference. “We have therefore decided that we will make face masks compulsory again in supermarkets, in banks, in post offices.”
21st Jul 2020 - Reuters

Philippines to ramp up coronavirus testing as Duterte warns of arrests

The Philippines said on Tuesday it would ramp up testing for the novel coronavirus amid a sharp rise in infections and deaths since a lockdown was eased in June, while President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to arrest anyone not wearing a mask. The government aimed to test 32,000 to 40,000 people a day compared with the current 20,000 to 23,000, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a televised meeeting with Duterte. The Philippines has tested nearly 1.1 million people so far, but Duque said the aim was for 10 million people - or nearly a tenth of the population - to be tested by the second quarter of next year. “We cannot test every citizen as no country has done it even the richest, the United States,” Duque said.
21st Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Six Victorian prisons in Covid-19 lockdown as lawyers call for low-risk inmates to be released

Six Victorian prisons have been placed in lockdown after an officer working at a men’s jail in Melbourne tested positive for Covid-19, prompting calls from legal groups to release low-risk prisoners during the pandemic. The officer, who the Guardian understands is male, is employed by GEO, the private correctional services provider which operates the Ravenhall Correctional Centre in Melbourne’s west. While he had been in self-isolation since 16 July after learning he was a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case, five further facilities - Hopkins Correctional Centre, Langi Kal Kal Prison, Barwon Prison, Fulham and Loddon - have been placed in lockdown while Corrections Victoria investigates which other staff and prisoners he may have had contact with.
21st Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus cases in California soar past 400,000, poised to surpass New York

California soared past 400,000 total coronavirus cases on Tuesday, as public health officials once again pleaded with residents to take shelter-in-place measures seriously. At midday, the case count in California jumped to 407,344 cases and 7,868 deaths, with the average number of daily cases in July more than double the average from June. “I don’t overread into the significance of that number,” said Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, during a media briefing Tuesday. “I look at every day as an opportunity to do better and do more with our response to COVID-19.”
21st Jul 2020 - San Francisco Chronicle

Why is there a coin shortage in the U.S.?

The coronavirus outbreak has created a new nationwide shortage: coins. A growing number of businesses, including Kroger, Walmart, and CVS have had to stop giving change in coins. Many are asking customers to use cards or exact change whenever possible, while some smaller businesses and franchises have stopped accepting cash all together. The shortage is especially troubling for people who are unbanked and rely on cash for everyday purchases. Cash-only businesses are also suffering. Cary Whaley, vice president at Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), a trade group for small banks, views the issue as a circulation problem rather than a shortage. “A lot of folks shifted the way they paid” after the coronavirus outbreak, he said. “They weren’t paying in cash, so they weren’t taking it to restaurants and banks and getting it into circulation.”
18th Jul 2020 - Fortune


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jul 2020

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How to make masks that everyone will want to wear

National Geographic contacted engineers, physicists, psychologists, and fashion designers to find out the best tips for building better masks.
10th Jul 2020 - National Geographic

Social distancing and gatherings: Advice and tips

For many people, missing large gatherings, such as weddings, funerals, musical performances, and parties, is one of the hardest things about life during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown. However, large gatherings remain one of the highest risk activities in which a person can participate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to express concern about “superspreader” events, which are large events where many people catch the virus before passing it to others at home or in their communities. There is no way to make gatherings fully safe, but people can weigh the risks and benefits and take certain steps to reduce their chances of getting the virus.
20th Jul 2020 - Medical News Today

Coronavirus: Social distancing for the visually impaired in Italy

Italian photographer Stefano Sbrulli documented the difficulties of blind and visually impaired people as they adapt to a world of social distancing. Italy faced one of the strictest and longest-running Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe. Those with visual disabilities often need companions or assistance services to go about their day-to-day lives, which can make social distancing a challenge. Here are some of Sbrulli's portraits and stories, gathered between March and June.
20th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Masks mandatory in France amid fresh outbreaks

France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid a fresh bout of Covid-19 outbreaks. Masks were already mandatory on public transport, but from Monday they must also be worn in places like shops. Health Minister Oliver Véran warned that France had between "400 and 500 active clusters" of the virus. President Emmanuel Macron declared a "first victory" over the virus in June and has ended the national state of emergency, but local outbreaks remain. There are a rising number of cases in the north-west and in eastern regions, in particular in the north-western department of Mayenne. France, one of Europe's hardest-hit countries, has recorded more than 200,000 infections and over 30,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
20th Jul 2020 - BBC News

'It makes sense': French shoppers take compulsory masks in their stride

From Monday, shoppers entering the bakery in Paris where Kalil Gaci works are required by law to wear a mask, but his customers are taking the new rule in their stride. “There’s no problem in wearing one, I’m completely for it,” said Elina Outh, a 22-year-old business student who called in to buy some of Gaci’s pastries. “What’s happening makes sense and I think it should have happened a long time ago.” Government edicts about wearing face coverings to curb the spread of COVID-19 have touched off fierce debate in the United States and elsewhere about civil liberties. On France, most people accept them as a necessary tool to fight the epidemic.
20th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Italy’s capital Rome facing possibility of return to lockdown as COVID cases rise

The Italian region of Lazio, which includes the capital Rome, has warned residents that local lockdowns may have to be reimposed if there continue to be new clusters of coronavirus cases. Lazio’s Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 10 of which were foreign residents who had returned to Italy from abroad. Rome has recently seen clusters of coronavirus infections among its Bangladeshi residents who have been returning from working in Bangladesh. Italy has banned arrivals from 13 at-risk countries, including Bangladesh, after the rise in cases.
20th Jul 2020 - Euro Weekly News

How to Reopen the Economy Without Killing Teachers and Parents

All classes should be online, but school buildings could still serve an important purpose for the kids who need them most.
20th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

What does life in a 'post-lockdown' world look like?

After months of imposing strict restrictions or lockdown rules, many countries across the world have started easing these control measures. What has this meant at a global level?
20th Jul 2020 - Medical News Today


Hygiene Helpers - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jul 2020

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My mask protects you, your mask protects me.

My mask protects you, your mask protects me - says Mayor London in video message campaign
18th Jul 2020 - @SadiqKhan

Face Masks Really Do Matter. The Scientific Evidence Is Growing.

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he believes the pandemic could be brought under control over the next four to eight weeks if “we could get everybody to wear a mask right now.” His comments, made Tuesday with the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed an editorial he and others wrote there emphasizing “ample evidence” of asymptomatic spread and highlighting new studies showing how masks help reduce transmission. The research Dr. Redfield cited included a newly published study suggesting that universal use of surgical masks helped reduce rates of confirmed Covid-19 infections among health-care workers at the Mass General Brigham health-care system in Massachusetts.
19th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

‘Only those with plastic visors were infected’: Swiss government warns against face shields

Health officials in the canton of Graübunden studying a recent outbreak among staff at a hotel found a worrying trend - all of those who were infected wore plastic face shields, while those who avoided infection wore face masks. Several employees of the hotel tested positive along with a guest. Rudolf Leuthold, head of the cantonal health department in Graübunden, said the face shields were the common denominator in infections. “It has been shown that only those employees who had plastic visors were infected. There was not a single infection among employees with a mask.” Leuthold told Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes that a guest of the hotel was also infected: "We know that the guest was served by employees with plastic visors.
15th Jul 2020 - The Local Switzerland

I Won’t Return to the Classroom, and You Shouldn’t Ask Me To

Every day when I walk into work as a public-school teacher, I am prepared to take a bullet to save a child. In the age of school shootings, that’s what the job requires. But asking me to return to the classroom amid a pandemic and expose myself and my family to Covid-19 is like asking me to take that bullet home to my own family. I won’t do it, and you shouldn’t want me to. I became an educator after a career as a nurse. I teach medical science and introduction to nursing to 11th and 12th graders at a regional skills center that serves students from 22 different high schools in 13 different school districts.
19th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, New Study Finds

The study of nearly 65,000 people in South Korea suggests that school reopenings will trigger more outbreaks. A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do. The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned. The new study “is very carefully done, it’s systematic and looks at a very large population,” Dr. Jha said. “It’s one of the best studies we’ve had to date on this issue.”
18th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Coronavirus face masks: Why men are less likely to wear masks

Her husband Eduardo had repeatedly refused to wear a face mask as the Covid-19 pandemic grew in Brazil - the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus deaths, behind only the US. So she decided to leave the family apartment in Niteroi (a city of 480,000 people near Rio de Janeiro), and move to her parents' house with their seven-year-old son. "I am asthmatic and that makes me particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. But my husband thought I was being paranoid," she tells the BBC. "His reasoning was that he didn't need a mask because when he left home he didn't go to enclosed spaces. "He wasn't thinking that he was putting me and our son at a higher risk."
19th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Seven in 10 back mandatory use of masks in shops in England, poll finds

Concerns that the wearing of masks could become a new front in a political “culture war” have been eased after evidence emerged that a clear majority of the public back their use in shops and supermarkets. An Opinium poll for the Observer reveals that 71% of adults in England support making masks mandatory in shops, with only 13% opposed to the move. Support was consistent across parties and age groups. Almost two-thirds of UK adults (64%) said they believed masks were an effective way to contain the spread of Covid-19.
19th Jul 2020 - MSN.com

‘Bizarre’ That Face Masks Are a Partisan Issue, NIH Chief Says

It’s “bizarre” that mask-wearing in the U.S. has become so partisan and the “divide between different political perspectives” is making it harder to curb the coronavirus, the director of the National Institutes of Health said. Speaking on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, NIH chief Francis Collins said he didn’t want anybody to think that mask-wearing is “something optional” as the nation attempts to tamp down the Covid-19 outbreak running at record levels. “Imagine you were an alien coming to the planet Earth and looking around,” Collins said. “You would be totally astounded, puzzled, amazed ... How could it be that something as basic as a public health action, that we have very strong evidence can help, seems to attach to people’s political party?”
19th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

The Latest: Rome region warns of possible new lockdowns

Lazio Region Health Commissioner Alessio D'Amato said 17 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Sunday, 10 of them “imported” from other countries when foreign residents returned to Italy. “We can't turn back and waste all the efforts done till now,” D'Amato pleaded in a Facebook post. Lazio's increases were included in Italy's 219 new cases, raising to 244,434, the number of confirmed infections since the outbreak began.
19th Jul 2020 - Devdiscourse

Korea confirms 34 more cases of COVID-19

South Korea reported 34 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 in the last 24 hours ending Saturday midnight, putting the total at 13,745. Of the newly confirmed cases, 21 were from local transmissions and 13 from abroad. One more person died, bringing the death toll to 295. The fatality rate stands at 2.15 percent, which is much higher for those 80 or older at 25.3 percent. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s daily situation report, the number of imported cases hit 421 during the first three weeks of July, which is 3.8 times the figure seen at the same time last month. The rise in travel-related cases has left quarantine lodgings occupied at over 80 percent capacity as of Friday afternoon.
19th Jul 2020 - Korea Herald

