Tag Archives: the plague

The Post Pandemic Office Is Already Here – in Australia | Instant News


When Shant Soghomonian, senior sales director at Dell, returned to his Sydney office last month after a year of remote work, the room looked just as he remembered it, and he didn’t even need to wear it. a mask. But when he stepped into a clean conference room for his first face-to-face meeting in 2021, he realized he had forgotten how to greet his comrades in person.

“Did you shake their hand? Do you do elbow lumps? “Recalled Mr. Soghomonian. A consensus is finally emerging around “mostly elbows”, he said.

Mr. Soghomonian and some 2,000 Dell associates in Australia have been able to go to their offices alone for months. On March 9, Dell’s six Australian offices entered the third and final phase of reopening. Meanwhile, about 41,000 Dell employees in the US remain in remote – in “phase 0” – for the near future, according to a Dell spokesman.

The return of Australians to work provides an idea of ​​what post-pandemic offices in other countries will look like in the near future. A country of nearly 26 million people has been at the forefront of efforts around the world for this reopen the office. Tight initial lockdowns, intensive contact tracing and aggressive quarantine protocols have helped keep new cases every day very low for months and the total number of deaths below 1,000 since the pandemic began, according to its Health Department. The offices of multinational companies such as Adobe, Facebook, and Dell began to reopen in early June.

But that’s not a straight line from quarantine to unmasked gatherings. Most offices have to slowly reenter gradually, bracing for the nervousness of the workers communal space and in meetings, and against people’s reluctance to go back and forth again.

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Coronavirus Covid-19: How the ‘super spread’ sparked the outbreak in New Zealand | Instant News


New Zealand Level 4 cluster location. Video / NZ Herald

Researchers have reconstructed New Zealand’s main Covid-19 outbreak to find that one in five adults is responsible for up to 85 percent of the spread of the virus.

New analysis, published in the journal PLOS One, has highlighted the importance of targeting super spread events to combat turmoil.

It also shows that children under 10 infect fewer people on average and are less likely to become “super-spreaders,” defined as infecting more than five other people.

New Zealand recorded nearly 1,500 cases of Covid-19 between February 26 and May 22 last year, before a nationwide lockdown and several other major measures effectively eliminated the virus.

In the study, Associate Professor Alex James and fellow modeler Te Punaha Matatini used a wealth of case data – mostly collected through contact tracing – to find patterns around how the virus spreads in these important months.

They found that, before moving to alert level 4, more than half of all domestic cases resulted in at least one secondary case.

But age plays a role in how many other people who are infected can pass on the virus.

Modeling shows the effective reproductive rate (R) – the mean number of secondary cases – is estimated at 0.87 for children under 10 years, 1.49 for people between 10 and 65, and 1.51 for those older than 65.

“Although children under 10 years of age are equally likely to infect at least one person, adults tend to infect more people than children under 10 years of age,” the researchers reported.

Cases among adults and the elderly also had a “significant” chance – 6 percent in the 10 to 65 group and 7 percent in the over 65 year group – of being a super-spreader.

During the lockdown, the R rate fell to below one for all of these age groups except for those over the age of 65 – something that may be due to elderly care facilities being over-represented in data from later stages of the epidemic.

In all, the researchers identified 29 super spreaders – 21 of which had symptoms of Covid-19 before the lockdown began.

Of the other eight who had symptoms during lockdown, six were involved in the elderly care group.

The study also highlighted that children under 10 tend to have a lower “secondary attack rate” – a measure that determines the likelihood of infection spreading among a close or vulnerable group of people, such as households.

Researchers have reconstructed New Zealand's main Covid-19 outbreak, to find that one in five adults is responsible for up to 85 percent of the spread of the virus.  Photo / Bevan Conley
Researchers have reconstructed New Zealand’s main Covid-19 outbreak, to find that one in five adults is responsible for up to 85 percent of the spread of the virus. Photo / Bevan Conley

This is in line with research abroad – such as the finding that “super-spread” events are a major contributor to transmission.

