Tag Archives: pandemic

‘Dog census’ reveals millions who bought puppies during pandemic underestimated challenge

A “dog census” has revealed the challenges faced by millions who purchased puppies during the pandemic – and are now living life with boisterous four-legged “teenagers”. It is estimated that two million Brits welcomed a pup into their homes during lockdown – many for the first time.

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Many Norwegians believe the pandemic will be long-lasting, according to new study

According to the Norwegian Corona Monitor survey, almost half of the respondents believe that the corona pandemic in Norway will last for up to another year.

In the survey, 18% now state that they believe the corona outbreak in Norway will last for up to another six months, while 46% say it will last up to one more year.

Furthermore, 20% think it will last two more years, while 16% think it will take even longer.

More than 36,000 Norwegians participated in the survey, which was conducted by Opinion.

Fewer believe in rapid recovery

The proportion of the population who believe that the pandemic will last only up to six months more has fallen by as much as 15% since June.

“There is no doubt that more and more people are being vaccinated, but Norwegians no longer believe that that necessarily means the end of the pandemic,” senior adviser Nora Clausen in Opinion noted.

People’s assessment of the duration of the pandemic in Norway now is quite similar to the average for all measurements made during the entire pandemic so far.

The biggest change has been registered in the group that expects the pandemic to last for more than two more years – the proportion is now 5% above the average for all measurements so far.

More think the infection will increase

In the last week, 44% of respondents stated that they believe the number of new coronavirus cases in Norway will increase.

Only 29% believe in a reduction of infection, while the rest believe the number will remain unchanged. 

The proportion of those expecting increased infection in the future has registered an increasing trend in the last five weeks.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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This post originally posted here Norway News

Downing Street adds to the pile of pandemic U-turns


owning Street has performed a swift U-turn following a backlash over news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak would not have to self-isolate, despite being pinged by NHS Track and Trace.

Just three hours later it was announced that both men would be self-isolating as per Government guidance.

Throughout the pandemic, Government advice has shifted on a range of issues, including testing and infection prevention guidance, resulting in anger and confusion.

Here is a summary of some of the different twists and turns Government advice for England has taken:

Downing Street announced Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak would not be isolating, despite being contacted by NHS Track and Trace, before swiftly reversing the decision (Yui Mok/PA) / PA Wire

– March 12 2020: Community testing abandoned

At the start of the pandemic the NHS said a “significant expansion” of testing was being undertaken to “ramp up” facilities so that 10,000 coronavirus tests could be performed a day.

But a day later England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said only those at hospitals would be formally tested.

Essential workers and their households became eligible for testing at the end of April, with this expanded to all people aged five and over with symptoms, in the middle of May.

– July 14: Face coverings must be worn in shops

About four months after England went into its first lockdown, face coverings became mandatory for shop customers.

The Government was initially reluctant to enforce the wearing of face coverings, with experts warning they could give a false sense ofsecurity and improper use could increase the spread of infection.

Facemasks were made mandatory for travelling on public transport in England in June, but it was not until July that they were required inside shops (Victoria Jones/PA) / PA Wire

They were made mandatory for travelling on public transport in England in June, but it was not until July, after weeks of mixed messaging, that they were required inside shops.

– August 25: Face masks required in schools

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson performed a U-turn when he announced face coverings would be required for secondary pupils and staff in communal areas of schools in local lockdown areas of England. This was despite him previously insisting they were not required.

The new advice came a day after a Number 10 spokesman said there were no plans to review the guidance.

– September 22: Return-to-work advice scrapped

Last year’s plans to get employees back into their workplace in a bid to boost the struggling economy were scrapped, with Mr Johnson telling office staff to work from home if they could.

Plans to get employees back into their workplace in a bid to revive the economy were scrapped in September 2020 (Joe Giddens/PA) / PA Wire

The Prime Minister had led calls for staff to return to work in response to concerns that cafes and other businesses which rely on demand from commuters and office workers were facing ruin.

But a rise in coronavirus cases forced him to change the advice.

– October 31: Second lockdown announced

A month-long second national lockdown for England was announced by Mr Johnson, after a system of tiered restrictions in England failed to control rising case numbers.

It had been hoped the tiers would tackle a second wave of coronavirus, while avoiding the economic damage of a full circuit-break.

