• rita4westcentral

Connecting Communities | April 8th 2020

Dear colleagues / friends

Greetings from lock-down. Here is today’s newsletter. Thank you for all good suggestions and we are working on incorporating ideas into next issues

  • Send us links to ‘local’ and other articles for wider sharing - in all languages.

  • Adapt the newsletter for use in your local networks. Personal stories can be found on our blog at https://bit.ly/39we6RC

Stories with pictures on website at cccovid19.org

Please share with your networks especially community support groups.

'Connecting Communities’ is drafted by WHO public health experts aggregating news from around the world. It aims to provide a selected sampling of 'news for you to use, inform behaviour and help others. Please contribute and pass on to your friends, family, networks. Send stories in any of the eight areas listed below.

  • Isolation

  • Hygiene

  • Working remotely

  • Virtual classrooms

  • Community action

  • Public policies

  • Maintaining services & health care challenges / opportunities.

As we are all communicators in this era - you are invited pass it on!

Contact details:





'Start daily routines - weekends different':

It can feel daunting to think about the weeks ahead. But many people have not only lived but thrived in similar circumstances. A polar scientist, a monk, a solo sailor and more offer tips

1st Apr 2020 - The Guardian

Survival from citizen scientists on a remote Norwegian island

For more than seven months, Sunniva Sorby and Hilde Fålulm Strøm have self-isolated by choice in a one-room wooden cabin in Svalbard, Norway - a cluster of islands midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. With their nearest neighbour about 100 miles away and with no running water or electricity, Sorby and Strøm have found a few tricks to cope with being alone together. Those tricks could come in handy, as people around the world spend more time with roommates and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

6th Apr 2020 - PRI

4 tips for working from home

Yes, working from home is isolating, and it's easy to see how those technologists used to an office can feel increasingly depressed by the isolation-and stress-of working alone during a global pandemic. Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate some of those feelings during this difficult time.

7th Apr 2020 - Dice Insights

Parents calming tips for Social Isolation

We humans are exceptionally resilient. We have a remarkable capacity to adjust, accommodate, invent, and adapt, even with little warning or preparation when we are nimble and willing to come to terms with the reality in front of us. Here are a few things parents can to do to help us find greater calm and stability during the Covid-19 crisis.

7th Apr 2020 - Thrive Global

Protecting relationships in self-isolation

Struggling to cope with spending extended periods at home? Experts share their tips on maintaining good relations with children and partners

7th Apr 2020 - The Independent

NASA tips to survive self-isolation

Some people suffer from uncontrollable giggling. Others become selfish, with their worse personality traits emerging,' NASA spacesuit tester Benjamin Pothier says on the subject of self-isolation. The 46-year-old from France has travelled all over the world to remote locations to study isolation and investigate how astronauts adapt to living in confined environments for months at a time. He once spent six weeks living on a research station in the high Arctic during the winter months when it stays dark 24/7. 'I'm not mad,' he jokes, 'I was there to find out how one adapts to coping in such extreme conditions.' 

7th Apr 2020 Metro.co.uk

Must-reads to boost concentration, energy and immunity

Viva! are the UK's leading vegan campaigning charity and their experts from Viva! Health have compiled a simple list of key foods that will help you to stay focused, maintain energy levels and support your immune system whilst in self-isolation.

7th Apr 2020 - Foodservice Equipment Journal


Advice on the use of masks

This document provides advice on the use of masks in communities, during home care, and in health care settings in areas that have reported cases of COVID-19. It is intended for individuals in the community, public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, health care managers, health care workers (HCWs), and community health workers. This updated version includes a section on Advice to decision makers on the use of masks for healthy people in community settings.

6th Apr 2020 - World Health Organization

Ineffective Surgical Masks - WHO Guidance

Surgical and cotton face masks appear ineffective for blocking SARS-CoV-2 when COVID-19 patients cough, according to a small study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Four patients with COVID-19 in South Korea coughed onto petri dishes about 20 cm (8 inches) away while not wearing a mask, then wearing a surgical mask, then a cotton mask, and then no mask again. Researchers measured viral load in the petri dishes and also from swabs taken from the outside and inside of the masks. For three patients, the petri dishes had detectable virus when surgical masks were worn, and for two patients, petri dishes were also positive when cotton masks were worn. Additionally, for all patients, the outer surface of both masks was positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the inner surface didn't always have detectable virus).

