Pfizer experimental Coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) is more than 90 percent effective based on initial trial results, the company has announced. The US drugmaker released preliminary data from late-stage human trials of the vaccine it developed along with German biotech company BioNTech.
The revelations are extremely important because the vaccine is now headed for a review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The analysis was conducted based on a trial that included 94 participants. Pfizer has confirmed it’ll continue the trail until there are 164 COVID-19 cases among volunteers.
The phase 3 trials of this vaccine candidate — technically called BNT162b2 — began on July 27 and has so far enrolled 43,538 participants, 38,955 of whom had received a second dose as of November 8.
However, the data is yet to be peer-reviewed and the company confirmed it’ll do so when the trial is complete. Experts say the vaccine is still far from commercial production. It’ll first have to demonstrate its capabilities, side-effects, complications, and extent of protection.
Following the news, markets around the world witnessed massive gains. Aviation, finance, and hospitality are the prime sectors leading this bullish trend.
Pfizer and BioNTech said they plan to apply to the FDA for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month. Post approval, Pfizer will have almost two months of safety data about the vaccine. The company expects to churn out 1.3 billion doses in 2021. It already has a contract with the US Government worth US$ 9.5 billion to deliver 100 million doses.
It’s worth noting that many other companies are also testing the vaccine in multiple countries. This is just one of many breakthroughs in the development of a Coronavirus vaccine and commercial production of the vaccine is still a couple of months away.
From zero to export, here’s how India ramped up PPE making
US and China are its biggest trade partners
With a 1.3 billion population, India is a highly dense country. The imposition of a sudden lockdown meant critical equipment like PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), masks, and other medical equipment were in low supply. Due to the global outbreak, imports were also difficult to find since the demand was too high.
The initial cases of Coronavirus were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in November 2019. While the outbreak was limited initially, it gradually spread across China, followed by other countries, and reached a critical stage in March.
Many countries implemented a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. While these curfews helped reduce the spread of the virus, it also handicapped industries because the normal flow of goods and production was adversely affected. Adding to this, developing countries were worse hit because their healthcare system is weak and under-equipped.
India rising to the occasion
However, India was able to find a home-grown solution. The country went on to start exporting Coronavirus goods within a few months. California-based financing company Drip Capital released a detailed report that gives us an insight into India’s production response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The report considered 14 categories of medical-related products that were shipped between January and July of 2020. The data is directly compiled from India’s Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). These categories include textiles, disinfectants, test kits, soap, rubber, gloves, footwear, and other medical equipment.
In a nutshell, the industry clocked a growth of US$ 150 million when compared to the same period last year. The country was in a lockdown state for almost two months. PPE demand among medical workers, contact tracers, and other essential workers was extremely high. The textile category alone contributed to the growth of US$ 40 million, followed by test kits at US$ 26 million, disinfectants at US$ 28 million, and soap at US$ 12 million.
PPE production in full swing
What’s even more interesting is, India had zero domestic manufacturing capacity for PPEs in January. A few restrictions were placed on exports in January due to a shortage of inventory, and a complete ban was placed in March. The government released massive tenders to encourage domestic production, and the country was making 700,000 to 800,000 PPE kits a day by June.
Once domestic demand was fulfilled, the government opened up exports, and a milestone was reached in October when India delivered 1.8 million N95 masks to the US. The effect is quite easily visible as the country exported goods worth US$ 539 million in the first seven months of 2020.
In comparison, India exported goods worth US$ 532 million in the whole of 2019. Hence it’s safe to assume this year’s exports shall be almost twice that of last year.
70 percent of all exported goods originated from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. On the other hand, India’s top trade partners were spread across the globe. The US single-handedly imported goods worth US$ 98 million, followed by China at US$ 37 million, Germany at US$ 30 million, and the Netherlands at US$ 22 million.
Indian goods were in high demand in smaller countries like the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. A natural edge that Indian goods have is their pricing. Being a developing economy with a substantial population engaged in agriculture and textile, PPE was a perfect commodity that helped grow small scale industries.
Fitbit Charge 4 review: An extra ingredient to becoming fit and healthy
Aside from determination, dedication, and motivation
Imagine drinking for five to seven days straight, no exercise, drinking less water than usual, and eating whatever was available. It was a recipe for disaster — for my body, that is. Back in 2019, I spent a week being sick. I was severely dehydrated that I needed to pump in gallons of Pocari Sweat and Gatorade.
That stressful experience led me to take care of myself seriously. Before and at the start of 2020, I made an effort to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. I enrolled in a gym, started cooking healthy meals, and packed lunch for work instead of eating at fast-food restaurants.
Finding the right companion
But the pandemic struck, and my plans were derailed. My hopes of having a healthy and fit body were slightly crushed. I found myself switching smart bands — Samsung Galaxy Fit E, Honor Band 5, and Garmin’s Forerunner 235 — while trying to follow a workout and meal plan.
