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COVID 19 Info Basket- Articles #24

Global agreement to make COVID-19 antigen tests available for all

Nigeria: Lagos Cancels Independence Day Parade Over Covid-19

https://allafrica.com/stories/202010010158.html

CBN moves to forestall food shortages amid COVID-19   

https://guardian.ng/business-services/cbn-moves-to-forestall-food-shortages-amid-covid-19/

Covid-19 deaths pass 1,000 in Birmingham hospitals       

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-54323193

Covid-19 in Scotland: Sharp spike in infections among teenagers

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-54314910

Game on: How COVID-19 became the perfect match for gamers

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/covid19-coronavirus-pandemic-video-games-entertainment-media/

Melbourne lifts curfew after nearly two months of lockdown as coronavirus cases fall

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/28/australia/melbourne-lifts-lockdown-intl-hnk-scli/index.html

Cases of Covid-19 on Tui cruise ship appear to be ‘false positives’

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/cruise-ship-coronavirus-outbreak-greece-covid-19-latest-news/

Global partnership to make available 120 million affordable, quality COVID-19 rapid tests for low- and middle-income countries            

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/28-09-2020-global-partnership-to-make-available-120-million-affordable-quality-covid-19-rapid-tests-for-low–and-middle-income-countries

The coronavirus has killed at least 1 million people worldwide

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/09/28/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/

As Covid-19 Closes Schools, the World’s Children Go to Work

Concerns mount as Iran gripped by third major COVID-19 wave

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/27/concerns-mount-as-iran-gripped-by-third-major-covid-19-wave

Advocacy group warns that 500,000 sharks may need to die for a COVID-19 vaccine

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/advocacy-group-warns-that-500-000-sharks-may-need-to-die-for-a-covid-19-vaccine-1.5122624

Pasta, Wine and Inflatable Pools: How Amazon Conquered Italy in the Pandemic

The pandemic is plunging millions back into extreme poverty

https://www.economist.com/international/2020/09/26/the-pandemic-is-plunging-millions-back-into-extreme-poverty

Covid-19: Quarter of UK under stricter rules, and students stuck in halls

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54306293

World in disarray: Angry exchanges at top UN meeting on COVID-19

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/25/world-in-disarray-angry-exchanges-at-top-un-meeting-on-covid-19

The little talked about side-effects of COVID-19 

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2020/9/25/the-little-talked-about-side-effects-of-covid-19/

COVID in Scotland: 172 test positive in Glasgow University outbreak

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-54268780

More restrictions expected in Europe as coronavirus spreads rapidly and rattles markets

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/21/europe-coronavirus-latest-more-restrictions-likely-in-the-coming-days.html

UN chief appeals for global solidarity at General Assembly, warns COVID is ‘dress rehearsal’ for challenges ahead

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1072972

Why India’s COVID problem could be bigger than we think           

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-54176375

World Health Organization announces distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccine

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/world-health-organization-announces-distribution-plan-covid-19/story?id=73031332

Weekly Review: COVID-19 patients discharged last week lowest in three months

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/414250-weekly-review-covid-19-patients-discharged-last-week-lowest-in-three-months.html

Israel to Enter Lockdown Again as Second Coronavirus Wave Hits

https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-to-shut-down-again-as-second-coronavirus-wave-hits-11600028298

Inside Twitter’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

https://hbr.org/2020/09/inside-twitters-response-to-the-covid-19-crisis

Trapped by Pandemic, Ships’ Crews Fight Exhaustion and Despair

It Will Take More Than a Vaccine to Beat COVID-19

https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/the-state-of-the-fight-against-covid-19

Coronavirus lockdowns around the world: Which countries are in lockdown? USA, Australia

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1332495/coronavirus-lockdowns-around-the-world-usa-Australia-india

Coronavirus: India overtakes Brazil in COVID-19 cases

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-54023509

US Open players pulled from tournament after contact with COVID-positive player

https://abcnews.go.com/US/us-open-players-pulled-tournament-contact-covid-positive/story?id=72842299

Coronavirus: Russian vaccine shows signs of immune response

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54036221

COVID-19: FG reviews nationwide curfew to 12am – 4am

Nigeria: Lagos state to open schools despite health concerns

https://www.theafricareport.com/40384/nigeria-lagos-state-to-open-schools-despite-health-concerns/

French tennis player says the COVID-19 restrictions at the U.S. Open are ‘abominable’ and players have been treated like ‘prisoners or criminals’

https://www.insider.com/kristina-mladenovic-us-open-covid-19-restrictions-abominable-2020-9

Global: Amnesty analysis reveals over 7,000 health workers have died from COVID-19

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/09/amnesty-analysis-7000-health-workers-have-died-from-covid19/

