Nosy: Face Mask Competitor Faces Ridicule

A product called Nosy that is positioning itself as a competitor to the face mask attracted ridicule after people pointed out that it looked absurd.

Although ostensibly a means of protecting against air pollution, the product has undoubtedly drawn attention due to the proliferation of face masks in a post-COVID world.

It’s essentially a small plastic nose covering that makes the wearer look like they’re permanently trapped inside an Instagram puppy filter.

A promo video for Nosy cites World Health Organization statistics which claim one in nine global deaths are due to indoor or outdoor air pollution.

“The problem with face masks is that they don’t have a great seal around the outside, they’re designed for medical environments to stop splashes and things like that,” explains one of the engineers behind Nosy, adding, “They generally have small gaps around the outside.”

Nosy prevents this by having a tight seal and filtering air breathed in through the nose, although it obviously offers no protection if people breathe in through their mouth.

The promo claims that the product is “fashionable,” with one of the participants in the ad claiming, “Nosy is not just a health device, Nosy is a fashion statement for the modern individual.”

Numerous respondents on Twitter begged to differ.

“April Fool Joke released much in advance?” asked one.


China starts using anal swabs to test ‘high-risk’ people for Covid

China has begun using anal swabs to test those it considers to be at high risk of contracting Covid-19, state TV has reported.

Officials took anal swabs from residents of neighbourhoods with confirmed Covid-19 cases in Beijing last week, according to the state broadcaster CCTV, while those in designated quarantine facilities have also had the tests.

Small, localised outbreaks in recent weeks have resulted in multiple cities in northern China being sealed off from the rest of the country and prompted mass testing campaigns, which had mostly been conducted using throat and nose swabs.

The anal swabs method “can increase the detection rate of infected people” as traces of the virus linger longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a senior doctor from Beijing’s Youan hospital, told CCTV.

People on the subway in Beijing

FULL SOURCE via The Guardian

UK and EU agree ‘a reset’ after NI vaccine fiasco

Coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca are expected to be supplied to the UK as planned, despite the EU’s export controls and demands for British-manufactured jabs, after a discussion with EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen, the British Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said.

Gove said the EU recognises it “made a mistake” in its widely condemned attempt to override part of the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland, to prevent shipments of vaccine entering the UK, in a move that risked imposing a hard border with the republic.

A sign for NHS vaccination centre in Wembley in London.

Gove said:

“The prime minister [Boris Johnson] was very clear, we’ve entered into contractual arrangements with AstraZeneca and Pfizer and we expect those arrangements to be honoured.

And President von der Leyen was clear that she understood exactly the UK government’s position, so we expect that those contracts will be honoured, we expect that vaccines will continue to be supplied.

We’re confident that we can proceed with our vaccine programmes exactly as planned.

I’ve spoken to the European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič about this and we both agreed that we need a reset, that we need to put the people of Northern Ireland first.”

SOURCE via The Guardian

C.D.C. Now Says People Without Covid-19 Symptoms Do Not Need Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly modified its coronavirus testing guidelines this week to exclude people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 — even if they have been recently exposed to the virus.

Experts questioned the revision, pointing to the importance of identifying infections in the small window immediately before the onset of symptoms, when many individuals appear to be most contagious.

Models suggest that about half of transmission events can be traced back to individuals still in this so-called pre-symptomatic stage, before they start to feel ill — if they ever feel sick at all.

“This is potentially dangerous,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease physician in Palo Alto, Calif. Restricting testing to only people with obvious symptoms of Covid-19 means “you’re not looking for a lot of people who are potential spreaders of disease,” she added. “I feel like this is going to make things worse.”

At a moment when experts have almost universally come forward to encourage more frequent and widespread testing, especially to reach vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the population, the C.D.C.’s update appears counterintuitive and “very strange,” said Susan Butler-Wu, a clinical microbiologist at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Just weeks ago, the National Institutes of Health announced the first round of grant recipients for its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics program, or RADx, to scale up coronavirus testing in the coming weeks and months. On the agency’s RADx website, officials underscore the importance of prioritizing tests that can “detect people who are asymptomatic.”

