The Daily Dose: Universities are opening in the U.S. and begging to be sued later

The push to open schools is reaching fever pitch in the United States even though three-quarters of the country still has rising COVID-19 numbers. This has everyone who is not a university administrator very uneasy. As per Science, “At many universities, employees will not be permitted to teach or work from home unless—due to age or preexisting health conditions—they’re at risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19. The need to care for children and fear of infection aren’t valid reasons to work remotely, according to some universities. “Employees who care for or live with [high-risk] individuals … should plan to return to campus as scheduled,” the Georgia Institute of Technology’s (Georgia Tech’s) reopening guidelines stated as of 20 July.” Let’s let that sink in for a moment… If universities think they have it hard now financially, wait until the class action lawsuits from students and faculty begin rolling in.

President Donald Trump finally got behind social distancing and face masks, sort of. According to the Associated Press, “President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that the “nasty horrible’” coronavirus will get worse in the U.S. before it gets better, but he also tried to paint a rosy picture of efforts to conquer the disease that has claimed more than 140,000 American lives in just five months…He also professed a newfound respect for the protective face masks he has seldom worn. He pulled one from his pocket in the White House briefing room but didn’t put it on.” Of course, a cohort of anti-mask, QAnon, libertarian voices claim he doesn’t really mean it and to ignore his words and look at his actions.

To say that the asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 has scientists and public health officials worried is an understatement. Making matters worse, they still don’t have a solid grasp of how the whole thing works. “Researchers have exposed the frightening likelihood of silent spread of the virus by asymptomatic and presymptomatic carriers. But how major a role seemingly healthy people play in swelling the ranks of those infected remains unanswered — and at the top of the scientific agenda… The small but mighty coronavirus can unlock a human cell, set up shop and mass produce tens of thousands of copies of itself in a single day. Virus levels skyrocket before the first cough, if one ever arrives. And astonishing to scientists, an estimated 4 in 10 infected people don’t ever have symptoms.” If asymptomatic spread cannot be overcome, the days will undoubtedly get darker, especially for people over the age of 50. While a vaccine would be fantastic, at this point, there are big questions about how long and how strong an immune response would be.

Human beings eat only a small fraction of different foods that are edible in nature. A recent study says that vegetables from perennials like trees are being ignored when they shouldn’t be. According to the authors, “Despite their distinct relevance to climate change mitigation and nutritional security, perennial vegetables receive little attention in the scientific literature. Compared to widely grown and marketed vegetable crops, many perennial vegetables show higher levels of key nutrients needed to address deficiencies. Trees with edible leaves are the group of vegetables with the highest levels of these key nutrients.” Examples of perennial vegetables are olives and avocados.

For the first time, astronomers have been able to take an actual picture of a multi planet system with a sun-like star. As per, “The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile photographed two giant planets circling TYC 8998-760-1, a very young analogue of our own sun that lies about 300 light-years from Earth, a new study reports.” Apparently the planets are bigger than Jupiter.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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