Florida Virus ‘Out of Control,’ Los Angeles Is on the Brink

Florida’s Covid-19 outbreak is “totally out of control,” according to a Democratic representative, and the mayor of Los Angeles said his city is “on the brink” of new restrictions, comments that suggest the country’s months of trade-offs between the health of the community and the economy are far from over. Speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Donna Shalala called for a lockdown of the third most-populous state and dismissed talk about reopening schools as “ridiculous.” “It’s terrible,” said Shalala, whose South Florida district sits within Miami-Dade County, one of the hardest-hit parts of the state. On the Pacific coast, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s considering another stay-at-home order for Los Angeles but emphasized that the city still had room in its hospitals and had been testing aggressively. Schools won’t hold in-person classes until the city records at least 14 consecutive days of case decline and is removed from the state’s watch list, Garcetti told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
19th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: Government’s test and trace system failing in areas battling major outbreaks, leaked analysis reveals

England’s “world beating” coronavirus test and trace service is failing to reach more than half the contacts named by infected residents in Blackburn with Darwen – where health chiefs are battling a major outbreak. Leaked analysis obtained by The Independent shows that across northwest England, the national tracing service is reaching only 52 per cent of all close contacts, leading one senior source to say: “The contact tracing service is now part of the problem we are trying to solve, not the solution.” The data also shows that less than half of close contacts are being reached in Oldham, St Helens, Manchester and Rochdale. The best performance for the region is in Cheshire East, where a third are still being missed.
18th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus: England's test and trace programme 'breaks GDPR data law'

Privacy campaigners say England's test and trace programme has broken a key data protection law. The Department of Health has conceded that the initiative to trace contacts of people infected with Covid-19 was launched without carrying out an assessment of its impact on privacy. The Open Rights Group (ORG) says the admission means the initiative has been unlawful since it began on 28 May. It involves people being asked to share sensitive personal information. This can include: their name, date of birth and postcode - who they live with - places they recently visited - names and contact details of people they have recently been in close contact with, including sexual partners.
19th Jul 2020 - BBC News

School is important, and so is staying safe from coronavirus. Here are some tips for returning seniors

Victorian senior students returned to school this week, as did those in specialist schools. This follows substantial community transmission of COVID-19, and stage three restrictions, in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire. Although senior and specialist school students in the restricted areas are going back to class, government school students in prep to Year 10 (except those doing VCE subjects) will learn remotely for term three.
15th Jul 2020 - The Conversation AU

Nearly all coronavirus cases now in Victoria may have link to hotel quarantine, inquiry told

Government decision makers, departments, hotel operators and private security operators are on notice they will be expected to give evidence to the Victorian inquiry into the coronavirus hotel quarantine management, as the inquiry hears nearly all current cases in Victoria could be linked to hotel outbreaks. The inquiry was launched by the state government after it was revealed that protocol breaches by security guards overseeing hotel quarantine had led to outbreaks in Victoria.
20th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Quarantine period for Covid-19 reduced from 14 to 10 days, says Mkhize

The recommended isolation period for patients with a confirmed Covid-19 infection has been reduced from 14 to 10 days, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Friday evening. Mkhize was holding a briefing to discuss the government’s new approach to tracking and tracing Covid-19 patients and those they come into contact with, and also to provide an update on the revised guidelines for patients to deisolate. He said the department has considered advice that quarantine periods could be as short as eight days, but this is still under consideration. The new 10-day recommendation would be on condition that the patient did not have a fever and their symptoms had begun to improve. The guidelines apply to healthcare workers as well and are being implemented with immediate effect.
19th Jul 2020 - IOL


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Earlier lockdown linked to bigger reduction in Covid-19 cases – study

Imposing lockdown restrictions earlier has been linked to greater reductions in new coronavirus cases, a study has found. The research, published in the BMJ on Wednesday, also found that physical distancing measures, such as closing schools, workplaces and public transport, and restricting mass gatherings, were associated with a “meaningful reduction” in new Covid-19 cases. Based on data gathered from 149 countries and regions, the study found that on average the implementation of any physical distancing measure was associated with an overall reduction in Covid-19 incidence of 13%. A team of UK and US researchers compared the change in new cases of Covid-19 before and up to 30 days after implementation of physical distancing measures in the early stages of the pandemic.
16th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

20,000 people stopped for not wearing face masks on Tubes or buses

More than 20,000 Londoners have been stopped by police or transport inspectors for not wearing face masks on the Tube or buses. Mayor Sadiq Khan today revealed there had been 20,618 “interactions” with passengers, mostly on buses, to enforce the compulsory requirement to wear a face covering on public transport. He told Mayor’s Question Time that, as of yesterday, 61 fixed penalty notices had been issued by British Transport Police or TfL officials. It has been mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport since June 15, with people who fail to comply at risk of being prevented from travelling and being issued with a £100 fine.
17th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Life after lockdown

The pandemic is still affecting some regions of Europe. “There is strategy called Hammer and Dance,” says Dr Leticia Kawano Dourado, a respiratory physician at the Hospital do Coração in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “You alternate between closing down and reopening with a focus on testing and tracing until we get a vaccine.” The strategy, outlined by writer Tomás Pueyo, has drawn a lot attention from experts. “During the Hammer, the goal is to get R as close to zero, as fast as possible, to quench the epidemic. But once you move into the Dance, you don’t need to do that anymore. You just need your R to stay below 1.” He explains, where R means the average number of people each person with a disease goes on to infect.
16th Jul 2020 - Hindustan Times

Masks mandatory indoors in France next week (not August 1)

France is to make masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces from next week, and not from August 1 as was originally announced, the Prime Minister has confirmed. Jean Castex told the Senate today (July 16): “I have heard and understood that this [original] deadline appeared late and raised further questions.” From Monday July 20, the public will be required to cover their mouths and noses when in enclosed or confined public spaces, especially shops, and especially sites in which physical distancing is impossible. Mr Castex said: “We had envisaged that these rules would come into force [from August 1] because we are working preventatively, not in haste. But I have heard and understood that this [original] deadline appeared late and raised further questions. “The decree will therefore come into force from next week.”
16th Jul 2020 - The Connexion

Coronavirus: Ireland puts brakes on easing lockdown amid 'real concern'

The Republic of Ireland has decided not to move forward to Phase 4 of its roadmap for easing lockdown amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19. "This virus has not changed, indiscriminate in its cruelty and relentless," said the taoiseach. "The concern about the rise in cases in recent weeks is very real, the R (reproductive) number has risen above 1 in this country," Micheál Martin said. "The international situation represents a growing worry." Mr Martin said the Irish cabinet had agreed that current public health measures should remain in place and the Republic of Ireland would not progress to Phase 4 of the agreed roadmap.
15th Jul 2020 - BBC News


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Hipkins urges use of contact tracer app - 'Step up your efforts'

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has appealed to New Zealanders to use the contact tracer app, saying he believes there is a degree of complacency in this country, even as the risk grows every day. Speaking at today's press conference, where it was revealed there were two new cases in managed isolation facilities, Hipkins said contact tracing was a core public health response, and the Ministry was training its staff to do case investigation. He said the contact tracer app was one part of a whole system of contact tracing that required everyone to take part, and about 596,000 New Zealanders have so far done this. The information provided is only used by the Ministry and only for contact tracing, he said. "Please step up your efforts, scan wherever you go and keep a record of your movements."
15th Jul 2020 - RNZ

Masks part of the Melbourne look for a long time to come

Melburnians may need to wear masks on public transport and in other busy public spaces until there is a widely available vaccine for coronavirus. As another person died and Victoria recorded 238 new infections on Wednesday, University of NSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said wearing face masks would be a significant cultural shift for Victorians, but a necessary means of protection in the battle against COVID-19.
15th Jul 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Belgium, once hard-hit, reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since March

Belgium, which has reined in the coronavirus after becoming the worst-hit mid-sized country in the world, reported zero new coronavirus-related deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday for the first time since March 10. As in many European countries that were hard hit by the pandemic in March and April, Belgium sharply reduced infections by imposing a lockdown, which is now being lifted. The total number of deaths reported by the national public health institute Sciensano remained at 9,787. In the country of 11.5 million people, that works out to around 850 deaths per million, the worst in the world apart from the tiny city state of San Marino. The peak daily death toll was 343 on April 12.
15th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Wearing a mask doesn't just protect others from COVID, it protects you from infection, perhaps serious illness, too

The Missouri hair salon case was published in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's an example of the power of face masks to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. On May 12, a hair stylist at a Springfield Great Clips salon developed respiratory symptoms, but kept working for eight days until a COVID-19 test came back positive. Another stylist started getting sick three days later and worked for another seven days before testing positive and staying home. Both colleagues wore masks only when customers were present. Six close contacts of the first stylist ended up coming down with COVID-19. But in the salon, where 98% of clients wore masks, things played out differently. Of the 67 clients exposed to one or both of the stylists and tested for COVID-19, not one tested positive.
15th Jul 2020 - USA TODAY

English lockdown might have reduced COVID-19 infections more than thought, scientists say

The reproductive number of COVID-19 in England may been lower than previously thought in May, research published by British scientists said on Wednesday, suggesting the government’s COVID-19 lockdown worked to reduce infection rates. The study - which is a “pre-print”, meaning it has yet to be peer-reviewed - found there were on average 13 positive cases for every 10,000 people, with an overall reproduction number of 0.57. That is lower than the government’s official figures for that time, estimating a so-called “R” number of 0.7-0.9 when lockdown was eased. An R number of less than 1 indicates an epidemic is shrinking. “Our level of adherence in the UK, and the overall average behaviour was very effective at reducing transmission of the virus,” Steven Riley, Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics, Imperial College London, told reporters.
15th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

‘There's a direct relationship’: Brazil meat plants linked to spread of Covid-19

Brazilian meat plants helped spread Covid-19 in at least three different places across the country as the virus continues to migrate from big cities to the country’s vast interior, experts have said. At the beginning of this week the country was second only to the US with 1.88 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 72,833 deaths. Its powerful agribusiness sector is allied with the country’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed the pandemic as a “little flu”. The beef sector is worth $26bn (£20.7bn), according to the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), while its chicken industry is worth another $8bn.
15th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Which U.S. States Meet WHO Recommended Testing Criteria?

If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities. A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak and is testing enough of its population to make informed decisions about reopening. Which U.S. states are testing enough to meet the WHO’s goal? The graph below compares states’ rate of positivity to the recommended positivity rate of 5% or below. States that meet the WHO’s recommended criteria appear in green, while the states that are not testing enough to meet the positivity benchmark are in orange.
15th Jul 2020 - John Hopkins University

Coronavirus NSW, Victoria: What happens if COVID-19 does not go away?

