UK Crashes Into Deepest Recession of Any Major Economy

Although the United States saw a significant decrease in economic output during 2020’s second quarter, the UK experienced an even worse outcome.

The economy’s output shrank by over 20%, making it the worst quarterly slump on record in history. Although the COVID-19 pandemic drove the results, it is still the deepest recession of any major economy.

Although the US experienced a 31.4% drop in economic activity, that figure was only a 10.6% drop than the GDP. 

France and Italy both suffered over 15% drops in relation to the second quarter of 2020. The cause for these massive declines involves the dependence on retail and services in those economies.

Why Did the UK’s Economy Decline Steeply?

The issue with the UK’s financial results involves the lockdown length imposed on people. Most businesses were stopped from providing services or selling goods for the entire quarter.

Although the United States had a lengthy lockdown period that started in March, different states took unique approaches. Some of them barely put in any restrictions, while others used significant lockdown measures to restrict movement.

The states that followed the UK’s approach are seeing similar problems with their economy.

Even when comparing Italy to the United Kingdom, restaurants, cafés, and hairdressers were allowed to reopen in May for Italians. It wasn’t until July 4 that those in the UK could do the same.

Germany faired even better because it allowed car dealerships, bike shops, bookstores, and other businesses to reopen as early as April 20.

Since the restrictions were lightened, the UK economy saw an 8.7% increase in activity from the previous month. It’s a start, but more needs to be done to rescue people trapped near the poverty line.
Although the UK economy expects to recover, a fast response is not likely. Another wave of COVID-19 cases, shedding almost one million jobs, and slow Brexit negotiations threaten to make a 10% contraction for 2020.

What to Stock Up on Before a Winter COVID-19 Resurgence

When lockdown orders started getting implemented in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, shoppers began stocking up on emergency supplies. The first items to leave store shelves involved paper products and toilet paper.

This activity was quickly followed by rice, beans, oatmeal, lentils, and similar pantry staples.

With the world gearing up for a winter resurgence of COVID-19, mixed with a bit of influenza, now is the perfect time to start stocking up on things.

You’ll want to grab those pantry staples now. Having an extra package of toilet paper wouldn’t hurt. Any medications you may need should get restocked, including prescriptions that are necessary for your health.

Once you have those items, considering adding these additional things to your list.

1. Health Supplements

Many people use supplements to get the nutrients they need for good health. Stocking up on items from Desbio, Numeria, and Neuroscience to ensure you have enough for up to three months can get you through potentially challenging times.

2. Diapers

If you have a little one at home, stock up on diapers. Get some wipes while you’re at the store as well, since those disappeared after the toilet paper.

3. Hand Sanitizer

You couldn’t find hand sanitizer on most store shelves for over a month after the pandemic hit. Once the products started coming back, you were paying double or triple the price for the same item pre-pandemic. Stocking up now ensures you won’t get caught in similar circumstances.

4. Frozen Vegetables

Canned goods disappeared quickly when reports of food chain shortages hit the news in April. Grab some frozen veggies now to keep in your freezer. They’ll stay good throughout the winter.

5. Canned Fruit

Fresh produce disruptions made it challenging to find some fruit items in some stores. Stocking up on canned varieties ensures you have a long-term food solution to maintain.
What you don’t need to grab is bottled water. You can get everything you need from your well or municipal supply. If shortages do occur, shop local to support farmers and growers in your community – or plant a garden to get what you need!

Discarded Masks Becoming a Health and Environmental Hazard

When the coronavirus pandemic made its first wave around the planet in March, health experts didn’t want people to wear masks because of the emergency need for them at hospitals and care facilities.


As we have learned more about how COVID transmits between people, most governments have mandated mask-wearing to prevent its spread.

These rules may be limiting the number of infections, but it also comes with a detrimental side effect. People are littering by discarding their used masks improperly. This problem has become so widespread that it is becoming a health and environmental hazard.

Why Is PPE Problematic for the Environment?

If you take a walk around the average city, you’ll find discarded masks and gloves everywhere. Whether in the street, a parking lot, or your front yard, these plastics can adversely impact the environment.

These products break down into microplastics that attract harmful chemicals and pesticides. They enter sewer systems and bodies of water. When animals eat these products, the contaminants enter their tissues.

If we eat those animals, the litter we created with our PPE enters our bodies.

What makes the problem even worse is that some people think that these items can be recycled, creating breakdowns in the recovery chain. 

The problem has become so great that some communities, such as Swampscott, Mass., are instituting fines of $5,500 or more to stop the littering.

How to Manage the COVID PPE Problem

It only takes having all of us to follow a few simple steps to stop PPE littering in our communities.

1. Don’t Litter

If you have masks or gloves that must get discarded, throw the PPE in the nearest trash. Although the risk of catching the coronavirus is remote, having healthy children or adults coming into contact with a contaminated item is not something we’d wish on anyone.

