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New Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Solution to Mitigate Spread of Covid-19 for safe Building Re-Occupancy
As workplaces prepare for re-opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Waterloo business eleven-x, is partnering with Pinchin, a building science, environmental and health and safety consulting firm, to ensure office spaces are equipped to combat airborne transmission of COVID-19. The partnership involves the implementation of new technology that monitors air quality in workplaces, providing peace of mind for workers and tenants that the building is safe for re-occupancy. “Real-time monitoring of spaces and environments is now more important than ever before and we are excited to be able to help by providing solutions that will have a positive impact on people needing to be in offices and buildings,” said Jeff Grossi (photo), Chief Executive Officer at Pinchin. Environmental researchers have linked a lack of adequate ventilation in indoor environments with an increased risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19. As people cough or sneeze, remnants of the respiratory droplets can stay suspended in the air and over time, become concentrated, increasing the risk of infection. To adequately assess the risk, building owners must address airborne transmission by managing ventilation rates, humidity and carbon dioxide levels.
Regional Council has appointed Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang Commissioner of Public Health and Emergency Services for the Region of Waterloo, effective July 15, 2020. The Region will also be applying to the Ministry of Health to have her appointed as permanent Medical Officer of Health. Dr. Wang (right) was hired as the Region’s Associate Medial Officer of Health in 2004 and has been acting as Medical Officer of Health to support the organization and the community for an extended period. During her capacity as Acting Medical Officer of Health, Hsiu-Li has played an important leadership role for Public Health and Emergency Services including the successful application for a safe consumption and treatment centre and has shown exceptional leadership over the past few months guiding the community response to COVID-19.
New research is underway to develop a coating that will kill the COVID-19 virus immediately upon contact with any surface. The antiviral coating could be applied to all personal protective equipment and high-touch surfaces, greatly reducing the risk of community transmission of the virus. The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) within the University of Waterloo, is working in collaboration with SiO2 Innovation Labs on the research. “The COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for 24 hours or more,” said Sushanta Mitra (right), Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and lead researcher on the project. “In order to protect frontline workers and the general public, it’s important that the virus be neutralized immediately when it comes into contact with any surface; our work will culminate in the production of an anti-viral coating that will do just that.” Mitra’s team has developed an innovative experimental set-up to quantify the adhesion force between the viral load and the coated surface. Mitra is using water droplets to mimic the primary mode of transmission of COVID-19 between humans – droplets of saliva or other bodily fluids. Further testing will determine the coatings' ability to de-activate SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 illness in our populations.
Researchers at Western University have developed a way to pull HIV out of the latent reservoir making the virus visible to the immune system and providing the potential to be killed by treatment. Part of what has made HIV infection so difficult to cure, is that once the virus enters the body, some of it hides dormant inside of the cells, making it essentially invisible to both the immune system and antiretroviral drugs. This hiding virus is known as the ‘latent reservoir’ and it is what prevents a cure for people living with HIV. Treatment with combined anti-HIV drugs can bring down virus in the body so that it cannot be measured by conventional tests and a person lives disease free, however, if an individual ever stops their life-long therapy, some of the virus will come out of hiding and rapidly re-emerge, while some of it stays dormant in the cells.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses and economic uncertainty. As governments and businesses look to stimulate growth, a new study from the World Economic Forum found that ‘nature-positive’ solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030. The Future of Nature and Business Report provides blueprints for businesses to tap into a $10.1 trillion business opportunity, focusing on industry actions that are nature-positive, meaning that they add value to nature. The report is built on real world examples where business outcomes have been improved by nature-positive outcomes. Smart farming utilizing sensors and satellite imagery in Indonesia improved crop yields on average by 60%. Suzhou Industrial Park’s green development in China has seen its GDP increase 260-fold partially through green development. In Viet Nam, people living in coastal communities saw their incomes more than double following the restoration of critical mangroves. “We can address the looming bio-diversity crisis and reset the economy in a way that creates and protects millions of jobs,” said Akanksha Khatri, Head of the Nature Action Agenda, World Economic Forum. “Public calls are getting louder for businesses and government to do better. We can protect our food supplies, make better use of our infrastructure and tap into new energy sources by transitioning to nature-positive solutions.”