Experts have painted a grim picture of what life could look like in NSW and Victoria if the coronavirus is not brought under control. The resurgence of the virus has led to increasing calls for authorities to adopt an elimination strategy rather than a suppression strategy. All of Australia’s states and territories have managed to effectively eliminate the virus except for NSW and Victoria. NSW got close before Victoria’s outbreak spread north, resulting in an increasing number of cases of community transmission in Sydney. Both states would have to get active cases down to zero for at least two weeks before the virus is considered to be eliminated. While some experts have noted that it’s unlikely the virus will be completely eliminated, if the number of cases was brought to zero, it means authorities can jump on any small outbreaks as they appear.
15th Jul 2020 - NEWS.com.au


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America is being way too calm about COVID-19

What’s even scarier is the propensity of Americans to ignore or downplay a malaise that is generating tens of thousands of entirely preventable deaths. It makes total sense that the rest of the world wants to keep Americans out these days. Thanks at least in part to mostly young people socializing in bars and nightclubs, the country has been setting records for daily case counts, now nearing 3 million. In states that reopened early — Arizona, Florida, Texas — new COVID-19 cases have been increasing faster every day, suggesting that the disease is spreading exponentially. The horrible data suggest that we have learned nothing from the tragic experience of the past several months, that things are spinning out of control and that wishing for the best is folly. When I, as a data scientist, see numbers like this — and recognize that even they are vastly understating the reality — I automatically extrapolate to the worst case scenario, in which millions of people die. I start to actually smell death.
13th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

How to fix the Covid-19 dumpster fire in the US

There’s no point in sugar-coating this. The U.S. response to the Covid-19 pandemic is a raging dumpster fire. Where a number of countries in Asia and Europe have managed to dampen spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the point where they can consider returning to a semblance of normalcy — friends from Paris just emailed me pictures from their Sicilian vacation — many international borders remain closed to Americans. On Sunday, Florida reported more than 15,000 cases — in a single day. South Korea hasn’t registered 15,000 cases in the entire pandemic to date. One day last week the U.S. recorded more than 68,000 cases.
14th Jul 2020 - STAT

Asia ramps up coronavirus curbs as new clusters erupt

Australian states tightened borders and restricted pub visits on Tuesday, while Disney prepared to close its Hong Kong theme park and Japan stepped up tracing as a jump in novel coronavirus cases across Asia fanned fears of a second wave of infections. Many parts of Asia, the region first hit by the coronavirus that emerged in central China late last year, are finding cause to pause the reopening of their economies, some after winning praise for their initial responses to the outbreak. Australia largely avoided the high numbers of cases and casualties seen in other countries with swift and strict measures, but a spike in community-transmitted cases in Victoria state and a rise in new cases in New South Wales has worried authorities.
14th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Helping track and reduce COVID-19 infections in Northeast Brazil

A combination of thermal drones, artificial intelligence, and mathematical modeling is helping scientists track and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Brazil: one of a series of ongoing, innovative coronavirus research initiatives being carried out by UCL and scientists in Brazil.
14th Jul 2020 - Medical Xpress

Are masks about to become compulsory in France?

After several announcements from high-profile political and scientific figures, there is growing speculation that France could be about to make wearing a mask compulsory in more situations. At present masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport (including taxis and Ubers) and there is a €135 fine for not wearing one. The rest of the rules are slightly more varied. Shop and business owners have the right to require customers to wear a mask and the right to bar entry to customers who are not masked. In practice some shops and businesses declare port du masque obligatoire (wearing a mask is compulsory) while other merely say that masks are recommandé (recommended).
14th Jul 2020 - The Local France

Are more people in Denmark going to wear face masks?

New recommendations from the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen), published Friday, advise the use of face masks in the country in certain circumstances, including when travelling home from areas considered high-risk or on the way to being tested for coronavirus. As of Friday, the authority recommends using face masks in certain special situations, bringing the policy in Denmark closer to that of other European countries such as France and Germany. According to its new advice to those who have tested positive, those in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and those with symptoms, the authority recommends people use face masks if they are forced to leave self-isolation. "Use a face mask if you break self-isolation to go out to take a test," the health authority states, linking to a guide for correctly using masks.
13th Jul 2020 - The Local Denmark


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Lockdown timing and efficacy in controlling COVID-19 using mobile phone tracking

During the study period, mobility restriction was inversely related to the daily number of newly diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 positive cases only after the second, more effective lockdown, with a peak in the curve of diagnosed cases of infection occurring 14 to 18 days from lockdown in the three regions and 9 to 25 days in the included provinces. An effective reduction in transmission must have occurred nearly immediately after the tighter lockdown, given the lag time of around 10 days from asymptomatic infection to diagnosis. The period from lockdown to peak was shorter in the areas with the highest prevalence of the infection. This effect was seen within slightly more than one week in the most severely affected areas.
13th Jul 2020 - The Lancet

California rolls back reopening as nations battle resurgent coronavirus

California drastically rolled back its reopening plans Monday as coronavirus cases surged across dozens of US states and the World Health Organization warned that too many nations are mismanaging their pandemic response. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all indoor restaurants, bars and movie theaters to close again across California -- by far America's richest and most populous state, with a larger economy than all but four countries. Churches as well as gyms, shopping malls, hair salons and non-essential offices must also shut indoor operations in half of the Golden State's worst-hit and most densely populated counties, including Los Angeles. "We're moving back into a modification mode of our original 'stay-at-home' order," said Newsom, whose state was the first to close down in March, but began easing restrictions in May.
13th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News Australia

Everyone should wear a face covering in public, says Royal Society president

Everyone should have a face covering to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and they should not leave home without having one in their possession according to the President of the Royal Society. Venki Ramakrishnan’s call comes as a new review of evidence reinforces the benefits of face coverings and even suggests they may protect the wearer as well as those around them. However, the British public remain much less likely to wear face coverings in public compared to other countries, including the United States. Venki Ramakrishnan said: “The virus has not been eliminated, so as we lift lockdown and people increasingly interact with each other we need to use every tool we have to reduce the risk of a second wave of infection. There are no silver bullets but alongside hand washing and physical distancing, we also need everyone to start wearing face coverings, particularly indoors in enclosed public spaces where physical distancing is often not possible.
7th Jul 2020 - AOL.co.uk

New York City Reaches Milestone With No Reported Virus Deaths

New York City, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, has just reported its first day with zero confirmed or probable virus deaths since the pandemic hit New York State. The milestone came Sunday in initial data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It marked the end of a four-month stretch since the city reported its first Covid-19 fatality on March 11. The confirmed daily death count hit its height on April 7 at 597. Another 216 people were reported likely to have died from the virus despite no positive laboratory tests that day.
12th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 Reinvades U.S. States That Beat It Back Once

The first U.S. states to endure the coronavirus this spring hoped the worst would be behind them. Instead, the virus is coming back. Many places that suffered most in the first wave of infections, including California, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington state, are seeing case counts climb again after months of declines. It’s not just a matter of more testing. Hospitalizations and, in some places, deaths are rising, too. The disease is raging -- Florida reported 15,300 cases Sunday, the biggest single-day increase of the U.S. pandemic -- and experts say the resurgence in the original battlegrounds has common causes. They include a population no longer willing to stay inside, Republicans more likely to refuse face masks as a political statement, and young people convinced the virus won’t seriously hurt them.
13th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 coronavirus: Superspreader - woman infects 71 people in 60 seconds in elevator: CDC study

One asymptomatic carrier rode an elevator alone, then 71 people got Covid-19. She did everything right. She had no symptoms, but she self-quarantined anyway after travel. She stayed in her apartment. She ordered-in food. But she became patient zero in a 71-case cluster. Intensive contact tracing is not just helping head-off Covid-19's spread. It's revealing just how crazy infectious the virus can be. A new study released by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) analysed the impact a single traveller – with no symptoms – can have. It also reveals the pitfalls of high-density living.
13th Jul 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Coronavirus: shoppers in England must wear face masks from 24 July

Face masks will become mandatory in shops across England, ministers are to announce on Tuesday, following mixed messages, a cabinet split and mounting pressure on Boris Johnson to change public advice. New legislation will not come into force until Friday 24 July, however, raising concerns over the risk of coronavirus spreading over the next 10 days as lockdown is eased. Enforcement, which will include a fine of up to £100 for non-compliance, will be down to police, though shop staff will be expected to encourage the policy, No 10 said. The announcement is understood to have been rushed forward after Michael Gove, the cabinet minister, said on Sunday that masks should not be made mandatory, contradicting indications from the prime minister last week.
13th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

France considers making masks mandatory as doctors warn of Covid resurgence

France’s government said Sunday it was studying whether to impose mandatory masks in indoor spaces as doctors and health officials warned of worrying rates of new infections. “The use of wearing a mask in enclosed spaces is being studied,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a visit to the heavily affected overseas territory of Guiana on Sunday. The remarks were the closest sign yet that French officials are preparing to act upon an increasing number of warnings that people are becoming too nonchalant with recommendations around the spread of Covid-19. A group of 14 doctors called for reinforced mask-wearing and physical distancing on Saturday, and public officials including President Emmanuel Macron have been urging the public to take protective measures.
13th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Victoria records 273 new Covid-19 cases and flags return to remote schooling in lockdown areas

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews has warned residents to prepare for an extraordinary six winter weeks after the state announced another 273 coronavirus cases on Sunday. Andrews said schools in lockdown areas would remain closed to most students after revealing the latest case numbers, which represent another single-day high for the state. One man in his 70s has died from the virus in Victoria. Meanwhile, eight healthcare workers at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital have tested positive to Covid-19. Infections diseases expert Peter Collingnon said on Twitter the renewed outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria represented a second wave.
13th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Greece is considering a second lockdown after tourists caused coronavirus cases there to spike

The Greek authorities have said they could reimpose stricter public and travel restrictions, due to government safety advice being frequently ignored. The government there has not yet confirmed the exact lockdown measures they would bring back. These could possibly include stricter border checks, potential travel restrictions from high risk countries and tougher, more frequent bar and restaurant inspections. Serbian tourists are currently banned from entering Greece for all but essential travel, after health officials confirmed a spike in cases in the Balkan country. Additional testing is already occurring at the Greek-Bulgarian border and, as of 14 July, Bulgarians crossing the border into Greece must provide proof that they have tested negative for coronavirus within the last 72 hours, after the country registered a daily record of 330 new infections in one day last week.
13th Jul 2020 - Lancashire Post

Fresh lockdown for 250,000 in Manila as virus surges

About 250,000 people in Manila will go back into lockdown, an official said Monday, as the number of new coronavirus infections in the Philippines surges. Residents in Navotas, one of 16 cities that make up the sprawling capital of 12 million people, will have to stay home for a fortnight, just six weeks after emerging from one of the world's longest lockdowns. "I am not sure if this is a solution, but I am certain that if I do this the number of cases will not increase," Navotas city mayor Toby Tiangco told a radio station.
13th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Coronavirus: HK Disneyland to close one month after reopening