– December 14: Local restrictions changed early

Two days before a planned review of the coronavirus tier system on December 16, former health secretary Matt Hancock placed London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire into the highest tier of restrictions.

The announcement moved almost 10.8 million people into Tier 3.

– December 19: Christmas cancelled for millions

Less than a week before Christmas Day, Mr Johnson announced that south-east England would move into a new Tier 4, scuppering the festive plans of millions.

The affected areas had to spend two weeks, covering the Christmas and New Year period, following rules similar to the November lockdown.

The Christmas bubble policy previously announced by the Government was curtailed and was applied only to Christmas Day, for people living elsewhere in the country.

– July 18 2021: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak not forced to self-isolate

Number 10 announced the Prime Minister and Chancellor had been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, but would not be isolating as they were taking part in a pilot workplace contact-tracing scheme.

The news caused a furious backlash online from members of the Labour Party, including shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth and deputy leader Angela Rayner, who accused the Government of being “above the law”.

But in a dramatic turnaround just three hours later, Downing Street said the men would be self-isolating after all, rather than taking part in the daily contact testing pilot.

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This post originally posted here United Kingdom News

Peaty: ‘No right answer’ on pandemic Olympics

100m breaststroke gold medallist Adam Peaty defends his Olympic title at Tokyo 2020; Peaty on Games amid pandemic: “You have to think about the normal people who live but you have got to have the realisation and respect the athletes who have trained [for] five years, every single day”

Last Updated: 17/07/21 11:23pm

Adam Peaty defends his 100m breaststroke title at Tokyo 2020

Reigning 100m breaststroke champion Adam Peaty said there was no “right answer” as to whether the Tokyo Olympics should be going ahead in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Games were pushed back a year owing to Covid-19 and the virus has meant a number of curbs are in place for the delayed event – with crowds largely excluded.

Tokyo is under a state of emergency which will run throughout the Games with the torch relay also impacted by virus concerns.

Peaty said: “Obviously, you have got to think about the normal people who do live here.

“But on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have got to have the realisation and respect the athletes who have trained [for] five years, every single day getting up at 5am, and going to bed at 10.30pm with a screaming baby.

“They commit their whole lives to this moment, for this three-week, four-week-long event.

Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, Adam Peaty has set himself an ambitious target of winning three gold medals and breaking a world record at the Tokyo Olympics
Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, Adam Peaty has set himself an ambitious target of winning three gold medals and breaking a world record at the Tokyo Olympics

“You are never going to get the right answer. You have got to look at it in a way that if you sat everyone around the table, everyone’s going to have an opinion.

“For me, I think, obviously, I am biased because I want them to happen because I want to race, but I kind of feel for the home nation who do not want these Games to happen, or you know, people back home who do not want these Games to happen.

“You have seen it at the Euros where you see a lot of people together and it could be a super spreader [event], we just don’t know.

“And for me, I am double vaccinated, and I have taken every single measure to make sure that I am not going to spread it to anyone else if I did have it.

“That’s all I can do. And some athletes are coming out here without any vaccinations and you have got to ask the same question to them.

“So it’s not an easy answer, unfortunately.”

Defending Olympic title ‘not a distraction’

Peaty won the 100m breaststroke at the 2016 Games in Rio

Peaty says the prospect of becoming the first Team GB swimmer to defend an Olympic title is “not a distraction”.

The 26-year-old took gold in the 100m breaststroke in Rio, and broke his own world record en route to another at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in 2019.

The Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion has set the 15 fastest 100m breaststroke times in history, his quickest of 56.88 being a second faster than Holland’s Arno Kamminga, who set 57.9 at the Dutch National trials in May.

Ahead of the Games, which begin on Friday, Peaty said the chance of another world record was “within reach, if I get my preparation right”.

He said: “Going into these Games next week, no British swimmer has ever defended an Olympic title.

“I think that is obviously in the back of my mind that I want to do that.

“But it’s not a distraction and obviously, as every Olympics, I want to inspire as many people as they come back home, and especially this year, when people have been through such a rough time that we can show that just because we have been through that doesn’t mean that we have to stand still, or you know, retreat, or kind of take a step backwards.

“We can always, you know, go through that adversity with a bit of British humour and say, ‘You know what? Let’s have this one.'”

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News

CDC: COVID-19 Is a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to spike in communities where vaccination rates are low, leading to what CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, called “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Walensky reported sobering numbers during a news conference Friday: The most recent 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases was more than 26,300, up 70% from the previous week. The average of daily deaths is now 211 – an increase of 26%.

“There is a clear message that’s coming through: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said. “We are seeing outbreaks in parts of the country where we’re seeing low vaccination coverage.”

She continued, “The good news is, if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re protected … our biggest concern is we are going to continue see preventable cases, hospitalizations, and sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated.”

Walensky said rates have gone down considerably since the peak of the pandemic when the country saw 200,000 cases per day. However, because of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are “in a critical moment in the pandemic.”

When asked if breakthrough infections – illness caused by COVID-19 in vaccinated people – is contributing to the spread of the Delta variant, infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said it is unlikely.

Research shows the viral load among those who are vaccinated is so low that transmission is unlikely, but, he said, there is not sufficient clinical data on that yet.

Fauci said as of June 2021, the variant had made it to 100 countries around the world.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said four states accounted for 40% of new cases last week – one in five coming from Florida.

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This post originally posted here Medscape Medical News

Pilgrims arrive in Mecca for second Hajj during COVID pandemic

Pilgrims began arriving in the holy city of Mecca on Saturday for the second downsized Hajj staged during the coronavirus pandemic, circling Islam’s holiest site in masks and on distanced paths.

The kingdom is allowing only 60,000 fully vaccinated residents to take part, seeking to repeat last year’s success that saw no virus outbreak during the five-day ritual.

This year’s Hajj, with participants chosen through a lottery, is larger than the pared-down version staged in 2020 but drastically smaller than in normal times.

After being loaded on buses and brought to Mecca’s Grand Mosque, pilgrims began performing the “tawaf”, the circumambulation of the Kaaba, a large cubic structure draped in golden-embroidered black cloth, towards which Muslims around the world pray.

Many carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the scorching summer heat.

“Every three hours, 6,000 people enter to perform the tawaf of arrival,” Hajj ministry spokesman Hisham al-Saeed told AFP news agency. “After each group leaves, a sterilisation process is carried out at the sanctuary.”   

The Hajj, usually one of the world’s largest annual religious gatherings with some 2.5 million people taking part in 2019, is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be undertaken by all Muslims with the means at least once in their lives.

It consists of a series of religious rites, formally starting on Sunday, which are completed over five days in Islam’s holiest city and its surroundings in western Saudi Arabia.

It follows a route the Prophet Muhammad walked nearly 1,400 years ago and is believed to ultimately trace the footsteps of the Prophets Abraham and Ismail.

Golden ticket

Chosen from more than 558,000 applicants through an online vetting system, the event is confined to those who have been fully vaccinated and are aged 18-65 with no chronic illnesses, according to the Hajj ministry.

Pilgrims will be divided into groups of just 20 “to restrict any exposure to only those 20, limiting the spread of infection”, ministry undersecretary Mohammad al-Bijawi told official media.

“We are overjoyed,” said Ameen, a 58-year-old Indian oil contractor based in the eastern city of Dammam, who was picked for the ritual along with his wife and three adult children.

“So many of our friends and relatives were rejected,” he told AFP.

Earlier this month, the Hajj ministry said it was working on the “highest levels of health precautions” in light of the pandemic and the emergence of new variants.

Like the other countries of the Gulf, Saudi Arabia is home to significant expatriate populations from South Asia, the Far East, Africa as well as the Middle East.

“I feel like I won a lottery,” Egyptian pharmacist Mohammed El Eter said after being selected.

“This is a special, unforgettable moment in one’s life. I thank God for granting me this chance, to be accepted among a lot of people who applied,” the 31-year-old told AFP.

Saudi Arabia has so far recorded more than 507,000 coronavirus infections, including some 8,000 deaths.

More than 20 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country of more than 34 million people.

The Hajj went ahead last year on the smallest scale in modern history. Authorities initially said only 1,000 pilgrims would be allowed, although local media said up to 10,000 eventually took part.

No infections were reported as authorities set up multiple health facilities, mobile clinics and ambulances to cater for the pilgrims, who were taken to the religious sites in small batches.

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This post originally posted here Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera