Infected in the First Wave, They Navigated Long COVID Without a Roadmap

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Ghenya Grondin of Waltham, Massachusetts, was a postpartum doula – a person charged with helping young couples navigate the first weeks of their newborn child’s life at home.
Grondin, now aged 44, was infected with SARS-CoV-2 in mid-March of that year – before there were tests, before social distancing or masks, and many months before the medical community recognized long COVID as a complication of COVID-19.
She is part of a community of first-wave long-haulers who faced a new disease without a roadmap or support from the medical establishment.
Three years later, at least 65 million people worldwide are estimated to have long COVID, according to an evidence review published last month in Nature Reviews Microbiology. More than 200 symptoms have been linked to the syndrome – including extreme fatigue, difficulty thinking, headaches, dizziness when standing, sleep problems, chest pain, blood clots, immune dysregulation, and even diabetes.
There are no proven treatments but research is underway.
People infected later in the pandemic had the benefit of vaccination, which “protects at least to some degree” from long COVID, said Dr. Bruce Levy, a Harvard pulmonologist and a co-principal investigator of the National Institute of Health’s $1.15 billion U.S. RECOVER trial, which aims to characterize and find cures for the disease.
“The initial variant of the virus caused a more severe illness than we’re seeing currently in most patients,” he said.
According to the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, in the first two years of the pandemic women were twice as likely as men to develop long COVID, and 15% of all of those affected at three months continued to experience symptoms beyond 12 months.
An analysis of thousands of health records by the RECOVER trial found that non-Hispanic white women in wealthier areas were more likely than others to have a long COVID diagnosis. Researchers said that likely reflected disparities in access to health care, and suggests that many cases of long COVID among people of color are not being diagnosed.
Grondin grew concerned when she continued to have symptoms three months after her initial infection – but there was no name for it then.
“I just kept saying to my husband, something isn’t right,” she said.
Like her fellow long-haulers, she has experienced a host of symptoms, including fatigue, sleep apnea, pain, cognitive dysfunction, and in her case, a brain aneurysm. She described a frightening moment when she was driving a car with her toddler in the back and had a seizure that left her in the path of oncoming traffic.
She has since been diagnosed with long COVID and can no longer work.
“It just feels like a constant punch in the face,” said Grondin.
Scientists are still working out why some people infected with COVID develop long-term symptoms, but syndromes like this are not new. Other infections such as Lyme disease can result in long-term symptoms, many of which overlap with long COVID.
Leading theories of the root causes of long COVID include the virus or viral proteins remaining in the tissues of some individuals; the infection causing an autoimmune response; or the virus reactivating latent viruses, leading to inflammation that damages tissue.
Kate Porter, 38, of Beverly, Massachusetts, a project manager for a financial services company, believes she was infected on a flight back from Florida in late March of 2020.
She had daily fevers for seven months, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, and excruciating nerve pain.
“I don’t think people realize how brutal physically everything was,” she said. In one of her darker moments, Porter recalled, “I cried on the floor begging for something to take me peacefully. I’ve never been like that.”
Frustrated by the lack of answers from a list of 10 specialists she has seen, Porter has explored alternative medicine. “It has opened me up to other remedies,” she said.
Although her health is much improved now, she still suffers from near daily migraines and neck pain she fears may never go away.
Genie Stevens, 65, a director of climate education, got infected while traveling from her home in Santa Fe to Cape Cod in late March 2020 to visit her mother, and never left. “It completely upended my life,” she said.
She went to an emergency department seeking tests and was told there were none – the typical answer in the spring of 2020, when scientists were scrambling to understand the nature of the virus and tests were being rationed. She was sent home to manage on her own.
A lifelong practitioner of meditation, Stevens took solace there, finding it eased her symptoms.
Confined to her bed that spring, she focused on an ancient crabapple tree outside her room. “I watched every bud unfurl.”
Although largely recovered, Stevens still has flare-ups of brain fog, exhaustion and high-pitched ringing in her ears when she pushes too hard. “This is the astoundingly maddening part of the illness. I feel totally fine, and then bam.”

Source: Voice Of America

UN Appeals for Aid to Assist Malawi Fight Cholera Outbreak

The U.N. in Malawi has launched an urgent appeal for aid to deal with the impact of a record cholera outbreak that has so far killed nearly 1,450 people and infected 45,000.
Local health experts say if urgent action isn’t taken to scale up the response, the number of cases could double in the next few months.
The U.N. says the flash appeal seeks to raise $45.3 million to provide life-saving aid to thousands of people in Malawi devastated by the outbreak.
In a statement released Monday, the U.N. said the appeal aims to assist four million people in Malawi, including 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers who are at the highest risk in the outbreak.
The current outbreak started in March last year and has spread to all 29 districts of Malawi.
Rebecca Adda-Dontoh, the U.N. resident coordinator in Malawi, told reporters Monday that more assistance is needed to stop the outbreak.
“So much work has been done but a lot more needs to be done,” she said. “We have focused on health, we have focused on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). The two are very important but there are also other sectors like nutrition, protection and even logistics because we need to be able to move supplies from one point to the other.”
Adda-Dontoh said the needed assistance would complement what various donor partners have already contributed.
“The U.N. itself has mobilized already close to $10 million,” she said. “You heard the EU; you heard the U.K. here saying they had already contributed over 500,000 euros for the EU and also over 500,000 pounds for the U.K. Even the government of Malawi is on the ground and already contributed.”
Local media have reported that Malawi needs an additional $40 million for its national plan on cholera response.
Cases of cholera in Malawi have increased since the beginning of January, worsening the country’s largest outbreak in the past two decades.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said last week, when he launched a national anti-cholera campaign, that the country’s health facilities were recording between 500 to 600 cholera cases every day.
The U.N. said that health experts have warned that Malawi could record between 64,000 and 100,000 more cases of cholera within the next three months unless urgent action is taken to scale up the response.

Source: Voice Of America

Licensed Crypto-Fiat Infrastructure Provider Encryptus Soft Launches in TechHub Kenya

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA / ACCESSWIRE / February 19, 2023 / Encryptus, a licensed and compliant crypto-fiat trading platform, is thrilled to announce its soft entry into the African Continent, starting with Kenya.

Encryptus will mark their exploratory journey in the upcoming Africa Tech Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. As a trailblazer in the crypto industry, Encryptus is dedicated to providing crypto and non-crypto companies its infrastructures for Crypto < > Fiat; including Compliances, Coin Monitoring, Fiat and Crypto Liquidity via API to enable institutions to plug into their ecosystem. The fiat services would only be available via Bank wires to KYCed users only.

Encryptus is licensed as a VASP (Virtual Assets Service Provider) in Lithuania and Licensed as a “Proprietary Trading in Crypto Commodities” trading desk in Dubai, UAE.

Africa Pushing Through to the Global Scale

Africa has been a rapidly growing market for international companies and is attracting many global corporations to the continent, such as Amazon, Google, and Uber. In the crypto ecosystem, Cardano’s founding partners EMURGO and IOG have built a considerable presence in Africa along with CELO Foundation and LBank Exchange.

With the rise of digital assets and cryptocurrencies, regulations for digital assets are becoming increasingly important in Africa. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for cryptocurrencies and digital assets in Africa, leading to a need for regulations to ensure the security and stability of these investments.

The African startup scene has also seen significant rise, with a record $5.4 billion raised in 2022, according to a report by Briter Bridges. Startups in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt accounted for 75% of all funding in 2022. This highlights the growing potential of the African startup scene and the increasing number of investors who are taking an interest in this market.

Crypto adoption in Africa has also been expanding in recent years. According to Chainalysis, Africa has the fastest-growing crypto market in the world.

Encryptus is well integrated with Industry leaders for self custody, coin monitoring and KYC providers for compliant onboarding. The Institutions can make use to the infrastructure by simply plugging into the Encryptus APIs. Encryptus services are also available on their platform for HNWIs and Institutions who simply want to use their services.

Encryptus will mark their soft launch at one of the largest African Tech event; “Africa Summit in Nairobi”

Encryptus’s Founder & CEO, Shantnoo Saxsena will also be sharing the stage with some industry leaders from Polygon, CELO Foundation and Nestcoin. When asked for comments for why Encryptus chose Africa, Shantnoo replied ” I started my crypto journey with a Kenyan startup in 2016. The Kenyan ecosystem is getting exciting and we have the right infrastructure ranging from Compliance to Fiat and Crypto Liquidity to empower other potential partners to build on top of our ecosystem. Encryptus is in the exploratory stage, but we are committed to bring innovative Crypto < > Fiat on-ramps and off-ramps solutions to the Kenyan ecosystem. The fiat and cryptos must coexist and we will work with the regulators and the banks to build the infrastructure together”

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EncryptusGlobal
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/encryptus/
Website: https://encryptus.io/

Please free to contact Abhi@encryptus.io for any queries.

SOURCE: Encryptus

KMP NORTH ACTIVELY INVESTIGATING DISAPPEARANCE/SUSPECTED KIDNAP OF A 5-YEAR-OLD GIRL

The Territorial Police in KMP North in coordination with Nabweru police are investigating the alleged disappearance and suspected kidnap of 5-year-old, Nansamba Zahra Muwonge, a pupil at Nabweru Community Nursery and Primary School, which occurred on the 17.02.2023 at around 7:20pm, from Nabweru North I, Nansana Division in Wakiso district. The matter was reported to police by the father of the victim, Muwonge Baker, aged 32. The facts gathered so far indicate that the mother of the victim, Nankya Sopia, left her playing at home with her two siblings ager 2 and 7, at around 6:30pm, as she went to buy for them snacks nearby. After 30 minutes she returned and found her daughter missing. She alerted residents and an immediate search was conducted, but all in vain.

As a result, the matter was reported to Nabweru police station and the area CCTV cameras reviewed. The victim was seen moving with a woman, along the Nabweru – Bwaise road in the direction of Kafunda zone, in Nabweru South. We strongly believe the victim should still be in the areas of Nabweru, Nansana, Bwaise, Katooke and Kawempe. A serious search for the 5-year-old victim but we also call upon anyone, who is hiding or keeping the victim, to hand her over in good faith.

The alleged disappearance/child kidnap shows how children are still vulnerable and under threat. We continue to receive complaints of children missing due to kidnap either for money or other non-monetary reasons. Right now, we cannot imagine what the victim is going through, but we would like to reassure the parents, that we are doing everything within our means to trace and recover the victim.

We would also like to use this opportunity to share tips that can help reduce the chances of our children falling victim to disappearances and child kidnaps. Although it can be very difficult to detect that a child kidnap is occurring or prevent it from happening, there are ways to become more aware of the risks and interventions that can help protect our child or other children in your community from potential harm.

• Pay attention;

– To any new individuals you have never seen before hanging around places where children play like compounds, backyards, playgrounds.

– If you notice a young child on their own or crying or fighting, get involved and call the police or accompany them to safety. See if their parents are nearby or call police or a child welfare officer at the LC or probation.

– If you notice an adult is trying to take a child away from a public place or children’s area, and you suspect something is not right, get involved. By simply drawing attention to the situation, it may be enough to stop a child abduction in progress.

– Pay attention to any news and alerts of recent child kidnap attempts in your area.

– Be aware of any individual playing an unusual amount of attention to your child or children in your community.

– Establish the police hotspots of child predators and perpetrators.

– If you child tells you about someone they met and felt uncomfortable – report the matter to police. While your child made the right decision in telling you, the next child may not feel like they can tell a safe adult and may be victimized as a result.

– Pay attention to your child when it distress and seek help.

If you have concerns outlined above, alert the police immediately. Provide complete description of the individuals and any vehicle they are using, including the licence plate number of the vehicle.

• Tech your child how to stay safe.

– Do not talk to strangers, is an old strategy that has become outdated and ineffective in reducing risk of child kidnap and abduction. The reality is that many child kidnaps are committed by people who are known to the child, and therefore, not considered a “stranger” in the traditional sense.

– Individuals seeking to kidnap a child often present as “friendly” and act “nicely” towards the child, in order to gain their acceptance and increase the likelihood that the child will go with them willingly. Therefore, its more effective to teach children not to go anywhere with anyone, without first getting permission from their parents. This strategy reinforces the children that the duty of supervision lies with parents as apposed to leaving it up to the children to assess the motives of individuals.

• What children need to know

a) For children ages 4 – 6 years.

– Teach your child that they must always have parental permission before going anywhere with anyone.

– Teach your child to always have a friend with them when they are going in places.

– Teach your child active resistance skills, like shouting, kicking, biting or screaming, if anyone other than you, physically tries to take them somewhere. SHOUT NO.

– Teach your child what to do if they are lost. Like sit down in one place and call out for the parent

– Teach your child never to leave with someone else other than who they came with, if lost in a public place, shopping centre or play area.

– Teach children, they must have parental permission before going anywhere with someone.

• For children ages 7 – 8 years

– Reinforce all the above tips, like have parental permission before going anywhere and that they should have a friend with them when going in places.

– Teach your child to trust their instincts i.e feelings inside them that warn them of danger and the need to be aware of their surroundings.

– Teach your child that if any one makes them feel uncomfortable, they must immediately come talking to you.

– As children get older, they need to practice assertive behavior. Children also need to know how and when to tell a safe adult, if someone has broken their boundaries.

– Keep a very close eye on your child while the two of you are out in the public places because its easy to lose sight on your child. Be sure to discuss a safety plan with your child for what they should do if they become separate from you.

• Practice scenarios with your child. Ask them what they would do if…

Ø Someone approaches them on the street for direction.

Ø Someone asks them to help find their puppy or dog.

Ø Someone says that their mother sent them to pick them up

Ø Someone tries to pull them into a car or bodaboda

Ø They find themselves alone and considering walking home alone.

• For Children ages 9 – 11 years

– All previous safety strategies, should be reinforced with thus age group.

– If your child is going out with friends to the mall, shopping, movies or party, make sure your child and their friends transportation to and from the location is organized. Also make sure that you are available while your child is out, in case they need to call you. Discuss with your child what they should do, if they become separate from their friends while they are out.

– At this age, children should also be taught about how to stay safe. When they are at home alone, not opening the door or telling anyone in the house when home alone; not letting anyone know that you will be home alone, making sure all emergency and contact numbers are placed by the telephone; and not to hesitate to phone parents if needed.

– Talk openly with your child about safety and begin to talk about different types of lures adults may use to gain the trust of children. Frequently, to through possible scenarios with your child involving different types of lures an adult might use to gain the trust of a child, including offering gifts, asking for help, saying there is an emergency, claiming to be an authority figure, using flattery etc, to help your child understand, how to respond to these types of situations.

– If your child is going to a friend’s house, have them call or text you when they have arrived at house or have their friends’ parents call you when your child has arrived. When your child is returning home from their friend’s house, get them to let you know they are on the way from the house. Know the appropriate distance and time it takes to get from one hose to the other.

Teach your child that if they are physically grabbed, to actively resist by screaming, hitting, biting, kicking and try to attract people’s attention to what is going on.

• For children ages 12 to13 years.

– As children are entering their teen years, they should still be reminded of safety strategies above like getting parental permission before going anywhere with anyone, its still important for them to bring a buddy along when going places, they need to continue to listen and trust their instincts; and they need to continue to practice assertive behavior.

– Teach your child to anticipate potentially dangerous situations – use “what if” scenarios to provide your child with opportunities to practice responding safely to these situation eg, “what if someone came up to you, said you were pretty, claimed to be a modeling agent and wanted you to come with them?

– Teach your child the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy relationship.

– If your child wants too meet an online friend in person, arrange to speak with the parent of the online friend. Together, you and the other parent can make plans for the children to meet with both of you present.

• For children ages 14 and older

– Continue to teach your child assertinesses skills. Use “what if” scenarios to help them anticipate possible situations e.g “what if you met someone online that wanted to meet you in person? Find natural opportunities to enforce assertinessess skills and safety strategies, and discuss your child’s increased independence and how they might reduce the risk of being harmed.

– Continue to teach your child the importance of sticking together with friends, when they go out in the evenings, or partying. Remind them of the importance of getting friends to agree before hand not to leave any friend behind when they leave. Explain to your child that part of being a good friend is looking out for each other and not leaving a friend vulnerable to victimization.

– When your adolescent goes out for the evening, they need a transportation plan in place to ensure that they will get home safely. By ensuring that your child and their friends have appropriate transportation to and from a place, that no one is left on their own to get home, and that nobody walks home alone, everyone is much safer.

– Ask your teen to text you when they arrive at their destination, change plans or decide to stay over at a friend’s place.

– Tell your adolescents to call you if they need help. As some point, your child may find themselves in a difficult or bad situation that hey do not know how to get out of. Tell your child to phone you if they find themselves in such a situation, so that you can come to their rescue. Reassure your child that they will not get in trouble for calling you. Tell them that you will deal with things the next day. Keep in mind that you need to mean it. Letting your child know that they can phone you, acts as a very important safety net, especially if your child is in a compromising or dangerous situation.

– Talk to your adolescent about the difference between healthy relationships and controlling relationships. If an adolescents first serious dating relationship is controlling, it can negatively impact their development as well as create risks to their safety.

• More safety a habit

During times of crisis we are often reminded about the importance of teaching children about personal safety. As adults, we often shy away from teaching children about sexual abuse and abduction, feeling we will frighten them. Safety education helps build a child’s confidence and critical thinking skills, and prepare them for dangerous situations that they may encounter.

Source: Uganda Police Force

POLICE ENCOURAGES SILENT VICTIMS TO HIDDEN CHILD SEX NETWORKS EXPLOITING BOYS AND GIRLS TO TAKE COURAGE AND REPORT THEIR CASES

As you are all aware, there is an increase in pornographic and sex videos of child sex predators and traffickers, promoting and grooming children and in particularly boys into acts of sex abuse and exploitation. They are groomed and engaged in sexually explicit acts of oral sex, unnatural practices of anal sex and other indecent practices. The majority of the victims are usually very vulnerable and from extremely poor backgrounds, some with a history of sexual abuse or domestic violence. The ultimate aims is to get the child to agree to join the child sex network to make money.

In some of the videos, young boys and girls are streamed live on Tiktok, being victimized by child sex predators wearing face masks and shields. The young boys and girls are under the control of the Criminal Sexual Networks and gangs, who make vast profits off the exploitation and hundreds of boys and girls.

The challenge we have is that the activity is secretive and not visible, because victims are reluctant to go to the police and report. The victims are recruited, groomed, paid under methods of coercion and control that is difficult to break through, by highly skilled local recruiters, operating in largely poor ghetto areas. Where the victims do not come forward to report their cases, it becomes difficult to identify the perpetrators.

This is not acceptable and we shall ensure as the Joint Security Agencies that we do everything within our means to safe guard our children. We also call upon the public and all child defenders and rights groups, local leaders and the community, to team up with the police in fighting child sex abuse and exploitation. We have dedicated teams of detectives whose role is to target the suspects exploiting children and bring them to book.

Anyone with information about the dissemination of child abuse material and physical sexual abuse of children is urged to contact the National Operations Command Centre on telephone contacts 0707600773/0776999136 or 0800199699. Information is treated in strict confidence.

Source: Uganda Police Force

SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR AGGRAVATED DEFILEMENT, GROOMING YOUNG BOYS INTO SODOMY AND RELATED UNNATURAL SEX PRACTICES

The Territorial Police in Rwizi Region and Mbarara, has in custody a one Saturday Michael, a 34-year-old, businessman of Kilembe Cell Nyamityobora ward, for sexually grooming into Sodomy and Molesting two male victims aged 17 and 18 respectively during the months of January and February 2023.

The suspect who doubles as an employer to the victims, who were vending pineapples for him in Mbarara City, rented a single room, which he was sharing with 6 other workers, with whom he shared one mattress. He would occasionally, have forceful sexual intercourse with the victims, against the order of nature.

We want to thank the 18 year old victim who took courage and reported the matter to police. He was subjected to medical examination at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital and proof of a ruptured anus established. The other victims were to be examined as well. Suspect arrested and in custody.

In a separate development, the police in Kasangati has in custody, a one Matovu Jimmy Peter, a 30 year old, resident of Lubatu zone, Kiteezi Parish, Kasangati Town Council, for threatening violence and attempted Sodomy, of a 24 year old shop attendant, who visited him in his room on the 18.02.2023 at around 1pm. The victim put up resistance after he was put at knife-point and alerted residents, who mobilized and arrested the suspect. A search was conducted at his home and a sex toy, a knife and other exhibits recovered.

We strongly condemn all forms of sexual violence, and we shall ensure the perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes.

Source: Uganda Police Force

BODY OF 80-YEAR-OLD ALLEGEDLY ADF COLLABORATOR CLAIMED BY RELATIVES

This is to inform the public that the remains of a one Muhonja Costa, an 80-year-old, suspected ADF collaborator, who collapsed dead, after a fall in the bathroom, while in custody at Kireka detention facility, was claimed by his family on the 15.02.2023. A one Tindyebwa Ezra, who identified himself as his son. The UPF helped in the transportation of the body up to Kanyampara village in Kasese district and supported the burial arrangement with a coffin and food stuff.

As we handed over the remains, we warned the family and relatives against kinship recruitment, into terrorism where terrorists pay to recruit relatives of their operators, agents and collaborators, for continuity of their valued relationships. They dip into the family because trust is already established and the risk of recruiting the wrong people is minimized. It is against this background that we have strongly warned the family and relatives.

Source: Uganda Police Force