Source: Robert Pattinson Has COVID-19, Halting The Batman Production

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/09/09/robert-pattinson-the-batman-coronavirus

‘Coronavirus a blessing’: Pandemic boom in Nigeria’s ‘Kannywood’

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/blessing-pandemic-boom-nigeria-kannywood-200901092207628.html

COVID 19 Info Basket- Articles #23

COVID: Venezuela seeks testers for Russian vaccine      

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-53972641

Three World Cup speed skating events in Canada cancelled because of COVID-19

https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/three-world-cup-speedskating-events-in-canada-cancelled-because-of-covid-19-1.5086101

EU offers €400 million to WHO-led Covid-19 vaccine initiative

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/eu-offers-400-million-euros-to-who-led-covid-19-vaccine-initiative

Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee dies at 84

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/31/asia/pranab-mukherjee-india-death-scli-intl/index.html

Lagos health commissioner tests positive to COVID-19

https://guardian.ng/news/lagos-health-commissioner-tests-positive-to-covid-19/

Lagos Health Commissioner, Abayomi, Recovers from COVID-19

https://www.channelstv.com/2020/08/31/lagos-health-commissioner-abayomi-recovers-from-covid-19/

Germany coronavirus: Anger after attempt to storm parliament

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53964147

India sets world record of highest single-day spike of Covid-19 cases

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/30/india-sets-world-record-of-highest-single-day-spike-of-covid-19-cases

New Zealand’s Largest City Exits Lockdown After Bringing Mystery COVID-19 Surge Under Control

https://time.com/5884996/new-zealand-auckland-coronavirus-lockdown/

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 6 Million

Paire tests positive for COVID-19 before U.S. Open – report

https://af.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idAFKBN25Q0LN-OZASP

Tertiary institutions in Lagos to reopen Sept 14, primary and secondary schools to reopen Sept 21

UN concern over ‘widespread’ COVID-19 transmission in Syria

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/concern-widespread-covid-19-transmission-syria-200828065222962.html

How does the COVID recession compare?

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/how-does-the-covid-recession-compare

India’s COVID-19 Outbreak Is Now the World’s Fastest-Growing

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

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53934952

India’s students concerned over entrance exams amid COVID-19

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/india-students-concerned-entrance-exams-covid-19-200827112752339.html

Carnival and coronavouchers: Brazil’s economic struggles             

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-53904411

Thousands of South Korean doctors strike amid COVID-19 resurgence

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/thousands-south-korean-doctors-strike-covid-19-resurgence-200826024550135.html

Record infections, few deaths: How Qatar has tackled COVID-19

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/record-infections-deaths-qatar-tackled-covid-19-200826062455468.html

Gaza in lockdown after first COVID-19 community transmission

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/gaza-lockdown-covid-19-community-transmission-200825061033725.html

Covid-19: South Korea closes Seoul schools amid rise in cases     

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53901707

Coronavirus in Africa: ‘Signs of hope’ as cases level off

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53847699

COVID-19 outbreaks in children complicate school reopening plans

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/covid-19-outbreaks-children-complicate-school-reopening-plans-200819162030569.html

Philippines faces worst COVID-19 crisis in Southeast Asia

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/philippines-faces-worst-covid-19-crisis-southeast-asia-200819143501671.html

Africa’s U20 Women’s World Cup 2020 qualifiers postponed due to COVID-19

COVID-19 protective equipment adding to pollution crisishttps://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/covid-19-protective-equipment-adding-pollution-crisis-200816163255462.html

Australia Has Deadliest Day with 25 Covid-19 Deaths in Victoria

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-16/australia-has-deadliest-day-with-25-covid-19-deaths-in-victoria

Coronavirus Australia: Victoria reports 303 new Covid-19 cases and four more deaths

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/15/coronavirus-australia-victoria-reports-303-new-covid-19-cases-and-four-more-deaths

EU Countries Increase COVID-19 Travel Measures

Russia to roll out coronavirus vaccine within two weeks

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/live-zealand-defers-parliament-dissolution-coronavirus-200811234344092.html

2 in 5 schools around the world lacked basic handwashing facilities prior to COVID-19 pandemic — UNICEF, WHO               

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-08-2020-2-in-5-schools-around-the-world-lacked-basic-handwashing-facilities-prior-to-covid-19-pandemic-unicef-who

Zealand Back into Lockdown as New COVID-19 Cases Detected  

https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/new-zealand-back-lockdown-new-covid-19-cases-detected

Hundreds dead’ because of Covid-19 misinformation      

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53755067

Reopening schools too early could spread COVID-19 even faster – especially in the developing world

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/re-opening-schools-too-soon-in-developing-countries-could-lead-to-much-faster-spread-of-covid-19/

Spain Overtakes Britain for Most COVID-19 Cases in Europe

https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/spain-overtakes-britain-most-covid-19-cases-europe

