opinion

COVID-19 risks when you have diabetes

April 15, 2021

From washing your hands to keeping your distance and wearing face masks, everyone needs to take steps to avoid the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. When you have diabetes, it’s important to be really careful.      The Connection Between COVID-19 and Diabetes      People with diabetes aren’t more likely to catch the virus than other people. But you could have more severe illness if you get it.      Having high blood sugar can interfere with your body’s ability to fight an infection. It also can take longer for your body to get better. Some experts believe that viruses may thrive in the body when blood glucose is high.      High blood sugar can affect your immune system, making you more likely to have severe complications if you get sick with the coronavirus.      Your chance of that is lower if your diabetes is under control. What You Should Be Doing To lower your chances of getting sick:      • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after being in public.      • Keep your distance from other people. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from others.      • Wear a cloth face mask when you're out. Avoid places where people aren't wearing face coverings.      • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. To help keep yourself safe and your diabetes under control:      • Test and track your blood sugar. Take medication or insulin as directed.      • Stock up on prescription medicine, insulin, and testing supplies.      • Clean your testing, infusion and finger-stick sites well with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.      • Stay in touch with your health care team. Keep your regular visits. Call right away if you are worried about your diabetes or you feel sick.      • Take care of your mental health. People with diabetes are up to three times more likely to be depressed than people without it.       Do things that make you happy. Check in with family and friends. If You Get Sick      If you feel like you start getting symptoms of COVID-19 --  like fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, headache, and loss of taste or smell -- call your doctor. Also remember:      • COVID-19 can raise your blood pressure, Make sure you take your medications as directed. Ask your doctor if you should monitor your blood pressure at home or change the meds you take.      • Check your blood sugar more often if you're sick. Call your doctor if it stays above 250 mg/dL. If your blood sugar falls below 70 mg/dL or your target range, eat 15 grams of simple carbs (juice, hard candy, etc.) and recheck again in 15 minutes to make sure your levels are going up.

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'We are in a state of war'

April 15, 2021

Editor’s note: We are giving this space to the statement issued by Uganda President KAGUTA MUSEVENI who warned against people misbehaving during this COVID-19 period, “God has a lot of work, He has the whole world to look after. He cannot just be here in Uganda looking after idiots...”. Following is the  full text of  his statement  on fighting Covid-19 pandemic:      In a war situation, nobody asks anyone to stay indoors. You stay indoors by choice. In fact, if you have a basement, you hide there for as long as hostilities persist.      During a war, you don't insist on your freedom. You willingly give it up in exchange for survival.       During a war, you don't complain of hunger. You bear hunger and pray that you live to eat again      During a war, you don't argue about opening your business. You close your shop (if you have the time), and run for your life. You pray to outlive the war so that you can return to your business (that's if it has not been looted or destroyed by mortar fire).      During a war, you are thankful to God for seeing another day in the land of the living.      During a war, you don't worry about your children not going to school. You pray that the government does not forcefully enlist them as soldiers to be trained in the school premises now turned military depot.      The world is currently in a state of war. A war without guns and bullets. A war without human soldiers. A war without borders. A war without cease-fire agreements. A war without a war room. A war without sacred zones.      The army in this war is without mercy. It is without any milk of human kindness. It is indiscriminate - it has no respect for children, women, or places of worship. This army is not interested in spoils of war. It has no intention of regime change. It is not concerned about the rich mineral resources underneath the earth. It is not even interested in religious, ethnic or ideological hegemony. Its ambition has nothing to do with racial superiority. It is an invisible, fleetfooted, and ruthlessly effective army.      Its only agenda is a harvest of death. It is only satiated after turning the world into one big death field. Its capacity to achieve its aim is not in doubt. Without ground, amphibious and aeriel machines, it has bases in almost every country of the world. Its movement is not governed by any war convention or protocol. In short, it is a law unto itself. It is Coronavirus. Also known as COVID-19 (because it announced its destructive presence and intention in the year of our Lord 2019)      Thankfully, this army has a weakness and it can be defeated. It only requires our collective action, discipline and forbearance. COVID-19 cannot survive social and physical distancing. It only thrives when you confront it. It loves to be confronted. It capitulates in the face of collective social and physical distancing. It bows before good personal hygiene. It is helpless when you take your destiny in your own hands by keeping them sanitized as often as possible.      This is not a time to cry about bread and butter like spoilt children. After all, the Holy book tells us that man shall not live by bread alone.  Let's obey and follow the instructions of the authorities. Let's flatten the COVID-19 curve. Let's exercise patience. Let's be our brothers' keeper. In no time, we shall regain our freedom, enterprise and socializing.      In the midst of EMERGENCY, we practice urgency of service and the urgency of love for others.      God bless us all!

