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Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advice

A place to post daily news of Kurdistan from valid sources .

Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:18 am

Virus vaccine doses

Shame the research is not being shared worldwide

The UK government has signed deals for 90 million doses of promising coronavirus vaccines that are being developed.

The vaccines are being researched by an alliance between the pharmaceutical companies BioNtech and Pfizer as well as the firm Valneva.

The new deal is on top of 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca.

However, it is still uncertain which of the experimental vaccines may work.

A vaccine is widely seen as the best chance of getting our lives back to normal.

Research is taking place at an unprecedented scale - the world became aware of coronavirus at the beginning of the year, but already more than 20 vaccines are in clinical trials.

Some can provoke an immune response, but none has yet been proven to protect against infection.

The UK government has now secured access to vaccines that use three completely different approaches:

    100m doses of the Oxford vaccine made from a genetically engineered virus

    30 million doses of the BioNtech/Pfizer vaccine, which injects part of the coronavirus' genetic code

    60 million doses of the Valneva, which uses an inactive version of the coronavirus
Using different styles of vaccine maximises the chance that one of them will work.

Kate Bingham, the chair of the government's Vaccine Taskforce, said: "The fact that we have so many promising candidates already shows the unprecedented pace at which we are moving.

"But I urge against being complacent or over optimistic.

"The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms."

If an effective vaccine is developed then health and social care workers, as well as those at highest risk of the disease, will be prioritised.

It is possible a vaccine will be proven effective by the end of 2020, but wide-scale vaccination is still not expected until next year.

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, told BBC Breakfast that vaccine development was "an incredibly long process and we are doing it at breakneck speed" but that we should expect a Covid 19 vaccine "after winter".

The announcement also includes an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy treatments made from neutralizing antibodies, which can disable the virus.

These could be given to people who cannot be vaccinated because they have a weakened immune system or are having treatment for cancer.

Meanwhile, the government is hoping to get half a million people to sign up to trials of vaccines in the UK through the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry website.

At least eight large scale coronavirus vaccine trials are expected to take place in the UK.

Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, said: "Now that there are several promising vaccines on the horizon, we need to call again on the generosity of the public to help find out which potential vaccines are the most effective."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53469269
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:32 am

I like the sound of this treatment:

Covid treatment trial described as breakthrough

The preliminary results of a clinical trial suggest a new treatment for Covid-19 dramatically reduces the number of patients needing intensive care, according to the UK company that developed it

The treatment from Southampton-based biotech Synairgen uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it gets a viral infection.

The protein is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus, using a nebuliser, in the hope that it will stimulate an immune response.

The initial findings suggest the treatment cut the odds of a Covid-19 patient in hospital developing severe disease - such as requiring ventilation - by 79%.

Patients were two to three times more likely to recover to the point where everyday activities were not compromised by their illness, Synairgen claims.

It said the trial also indicated "very significant" reductions in breathlessness among patients who received the treatment.

In addition, the average time patients spent in hospital is said to have been reduced by a third, for those receiving the new drug - down from an average of nine days to six days.

The double-blind trial involved 101 volunteers who had been admitted for treatment at nine UK hospitals for Covid-19 infections.

Half of the participants were given the drug, the other half got what is known as a placebo - an inactive substance.

Unconfirmed results

Stock market rules mean Synairgen is obliged to report the preliminary results of the trial.

The results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, nor has the full data been made available; so the BBC cannot confirm the claims made for the treatment.

But if the results are as the company says, it will be a very important step forward in the treatment of coronavirus infections.

The scientist in charge of the trial, Tom Wilkinson, says if the results are confirmed in larger studies the new treatment will be "a game changer".

The trial was relatively small but the signal that the treatment benefits patients was unusually strong, he says.

"We couldn't have expected much better results than these," Synairgen chief executive Richard Marsden told the BBC.

He described the results as "a major breakthrough in the treatment of hospitalised Covid-19 patients".

What happens next?

Mr Marsden said the company will be presenting its findings to medical regulators around the world in the next couple of days to see what further information they require in order to approve the treatment.

That process could take months, although the British government, like many others, has said it will work as fast as possible to get promising coronavirus treatments approved.

It is possible it could be given emergency approval, as the anti-viral drug remdesivir was in May.