Coronavirus Vietnam: The mysterious resurgence of Covid-19     

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53690711

‘Peak yet to come’: Africa hits one million coronavirus cases

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/africa-hits-million-coronavirus-cases-200804094836695.html

Australian military steps in to enforce COVID-19 lockdown

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/australia-military-steps-enforce-covid-19-lockdown-200804135325693.html

WAEC releases timetable as schools resume

Over 1.5 million candidates to sit for WASSCE in Nigeria

COVID 19 Info Basket- Articles #22

Forbes: We Should Consider Starting Covid-19 Vaccinations Now.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2020/08/02/start-vaccinating-now/

The Guardian: Two cruise ships hit by coronavirus weeks after industry restarts.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/03/two-cruise-ships-hit-by-coronavirus-weeks-after-industry-restarts

BBC News: Coronavirus: New 90-minute tests for Covid-19 and flu ‘hugely beneficial’.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53632043

Al Jazeera English: Australia’s Victoria declares state of disaster over coronavirus.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/australia-victoria-declares-state-disaster-coronavirus-200802042802433.html

Science News: Hydroxychloroquine can’t stop COVID-19. It’s time to move on, scientists say.

The Guardian: North Korea declares emergency over suspected Covid-19 case.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/26/kim-jong-un-conveys-urgent-meeting-after-suspected-case-of-covid-19

Coronavirus: South Africa cases pass half million mark    

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53625789

China healthcare workers in Hong Kong to battle COVID-19

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/china-healthcare-workers-hong-kong-battle-covid-19-200802173925279.html

Australia’s Victoria imposes curfew, state of disaster to contain COVID-19

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/02/coronavirus-australias-victoria-imposes-curfew-state-of-disaster.html

Coronavirus – Rwanda: Robots use in Rwanda to fight against COVID-19

https://guardian.ng/apo-press-releases/coronavirus-rwanda-robots-use-in-rwanda-to-fight-against-covid-19/

Global report: Philippines ‘losing battle’ as WHO records biggest jump in Covid-19 cases

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/01/global-report-philippines-losing-battle-as-who-records-biggest-jump-in-covid-19-cases

Ethiopian Workers Are Forced to Return Home, Some with Coronavirus

Indian Billionaires Bet Big on Head Start in Coronavirus Vaccine Race

Coronavirus: Thousands protest in Germany against restrictions

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53622797

WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases, up over 292,000

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-08-01/WHO-reports-record-daily-increase-in-global-coronavirus-cases-SByMx8dUSk/index.html

School Reopening: Ogun begins mandatory COVID-19, malaria tests for SS3 students

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/ssouth-west/406352-school-reopening-ogun-begins-mandatory-covid-19-malaria-tests-for-ss3-students.html

Coronavirus: Mauritania to strengthen its COVID-19 Response   

https://guardian.ng/apo-press-releases/coronavirus-mauritania-to-strengthen-its-covid-19-response/

How to Clean Your N95 Mask or Face Covering with Covid-19 coronavirus

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/08/01/how-to-clean-your-n95-mask-or-face-covering-with-covid-19-coronavirus/#c6355b92fd12

In pictures: Eid al Adha in a Covid-19 world          

https://www.trtworld.com/life/in-pictures-eid-al-adha-in-a-covid-19-world-38551

Hong Kong Delays Election, Citing Coronavirus. The Opposition Isn’t Buying It.

Luxembourg joins Spain on quarantine list for UK travellers

https://www.ft.com/content/32ebadef-ceec-4011-acbe-869c9c2bc2ae

What Can Victorian Schools Teach America About Reopening?

Coronavirus: Scaled back Hajj pilgrimage begins in Saudi Arabia  

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-53571886

Vietnam on high alert as coronavirus cases detected in major cities

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/29/vietnam-on-high-alert-coronavirus-cases-major-cities-hanoi

Central Africa’s Muslim Feast Hampered as COVID-19 Blocks Livestock Trade

https://www.voanews.com/africa/central-africas-muslim-feast-hampered-covid-19-blocks-livestock-trade

For Senegal’s Biggest Holiday, a Shortage of the All-Important Sheep

Latin America Is Facing a ‘Decline of Democracy’ Under the Pandemic

Vietnam detects first locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since Aprilhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/27/vietnam-evacuates-80000-tourists-amid-new-covid-19-cases-in-danang

Life After Lockdown in Mexico City

We’ll Be Wearing Masks for a While. Why Not Make Them Nice?

Why do asymptomatic COVID-19 cases even happen?