A more lax approach to testing, experts said, could delay crucial treatments, as well as obscure, or even hasten, the coronavirus’s spread in the community.

“I think it’s bizarre,” said Daniel Larremore, a mathematician and infectious diseases modeler at the University of Colorado Boulder. “Any move right now to reduce levels of testing by changing guidelines is a step in the wrong direction.”

Prior iterations of the C.D.C.’s testing guidelines struck a markedly different tone, explicitly stating that “testing is recommended for all close contacts” of people infected with the coronavirus, regardless of symptoms. The agency also specifically emphasized “the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission” as an important factor in the spread of the virus.

UK government ‘quietly’ extends local authorities’ lockdown powers in England until July 17

The British government has extended the lockdown powers of local officials in England until mid-July, the Telegraph has reported. A Tory MP told the paper the change was “little noticed” at the time.

The regulation that allows local authorities to close pubs, restaurants, shops, and public spaces was due to expire last week, but it was extended earlier this month until July 17, according to a report in the Telegraph.

A Department of Health source told the paper that MPs had voted for the extension. “As we are currently in a national lockdown it was necessary to renew the regulations,” the source said, which means that the rules have been “automatically extended for another six months.”

UK government ‘quietly’ extends local authorities’ lockdown powers in England until July 17 – media
A woman wears a mask in London, Britain, January 15, 2021. © Tolga Akmen / AFP

The source added: “However, these measures are still subject to the statutory review point.”

Mark Harper, who leads the Coronavirus Recovery Group of Tory MPs, told the paper the extension of the lockdown until July “will be of great concern to those worried about their jobs and businesses.”

“Given the limited time allowed for debate, this change in the law was little noticed,” Harper said.

Tory MP Charles Walker said he hoped “this summer date is only provisional, with a spring opening being the preferred option.”

England went into its third lockdown shortly after New Year, as authorities were struggling to contain a rise in Covid-19 infections and were alarmed by the more transmissible variant of the coronavirus.


Nine Catholic bishops with COVID-19 die in a single week

By Courtney Mares

Rome Newsroom, Jan 15, 2021 / 02:00 pm MT (CNA).- In the past week, nine Catholic bishops have died worldwide after testing positive for COVID-19.

Between Jan. 8 and Jan. 15, bishops across three continents died as a result of the coronavirus. The deceased bishops ranged in age from 53 years old to 91. Five of the bishops died in Europe, where a new strain of COVID-19 has led many countries to implement further restrictions.

Four bishops died on the same day, Jan. 13: Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, who was 70 years old; Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze, Zambia, who died at the age of 53; 87-year-old Bishop Mario Cecchini of Fano, Italy; and Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, the 88-year-old retired archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Cardinal Eusébio Oscar Scheid, the former archbishop of Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Gblobato via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Tartaglia tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas and was self-isolating, but Glasgow archdiocese stressed that the cause of his death was currently unclear.

Bells tolled across the Colombian diocese of Santa Marta on Jan. 12 to honor Bishop Luis Adriano Piedrahita Sandoval, 74, who died on Jan. 11 of complications from COVID-19. Bishop Cástor Oswaldo Azuaje of Trujillo, 69, became the first bishop from Venezuela to die after contracting the virus on Jan. 8.

Bishop Florentin Crihalmeanu, the 61-year-old bishop of the Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Cluj-Gherla in Romania, died on Jan. 12. He was remembered by his eparchy as “a diligent, meek, and humble soul.”

Polish Bishop Adam Dyczkowski, emeritus of Zielona Góra-Gorzów diocese, died on Jan. 10 at the age of 88 and Italian Archbishop Oscar Rizzato died at the age of 91 on Jan. 11. Rizzato had served as papal almsgiver under both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis expressed his condolences following the death of Cardinal Scheid in a telegram on Jan. 14.

“I offer fervent prayers to welcome him into eternal happiness and console him with hope in the resurrection and to all those who mourn the loss of their beloved pastor,” the pope wrote.


Monte Solberg: It was supposed to be a Great Reset, not a Great Reseat

Sit back down again folks, you’re not going anywhere, except to jostle with Uzbekistan in the vaccine lineup

Christmas has come and gone. The dread year 2020 is no more, probably beaten to death by angry villagers. 2021 has arrived, still full of promise even after that little insurrection thing. No problem. A mere stumble. Remember, Justin Trudeau has our back. He is looking out for us. We just need to get vaccinated and away we go. We’ll head back to work, back to school, back to seeing family, back to normal.

No more face masks, except when overthrowing governments or stealing bicycles. No more social distancing, except when avoiding the neighbourhood Karen. No more washing our hands. No more sneezing into our elbow. Hello crowded, germ-infested, clammy get-togethers. The good old days. I can hardly wait.

About those vaccinations. Yes, millions of Americans are getting vaccinated, and wrinkled and wily Canadian snowbirds are taking advantage of American generosity by getting vaccinations while down south. Joe Biden is upping the ante saying Americans will receive 100 million doses in his first 100 days as president. The British are already going hard. They just announced they are now vaccinating 24/7 at 2,700 locations. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have ramped up. Canada is employing the unusual strategy of ramping down. Despite the totally comforting idea of the prime minister having our backs, vaccine makers are cutting our shipments. The provinces are being forced to delay followup shots. Vaccine shipments to Europe have resumed but Canada has been reduced to half rations for the next month. Where’s the respect?

FULL SOURCE via National Post

Chios camp in quarantine after at least 30 test positive for COVID-19

Emma Wallis 2020/10/15

The Vial camp on the Greek island of Chios has been placed under strict quarantine measures again after it was reported that at least 30 migrants had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Greek Migration Ministry announced on Wednesday, October 14 that it would be placing the migrant camp at Vial on the Greek island of Chios under quarantine again, after at least 30 migrants reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the news agency dpa, the quarantine measures will be in place until at least October 21. The ministry said it was now carrying out “extensive health checks.”

This is the second time the camp on Chios has been placed under quarantine. In August the camp was placed under quarantine after first a Yemeni man and a female employee were reported to have tested positive and then three more residents found they had the virus.

Vial migrant camp on the Greek island of Chios | Photo: Picture-alliance/Photoshot/L.Partsalis

Unable to leave camp

In August this year, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR confirmed that there were some 121,400 migrants and refugees in Greece. About 27,700 of those were on the Greek islands and about 3,000 people were thought to be in the Chios camp at the time. At that point the camp was holding about two thirds more than its capacity.

According to Daily Sabah, a Turkish newspaper, all migrants in the camp will be prevented from leaving its confines and only a “small number of staff members may enter the camp.” Daily Sabah estimates that there are currently “over 3,800 asylum seekers living at the Vial camp.”

Coronavirus in Greece

Greece has so far had relatively few cases of coronavirus compared with many other countries in Europe. According to World Health Organization data, between January 3 and October 14 this year, there were 23,060 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 462 deaths.

However, cases in Greece, like in many other countries, are rising. The country recorded the highest number of daily deaths so far this year on October 12, with 13 people dying from or with COVID-19.

FULL SOURCE via InfoMigrants

Kim Jong-un crackdown: North Koreans flouting Covid rules sent to ‘cruel’ prison camps

The new coronavirus regulations stipulated by Pyongyang have been imposed on the provinces of Sungho-ri and North Hwanghae. The North Korean authorities are now putting those who violate coronavirus quarantine rules into political prison camps. The North Korean Workers’ Party new policy is to label those who break quarantine rules as “special criminals” that are guilty of political crimes.

North Korea has been placing those who break coronavirus rules into prison camps

On Wednesday a Daily NK source from North Korea said the number of those labelled quarantine violators has been “greatly increasing”. A new political prison camp was also opened in Hwachon to accommodate the new “special criminals”.

A North Korean border guard

However, the source said that the new camp “isn’t big, and it is managed by the Ministry of Social Security”. Camp 17 is located in Kaechon and there is also Camp 18 in Pukchang. Both of these camps are in South Pyongan Province. The facility may be similar in size to those two camps or slightly smaller.

The North Korean source said: “The authorities opened the facility in one of the coal mines where there used to be a worksite for the Hwachon Political Prison Camp.

FULL SOURCE via Express