Tag Archive : Coronavirus

/ Coronavirus

Amidst the coronavirus lockdown, those with medical conditions are put in a more dangerous situation. Not only would they have to protect themselves from the virus, but they need to monitor and make sure that their medical conditions are also kept in check.

Usually, it would be a simple task of scheduling an appointment with your doctor and getting a check-up done. According to data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Gavi, and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, routine immunization services has slowed down in 68 countries and would affect 80 million children due to the pandemic.

If the coronavirus is affecting the immunization of children, imagine the implications it would have on older people who are facing heart problems or even diabetes.

Another report by the WHO stated that cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and cancer are the top medical problems in Southeast Asia. It kills 8.5 million people every year.

But all is not lost because the adoption of cloud-based digital monitoring tools has increased, making it easier for those affected to track their health without the need of meeting a doctor.

Confirm RX

There are devices like this already in the market. One of them is called Confirm RX by Abbott. It’s a smartphone-compatible cardiac monitor that can generate and send a report to you and your doctor.

You’re also able to flag any symptoms to your doctor and vice versa. It can also track irregular heartbeats if the issue arises.

The insertion procedure is also very simple and not a hindrance because the device is only 1.4 cubic centimeters

FreeStyle Libre

Technology has also covered those who are affected by diabetes. FreeStyle Libre – another product by Abbott – is a glucose monitoring tool which allows patients to hold their phone near the device – positioned at the back of the upper arm – and capture real-time glucose levels.

It has also proven to reduce prolonged hypoglycemia and offer better glucose control.

This device also eliminates the need of a blood test giving you faster results.

Another report by the Global Wearable Medical Device Market said that the market size is expected to reach US$27 billion by 2023, and a fast pace growth is foreseen in Asia Pacific due to lifestyle and cardiac diseases.

-mashable

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS) – All those returning to Malaysia from overseas will have to undergo their mandatory quarantine at hotels or quarantine centres starting from Friday (July 24), said Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, said this requirement applies to both Malaysians and non-citizens who have been allowed to enter the country.

Under current rules, returnees who test negative for the coronavirus upon arrival in the country are allowed to serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine at home. But this option will no longer be available from Friday.

Mr Ismail Sabri, who was speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, said those arriving from Friday will have to bear the full cost of their quarantine at hotels and government centres.

The new requirement comes amid rising Covid-19 infection numbers after Malaysia eased its shutdown measures on June 10, allowing businesses and most social activities to resume but with social distancing protocols in place.

Recently, five cases were detected in the “Novgorod cluster”, which originated from a Malaysian who had returned from Russia on July 5. He had tested negative for the virus on arrival, but two days later began displaying symptoms of the disease such as fever and breathing difficulties.

A second test for the disease turned up positive, and one of his family members also later tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Ismail Sabri said the police will no longer just give advice and issue warnings to those who flout social distancing rules under the recovery phase of the country’s movement control order (MCO).

“Many people seem to assume that there are no laws in place, as if the MCO has ended,” he said.

“The police have made a decision that there will be no more warnings and advice. They will take stern action on anyone who violates the MCO,” he added.

On Monday, the police detained 80 individuals for violating the MCO – 20 of whom were remanded, four released on police bail and 56 issued compounds.

He said that 37 people were detained for activities at pubs or nightclubs, while 43 were detained for activities that made it difficult for social distancing measures to be observed.

The minister said that nightclubs were still not allowed to reopen under the recovery MCO and added that the local authorities would increase enforcement activities on nightclubs, including suspending their licences.

“The government hopes the public will keep on being the eyes and ears for the authorities in reporting any instances where standard operating procedures have been violated,” he said.

The number of new Covid-19 cases has risen by double digits in the past few days, sparking fears of a fresh wave of infections.

The Malaysian health authorities recorded 21 new coronavirus cases on Monday, lifting the total since the outbreak began to 8,800 cases and 123 deaths.