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/07/why-do-asymptomatic-coronavirus-cases-even-happen-cvd/

Hong Kong sees spike of new COVID-19 cases     

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/hong-kong-sees-spike-of-new-covid-19-cases/1922744

Coronavirus: ‘No apologies’ for Spain travel rule change

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53541301

The Coronavirus Unleashed Along the Amazon River

North Korea Declares Emergency After Suspected Covid-19 Case

After Early Success, Israel’s Netanyahu Faces Fury for Flubbing Virus Fight

Can You Get Covid-19 Again? It’s Very Unlikely, Experts Say

Scaled-down Hajj pilgrimage to start on July 29: Saudi officials

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/scaled-hajj-pilgrimage-start-july-29-saudi-officials-200721013258024.html

Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine triggers immune response 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53469839

Jailed FIFA Official Juan Ángel Napout Contracts Coronavirus in Florida Prison

Melbourne Lockdown Elicits Hope, Anger and Vows of Resilience

Coronavirus: White House targets US disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53392817

In South Africa, Burial Traditions Upended by Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Brazil’s President Bolsonaro tests positive

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-53319517

Laid Off and Locked Up: Virus Traps Domestic Workers in Arab States

Pandemic Diary #4 – Infectious Diseases Specialist

This week, Farida and Damilola spoke with an infectious disease specialist working in the COVID19 management team.

What is your current role in the COVID-19 response and what was your role before getting involved?

Primarily, I work as a clinician, I am a doctor; I see patients and that’s what I do on a day-to-day basis. For the response, I see patients and I work in the infection, prevention and control unit. I do training for doctors. I also help to assess health centre standards for COVID-19 management.

I specialize in infectious diseases.

From your background, it’s evident that you worked during the Ebola period.

Yes, I did.

Based on your experience managing both outbreaks, what are the major differences so far?

They are both RNA viruses, though Ebola is a type of hemorrhagic fever similar to Lassa fever. However, COVID-19 is a bit different because it is more of a respiratory virus so the route of transmission is different. Also the major difference between these viruses is that the Ebola virus outbreak was quite short, it basically lasted from July to October before Lagos was declared free. In addition, the confirmed cases in Nigeria were not up to 20 patients. However, with COVID-19 the confirmed cases are in the thousands with no end in sight for the response, so it’s more of a marathon.

Why was Ebola controlled in a shorter space of time?

When you look at the global response, we have never dealt with something like COVID-19 before in recent world history, of course, we had the Spanish flu in the 19th century. The problem is that we have never dealt with something on this scale. So it has been quite difficult.  

When you look at Nigeria, Lagos state had a tremendous advantage over other states because of the extreme experience we had with viruses like Ebola. So there was a more coordinated response but these are two different viruses and no one has experienced COVID-19 before, so we are all learning as we go.

Cool. How do you feel about the federal government’s imposed lockdown, as seen by the developed countries of the world?

It would be difficult to make a judgment call on that now. This is because all over the world people have been placed on lockdowns and there are many arguments on whether lockdowns are effective or are not. The U.S tried to lockdown but they currently have the highest cases of COVID-19 patients in the world. Now that they are trying to reopen, we can see a surge in cases. Sweden didn’t lockdown and the virus dealt with them rather badly. For Nigeria, based on the situation we were in at that time, I think a lockdown was inevitable. The effectiveness of the lockdown can be questioned. Did we achieve what we sought to achieve? I don’t think so but like I said, we wouldn’t beat ourselves too much over many of these things. We just rather move on, learn, and go.

On treating patients, what’s the mental effect it has had on you?

As physicians, we face one of the highest levels of mortality. It’s not very strange to see patients die; sad to say. The problem with COVID is that it has been difficult to predict. We see patients who get into critical situations and go home. Some get in similar conditions and die. The most disturbing aspect for me is those that talk until they die. You examine them breathing well and all of a sudden, like the snap of a finger, they are here and the next minute they are gone. I’m like, “What?! Is this the man I just spoke with?” So it’s been challenging, you know.  

I have been practicing medicine for years now so I have kind of built a fortitude against these things. However, you can’t be hardened. These things still consume us and we just try to move on to the next patient.

Any highs and lows so far?

Well, I will start with the lows; In the early days of the response, especially when we saw a lot of funds being spent on unnecessary PPEs and the guidelines weren’t being followed.  Personally, it was a hard time for me because I saw things sliding and I couldn’t do much about it. Change is difficult. It was only about two to three months after that we were able to win people over and people started coming around. I was happy that people were trying to conserve PPE like hazmat suits, as they knew they could do well with just a surgical gown. This aided in the preservation of limited PPEs.

Furthermore, I am happy with every patient that survives COVID, we have had a 98 year old survive, and for every patient I discharge, I reiterate the fact that they are very lucky to survive. It has been quite challenging, I have never been this stressed in my life. I am chronically tired, a lot of times I wake up but I doubt I have the energy to get up but I just have moved on. I pray we just get out of this phase because this has very challenging for all of us.

As an experienced doctor, we realize that you are used to this, however, have you heard of other doctors breaking down?

Yes, we have had other doctors suffer a physical and mental breakdown which is quite worrisome. However, for me, I have not suffered either, although I get very tired. I wish everything could be over because it has been very stressful. Thankfully. we have not been as swamped like other parts of the world but we have also been strained. I have been close to breaking down but due to my reserve I am yet to suffer one

How has this affected your family life?

Interestingly, I got married in September 2014 which was smack in the middle of the Ebola response. My fiancé then, now my wife used to drop me off at Yaba; so she has been extremely supportive. There was also an outbreak of yellow fever at Bauchi in 2019. We went on vacation to the Yankari game reserve and all of a sudden, there was an outbreak. Immediately, I started case investigation and she was there with me.

Earlier in the response, there was the challenge of either going from home or staying in a hotel. And all she said was that it was also my house and we would get through the situation together.

End this for us on a happy note

We should thank everyone involved in the response. It’s been challenging for us in every single way. I think I want to salute everyone that has poured blood, sweat, and tears to get us to where we are today.  We just need to keep pushing until we get rid of it. We have been through this from the very first patient until now. We have seen all the ways we have evolved. We have become stronger, harder, tougher, better, and more skilled. We pray that God will shorten the days and we will go back to our normal lives sooner than later.

……….

We are grateful to this doctor for graciously granting this interview.

COVID 19 Info Basket- Tweets #21

Sarcastic remark on claps for health workers

Wear a mask

America fattening the curve

Plea for correct wearing of masks

Paediatrics warns of spread between colleagues

Is there a new normal after this?

Canadian PM on plan to give health workers protective wear

Bereaved relative appeals for mask wearing.

Nigerian lawmaker describes loneliness of friend in isolation ward

Family appoints member to oversee plans for possible infection

Woman who lives with brother who tested positive details how masks and social distancing kept her negative as he recovered

COVID 19 Info Basket- Articles #21

SA’s coronavirus cases continue to soar: Exceeds 200,000 mark

Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa?  

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53181555

Egypt reopens airports and welcomes tourists to pyramids after COVID closure

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-egypt/egypt-reopens-airports-and-welcomes-tourists-to-pyramids-after-covid-closure-idUSKBN2426VX

The effect of COVID-19 on food and income security in Africa

Egypt’s economy to decline due to COVID-19 impact: IMF

COVID-19: African countries reliant on tourism, oil exporters to be ‘hardest hit’: AfDB

How Pandemics Wreak Havoc—and Open Minds

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/07/20/how-pandemics-wreak-havoc-and-open-minds

The Covid-19 changes that could last long-term

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200629-which-lockdown-changes-are-here-to-stay

Madagascar re-imposes lockdown amid surge in virus cases

https://m.guardian.ng/news/madagascar-re-imposes-lockdown-amid-surge-in-virus-cases/

Malawi’s election cheer dampened by coronavirus surge              

https://af.reuters.com/article/idAFKBN24608L-OZAT

Malawi cancels Independence Day celebrations due to COVID-19

Ghana president self-isolates despite negative virus test

https://www.france24.com/en/20200705-ghana-president-self-isolates-despite-negative-virus-test

AU Commission sets stage for start of clinical Covid-19 vaccine trials

https://www.nation.co.ke/kenya/news/africa-cdc-to-start-covid-19-vaccine-trials-1447988

African Union Commission launches Covid-19 vaccine trial consortium

Covid-19 hit July 4th travel harder in some states, study finds

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/08/covid-19-hit-july-4th-travel-harder-in-some-states-study-finds.html

Hundreds of people celebrated the July 4 weekend at a Michigan lake. Now some have Covid-19

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/12/health/michigan-coronavirus-torch-lake-sandbar/index.html

PRECIOUS-Gold ticks higher on worries over rising COVID-19 cases

https://uk.reuters.com/article/global-precious/precious-gold-ticks-higher-on-worries-over-rising-covid-19-cases-idUKL3N2EK04O

COVID-19: Govt to ban some countries from Nigeria        

COVID-19: Nigerian govt releases new guidelines for resumption of schools

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/402738-covid-19-nigerian-govt-releases-new-guidelines-for-resumption-of-schools.html

COVID-19 may be transmitted through air – NCDC

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/402746-covid-19-may-be-transmitted-through-air-ncdc.html

Gold rate rises to Rs 49,000 on surging Covid-19 cases

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/commodities/news/gold-prices-today-rise-to-rs-49000-on-surging-covid-19-cases/articleshow/76932493.cms

Coronavirus: Nations heading in wrong direction with Covid-19, says WHO

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53393037

Egyptian journalist jailed on fake news charges dies of Covid-19

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/14/egyptian-journalist-jailed-on-fake-news-charges-dies-of-covid-19-mohamed-monir

