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Connecting Communities | March 30th 2020

’Connecting Communities’ is a newsletter co-ordinated by a global team of public health policy experts linked to WHO to aggregate news from around the world. It is aimed at community groups families and neighbours who are becoming overwhelmed by the volume of information emerging on Coronavirus.

Practical / useful stories, insights, tips and inspirations will address.

  • Isolation

  • Hygiene

  • Working remotely

  • Virtual classrooms

  • Community action

  • Public policies

  • Maintaining services & health care challenges / opportunities.

In addition, a website has been introduced: https://www.inspiritcreatives.com/coronavirus-connecting-communities/

The newsletter is for communicators and, as we are all communicators, you are invited pass it on!


More news below image

Isolation Tips

5 tips to reduce Social Isolation For Older People

It turns out that approximately 1/3rd of those aged 65 and older may never have used the internet, or do not have internet access at home; almost half need someone's help when it comes to setting up or using a new device. And substantial differences in the adoption of technology adoption exist based on factors such as income and educational level.

18th Mar 2020 - Forbes

Managing your mental health during the outbreak

With many people staying at home and many self-isolating Bay Health and Care Partners want to share a few tips on how to look after your mental health through these trying times.

27th Mar 2020 - Lancaster Guardian

Helping people who are isolated

Some simple but effective things we can all do to help include: - Collect and deliver shopping or medicines - leaving deliveries on the doorstep or safe place to avoid close physical contact. - Putting out bins or taking in parcels. - Help others to use Skype or FaceTime so they can see a friendly face, helping to reduce their isolation. 

28th Mar 2020 - Bridgwater Mercury

Clitheroe barber’s tips on maintaining hair

Life in self-isolation is almost certainly going to take a toll on men's hair ...especially for some who tend to visit the barbers every fortnight!

27th Mar 2020 - Burnley Express

My best tip for self-isolation? Don’t stockpile books

From apocalyptic themes to audiobooks - pointers from a specialist in staying at home

21st Mar 2020 - The Guardian

Joe Wick's fitness tips

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with fitness coach Joe Wicks about his new at-home, online workout for kids, "P.E. with Joe."

28th Mar 2020 - NPR

Jodie Whittaker: thanks, Doctor Who, for top tips

From home, the actor has produced her own mini DIY episode of the BBC series, in which she reminds fans that darkness never prevails

28th Mar 2020 - The Guardian

Hygiene Helpers

Don't panic about shopping, getting delivery or accepting packages

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine is making people think twice about how they might be exposed to Covid-19 if they open a box delivered by UPS, touch packages at the grocery store or accept food delivery. The risk is low. Let me explain.

26th Mar 2020 - The Washington Post

The latest NHS advice on COVID-19 symptoms

The NHS updates its advice on dealing with COVID-19 as the outbreak continues to grow and the government escalates its response.

16th Mar 2020 - Sky News

How long can Coronavirus persist on surfaces?

How long can coronavirus persist on surfaces such as door handles or hospital nightstands? How can the virus be destroyed effectively? A research team from Greifswald and Bochum, Germany, collected the answers scientists can currently offer to these and other pertinent questions and published them in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

13th Mar 2020 - Healthcare In Europe

Community Activities

750,000 people sign up to NHS volunteer army

Three quarters of a million people have signed up as volunteers to help the vulnerable get through the crisis in less than a week. The Royal Voluntary Service will now pause applications to allow processing with NHS England so the `volunteer army` can get up and running. RVS said it was `absolutely overwhelmed` by the response to the biggest plea for volunteers in England since the Second World War. 

29th Mar 2020 - Evening Standard

Find a group to help elderly and most need - website resource to locate groups near you

Find a group to help the elderly and those in most need - website resource to locate groups near you

30th Mar 2020 CovidMutualAid.org

Chester Zoo streams live virtual tours in 'best lockdown pick-me-up'

The facility - of the UK's largest zoo - is sharing a sneak peak of its sprawling grounds and range of animals to entertain the public during the coronavirus lockdown. The walkabout, livestreamed on Facebook, kicked off at 10am with a close-up look at its red pandas. Twitter users shared their joy at the fluffy critters, with one tweeting that watching them was `the best lockdown pick-me-up.`

28th Mar 2020 - Evening Standard

Clap for carers: applauding the NHS in pictures 

People across the UK have taken part in a mass round of applause in support of the NHS workers battling the coronavirus pandemic. In the Clap for Carers initiative people took to their doorsteps and balconies applauding, banging pans and letting off fireworks. Notable buildings around the country were also lit up in blue

26th Mar 2020 - The Guardian

Kylie Jenner donates $1m to buy masks and face shields for First Responders

Kylie Jenner has donated $1 million to help medical professionals purchase face masks and other necessary protective gear amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a heartfelt Instagram post on Wednesday, Dr.Thaïs Aliabadi - a physician and OB-GYN at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles - thanked the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star for the sizable donation, which she said will help with the purchase of `hundreds of thousands of masks, face shields, and other protective gear` used by first responders who are working to fight against the global outbreak.

25th Mar 2020 - YAHOO!

This will move you to tears..and afterwards you will feel extraordinarily uplifted. Together we win!

This will move you to tears. Afterwards you will feel extraordinarily uplifted. Together we win!

29th Mar 2020 - @jonsnowC4

Working Remotely

How to set yourself up for remote working

Bigger businesses with lots of employees are seeing that sending everyone home to work remotely can, and does, work effectively. While you might expect it to be counterproductive, many businesses that have adopted this way of working have claimed to see productivity go up, rather than down.

18th Mar 2020 - TechRadar

Real challenges for tech workers?

Fear of the coronavirus is prompting more companies to have their employees work remotely. But what are the real challenges workers face when working from home and trying to communicate with colleagues?

18th Mar 2020 - ZDNet

A guide for locals who do it daily

After 11 years of living locally while operating remotely in a virtual world, the 83 Degrees team and many of our friends, especially those working in tech and online media, are experienced at making it successful. Here are our top tips for first-time remote workers to consider while we all keep our distance and await the outcome of #COVID19.

17th Mar 2020 - 83degreesmedia

Remote working software crashes on 1st day

Users of the popular Microsoft Teams remote-working software struggled to access the program on Monday as thousands switched to working from home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft admitted that it was investigating `messaging-related functionality problems` with the software. A spokesman said: `We've taken steps to address an issue that a subset of our customers may have experienced. Our engineering teams continue to actively monitor performance and usage trends.`

16th Mar 2020 - Yahoo Philippines News

1st time remote working - How to ease into it

The good news is that most workplaces are establishing guidelines and plans for how employees may adjust to working remotely. Ready to ease into working from home, whether it's on a temporary or slightly more long-term basis? Here's what you need to do to transition into becoming a telecommuter:

21st Mar 2020 - Forbes

Is COVID-19 accelerating the future of work

The coronavirus is forcing enterprises to rethink the way they do business and dust off policies for security, business continuity, and remote workers. Chances are that some of these efforts will stick

24th Mar 2020 - ZDNet

Italy - A Preview Of The Future Of Energy

`Saying that working from home is not sustainable because houses will have to be heated during the day is a bit unwise, as offices would have been heated instead. For sure, smart working has a positive energy impact, mainly driven by a drop in transports.` Indeed, the climate think tank Ember reported a dramatic fall in electricity demand everywhere in Europe - with Italy on top. They saw Italy's electricity demand drop by 25% in three weeks, followed by Spain 10-15% and Germany, UK and Poland 8% so far.

27th Mar 2020 - Forbes

Your motivation when Working Remotely

Both new and veteran remote workers are finding it challenging to work from home these days. So we've gathered a few tips to help you find and sustain your motivation to keep you going. You can read about what tools to use elsewhere; here, we're going to talk about some different things you can do to get your mojo back. 

27th Mar 2020 - Thrive Global

'Is the dog about to bark?' The perils of home broadcasting

Although news media is considered an `essential service` - meaning reporters can still go to the office to do their jobs if necessary - many are opting to work from home. Ferguson - who had a rarely used direct line to Radio New Zealand's studios installed in her office years ago, when she became co-host of the Morning Report programme - is among them.

28th Mar 2020 - The Guardian

Virtual Classrooms

RTÉ launches daily virtual classroom for primary school children

RTÉ has announced a new Home School Hub across its television and online platforms, which will provide primary school children with fun daily lessons from the comfort of their homes. RTÉ and Macalla Teo, with support from Mary Immaculate College, have collaborated to introduce a cross-platform teaching initiative for primary school kids across the country. This is available on RTÉ2, RTÉ Player, and rte.ie/learn. Children will be able to watch, download and engage with curriculum-based content, project work, and fun activities that will keep them entertained and learning.

26th Mar 2020 TipperaryLive.ie

1.37 billion students @ home as school closures expand, ministers scale up multimedia approaches to ensure learning continuity

Meanwhile, several ministers highlighted that the current crisis is also ushering in new thinking around the practice of education. `We have made more progress with digital and distance learning in the past 10 days than in the past ten years. Without a doubt this crisis will change the way we think about the provision of education in the future,` said Egypt's Minister Tarek Shawki, while France's Minister underlined the impact of new approaches and mindsets. `Education is a key answer to the crisis and to the rebuilding of our societies after.`

24th Mar 2020 - UNESCO

Free Resources for Schools

The Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences and the Flipped Learning Global Initiative have published the "Rapid Transition to Online Learning," a roadmap for making the rapid shift to online learning during school closures. The resources include a checklist for administrators, another for IT managers, a transition plan and video tutorial for teachers and access to an international team of volunteers who have stepped forward to answer questions. 

26th Mar 2020 - T.H.E. Journal

Unis are closing worldwide, Expert advice on how to embrace the digital classroom.

With technological help from colleagues at NYU Shanghai, he developed a strategy for teaching remotely from the other side of the world. Each day, using a program called Voice-Thread, he records several short videos of himself explaining maths concepts, adding up to 15-30 minutes collectively. During their day, the students watch the videos on a website and, in turn, insert videos they make of their assigned theorem proofs, for example, or a question, a comment or a critique of a classmate's proof. Together, Rolla and his students produce an interactive, if asynchronous, class recording.

24th Mar 2020 - Nature

Adapting university teaching to social distancing

As universities respond to the outbreak by closing campuses and shifting to online forms of distance learning, many institutions and educators are scrambling to develop online engagement plans. In this repost, Martin Weller (Professor of Education Technology at the Open University) brings together a number of useful for resources for anyone looking to develop online learning courses and questions why it has taken the current crisis for distance learning to be taken seriously. 

12th Mar 2020 - LSE Blog

3 ways the pandemic could reshape education

These changes have certainly caused a degree of inconvenience, but they have also prompted new examples of educational innovation. Although it is too early to judge how reactions to COVID-19 will affect education systems around the world, there are signs suggesting that it could have a lasting impact on the trajectory of learning innovation and digitization. Below, we follow three trends that could hint at future transformations:

13th Mar 2020 - WEForum

How unis and schools are going online and the hurdles they face

`These are trends that have been in place for a long time,` said Eric Burns, CEO of Seattle-based Panopto, a company supporting digital lectures and meetings. `We've been in this space for over 13 years. It's been a long slow build up. This is a trigger that causes organizations to hit the gas.` The UW, which serves 46,000 students across three Puget Sound-area campuses, provides instructors with three main tools for online instruction:

11th Mar 2020 - GeekWire

Online tools for teachers and students

Classdojo is a free educational app that enables teachers, students and parents to interact online. It allows teachers to create a virtual classroom in which they can share videos and pictures. An account on the app can be created only by the teacher. The student can access the virtual classroom with an access code sent by the teacher. EkStep is an on-demand platform that allows educators to create, share and distribute free community-sourced educational content for K-12 class students. The app is loaded with several educational videos that students can access any time and learn in a self-paced way. Khan Academy provides complete course material from K-12 that can be accessed by students at their own pace. The app also tracks student's progress in each lesson.

12th Mar 2020 - The Hindu

Public Policies

China to build Ventilators for Milan, New York

After meeting the country's needs two weeks ago, its factory lines have been working flat out on orders from overseas for its life-saving ventilators. With three shifts and even research and development staff working the production line, the company's machines have been going non-stop. `There's literally no country in the world that doesn't want to buy a ventilator from China right now.` said Li Kai, director of Beijing Aeonmed, `We have tens of thousands of orders waiting. The issue is how fast we can make them.`

24th Mar 2020 - South China Morning Post

A green dividend? Emissions after COVID-19

The dip could offer an opportunity to speed up a shift towards a greener economy, but only if governments seeking to stimulate growth decide to spend their cash on boosting climate-friendly sectors such as renewable power, green transport and technologies that suck CO2 out of the atmosphere. They failed to do this after the financial crash of 2007-09, which only extended the climate crisis. One can only hope for more foresight this time around.

27th Mar 2020 - The Economist

Times view on the use of technology

The Times view on the use of technology in the coronavirus crisis: Data Response

28th Mar 2020 - The Times

Economic patriotism is back amid Outbreak

This week, France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stoked further suspicions that charity really begins at home in the EU by calling on retailers to be "economically patriotic" and favour products from French farmers. "I call on major distributors to make a new effort: Stock up on French products," he said on France Info radio.

26th Mar 2020 - Politico EU

@USAmbUN Kelly Craft donates 250,000 protective face masks, located in storage at the @UN

I'm pleased to announce, with @USAmbUN Kelly Craft, the donation to the USA of 250,000 protective face masks, just located in storage at the @UN. These masks will be given to medical professionals in NYC working courageously & tirelessly in response to #COVID19.

28th Mar 2020 - @antonioguterres

Outliers: 4 nations different approaches

Not every nation has suffered to the same grim extent. Some have avoided lockdowns but have still not suffered huge leaps in case numbers. Others have introduced strict monitoring and contact tracing of infected individuals and have managed to contain the disease so far. Here we look at the ways four very different nations have reacted.

29th Mar 2020 - The Guardian

Government to set up new PPE supply line for frontline NHS staff

'We should not ask people to be on the frontline without the right protective equipment,' admits communities secretary Robert Jenrick

29th Mar 2020 - The Independent

New York orders 000s of manually operated ventilators as an alternative'

The Empire State anticipates requiring 140,000 hospital beds and 30,000 ventilators when the outbreak reaches its peak in 14 to 21 days, Cuomo said in a Saturday press conference. If the state is short on ventilators, COVID-19 patients will need to use bag valve masks, which must be manually operated by health-care professionals.

28th Mar 2020 - CNBC

'Red carpet rolled out': 1st shipment of PPE supplies from China arrives in Dublin

An Aer Lingus plane carrying €28 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Irish healthcare workers from China has landed at Dublin Airport. The Airbus A330-302 plane was loaded with PPE including masks, gowns and goggles in Beijing before making the over 8,000 km flight back to Ireland. The shipment, worth an estimated €28 million, is made up of 11 million masks, 2.3 million eye protections, 2.4 million gowns, and nine million gloves. This is the first delivery flight of the HSE's €208 million order of PPE from China.

29th Mar 2020 TheJournal.ie

COVID-19 and the NHS-`a national scandal`

The UK Government's Contain-Delay-Mitigate-Research strategy failed. It failed, in part, because ministers didn't follow WHO's advice to `test, test, test` every suspected case. They didn't isolate and quarantine. They didn't contact trace. These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.

28th Mar 2020 - The Lancet

NHS Ministers warned of 'breaking point' in 2016

The NHS failed a test of its ability to withstand a major pandemic three years ago but the results were not made public, it has emerged The Sunday Telegraph reports that a three-day cross-government practice run found Britain would be quickly overwhelmed by an outbreak and flagged a shortage of personal protective equipment, morgue capacity and critical care beds. The test - codenamed Exercise Sygnus - was carried out in October 2016 - but the paper reports that its findings were deemed too sensitive to be made public

29th Mar 2020 PoliticsHome.com

US group bombards Drs with red tape petition

Thomas McGarity, a professor of administrative law at the University of Texas, said the text message campaign was part of a longstanding effort by some on the political right to neuter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and put more decision-making power into the hands of patients and doctors that drug companies could pitch to directly. 

28th Mar 2020 - Reuters

Why is Germany's death rate comparatively low? As @c_drosten - a leading virologists - explains, it mainly comes down to testing

Why is Germany's #coronavirus death rate so low compared to other countries? As @c_drosten - one of the country's leading virologists - explains, it mainly comes down to one basic thing. Testing

27th Mar 2020 - @DWNews

Maintaining Services

20,000 retired staff return to fight outbreak as government warns lockdown could last 6 months

The UK could remain on partial lockdown for six months, deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries has said, warning of a second peak if such measures are ended too quickly. Boris Johnson has written a letter to every household in the UK to urge the public to stay at home during the coronavirus `national emergency`, raising the possibility of even stricter lockdown measures being introduced.

30th Mar 2020 - The Independent

170 broken ventilators delivered stockpile. LA drove them to get @Bloom_Energy fixing them.

LA received 170 broken ventilators from the national stockpile. Rather than complaining, we put them on a truck, drove them up overnight, and had @Bloom_Energy get to work fixing them. Monday they'll back in LA--fixed. That's the spirit of CA.

28th Mar 2020 - @GavinNewsom

Is the NHS ready for its toughest seven days ever?

One chief nurse at a hospital in the Midlands told The Independent what was now being considered for Intensive care `would have been unthinkable in normal times. This is going to push staff who aren't used to this sort of acute care of patients to the limits.` Nicki Credland, chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses (BACCN), added: `We are doing everything we possibly can, but we simply do not have enough intensive care nurses. We are going to have to accept we can't save everyone.`

29th Mar 2020 - The Independent

Healthcare Innovations

Ventilator Challenge UK to start production

Ventilator Challenge UK, a consortium of 14 firms including Airbus and Rolls-Royce, is expected to say that it has secured a formal order for two types of machine. The government has 8,175 ventilators but has turned to British industry to help produce 30,000 in a matter of weeks, to combat an expected surge in new cases.

29th Mar 2020 - The Guardian


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