Monday was the third straight day of double-digit rise in infections, after the country managed to broadly hold daily growth to single digits since movement controls were eased on June 10. The number of positive cases had climbed by 15 on Sunday, and by 18 two days prior.

-straitstimes

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The Malaysian government is considering whether to go with a fine or jail time for those refusing to “mask up” once the use of face masks is made mandatory in public places, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the growing number of infections was worrying, as the number of new Covid-19 cases hit double digits for the third straight day on Tuesday (July 21).

There were 15 cases on Tuesday with 11 of them being local transmissions.

If the wearing of a face mask is made mandatory in public places under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, Dr Noor Hisham said that those flouting the law could either be fined RM1,000 (S$324) or put in jail.

“The Health Ministry is encouraging the use of face masks, especially in public places, high-risk places or places where social distancing of one metre apart is hard to enforce.

“We have currently not made it mandatory because once we make it mandatory under the Act, we would have to consider the punishment.

“We are still looking at the punishment – whether to fine or give jail time for those not wearing face masks – once its use is made compulsory, ” he said during a briefing on Tuesday.

He reiterated the ministry’s recommendation on the use of face masks, which could reduce the risk of infection by 65 per cent as well as social distancing, which could reduce transmission by up to 70 per cent.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia recorded seven recoveries on Tuesday.

As for the 15 new infections, he said four were from imported cases involving three Malaysians and one foreigner.

Nine of the 11 local cases were from Sarawak.

Out of those, one was a foreigner who tested positive during new arrival screening at the Semuja Immigration depot in Sarawak. “Five of the cases are from a new cluster – the Sentosa Hospital cluster. There are currently six cases in this cluster; the first was detected on July 19, ” he said.

Those affected in this cluster were five medical workers and another one from a cleaning company.

All six of them are being treated at the Sarawak General Hospital.

There were no new deaths on Tuesday. The number of fatalities remained at 123.

-straitstimes

Facebook is, by and large, a wretched hive of misinformation and villainy. Fortunately, it’s just a tiny bit less scummy now, with the site having suspended one of its largest anti-mask groups.

The Verge reports that Facebook group Unmasking America! has been removed for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. Over 9,600 members strong, the group opposed the use of face masks, spread widely debunked myths about the accessories, and loudly advocated for people to completely ignore medical professionals amidst a deadly global pandemic.

“We have clear policies against promoting harmful misinformation about COVID 19 and have removed this group while we review the others,” Facebook spokesperson Dami Oyefeso told Mashable.

Unmasking America! was removed after The Verge reached out to Facebook for comment on the group. A quick search by Mashable found numerous other anti-mask groups currently remain active on Facebook, such as NO MAS(K) with over 3,400 members and Anti-Maskers with over 1,700. The Verge notes Facebook group Million Unmasked March is still active as well, with almost 8,000 members. What’s more, it’s promoting a rally at which unmasked people will gather in large numbers — exactly what medical professionals are begging people not to do.

Misinformation surrounding the use of face masks has been rife both online and off, with anti-mask campaigners claiming they reduce your oxygen levels and infringe on people’s personal freedoms. Such arguments have been repeatedly, exhaustively countered and debunked by medical experts, yet this dangerous and inaccurate rhetoric continues to circulate.

Despite the rampant spread of misinformation on its platform, Facebook has been reluctant to remove false content altogether unless it may lead to “imminent physical harm.” In an April blog post, the website stated it is instead combating COVID-19 misinformation by having content assessed by fact-checkers and, if found false, “[reducing] its distribution and [showing] warning labels with more context.”

Fortunately, it seems Facebook is at least acknowledging that refusing to wear a mask and encouraging others to do the same may quickly lead to physical harm.

“Examples of misinformation we’ve removed include harmful claims like drinking bleach cures the virus and theories like physical distancing is ineffective in preventing the disease from spreading,” Facebook wrote in April.

-mashable

We now live in an age when everybody is concerned for their own personal health and safety.

Brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve come to realize how much we cherish personal space, while also being able to stay protected from all the various ways one could contract COVID-19.

But of course, while there are tried and tested ways to protect yourself, like wearing face masks, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, as well as social distancing, there are always ‘better’ ways to do things.

In comes the BioVYZR. a piece of protective gear that resembles the top half of an astronaut’s suit.

Designed by Toronto-based VYZR Technologies, a company that specializes in personal protective gear, the BioVYZR was crowdfunded on Indiegogo back in mid-April.

It features anti-fogging “windows” and a built-in hospital-grade air-purifying device that’ll let you stay protected from the coronavirus in sheer comfort.

And it’ll cost you US$250.

According to VYZR Technologies co-founder Yezin Al-Qaysi, haute hazmat suits like the BioVYZR are just what people need in order to feel safe again while flying.

And apparently, the concept has really taken off. Since its launch on Indiegogo, roughly 50,000 suits have been pre-ordered, totaling up to US$400,000 raised for the company.

Those early adopters can expect to receive their suits in the mail by the end of July.

Al-Qaysi also believes that people living in the ‘new normal’ have a right to expect certain levels of safety when going about their daily routines. One such necessity, he feels, is a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR).

“We’ve taken a product usually limited to health care and industrial settings that’s typically priced around US$1,800 and adapted it to be accessible to the public,” says Al-Qaysi.

The BioVYZR weighs less than three pounds and is easy to pack away when not in use.

Made of a smart combination of silicone, neoprene, and vinyl, the BioVYZR is worn with a chest harness, which is currently only available in general adult and general child sizes.

The suit itself sits on your shoulders, but due to its lightweight construction, it won’t bother you at all.

Though the suit is tightly sealed, you won’t have to worry about the shield fogging up. And according to Al-Qaysi, temperatures will only rise by 1 or 2 degrees when wearing the suit.

But there is one thing to note: Due to the sheer size of the suit, you’ll find that you’ve grown an extra four-to-five inches. Tall people might find this a little awkward.

Powering the suit’s PAPR is a set of lithium-ion batteries which can last up to 12 hours on a single charge.

While commercial airliners don’t allow lithium-ion batteries in checked luggage, most do allow them onboard as carry-ons instead.

The suit will also dampen external noise, which makes nightmarish long-haul journeys with wailing and crying babies a little more bearable.

Plus, if anyone sees you in that suit, its size will block out even the most awkward of small-talking seat neighbors.

But of course, it’s safe to say that BioVYZR isn’t for everyone.

While the benefits of BioVYZR are loud and clear, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should drop a hot US$250 on something that you won’t necessarily be using all the time.

After all, despite how easy it may be to stow away, it’s still a rather large contraption when in use.

It’s not exactly a subtle piece of gear.

But if you’re a severe germaphobe with the cash to spare, the BioVYZR might be a worthwhile investment.

-mashable

The coronavirus pandemic is still a concerning issue.

Fortunately, some countries have begun to see a decrease in the number of reported COVID-19 cases locally and have lifted their strict social distancing measures.

However, there are many people in other countries who are still not taking the deadly virus seriously.

And in the case of an unnamed man from the U.S., it cost him his life.

According to AFP, a 30-year-old man from Texas died after attending a COVID-19 party.

In a video on Twitter, chief medical officer at the Methodist Hospital in San Antonio Dr. Jane Appleby shared a heartbreaking story she heard.

A patient had confessed to a nurse that he had attended a COVID-19 party. The man thought that the coronavirus was a hoax.

Appleby clarified that a “COVID-19 party” is a gathering held by someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The people then gather together to see if the virus is “real” and if anyone else gets infected.

“Just before the patient died they looked at their nurse and they said ‘I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax but it’s not’,” she recounted in the video.

There are currently more than 3.3 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Of this number, there have been more than 135,000 deaths, more than any other country in the world.

“He didn’t really believe. He thought the disease was a hoax. He thought he was young and he was invincible and wouldn’t get affected by the disease,” Dr. Appleby said, according to KSAT.

It’s been a widely-debated topic on whether or not these COVID-19 parties were actually happening or if they were just gatherings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

But regardless, it’s clear that there is a message that we all need to learn from this.

“What we learned about this virus, is that it doesn’t discriminate and none of us are invincible.”

Watch the original clip here:

In the meantime, please remember to stay safe, stay healthy, and most importantly, stay home.

You may have to sacrifice going to a party or two, but it’s better than sacrificing your life just for a night of fun.

-mashable

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysia’s annual National Day parade will not be held this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

However, other programmes related to the celebration on Aug 31 may be held with standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, he added.

“For now, there will be no parade. We have not scheduled for it to be held because this event involves large crowds… by the thousands. Social distancing, especially among the public who attend the event, will be hard to put into practice.”

“So, for now, no permission has been given for big celebrations or parades for National Day, ” he said in his regular briefing here on Wednesday (July 8).

Datuk Seri Ismail added that the multimedia and communications minister will announce other programmes, aside from the parade, that will be held in conjunction with National Day.

“Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah will announce the details as well as SOPs that must be followed for programmes related to the National Day celebration, ” he said.

straitstimes

It’s love in the time of the coronavirus.

Norazura Mohd Ali and her husband Agus Santoso Sidik recently got many Malaysians attention after they got married through a wedding ceremony that was not only unique, but ensured it met social distancing guidelines.

According to the their photographer, Farreed Sahar, it was his suggestion to give this unique marriage ceremony a go.

“I had proposed this drive-thru wedding concept to other couples but only Norazura and Agus were brave enough to accept and carry on with this creatively-themed idea. Others were wary as they didn’t want to take the risk to celebrate their weddings in a drive-thru style as it’s definitely not the norm,” Farreed said to the Malay Mail.

The couple, from the Malaysian state of Johor, had informed their guests in advance through their invitation cards that the wedding would be extremely unique due to current circumstances.

Although Malaysia has loosened its quarantine measures, the Southeast Asian nation is still adhering to social distancing guidelines.

According to the couple, their guests had traveled all the way from distant states such as Selangor and Perak despite knowing they’ll only be seeing them for a minute.

“Because my husband and I own a burger stall and have a steady flow of loyal customers, we also wanted to have a wedding ceremony with them witnessing it as well.”

Prior to meeting the couple, there was a checkpoint where guests got their temperatures and personal details taken before handing over offerings in a small box.

The next checkpoint is where guests say their well-wishes while they hand packets of food to the couple, who had obtained permission from the authorities to hold their unique wedding.

If you’re a wedding planner or know of one, you might want to let them know about this. Here’s more images of the couple!

🎉🎉Kemeriahan DRIVE THRU WEDDING Pertama di Malaysia🎉🎉Norazura Mohd Ali & Aguzz Aguss(pemilik perniagaan Burger Viral…

Posted by Farreed Sahar on Isnin, 29 Jun 2020

-mashable

Covid-19 is turning out to be a more complicated illness than we first thought – and not just a disease of the respiratory system and lungs. We’re also realising it can affect several of our major organs, including the kidneys where it can do serious damage.

It’s not widely known that a quarter of patients needing ventilators to treat coronavirus also need artificial ­kidneys to support their deteriorating renal function.

But the kidneys aren’t the only major organs affected by severe Covid illness. A new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline says doctors treating patients with known or suspected Covid-19 should be vigilant in looking for signs of acute myocardial injury, in other words, signs of a heart attack reports Ingrid Torjesen in the BMJ.

Symptoms of an acute heart attack include chest pain, heart palpitations, massive tiredness and a shortness of breath. These symptoms are similar to the respiratory complications of Covid-19 so a heart attack might be missed. It’s crucial to check for one by investigating these symptoms.

A heart attack was seen in almost one in 10 of all patients who died with Covid-19 in Italian hospitals, NICE pointed out. Its new guideline is aimed at helping healthcare professionals, who aren’t specialists in cardiology, identify, monitor and manage patients with Covid-19 and heart problems.

NICE recommends testing for levels of markers of heart injury and ­inflammation present in the blood of patients with cardiac injury. Electrocardiography (ECG) can identify patients with a suspected heart attack. These patients should be frequently monitored to identify cardiac or respiratory deterioration.

If a heart attack is suspected help from a cardiologist should be sought. When there isn’t a clear ­diagnosis of a heart attack then tests for cardiac markers and ECG should be repeated daily in patients for whom suspicion persists.

If the virus invades the heart muscle then myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and heart failure are possibilities.

Graham Lipkin, nephrology consultant and President of the Renal ­Association, has explained that Covid-19 patients may develop acute kidney injury (AKI) for many reasons. One is that they are often dangerously ­dehydrated by the time they arrive at hospital.

We’re also learning that Covid can invade the kidneys, interfering with their crucial task of getting rid of waste and may, in turn, lead to kidney failure.

Then again severe Covid-19 may cause a “cytokine storm” when the body is overtaken by widespread inflammation throughout all our organs. The kidneys often fall prey to this inflammation.

Covid-19 is very complicated.

-mirror

Malaysians make own face masks

April 9, 2020 | News | No Comments

PETALING JAYA – Due to a shortage of surgical masks, washable fabric masks are becoming an alternative for Malaysians.

Some Malaysians have started making fabric masks and distributing them to those in need as well as teaching others how to make them.

Designer Adam Liew has been making cloth masks and has contributed them for free to three hospitals and also a training centre for special needs.

He prefers and recommends using poplin cotton fabric when making the cloth mask.

“Poplin is primarily made from 100 per cent real cotton, making it lightweight but still retaining its strength.

“The most important for the mask is that it must be made with a double layer with an air-filter, which allows you to replace it with non-woven fabric, antibacterial wet tissues (fragrant and alcohol-free),” he said.

Liew however pointed out that his cloth masks were not medical-grade or approved by the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, he said a common misunderstanding was that cloth masks could be made of any type of fabric.

He said tightly woven fabric was recommended such as plain weave.

“Examples of plain weave fabrics are calico, taffeta, Habutai silk, viole, cotton shirting and muslin,” he said.

Liew, who started researching cloth masks in early March, said he created them based on online articles and materials.

“If anyone with sewing skills would like to explore making cloth masks, I am more than glad to help with my knowledge,” he said.

Sewing studio Maker’s Habitat founder Ching Ng meanwhile posted a popular tutorial online on how to sew a washable fabric mask.

Her video on YouTube, which was posted on March 10, now has about three million views.

The mask in Ng’s tutorial has a filter pocket where a non-woven material, which acts as a filter, is inserted and can be replaced regularly.

In an interview with a regional portal, Ng said the easiest non-woven material would be dried wet wipes or brand new polyester floor wipes.

She said the cost to make a fabric face mask was estimated at between RM6 (S$2) and RM7, adding that old cotton clothing could also be used if they were washed beforehand.

“Anyone with basic sewing skills, even our beginner level students as young as eight years old, can attempt it,” Ng was quoted as saying.

Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming of Universiti Malaya’s medical faculty’s department of social and preventive medicine had said the government should rethink the use of face masks.

In a letter to The Star on April 3, Dr Moy said while universal use of face masks should be considered if there was adequate supply, research on the effectiveness of cloth face masks, which were reusable after washing, should be encouraged.

It was time for the government to make rational recommendations on the appropriate use of face masks to complement other public health measures, she said.

The Health Ministry has reiterated that only those who are unwell or caring for the sick need to wear a mask.

Meanwhile, the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently advised the use of simple cloth face coverings in public settings.

The CDC said cloth face coverings made from household items such as a normal scarf, bandana, hand towel or old t-shirts could be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure while surgical masks should be reserved for healthcare professionals.

AsiaOne

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