Covid-19 restrictions are shattering Argentina’s short-lived political truce

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/14/covid-19-restrictions-are-shattering-argentinas-short-lived-political-truce

COVID-19: Linking loss of smell, depression, and anxiety

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-linking-loss-of-smell-depression-and-anxiety

How COVID-19 is affecting HIV 2020 target – UNAIDS     

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/401786-how-covid-19-is-affecting-hiv-2020-target-unaids.html

Ocean investment could aid post-Covid-19 economic recovery

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/13/world/ocean-investment-world-resources-institute-cte/index.html

German study finds low Covid-19 infection rate in schools

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/13/german-study-covid-19-infection-rate-schools-saxony

Covid-19 immunity from antibodies may last only months, UK study suggests

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/13/health/covid-immunity-antibody-response-uk-study-wellness/index.html

US military bases in Okinawa hit by Covid-19 as outbreak worsens

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/13/asia/us-military-bases-okinawa-covid-19-intl-hnk-scli/index.html

Pandemic Diary #3: Frontline Driver, Lagos

First, explain the role you play in the COVID-19 response?

I primarily drive the ambulances used in evacuating confirmed cases from their homes to the isolation centre. Before we leave for any evacuation, we are given PPE like gloves, nose masks, and hazmat suits. While in motion, we put on our sirens to ensure swift arrival to the evacuation site. We drivers usually don’t get down from the car during an evacuation, the nurses and members of the evacuation team usually go into the house to evacuate the patient into the bus. Due to the nature of the virus, we do not use the air conditioners when we pick people that have tested positive to the coronavirus, this is to promote the circulation of air. Then they are transported to the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.

Other than driving evacuation ambulances, what other role have you played?

Initially, when I got enlisted to join the response from my LGA, I was asked to help transport the samples from collection sites to the laboratory for testing.

How has the work affected your family?

The work has not been easy on my family, I have not been able to go home. I have been living at a hotel. Unfortunately, most Nigerians do not believe in COVID-19. Due to my exposure and experience, my family is very aware of the risk involved. Hence, they are very concerned about my safety.

Is it that they are frightened about your status?

Of course, they are. Usually, when I come home, they keep a distance from me *laughs*. I have not ever had symptoms that relate to COVID-19. Well, the thing is I have had the opportunity of conversing with medical doctors who have laid down precautionary measures needed to protect myself and boost my immunity against the virus. I have been encouraged to take vitamin C and fruits, to mention a few.

Since you work as a frontline driver, have you experienced any patient in a critical condition?

Yes o!!! I have seen patients that have had to be revived or stabilized with oxygen masks. For example, there was a patient in critical condition that we had to evacuate. Fortunately, we arrived early and were able to revive her with oxygen while for others, when they get sick with COVID-19, they assume that they can self-medicate which can be dangerous at times. I try as much as possible to inform confirmed patients, to seek professional medical help instead of taking unnecessary medication from local dispensaries. The biggest dilemma facing Lagosians in general regarding treating medical conditions is the misuse of medication. For example, one may have a common cold and proceed to use medicines for headaches while the actual condition worsens. This is exactly what is happening with the COVID-19 response in Lagos.

Have you seen anybody that has died during evacuation?

Yes a few about 3 to 4 deaths.

Silence

Have the deaths had any effect on your mental health?

Not at all, I am not affected. As I said earlier, the major issue affecting most people is the lack of awareness and information on preventive measures needed to prevent being infected with the virus. Like me now, after a long day, I always take my medication, supplement with fruits, and get enough rest.

Give me a breakdown of a typical day for a frontline driver.

First, I work Sundays to Saturdays. Luckily, I do not sleep a lot, “Kerosene ni mi” (I am kerosene). I am ready for duty anytime around the clock, my roommate can attest to that. For example, a few days ago I was called by a doctor to evacuate a critically ill patient from a hospital to an isolation centre. Even though the rain was pouring heavily, I was able to evacuate the patient successfully.

What advice will you give the public?

My advice to the public is that no one is above the virus and immediately you discover you have been exposed to a confirmed case or notice any symptoms, do endeavour to visit your local health care centres or hospitals. Another thing is that for some people the fear of the virus is responsible for their deaths. In one of our female wards, a patient died after hearing of her roommate’s death. On a positive note, few of my colleagues have been infected and have survived, So COVID IS ONLY A DISEASE AND NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.

COVID 19 Info Basket- Tweets #20

Person loses relative, says corona is real

Cousin who died alone

Mum lost battle with COVID19

Prudent alarmism saves lives.

We are sick and tired, the virus is not

500 Delta Airlines employees test positive with 10 dying

Grieving family requests hot coffee thrown on faces of those not wearing masks in lieu of flowers.              