Hong Kong Disneyland is closing its gates again less than one month after it reopened, following a new coronavirus outbreak in the city. The theme park was originally closed at the end of January as the pandemic spread across Asia. Disney decided to reopen the park on 18 June as Hong Kong kept coronavirus cases low. But gates will close again on Wednesday as social distancing measures are reimposed.
13th Jul 2020 - BBC News


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Marie Kondo to Sophia Hinchliffe – the Instagram ‘cleanfluencers’ who make housework hip in Covid-19 lockdown

The coronavirus outbreak has recalibrated the way we live: social distancing, mass temperature checks and mandatory use of face masks when outside are deemed part of the new normal. The past few months have also seen a revolution in decorating, decluttering, household cleaning and tidying up one's space due to the gravity of the pandemic. Cleaning is now more crucial than ever. And who better to turn to than Instagram's top "cleanfluencers"? Here are five online personalities who'll give you inspiration to keep your space neat and germfree:
13th Jul 2020 - South China Morning Post on MSN.com

Coronavirus update: Democratic Louisiana governor issues mask mandate as state’s death toll rises

Governors across the country are facing increasing pressure to pass statewide mask requirements and mount a more coherent pandemic response as coronavirus cases soar to record levels, daily deaths rise and hospitals in the South and West face a crush of patients. A growing chorus of local officials and health experts have warned that infections could continue to spiral out of control unless governors issue public health measures that apply to everyone. “We’ve been begging for a uniform response from the state,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D) of Jackson, Miss., where hospital intensive care unit beds were nearing full capacity.
12th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

Augusta Mayor mandates executive order for masks

At a COVID-19 press briefing, Mayor Hardie Davis issued an executive order mandating facial masks in Augusta-Richmond County. According to the mayor, the order officially went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday. In the executive order, it states for the protection of the public and members apart of the vulnerable population, facial masks will be required in public places and all government buildings within Augusta-Richmond County. The order does not, however, apply to religious establishments, but the use of facial coverings is highly recommended.
10th Jul 2020 - WFXG

Perspective | Your mask feels uncomfortable? Get over it. As a surgeon, I know how vital they are.

Today, my wife returned from a visit with a friend. “She won’t wear a mask. She said it’s too uncomfortable.” Had I been there, I would have said, as I now do when I hear people complaining about the discomforts of a mask, “Sorry, you’ll get no sympathy from me.” As a surgeon, I spent much of my life behind a mask. Yes, it could be uncomfortable, especially during hay fever season, when I would excuse myself at the end of a three-hour operation to discreetly remove my snot-filled mask and wipe my face clean. Yes, you learn by trial and error how to pinch the wire across the bridge of your nose so that your breath doesn’t shoot out the top of the mask and fog your glasses. You wear a mask because, in the operating room, contamination is a no-no. You wear a mask because if you don’t, the most vulnerable person in the room — the patient — might get an infection because of you.
12th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

Florida shatters US record for new single-day Covid-19 cases

The Florida Department of Health has reported at least 15,299 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number of new cases in a single day by any state since the coronavirus pandemic began. The record-setting number from Saturday was reported by the state Sunday morning. But it's not just the number of new cases that's concerning. The test positivity rate -- which can indicate how rampantly the virus is spreading -- reached 19.6% as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Across the country, more than half the states are dealing with increased rates of new cases compared to last week. And more than half the states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of getting coronavirus under control.
12th Jul 2020 - CNN


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Lessons in contact tracing from Germany

Germany built on existing local infrastructure to get ahead of the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic situation in Germany is often compared favourably with that in other European countries, particularly the UK. According to the World Health Organization, the rate of infection reported in Germany by 23 June was almost half the rate reported in the UK (230 cases/100 000 population v 451/100 000), and the reported mortality from covid-19 was a sixth of that in the UK (10.7/100 000 v 63.2/100 000). Care must be taken when comparing data from different countries,1 and various reasons may explain the observed differences.2 But from a public health perspective, experience with SARS3 suggests that Germany’s intensive system of testing, contact tracing, and quarantine were critical to successful control of the outbreak, especially given the role of super spreading events that seem to shape the current epidemic in Germany, with the most recent ones in meat plants.
26th Jun 2020 - The BMJ

South Korea finds just one case of coronavirus antibodies out of 3,000 tested

Just one person in a South Korean survey of more than 3,000 people showed neutralizing antibodies to the novel coronavirus, health authorities said on Thursday, indicating the virus has not spread widely in the community. While the sample size is small it is believed to be a reliable indicator of a low infection rate among the 51 million people of a country held up as a coronavirus mitigation success story. “The results indicate that each citizen has taken an active participation in tough social distancing,” Kwon Jun-wook, the deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease and Prevention (KCDC), told a briefing.
9th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

How does Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown compare with overseas responses to community transmission?

The hard lockdowns placed on Melbourne's public housing towers may be a first in Australia, but similar scenes have played out in countries around the world. Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said earlier this week the tower block lockdown was a "major escalation" and something we had not seen in the country before. But he said it was a similar decision to those made by officials in other parts of the world, such as "New York, China and in Europe". "The way [the increase in cases in Victoria] will come under control is very clear, we know how to do that, it is led by the data," Professor Kelly said. "Testing, trace and isolate [are] crucial and fundamental public health responses."
9th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus: Filling middle plane seats may DOUBLE transmission

A new statistical model shows COVID-19 infections rising on commercial flights The MIT produced model shows nearly double the transmissions with middle seats filled, and more than 80 additional deaths from COVID-19 a year. Without federal guidelines, airline policy on middle seat sales is inconsistent
9th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Can HVAC systems help prevent transmission of COVID-19?

One step that technicians could take involves configuring ducted HVAC systems to increase the rate of exchange with fresh fresh air from outside the building to reduce recirculation. Adjusting the settings may also help. Instead of shutting down overnight or on weekends, for instance, the HVAC system could run without interruption to increase the replacement of air and minimize airflow speeds. In buildings with old or inflexible systems, technicians might consider upgrading HVAC hardware. Some of the most important might include these:
9th Jul 2020 - McKinsey.com

Safety for students, staff and teachers key to reopen schools

Now President Donald Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are threatening to cut funding unless we fully reopen with in-person instruction, without regard for safety. The Washington state Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, Department of Health, and Labor & Industries have provided scientifically based guidance for safely reopening schools. Districts across the state are making decisions about which model to offer in accordance with that guidance. Very few districts are finding that five days a week of in-person instruction is safe or appropriate given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. No matter the model, Washington Education Association and our local associations are advocating that school administrators guide their decisions based on what is best and safest for students and educators. Health and safety must remain the priority. Science and guidance from health experts must direct and inform reopening decisions. Schools must employ effective screening and cleaning protocols and provide protective equipment to keep students, staff, families and communities safe. We’ll need more school nurses to provide health checks and monitoring, and custodial staff to clean and sanitize buildings.
9th Jul 2020 - Seattle Times

My Husband and I Knew the Dangers of the Coronavirus. How Could We Still Put Our Neighbor at Risk?

He brought over his fish and plants and borrowed our ladder. He was masked, because of the movers. We were not, because we were just lolling about; it was pure luck that we were even dressed. It was a quick handover. We didn’t touch. Two days later, we came down with COVID-19 symptoms. It was bad, especially for my spouse. Two weeks later, our neighbor texted to say he thought he had it too. He has a baby, a wife and an elderly mother who was living nearby. When I read on her social-media page a week or so later that he was in the hospital with pneumonia, my stomach began to churn. We were not sure we were the ones who gave it to him–neither was he, for the record–but the possibility was horrifying.
9th Jul 2020 - Time Magazine


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As Victoria goes into coronavirus lockdown, it's time to consider moving infected people outside the home

Ultimately, governments around the world face the tough choice of being proactive or reactive during the pandemic. Being proactive to small spikes might be perceived as being heavy-handed, especially economically. Victoria, so far, has been more reactive than proactive — but the time has come to consider different approaches. We know many people pick up the virus in their own homes from another family member, even if the infected individual isolates in one room. This is partially because indoor environments often have crowding and poor ventilation. It's also quite difficult to practice good sanitation, cleaning high-touch surfaces properly with detergent or bleach. The best option is to relocate an infected family member to reduce the risk of spread to the rest of the family. An option is to relocate them to hospitals or other suitable purpose-built health facilities. Victoria's numbers will get worse unless infected individuals are relocated. This is a particular risk for crowded high-rise housing. Victorians should also be wearing masks in all public places.
8th Jul 2020 - ABC News

The way in which it was executed, India’s lockdown itself became source of virus’s spread

By having people huddle together, infecting one another, and then having the same people travel hundreds of miles, the pandemic has been made much worse than it need have been.
8th Jul 2020 - The Indian Express

Miami rolls back restaurant dining as U.S. coronavirus deaths top 130,000

Florida’s greater Miami area became the latest U.S. coronavirus hot spot to roll back its reopening, ordering restaurant dining closed on Monday as COVID-19 cases surged nationwide by the tens of thousands and the U.S. death toll topped 130,000. Restaurants also were targeted for a weekend crackdown on coronavirus enforcement in California, where hospitalizations for COVID-19 have jumped 50% over the past two weeks and the state capitol building in Sacramento was temporarily closed for deep cleaning. For an eighth straight day, Texas registered an all-time high in the number of people hospitalized at any one moment with the highly contagious respiratory illness, up more than 500 admissions from the day before to nearly 8,700.
8th Jul 2020 - Reuters India

Professor warns of long-term effects of lockdown weight gain

Many more of us could have diabetes and high blood pressure if we don't lose the extra weight we've put on during lockdown, a renowned cardiologist at Keele University has warned. "This is a big ticking time bomb for our nation's health—one that hasn't had as much attention as it should have," he said. "Permanent weight gain will have a long-term impact on our health. If we don't lose this extra weight, or we get into bad habits that continue after lockdown, many more of us could have diabetes and high blood pressure. This, ultimately, makes us more at risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes." Professor Mamas has urged Britons to see the relative easing of lockdown "as an opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle." His comments come after a study showed that 48% of us believe we have put on weight and 20% of us admit to drinking more alcohol during the lockdown.
8th Jul 2020 - Medical Xpress

Georgia Cities in Open Revolt Against Governor Over Masks

At least three cities have issued ordinances requiring their citizens to wear masks, in defiance of Gov. Brian Kemp’s lax approach to the pandemic.
8th Jul 2020 - The Daily Beast