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Demanding on ourselves, tolerant on others

April 7, 2021

THAT'S how we should be with respect to ourselves and to the others. We need to be strict with ourselves but always accommodating with the others. First, because the person we would know best would simply be ourselves, while with the others we ought to be more restrained in our judgments.      In fact, we need to be always nice to others, even if they are not nice to us. We should always give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, we really would not know them very well. Most of the time, we can only base our impressions of the others mainly on appearances which can never give us a good over-all picture of how they really are.      It’s very likely that we hardly would have the inside story of their life. And whatever traces of other people’s inside story we may have are most likely unreliable, based only on hearsay and gossip.      But, yes, with ourselves, we should be very demanding. We should be strict to adhere to the difference between good and evil, pursuing the former no matter how little it is, and avoiding the latter no matter how slight it may be. But such strict adherence should not make us judgmental of the others.      If ever we have some observations that point to a certain weakness, failure, mistake or sin of the others, let’s remember that those are observations only which can be at best tentative. And rather than be quick to judge, let us focus more on how we can help them.      That attitude would indicate that we are still clear about the difference between right and wrong. Of course, this difference should be based on our identification with Christ who is the ultimate judge to know what is right and wrong.      Let us remember that we see and judge things the way we are. If we are simply by ourselves, relying only on our estimation of what is right and wrong, then definitely we cannot go far. But if we try our best to be identified with Christ, then we can see and judge things the way Christ would see and judge them.      And so, if we are truly like Christ, our strictness in knowing the difference between right and wrong would not lead us to be judgmental, but rather to be charitable, finding ways of how to help the others. That’s because that is how Christ treats others.      On this point, we can cite the reaction of Christ who was presented with a woman who was caught in adultery. The woman clearly committed some grave wrong. But instead of condemning her, he simply dismissed her with the admonition to sin no more. (cfr. Jn 8,1-11)      We have to be most wary of our tendency to be quick to judge and condemn others when we feel we know a lot about what is right and wrong, good and evil. This can only mean we are not with Christ yet.      Of course, we should also be wary of our tendency to lose sight of the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, often appealing to God’s mercy, because that would only show that we are neither with Christ truly.      When we are with Christ, we would be strict and demanding on ourselves with respect to what is right and wrong, but at the same time, tolerant, understanding, quick to forgive and help others when we see their defects and misdeeds.      Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

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European countries scramble to tamp down latest virus surge

April 7, 2021

European countries scrambled Monday to tamp down a surge in COVID-19 cases and ramp up vaccinations, hoping to spare hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by the pandemic's latest deadly wave of infections.      The crush of coronavirus patients has been relentless for hospitals in Poland, where daily new infections hit records of over 35,000 on two recent days and the government ordered new restrictions to prevent large gatherings over the long Easter weekend. France's health minister warned that the number of intensive care unit patients could match levels from a year ago.      But in a sign of the disparities from one country to the next, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that barbers, gyms and outdoor bar and restaurant patios would be able to open next week after the country reported progress with vaccines and its recent lockdown. Meanwhile, the U.S. vaccination campaign kept accelerating, with 40 percent of the nation's adult population receiving at least one dose.      On Sunday, coronavirus patients filled almost all of the 120 beds at the County Hospital of Bochnia, 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the southern city of Krakow. One patient, 82-year-old Edward Szumanski, voiced concern that some people still refuse to see the virus that has killed over 2.8 million people worldwide as a threat.       About 55,000 of those deaths have occurred in Poland.      "The disease is certainly there, and it is very serious. Those who have not been through it, those who do not have it in their family, may be deluding themselves, but the reality is different," he said.      The more contagious and more aggressive virus variant identified in Britain is fueling much of the increase in Europe. Meanwhile, voters in many countries are angry at the European Union's strategy but also at their own governments' handling of the pandemic and the failure to prevent repeated spikes in infections.      France's health minister, Olivier Veran, warned Monday that the number of COVID-19 patients in the country's intensive care units might match the level of the first crisis a year ago. Speaking on TF1 television, he said the country could approach the ICU saturation levels of April 2020, when French ICUs held more than 7,000 virus patients, many of whom were in temporary facilities because demand far outstripped the country's pre-pandemic ICU capacity.      Veran expressed hope that France's new infections could peak this week thanks to new partial lockdown measures. After long resisting calls for a new lockdown, the French government closed schools and shuttered all non-essential stores nationwide and imposed travel restrictions for four weeks.      "We will manage," Veran said.      The British government announced Monday that all adults and children will be able to have routine coronavirus tests twice a week as a way to stamp out new outbreaks. The tests are being introduced as Johnson announces the next steps in the country's road map out of its three-month lockdown.      Britain has recorded almost 127,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe. But both infections and deaths have fallen sharply during the lockdown and since the start of a vaccination campaign that so far has given a first dose to more than 31 million people, or 6 in 10 adults.      Authorities in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, introduced tighter lockdown restrictions following a recent spike in virus cases. All schools in the city of 3 million people will be closed for the next two weeks, and only people with special passes will be allowed on public transport.      "The hospitals are almost full. The situation is difficult," Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.      Elsewhere, North Macedonia has delayed mass immunization amid vaccine shortages as its hospitals fill up following record new COVID-19 infections and deaths last week.      In Greece, which is struggling to emerge from a deep recession, most retail stores were allowed to reopen Monday despite an ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections. Lockdown measures have been in force since early November, although shops opened briefly around the Christmas season. The prolonged closures piled pressure on the economy.      Serbia also has eased measures against the coronavirus despite high numbers of infections and a slowdown in vaccinations. The government on Monday allowed bars and restaurants to serve guests outside at reduced capacity and with respect of social distancing rules.      In the U.S., a top public health official said young people are driving the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases, as the increasing rate of vaccination in older Americans prevents the most serious cases among seniors.      Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cited the increasing spread of variants as well as a rise in youth sports and extracurricular activities as factors contributing to the steady increase in cases over the last four weeks.      But Walensky pointed to positive developments among seniors, who are the most vulnerable age group. Senior virus deaths have fallen to their lowest level since the early fall. More than 75% of those age 65 or older nationally have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 55% are fully vaccinated.      "What we're seeing is both a decrease in emergency department visits as well as hospitalizations associated with that demographic," she said Monday.      More than 23% of all adults in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.      Many states are making vaccines available to younger demographics. Starting Monday, any adult in Florida is eligible to receive the vaccine. In addition, the state announced that 16- and 17-year-olds also could get the vaccine with parental permission.