We’re now $343 billion poorer as a nation because of COVID-19. As a result, our national debt will reach unprecedented levels. While some Canadians will dispute how the government is supporting Canadians and businesses during the pandemic, many will argue it didn’t have of much choice. There’s certainly some truth to that. The numbers are massive. But what’s most concerning is that the government appears to lack an economic recovery strategy. And the food service industry desperately needs one. To that end, some countries are launching interesting programs to help the hospitality industry. In Britain, for example, a voucher program called “eat out to help out” was launched to support restaurants, pubs and other food establishments.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies from three continents published in the journal Anaesthesia (a journal of the Association of Anaesthetists) shows that overall mortality of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) has fallen from almost 60% at the end of March to 42% at the end of May - a relative decrease of almost one third. The review also shows ICU mortality for the disease is not significantly different across the three continents included: Europe, Asia and North America. The study is by Professor Tim Cook, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Bath, UK, and School of Medicine, University of Bristol, UK, and colleagues.
The level of distress that many leaders experience during a crisis is unsettling but normal. When many are displaced from their work and income, it can be comforting to just hide because you are so overwhelmed. Yet those who will recover demonstrate resilience. They catch their breath and then move forward to adapt, retool, and recover. The necessity to replace lost cash flow requires the flexibility to search for new ways to make money. The shifting of how customers are willing to shop may necessitate learning how to leverage online platforms to take your business virtual. Once the initial shock of an economic slowdown abates, you still need to be realistic. Any distressed economic situation will not resolve quickly. So put your “long game” into play. The “long game” is your Resilience Strategy. Here are seven ways to start planning your next steps with a more emotionally settled approach while harnessing your inner strength to rebound.
Innovation Guelph discovers surprising outcome of pivoting program delivery in response to COVID; online environment fosters effective relationship building. In response to the pandemic, Innovation Guelph pivoted programming from in-person delivery to an online environment to reduce risk for staff and clients. Rhyze Ventures program manager, Katherine Laycock, quickly shifted in-class sessions to virtual delivery. The program, which received an investment of over $1.8 million through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s Women Entrepreneur Strategy, was well underway when COVID-19 hit. “It is important to not lose any of the value when transitioning the program to online delivery,” Laycock said, “We have always valued and responded to participant feedback but were somewhat surprised when we started to hear that clients were doing more networking and building stronger relationships outside of the classroom in the online environment.”
How big are the obligations of pension plans covering workers in Canada’s broader public sector, and how adequate are the assets in those plans to cover their obligations? Who bears the risks if these plans run into trouble? A new report from the C.D. Howe Institute argues that taxpayers and plan participants need more clarity about the risks in multi-employer plans, notably plans with benefits that are contingent on their funded status. When taxpayers are on the hook for funding shortfalls, argues the author, William B.P. Robson, CEO of the Institute, financial statements of employers and governments should spell that out. When participants face risks that their benefits may be smaller than they expect, they need transparency.
Ontario is amending liquor laws to provide consumers with more delivery options and allow boat operators with liquor sales licences to temporarily sell and serve alcohol while their boat is docked. These changes, which come into effect yesterday, are designed to support the recovery of workers and businesses as Ontario’s hospitality sector gradually reopens.
Changes to facilitate online learning for international students
International students make immense cultural and social contributions to Canada, and generate more than $21 billion in economic activity. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has made a number of temporary policy changes to support and reassure international students and learning institutions. As the fall season is fast approaching, the Minister has announced additional measures to support international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution, if their institution is offering the program online, so that they can pursue their education while ensuring everyone’s safety.These changes will give students more certainty about their ability to enter Canada once travel and health restrictions are eased in Canada and their own home countries. They mean that students will be eligible to work in Canada after graduation, even if they need to begin their studies online from overseas this fall.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is stepping up the Corona assistance for foreign students: For the months of July and August, the German government offers financial support that does not have to be paid back. All students enrolled at German universities who have fallen into an emergency situation due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, can apply for the interim financial aid. According to MyGermanUniversity, a portal that supports German universities in recruiting international students, this help is especially important for foreign students, since in this group 75% work in Germany during their studies and are thus more vulnerable to financial hardships throughout the pandemic. Tobias Bargmann, CEO of MyGermanUniversity welcomes the new support: