COVID-19: Non-Medical Effects (Responses; Disruptions; Etc.)

Yithian

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Novel: the Korean government is said to be likely to declare August 17th an arbitrary national holiday because August 15th, Liberation Day, falls on a Saturday this year (it would be a 'day off' for many more people were it to have fallen on a weekday).

This will create a three-day weekend at the height of summer with international travel all but impossible, which should result in a major boost for the suffering tourist industry.

:twothumbs:
 

EnolaGaia

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Pandemic-related lockdown (etc.) measures cleared the air in some places to the extent solar power output levels rose ...
Air Cleared So Much During COVID-19 Shutdown, It Actually Increased Solar Power Output

As the Covid-19 shutdowns and stay-at-home orders brought much of the world’s travel and commerce to a standstill, people around the world started noticing clearer skies as a result of lower levels of air pollution. Now, researchers have been able to demonstrate that those clearer skies had a measurable impact on the output from solar photovoltaic panels, leading to a more than 8 percent increase in the power output from installations in Delhi.

While such an improved output was not unexpected, the researchers say this is the first study to demonstrate and quantify the impact of the reduced air pollution on solar output. The effect should apply to solar installations worldwide, but would normally be very difficult to measure against a background of natural variations in solar panel output caused by everything from clouds to dust on the panels. The extraordinary conditions triggered by the pandemic, with its sudden cessation of normal activities, combined with high-quality air-pollution data from one of the world’s smoggiest cities, afforded the opportunity to harness data from an unprecedented, unplanned natural experiment.

The findings are reported today in the journal Joule, in a paper by MIT professor of mechanical engineering Tonio Buonassisi, research scientist Ian Marius Peters, and three others in Singapore and Germany. ...
FULL STORY: https://scitechdaily.com/air-cleare...own-it-actually-increased-solar-power-output/
 

cycleboy2

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While New Zealand has the definite advantage of being an island, they have had superb leadership during the crisis. The UK is also an island, though I'm not sure the latter is the case...
I think a large part of the UK's problem is the number of obstinate people here who just don't like being told what to do. I've just watched a woman in our local shop standing in line without a face mask. Everyone else was wearing one. I thought to myself fair enough, maybe she has asthma or something? .. nope .. she got to her turn in the que, said "Sorry I'm not wearing a mask, I forgot it.". This was after she'd been moaning about face masks to the woman standing behind her in the que. She only lives round the corner from the shop so could easily have gone and got it. I get the feeling she'll be 'forgetting' her mask as often as she can.
 

Ladyloafer

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Earthquake sensors record unprecedented drop in human activity due to pandemic
Joel Achenbach
July 23, 2020 at 7:31 p.m. GMT+1

The coronavirus pandemic and the associated economic shutdowns led to an unprecedented drop in the seismic “noise” caused by human activity, scientists reported Thursday.

The shutdown effect registered by seismometers is akin to that typically seen in the middle of the night and during holiday periods, only this one lasted from March to May and encompassed almost every corner of the planet — a stunning global quiescence never before seen in the history of earthquake science.


Full Article:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2020/07/23/human-seismic-noise-coronavirus/
 

ramonmercado

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Treat World War Z as a textbook?

07/25/2020 02:17 pm ET

‘World War Z’ Author: COVID-19 Response Shows U.S. Has Lost The ‘Gut Terror’ Of Germs
Max Brooks argued in a Comic-Con panel that the threat of a global outbreak is no mere sci-fi concept.
By Jeremy Blum

The COVID-19 pandemic might be a few steps removed from the apocalypses depicted in popular fiction, but storytellers can play a vital role in helping people understand the very real threat of global epidemics, according to Max Brooks, author of the zombie plague novel “World War Z,” which was adapted as a 2013 film starring Brad Pitt.

Brooks — who also wrote “The Zombie Survival Guide” — spoke in a Comic-Con-at-Home panel on “Zombies and Coronavirus: Planning for the Next Big Outbreak.” He pointed out the general public’s disregard of science and argued that the biggest threat to the United States is “the gap between the American people and those who protect them.”

“One of the reasons [COVID-19] has been such a devastating plague in the United States is it’s a generational problem,” Brooks said. “If this had hit us 40 years ago, there would have been enough Americans still alive and in positions of authority who still remember the dark days of polio and whooping cough — the pre-vaccine days when viruses and bacteria used to kill and cripple a large portion of our population.”