COVID 19 Info Basket- Articles #20

NHS faces staff shortages ahead of second wave

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-uk-winter-second-wave-nhs-hospital-staff-shortage-a9588041.html

Many people report delirium      

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/health/coronavirus-delirium-hallucinations.amp.html#click=https://t.co/PXDjEKwvzg

MIT Robots disinfect Greater Boston Food Bank 

Who gets the vaccine first?

https://www.wired.com/story/lets-say-theres-a-covid-19-vaccine-who-gets-it-first

How humanity unleashed a flood of new diseases

Fragile healthcare system in Peru is being tested.

A world without detention centres

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2020/6/19/coronavirus-emptied-detention-centres-they-should-remain-closed-forever

A story of two national COVID19 responses

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2020/6/19/a-tale-of-two-covid-19-responses

How British Columbia prevented new outbreaks

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-a-lesson-learned-early-how-bc-has-avoided-major-covid-19-outbreaks/

Coronavirus: UK’s Covid-19 alert level reduced from four to three

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53106673

Coronavirus: Brazil becomes second country to hit one million cases

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-53092196

CureVac Begins Human Trials of Optimized mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19: UN health agency warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as cases mount

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066732

Coronavirus: Palestinian Authority closes two West Bank cities after virus spike

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-palestinian-authority-closes-two-west-bank-cities-after-virus-spike

Coronavirus: Spain to allow UK tourists without quarantine          

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53122825

Chile reports more than 7,000 virus deaths under new counting method

https://m.guardian.ng/news/world/chile-reports-more-than-7000-virus-deaths-under-new-counting-method/

French stadiums to allow fans in from July 11 – government

https://www.eurosport.com/football/ligue-1/2019-2020/french-stadiums-to-allow-fans-in-from-july-11-government_sto7781096/story.shtml

Pope hails Italy virus doctors, nurses as heroes at Vatican

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/pope-hails-italy-virus-doctors-nurses-as-heroes-at-vatican/2020/06/20/1d5cbf10-b2ea-11ea-98b5-279a6479a1e4_story.html

How COVID-19 and the climate are transforming the real estate sector

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/what-effect-has-covid-19-had-on-the-real-estate-sector/

Novartis halts malaria drug trial against COVID-19 amid participant shortfall

https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/06/20/novartis-halts-malaria-drug-trial-against-covid-19-amid-participant-shortfall.html

Costa Rica halts reopening as coronavirus infections rise

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-costa-rica/costa-rica-halts-reopening-as-coronavirus-infections-keep-rising-idUSKBN23Q37L

Zimbabwe’s health minister charged in COVID-19 graft case

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/zimbabwes-health-minister-arrested-in-covid-19-graft-case/2020/06/20/8d71f362-b2e3-11ea-98b5-279a6479a1e4_story.html

Data fog: Why some countries’ coronavirus numbers do not add up

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/data-fog-countries-coronavirus-numbers-add-200607065953544.html

Nearly 1,500 deaths in one day: UK ministers accused of downplaying Covid-19 peak

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/19/over-1000-deaths-day-uk-ministers-accused-downplaying-covid-19-peak

COVID-19 spreads in cramped Rohingya refugee camp

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/covid-19-spreads-cramped-rohingya-refugee-camp-200620110652714.html

What is an immunity passport and could it work?

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/immunity-passport-quarantine-work-covid-19/

Three months, 14 swab tests: A 29-year-old Indonesian’s coronavirus ordeal.

https://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/asia/2020/06/months-14-swab-tests-29-year-indonesian-coronavirus-ordeal-200617232447617.html

Coronavirus live updates: Staggering jobless claims persist; global deaths near 450,000.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/18/coronavirus-live-updates.html

Premier League: One positive coronavirus test in latest phase of mass testing.

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12008446/premier-league-one-positive-coronavirus-test-in-latest-phase-of-mass-testing

Jakarta Post: New coronavirus cases in New Zealand rattle public confidence – The Jakarta Post.

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/18/new-coronavirus-cases-in-new-zealand-rattle-public-confidence.html

COVID-19 infections surge in six US states.           

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/covid-19-infections-surge-states-200618083951837.

WHO urges caution on ‘breakthrough’ coronavirus drug dexamethasone, citing early data.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/17/coronavirus-update-who-urges-caution-on-dexamethasone-citing-early-data.html

Brazil faces the coronavirus disaster almost everyone saw coming.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/06/15/brazil-faces-coronavirus-disaster-almost-everyone-saw-coming/

Trump Says Coronavirus Will ‘Fade Away’ Even Without Vaccine.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-18/trump-says-coronavirus-will-fade-away-even-without-a-vaccine

WHO gives up on hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, stops trials.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/who-gives-up-on-hydroxychloroquine-for-covid-19-stops-trials/

Book Reviews With Oumissa #14: A Man Called Ove

 

Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 2014Genre: Fiction
Rating 4/5

What the world sees is a gruff, socially handicapped old man. The vibes he gives off are unwelcoming and sometimes border on being harsh. Almost no one considers that he has lived a life worthy of being told as a story. They assume he has always been like this, of course with no idea of how incidents in his life have affected him.