7th Apr 2020 - NEJM Journal Watch

Laundry tips - when and how to wash your clothes to avoid contamination

The coronavirus can survive for hours on various surfaces including your clothing, so your laundry is an important part of your hygiene. Experts offer tips on how often to wash, how hot the water should be and how to handle dirty clothes

2nd Apr 2020 - South China Morning Post

Face masks - is the advice changing?

Many health authorities, previously discouraged the public from wearing masks to avoid COVID-19. However, emerging evidence has caused the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the UK government to reconsider whether the public should wear masks. There are of course different types of face masks, and we are mainly considering disposable surgical masks.

7th Apr 2020 - The Conversation UK

Study finds Virus can survive up to 7 days on a face mask

A pair of new coronavirus studies looking at the virus's ability to survive on different surfaces reveals that traces of SARS-CoV-2 were found on face masks for up to seven days after contamination. The COVID-19 virus can survive anywhere from a few hours to a few days on different surfaces in regular temperature and humidity conditions. Studies have shown that disinfectants, soap, as well as heat will help kill the virus.

6th Apr 2020 - BGR

Should You Wear Contacts or Glasses?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recognizes that those who wear contacts touch their face and eyes more than those who wear glasses. ` It's important to remember that although there is a lot of concern about coronavirus, common sense precautions can significantly reduce your risk of getting infected. So, wash your hands a lot, follow good contact lens hygiene and avoid touching or rubbing your nose, mouth and especially your eyes,` said Dr. Sonal Tuli, an ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the AAO.

8th Apr 2020 - NBC4 Washington

Effectiveness of cotton masks - A controlled comparison in 4 Patients

The median viral loads of nasopharyngeal and saliva samples from the 4 participants were 5.66 log copies/mL and 4.00 log copies/mL, respectively. The median viral loads after coughs without a mask, with a surgical mask, and with a cotton mask were 2.56 log copies/mL, 2.42 log copies/mL, and 1.85 log copies/mL, respectively. All swabs from the outer mask surfaces of the masks were positive for SARS-CoV-2, whereas most swabs from the inner mask surfaces were negative

6th Apr 2020 -Annals.org

Community activities

Former nurse & helpers hand-making hospital scrubs

A former Royal Stoke nurse has enlisted a small army of local seamstresses to help her hand-make scrubs for hospital staff as part of a new campaign. Scrubs have been in higher demand under the current circumstances of the coronavirus crisis so the group is working with UHNM's linen services team. And after spotting a post on Facebook from a nurse in London asking for donations of scrubs to medical staff, Laura McColl decided she wanted to do something to help NHS staff locally at UHNM.

6th Apr 2020 - Stoke-on-Trent Live

Round Table mission to boost PPE supply

An industrious charity team of volunteers have stepped up their mission to support Oldham's NHS front line heroes in the battle against coronavirus. Initially, Saddleworth Round Table were asked to provide food, drinks and personal hygiene products to exhausted nurses and back up teams. But Round Table's Mike Procter said: ` This has now escalated into request for personal protective equipment (PPE).

7th Apr 2020 - The Oldham Times

Neighbours come to the rescue

Scores of Goring residents have signed up to a `street champions` scheme to help neighbours who are self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 700 people have joined the Combat Corona Volunteers group on Facebook, which was set up by villager Helena Fahie to either offer or request assistance. More than 100 have added their names to a list of helpers and put postcards through every door in their street giving their contact details for others in need.

