Emergency over coronavirus

I am living in the middle of the emergency over coronavirus in Finland. Due this reason the update cycle to make posting to this blog could be slowed down.

The Finnish government announced on Monday nationwide school closures in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Read more on the following aricles:

Finland closes schools, declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Daycare centres are to stay open but parents were asked to keep their kids home if possible. The government also published a 19-point list of emergency legislation that takes effect on 18 March.

Coronavirus latest: 359 cases confirmed in Finland, S-Group shuts its Helsinki eateries, bankruptcy fears mount

Here is a link to an earlier post related to Coronavirus:


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    6 korona­keinoa, joissa Suomi on jahkaillut – nyt uhkana jopa liikkumis­rajoitukset https://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000007864516.html

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU:n lääkevirasto Astra Zenecan rokotteesta: Hyödyt edelleen suuremmat kuin haitat, lausunto veritulppaepäilyistä torstaina
    Kymmenkunta EU-maata on keskeyttänyt koronarokotukset Astra Zenecan rokotteella.

    Suomessa ei ole havaittu tavallista enempää verisuonitukoksia koronarokotteiden jälkeen
    Tänään klo 8:50
    Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos kertoo, että minkään koronarokotteen osalta ei ole havaittu verisuonitukosten lisääntymistä. Suomi jatkaa toistaiseksi Astra Zenecalla rokottamista.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Drive-in äänestys pyörällä tai autolla – Yle selvitti Hollannissa, miten vaalit voi pitää korona-aikana
    Vaalien siirtämisestä keskusteltiin Hollannissakin, mutta hallitus päätti pitää ne ajallaan.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Suomessa Astra Zenecan rokotteen saaneilla odotettua vähemmän veritulppia – sikainfluenssa osoitti, että tuotantoerien erot ovat kuitenkin mahdollisia
    Fimealle on toistaiseksi tullut yhdeksän ilmoitusta rokotteen saaneiden veritulpista.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Two weeks ago, Texas’ attorney general filed a lawsuit against Griddy Energy and Griddy Holdings for “false, misleading, and deceptive advertising and marketing practices.” The lawsuit said Griddy misled customers and downplayed the incredible risk of its pricing scheme, which charges the most when customers are most vulnerable.

    ‘Vaccine Passports’ Could Reopen Global Travel—And Lead To Discrimination, Critics Say

    As Governments around the world attempt to reopen travel and kickstart their economies many are looking at so-called “vaccine passports” or “green travel passes” that could allow people who have been inoculated against Covid-19 to travel safely once again, but critics worry that mandating such passes for all travel could discriminate against those who don’t yet have access to a vaccine.

    There isn’t yet a unified idea on how such a travel pass will work but the most popular approaches involve the use of a smartphone app that would carry a passenger’s immunization details which can then be checked before boarding.

    The airline industry’s trade body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), has developed a system called the ‘Travel Pass’ which will give passengers information about what tests and vaccines they need to enter their destination and also be able to receive verified test results or vaccination certificates directly from participating health providers.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    France Reports New SARS-CoV-2 Variant That Might Be Evading PCR Tests

    The health ministry in France has reported a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, and they suspect it may be more difficult to identify using the current gold standard method of detecting COVID-19: a PCR test.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Past Covid Infections Don’t Confer Strong Enough Immunity, Study Finds, Underlining Need For Vaccines

    Most people who catch Covid-19 are unlikely to get sick from the disease again, but reinfection is more common than previously thought and older people face an especially high risk, according to a study Wednesday that researchers cast as proof that vaccines are the best form of protection against the coronavirus — even for people who have already been infected.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lentoliikenne normaaliksi vasta 2024 – ala kaipaa ulkomaista työvoimaa ja uusia työehtosopimuksia
    Tänään klo 18:20
    Helsinki-Vantaan lentoaseman matkustajamäärä tippui viime vuonna peräti 76,9 prosenttia.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ”Sinne meni kaikki” – henkinen hyvinvointi romahtanut tapahtuma-alalla
    LUETTAVAA Jukka Hätinen 16.3.2021 12:59
    Kysely kartoitti tapahtuma-alalla työskentelevien ihmisten tilannetta. Vastauksista välittyi syvä hätä.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU:n epäonnistuminen koronpandemian hoidossa:

    1. The EU failed to secure vaccines as quickly as the U.K., the U.S. and Israel

    2. When a mistake was made, the EU refused to admit this

    3. In a bid to divert attention from its failures, the EU played up vaccine skepticism

    4. The EU decided to set up a vaccine export restriction scheme, risking retaliation

    5. The EU fought the one thing that has proven to work to avoid lockdowns: travel restrictions


  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tom Warren / The Verge:
    Microsoft says it will begin a limited reopening of its Redmond HQ on March 29 and plans a future focus on hybrid workplaces — Microsoft is letting some employees back into the office — Microsoft is planning to start reopening its Redmond, Seattle headquarters later this month.

    Microsoft to start reopening headquarters on March 29th, with hybrid workplace focus
    Microsoft is letting some employees back into the office

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kommentti: Rokote­fiasko merkitsee EU-maille korona­kriisin kallista tuplatälliä – ja turhia kuolemia https://www.is.fi/taloussanomat/art-2000007877313.html

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Suomesta löydettiin uusi virusmuunnos
    keskiviikko 24.03.2021 klo 17:25
    Uusi koronavirusmuunnos muistuttaa Etelä-Afrikan virusta. Se löytyi turkulaisopiskelijoiden ryppäästä.

    Turussa opiskelijoiden keskuudessa levinneiden koronavirustartuntojen aiheuttajaksi on varmistunut Etelä-Afrikan virusmuunnos, Tyks tiedottaa. Kyseinen muunnos ei ole identtinen alkuperäisen Etelä-Afrikan virusvariantin kanssa, vaan näyttää muuntuneen edelleen.

    Asia selvisi Turun yliopistollisessa keskussairaalassa tehdyissä laboratoriotutkimuksissa. Löydös ei anna aihetta muuttaa voimassa olevia suosituksia. Varianttien tunnistaminen on epidemian ehkäisyssä tärkeää, sillä virusvariantit tarttuvat erittäin herkästi.

    Ei ole osoitettu, että muuntunut Etelä-Afrikan virusvariantti aiheuttaisi vakavampaa tautia. Tartuntoja saaneiden oireet ovat olleet melko lieviä eivätkä sairastuneet ole tarvinneet sairaalahoitoa.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    For some extroverts, it was the opposite way.

    Some Introverts Had A Mood Boost During The Early Pandemic, Study Suggests

    Much has been made of the widespread declines in mental health brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health, anxiety, job insecurity, social isolation, and strains on health services have no doubt fostered the ideal climate for mental health problems to thrive. However, this might not necessarily be the experience for all individuals.

    A new study of US college students has found that extroverted people tended to suffer mood declines during the early COVID-19 pandemic, while more introverted people actually saw some improvements to their mood.

    The results suggest that mood and mental wellness generally slumped during the COVID period, although stress levels were found to decrease in most.

    There were also some marked differences between people with more extroverted personality traits compared to those with inverted personalities. People with higher levels of extraversion generally experienced a decrease in mood as the pandemic progressed, but people with lower extraversion tended to see a slight increase in mood over time.

    “The COVID pandemic also appeared to have a negative impact on our mental health indicators, although not as uniformly as we had expected,” the study reads.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    USA Today:
    NY State launches first US “vaccine passport” app, Excelsior Pass, built on IBM’s blockchain-based health pass platform, to be used initially at large venues — Starting Friday, New Yorkers will be able to pull up a code on their cell phone or a printout to prove they’ve …

    New York launches nation’s first ‘vaccine passports.’ Others are working on similar ideas, but many details must be worked out.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ina Fried / Axios:
    Memo: Google tells employees that it expects some US-based workers to return to the office in April, but won’t require employees to come in until at least Sept. — Google told workers in an email Wednesday that it expects some U.S. employees to be able to return to the office in the coming month.

    Google: Some workers are likely to return to U.S. offices in April

    Google told workers in an email Wednesday that it expects some U.S. employees to be able to return to the office in the coming month.

    Why it matters: Tech companies, among the first to shut their offices a year ago, are largely shifting to hybrid work environments, allowing some employees to continue working remotely part or all of the week.

    The big picture: Google’s move follows similar announcements from Facebook, Microsoft and other companies.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Wants Workers To Return To The Office Ahead Of Schedule: This Looks Like A Blow To The Remote-Work Trend

    It feels like we’ve gained the upper hand on the pandemic and are nearly ready to jumpstart the economy and return to work. The challenge is that there isn’t one politician brave enough to flick the switch and make it happen. 

    We need some leadership to make the tough call. Google may be the one, as it’s  admired and emulated by other companies. The search giant was one of the first businesses to tell its people to work from home. Now, the company has called for people to return to the office. This, however, may be a blow to the hopes of many for a new standard of remote work.

    Google CEO Sundar Picahi has been at the forefront of the work-from-home movement. At the end of July 2020, Google allowed its employees to continue working from home through June 2021. The announcement was courageous. It impacted roughly 200,000 workers. The tech giant gave the green light for other organizations to feel comfortable enough to also extend remote policies.  

    Recently, Pichai said he’ll be more “flexible” with his workers and offer a “hybrid” model that will include a blend of both remote and in-office methods of working.  “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models,” the chief executive said.   

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Taboo: Why Is Africa the Global COVID ‘Cold Spot’ and Why Are We Afraid to Talk About It?

    The first COVID-19 case in Africa was confirmed on February 14th, 2020, in Egypt. The first in sub-Saharan Africa appeared in Nigeria soon after. Health officials were united in a near-panic about how the novel coronavirus would roll through the world’s second most populous continent.

    These dire warnings seemed to make sense. After all, two-thirds of the global extreme poor population (63 percent) live in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank, more than 40 percent of the region lives in extreme poverty beset by unhygienic environments, conflict, fragmented healthcare and education systems, and dysfunctional leadership—all factors that could light a match to the tinder of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Scientists say that most African countries lack the capacity and expertise to manage endemic deadly diseases like malaria.

    But disaster never came. Africa has not been affected on anything like the scale of most countries in Asia, Europe, and North and South America. (The major exceptions being China, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand, which zealously enforced lockdowns.) In fact, the vast African sub-continent south of the Sahara desert, more than 1.1 billion people, has emerged as the world’s COVID-19 “cold spot,”

    Except for South Africa—the most multiracial of the black-majority countries—and Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa has largely been spared.

    “It is really mind boggling why Africa is doing so well, while in US and UK, the people of African ancestry are doing so poorly,” Maarit Tiirikainen, a cancer and bioinformatics researcher at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center, told us in an email.

    The most significant environmental factor, scientists say, is age. The average age of Europeans is 43; it’s 38 in the US; across the African continent, it is 18. The average age in Niger, Mali, Uganda, and Angola is under 16. Roughly a quarter of the population in both Europe and North America is over 60-years old, while in Africa, the 60+ age cohort makes up only six percent of the population.

    When infected, the young are also less likely to show symptoms, and asymptomatic people are not as likely to be tested, perhaps suppressing the numbers.

    The younger African population may explain some of the disparities in deaths, but not all of them

    Do Neanderthal genes increase the risk of COVID-19?

    The answer is yes. In fact, the presence of a Neanderthal gene is the single biggest genetic risk factor for the novel coronavirus, roughly doubling the likelihood of getting the virus, according to a June 2020 study by researchers in Germany and Japan, Hugo Zeberg and Svante Pääbo.

    In the words of the researchers, the immune response for carriers of these Neanderthal sequences “might be overly aggressive,” leading to potentially fatal reactions in those who develop severe COVID-19 symptoms. This explanation is analogous to the genetics of HIV susceptibility, with ancient-acquired advantageous genes now proving disadvantageous. Importantly, this could also be true for any human population,

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Newly published American mortality data for 2020 reveals just how deadly last year was.

    More Americans Died In 2020 Than Any Previous Year By A Long Way

    Newly published American mortality data for 2020 reveals just how deadly last year was. More than half a million more US residents died in 2020 than on average from 2014-2019 – an 18 percent increase on 2019. By comparison, numbers of deaths have varied by just 1-2 percent for decades. Excluding the two months before COVID became widespread, the increase in deaths was 23 percent. The increase was not evenly spread across the country, however – some states were almost untouched, while others suffered increases over 30 percent

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Katkeruutta, uupumusta ja yksinäisyyttä – Ylen kysely paljastaa, miten kypsiä amislaiset ja lukiolaiset ovat etäopiskeluun: “2004 syntyneistä tulee väliinputoajia”
    Kotiin eristetty opiskelijanuori uupuu ja pahimmillaan lopettaa koulun. Pieni vähemmistö nauttii vapaudestaan ja kukoistaa.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Between 37,300 and 43,000 American children have likely lost a parent to Covid-19, according to a study released today in the American Medical Association’s pediatric journal.

    ‘Staggering’ 40,000 U.S. Children May Have Lost A Parent To Covid, Study Finds

    Between 37,300 and 43,000 American children have likely lost a parent to Covid-19, according to a study released Monday in the American Medical Association’s pediatric journal, revealing a loss—like many aspects of the pandemic—that’s appeared to hit Black communities especially hard.

    The peer-reviewed study—which multiplied the nation’s February death numbers by the expected amount of affected children to reach its conclusion—found most of the children were adolescents between 10 and 17, but it estimated around 10,000 children age 9 or younger had lost a parent.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Etäkokousapatia yleistyy työpaikoilla – Kannattaako kamera pitää päällä vai kiinni? Näillä asiantuntijan vinkeillä henki pysyy yllä etäpalavereissa

    Miljoona suomalaista on puurtanut jo vuoden etätöissä koronan takia. Etätyöväsymys on nyt vallannut alaa.

    Vuosi sitten iskenyt koronapandemia heitti jopa miljoona suomalaista jatkamaan työntekoa etänä, yleensä omassa kodissa. Alkuajan gallupeissa iso osa ilmoitti haluavansa jatkaa etänä myös koronan kaikottua.

    Nyt vuotta myöhemmin on alkanut ilmetä myös muuta. Tunnettu työelämäkouluttaja, tamperelainen organisaatiopsykologi Pekka Järvinen on havainnut työpaikoilla selvää kyllääntymistä etätyöhön ja apaattisuutta etäkokouksissa.

    – Alkuun etätyöstä ja -kokouksista oltiin niin innostuneita: on helppoa ja aikaa säästyy. Nyt on alkanut selvästi ilmetä etätyöväsymystä, joka on ruvennut heijastuman etäkokouksiin esimerkiksi niin, että ihmiset eivät pidä tietokoneen kameraa päällä ja puuhaavat muuta, Järvinen kertoo.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Monetary Policy in America Is a Mess. Things Are Even Worse in Europe.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine Is Less Effective Against The South African And UK Variants Than Against The Original Virus, According To A New “real-World” Study From Israel

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nearly 7 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S. so far.

    U.S. Calls For Halting Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine After Rare Blood Clot Cases

    Federal health agencies moved to suspend the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. Tuesday following reports of “rare and severe” blood clotting in six recipients, recommending the vaccine’s rollout be put on hold as a precaution while the safety issues are investigated. 

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Vaccines may help some ‘long COVID’ patients
    Health Apr 16, 2021 5:43 PM EDT
    An estimated 10% to 30% of people who get COVID-19 suffer from lingering symptoms of the disease, or what’s known as “long COVID.”

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The COVID-19 death toll has hit 3 million, affirming its position as one of the worst infectious disease outbreaks in history.

    COVID-19 Deaths Have Passed 3 Million, Exceeding All But The Worst Pandemics

    Official global tallies of COVID-19 passed 3 million deaths on the weekend. The current pandemic was already one of the 10 worst recorded appearances of infectious disease in history, but thankfully it remains nowhere near the worst of the worst.

    Three months ago, diagnosed cases of COVID passed 100,000 million.

    “Around the world, cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing on April 16. “The number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months.”

    Half of America’s adults are now vaccinated, but most of the world remains a long way off access to enough vaccines to halt the toll, making many more deaths inevitable, but already the toll is well past some of the great plagues of the past.

    The 3 million deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 are almost certainly an underestimate.

    Nevertheless, this is still easily the best documented pandemic in history. Estimates for historical plagues often vary by a factor of 10

    The Black Death is thought to have killed up to 200 million people in seven years, including a third of the population of Europe at the time. Over many centuries smallpox probably killed more people still, possibly 500 million by some estimates, with tens of millions dying within a few years of its introduction to Central America

    It’s difficult to directly compare other catastrophic outbreaks but two others are notable for their grim statistics: the Plague of Justinian may have killed 12 million in 541-542 CE and the ongoing AIDS crisis, which has taken at least 30 million lives over the past 40 years.

    Despite erroneous comparisons to the flu, the current crisis looks nothing like any influenza epidemic. The 1918-19 pandemic, popularly knows as the Spanish flu killed an estimated 20-50 million people (some say 100 million). On the other hand, COVID-19 has already killed around three times as many people as the second-worst influenza epidemic.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU lopettaa Astra Zenecan rokotteiden tilaamisen ja haastaa yhtiön oikeuteen – tästä on kyse

    Esimerkiksi Suomi saa jo tilatut 3,7 miljoonaa rokotetta joka tapauksessa.

    Euroopan unioni aikoo mediatietojen mukaan haastaa lääkeyhtiö Astra Zenecan oikeuteen sopimusrikkomuksesta.
    Myös optio koronavirusrokotteiden lisätilauksista jätetään käyttämättä.
    Kovin suurta lovea EU:n rokotetilanteeseen välirikko ei jätä, sillä unioni on tilannut kaikkiaan yli kolme miljardia koronarokoteannosta kuudelta eri toimittajalta.

    Euroopan unioni jättää tilaamatta optioidut 100 miljoonaa annosta lääkeyhtiö Astra Zenecan koronavirusrokotetta. Asiasta kertoi EU-komission tiedottaja torstaina.

    Jo solmittu sopimus 300 miljoonan rokotteen toimituksesta jää voimaan. Esimerkiksi Suomi saa Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitoksen arvion mukaan 3,7 miljoonaa Astra Zenecan rokotetta, jotka toimitetaan siis joka tapauksessa.

    Useiden mediatietojen mukaan EU-komissio aikoo kuitenkin aloittaa myös oikeustoimet lääkeyhtiötä vastaan.

    EU preparing legal case against AstraZeneca over vaccine shortfalls

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Maailman työntekijät menettivät $3700 miljardia koronakriisin aikana. Miljardöörit rikastuivat $3900 miljardia. Reilu meinkinki!

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Danger Of ‘Long Covid’: Study Shows Patients Face Increased Death Risk For 6 Months — Even If They Weren’t Hospitalized

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    May Day: Department Store Survivors And Casualties After A Year Of Covid

    It’s been a traumatic year for department stores. Battered and bruised by internet shopping and increased competition, many traditional retailers were well-compromised before Covid crippled the industry. Over the past year, there were some department stores that survived the pandemic’s challenges and others that became casualties and entered the retail graveyard.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The pandemic has been tougher on some than others. And as business leaders steer their companies through the process of returning to something approaching normalcy, they would do well to pay special attention to the needs of employees from three groups—women, minorities, and young people.

    No One Is Immune To Stress—But These 3 Groups Of People Have Been Hit Hardest During The Pandemic

    The pandemic has been tougher on some than others. And as business leaders steer their companies through the process of returning to something approaching normalcy, they would do well to pay special attention to the needs of employees from three groups—women, minorities, and young people—who have been hit hardest. Experts agree that the mental health effects of the last year will linger long after the virus itself is under control, and face masks are stashed away.

    One way to look at the pandemic is as a kind of stress test: one that has revealed which groups, individuals, and institutions are most vulnerable and most in need of greater resilience. Those vulnerabilities and inequities were always there, but a once-in-a-generation global health crisis has amplified them and made them impossible to ignore. 

    We can embrace the difficulties of the past year as a learning opportunity—a chance to, as President Biden has put it, build back better.

    A Stanford study published earlier this month shows that women experience much higher stress than men during the Zoom calls that have become a ubiquitous and nearly indispensable feature of work-life for most of us. So-called “Zoom fatigue” affects everyone, but women especially—to the point where it can be a significant cause of burnout. The unbroken eye contact, along with the difficulty of reading nonverbal cues, exacts a more significant toll on women, who are more conscious of the emotional subtext of human interaction. This increased emotional labor can drain women in subtle but significant ways.

    Covid infection, hospitalization, and death rates among black, Latino, and Native American populations are two to five times higher than among whites. Economic loss and insecurity have also hit these communities hard. Some of this increased vulnerability is because people of color are far more likely to work in essential jobs where remote work is not an option. Even if this does not describe your company, the odds are good that your minority employees have family members at increased risk. African-Americans are three times as likely to know someone who has died of Covid. This, in turn, leads to a greater mental health toll.

    It might at first come as a surprise that young people—specifically, Gen Z teens and young adults—would be amongst the groups most severely affected by pandemic stress. We tend to think of young people as inherently resilient, and in many ways, they are. But they are also in a crucial formative stage of life. Our brains, the frontal cortex, in particular, do not fully mature until we are twenty-five. 

    The most recent Stress in America survey reports some “alarming” findings, according to one physician. “Half of young Generation Z teens have said that the pandemic has affected their outlook on their future, with a similar number saying that it’s made their futures seem downright ‘impossible.’” A high level of stress amongst the younger generations predates the pandemic. According to the APA, stress, depression, substance abuse, and problems with physical health have only intensified in the past year.

    One cause of distress for young people is the loss of traditional milestones by which they mark their maturation into adulthood. Rites of passage like graduation, moving from home to college, and summer vacations have been postponed or radically altered. Employers can help their young hires overcome this disconnect by creating their own traditions and milestones. They can also bridge the acute sense of isolation and loneliness young people have felt the past year by going the extra mile to facilitate opportunities to connect with colleagues and the community.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pandemic leaves Kosovo without printed daily newspapers

    Imer Mushkolaj, a journalist, dreams of once more drinking his morning coffee while flipping through the daily papers.

    Until March last year Kosovo had five daily newspapers, though they all had small circulations. One of them, Koha, sold about 10,000 copies a day at times when the news was most interesting.

    Since the start of the pandemic, there have been no more newspapers physically printed in Kosovo, only online versions. The pandemic was “the final straw, unfortunately turning Kosovo into the only country in Europe, maybe wider, without a daily paper,” said Mushkolaj.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Countries with much higher vaccination rates than the U.S. are experiencing some of the worst coronavirus spikes.

    Covid Surges In 4 Of 5 World’s Most Vaccinated Countries—Here’s Why The U.S. Should Worry

    Countries with the world’s highest vaccination rates—including four of the top five most vaccinated—are fighting to contain coronavirus outbreaks that are, on a per-capita basis, higher than the surge devastating India, a trend that has experts questioning the efficacy of some vaccines (especially China’s Sinopharm) and the wisdom of easing restrictions even with most of the population vaccinated.   

    Of the Seychelles, Israel, the UAE, Chile and Bahrain—respectively the world’s five most vaccinated countries—only Israel is not fighting to contain a dangerous surge in Covid-19 infections.

    Controlling for population, the Seychelles and Bahrain, alongside other highly vaccinated countries like the Maldives and Uruguay, recorded the highest number of daily coronavirus cases worldwide.

    World leaders, including the head of the World Health Organization, issue frequent reminders that nobody is “safe until everyone is safe,” an issue underscored by the vast vaccine inequity between nations. New, potentially more dangerous, variants are emerging across the globe, some of which could potentially evade existing vaccines. The WHO classified the B.1.617 variant tearing through India as a variant of concern Tuesday, noting it may be more infectious.    

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU Parliament adopts the Covid Pass: risks for data

    protection and new forms of discrimination
    At first glance, teh Digital Green Certificate may sound interesting, but upon further reflection, it quickly becomes clear that the proposed system has the potential to divide society and expose certificate holders to far-reaching surveillance by the authorities that issue the documents. Even worse, it exacerbates inequalities and increases social exclusion, shares EDRi’s member epicenter.works.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    About 61% of employees were working from home during the pandemic and that’s expected to fall to around 30% once the lockdown restrictions ease.

    Are We Likely To Work Only 50% Of The Time In The Office?

    As lockdown restrictions ease around the world there are ongoing discussions around what the nature of work will look like. The past 18 months have seen the biggest shift to remote working ever seen. The shift has profound implications not only for the workplace itself but also for the towns and cities that have often evolved around them.

    The question largely remains whether the widespread shift to remote working will endure after the restrictions around the pandemic ease. A survey of around 1,000 IT professionals from the U.S. and U.K. by Spiceworks Ziff Davis (SWZD) suggests that the allure of remote working has begun to wear off for many.

    They show that whereas 61% of employees were working from home during the pandemic, this was expected to fall to around 30% once the lockdown restrictions ease.

    “While the research indicates a drop to 30% of the workforce working remote once it’s safe to return to offices, the majority of companies (57%) will keep flexible work policies in place, pointing in many cases to a hybrid model blending in-person and at-home work going forward,” says Peter Tsai, Head of Technology Insights at SWZD.

    A second survey, from Nyenrode Business University, Open University, and Moneypenny reinforces the likelihood of such a “hybrid” approach. They found that of the employees who are currently working from home due to Covid, practically all wish to remain doing so when restrictions ease.

    What is perhaps most illustrative, however, is that hardly any want to work from home full-time, with some 88% of employees wanting to mix and match between remote work and office-based work depending on their personal circumstances.

    The study revealed that people were missing human contact with their colleagues but were nonetheless concerned that blanket policies might be introduced that don’t work for them. For instance, there was little enthusiasm to return to the office in order to sit in tedious and unproductive meetings.

    For instance, many employees revealed that they had replaced lengthy face-to-face meetings with more bite-sized communication with colleagues via various digital platforms. This form of communication was found to make up around 4.5 hours each day, with most respondents feeling positive about this in terms of how it supports their work.

    Despite this, however, there was nonetheless a desire to receive more real contact with their colleagues, which was cited as the main disadvantage of working from home by over 75% of respondents.

    “From the three psychological basic human needs – autonomy, competence and connection – the latter is most under pressure when people work home for such a long period of time as during the corona crisis,” the researchers say.

    The results suggest that people have been working remotely for long enough now to have developed a style that works for them. The prolonged exposure to remote working has put a strain on the cohesion of teams, however, while the mental wellbeing of workers has also suffered, resulting in a fall in satisfaction with work.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a top target of conspiracy theories

    The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine became a target of conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns as soon as it was announced, reaching millions of people on sites like Twitter, Reddit and 4chan, according to a recent analysis from a cyber defense firm.

    COVID-19 conspiracy narratives, like the false belief that the vaccine was delayed for political reasons, flourished on social networks in the fall and early winter, according to the New York tech security firm Blackbird.

    These bogus notions about the vaccines, amplified by a relatively small number of fake accounts and real influencers, reached millions of people, Khaled said.

    “Bots and influencers work in tandem,” he explained. “We can’t prove if they collude behind the scenes, but social media data shows clearly that they influence each other by sharing the same links, repeating the same phrases, tagging the same accounts and jumping in on trending hashtags.”

    For example, some botnets reach real influencers by spamming conspiracy links to trending hashtags. Another common tactic is to generate fake trends by synchronizing hundreds of posts using similar anti-vaccine and pseudoscientific claims.

    One common tactic is to co-opt trending topics by spamming content with provocative rhetoric that is intended to encourage engagement. This helps raise the visibility and reach of a piece of content, which increases the likelihood that a politically aligned influencer will further share the content. The content gains momentum by muddying the waters between facts and falsehoods.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Japan’s Top Newspaper Calls For Olympics To Be Cancelled

    Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, widely regarded as the most respected newspaper in the country, called for the Tokyo Olympics to be cancelled in an editorial published Wednesday, as the pandemic continues to rage there, and public opinion has turned away from the games.

    The pandemic has “yet to be brought under control,” the paper wrote, “rendering it inevitable that the government will have to declare another extension of the state of emergency currently covering Tokyo” and other parts of the country.

    The editorial board called on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to “evaluate the situation calmly and objectively” and come to the conclusion that it’s impractical to hold the games.

    The Asahi Shimbun is one of several Japanese media companies sponsoring the games.

    Last week, International Olympics Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates said the Tokyo games would continue even if Tokyo and other parts of the country are still under a state of emergency or local authorities object to it. Most of the Japanese public is opposed to holding the games, with a survey released last week showing 83% of the Japanese public against it. The Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, an organization representing more than 6,000 doctors, has also called on Japanese officials to cancel the games. 


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