Ove is upset by everything. The list of infractions that attract his indignation includes the carefree attitude of young people, how anyone would drive a car asides his infallible Saab, the influx of immigrants into Sweden changing the country as he knows it, the nonchalant behaviour of his neighbours towards maintaining a decent community; according to his standards of course. He is even annoyed by cats and men who cannot fix things around the house. He is a man who finds great fulfilment in working with his hands, values diligence, tidy council layouts and community responsibility.

The book is narrated mostly in Ove’s mind’s voice. He is taciturn and most of his expression is the form of monologues in his head where he grumbles and complains about different things. He has devised a secret plan to but the people and incidents around him find a way to get his attention and delay it further from accomplishment.

This is a truly beautiful rendition of how the tensions between new immigrants and already-present nationals can be transformed into relationships built on trust, friendship and even love. In this regard, the credit goes to Parvaneh, his new pregnant Iranian neighbour. She takes a liking to him and is not rebuffed by his outward appearance of steely indifference or hostility. An uncanny friendship builds between him and her young family as he finds himself; against his inclinations, helping them and accepting their help. We witness an unlocking of his memories from a childhood tragedy, youthful days, falling in love with his wife Sonja and finding radiance the type that should last forever.

Image of elderly couple walking down a country road.Book quote: One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead.

They, however, suffer a terrible tragedy that changes the course of their lives. This singular incident seems like the last one too many. Choosing to carry on with what he had left involved great sacrifice, loyalty and dedication leaving a normally reticent person even less available for social interaction. He is still to face perhaps the greatest tragedy of his life, the extinguishing of the one light he has left, and the one person whose love and companionship made life worth living. He is suddenly floundering, unable to carry on, the buffer that helped him navigate necessary human relationships gone. Ove fully descends into the permanent disagreeable mood everyone avoids.

“And it wasn’t as if Ove also died when Sonja left him. He just stopped living. Grief is a strange thing.”

There is a brilliance in the way Backman reveals her death. It was easy to think she was in a state where she couldn’t talk as Ove carried on conversations with her every single day. The story doubles back to his plan to end things in a bid to join her in her realm. A plan which then gets disturbed each time by Parvaneh and her cheery playful daughters, youths in his community, his former best friend with who he has had a feud for decades and even a cat. In them, he finds help to render, receives love, and ultimately they unravel the kind, helpful, loyal man who would risk his own life to protect those he cares about.

So meticulous is he that he postpones his suicide for the duty to help these people even as he finds them annoying. They warm their way into his heart having found the real Ove wasn’t quite as scary as his reputation and inadvertently destroy his suicide plans. They form a giant family, navigating major life experiences together like birthdays, childbirth, hospital visits, crime, driving lessons, coming out to homophobic fathers, caring for a pet with human-like mannerisms.

One big theme of this book is that humans cannot be held at face value. We truly do not know what anyone is like until we get to know them. When they are hostile as Baba Ove was, it takes more effort and can be frustrating but it is clear that in this case, it was worth it especially as his attitude was more of a social recluse who was not violent to anyone. It makes you think of how many people in your life you have misjudged because you do not know more beyond their general demeanour. How many are carrying around unhealed trauma? It makes you want to be kind just as it urges the traumatized person not to view everyone else as an enemy.

The vivid representation of grief, sadness, a difficult childhood and how repeated trauma defines a person’s character and world views was heavy. In addition, we see how the system can consistently be unfair on honest upright citizens as Ove is frustrated at many points in his life by local council rules that take things he loves away from him. All his attempts at fighting back are mostly futile. This causes pent-up resentment and feelings of letting himself, loved ones and values down.

This was a unique reading experience in first, the characteristic tone translated works tend to have, each chapter being eponymous with the book title and of course Ove thinking of himself in the third person meaning he was even aloof from his own essence. An overriding issue that the author highlights is modernity moving too fast for the elderly especially those who have no one left to relive the moments their youth with. They end up feeling dissociated and lonely from the new culture.

The protagonist’s warm side came alive with his mother and then Sonja who despite being dead was such a huge presence all through the book. All of this changed with his new family, a motley of characters who create the atmosphere of love and acceptance he needed and achieved the mean feat of keeping a grief-stricken old man from taking his own life.

It is compelling and would evoke tears so be warned.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?


Dr Mariam Toye