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/world-war-z-max-brooks-coronavirus_n_5f1b5ca6c5b6128e6825e22e
 

Cochise

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On the other hand if you don't get exposed to germs your immune system will lose its ability to respond, thus making pandemics - or even ordinary flu's and colds, not to mention many other illnesses - more deadly.

It's nasty, I know but I do wish some folks could be time travelled to the 14th century and see what a real rampant plague is like. This is a kitten in comparison.
 

Ladyloafer

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Australian woman kicks off about wearing face masks and films herself doing it.

"I DON'T CARE, IT DOESN'T APPLY TO ME"
 

EnolaGaia

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The pandemic's social and economic disruptions are magnifying the effects of endemic hunger and famine ...
Virus-linked hunger tied to 10,000 child deaths each month

... All around the world, the coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, cutting off meager farms from markets and isolating villages from food and medical aid. Virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children a month over the first year of the pandemic, according to an urgent call to action from the United Nations shared with The Associated Press ahead of its publication in the Lancet medical journal.

Further, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the U.N. — malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that’s up 6.7 million from last year’s total of 47 million. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe.

“The food security effects of the COVID crisis are going to reflect many years from now,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, the World Health Organization head of nutrition. “There is going to be a societal effect.” ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/5cbee9693c52728a3808f4e7b4965cbd
 

EnolaGaia

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Face masks prompt London police to consider pause in rollout of facial recognition cameras
The concern is well founded ... Surveys indicate the error rate for existing face recognition software is at least 50% when masks are being worn.
U.S. agency: Pandemic masks thwarting face recognition tech

Having a tough time recognizing your neighbors behind their pandemic masks? Computers are finding it more difficult, too.

A preliminary study published by a U.S. agency on Monday found that even the best commercial facial recognition systems have error rates as high as 50% when trying to identify masked faces.

The mask problem is why Apple earlier this year made it easier for iPhone owners to unlock their phones without Face ID. It could also be thwarting attempts by authorities to identify individual people at Black Lives Matter protests and other gatherings.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology says it is launching an investigation to better understand how facial recognition performs on covered faces. ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/234f0d7a98193cec4846d7f28237537e
 

EnolaGaia

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Google now expects the work-at-home protocol needs to be continued for a year into the future ...
Google to keep most of its employees at home until July 2021

Google has decided that most of its 200,000 employees and contractors should work from home through next June, a sobering assessment of the pandemic’s potential staying power from the company providing the answers for the world’s most trusted internet search engine.

The remote-work order issued Monday by Google CEO Sundar Pichai also affects other companies owned by Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet Inc. It marks a six-month extension of Google’s previous plan to keep most of its offices closed through the rest of this year. ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/e3c3969a5b60d1002f206739c5c8ae68
 

EnolaGaia

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The international air travel industry's trade association now says air travel is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
Air travel not expected to recover until 2024

Global air travel is recovering more slowly than expected and it will take until 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the trade association for the airline industry said Tuesday.

The International Air Transport Association pushed back its prediction by one year due to the slow containment of the outbreak in the U.S. and in developing countries.

The industry is seeing a rebound from the depths of the shutdowns in April, but the bad news is that any increase “is barely visible,” IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said ...

Pearce said that air travel is not rebounding along with rising levels of business confidence in Europe, the U.S. and China. Traffic was down 86.5% in June from the same month a year ago, compared with a drop of 94.1% in April, measured as revenue passenger kilometers, or the distance traveled by all revenue-generating passengers. ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/73b55c3da0a07012f20bd6913743e806
 

EnolaGaia

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Newly published survey results indicate the pandemic has generated substantial mental health side-effects ...
Psychological Distress: Acute Depression, Stress & Anxiety Higher During Peak of COVID-19 Pandemic

Rates of psychological distress, including depression and anxiety symptoms, were found among Australian adults during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, according to a new study published July 28, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jill Newby of the University of New South Wales at the Black Dog Institute, Sydney, Australia, and colleagues.

The acute and long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are largely unknown. Research into previous pandemics has shown higher rates of illness fears, psychological distress, insomnia and other mental health problems in people with pre-existing mental illness, front-line health care workers, and survivors of the disease. Research into the mental health impacts of COVID-19 is needed to inform policy decisions, prevention efforts, treatment programs, and community support systems. ...
FULL STORY:
https://scitechdaily.com/psychologi...iety-higher-during-peak-of-covid-19-pandemic/
 

EnolaGaia

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Here are the bibliographic details and abstract of the pandemic mental health side-effects study. The full article can be accessed at the link below.