8th Apr 2020 - Henley Standard

'The Office' creates a remote workplace Comedy

Now that many people are working from home amid the coronavirus outbreak, producers from The Office are taking inspiration from our new normal. Deadline reports that Ben Silverman and Paul Lieberstein, former executive producers on the NBC sitcom, are developing a remote workplace comedy series that will unfold over Zoom and other methods of digital communication. The series is reportedly set around a `wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff's connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.`

8th Apr 2020 - MSN

Support for remote working teachers

The Royal Society of Chemistry is offering a wide range of teaching resources and support for teachers working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, including free professional development courses. We have also asked for your thoughts in a survey about what support you need, so we can adapt what we are offering to suit you - our community - best during these challenging times. All resources are available for free if you register on the RSC Education website.

7th Apr 2020 - Royal Society of Chemistry

Irish-medium education gives sector online learning head start

Colaiste Feirste is spearheading high-quality online lessons in Irish - and believes the struggles of Irish-medium education gives it a head start. The West Belfast school's approach delivers classes online and develops new learning strategies. In addition, it offers support mechanisms for pupils' social and emotional wellbeing, and special educational needs.

8th Apr 2020 - The Irish News

Remote Working

Editor approved ‘Home Office’ tips to make Remote working Healthier and Happier

So the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is forcing your company's hand and stipulating you work from home for the next few weeks to keep the wheels turning. For some of you, that might sound like a dream. Easy access to a snack cupboard and kettle, little-to-no commute time between the bed and the laptop, and the opportunity to stretch that lunch-time walk just a little longer because you've basically become the manager of your own time. However, you might quickly discover you're not particularly well equipped to deal with a long-term working-from-home system, whether that be a lack of the vital tech to keep you up and running, or some creature comforts that make working in your living room - the new home office - a little bit easier.

7th Apr 2020 - YAHOO!

Challenges & solutions for Hard Of Hearing

`I've always found a way to make sure being hard of hearing didn't get in my way. I've even managed teams remotely. But in that scenario, I have the ability to get to know each person's speech patterns. It helps decipher what they're saying when trying to read lips on a video screen.` But now, like the many others in her similar situation, she has been flung into operating 100% through remote platforms.

7th Apr 2020 - Forbes

Can organisations create a culture of equality while working remotely?

Dr Michelle Cullen, head of inclusion and diversity at Accenture Ireland, writes that we should still focus on company culture when teams are apart.

7th Apr 2020 Siliconrepublic.com

What the new normal looks like, plus remote management tips

ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan, ZDNet UK Editor-in-Chief Steve Ranger, and TechRepublic Editor-in-Chief Bill Detwiler sat down to discuss their best management hacks for getting the most from their teams while working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

6th Apr 2020 - TechRepublic

Tips on remote working

Over the past few years, more and more companies around the world have discovered the benefits of allowing their employees to work from home. Not only does remote work allow companies to save money on their overhead, but employees enjoy spending more time with their families and simply having a more flexible work schedule. However, remote work does also hold its challenges. Thus, the following list includes a few tips on working remotely.

7th Apr 2020 - Thrive Global

Apps to boost productivity

With the current wave of coronavirus, many businesses will allow a portion of their employees to work from home. For some businesses, this is the first time they will allow their workers to do this. Many business owners will dread allowing their staff to work remotely as they may feel it reduces productivity. These statistics show that working remotely can reduce operational costs and boost productivity.

7th Apr 2020 - HR News

Virtual classrooms

Seamless virtual learning in private schools

The use of technology amidst the coronavirus crisis exposes the wide digital divide in the Kenyan education system. Private schools appear to do better than public ones, further widening the class gap between the two. Even in the private schools category, high-end international schools appear to have been better prepared to handle a disruption to their program than others.

7th Apr 2020 - Daily Nation

Virtual learning requires adaptability

Many teachers have taken to using Zoom, a video call platform, to simulate (while unable to fully recreate) aspects of the classroom experience. Others have continued to use Google Classroom, a MVRHS mainstay for assigning and collecting assignments online. While most teachers also feel that they will be able to provide enough information remotely to keep students moving forward, this will require that students show up.

7th Apr 2020 - The Martha's Vineyard Times

Free cooking & fitness channels on Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel

You can now learn cooking from top chefs, pick up dance moves and watch documentaries on cars, history, space and other interesting topics for free. DTH service providers Tata Sky, Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV are offering their interactive channels for free until the end of the current lockdown, April 14.