Another possibility is that permission will be given for more patients to receive the treatment with the effects being carefully monitored to confirm it is safe and effective.

If it does get approval, the drug and the nebulisers used to deliver it would then need to be manufactured in large quantities.

Mr Marsden says he instructed companies to start producing supplies back in April to ensure they would be available should the results be positive.

He says he expects Synairgen to be able to deliver "a few 100,000" doses a month by the winter.

How does the treatment work?

Interferon beta is part of the body's first line of defence against viruses, warning it to expect a viral attack.

The coronavirus seems to suppress its production as part of its strategy to evade our immune systems.

The new drug is a special formulation of interferon beta delivered directly to the airways via a nebuliser which makes the protein into an aerosol.

The idea is that a direct dose of the protein in the lungs will trigger a stronger anti-viral response, even in patients whose immune systems are already weak.

Interferon beta is commonly used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Previous clinical trials conducted by Synairgen have shown that it can stimulate an immune response and that patients with asthma and other chronic lung conditions can comfortably tolerate the treatment.

How was the treatment tested?

No-one involved in the trial knew which patients have been given which treatment until it was over.

"If you know it's a drug, your mind might have a bias," explained Sandy Aitken, one of the nurses who administered the new drug to patients at Southampton Hospital.

Synairgen's drug trial was the template for the Accord programme, a fast-track clinical trial scheme set up by the UK government in April to accelerate the development of new drugs for patients with Covid-19.

The Synairgen team believes the drug could be even more effective at the early stages of infection.

A trial exploring the effects of giving patients who are in high-risk groups the new drug as soon as they are confirmed as having Covid-19 has struggled to find volunteers because there are so few new infections at the moment.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53467022
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:57 am

Johnson and Gove clash over masks in shops

Boris Johnson today urged people to don face masks in shops and vowed clarity on making them compulsory within days - as the government's approach verged on shambles

The PM, who was once again wearing a covering out and about in London, insisted they had a 'great deal of value' in confined spaces such as shops.

After weeks of dithering, he said ministers and officials were 'looking at' the guidance on whether they should be compulsory in such settings, and suggested an announcement is imminent.

The comments came amid accusations that the government is 'all over the place' on face masks with the premier and Michael Gove seemingly at odds over requiring them in shops. Currently they are only required by law on public transport in England.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland added to the sense of drift by saying 'perhaps' masks should become mandatory inside.

Scientists have warned that the public will be 'confused' after Mr Gove insisted yesterday that wearing coverings indoors should be a matter of 'courtesy'.

By contrast Mr Johnson said on Friday that the government 'needs to be stricter in insisting people wear face coverings in confined spaces'.

Nicola Sturgeon has already brought the rule in for Scotland, while London mayor Sadiq Khan has been demanding the change. Wales announced today that face coverings will be compulsory on public transport from July 27.

It came as Mr Johnson also urged people to consider physically returning to their places of work amid fears a continuing trend of working from home will spell doom for high street shops and businesses.

The PM said that 'people should start to think about getting back to work' but some of the country's biggest firms said fewer than 50 per cent of staff could come back because of social distancing rules.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... shops.html

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:16 pm

France sends virus aid to Kurdistan

The government of France’s most populous region donated 100,000 face masks to the Kurdistan Region’s health ministry on Tuesday as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across Iraq

The French consulate general said in a Facebook post on Monday that medical aid arrived in Erbil from France, adding that the aid was promised by the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian when he visited Iraq and Kurdistan Region on July 16.

The following day, the consulate said in another post that, “This morning, 100,000 face masks were handed over to [Kurdistan Region’s] health minister [Saman Barzanji], under the name of Ile-de-France Region, to help the Kurdistan Regional Government’s health workers.”

It added that the French region will continue helping the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) combat the virus.

The KRG’s health ministry thanked the French region for the aid in a Facebook post, calling on the international community to help his government curb the spread of the virus.

The pandemic is quickly spreading in the Kurdistan Region, where efforts to combat the virus are hampered by an economic crisis. The KRG cannot pay its civil servants, including health workers, on time and in full. This has caused several strikes among health workers in Sulaimani province.