Acute mental health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia
Jill M. Newby , Kathleen O’Moore, Samantha Tang, Helen Christensen, Kate Faasse
Published: July 28, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0236562
Abstract

The acute and long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. The current study examined the acute mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 5070 adult participants in Australia, using an online survey administered during the peak of the outbreak in Australia (27th March to 7th April 2020). Self-report questionnaires examined COVID-19 fears and behavioural responses to COVID-19, as well as the severity of psychological distress (depression, anxiety and stress), health anxiety, contamination fears, alcohol use, and physical activity. 78% of respondents reported that their mental health had worsened since the outbreak, one quarter (25.9%) were very or extremely worried about contracting COVID-19, and half (52.7%) were worried about family and friends contracting COVID-19. Uncertainty, loneliness and financial worries (50%) were common. Rates of elevated psychological distress were higher than expected, with 62%, 50%, and 64% of respondents reporting elevated depression, anxiety and stress levels respectively, and one in four reporting elevated health anxiety in the past week. Participants with self-reported history of a mental health diagnosis had significantly higher distress, health anxiety, and COVID-19 fears than those without a prior mental health diagnosis. Demographic (e.g., non-binary or different gender identity; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status), occupational (e.g., being a carer or stay at home parent), and psychological (e.g., perceived risk of contracting COVID-19) factors were associated with distress. Results revealed that precautionary behaviours (e.g., washing hands, using hand sanitiser, avoiding social events) were common, although in contrast to previous research, higher engagement in hygiene behaviours was associated with higher stress and anxiety levels. These results highlight the serious acute impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of respondents, and the need for proactive, accessible digital mental health services to address these mental health needs, particularly for those most vulnerable, including people with prior history of mental health problems. Longitudinal research is needed to explore long-term predictors of poor mental health from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FULL REPORT:
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236562
 

Ladyloafer

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Should have tasered the selfish mare!
Thing is, a shop is a private place. They can make whatever rules they want so long as it doesn't break the law. They have every right to ask customers to wear clothes or not piss in the aisles. If people are unwilling to follow these rules then bye bye. Same with face masks.
 

EnolaGaia

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The figures are in, and the COVID-19 lockdown (etc.) caused US overall energy consumption to fall to a 30-year low this past spring. Similarly diminished energy consumption statistics are expected to be reported around the world.
US energy use hit 30-year low during pandemic shutdowns

U.S. energy consumption plummeted to its lowest level in more than 30 years this spring as the nation’s economy largely shut down because of the coronavirus, federal officials reported Wednesday.

The drop was driven by less demand for coal that is burned for electricity and oil that’s refined into gasoline and jet fuel, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

The declines were in line with lower energy usage around the globe as the pandemic seized up economies. Those trends are expected to turn around as commercial activity resumes, but an annual decline in U.S. and global greenhouse gas emissions is expected and some energy companies already have fallen into bankruptcy.

Overall U.S. energy consumption dropped 14 percent during April compared to a year earlier, the energy administration said. That’s the lowest monthly level since 1989 and the largest decrease ever recorded in data that’s been collected since 1973. ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/08597d40a9ae36cb5ebe2710a5744846
 

Yithian

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I literally could not believe it when I read that the UK Government has pooh-poohed the idea or testing arrivals at ports and airports, because I had assumed this was already being done.

They seem to think that testing and self-regulated quarantine are an either/or proposition.

Where I am, imported cases are now accounting for 50-65% of the total, and over half of them are detected by positive airport/port tests.

Madness.
 

cycleboy2

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I literally could not believe it when I read that the UK Government has pooh-poohed the idea or testing arrivals at ports and airports, because I had assumed this was already being done.

They seem to think that testing and self-regulated quarantine are an either/or proposition.

Where I am, imported cases are now accounting for 50-65% of the total and over half of them are detected by positive airport/port tests.

Madness.
Welcome to the wacky world of the UK's response to the pandemic. More specifically, welcome to England's response; after a shaky start Scotland has really got a handle on things and both parts of the island of Ireland seem to be getting on top of things. Not so much England. And for board-specific reasons that's all I'm saying!
 

Analogue Boy

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I literally could not believe it when I read that the UK Government has pooh-poohed the idea or testing arrivals at ports and airports, because I had assumed this was already being done.

They seem to think that testing and self-regulated quarrantine are an either/or prepositionf

Where I am, imported cases are now accounting for 50-65% of the total and over half of them are detected by positive airport/port tests.

Madness.
This is partly why we in the UK have been completely flummoxed by contradictory information coming from government and the advisors. We were all locked in, only allowed to go as far as the doorstep to clap for carers and stay away from work and public transport to save lives. Yet the airport was letting people in to traverse the country and few of those arrivals were checked or even saw any printed information. First no masks needed... now they’re saying you must wear one when out shopping. The Mayor of London said (if I can believe my memory)... Ah yes...
He told Good Morning Britain today: ‘There is no risk in using the Tube or buses or other forms of public transport or going to a concert.’

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/03/coronavirus-london-tube-sadiq-khan-12339239/?ito=cbshare
Each week, we were getting conflicting information on how covid was affecting us. First it wasn’t airborne, then it was. Now it’s screw the health risk, we need to protect the economy so get yourself down the pub. Outside the pubs, streets were full of drinkers and there’s illegal raves all over the place.
One week later, we’re told the isolation period is rising from 7 to 10 days and we should be prepared for a second wave.
They opened air bridges to other countries and once a few brave souls took the risk of going to Spain for a lie on the beach, effectively shut them again and the official advice is now...

If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.
It’s all pretty chaotic to the point where I think there’s possibly some experiment to see just how much crap we’ll put up with. And its also annoying as this country supposedly has the technology and the means to deal with this better.
 

pandacracker

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It’s all pretty chaotic to the point where I think there’s possibly some experiment to see just how much crap we’ll put up with. And its also annoying as this country supposedly has the technology and the means to deal with this better.
Well, I'm sure somebody is benefiting from the chaos :spider: :hyper: :spider:
 

Swifty

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I literally could not believe when I read that the UK Government has pooh-poohed the idea or testing arrivals at ports and airports, because I had assumed this was already being done.

They seem to think that testing and self-regulated quarrantine are an either/or preposition.

Where I am, imported cases are now accounting for 50-65% of the total, and over half of them are detected by positive airport/port tests.

Madness.
It's absolutely fubar isn't it .. I seriously want the underground launching drones up to disrupt take offs but the police would stop that quickly .. it's just money money money at the end of the day to our government .. it's only about which businesses they can get the most tax from, librarys and churches are still closed because they don't generate cash, pubs and restaurants? .. no mask needed .. shops? open but mask needed and so on and so on .. airports? .. KERCHING! .. :mad: .. it's blatant isn't it.
 

Mythopoeika

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I literally could not believe it when I read that the UK Government has pooh-poohed the idea or testing arrivals at ports and airports, because I had assumed this was already being done.

They seem to think that testing and self-regulated quarantine are an either/or proposition.

Where I am, imported cases are now accounting for 50-65% of the total, and over half of them are detected by positive airport/port tests.

Madness.
I believe they're rolling out fever testing cameras at ports and airports, but that just checks one symptom.
Proper swab testing would take too long.
 

Yithian

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I believe they're rolling out fever testing cameras at ports and airports, but that just checks one symptom.
Proper swab testing would take too long.
System here is that all airlines flying inbound must temperature check all passengers at the country of departure. 37.5°+ means that you are barred from boarding.

Everybody gets a test on arrival.

Those who do not have a permanent residence in the country are taken to one of several government-run facilities, where they are quarantined (at their own expense) for two weeks. It's about the cost/quality of a cheap to mid-rate hotel and includes TV/Internet plus three meals per day. Edit: £66/night--bargain!

Those who are ordinarily resident in the country (and their immediate family) are allowed to quarantine at that home (and only that location) for the fortnight, but they have to supply contact details and are monitored regularly. They must report symptoms and not leave the premises under threat of prosecution--this has only occurred a couple of times. In order to be elligible for self-isolation, an individual must have a modern phone capable of installing a tracking/contact/symptom-checking app and must use private transportation to reach his home.

When the test result comes back (later the same day, usually) either group is contacted if they are found positive and another test is administered.

Think I've got that all right.
 
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