The Daily Dose: Mystery deepens in Beijing’s COVID-19 mini-outbreak

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The origin of the mysterious mini-outbreak of COVID-19 in Beijing continues to stump officials. Ground zero for the new cluster appears to be the Chinese capital’s largest food market. Early local reports speculated (incorrectly) that imported salmon may have been carrying the virus. This is because SARS-CoV-2 had been found on numerous surfaces,including a cutting board associated with a seafood purveyor. As per Science, “There is no evidence coronaviruses infect fish, but one hypothesis is that infected workers in Europe contaminated the fish or its packaging during processing. Genomic sequencing shows the viral variant behind the new outbreak is related to strains China has found in people returning from Europe.” Chinese public health experts also concede that the infection could have had domestic origins. https://bit.ly/2AQAIko

If anyone harbored doubts that U.S. president Donald Trump and his followers lived in some alternate reality, look no further than his recent comments regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As per STAT, “On Wednesday, when U.S. health officials reported nearly 27,000 new Covid-19 cases, President Trump said in a television interview that the virus was ‘dying out.’ He brushed off concerns about an upcoming rally in Tulsa, Okla., because the number of cases there is ‘very miniscule,’ despite the state’s surging infection rate. In a Wall Street Journal interview Wednesday, Trump argued coronavirus testing was ‘overrated’ because it reveals large numbers of new Covid-19 cases, which in turn ‘makes us look bad,’ and suggested that some Americans who wear masks do so not only to guard against the virus, but perhaps to display their anti-Trump animus.” His obtuse approach to the global outbreak has cost American citizens their lives and livelihoods. Question is, when will enough be enough for his acolytes? https://bit.ly/2YfwL1D

Prohibitive GMO laws are a remnant of the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union. Of course, things have changed. Now, members of parliament are trying to introduce laws that would open the door to genetically engineered (different from modified) foods.As per the Guardian, “The plan would involve introducing an amendment to the bill to give the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs the power to make changes to the Environmental Protection Act, alterations that would no longer restrict gene-editing in England. The rest of the UK would need separate legislation.” Let the science do the talking in the GMO debate, please. https://bit.ly/2UX4FWY

Ars Technica is reporting that Google Chrome Extensions have exposed millions of users to potential data breaches or worse. That’s right. Worse. According to the article, “The extensions, which Google removed only after being privately notified of them, actively siphoned data such as screenshots, contents in device clipboards, browser cookies used to log in to websites, and keystrokes such as passwords.” Careful what you download. https://bit.ly/30VfvQY

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