The KRG’s health ministry recorded 302 new cases of coronavirus, as well as 225 recoveries and eight deaths on Tuesday. The new data brings the total number of cases to 12,937. Of this, 8,781 have recovered and 504 have died.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/280720202
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:42 pm

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:50 am

Latest on Virus in UK and Europe

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Sadly Spain, which is the English peoples' favourite holiday destination, is having severe problems and people returning from Spain to the UK are required to self isolate for 2 weeks

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:05 pm

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:15 pm

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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:13 pm

Kurdistan in worst stage of pandemic

Kurdistan is in the worst stage of the coronavirus pandemic, a health official told Rudaw on Tuesday, warning the situation is likely to get worse as autumn approaches

"We are at the worst stage of the coronavirus right now," Dr. Mohammed Qadir, spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Health told Rudaw.

“There is no sign to show that the situation will improve any time soon..if we want to assess our situation, we have to work on data and statistics from at least two weeks before," he added.

Qadir’s comments come as the Kurdistan Region recorded its highest number of deaths since the outbreak began.

Health authorities announced 26 deaths on Tuesday evening.

Of this number, 11 came from Erbil province, nine from Sulaimani, four from Garmiyan administration and the remaining two from Raparin, according to a statement from the health ministry.

"During the autumn and winter, respiratory diseases and flu will increase. If by then our situation has not improved, we may have to fight two pandemics at the same time, which will place a heavier burden on us," Qadir warned.

The health ministry recorded 618 new cases on Tuesday, including 241 in Erbil , 91 in Sulaimani, 25 in Garmiyan, 153 in Duhok and 43 in Halabja.

Since the onset of the virus in late February, the Kurdistan Region has seen a total of 22, 278 cases, of which 12,807 have recovered and 803 have died.

With 4,336 active cases, Erbil is the epicenter of the pandemic, followed by Sulaimani with 3,307 cases.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/18082020
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:10 am

Which face covering works best?

Scientists test 14 masks - and find one actually increases risk of infection

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Scientists have tested 14 different types of face-covering and found that one of them actually increases the risk of coronavirus infection.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina tested coverings ranging from the kind worn by healthcare professionals to neck fleeces and knitted masks.

The study's authors compared the dispersal of droplets from a participant's breath while they were wearing one of the coverings to the results of a control trial where their mouth was fully exposed.

The least effective face-covering in the study was a neck fleece which was found to actually increase the risk of infection by having a "droplet transmission fraction" of 110%.

Duke University researcher Martin Fischer, who put the test together, told CNN: "We were extremely surprised to find that the number of particles measured with the fleece actually exceeded the number of particles measured without wearing any mask.

"We want to emphasise that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that actually work."

A bandana was the second worst-performing face-covering but it did not increase the risk of infection, while a knitted covering was third worst.

The most effective face-covering in the study was a fitted N95 mask without valves which had a droplet transmission fraction of 0.1%.

The hospital-grade coverings are used by frontline healthcare workers.

A surgical mask performed second best while a polypropylene mask came in third.

Handmade cotton face coverings were also shown to perform well and eliminated a substantial amount of the spray from normal speech.

The study was published in the Science academic journal.

Mr Fischer said: "We confirmed that when people speak, small droplets get expelled, so disease can be spread by talking, without coughing or sneezing.

"We could also see that some face coverings performed much better than others in blocking expelled particles."

Eric Westman, one of the authors of the study, said: "Wearing a mask is a simple and easy way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"About half of infections are from people who don't show symptoms, and often don't know they're infected. They can unknowingly spread the virus when they cough, sneeze and just talk.

"If everyone wore a mask, we could stop up to 99% of these droplets before they reach someone else.

"In the absence of a vaccine or antiviral medicine, it's the one proven way to protect others as well as yourself."

Participants in the study wore one of the coverings before speaking into the direction of a laser beam inside a black box.

Droplets from the person's breath would then scatter light as they moved through the laser beam. This process was recorded using a mobile phone camera.

The authors of the study said a "simple computer algorithm" was used to count the drops in the video.

The league table of the 14 masks tested
(picture number at end):


1. N95 mask, no exhalation valve, fitted (14)
2. Surgical mask (1)
3. Cotton-polypropylene-cotton mask (5)
4. Two-layer polypropylene apron mask (4)
5. Two-layer cotton, pleated style mask (13)
6. Two-layer cotton, pleated style mask (7)
7. N95 mask with exhalation valve (2)
8. Two-layer cotton, Olston style mask (8)
9. One-layer Maxima AT mask (6)
10. One-layer cotton, pleated style mask (10)
11. Two-layer cotton, pleated style mask (9)
12. Knitted mask (3)
13. Bandana (12)
14. Gaiter type neck fleece (11)

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus- ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:06 am

Is Sweden proof we got it wrong?