Of course, it wasn’t a smooth ride. There are days where I got sick due to stress caused by the pandemic, burning out from work, and a whole lot of other things. My desire to get healthier intensified.
When the Fitbit Charge 4 arrived, I had second thoughts about whether a tracker can undeniably help me achieve my goals. I used the Fitbit Charge 3 before and nothing happened. It was such a gag, trying my best to be healthy and fit, and I only lasted for three weeks.
Yet this time around, I had the Charge 4 for two months and I could say I had a great time using it. Unlike before, I was able to continuously develop my body and follow my workout plan.
Pairing it with phone and colors
Having a tracker was the last thing I considered before starting my journey. At first, I bought a water bottle, quick-dry towel and gym clothes, and wireless earbuds so those gym activities won’t be boring.
Moving to home workouts during the quarantine didn’t make any changes to my usual equipment, except now I have extra dumbbells, a yoga mat, mini bands, and a resistance band.
When I got the Charge 4, I paired it quickly with my phones. Back then, I had a hard time pairing it with my Samsung Galaxy S20, but it was easy when paired with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro — which I used with previous Fitbit wearables.
Thankfully, it didn’t come in a striking hue. The band’s color is named Storm Blue, reminiscent of Prussian Blue or Parisian Blue, if you’re into fine arts — a color prominently seen in the Hokusai’s famous artwork The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
The material used for the band is comfortable and water-resistant, I had no problems wearing it in the shower or while sweating during my exercises.
Like a fitness BFF
This smart tracker wasn’t the sole reason I’m starting to get healthier and fitter now. It was discipline and commitment that got me through — something I lacked last year.
Relying on a wearable — smart tracker, smart band, or a smartwatch — won’t get you anywhere in reaching your fitness goals. It’s not their job to make you healthy and fit, only guide you through it.
But to say the Charge 4 didn’t help in reaching my fitness goals is unfair. While determination, dedication, and motivation are necessary ingredients, having a wearable can help you pull yourself together.
Its effects were like having a best friend reminding you of your goals; that’s just how it feels wearing its weight around my wrists. It doesn’t snap at you for not being able to follow through your goals, it simply nudges you to try to do your best.
The right workout
If you’re a Fitbit user, you’d know the magic isn’t at its trackers or smartwatches. It’s the smooth connection between your devices, the Fitbit app, and Fitbit Premium.
ICYDK, Fitbit Premium is filled with guided programs, health and fitness content from partner brands, and fitness challenges to stay active. I’ve tried some, but I realized these workouts aren’t for me.
Finding the right workout is always subjective and personal — what’s working for you might not work for someone else.
I crafted my own workout plan to achieve my goal: gaining weight, toning my muscles to achieve a lean figure, and of course, look sexy in my thirst trap photos on Instagram. Also, so I feel good about myself.
Luckily, Fitbit knows the value of personalization through Active Zone Minutes. It’s a metric calculated using your age and resting heart rate, providing you a more personalized measurement. There are also real-time alerts on your wrist to help you become more efficient in your workouts.
To a hydrated body and better heart
When I was living a sedentary lifestyle, my resting heart rate reached 100 bpm (beats per minute) compared to having 60-70 bpm during my active days. Since I’m still just starting again, I made it a goal to get a better resting heart rate.
Having a lower heart rate is a sign of good cardiovascular fitness. As of writing, I’m back at 65-75 bpm — that’s because sometimes I still fail to do consecutive workouts because of my job and I’m still high on caffeine intake.
If you can’t exercise regularly, you need to walk around. The Fitbit Charge 4 buzzes every hour to remind you to get up and walk, and it was a habit I enjoyed doing in my working hours.
When my Charge 4 buzzes, I walk to the kitchen to refill my water bottle and drink my water. I also stretch my hamstrings while I wait for the bottle to be refilled. Talk about hitting three birds with one stone: moving around, drinking water, and stretching my tight hamstring from too much sitting.
The struggle to exercise
Ask anyone. The hardest thing to do is always getting out of the bed to exercise. Sometimes, you just want to lie down, roll over to watch Netflix, get up to eat and drink, then find your way to bed again. Sounds tempting, right?
I’ve been a victim of this situation, many times especially last year. Committing to a regular workout is such a daunting task. When you’re bogged down with work and your mind is heavily preoccupied, it’s easy to give up on exercise and tell yourself to do it tomorrow.
But you keep saying that until you realize it’s been a month since you last worked out then beat yourself up for not trying hard.
Trying to reach fitness goals was never an easy task. It requires mind tricks and mental fortitude. The struggle in discipline and commitment during your health and fitness journey mostly stems from your emotional and mental health.
How we feel can manifest physically, which is why we need to be in a better headspace so we can push ourselves to work out.
Taking care of our mental health won’t be easy in this pandemic, but you can take little steps. I’ve done yoga and meditation, and it helped me breathe easier.
What I’m doing might be a little bit intimidating. For beginners, you can start with guided meditations accessible through the Fitbit app, Headspace, or Spotify. If you want to really start with something easy, the tracker has a breathing exercise that you can follow easily.
Unplugging made me happier
When you learn how to be mindful, you’ll realize the importance of unplugging and disconnecting. Being glued to our smartphones can wear our minds and extremely take our time. Sometimes, all we need is to step away from our smartphones.
The Fitbit Charge 4 can preview a few notifications on your screen. This helped me disconnect and focus on my tasks that require concentration such as painting, writing, and working out.
I tend to get distracted by my phone and other messages, and having a few notifications can help me decide which one requires immediate response and which one can wait later.
You can customize your notifications through the Fitbit app, and you can sync your messages, emails, and calendar, which appears in the tracker’s notifications bar.
You can also connect Spotify so you can easily control your music without using your phone. It worked seamlessly with my Galaxy Buds and my phone, and this disconnection definitely made me happier.
Give me a good night’s sleep
The most important thing I realized, later on, is the importance of a good night’s sleep. No matter how much working out or mindfulness practices you do in life, you won’t see any results when you’re hellbent on sleeping past midnight.
The tracker has a Sleep Mode to ensure you won’t be disturbed in your sleep (unless you have nightmares from your trauma wherein I have to ask you to go see a therapist).
Kidding aside, it turns off the notifications and disables the screen display. I didn’t find any use for this feature since I find it easy to sleep whenever I meditate or turn off my gadgets and put it away from the bed.
To ensure I had a good night’s sleep, I track my Sleep Score every morning through the app. The data might be taxing to look at, but it’s rich in insight based on your heart rate, restlessness, time awake, and your sleep stages. Although, the summary can be checked easily through your wrist.
Frankly, getting better sleep is what I’m still working on. Adults usually need seven to nine hours of sleep, but six hours can be enough. At most, I usually get six to seven hours of sleep.
However, I tend to sleep at 12 midnight recently, caused by watching Lucifer, chatting with friends, reading a book, or painting. I tend to wake up at five or six and seven in the morning, depending on what time I slept.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Fitbit Charge 4 offers a lot of features to help anyone starting on their health and fitness journey. It’s an advanced fitness tracker that detects your heart rate and improves your sleep. Moreover, it measures pace and distance through a built-in GPS, and packs with essential features.
It’s a worthy companion, since it lasted seven to eight days on a single charge based on my experience. Fully charging it takes only just an hour and a half. There’s a lot more to explore, but there’s one thing for sure: The Fitbit Charge 4 is a tracker made for everyone.
The Fitbit Charge 4 retails for PhP 9,590 (US$ 198). It’s available in black, rosewood, storm blue, and storm black. You can purchase it through Fitbit’s authorized retail stores like Digital Walker.
How I got fit with the OPPO Watch
Our goal is to survive
When the global health crisis struck the world into a colossal spiral while we all watched anxious in our homes, I decided to escape into a fitness challenge. Hey, I needed some form of healthy coping and I thought putting my frail, petite figure into the ringer was a good way to keep me distracted.
So, since the end of March of this year, I decided to do at-home workouts six days per week. And, by the end of April, I had somehow dedicated hours into working out consistently from Sundays to Fridays.
Deciding to be fit
If you’re thinking, “she’s mental,” hi. Yes, I am. I always knew I was capable of sticking to something I wanted to work towards. I’d go so far as to say I’ve always had an obsessive tendency towards things I set my mind on. There was, of course, a good incentive: my mental health.
I’ve always struggled with my mental health. Even when writing about how video games helped me through rough patches in my life, I’d spiral back into the same mental state over and over. I wanted to break that horrible cycle. And so, I set myself to use fitness to expend energy I would usually have to be anxious or self-destructive on something healthier and beneficial.
Oh, I almost forgot a tangent motivation to all of this: I was weaning off my medication. So, if you didn’t know, which you probably didn’t, I was taking antidepressants and mood stabilizers to get by.
Whenever I had teetered into fitness, I weirdly felt on-top-of-things. I brought this up to my psychiatrist and knew that if I wanted sustainable stability, I had to work on long term changes to my lifestyle.
So, back to the task at hand, I had consistently worked out, built muscle where I didn’t know I had and gained a ton of weight. By late August to early September, I had felt better mentally.
Tracking with the OPPO Watch
When I got the OPPO Watch, I had already checked out most of my personal goals except one: getting stunning abs. I went to work on journaling ab workouts I was going to do and healthy meals I wanted to treat myself to. I was planning on running outside to get my daily 10,000 steps through the watch’s Wear OS out of the way and was pretty excited to strap on the OPPO Watch.
