Christel Deskins

Why Singapore turned to wearable contact-tracing tech

Singapore’s TraceTogether Tokens are the latest effort to tackle Covid-19 with tech. But they have also reignited a privacy debate.

The wearable devices complement the island’s existing contact-tracing app, to identify people who might have been infected by those who have tested positive for the virus.

All users have to do is carry one, and the battery lasts up to nine months without needing a recharge – something one expert said had “stunned” him.

The government agency which developed the devices acknowledges that the Tokens – and technology in general – aren’t “a silver bullet”, but should augment human contact-tracers’ efforts.

The first to receive the devices are thousands of vulnerable elderly people who don’t own smartphones.

To do so, they had to provide their national ID and phone numbers – TraceTogether app users recently had to start doing likewise.

If dongle users test positive for the disease, they have to hand their device to the Ministry of Health because – unlike the app – they cannot transmit data over the internet.

How Singapore's tag-tracing system works
How Singapore’s tag-tracing system works

Human contact-tracers will then use the logs to identify and advise others who might have been infected.

“It’s very boring in what it does, which is why I think it’s a good design,” says hardware developer Sean Cross.

He was one of four experts invited to inspect one of the devices before they launched. The group was shown all its components but were not allowed to turn it on.

“It can correlate who

Read the rest

2020 graduates face uncertain job market with hope

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If everything had gone according to plan, Missy Wood thought she’d have a job helping at-risk youths by now. 

Wood, a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, saw her internship with Court-Appointed Special Advocates end abruptly in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took root in Tennessee. She started applying for jobs with the Department of Children’s Services and similar organizations in April.

By the time she graduated in May, new job postings for her chosen career had all but disappeared.

Wood is one of the thousands of graduates across the nation who face a turbulent job market amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. More than 47 million Americans have filed jobless benefit claims since the middle of March, according to the Labor Department.  

Eli Kellum, 7, climbs on the back of babysitter Missy Wood in the Kellum family's backyard in Murfreesboro on June 18, 2020, as the two play on the trampoline. Wood has been looking for work since April but has not been able to find any child-focused social work positions since graduating from MTSU in May. After the pandemic hit, job postings for her planned career seemed to disappear.
Eli Kellum, 7, climbs on the back of babysitter Missy Wood in the Kellum family’s backyard in Murfreesboro on June 18, 2020, as the two play on the trampoline. Wood has been looking for work since April but has not been able to find any child-focused social work positions since graduating from MTSU in May. After the pandemic hit, job postings for her planned career seemed to disappear.

Now, she’s babysitting for a Murfreesboro-area family twice a week as she continues to search for full-time work.

“I’m just sitting and waiting, and it’s frustrating because I took the five years and got a degree, and I’m ready to start with a career,” Wood said. “I’m just on hold right now.”

In March, businesses across

Read the rest

Vet Services Drive-Thru | Rose Bowl Movies: Saturday Smiles

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — Happy 4th of July weekend! Here are some stories to make you smile —

Fur Babies Get Drive-Thru Vet Care In Mission Viejo

  • Caption this. Orange County’s pets got some tender, loving care at this pet clinic, designed to ensure great health for area dogs & cats.

Tribeca Film Festival Launches Drive-In Series At The Rose Bowl

  • The 30-film series will include “The Wizard of Oz,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Apollo 13,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Jaws.”

Look Inside Ana Paquin And Stephen Moyer’s $14M Venice Home

  • The Hollywood Bowl House, designed By David Hertz, features wood siding from the original Hollywood Bowl amphitheater benches.

Endangered Butterfly In Southwest Riverside County Gets Advocates

Tree San Diego Gets $1.18M Grant For Tree Planting Project

Splash Mountain Redo: Disney Embraces Princess And The Frog Theme

Ringo Starr’s 80th Birthday Bash Becomes Online Charity Concert

  • The celebrity-filled charity concert will raise money for Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and more.

Three LA County Beaches Make Heal The Bay List For Water Quality

Mountain Mike’s Pizza Opens First Temecula Location

Here Are The Most Popular Dog Breeds In Long Beach For 2020

Here Are The Most Popular Dog Breeds In San Diego For 2020

Laura’s House Celebrates Brighter Futures In Virtual Luncheon

HBO Renews ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ For 11th Season

Lakers And Clippers To Square Off July 30 At Disney World

LA Foundation Awards $8.5M For COVID-19 Relief

Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop Celebrates

Read the rest

‘How the hell are we going to do this?’ The panic over reopening schools

Pediatricians say schools should strive to bring kids back to classrooms. Teachers unions are on the verge of revolt, in fear of infections. Local school districts are struggling with everything from technology to staging schools for socially distanced learning.

And Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is largely on the sidelines, saying the coronavirus back-to-school planning is a state and local issue.

No wonder parents across America are freaking out.

The CDC issued additional guidance this week on safely reopening schools, with infections spiking in the South and West. Some education leaders fear the guidelines are being disregarded, casting doubt anew on how the new school year will even be able to launch. Yet the beginning of the school year is nearing and worried parents are wondering if they will be able to count on in-person classes resuming by the time they must return to work, inextricably tying school reopenings to the revival of the economy.

In Virginia, Fairfax County’s teachers unions say teachers aren’t comfortable returning to schools and are encouraging members to state their preference for online learning until more information about face-to-face instruction is available. In Texas, the governor is now requiring face masks in public spaces in counties with 20 or more Covid-19 cases — but his order didn’t mention schools. Arizona has delayed schools’ reopening date until mid-August as cases surge.

From social distancing to health checks, the list of concerns is seemingly endless as school districts draft their plans, many of which are still in the

Read the rest

Take These Steps for Safe Swimming

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

While experts consider waterborne transmission of the novel coronavirus to be unlikely, swimming at the local neighborhood pool or municipal beachfront might not be a simple option.

Some cities have said they’re keeping public pools closed. And in some communities in the U.S., “closed” may mean that a beach or lakefront is accessible but not staffed with lifeguards, so you might not have these professionals watching as you and your family swim. 

Where pools and beaches are open, authorities are likely to be implementing rules designed to limit any potential spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing. That could limit the number of people allowed to swim, shutting some families out. 

To avoid these problems, and provide kids with a way to have some warm-weather fun, some people may be exploring their options for backyard swimming, such as above-ground and blow-up pools. 

But some experts are concerned that more at-home pool use might have a tragic side-effect: more drownings, although there’s no evidence of this yet, according to William D. Ramos, Ph.D., member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and associate professor of health and wellness design at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. 

Still, simple precautions can help keep kids, and all other swimmers, safe. Here’s what to do to avoid water-related dangers, whether your family is swimming at home or—if your area is starting to reopen—giving it a go at the local pool.

Drowning

Read the rest