A few days ago, I took a stroll to the shops. It was a glorious morning and the parks and cafés were full of families enjoying the sunshine.

Perhaps the shops were a little quieter than they would have been a year ago; but they were busy enough.

The restaurants were preparing for lunch; the mood was relaxed and happy. And nobody — yes, nobody — was wearing a mask.

That, of course, is the giveaway

I wasn’t in Britain but in Sweden, a nation which stood alone in Europe in refusing to institute lockdown.

And as I queued to buy my son an ice cream, I was struck by the contrast with the situation back home. Like most people, I never imagined that the lockdown would last so long, or that the consequences would be so calamitous.

A taste of freedom: Swedes have been free to soak up the sun, play sports and socialise during the pandemic

Indeed, a few weeks after Boris Johnson announced the draconian restrictions on lives and livelihoods, I wrote on these pages that fears of a second Great Depression were overblown, and that with the right spirit, Britain would quickly bounce back.

But as the months went by and we sank into inertia, my optimism evaporated.

Recent figures suggest that our economy shrank by 20 per cent in the first three months of lockdown, a far worse decline than in other industrial countries such as the U.S. and Germany.

Most experts believe the worst is yet to come, with the Bank of England predicting that unemployment will hit 2.5 million by the end of the year. And even that may be too optimistic.

Yet despite these dire projections and the need to get the nation up and running — and in spite of the good news on the dramatic fall in death rates and admissions to hospital — parts of Britain remain in the grip of near-terminal paralysis.

City centres are deserted, commuter trains empty and the offices that are open operating with skeleton staff. As a result, countless shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes have not bothered to reopen — and may never do so.

As for Boris Johnson, he appeared to have vanished without a trace — at least until the Mail tracked him down to a remote Scottish location this week.

The Government seems incapable of giving a lead and the public mood is characterised by bickering and bitter negativity. There is little sign of the upbeat, can-do spirit we badly need to revive our national fortunes.

Sweden had a long-established plan for a pandemic and was going to stick to it. Pictured, people play beach volleyball at Gardet park amid the coronavirus outbreak in April

So it was with a sense of relief that two weeks ago I boarded the plane to the Swedish capital Stockholm. For in Sweden, leaders kept shops and offices open throughout, insisted that children went to school and still do not tell their citizens to wear masks.

Yet I can’t deny I felt a twinge of anxiety. As fervent admirers of all things Scandinavian, we’d arranged our family holiday when the coronavirus was merely a glint in the eye of a Chinese bat. Occasionally I wondered if we might be sensible to cancel it. But my wife, a much braver person than me, would not hear of it.

And quite apart from the attractions of cinnamon buns, unspoiled forests and glittering Baltic waters, I was curious to see how the Swedes were getting on.

For months their country has been the great outlier, inspiring admiration and horror in equal measure.

Some reports claimed that ordinary life was unchanged. Others, especially in Left-wing circles, attacked Sweden as a dystopian disaster zone, as if the streets were littered with unburied bodies.

The author of the country’s coronavirus strategy, a mild-mannered state epidemiologist called Anders Tegnell, has become one of the most controversial men in Europe.

From the start, he insisted that mandatory lockdown was a waste of time. Sweden had a long-established plan for a pandemic, Mr Tegnell said, and was going to stick to it.

People should be sensible, wash their hands, avoid public transport and keep a safe distance, but that was it.

Closing schools was ‘meaningless’. Shutting borders was ‘ridiculous’. Masks were, by and large, a waste of time. Shops and restaurants should stay open.

And when interviewers asked why Sweden was not following Germany, France and Britain in locking down, Mr Tegnell had a robust answer. Other countries, he said, had ‘panicked’. But panicking was not the Swedish way.

Even as the virus spread, death rates soared and hospitals in Italy and Spain were overwhelmed, Sweden stuck to its guns. No lockdown.

The results were not perfect. Like us, the Swedes failed to protect their care homes.

By the time I landed in Stockholm, their death rate stood at almost 57 per 100,000 people, far worse than in neighbouring Nordic countries.