7th Apr 2020 - The Asian Age

Americans turn to online learning

Dahwal Shah runs a site called Class Central, which he describes as a "Trip Advisor" for online courses offered by top universities worldwide. "As soon as the U.S. went into lockdown last Sunday, we saw a huge surge in traffic," Shah said. The site lists thousands of Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs. The vast majority are free. Many courses require hours of online class time and can take a month or longer to complete. But if you're looking for a source of meaningful self-improvement, the options are endless.

7th Apr 2020 - WCAX

Virtual Classrooms Fill Up

There are some industries that aren't just hiring, they're flourishing during this pandemic. Rozine Prock has been teaching online for several years. She teaches art, drawing, and graphic design. Teaching online hasn't been a stumbling block. In fact, Prock prefers the work-from-home lifestyle.

7th Apr 2020 - Spectrum News 1

Public Policies

Spanish prepare isolation Centres

The Spanish Health Ministry is preparing mass testing programs among essential workers in order to avoid new outbreaks once social distancing measures are lifted

7th Apr 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

No chance of lifting lockdown now

The Government has admitted that it does not intend to lift the nationwide coronavirus lockdown imminently after the initial three-week period. Downing Street confirmed that the review of isolation measures would not go ahead on the scheduled date this Monday and said it would instead take place after the three-week mark. Speaking at the daily Covid-19 press conference on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the worst thing the country could do was `take its foot off the peddle` in terms of social distancing.

7th Apr 2020 - Evening Standard

Brazil looks to China for help as cases rise

Brazil's health minister said the country faced a `serious problem` getting enough mechanical ventilators and had spoken to China to try and ensure it would be able to fill an order for face masks as coronavirus deaths accelerated. The right-wing president has lost support by minimizing the gravity of the pandemic and shocking public health experts by arguing for a relaxation of state lockdowns to keep the economy from stalling.

7th Apr 2020 - Reuters

Need for proactive vaccine strategies

The pandemic has made it clear, to governments and big pharma alike, that dedicating significant resources to proactive vaccination strategies are key to save lives

7th Apr 2020 - The Jerusalem Post

All must go right to find a Vaccine

Scientists are trying to cram 10 to 15 years of meticulous testing and careful lab work into a quick fix.

7th Apr 2020 - Bloomberg

How far away are 'immunity passports'?

There are huge hurdles facing us before we can allow people out and start normal life again - Unherd looks at the pros and cons of the argument

7th Apr 2020 - Unheard

Exit strategies: How do we move on?

There are three main strategies for leaving coronavirus lockdown, but each risks a dangerous second wave and further lockdowns if things don't go as planned - read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24632773-600-coronavirus-exit-strategies-how-do-we-get-out-of-lockdown/#ixzz6IyOK9IbT

7th Apr 2020 - New Scientist

Maintaining services

ICUs - where NHS heroes are battling Virus

New footage has emerged of embattled NHS staff on the frontlines of the war against coronavirus. Doctors and nurses at University College Hospital in London say they have never seen anything like this before and they're 'not even at the peak yet'. Medics wearing full personal protective equipment (PPEs) are shown closely monitoring patients strapped to ventilators in the so-called 'red zone' for the sickest of patients.

7th Apr 2020 - Metro

Google Doodle says ‘Thank You’ to workers and researchers

Today's Google Doodle celebrates all public health workers and researchers across the globe working in the fight against the novel coronavirus. The tribute is the first in a new Google Doodle series launched today to honour those working on the front lines of the outbreak. "Today, we'd like to say: To all the public health workers and to researchers in the scientific community, thank you," Google notes.

6th Apr 2020 - Newsweek

Quebec Health Official becomes a Sensation A month ago, Dr. Horacio Arruda was a relatively unknown bureaucrat in the Canadian province of Quebec. Now, you can find his face on T-shirts, a bread loaf at a Montreal bakery, and memes and videos all over social media. In this age of the coronavirus, Quebec's latest celebrity is its deputy health minister, who delivers down-to-earth advice in French and English in widely watched daily briefings.

6th Apr 2020 - NPR

Healthcare Innovations

Frontline Doctors confront uncertainties

"The group of friends talked about how best to manage a disease that five months ago had never been seen in a human being. So far, most of the world's attention has been justifiably dedicated to stopping the transmission of the disease, whether by quarantines and social distancing or vaccines. But the doctors on the call needed answers to a different question: what to do when covid-19 showed up at their hospital doors. They needed to know whether it was unusual for patients to get better before they got worse, for instance (no, it seems to happen with some frequency), or whether hydroxychloroquine would exacerbate poor cardiac outcomes (possible, but not likely)."

8th Apr 2020 - The New Yorker

"We have already had to stop treatment"

Professor Émile Ferrari heads the cardiology department at the Pasteur hospital in Nice. He discussed the hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin treatment in relation to severe forms of Covid-19. The CHU in Nice, like other medical establishments, is testing the hydroxychloroquine-azithromycin combination in patients hospitalized with severe forms of Covid-19. How are these patients tracked from a cardiological point of view? "We have implemented a 7/7 and H24 monitoring method; all the Covid units of Nice University Hospital send us the patient's ECG [electrocardiogram, ed] recordings. We interpret them live and report anomalies which indicate a predisposition to toxicity. And which then require a cessation of treatment." Has this ever happened? "Yes, from the start of the trial. Thanks to this ECG follow-up, we highlighted the major risks of a very serious accident in a patient, and the treatment was immedi ately stopped."

7th Apr 2020 - Nice Matin

Low antibody levels raise questions

Scientists in Shanghai say some recovered patients show no signs of the neutralising proteins. Early-stage findings could have implications for vaccine development and herd immunity, they say

7th Apr 2020 - South China Morning Post

1st Peer-review Vaccine trial shows promising results

"We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014," said Andrea Gambotto, co-senior author of the peer-reviewed paper published in the journal EBioMedicine, and associate professor of surgery at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in a statement. "These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus," Gambotto explained. "We knew exactly where to fight this new virus."

7th Apr 2020 - ScienceAlert

The Quest for a Pandemic Pill

Cells and viruses both use proteases to do the slicing; for Chavez's team, the challenge is to identify new compounds that will inhibit viral proteases without interfering with a human cell's proteases. He's planning to test about sixteen thousand drugs, taken mainly from three `libraries` of compounds, many of which have already been tested for safety in humans. `If you have some information on toxicity, it's very helpful to advance the compound faster,` Chavez said, referring to the process of pharmaceutical development.

6th Apr 2020 - The New Yorker

Some Swedish Hospitals stop use of Chloroquine following severe side effects

Several hospitals in Sweden have reportedly stopped administering chloroquine to coronavirus patients following reports the drug was causing adverse side effects. According to the national paper Expressen, hospitals in the Västra Götaland region are no longer offering the antimalarial medication, with side effects reported to include cramps and the loss of peripheral vision. One of the patients affected was Carl Sydenhag, a 40-year-old Stockholm resident. According to Expressen, Sydenhag was prescribed two tablets of chloroquine daily after he was diagnosed on March 23.

6th Apr 2020 - Newsweek

Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions

In this report, we use a semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchical model to attempt to infer the impact of these interventions across11 European countries. Our methods assume that changes in the reproductive number -a measure of transmission -are an immediate response to these interventions being implemented rather than broader gradual changes in behaviour. Our model estimates these changes by calculating backwards from the deaths observed over time to estimate transmission that occurred several weeks prior, allowing for the time lag between infection and death.

30th Mar 2020 - Imperial College

Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of inpatients - a retrospective cohort study

The potential risk factors of older age, high SOFA score, and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL could help clinicians to identify patients with poor prognosis at an early stage. Prolonged viral shedding provides the rationale for a strategy of isolation of infected patients and optimal antiviral interventions in the future.

11th Mar 2020 - The Lancet


Get the latest updates

Rita Begum

- #Rita4WestCentral -


  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon

© 2020 by Rita Begum

Privacy Policy