Before we hop into my journey with the OPPO Watch, here’s a couple of things you might want to know. The Oppo Watch’s dual-curved 1.6-inch AMOLED display makes it look identical to the Apple Watch.
Elephant in the room finally out; let’s talk specs. It’s got a Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC with an Apollo Chip. All of that runs on Wear OS by Google and is powered by a 300mAh battery. And, OPPO boasted the watch’s 21-day battery capacity. So, I was hyping myself up for a two-week ab workout program to accompany the specs and features the watch was decked out on.
Let me just get it out there: as much as the OPPO Watch has an identity crisis on potentially being an Apple Watch wannabe or clone, it delivers on looks. The watch is pretty and the interface never once stuttered while I used it. But I digress…
Road to getting abs
On day one, road to maybe getting abs, the watch flopped and stopped recording my run, and ab exercises because it had run out of battery. Frustrated but also quietly relieved, I dropped my plan for the afternoon and eased out of my workout quicker than I often would.
You see, I had become overly obsessed with working out. So much so, that I was scheduling everything else in my day around the 2-3 hours every single day I wanted to exercise.
Although it was a disappointing first day, it was a wake-up call. I had always felt fatigued and out of breath from just doing typical chores. I’ve long ignored this symptom of over-training and kept overworking myself.
As much as the watch didn’t get to keep up with my “typical” day, it drew red flags on the fact that I was unusually active.
Don’t get me wrong. The OPPO Watch is a great smartwatch. It’s got a ton of features I want a smartwatch to have. It had a training assistant, a heart rate monitor, a sleep tracker, sedentary reminders, and had a vast array of workouts you could track through Wear OS.
It was the best thing to help validate the hard work I was making on a daily. I would use and abuse installing the Google Fit app to track my strength training, workout sets, and footsteps. But, if there’s anything I slowly learned from over-training and “over tracking,” it’s that you tarnish your relationship to exercise if you obsess over calories.
More to getting fit than looking a certain way
If you’ve been hating yourself for not getting fit or not losing weight while the rest of the world is ablaze, let this be the reminder you need. We’re here to survive, not to pressure ourselves into losing weight, getting fit, building unhealthy self-images, or getting sick and injured.
This year, especially, is not the time. I know that being isolated can feel relentlessly daunting and peeking into social media feeds into unhealthy and toxic standards you might feel pressured to try to achieve. But, there’s more to health than trying to look a certain way — there’s the important bit about how you are and how you are feeling.
A lot of the ironically toxic parts of health and fitness is from building fundamental goals on visual validity: a number on the scale, a measurement, or aesthetic muscle development. When health and fitness should be about developing something sustainable: strength, flexibility, stamina, or better well-being.
It’s also good to note that quick and sudden fixes can show fast results but won’t be sustainable long-term. The quicker the change, the quicker it is to lose. Easing your way into small changes until you achieve a healthy lifestyle that isn’t restrictive of anything you want is the way to go.
For the past two weeks with the OPPO Watch, I decided to be more attuned with myself, mentally and physically. It was a good time for my body to recover from brutal stress I put it through.
The watch’s Wear OS features breathing exercises that helped a lot with this. I would find myself struggling with anxiety late at night and I’d go on the watch and do the breathing exercises until I calmed down. I know the feature is simple and I can do without it but, having something to guide me through deep breathes really helped.
Throughout my two weeks of what was meant to be non-stop ab exercises, I decided to work out on days I felt like working out and rested on days I wanted to. The OPPO Watch gave me a good feel of my health with my heart rate and step count even if I stayed indoors.
It monitored and gave me customizable daily goals which were less about reaching them every day and more about realistic and forgiving progress.
Oh! It’s good to note that the watch might be able to last about a week but it’ll need to be on power saver mode. You’ll be limited to viewing the time, checking your pulse when you want to, counting your steps, and getting notifications.
On that week, I kept active and went about my day without worrying about the nitty-gritty details of how much calories I burnt from walking, running, or lifting weights.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
I didn’t keep the OPPO Watch on power saver mode for long for a few reasons. To recover from over-training, I wanted to improve on my sleep and work on my relationship with exercise and calories so tracking my sleep was important to me.
On top of that, the breathing exercises weren’t accessible on power saver mode which was a huge bummer seeing as that feature helped me through some anxious nights — what a legend of a feature.
The OPPO Watch is decked out with so much to help you get better, happier, and healthier but only in ways, you choose to. So if you’re not a fitness fiend and are looking for a smartwatch to just track your pulse, steps, and of course, keep track of time, consider this watch. The OPPO Watch costs PhP 12,990/GBP 229.
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