Category Archives for "COVID-19"

COVID-19, also referred to as the coronavirus, is sweeping the globe. It’s a pandemic the vast majority of us have never experienced. We need to hunker down, stay home, and “flatten the curve” is we want to minimize the effects of this deadly virus.

Special Report: COVID opens new doors for China’s gene giant – Reuters

Special Report: COVID opens new doors for China's gene giant - Reuters 1BGI Group, described in one 2015 study as “Goliath” in the fast-growing field of genomics research, is using an opening created by the pandemic to expand its footprint globally. In the past six months, it says it has sold 35 million rapid COVID-19 testing kits to 180 countries and built 58 labs in 18 countries. Some of the equipment has been donated by BGI’s philanthropic arm, promoted by China’s embassies in an extension of China’s virus diplomacy.

But as well as test kits, the company is distributing gene-sequencing technology that U.S. security officials say could threaten national security. This is a sensitive area globally. Sequencers are used to analyse genetic material, and can unlock powerful personal information.

In science journals and online, BGI is calling on international health researchers to send in virus data generated on its equipment, as well as patient samples that have tested positive for COVID-19, to be shared publicly via China’s government-funded National GeneBank.

Source: Special Report: COVID opens new doors for China’s gene giant – Reuters

Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states

Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states 2BALTIMORE (AP) — Kelyn Yanez used to clean homes during the day and wait tables at night in the Houston area before the coronavirus. But the mother of three lost both jobs in March because of the pandemic and now is facing eviction.

The Honduran immigrant got help from a local church to pay part of July’s rent but was still hundreds of dollars short and is now awaiting a three-day notice to vacate the apartment where she lives with her children. She has no idea how she will meet her August rent.

“Right now, I have nothing,” said Yanez, who briefly got her bar job back when the establishment reopened, but lost it again when she and her 4-year-old daughter contracted the virus in June and had to quarantine. The apartment owners “don’t care if you’re sick, if you’re not well. Nobody cares here. They told me that I had to have the money.”

Source: Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states

San Jose teachers required to teach in classrooms

San Jose teachers required to teach in classrooms 3Despite acknowledging the unknown long-term effects of COVID-19, the San Jose Unified School District is forcing most of its teachers back into the classroom next week for the start of the upcoming school year.

Under a new agreement reached between the district and the San Jose Teachers Association, nearly 1,600 teachers will head back onto campus for the first day of school on Aug. 12. But unlike most years, they’ll be teaching their lessons in an empty classroom to students on the other side of a computer screen — without being given the choice to work from home.

Source: San Jose teachers required to teach in classrooms

Trump administration examining options for unilateral action if no coronavirus deal is reached with Congress – The Washington Post

Trump administration examining options for unilateral action if no coronavirus deal is reached with Congress - The Washington Post 4The Trump administration is looking at options for unilateral actions it can take to try to address some of the economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic if no relief deal is reached with Congress, according to two people with knowledge of the deliberations.

The discussions are a reflection of officials’ increasingly pessimistic outlook for the talks on Capitol Hill. The White House remains in close contact with Democratic leaders, but a wide gulf remains and deadlines have already been missed.

It’s not clear what steps the administration could take without the help of Congress on issues such as lapsed enhanced unemployment benefits or the expired moratorium on evictions — the two matters President Trump has recently identified as his highest priorities in the ongoing talks. Both of those programs were authorized by Congress earlier this year but were designed to be temporary.

Source: Trump administration examining options for unilateral action if no coronavirus deal is reached with Congress – The Washington Post

COVID cases, exposure have 260 Gwinnett school employees not working

COVID cases, exposure have 260 Gwinnett school employees not working 5The largest school district in the state reported Sunday that 260 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus or are in quarantine because of possible exposure as they prepare for the new school year.

Gwinnett County Public School teachers began in-person pre-planning Wednesday at the 141 facilities throughout the county. By the next day, approximately 260 employees had been excluded from work due to a positive case or contact with a case.

The number is fluid, said Gwinnett spokeswoman Sloan Roach, as new reports come in and others move out of quarantine after a period of time.

“Through tracing, we know that the majority of these cases are the result of community spread, meaning we have people who have called in to report who have not been at school or work,” Roach added.

Gwinnett County has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases in the state. As of Sunday, there have been 17,781 positive cases in Gwinnett with 1,996 hospitalizations and 240 deaths.

Source: COVID cases, exposure have 260 Gwinnett school employees not working