Global report: Catalonia makes mask-wearing in public compulsory

Spain’s northern Catalonia region will make wearing a mask in public spaces compulsory at all times from Thursday morning, as French prosecutors charged two men with with attempted murder after a bus driver was attacked and left brain dead for refusing to drive a group of mask-less men. The move in Catalonia was announced as the region struggles with a renewed outbreak of coronavirus around Lleida that has forced a new lockdown for 200,000 inhabitants and pushed hospitals to the brink. The announcement by the Catalan regional leader, Quim Torra, came as authorities around the globe confronted fast-emerging new peaks of the disease even as they looked for ways out of economically damaging nationwide lockdowns. “Masks in Catalonia will be mandatory,” said Torra. Spain has since June ordered the use of masks indoors and outside where 1.5 metres of social distancing cannot be maintained.
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

'The Second Wave' of COVID Hits Israel Like a Tsunami

What happened? If you ask Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the head of the nation’s public health service, who served as an Israeli Dr. Anthony Fauci for the past six months and quit her job on Tuesday, the government “has lost its compass.” “Israel is heading to a dangerous place,” she wrote in an 8,000-word indictment of the government’s failure to prepare in any way for a resurgence of illness. “Despite systematic and repeated warnings through various channels, and discussions in several forums, we are watching with frustration as the hourglass of opportunities runs low,” she warned. “I have come to the conclusion that in the newly created conditions under which my professional opinion is not accepted—I can no longer help to effectively cope with the spread of the virus.”
8th Jul 2020 - The Daily Beast

Indian city imposes 'triple lockdown' as coronavirus cases surge

Thiruvananthapuram in the southern state of Kerala implemented what it called a "triple lockdown" this week, as India overtook Russia to record the world's third-highest number of coronavirus infections. Kerala's strict early measures to curb the coronavirus's spread meant it had just about 100 cases in May, a scenario that propelled its health minister - a retired teacher with a previously low profile - to rockstar status. But since then nearly half a million people, mostly migrant workers, have arrived back in Kerala from abroad or from other Indian states. On Wednesday, the state recorded the highest single-day spike of 301 infections, taking the total to 6,301. Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had voiced concerns about an outbreak if people were not tested before coming back, has attributed the rise in numbers to the returnees, saying they account for more than 80% of coronavirus cases. "The city seems to be sitting on an active volcano," said Kadakampally Surendran, the state minister in charge of the area, urging people to "strictly follow" the lockdown measures.
8th Jul 2020 - Dhaka Tribune

Uzbekistan to introduce second lockdown from July 10

Uzbekistan will impose a second lockdown between July 10 and Aug. 1 to curb a new surge in cases of the novel coronavirus since the easing of its first set of restrictions in late May and early June. The Central Asian nation’s government said on Wednesday it will limit the movement of vehicles and close non-food shopping malls, markets, parks, cafes, restaurants and sports and entertainment venues. Uzbekistan saw a surge in fresh COVID-19 cases in June after lifting many of the restrictions introduced earlier. It has confirmed almost 11,000 cases with 40 deaths; more than a half of the latter occurred within the last two weeks. Neighbouring Kazakhstan has also imposed a second lockdown from July 5, citing a jump in cases.
8th Jul 2020 - Reuters


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How Japan Beat Coronavirus Without Lockdowns

A focus on contact tracing and ‘cluster busting’ has allowed us to avoid harmful economic restrictions.
7th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Where do I have to wear a face mask? The mandatory places to have face coverings

Face coverings now mandatory for those travelling by public transport in England and Scotland as efforts to restart the UK economy ramp up
7th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

School openings across globe suggest ways to keep coronavirus at bay, despite outbreaks

Continued closures risk “scarring the life chances of a generation of young people,” according to an open letter published this month and signed by more than 1500 members of the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). Virtual education is often a pale shadow of the real thing and left many parents juggling jobs and childcare. Lower-income children who depend on school meals were going hungry. And there were hints that children were suffering increased abuse, now that school staff could no longer spot and report early signs of it. It was time, a growing chorus said, to bring children back to school. By early June, more than 20 countries had done just that. (Some others, including Taiwan, Nicaragua, and Sweden, never closed their schools.) It was a vast, uncontrolled experiment. Some schools imposed strict limits on contact between children, while others let them play freely. Some required masks, while others made them optional. Some closed temporarily if just one student was diagnosed with COVID-19; others stayed open even when multiple children or staff were affected, sending only ill people and direct contacts into quarantine.
7th Jul 2020 - Science Magazine

Any Texas student may learn online in fall. Masks, symptom checks required for campus

While schools must provide daily on-campus attendance for students, parents may request their children be offered virtual instruction from any district offering it. However, they may be asked to commit to remote instruction for at least a full grading period, and parents who choose to switch from a virtual to classroom setting may be limited to transitioning at the end of grading periods.
7th Jul 2020 - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Matt Hancock praises pubs for closing down after drinkers test positive for coronavirus

Matt Hancock has praised three pubs for closing down again after drinkers tested positive for coronavirus. Speaking in the House of Commons, the Health Secretary said that the closures, just days after pubs were allowed to reopen on Saturday, showed that the UK's contact tracing system was working. The Fox and Hounds in Batley, West Yorkshire, the Lighthouse in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, and the Village Home in Gosport, Hampshire, reopened on July 4, but have since decided to close again after finding out about customers testing positive for Covid-19.
7th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Brits now required by law to wear face masks on beach in Spain

Sunbathers can ditch their facemasks once they are on the sand in most regions of Spain but following a surge of new Covid-19 cases, La Marina north of Lugo in Galicia has been put on lockdown and people must wear face masks all the time
7th Jul 2020 - Mirror Online


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How Dr. Fauci protects himself against the coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci offered various coronavirus prevention tips in a new interview, explaining how he has been reducing his own risk of infection. The nation’s top infectious disease expert addressed testing, the use of face masks, shopping, meeting with other family members, as well as other activities of everyday life that have been altered by the pandemic. The advice Fauci gives can be followed by anyone looking to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19. The only thing Fauci does that other people cannot is get tested frequently, which is mandated by his close proximity to Trump.
6th Jul 2020 - BGR

Coronavirus: Disease detectives track an invisible culprit

As a public-health director in Savannah, Georgia, Cristina Pasa Gibson spent her time in an office filled with calorie counters and yoga mats and the scent of jasmine tea. Then she started working on contact tracing, a no-holds-barred effort to stop the pandemic, and her office and her life were turned upside down. "I felt like I was in a Vegas casino," she says. "I didn't know what time it was, what day it was, who I was." She and her colleagues in Savannah and her counterparts in other cities across the country have been working frantically to trace the path of the infection and to find those who may have been exposed to the virus. They talk to patients, asking for names of individuals they have spent time with, and chase down those individuals and to tell them to remain isolated so they do not infect others. The pressure on investigators and contact tracers has been intense. "I basically lived in my office," says Gibson, describing the early days. "It was Groundhog Day over and over."
6th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Saudi Arabia makes masks mandatory, bans gatherings during Hajj

Saudi Arabia on Monday said all the intending pilgrims in 2020 Hajj must wear face masks at all times, while workers would ensure no overcrowding or gatherings take place during the pilgrimage. The kingdom has drastically curtailed the pilgrimage amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying that only the few thousands who reside in the country could perform the Hajj, scheduled for July ending. Saudi Arabia’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (SaudiCDC) released a list of instructions for pilgrims and workers to follow.
6th Jul 2020 - The Nation Newspaper


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How Fauci, 5 other health specialists deal with covid-19 risks in their everyday lives

As Americans learn to live with the coronavirus, many are struggling with decisions about which practices are safe or risky for them. The Washington Post asked six public health/infectious diseases specialists about their own behavior choices.
3rd Jul 2020 - Washington Post

WHO urges countries to 'wake up' and halt virus

The World Health Organization on Friday urged countries hit by serious coronavirus outbreaks to “wake up” to the realities on the ground instead of bickering, and to “take control”. “People need to wake up. The data is not lying. The situation on the ground is not lying,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told journalists at a briefing hosted by the UN correspondents’ association in Geneva. Touching almost every country on Earth since it emerged in China late last year, the coronavirus has hit at least 10.8 million people and killed 521,000 worldwide. The Americas are the hardest-hit region, with most cases and deaths registered in the United States, and with numbers skyrocketing in a several countries in Latin America.
4th Jul 2020 - Manila Bulletin

Coronavirus: Why Singapore turned to wearable contact-tracing tech

Singapore's TraceTogether Tokens are the latest effort to tackle Covid-19 with tech. But they have also reignited a privacy debate. The wearable devices complement the island's existing contact-tracing app, to identify people who might have been infected by those who have tested positive for the virus. All users have to do is carry one, and the battery lasts up to nine months without needing a recharge - something one expert said had "stunned" him. The government agency which developed the devices acknowledges that the Tokens - and technology in general - aren't "a silver bullet", but should augment human contact-tracers' efforts
5th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Popular Spanish beaches ‘forced to close due to overcrowding’

Popular tourist beaches in Spain were forced to temporarily close over the weekend due to concerns of overcrowding amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Closures were reported along the Costa del Sol, on the southern coast, and elsewhere in Spain’s Andalusian region. According to regional government figures, around 55 beaches were shut at some point on Sunday, the Malaga-based paper Sur reported.
5th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus: 'Crystal clear' drunk people will not socially distance

It is "crystal clear" that drunk people are unable to socially distance, the chair of the Police Federation said as pubs reopened on Saturday. Ministers had urged caution ahead of hospitality venues reopening in England after three months of lockdown. John Apter dealt with "naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks" on shift in Southampton. But police thanked the majority of people for acting responsibly as they enjoyed the night out.
5th Jul 2020 - BBC News

GP appointments by phone and video surge during coronavirus lockdown

The number of GP appointments over the phone or via video call have surged during lockdown, figures reveal, with the practice likely to continue after restrictions are fully lifted. NHS figures reveal that 48% of GP appointments in May were carried out over the telephone, compared with 14% in February. Despite appointment numbers dropping during lockdown, from 25m in February to 17m in May, the figures suggest many GPs have turned to “telemedicine” to interact with patients.
5th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Fever checks and perspex: Inside a Covid-proof gym

Temperature checking device at reception, perspex screens fitted to exercise bikes placed 2m apart, face masks on sale among the protein shakes: welcome to the gym, Covid-style. Well, not just yet. For while the doors of restaurants, pubs and hairdressers swung open on Saturday, health establishments are shuttered still. “It’s ridiculous that you can go to McDonald’s or have 10 pints before you can go to a gym,” rails James Balfour, co-founder of boutique studio 1Rebel. Continued closure amid government promises to combat Britain’s obesity crisis “is laughable right now.”
5th Jul 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

Coronavirus: 'Significant concerns' about Leicester clothing factories, says Matt Hancock

There are "quite significant concerns" about employment practices within clothing factories in freshly locked-down Leicester, the health secretary has told Sky News. Matt Hancock warned the government has the power to shut down businesses if they do not follow coronavirus guidelines. It follows allegations that clothing factories in Leicester, many of whom supply major online retailers, have risked spreading COVID-19 by failing to implement additional hygiene or social distancing measures.
5th Jul 2020 - Sky News


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Coronavirus: Labour call for free flu vaccines for over-50s this winter to prevent 'perfect storm'

Sir Keir Starmer wants 10 million more people to be offered a flu jab as part of efforts to protect the NHS this winter as we ride out the coronavirus storm at the same time
2nd Jul 2020 - Sky News

High-flying facemasks arrive at Mexican hospitals by drone

To eliminate the risk of contagious human beings, a Mexican company has launched a drone delivery service to get clean medical supplies to hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. Mexico-City based firm Sincronia Logistica has begun deploying unmanned drones to deliver personal protective gear and other essential equipment to public hospitals in the central state of Queretaro, north of the capital. Mexican healthcare workers have staged protests nationwide over the lack of personal protective equipment. The drones help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus by allowing for quick, contact-free drop-offs. “In addition to reducing time, we’ve also reduced human contact,” said Diego Garcia, director of business excellence at Sincronia Logistica. The innovation comes as the pandemic has surged in Mexico to give the country the sixth-highest death toll worldwide, with some 28,510 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities.
3rd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

This WHO-UNICEF Initiative Is Fighting so Everyone Can Wash Their Hands Against COVID-19

It’s often been said that changing personal behaviour is vital in containing COVID-19: wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distance, and frequently washing hands with soap and clean water. Yet for 3 billion people globally, access to hygiene is not as simple as turning on a tap, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). That’s 40% of the world population who cannot wash their hands with soap and water in their homes.
2nd Jul 2020 - Global Citizen

Trump administration calls for masks throughout air travel, other guidelines for Covid-19 era

The guidelines include notifying passengers about mask requirements and collecting passenger contact information. Airlines are grappling with how to keep travelers and crews safe in the coronavirus pandemic. The federal guidelines also recommended masks be worn by all onboard but stopped short of requiring social distancing on flights.
2nd Jul 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus NI: Face coverings to be made mandatory on all public transport in NI

The Northern Ireland Executive has approved the mandatory wearing of face coverings on all forms of public transport from July 10.
2nd Jul 2020 - The News Letter

Warning of 'Super-spreaders' in Spain's Andalusia, after over 90% of Covid-19 carriers showed no symptoms as health boss insists the virus is still here

Carlos Bautista appealed fo the public to adhere to health measures, including washing hands, wearing masks and using hand sanitiser whenever possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19
2nd Jul 2020 - The Olive Press


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Cash is no longer king: coronavirus quickens shift to online shopping

Shift to touch-free transactions and e-commerce is partly driven by consumers’ pressing concern over hygiene, says Mastercard. Online grocery sales in Hong Kong rise 73 per cent in the first quarter
2nd Jul 2020 - South China Morning Post

'No kissing': Amsterdam's red light district reopens after coronavirus shutdown

Amsterdam’s famed red light district has reopened after a long coronavirus shutdown, with sex workers and clients having to observe new rules to prevent infection. The Netherlands ordered all brothels closed in mid-March and had originally planned to keep them shut until September, but recently brought the date forward as Covid-19 cases dropped. Felicia Anna, a 34-year-old Romanian sex worker, said it “felt very good” to be back at work. “During the lockdown, a lot of sex workers ran into financial trouble so we’re very happy that we can finally start our job again,” Anna, chairwoman of the Red Light United trade union, said.
1st Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Take a look at Covid-19 measures in place at Alton Towers ahead of reopening

Alton Towers has revealed the social distancing and safety measures in place for thrill-seekers ahead of its reopening this weekend. The Staffordshire theme park has been unable to open this season due to the coronavirus pandemic but will be welcoming visitors through the gates on Saturday, July 4. A whole list of safety measures have been put in place to keep staff and visitors safe, bosses say. Restrictions will be in place on the number of guests able to visit the theme park each day, while a full overview of hygiene measures has been undertaken. This includes a requirement that guests pre-book their tickets online to ensure capacity levels can be controlled and thermometer checks carried out on entry for staff and visitors. Guests over the age of six will be required to wear a face mask on certain rides and rollercoasters. "Enhanced cleaning", hygiene stations and hand sanitiser spots have been set up at "key locations" around the park, as well as distance markers to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
1st Jul 2020 - Derbyshire Live

How air purifiers and cleaners may help keep you safer indoors from COVID-19

As states begin to adjust to a new normal and people start spending more time indoors, experts and local officials are starting to consider the role air filtration and ventilation may play in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces. Most recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all large malls in New York will have to install “air filtration systems that can filter out the COVID virus” before reopening. This requirement comes as infectious disease experts start more aggressively studying the ways in which the virus can spread through inhaling small particles that could hang around in the air for hours -- otherwise known as aerosolized particles.
1st Jul 2020 - ABC News

Robot uses UV light to kill coronavirus by rupturing its DNA

Specialist robots have been tested in industrial environments by Fab Lab Bahrain. They will be released for sale 'as soon as possible', the developers have said. UV light kills the virus by rupturing its DNA, making it unable to replicate. Follows previous inventions in Denmark and China which also use UV light
1st Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Local Covid-19 lockdowns too blunt, say German politicians

Locking down entire communities is too blunt an instrument to fight coronavirus flare-ups, politicians from the area affected by Germany’s first “local lockdown” have complained after a week of reimposed physical distancing measures. While restrictions continue to be relaxed across the rest of the country, the Gütersloh district in the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia will from today go into a second week of closed schools, nurseries, bars and museum following an outbreak of Covid-19 at a local abattoir. A lockdown in the neighbouring community of Warendorf, however, has been lifted after mass tests found no sign that the virus had significantly spread across the local population.
1st Jul 2020 - The Guardian


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WHO warns coronavirus pandemic is speeding up as countries ease lockdown rules: 'The worst is yet to come'

“Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual news conference. The virus has infected more than 10.1 million people around the world and killed at least 502,634 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. “The single most important intervention is ... tracing and quarantine contacts,” he said. “Six months since the virus started, it could be like a broken record to say exactly the same thing, but the same thing works. Test, test, isolate, quarantine cases.”
30th Jun 2020 - CNBC

'Don't relax': NSW's biggest threat is not Victoria, it's bravado, Premier says

Melbourne's coronavirus hotspots will be put back into lockdown from Wednesday in a desperate effort to contain an outbreak of the deadly disease as Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned NSW's biggest threat was not Victoria but increasing complacency within its own borders. The extraordinary steps taken in Victoria, which include a request to divert all international flights from Melbourne for the next fortnight, came on the same day Queensland announced it would reopen its borders to the rest of the country with the exception of Victoria, and the next phase of COVID-19 restrictions were eased in NSW.
30th Jun 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Coronavirus: Australia's health experts 'very concerned' about Victorian COVID-19 outbreak

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd has said Victoria's outbreak is a "national problem", and the Commonwealth will supply 800 additional people to help conduct a testing blitz in the state's hotspots. The additional force will be comprised of 200 clinical staff to carry out testing, 100 people for door knocking and community engagement and 500 people who will assist with contact tracing.
30th Jun 2020 - 9News

India's Modi warns of coronavirus 'negligence' as some cities extend lockdowns

India’s prime minister on Tuesday warned citizens against flouting rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as he extended a vast social security scheme until November. Several Indian cities prepared to extend their lockdowns to combat the spread of the infection on Tuesday, with daily new cases in the country remaining close to 20,000. “Ever since (easing of restrictions) started in the country, negligence in personal and social behaviour has been increasing,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address, adding citizens were ignoring guidelines on social distancing and hand washing. Under pressure for leaving the poor to fend for themselves early in a stringent lockdown that began in March, Modi also announced the extension of a scheme providing free food grains to 800 million Indians, at a cost of around $12 billion.
30th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus lockdown 'avoided thousands of deaths' in Scotland

A study has suggested between 7,000 and 40,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Scotland if the country had not gone into lockdown. Scientists have tried to estimate would have happened if Scotland had copied the approach taken in Sweden, where a lockdown was not imposed. Rowland Kao, a professor of epidemiology and data science at Edinburgh University, led the team which carried out the research for BBC Scotland. He said: "An obvious question to ask is if Scotland had done something similar to Sweden, would we have had a similar outcome without all the restrictions." Although there was no lockdown, Sweden relied on voluntary social distancing, banning gatherings of more than 50 people and halting visits to elderly care homes. "We took the relative amount of transmission going on in Sweden, translated that over to Scotland and looked at what the resultant number of deaths would have been had we taken that approach."
1st Jul 2020 - BBC News

American Lockdown Exceptionalism

As the number of Covid-19 cases starts to rise again in many states, the question is whether residents of those states will tolerate another lockdown. I used to think so, but it is increasingly clear that Americans have become comfortable with a remarkably high number of casualties. There is a mechanism of social conformity at work here. Most people will not tolerate a small risk to their lives to dine out, for instance — but they might if all their friends are doing the same. The appeal of a restaurant isn’t just the food, it’s the shared experience and the sense that others are doing it, too. The danger lies in the potential for ratchet effects. If hardly anyone is eating out or going to bars, you might be able to endure the deprivation. But once others have started doing something, you will probably feel compelled to join them, even at greater risk to your life. Consider that in the 1920s, the chance of catching a disease or infection from dining out was pretty high, but people still went out. Accepting that level of risk was simply considered to be part of life, because everyone saw that everyone else was doing it. In similar fashion, members of an infantry brigade are usually willing to charge an enemy position so long as they can be assured that all their comrades are, too.
30th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Those told to self-isolate will face $5K fine if they do not: KFL&A Public Health

KFL&A Public Health has issued a second novel coronavirus-related public health order, allowing public health officials to fine any person in the region who has not been isolating after being ordered to.
30th Jun 2020 - MSN Canada

Bavaria's free COVID-19 test for all splits Germany

The state of Bavaria approved plans on Tuesday for universal testing for COVID-19, prompting debate elsewhere in Germany about whether to follow suit or stick with the current targeted approach to prevent a possible second wave of infections. Germany has successfully managed to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control with far fewer deaths than most other large European nations despite relatively softer lockdown measures that allowed some social and economic life to continue. But an outbreak this month at an abattoir in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia affecting more than 1,500 workers has forced a lockdown for 600,000 people and raised fears that Germany remains vulnerable despite its early success. Under current rules, free tests are available for people who have symptoms such as fever and Germany’s 16 states carry out frequent tests among high-risk groups in, for example, retirement homes, hospitals and daycare centres.
30th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Researchers hope for less invasive coronavirus test before pupils return to school in September

Experts hope to have a less invasive coronavirus test that does not require a swab of the throat by the time schools in England fully reopen in September. Helen Ward, professor of public health at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, said that as lockdown measures are eased, and local outbreaks become possible, communication about the transmission of the virus needs to become more nuanced. She added that a "key question" is whether rapid detection of Covid-19 will be in place ahead of a possible surge in infections when schools reopen in September and universities return in October.
30th Jun 2020 - Evening Standard

If Americans keep ignoring COVID-19 safety precautions, we'll have to shut down. Again.