In fairness, though, Sweden is in parts more densely populated than most of Norway, Denmark and Finland, with three large cities in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.

And Sweden’s death rate is still lower than those in Belgium (87 per 100,000 people), Spain (62), Britain (62) and Italy (58) — all of which did go into lockdown.

So what did I make of it? Well, that’s easy. After the negativity, paranoia, moaning and squabbling of Britain, Sweden was paradise.

The contrast struck me almost immediately at the supermarket. Usually the sky-high Scandinavian prices leave me wincing in anguish.

But this time I barely noticed them, too busy enjoying the lack of queues outside the shop, the absence of masks and the generally relaxed atmosphere.

Nobody recoiled in horror when our trolley came within five metres of them. Nor did people shrink in terror when another shopper appeared in the aisle, as is the norm in British supermarkets these days.

That set the tone for the next two weeks. For the Swedes, summer life has carried on as normal. Perhaps people give strangers a little more distance than they usually would — but so sensibly, so discreetly, that you barely noticed.

When we went kayaking in the gorgeous Stockholm archipelago, the guide told us that he was fully booked at weekends, even though foreign tourist numbers had plummeted.

Sweden’s death rate is still lower than those in Belgium (87 per 100,000 people), Spain (62), Britain (62) and Italy (58) — all of which did go into lockdown

Swedish foreign minister defends coronavirus strategy

Similarly, when we visited the stunning Baltic island of Gotland, a kind of Scandinavian version of Cornwall, the holiday season was in full swing. The restaurants were busy and we often needed a booking to get in. Yes, we were offered hand sanitiser on arrival, but there was no great song and dance about it.

Since most Swedes speak excellent English, we often asked people what they made of it all. And the answers were always the same.

Yes, they were sorry that the virus had got into their care homes. But without exception, the Swedes were glad to have escaped lockdown.

By this time, with the A-level shambles beginning to unfold back home, I was feeling miserable about the prospect of returning.

But perhaps the Swedish experience was too good to be true? I had a look at the latest figures to find out.

On August 3, the day we arrived in Stockholm, just one Swedish person was reported to have died of Covid-19. The next day’s death toll was three. The following day’s was 13; then it was down to six.

According to Sebastian Rushworth, an American-born doctor in a Stockholm A&E department, he hasn’t seen a single Covid-19 patient in a month: ‘Basically,’ he writes, ‘Covid is in all practical senses over and done with in Sweden.’ So should Britain have followed the Swedish example?

One obvious counter-argument is that Britain is even more densely populated, with almost 70 million people to Sweden’s ten million. Perhaps we were always going to need some sort of lockdown, if only temporarily.

In every other respect, though, I think the comparison shows us in an almost embarrassing light.

In the first three months, Sweden’s economy shrank by approximately 9 per cent — less than half the downturn in our own economy. Our children stayed at home; theirs went to school. Our businesses closed; theirs stayed open. Our social and cultural life ground to a halt; theirs continued — with some sensible restrictions.

At the top, the difference could hardly be more glaring. Sweden’s scientists drew up a plan, and their government calmly followed it.

Even as international criticism of his tactics mounted, Mr Tegnell remained calm. Again and again he repeated that there was no point in panicking, no point in making crowd-pleasing gestures and no point in committing economic suicide.

Contrast that with Britain’s politicians, floundering around like drunkards at closing time, flip-flopping on policy and constantly being dragged into ever more stringent measures to appease the public hysteria.

But perhaps it’s too easy to blame Boris Johnson & Co — who are, after all, merely a reflection of the society they serve. Mr Tegnell’s approach worked because the Swedes are a serious, sensible, law-abiding lot, who believe in individual responsibility and can be trusted to behave themselves.

Again, contrast that with the scenes here: first the panic-buying of toilet rolls; then the punch-ups in supermarket aisles and car parks; the absurd crowds on South Coast beaches; even the mobs of ‘anti-racist’ anarchists who thought a pandemic was the ideal time to rant and rave. All pretty miserable, I know.

And I can’t deny that when we flew back to face a fortnight’s quarantine, I felt distinctly depressed, not just at the thought of all those blasted masks, but at the prospect of all the Left-wing whining, Right-wing bickering, political incompetence and general irresponsibility ahead.