2. Put Clean Materials in Recycling

You cannot leave food or organic materials in recycling products. Try to clean each item before placing it in the correct receptacle.

3. Put PPE in the Trash

Used masks and gloves should get put out with the weekly trash. It helps to put the PPE in a tight, secure bag to prevent any contamination from reaching the regular waste stream. If you travel and need to discard items, carry a container that lets you properly store the items until they can be disposed of correctly.
When we all do our part, we can stop the litter and the COVID pandemic. Take care of yourself with products from Argentyn23, LivOn Labs, and Quicksilver Scientific while protecting you and your loved ones from infection.

What Milestones Does a Vaccine Need to Hit Before Approval?

The typical vaccine goes through six general stages of development before receiving approval for distribution.

1. The exploratory stage looks at the viability of a vaccine. Some diseases would not respond well to this treatment option, so the first effort must be to see if it would be effective.

2. The preclinical stage begins the developmental process so that the actual vaccine gets created. It includes the initial manufacturing to produce an item that is ready for trial.

3. Clinical development is a three-phase process that must get completed before governments can review and approve a vaccine. The first one involves small groups of individuals who receive the trial vaccination. If those results are encouraging, the second phase expands the clinical study to include people with specific characteristics. The final stage has the vaccine given to thousands of people to test for safety and efficacy.

4. Once a vaccine proves to be safe and effective, government agencies send it through a regulatory review process. The goal of this step is to review the evidence of safety and efficacy to ensure the shot doesn’t cause more harm than good. It receives approval only after this independent evaluation.

5. The manufacturing process begins after a vaccine receives approval. Some companies follow an “at risk” policy that has them produce doses before receiving authorization so that the item can get immediately distributed to the general public. If a denial happens instead, all of the vaccinations would need to be thrown away.

6. The final milestone involves quality control. The goal is to ensure that the vaccine can be as helpful as possible without increasing the risk of additional health problems.

The FDA Requires Specific Information for Vaccines

Sponsors of a new vaccine in the United States must follow a multi-step approval process that includes a new drug application, pre-licensure clinical trials, and a biologics license application. The government inspects the manufacturing facility before issuing an approval.

A presentation of findings to the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is also mandatory.

The FDA also requires usability testing of the product labeling. Manufacturers can be required to provide the results of their tests for purity, potency, and safety, or be required to submit to third-party examination. 

All of this is important for the average citizen, but for those who work in the medical field, make sure to note the information here so you can pass it along. If you want more in depth information on the topic, check out our patient safety news sources you should be following.

Why Some Countries Haven’t Reported COVID-19 Cases

Before Christmas 2019, it seemed as if the new coronavirus epidemic would stay confined to China. A few weeks later, authorities declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, causing a variety of symptoms and pneumonia-like problems.

The coronavirus transmits through bodily fluids and droplets. Exposure to a person’s saliva or mucus through the eyes, nose, mouth, or cuts can cause the infections. Some researchers believe that someone with active disease is immediately contagious, even if that individual doesn’t report any symptoms.

As of June 11, 2020, COVID-19 has been reported in 188 countries and territories around the world.

COVID-19 Has Infected Over 7 Million People

Estimates from Johns Hopkins University suggest that the new coronavirus has infected over 7.2 million people. The ease of transmission for this virus is causing health officials, scientists, and governments worldwide to suggest social distancing measures.

Unless there is a compelling reason to go outside or travel, authorities are recommending people should stay inside.

The United States is the global leader in reported infections, with about 2 million people and over 111,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

On the other end of the spectrum, a total of 13 countries and territories have not reported a single case of the new coronavirus. Those governments are Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Greenland, and North Korea. 

With the exceptions of North Korea and Turkmenistan, the reason why the other governments are not reporting coronavirus cases is simple. Their isolation is an advantage during a global pandemic.

Using COVID-19 as a Political Tool

The other governments are not reporting new COVID-19 cases because they feel it is their best interest to behave this way.

North Korea sees the idea of reporting cases of the coronavirus as a sign of weakness. When their adversary (the U.S.) is the global leader for infections and deaths, saying that nothing exists in their country portrays a domestic feeling of strength.

Turkmenistan says that it is coronavirus-free. The government recently uninvited a team from the World Health Organization to check on conditions, raising suspicions about the information coming from the country.

COVID-19 will likely be a disease that we must learn to live with until effective treatment solutions get found. We know that social distancing can work, and the island nations of the South Pacific are evidence of that fact.

Why States Released Prisoners Early During COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is exceptionally contagious, especially by the precedent set by other coronavirus infections. This reason is why doctors and scientists recommend keeping six feet of social distance between people whenever flare-ups occur.

Some places have very little room to provide social distancing measures. Jails and prisons in the United States were already overcrowded before the pandemic. Officials decided that the safest way to limit the infection potential was to release some non-violent prisoners early.

At-Risk Inmates Were the First to Gain Release

Prisoners do not have the option to take products from brands like Argentyn 23, Sovereign Silver, or Natural Path Silver Wings to support their health. Trying to boost the immune system when eating prison food and being in close confinement with others turned out to be an impossible task.

During the first couple of weeks of the pandemic in New York City, a cluster of cases around the Rikers Island complex had over 450 people test positive for the new coronavirus.

Illinois experienced a similar issue with a cluster around the Cook County jail in Chicago.

Once the virus arrives in a jail or prison, it spreads like wildfire because the crowded conditions don’t give people a place to protect themselves. Even Attorney General William Barr ordered at-risk, non-violent inmates who posed a minimal risk of recidivism to serve the remainder of their sentence in home confinement.

Is it Time to Rethink the Prison System?

Hygiene is not well-practiced at many jails and prisons in the United States because of other risk factors. Most institutions do not permit hand sanitizer because it can get used to make alcoholic drinks in cells.

Facilities don’t provide soap to prisoners or inmates either. It is not unusual for a charge of $1 to get instituted for a single bar, which is a significant cost for people making less than that per hour. 

The boldest measures to protect prisoners came from the state of California. The government there plans to release up to 3,500 non-violent inmates in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prisons aren’t taking inmates from county jails there anymore either as a way to free up more space.

COVID-19 doesn’t care if you are a law enforcement officer or you break the law. It doesn’t care about skin color, wealth, or what job you have. States released prisoners early because it was the best way to reduce the threat of infection.

Are Governments Using Coronavirus to Expand Control?

People are in protest around the world because of stay-at-home orders. Employment in the United States went from the best rate in 50 years to the worst figures since the Great Depression. The authoritative measures implemented by governments at every level of society are causing much concern.

Expanding government controls feels like a reach to get into the private lives of individuals. Contact tracing requirements, mandatory communication, and open medical data feel like intrusions that might never go away.

Is the “new normal” a place where interruptions to our daily routine are commonplace? Does it create a society where neighbors and families get encouraged to report each other for perceived wrongdoing?

Lessons Learned from the 1918 Influenza Response

When influenza killed tens of millions of people in 1918 and 1919, the governments of Europe and the United States used measures to control the epidemic that first started during the Bubonic Plague.

Medical professionals believed that the virus responsible for the new flu strain could get spread by sneezing and coughing. Since that meant you could get sick by breathing the air around someone who was ill, the governments implemented protocols similar to what we see today with COVID-19.

Almost all public institutions were closed – except for any essential businesses that contributed to the health and welfare of the economy. Public gatherings of any type were forbidden. Although churches could remain open, social distancing measures were required to limit physical contact with others. Public transportation was effectively banned. Committees even recommended staggering the opening and closing hours of stores to prevent overcrowding.

Rumors Circulate Quickly During a Crisis

Fear is the foundation of information during a pandemic. It is a trait seen throughout human history.

The reality of our government structures is that we give it broad authority to keep people safe during an emergency. A pandemic certainly qualifies for such an action. Although staying at home for 8-10 weeks in isolation can be trying on everyone, it can also provide the foundation of safety required to reduce infections and fatalities.

If the government was going to expand population controls because of COVID-19, then it would not slowly remove restrictions. It would merely put companies out of business and employees out of work. Then it would give people the basics for survival while demanding compliance for essential activities.

It is a different world when living in a pandemic. People are dealing with issues not seen for over a century. Although it is a scary time, we must remember to take care of one another. 

Global Hunger Problems Could Double in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Before the new coronavirus became a global pandemic, over 135 million people went to bed with chronic hunger each year. The aftermath of COVID-19 could add another 130 million to that figure.

The WFP – the food program from the United Nations – says that it needs at least $12 billion more in funding to provide emergency assistance to people in need.

Reduced travel capabilities, falling remittances, and lost hospitality revenues are all contributing factors to this issue. Unless fast action gets taken to stop this problem, the families living hand-to-mouth today may need to sell the few assets they currently have to have food. That means it could take several years to achieve self-reliance once again.

Farmers Are Already Selling Oxen and Plows

The people that the world needs to be most concerned about are those that live in nations were safety nets are rarely available. It places the responsibility for acquiring food on the workers or programs like the WFP to meet basic needs.

That means farmers get left with a terrible choice. Do they go hungry so that they can keep their equipment and livestock, or do they sell their oxen and plows to meet their short-term needs today?

The United Nations has a five-category rating system that gauges the availability of food in the general population. A Category 5 issue translates to mass starvation. In the aftermath of COVID-19, many countries in Africa found themselves at a Category 3 rating, which means they have a critical lack of food access and more malnutrition than usual.

How to Fight the Hunger Crisis

Only two things are needed to stop the developing hunger crisis from the coronavirus: understanding and action. The world needs people to influence public policy, work directly with the families in need, and provide financial contributions.

Millions are already in a position where they are entirely reliant on food aid to meet their daily needs. If conflict, famine, and drought continue to affect critical areas of agricultural production, then this issue will keep growing. In some areas, such as Africa, locust swarms are adding to these issues.

Hunger impacts the wealthy countries of our planet, with up to 20% of households managing food insecurity.
Although COVID-19 creates a lot of fear and uncertainty, it is also giving us time to focus on change. By taking care of each other, we can build a planet where everyone can go to bed each night without worry about having enough food to eat.

What Is the Main Purpose of a Respirator, and Why Are They Rare?

COVID-19 exposed the treatment gaps in hospitals all over the world. As patients forced hospitals to be over-capacity, the respiratory illness showed how ill-equipped facilities were to manage severe symptoms. Ventilators became in-demand at such levels that some facilities were hooking equipment meant for one person to two individuals.

Respirators were also in short supply in most facilities. These mask-like devices get worn over the nose and mouth to prevent the inhalation of a harmful substance. Wearing one while in the presence of someone with a viral infection can prevent the spread of that disease.

That means it is harder to get infected with COVID-19 when wearing one.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using N95 respirators to prevent viral transmissions. This equipment type fits tightly around the mouth and nose when compared to surgical masks or DIY cloth products. Another option is called a PAPR, which stands for “powered air-purifying respirator.” It covers the entire head, using a blower to filter the air.

What Caused the Respirator Shortage?

After 85 million N95 respirators got distributed in 2009 to tackle the challenges of the swine influenza, American companies started shifting the production of this product overseas. Most of the contracts went to Chinese facilities, creating a cost-savings at the expense of losing the infrastructure for domestic capabilities.

The cost of manufacturing equipment that can produce the respirators needed to treat COVID-19 patients is $250,000 or – with a six-month lead time.

As companies sought cheaper production practices, they developed complex international supply chains at the expense of domestic capabilities. This action shrunk the labor pool and limited costs, but it also created unexpected fragility in the marketplace. 

Without access to the international supply chain, there is zero access to the respirators.

Then the chain-of-events that led to the global pandemic of COVID-19 contributed to the shortage of respirators. China is the home of several manufacturing centers that make this product. Since workers couldn’t function in their facilities with the viral outbreak attacking that country first, the first respirators went to Chinese front-line workers. That meant fewer were available for the future clusters and outbreaks that occurred.

Even though respirators are a low-value item that is easy to manufacture, there aren’t enough companies making this product. Those that are haven’t reached full capacity since January 2020. Until those issues get corrected, this personal protective equipment will continue to be rare.

Why People are Alarmed by Trump’s Plan to Defund the WHO

Although the move seemed like a reaction to the coronavirus response, the Trump Administration’s decision to defund the World Health Organization was a calculated move.

The U.S. is the most significant contributor to the 194-member WHO, funding it with $400 million each year. That means American taxpayers are responsible for about 20% of the budget.

Evidence might suggest that local officials in China attempted to cover up the severity of the new coronavirus. The director of the WHO stood by the heavy-handed tactics of the Chinese to contain the information and eventual response, and he also made decisions to honor rulers like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe – despite oppressive efforts to manage the population.

What makes the administration’s actions so alarming is that Trump was praising the efforts of China to contain COVID-19 in February 2020. With his approval ratings at an all-time low, the response seems to be more about politics than individual health – and that’s why the rest of the world is alarmed by this response.

How to Manage Your Health with COVID-19

Taking steps to boost the health of your immune system is beneficial on any day. When living through a pandemic, it could be a critical set of decisions that could make the difference between staying well and getting sick.

The best thing to do is to keep moving. Physical activity improves metabolic and immune systems, promoting an increase of T-cells and antibodies while expelling toxins from the body.

Taking care of your nutrition is also essential during this time. Try to avoid foods with heavily-refined carbohydrates and starches to prevent blood sugar spikes from happening. You can also add supplementary products to manage any deficiencies that might be present with your eating habits. Items from brands like Metagenics, Livon Labs, and Terry Naturally can provide a stronger foundation from which to work.

Then make sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night. Resting works to reboot your body and mind, which means the immune system can work with greater efficiency. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night makes you four times less likely to catch a cold.

We may not be in full control of the politics of COVID-19. Trump and other government leaders may choose to defund other agencies – or add money to others. What we can do is take care of ourselves and each other whenever illness strikes. If this story concerns you or you would like to know more, make sure to check out our list of top 100 news sites you should have bookmarked!