As I was riding my bicycle around Manhattan last weekend, I encountered too many disturbing examples of people in denial, and not just against COVID-19. While almost all the cyclists wore masks, few wore helmets — as though to say they were only capable of one health safety action at a time. Most of the pedestrians did not wear masks at all and, worse, were huddling close together. At the outdoor restaurants I passed, the waiters wore cloth masks but none of the customers did, as though they believed the myth that this virus could not be spread outside. This was not a city with a consistent protective response against the potential resurgence of COVID-19, but rather one rejoicing in the good weather and having broken free of the restrictions of the past three months. Unfortunately, the viral storm could return here at any time. We are doing well in New York, with only 1% of those tested coming back positive, but things are far worse in the South and West, with almost 15% of Texans and nearly 16% of Floridians who are tested receiving positive results.
30th Jun 2020 - USA TODAY


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Virus re-emergence after lockdown ends

A new report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour in June 2020 reports predictions as to the effects of removing lockdown restrictions on the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and suggests that individual responsibility concerning social distancing and other precautions could avoid the need for lockdowns. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is in different phases in different countries, waning in some former hotspots but rising rapidly in others. Since there are no antivirals to prevent or treat infections, the only preventative measure available is social distancing and lockdowns.
29th Jun 2020 - News Medical

We Have a Cheap, Effective Way to Keep Ourselves Safer From COVID-19. Why Are We Fighting About It?

We have found a disease control tool that, when used properly, can dramatically reduce the person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Studies have shown that this tool could reduce transmission by somewhere between 50% and 85%. The tool is cheap and remarkably low-tech. You can even make one at home. It has no significant side effects. And with each passing day, the scientific research showing the tool’s effectiveness gets stronger and stronger. If this tool were a vaccine or medicine, we’d be high-fiving each other and popping the champagne, knowing we’d discovered a crucial means to help prevent the spread of the pandemic.
29th Jun 2020 - TIME

Has Covid Testing Gone Wrong?

Is the biggest mistake in the Covid-19 crisis about to happen? As the country comes out of lockdown, the UK needs a test and trace system that can stop the disease from spreading again. So is that system ready to keep us safe? Reporter Richard Bilton investigates the rapid expansion of our testing capacity and asks whether we have got the world-beating service the prime minister promised.
29th Jun 2020 - BBC Panorama

Coronavirus: What are social distancing and lockdown rules?

With social distancing guidance in England changing to "one metre plus" from 4 July, how can you invite friends and family into your home safely? Rules are different in each of the four UK nations. So who will I be able to have in my own home?
29th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Police across UK braced to quell disorder as lockdown eased on ‘Super Saturday’

Police will mount operations all over the country this weekend to prevent new outbreaks of violence when lockdown rules are eased. Martin Hewitt, head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said forces recognised “people have had frustrations” and would be ready to enjoy the “new freedom” that will come when pubs, restaurants, hotels and other businesses reopen on Saturday. But he said it remained vital that the public acted responsibly to prevent the risk of a second wave of Covid-19.
29th Jun 2020 - Evening Standard

Alabama State University to reopen this fall as 'mask mandatory' campus, modified schedule

In a 29-page “working” guide issued on June 27, ASU announced it would implement a phased plan, including new, increased health and safety measures that would require all staff, students and visitors to wear face coverings on the university’s “mask mandatory” campus; including hallways, classrooms and public spaces across campus, large or small. Classroom desks and chairs will be arranged to meet the CDC recommended physical distance of 6 feet apart. The university will also require students and faculty to present their school IDs at various points of entry, and a checkpoint will be established at Councill Hall where employees will undergo temperature screenings before being admitted to campus.
29th Jun 2020 - Montgomery Advertiser

University of Missouri to require face coverings in classrooms

The University of Missouri will require students and employees to wear a mask in classrooms in the fall as a way to fight the spread of COVID-19, the university said Monday. In a message to students and staff, MU administrators said the use of masks will be encouraged but not required in indoor open areas, as well. Workers in offices where 6 feet of distance between people is achievable will not be required to wear face coverings. Students and employees are expected to bring their own face coverings and sanitation supplies, according to the email. Staff will wear clear face shields in order to project, and for students who may need to read lips. The university will have a limited supply of masks for faculty or students who forget to bring one.
29th Jun 2020 - ABC17News.com

How long can the novel coronavirus survive on surfaces and in the air?

At a time when many people have taken to washing hands and sanitising the objects they hold dear—frequently—a pesky question has loomed. How long does the SARS-CoV-2 virus stick around? A new paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the first to examine the lifespan of the virus on common surfaces, offers some answers.
19th Mar 2020 - The Economist


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Viruses do not take breaks. The world can learn from how the DRC is beating Ebola

The Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has ended. Thursday marked 42 days since the last person with Ebola was discharged from care, double the maximum length of time it takes for symptoms to appear. Nearly two years of hard work and leadership by the communities in DRC has paid off, with the end of the first Ebola outbreak in a conflict zone. It’s a time for celebration but not complacency. Viruses do not take breaks. DRC’s 10th Ebola outbreak may have come to a close but an 11th, in the north-west part of the country, was detected on 1 June. Cases are appearing 240km away from Mbandaka, the centre of this latest outbreak.
25th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: More care urged for pregnant BAME patients

NHS England is asking doctors and midwives to provide more checks and support to black, Asian and ethnic-minority (BAME) pregnant women because of their greater risk from coronavirus. Black mums-to-be are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19 than white pregnant women. Pregnant Asian women are four times as likely to end up in hospital. Maternity services remain open and mums-to-be are urged to keep in touch with their midwives to stay safe.
27th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Australia's Victoria state mandates coronavirus testing for travellers

Australia's Victoria state will implement mandatory coronavirus tests for returning travellers after a sharp spike in infections over the past two weeks, the state's premier said on Sunday. The country's second-most populous state had 49 new cases on Sunday, its highest in more than two months and the 12th consecutive day of double-digit rises. The rest of Australia has seen almost no infections. "Much like a bushfire, putting this out is challenging," Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told a press conference, alluding to wildfires at the end of last year that burnt through vast swaths of the country. "Containing it, though, is something that we can do, and test and trace is the most effective thing to do."
28th Jun 2020 - MSN.com

A Horrifying U.S. Covid Curve Has a Simple Explanation

Declaring victory too close to the top of the curve appears to be an excellent way to return to new heights. The gap with Europe argues for more restraint from fast-opening states going forward, and in fact, some governors are taking the cue. In Texas, where cases are rising at a dangerous rate, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has called a halt to business reopenings and ordered taverns closed. North Carolina has also frozen it reopening efforts, as have Utah and Nevada. And of course there is the example of New York and New Jersey, both of which waited until their steep curves were tamed before starting reopening efforts; now, even as activities resume in both states, new cases have slowed to a trickle.
26th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: Does anyone have a working contact-tracing app?

The claim: No country in the world has a working contact-tracing app. Verdict: There are certainly countries in the world that would dispute that. Germany's app is up and running and India says its app has had 131 million downloads and traced 900,000 people to tell them to isolate.
26th Jun 2020 - BBC News


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Once the Center of the Coronavirus Crisis, Europe Now Looks Ahead With Hope

After lockdowns, Europeans are cautiously optimistic that any second wave won’t be as bad as the first. When the coronavirus first hit Europe, the continent was ill-equipped to detect or contain it. Now, many governments and health experts believe so much has changed that a crisis on the scale of this spring’s probably won’t be repeated. More than a month since Europe began lifting its lockdowns, new coronavirus infections are continuing to decline in most countries, despite concern about some new clusters, including among meat-processing workers in Germany.
25th Jun 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Which Covid-19 changes will become permanent for the workforce?

Hays Talent Solutions’ Jacky Carter discusses how some of the recent work-life changes could become permanent in the future. In the world of work, the effects of social measures that governments are being forced to take have proven to be incredibly challenging for businesses and employees. However, for many business leaders around the world, they are now starting to turn their attention to the potential long-term implications of the pandemic on the next era of work.
25th Jun 2020 - Siliconrepublic.com

NDSU requiring all students to wear masks in class for the fall; no plans to alter schedule

In an email. NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani said the university received a $20 million grant to help with its COVID-19 planning, which includes the launch of a new way of virtual learning. “The HyFlex world is one where students and faculty who are vulnerable, in isolation or in quarantine, can still effectively teach, learn and be an active part of the NDSU community,” Bresciani said. "We have heard the concerns of some faculty and students about returning to the classroom environment, and this model should help allay those concerns.” The HyFlex Education Model is a hybrid system of delivering classes online in a classroom that’s as close to normal as possible, according to NDSU. The school will also be introducing additional physical spacing in classes and require all students to wear face coverings while in class.
25th Jun 2020 - KFYR-TV

Abattoir air cooling systems could pose Covid-19 risks, expert warns

Air cooling systems used at abattoirs could be an overlooked risk factor accounting for Covid-19 outbreaks, according to scientists who have studied conditions at a meat-processing plant at the heart of a cluster of infections in Germany. Martin Exner, a hygiene and public health expert at the University of Bonn, spent two days analysing the Tönnies plant in Gütersloh, a western German city sent back into lockdown this week after around 1,500 employees were infected with coronavirus. At a press conference, Exner said the air filtration system in the slaughter area had contributed to the spread of aerosol droplets laden with the virus, describing it as a “newly recognised risk factor”.
25th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Sweden’s Covid-19 expert ‘willing to reconsider’ use of face masks

Anders Tegnell has repeatedly made international headlines since advising against a full lockdown of the Scandinavian country. He has so far argued against the WHO’s recommendation to use face masks, saying there’s ‘very little scientific evidence’ that they work
25th Jun 2020 - South China Morning Post


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Essential cleaning tips in the wake of COVID-19 - Marketplace

There are areas in a long-term care facility that are touched frequently by residents and staff. Some are obvious: light switches, door handles, railings, TV remote controls, the tops of chairs and handles on cabinets, etc. But did you know floors can also be a high-touch area? In a study at a hospital in Wuhan, China, the CDC reports that “floors can be a strong source of cross-contamination. Gravity and airflow cause virus droplets to fall to the ground, where medical staff pick it up and potentially tracks it throughout the facility.” Every time a resident or a staff member touches a high-touch surface — and if that surface is contaminated — those pathogens can collect on hands, starting the spread of cross-contamination.
23rd Jun 2020 - McKnight's Long Term Care News

Healthy Habits We've Learned From COVID-19

Washing our hands better, cooking more at home, and using telemedicine can help protect us now and later
24th Jun 2020 - ConsumerReports.org

Social distancing remains vital to our battle against COVID-19

Many of us are guilty of relaxing and wishfully thinking that the coronavirus pandemic is nearing the end. Summer can bring thoughts of family vacations and trips with friends. People are planning these getaways — some responsibly and others less so — because we are tired of quarantining. However, this virus is still dangerous, and the risks of unfettered spread remain. We’ve paid a heavy price for containing this virus; it would be a tragedy to let it run wild now. Our economy will improve. There will be a time again when social distancing is something that lives only in the past. But at this moment, caution and smart thinking remain vitally important.
24th Jun 2020 - The Dallas Morning News

Don’t listen to Trump. Mask-wearing is essential.

All Americans, and all businesses, want the country reopened. Mr. Trump has framed the issue falsely, as a choice between economic revival and public health. In fact, the goal is to reopen intelligently, without triggering a fresh tsunami of infections. That will require responsible decision-making by state and local leaders as well as companies and individuals. Wearing masks is an essential place to start.
24th Jun 2020 - The Washington Post

Judge orders Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask

President Bolsonaro has been ordered by a federal judge to wear a mask in public after he attended political rallies in Rio de Janeiro without any face covering. Renato Borelli said that Mr Bolsonaro could be fined 2,000 reais ($387) a day if he continued to disobey a federal district ordinance meant to slow the Covid-19 outbreak. Facemasks have been mandatory in public in the city since April. Last week Abraham Weintraub, the education minister, was fined for failing to wear a face mask at a rally in Brasilia, the capital. He shook hands and posed for pictures with demonstrators, many of whom also went without masks. Brazil is facing one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus, with more than 1.1 million cases so far and more than 50,000 deaths. Mr Bolsonaro has resisted calls for lockdowns, saying that his country’s economy could not survive.
24th Jun 2020 - The Times


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Schools To Reopen In Fall With Masks, Coronavirus Rules: Pritzker

With summer officially underway, parents and teachers got the news they've been waiting for. Will students return to Illinois schools this fall, despite the coronavirus pandemic? The answer, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, is yes — with masks, new social distancing protocols and the possibility of a return to e-learning if there's another wave of the coronavirus. After five consecutive weeks of declining coronavirus case counts and COVID-19 deaths, Pritzker on Tuesday announced plans to return to in-person learning.
23rd Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

French StopCovid app led to 1.8 million activations as of June 22

France's state-supported "StopCovid" contact-tracing app has been downloaded by 1.9 million people, roughly 2% of the population, leading to 1.8 million activations as of June 22, digital affairs minister Cedric O said on Tuesday. The "StopCovid" smartphone app, which was launched on June 2, warns users if they have come into contact with anyone infected with the coronavirus to help to contain the epidemic as France emerges from lockdown.
23rd Jun 2020 - TheChronicleHerald.ca

California governor urges mask use as hospitalizations rise

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is imploring people to wear face coverings to protect against the coronavirus and allow businesses to safely open.
23rd Jun 2020 - Action News Now

Summer solstice parties cancelled in Spain amid coronavirus concerns

Beach parties on the eve of the summer solstice have been cancelled across Spain as authorities tried to avoid crowds to prevent a new outbreak of Covid-19. Traditional bonfires and spectacular firework displays next to the sea were also prohibited by health chiefs from Valencia to Barcelona along the Mediterranean coast and in Galicia in the northwest.
23rd Jun 2020 - iNews

Illinois schools to reopen in fall after coronavirus shutdown

Schools must follow Illinois Department of Public Health requirements to reopen. Besides face coverings and social distancing, those include prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, symptom screenings and temperature checks for anyone entering school buildings, and increased cleaning and disinfection.
23rd Jun 2020 - Chicago Sun-Times

Brazilian judge tells Bolsonaro to behave and wear a face mask

A Brazilian judge has ordered Jair Bolsonaro to rectify his “at best disrespectful” behaviour by wearing a face mask when circulating in the capital, Brasília. The president has sparked outrage by repeatedly flouting measures designed to slow the advance of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Brazilians. The rightwing populist has made a succession of public appearances – at protests, shops and even a floating barbecue – wearing a mask incorrectly, or not at all. On Monday, a federal judge ruled Bolsonaro was not above the laws of the federal district, which contains Brazil’s capital, and would face a daily fine of 2,000 reais (£310) if he continued to break the rules. The use of masks has been compulsory there since late April.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Guardian


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Tips for social distancing til 2022

If Covid-19 had an official glossary, words like “quarantinis” and phrases like “flattening the curve” and “Zoom call” would all be included. But if there is one phrase that defines the zeitgeist of 2020’s global pandemic, perhaps it’s “social distancing.” Now that we’ve gotten used to the term, we might as well settle into the practice. With scientists suggesting we'll be intermittent social distancing until about 2022, Americans will have a lot of time to fill. Luckily, isolation doesn't mean you can't broaden your horizons — some new skills may be just what you need to go the distance.
22nd Jun 2020 - Inverse

BMC trains sanitation workers to remain safe

The BMC wants that in a week, all the sanitary workers are trained on every saftey aspect of Covid-19. These workers include; sweepers, superviers, ward officers, sanitary inspectors, drivers and helpers of garbage transporting trucks. On Monday 157 of them were given training at patia. The training module included how to maintain social distancing, personal hygiene, hand hygiene and how to wear personal protective equipment
23rd Jun 2020 - Times of India

Sally the Robot angling to replace the salad bar in your local grocery store

Meanwhile, grocery stores have been forced to eliminate their salad bars and prepared food buffets due to safety concerns, creating the perfect opportunity for a vast army of Sallys to invade the lives hundreds of millions of Americans. So far Chowbotics says it has signed three grocery store deals and has initiated pilot programs with several others. Sally has been such a success that some store owners have requested that in addition to prepared foods, they’d like to see versions of Sally that dispense prepped meals for customers to finish cooking at home. How long will it take for Sally to eventually overtake every position in the supermarket?
22nd Jun 2020 - The Takeout on MSN.com

'Everybody is healthy': Will the pandemic spur a new approach to homelessness?

Once the novel coronavirus has been tamed or eradicated and the world returns to ‘normal,’ what will that look like? Will COVID-19 fundamentally and permanently alter our lives? In an occasional series, this newspaper examines the potential lasting effects of the pandemic on how we live, work and play. Today: Will the pandemic point the way to a new approach to homelessness and opioids? A curious thing happened to Ottawa’s homeless population during this year’s COVID-19 pandemic: They became healthier.
22nd Jun 2020 - Ottawa Citizen


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COVID-19: Supporting your recovery

This resource has been developed by a group of multi-disciplinary health professionals at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. The purpose of the website is to support patients with their initial recovery once discharged from hospital following treatment for COVID-19. Although hospital admission is referred to throughout this resource, it can also be used for patients who remain in their own homes and we hope that the information and advice provided will assist all patients and their families starting their rehabilitation journey following COVID-19. This information should not replace any individual advice you may have received on discharge from hospital. If you have any concerns about ongoing or worsening symptoms, please seek advice from either your GP or the NHS 111 website.
22nd Jun 2020 - Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

NYC virus tracing off to a bumpy start: report

New York City’s effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus through contact tracing has been hampered by the reluctance of some people with the virus to provide information to tracers
21st Jun 2020 - ABC News

Pope says coronavirus should spark new environmental awareness

The drastic reduction in pollution during coronavirus lockdowns around the world should lead to greater concern for the environment as restrictions are lifted, Pope Francis said on Sunday. At his Sunday address in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said the pandemic made many people reflect on their relationship with the environment. The square reopened to the public a month ago and Italy’s last travel restrictions were lifted on June 3. “The lockdown has reduced pollution and revealed once more the beauty of so many places free from traffic and noise. Now, with the resumption of activities, we should all be more responsible for looking after our common home,” he said, using his term for the Earth.
21st Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

California mandates masks for most public activity as coronavirus numbers surge

Face coverings are "critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy," Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
18th Jun 2020 - NBC News


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Italy's message to UK: 'Don't consider easing social distancing until masks become norm'

On the steps above Piazza Popolo a couple teenagers were making the most of post lockdown time with some non-social distance kissing. Beside them a rather bored friend waited for them to get back to chatting. Covid-19 hasn’t changed everything. But enthusiastic teenagers aside, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the Italian way of life. No more the double kiss greeting or the warm embrace. It looks and feels so alien.
17th Jun 2020 - ITV News

Spain to trial coronavirus tracing app on holiday island

Europe’s latest scheme using Bluetooth technology to log contacts between people and send a warning if any of them test positive for the virus will start in late June on La Gomera, near tourist hot spot Tenerife. “The aim is to explore the potential of this mobile tracing application in a real-life scenario,” the archipelago’s government said in a statement, adding the results will be used to decide whether to roll out the app nationwide. Local authorities have committed to promoting widespread take-up to improve the reliability of the trial’s findings, the statement said. Germany’s national app was downloaded 6.5 million times in the 24 hours after its launch.
18th Jun 2020 - Reuters

COVID-19 is making it difficult to find a safe public toilet – Poynter

“Lavatories are, unfortunately, ideal for the transmission of COVID-19. They are closed and poorly ventilated,” says Stephen Berger, M.D., an infectious disease expert and co-founder of GIDEON, the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network. “Urinals and sinks are crowded together, and partitions rarely extend upward to shield someone’s face. Although toilet stalls are isolated, droplets and aerosols will continue to linger there, several minutes after the last user has left,” he says.
18th Jun 2020 - Poynter

Most Home Care Agencies Plan to Continue Remote Onboarding, Work Arrangements Post-COVID-19

For months now, home care experts have echoed the same prediction: COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the industry. Now, new data is backing up those anecdotal claims, painting a picture of what the nonmedical home care landscape of the future will look like. It’s not quite the Jetsons, but it’s headed that direction. When the COVID-19 crisis hit the U.S. earlier this year, home care providers were forced to pivot. They transitioned office-based staff to working from home, implemented new virtual training and care solutions, and donned personal protective equipment, in some cases, for the first time ever.
18th Jun 2020 - Home Health Care News

Coronavirus: why did England ignore an army of existing contact tracers?

The New York Times has reported that despite the UK having had nearly 300,000 cases of the disease and more than 40,000 deaths, some contact tracers have not yet spoken to a single person. But when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, there was already a group of people who were very well prepared to help the government’s tracking efforts – the NHS workers who carry out contact tracing in cases of sexually transmitted infections. In the world of sexually transmitted infections, contact tracing is known as partner notification. The task of health advisers, employed in sexual health clinics since the 1950s, is to support people who have been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections to get their sexual contacts tested and treated as well. They work with other highly trained professionals who are also used to having difficult conversations with people who have been exposed to infection, in the health protection teams of Public Health England and local government Environmental Health Departments.
18th Jun 2020 - The Conversation UK


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