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Always in the context of victory

April 5, 2021

I MEAN the victory of Christ's redemptive mission that takes care of everything in our life, no matter how things turn out to be. All our affairs, whether they are considered a success or a failure, done in the proper way or in the wrong way, etc., should be referred to the victory of Christ.      In that way, all our affairs can take part in the victory of Christ over sin and death that in the end is what truly matters in our life. Thus, we would have every reason to be happy and hopeful and to remain calm despite whatever. This is actually the ideal condition of our life, and we should try our best to attain it.      In that way also, we can be in a better position to see God’s will better, and to follow it properly. As we all know, we work or perform better when we feel light and animated by love, without as much as possible bearing the drag of a guilt feeling or anything negative.      Of course, we have to understand that Christ’s victory was gained through the cross, through his loving obedience to the will of his Father who wants him to assume all the sins of men, rendering death to all our sins by dying on the cross and then by resurrecting.      It’s important that we learn to assume the mind of Christ in everything that we do. Especially when we commit mistakes or even commit grave sins, if we have the mind of Christ, we would know how to repent and how to rid ourselves of bad feelings to regain the peace and joy that are proper to us as children of God.      And when we succeed in something, we also would know how to react properly if we assume the mind of Christ. We would be most thankful, and our joy would never make us proud and vain. In fact, what would happen is that we would be more motivated to do more good things, breaking new frontiers in the area of loving God and loving others.      To be able to refer everything in our life to the victory of Christ would definitely require some effort on our part. First we would really ask for God’s grace which we can do if our faith is strong and healthy. Then we have to go through the human process of learning.      It’s a step-by-step process, slow and kind of arduous especially at the beginning. But if we persist, things would just pick up, and voila!, referring things to Christ’s victory becomes an instinct.      This skill is most needed these days when many people are sinking in sadness and depression because they do not know how to cope with the many challenges and difficulties of our times.      Let’s hope that we can have many people who can inspire and impart this skill on others. To be sure, this is not merely a psychological trick or device. It’s what our faith is telling us. Christ himself said so. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11,28-29)      But for all that, let’s learn to carry the cross with Christ, because only then can we share in his victory.      Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

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Vaccinated against Covid-19? Quarantine is cut down to 7 days

April 5, 2021

Travellers who are vaccinated against Covid-19 can now undergo a reduced quarantine period of 7 days upon entering Thailand. The new, shorter quarantine period goes in effect today in Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya.      Those who are not vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days, which ends up being 11 nights, while those from countries with mutated strains of the virus, mostly African countries, must quarantine for 14 days or 15 nights.      To be eligible for the cut-down quarantine, travellers need to be inoculated with a vaccine that is approved by the World Health Organisation or the Ministry of Public Health. They must have 2 doses of the vaccine, with the exception of the jab produced by Johnson & Johnson which only requires 1 dose.      The following vaccines are approved:      • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)      • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)      • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)      • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)      • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (1 dose)      • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)      What you need to enter Thailand:      • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (Only for vaccinated travellers)      • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy      • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of $100,000 USD      • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel      • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure      Under the 7 day quarantine, travellers are still required to undergo Covid-19 testing before being released. Those on a 10 day quarantine will be tested twice and those on a 14 day quarantine will be tested 3 times.      The reduced quarantine is the first phase of Thailand’s 4-part plan for reopening. For the second phase, starting July 1, foreign tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to Phuket without undergoing quarantine.      In the third phase, set for October 1, quarantine will be waived for vaccinated travellers arriving to Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga, Chiang Mai and Pattaya from overseas.      Thailand will be fully open to travellers who are vaccianted against Covid-19 starting January 1, 2022.

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