So in Scandinavian spirit, here’s a positive note on which to end.

Tragic as the death toll in Britain has been, it has not come close to the 250,000 predicted by Professor Neil Ferguson’s apocalyptic model, which reportedly inspired Boris Johnson’s decision to impose a lockdown.

So what did I make of it? Well, that’s easy. After the negativity, paranoia, moaning and squabbling of Britain, Sweden was paradise

The death rate has been declining for months — a 95 per cent fall since the peak in April. Coronavirus casualties are now six times lower than deaths from flu and pneumonia. In the week to July 31, just 2.2 per cent of deaths in England and Wales were caused by Covid.

Children don’t seem to suffer from the virus, or spread it much. Just one healthy child is known to have died from Covid in Britain, and there is not a single case recorded worldwide of a child giving the virus to a teacher.

We know who is at greatest risk (the very old, the very fat, people with Caribbean and Asian backgrounds or with underlying problems such as diabetes and lung disease), and our clinicians have got much better at treating and managing the disease.

There’s no reason, in other words, why Britain’s politicians can’t change the record — and they must do so fast, even if it disrupts their precious holidays.

For too long we’ve been ruled by paranoia. But economic logic and sheer common sense dictate that we can’t remain paralysed for a minute longer.

The priority now must be to restart the engines of enterprise and rebuild the economy. Life always involves an element of risk, and as long as we’re sensible, we need to get back to normal and free ourselves from our national funk.

So now is the time — albeit belatedly — for Boris Johnson to issue a call to arms.

He may fancy himself as the reincarnation of Churchill, but so far he has failed to match the great man’s courage at a time of national crisis. Now, more than ever, he needs to throw off his caution and rally the nation.

The truth is that for many of us, the last few months have been one long holiday from reality. But the summer is almost over and the economy is on life-support. It’s time we got back to work.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/arti ... wrong.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:09 am

Copper kills Covid-19 in less than 10 minutes

The oldest metal worked by man, copper now has a new relevance, and it’s all because of Covid-19: copper can kill the virus

Over 20 years, research by Professor Bill Keevil and his team at the University of Southampton has seen copper zap one bad bug after another, from Legionnaires’ Disease and MRSA to MERS and now they’ve proven a copper alloy with antimicrobial properties kills the current coronavirus in less than 10 minutes.

Through the ages, copper has been used to create drinking vessels, sinks and even, reputedly, to heal wounds.

“Touch points” can be where copper truly shines in design today — used for handles, switches, sockets, fingerplates and even taps that could transmit a virus.

In Suffolk, Jim Lawrence’s large workforce makes mainly lighting, with copper wall switches from about £48, including dimmers plus socket/fingerplate.

At Proper Copper in Brighton, Khan Erkeksoy, Ed Moriarty and team turn copper tubing into funky handles priced from around £13, plus taps, pan racks, showers and towel rails (01273 973650).

Wall-mounted solid brass pan rail, from £68 at Proper Copper

They say: “Copper is super-sustainable. It can easily be melted and reused. Around 80 per cent of copper going the rounds is recycled.”

Alternatively, a simple pull handle in aged copper costs about £14 from fittings and home decor specialists Dowsing & Reynolds.

For safety outside the home, engineers in Yorkshire have just devised the KeepSafe, a neat gadget that stops you touching any handle at all. It looks a bit like a keyring bottle opener with little levers and protruding prongs to open doors and bins, activate loos, press lift buttons and tap card machines and keyboards — all remotely.

It even takes off bottle caps and is made from an antimicrobial copper alloy which will eliminate coronavirus in 10 minutes, as proven by the scientists at Southampton Uni. The KeepSafe costs £9.50 plus £1.50 postage

Its makers say: “Our KeepSafe tool is not a substitute for rigorous hand hygiene, but an extra weapon to fight an invisible enemy.”

Less strident than brass and brighter than bronze, copper is the darling of contemporary design, although copper finishes and lacquers are unlikely to be antibacterial.

Tom Dixon, with studio, café and flagship at King’s Cross, made his trademark spherical light, simply called Copper, in 2005, later adding squashed and elongated forms. Tip-top tech known as vacuum metallisation harnesses a mega-charge of electricity to vaporise a thin strip of copper into a fine coating for a polycarbonate form.

Historically, chefs have loved copper pans because they heat quickly and evenly. Top brand is Mauviel 1830 in Normandy. Its pans cost £200 to £300 at Harrods which also stocks Italy’s Ruffoni label.

More affordable is a huge copper pan range at ProWare, from £50 for a milk pan. John Lewis does copper pans in its own-label popular Croft Collection.

When it comes to kitchen design, Charlie Smallbone, pioneer of painted cupboards 40 years ago, runs Ledbury Studio, facing cabinets with copper and other metals.

Helen Parker of deVOL Kitchens in Leicestershire suggest copper for worktops and splashbacks. “It’s glamorous in an understated way, soft and tactile and perfect with dark, moody colours,” she says (showrooms in EC1;

Kiruna Double Bed, Copper, £399, Made.com

Kitchen maker Alex Main of The Main Company adds: “Acidic liquids react with copper to develop a patina and that rustic look”

Metal workshops can make copper worktops and/or splashbacks. John White of Zinc and Copper Worktops clad London spires and roofs in copper and zinc, then 12 years ago fitted out a chic zinc bar, spawning a new business. From around £340 a metre (DIY kits from thekitchenzink.com).

Copper can be a bathroom stunner, too.

Interior architects Michaelis Boyd specified copper baths made in Dorset by William Holland for Battersea Power Station, where 253 turn-key flats should be ready next year. Retail price is about £4,830. Copper baths start at £3,598 at BC Designs, with a copper basin at £534.

Find affordable copper accessories at Habitat and Wayfair and copper-faced sideboards at Swoon.

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/home ... 39926.html
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:34 am

Kurdistan death toll passes 1,000

Another 26 people died of the coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region in the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll over 1,000, according to official figures

The Kurdistan Region health ministry said in a statement on Friday afternoon that 26 patients – 11 from Sulaimani, nine from Erbil and six from Duhok – have died, bringing the total number of deaths in the Region to 1,007.

In the past 24 hours, 458 people tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of cases to 27,259. The ministry has conducted nearly 300,000 coronavirus tests.

The Kurdistan Region has seen more than 400 new cases every day for most of August.

Despite the high numbers of cases and deaths, tourist sites and resorts were packed on Friday. Few holidaymakers were wearing protective clothing or social distancing.

The government imposed strict lockdowns after the first case was recorded in March, but has largely eased restrictions in order to allow businesses to reopen.

Travel is now permitted between provinces, but face masks are mandatory at all times. "Anyone who does not wear a face mask outside their houses will be fined 20,000 dinars ($16.20)," the interior ministry announced on August 20.

The order is not enforced, however. Erbil mayor Nabaz Abdulhameed told Rudaw this week that they have not been given instructions by the ministry about how to carry out the order so they are not issuing any penalties at the moment.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/280820201
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:50 am

Herbs in high demand as Kurdistan
seeks coronavirus remedy


Herb sales have surged in the Kurdistan Region since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the non-governmental Kurdistan Herbalist Society (KHS) has told Rudaw, as consumers look to protect and treat themselves from the still little understood virus

"Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, demand for herbs has very much been on the rise - especially herbs which boost the immune system, whose sales have gone up by 200 percent," KHS media officer Jalal Karim told Rudaw on Thursday.

An estimated one ton of herbs are now sold in the Kurdistan Region every day, KHS head Ismael Mushir told Rudaw.

Herbs in high demand include clove, mint, thyme, eucalyptus, Karim said, as well as the costly echinacea "which sells for 50,000 dinars, because it is anti-bacterial and anti-viral."

The Kurdistan Region has seen a total of 24,271 coronavirus cases since late February. Erbil and Sulaimani have been the worst impacted by the outbreak, with thousands of cases still active in each of the two provinces. To date, there are no vaccines or medicines that specifically target COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials of both Western and traditional medicines, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Over the past two months, the sale of herbs has increased by 100 percent in Erbil," Mushir said.

To satisfy demand, one million dollars’ worth of herbs are imported into the Kurdistan Region from Turkey, Egypt, Iran, China, India, Sudan, the Czech Republic, Poland, Britain, and Germany every year, according to KHS data. Karim, himself a herb seller, said that “sixty percent” of his products are grown in the Kurdistan Region.

Part of what has spurred sales of herbal remedies is "advertisements on social media, comments from nutrition specialists, local and international pages and accounts," Karim said.

But Dr. Saman Abdulrahman, an assistant professor at Sulaimani University’s College of Agriculture, said that some of this advertising has preyed on consumers fearful of an illness of which we still know so little.

"Coronavirus is new, and no country has yet discovered a vaccine for it. So to name herbal remedies as medication to treat coronavirus is nothing short of pickpocketry and deception,” Abdulrahman said. “However, some herbs can be used to boost the immune system.”

Abdulrahman, who holds a PhD on the classification of herbs in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, said that many shop owners lack the necessary knowledge to sell herbal remedies.

"Ninety five percent of the herbal therapy centers have no expertise about the benefits of herbs. They don’t even know about the herbs. They’ll sell them immorally. For example, they’ll say that mint fights coronavirus, but that is not in fact the case. Mint is anti-bacterial, not anti-viral."

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) health ministry does not have any data on the number of premises selling herbal remedies in the Kurdistan Region. However, the herbalist society said that the Kurdistan Region is home to more than 500 centers, selling over 100 kinds of herbs.

As the fledgling herbalist industry grew, the health ministry decided in 2018 to regulate herbal remedy centers. According to ministry regulations, only graduates from medical, scientific and agricultural colleges are allowed to work as herbalists, health ministry advisor Dr. Aram Rostam told Rudaw.

"The sale of any kind of herb as a cure for coronavirus has no scientific backing," Rostam said. "This kind of trade is trickery.”

Karim agreed that herbal remedies must not be sold as a magic cure for the virus.

"We cannot say that these herbs should be used to treat coronavirus, because they are not medication," the herbalist said. "What we can say is that they can supplement diet and play some role in easing the symptoms of coronavirus."

https://www.rudaw.net/english/business/22082020
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Re: Coronavirus: we separate myths from facts and give advic

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:58 am

Coronavirus now the norm in Kurdistan

Coronavirus pandemic fears will no longer be a reason for Kurdistan Region tourist resorts to be ordered shut, a tourism ministry spokesperson said on Saturday

“It will no longer be decided that resorts in the Kurdistan Region will close because we have all come to understand that we have to live with the virus and make our economy stronger,” said Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) tourism board spokesperson Nadir Rusti.

A decision to keep tourist sites open marks a distinct change from KRG interior ministry orders for temporary shutdowns of resorts when coronavirus numbers have peaked.

Resorts in Duhok province have been subject to some of the most long-running and stringent closures over the course of the pandemic, which reached the Kurdistan Region in March. The latest province-ordered closures to resorts was early this month in Erbil, when it saw record-breaking single-day numbers for coronavirus cases. Both Erbil and Duhok provinces still do not allow group visits from Iraqi provinces outside the Kurdistan Region, but one tourism official told Rudaw that this restriction is likely to be relaxed this week.

There is no available data on the economic losses Kurdistan Region tourism resorts have incurred because of the pandemic, or on the number of tourist trips taken in the Region for this year, Rusti said. However, tourist numbers have visibly plummeted, and pale in comparison to the 1.85 million Kurdistan Region tourist visits Rusti said were made between January and June of last year.

The Region's tourism sector mainly relies on Arab visitors from areas under federal Iraqi control. Each tourist spends roughly $300 per visit, Rusti said, providing income to tourism workers and to the KRG.

The tourism ministry said resorts across the Kurdistan Region would be allowed to reopen to visitors from KRG-controlled areas from August 20. Footage captured by Rudaw on Friday showed resorts brimming with visitors, even though coronavirus case numbers are showing no sign of letting up. In flagrance of KRG-issued health guidelines, most visitors in the footage are seen without a face mask, or latex gloves. Some could also be seen holding hands and dancing.

Asked about large visitor crowds and the absence of masks and gloves on resort visitors, spokesperson Rusti said that imposing social distancing at some sites is virtually impossible, though tourism officials “have managed to impose the health measures elsewhere.”

“We have also given instructions to resorts, especially when it comes to wearing face masks," Rusti said. "We have told them that they should make masks available, for free or with charge, at site entrances."

To date, the Kurdistan Region has recorded over 27,000 coronavirus cases, according to KRG health ministry figures. Deaths of those who contracted the coronavirus surpassed 1,000 on Friday afternoon.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/29082020
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