Press release: Huge boost to national testing study will offer new COVID-19 insights

first_imgthe Office for National Statistics COVID-19 infection survey will be expanded to 400,000 people in England, making it the UK’s largest study tracking the virus in the general population New data will support rapid testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 on a national and local level, helping to narrow down areas of concern Government to provide £2 million grant to ZOE COVID-19 Symptom Study app to support its ongoing data collection By downloading the app users can support vital work to track the virus and help save lives Alongside this significant expansion, the government is providing a £2 million grant to the ZOE COVID-19 Symptom Study app to support its data collection. Participants use the app to regularly report on their health and symptoms and whether they have tested positive for the virus or not, making it the largest public science project of its kind anywhere in the world.Anonymised data from the app will be analysed in collaboration with King’s College London researchers to help track infections across the UK as well as identify who is most at risk and where high-risk areas are. Granular information about symptoms across the country and identified local outbreaks will be provided regularly to government to support decision making.The government will not have access to the base data gathered by the app. The ZOE app is separate to the NHS Test and Trace app launched last week for a trial run, to support national and local contact tracing and help minimise the spread of COVID-19.Together, these studies will help control the spread of the virus by providing vital new intelligence on the scale of local outbreaks, inform our understanding of the virus and how it affects different demographics.Jonathan Wolf, CEO of ZOE, said: We are a start-up, so we are delighted that this funding guarantees the future of the study throughout the winter. When we started the study with Professor Tim Spector at King’s in March, we never imagined it could become so important. We have been blown away by the commitment of the British public to help fight COVID, by sharing the state of their health daily. The app is an amazing demonstration of the power of large-scale science and the use of machine learning. We have funded the app ourselves so far, and with this funding we can continue the essential work of hotspot detection and research on the long-term risks of COVID. We are delighted that ZOE and this innovative study can play a part in keeping the UK safe. Reporting on a weekly basis, the ONS study will provide both a national picture of how the virus is spreading as well as granular estimates of the number of COVID-19 cases down to local level. Crucially, this will allow government and local authorities to further narrow down the areas which may be undergoing outbreaks, potentially reducing the number of people affected by new restrictions and allowing for swift action to curb the spread of the virus.Led by the ONS and the University of Oxford in partnership with the departments of health across the UK, the survey uses routine swabbing and antibody testing to provide insight into the rate of infection and antibody levels in the community.Professor Sir Ian Diamond, UK National Statistician, said: We are developing the capacity to test for coronavirus on an unprecedented scale and undertaking one of the biggest expansions of surveillance testing we have ever seen. This ONS survey will be a crucial part of this work – improving our understanding of the rate of infection in the population and how many people have antibodies. This will allow us to further narrow down the areas potentially affected by local outbreaks and continue our fight to curb the spread ahead of winter. I urge anyone who is able to take part in this study to do so – you will be playing a vital role in the fight against the virus. The data and insight gathered will help inform our national, regional and local responses to the pandemic, allowing this nation to get back to the things we love doing.center_img The ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey tracking the virus in the general population will be expanded from regularly testing 28,000 people per fortnight in England to 150,000 by October, the Health Secretary announces today.The survey, tracking the virus in the general population, aims to increase to 400,000 people across the entire project in England.ONS has also partnered with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to extend the survey across the 4 nations, making this the UK’s largest COVID-19 surveillance survey.The expanded study will provide extensive, weekly data on the spread of infection, supporting rapid testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 both nationally and in areas of concern. The ONS will prioritise ramping up of testing in the North West of England.Letters have already been sent out to tens of thousands of homes inviting new participants to take part in the survey. Anyone who receives a letter asking them to participate in the study is encouraged to do so.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: Further informationThe ONS Infection Survey looks at the prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 infection in the community, how this varies over time and how this varies by population broken down by age, ethnicity, geography. Results are published weekly on the ONS website.The ONS COVID-19 infection survey is led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and draws on the world-leading scientific expertise of the University of Oxford.Participants provide samples taken from self-administered nose and throat swabs and answer a few short questions during a home visit by a trained health worker. The swab tests will show whether or not participants currently have the virus. They will be asked to take further tests every week for the first 5 weeks, then every month for 12 months.20% of participants aged 16 and over also provide a blood sample taken by a trained nurse, phlebotomist or healthcare assistant. These tests help determine what proportion of the population has developed antibodies to COVID-19. Participants will be asked to give further samples monthly for the next 12 months.The ONS Infection Survey study forms part of pillar 4 of the government’s COVID-19 testing strategy, to conduct UK-wide surveillance testing to learn more about the spread of the disease and help inform the development of new tests and treatments. Under this pillar, the significant and successful Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission of Coronavirus (REACT) study led by Imperial will continue data collection until the end of October 2020. Vigilance is key to containing this pandemic and the extra data on the spread of infections and antibodies at local level will be invaluable to the planning of effective local responses. Following this expansion, the ONS-led COVID-19 Infection Survey will be the biggest of its kind in this country. If you’ve been approached to take part, then please do so. You will be helping us all to contain this terrible virus and get on with our lives.last_img read more


first_imgBy Bob Westerfield University of GeorgiaSpiders aren’t the only web-weavers. Fall webworms weave webs, too. Their webs, spun in shade trees and ornamentals, leave plants defoliated and landscapes unsightly.Webworms enclose leaves and small branches in their light gray, silken webs. Persistent infestations of individual trees may cause limb and branch dieback.Native to North American and Mexico, fall webworms feed on more than 100 species of forest and shade trees. In the eastern U.S., pecan, walnut, American elm, hickory, fruit trees and some maples are preferred hosts. In some areas, persimmon and sweetgum are favored, too. In the west, alder, willow, cottonwood and fruit trees are commonly attacked.Newly hatched larvae immediately spin a silken web over the foliage on which they feed. As larvae grow, they enlarge the web to enclose more foliage. On heavily infested trees, webs may enclose several branches. Full-grown larvae may reach 1 inch or more in length. Larvae are covered with long, silky gray hairs arising in tufts from orange-yellow or black tubercles. Their head color varies from red to black. This pest overwinters in the pupal stage. Pupae are usually in the ground but can be found in old nest remains, under loose bark and in leaf litter. The adults emerge from late May into July. Adult moths have wingspans between 1.4–1.7 inches. The bases of the front legs are orange or bright yellow. In the southern part of its range, the moth is white with dark wing spots. Those in the northern range are usually pure white and were once thought to be a separate species. Adults appear in most areas from May to August and deposit their eggs in hair-covered masses of several hundred each, usually on the underside of host leaves. In southern states, adults can emerge as early as mid-March and produce up to four generations in a year.Eggs are usually deposited in single or double layers on the undersurface of leaves. The mass is lightly covered with scales from the female’s abdomen. The eggs hatch in about a week and the small mass of caterpillars cover single leaves and strip them clean. As the caterpillars grow, they web over more leaves and eat the entire leaf. The larvae mature in about six weeks. Then they drop to the ground to pupate. Moths emerge over an extended period in two generations. Though the webs are very ugly, most trees damage is insignificant. However, in southern states multiple generations of attack can severely defoliate trees, so control measures are needed. Small nests can be pruned out of small to medium trees. Monitor trees early to find nests when only a few leaves are affected. These small nests are easily crushed. Don’t burn or touch the nests in trees. That can cause tree damage. Bacterial insecticide Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is quite effective against fall webworms. Apply it to the nest. Thoroughly cover leaves next to nests. When worms eat sprayed leaves, they ingest the Bt.Most standard insecticide spray applicators blow nests out of trees with a strong jet of insecticide mix. While this generally works, often more spray is used than is needed. Find nests early, wet the nest and cover nearby foliage. Extensive nests in tall trees are hard to spray with ground equipment. Treat these with an injection or a translocated systemic applied to the soil for root uptake.(Bob Westerfield is the consumer horticulturist with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.)last_img read more

Publix, Other Grocery Chains Offering Senior Shopping Hours

first_imgPublix is among several companies offering additional time to allow senior customers to purchases necessities as the state navigates through the coronavirus crisis.The chain is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m. for shoppers ages 65 and up.Meanwhile, the supermarket’s pharmacies will also open at 7 a.m. on those days for seniors to get their prescriptions.Regular store hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.In addition, Walmart is now opening for seniors between 7 to 8:30 a.m.Target is offering special hours for senior and vulnerable patrons on Wednesdays from 8 to 9 a.m.Dollar General is offering special senior shopping hours every day from 8 to 9 a.m.Whole Foods is generally opening its doors each day from 7 to 8 a.m. for seniors, although hours vary by community.Fresh Market is open for seniors Monday through Friday from 8 to 9 am.Winn-Dixie is designating time for seniors and high-risk customers from 8 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday in all its stores. Pharmacies will open at 8 a.m. on weekdays. All grocery stores will close at 8 p.m. beginning March 20.According to the Florida Department of Health, there are nearly 400 cases of coronavirus, with eight deaths.Walmart to close early, dedicate 1 hour of shopping each week for seniors onlylast_img read more

Wellington girls tennis team is ranked No. 8 or “others” in Class 4A

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington girls tennis team is starting to get some statewide attention.The latest Kansas Tennis Association rankings came out and Wellington is listed in the “others” in Class 4A. Remember, individual sports in Class 4A are not divided into two classifications like the team sports of football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball.Wellington is one of eight teams mentioned in the latest Kansas Tennis Association poll which is heady stuff considering there is about 40 teams in the classification.The tennis rankings which came out on Monday are as follows: 1. McPherson.2. Independence.3. Topeka Hayden.4. Winfield.5. Andover Central.Others: Buhler, Bishop Miege and Wellington.•••••Wellington put its rankings to the test by participating in the Conway Springs quad earlier this week. Conway Springs is ranked No. 3 in Class 3A and beat Wellington in the season opening quad earlier this year.The team scores were: Wellington 21, Conway Springs 20, Goddard Eisenhower 19, South Barber 0.“I was really proud of the girls we haven’t won this tournament the past couple years,” said Brian Aufdengarten, Wellington head tennis coach. “We had some very good performances on the day.”In No. 1 singles Peyton Adams won her second championship in three meets.“She beat two solid players Watson from Goddard 8-4, and Robinson from Conway 8-5,” Aufdengarten said. “Peyton tweaked her ankle this weekend but her mobility looked pretty good.”In No. 2 singles, Auni Williams dropped her opening match and then bounced back to beat two Conway Springs players.  In the match to decide second and third, Williams beat Bellar 8-5.“Auni’s last match was a very good quality match and she played well,” Aufdengarten said.In No. 1 doubles Maggie Fink and Mekenna Adams placed second overall and played some very exciting tennis.   They went 2-1 beating South Barber and a strong Goddard team.  In the final match they lost to a senior pair from Conway Springs who finished third at state last season 8-6.“They played well and had a chance, out of 14 games, eight of them went to deuce,” Aufdengarten said. “We have two decent doubles teams and Maggie and Mekenna proved they are a good team today.”In No. 2 doubles Alexis Hinman and Noelle Wright finished 1-2 good for third.  They lost to Goddard but came back to win against South Barber.  In their final match they battled hard against good team from Conway.The Wellington team is traveling today to Ark City and that one will be a good one.The teams at this tournament include:Andover—#1 in 5AArk City—#2 in 5ABishop Carroll—#3 in 5AKapaun Mt. Carmel—#4 in 5ASalina Central—#6 in 5AMaize South—#8 in 5AMcPherson—#1 in 4AIndependence—#2 in 4AWinfield—#4 in 4AAndover Central #5 in 4AWellington—#8 in 4ACollegiate—#1 in 3AIndependent—#2 in 3A`•••••The Wellington junior varsity JV traveled to Winfield – no team scores available#1 singles Peighton Westmoreland finished sixth.#2 singles Mercedes Vazquez finished sixth.#1 doubles Abby Lowe & Lexi Saffell finished sixth.#2 doubles Brentasia Cramer & Laken Kimball finished fourth.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img