“Our results show that among adults 20 percent of cases are responsible for between 65 percent and 85 percent of transmission,” the researchers said.

“This suggests that interventions targeting super spreaders or super spread events may be very effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19.

“This may include restrictions on collection size, especially in confined environments or crowded spaces.”

Meanwhile, another paper has just been published in the US journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, has underlined the important role real-time genome sequencing plays in the country’s next major outbreak.

While health officials struggled to contain the Auckland cluster in August – which ultimately led to 179 infections and three deaths – scientists helped link the cases by sequencing the genomes of positive samples.

Overall, they were able to generate genomes from about 81 percent of laboratory-confirmed samples – or 145 of 179 cases – and then compare them with available global genome data.

It quickly informed them that the virus behind the outbreak was part of a group – and thus from one introduction into the community.

“Indeed, the timing and duration of the locking action was partly informed based on these data,” said study authors, led by Otago University and ESR virologist Dr Jemma Geoghegan and University of Auckland researcher Dr Jordan Douglas.

“Overall, real-time viral genomics have played an important role in eliminating Covid-19 from New Zealand and since then helping prevent additional regional lockdowns, leading to substantial economic savings.”

However, they say an important tool has been limited by the “biased nature” of global sampling, including the contribution of very little genome sequences from a particular region.

“We therefore recommend that potential sampling biases and gaps in the available genomic data be carefully considered whenever trying to determine the geographic origin of a particular SARS-CoV-2 outbreak,” they said.

“The analysis should consider all available evidence, including that from genomic and epidemiological sources.”

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The South Australian fruit fly outbreak is destroying the horticultural industry | Instant News


For decades, South Australia has claimed the title of being the only mainland state free of fruit flies – but that valuable status was under serious threat more than a year ago.

While the vast Adelaide metropolitan area is now caught in a series of outbreaks, it is the spread of the pest in the Riverland region that has farmers nervous.

Extensive eradication efforts are currently underway, and authorities believe the outbreak will eventually be brought under control.

But some manufacturers worry it might be too late.

Riverland rock fruit grower Jason Size is concerned about the long-term impact of the outbreak.(

ABC News: Mahalia Carter

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There are currently 10 outbreaks of Mediterranean fruit fly in metropolitan Adelaide, with the first detection at Blair Athol in December 2019.

Queensland fruit flies were also found in Ridleyton, south of Adelaide, in addition to five distinct areas of the Riverland, where eradication efforts have accelerated in recent weeks.

Biosecurity SA executive director Nathan Rhodes said the pest collective outbreak was one of the largest in the state, and fighting two different species at the same time had been a significant challenge.

Dozens of fruit flies were barren on the surface.
The sterile fruit fly was used to contain an outbreak of the SA fruit fly.(

ABC News: Mahalia Carter

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“The response is really labor-intensive – it takes a lot of people knocking on people’s doors and going into the backyard,” he said.

“There are about 150,000 households affected in Adelaide alone.

“Likewise, you go to Riverland – we have a lot of residential property in the area, but also commercial property, which grows and tries to move the fruit that needs to be applied care or conditions are put in place to allow them to continue to flourish in operation.”

In Adelaide, the so-called “orange army” of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is being put into effect, knocking on doors and inspecting and tending plants in the hardest hit suburbs.

A group of people dressed in orange are hunting fruit flies.
PIRSA has deployed staff to deal with the outbreak.(

ABC News: Mahalia Carter

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Millions of sterile fruit flies are released in Riverland every week, and Mr Rhodes described the containment methods used as “tried and true”.

Backyard farmers are also feeling the impact

Restrictions on the movement of some fruits and vegetables in the outbreak zone will be in place until around the end of the year.

But the impact is not only on large-scale or commercial farmers.

For about a decade, Monica O’Wheel has run a community market in Payneham, east of Adelaide, which relies heavily on home grown fruit and vegetables.

Ms O’Wheel said the restrictions meant the market was “teetering”.

“People when they have fruit trees that bear a lot of fruit – there’s no way they can eat it all themselves, even curing and drying.”

Payneham market organizer, Monica O'Wheel.
Monica O’Wheel said the outbreak had an impact on the Payneham community market.(

ABC News: Mahalia Carter

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Ms O’Wheel said while the outbreak has been frustrating, everyone needs to play their part in making sure people understand movement restrictions.

“When I went to yoga, I said to someone who brought lemons to share … ‘You can’t do it, you can’t’,” he said.

Despite the situation, South Australia remains the only mainland state classified as fruit fly-free – but that status has been suspended in the outbreak zone.

PIRSA said it was communicating with trading partners between countries to assure them that the outbreak was being handled.

“If we don’t manage to eradicate the current outbreak, then we will have a problem with our fruit fly free status,” said Rhodes.

“When we are in active eradication, we impose excise duties [outbreak areas] from our pest free status and other states remain recognized as pest free. “

Fruit orchards in South Australia.
Jason Size’s South Australian orchard.(

ABC News: Mahalia Carter

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South Australia’s horticulture industry is a significant economic contributor – in 2018-19, it generated $ 1.7 billion in overall industry revenue.

Mr Size said the cost increases and additional procedures put in place to combat the outbreak had been “devastating” for farmers.

“With the labor shortage we have experienced this year, the fruit fly care that farmers have to do may have created a bit of a financial burden,” he said.

“[There’s been] a lot of uncertainty and heartache trying to figure out what to do to bear their fruit. “

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New York City Is Reopening But Many Families Still Turn To Food Pantries | Instant News


Economic tension caused by the Covid-19 pandemic It will likely leave about 1.4 million New York City residents struggling to buy enough food this year, according to Feeding America, the national food bank chain.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, more than 1 million people were experiencing food insecurity, meaning a lack of access to sufficient nutritious food, the group said.

Food insecurity is closely linked to unemployment, and while many sectors of the city’s economy have reopened, the labor market is still hurt, especially for low-wage workers. New York City lost nearly 630,000 private sector jobs in February compared with a year earlier, according to the Labor Department, pushing the unemployment rate up nearly 10 percentage points, to 13%.

Registration of food stamp benefits among city residents has increased by nearly 12%, to 1.66 million recipients in January, compared with the same month last year, according to the city’s Social Service Human Resources Administration Department. The Food Bank for New York City, which distributes food and runs an anti-hunger program through 1,000 kitchens and other charities across the city, has provided nearly 100 million pounds of food since the start of the pandemic, an increase of 61% over the same period the previous year. , said Zac Hall, vice president of nonprofit programs.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think the same level of response we have today will at least be needed for the next few years,” he said.

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Indigenous Australians are Skeptical About Covid-19 Vaccines, and They’re Hard to Reach | Instant News


SYDNEY – To reach indigenous clans in northern Australia, vaccinators must pass through monsoon rains which can make airplanes and waterways infested with crocodiles. Once they reach the community, they face another formidable challenge in convincing the group to take fire.

First Nations like the people of East Arnhem Land – more than 600 miles by road from the nearby city of Darwin and bastions of traditional Aboriginal culture – are next in line Australian vaccination program which started last month and focuses on prioritizing health and other workers on the front lines to keep Covid-19 out of the country.

In many ways, vaccination programs are a litmus test for countries with large indigenous groups who feel marginalized and distrust government policies. Nearly 150,000 indigenous Australians lived in remote areas in 2016, according to the latest available government data. In East Arnhem Land, the life expectancy is around 50 years and half of Aboriginal children experience severe hearing, lung or other health problems by age 4.

“What we hear now is probably 50-75% going to say no,” said Eddie Mulholland, chief executive of Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corp., an indigenous community controlled primary health service for about 8,000 people across East Arnhem Land.

Concern rose among indigenous Australians after it was reported rare cases of blood clots in people in Europe who have received the Covid-19 injection developed by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford, although regulators have found no link between blood clots and vaccines and recommend continued use.

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