The Daily Dose: Korea concerned about potential second wave; China wants to make its own GitHub

There is real concern now that Korea is on the verge of a much-feared COVID-19 second wave. Public health officials have been tracing new cases across the country. According to the Korea Times, “The KCDC said 313 of the cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area where more than half of the country’s population lives. The remaining 121 were reported nationwide, the first time for the figure to exceed 100 since the nation saw a triple-digit increase two weeks ago. The total number of COVID-19 cases has now reached to 18,706, with 313 fatalities so far.” What worries experts most is that this time, the new clusters are centered in densely populated Seoul whereas the first wave was in a less dense area Daegu.

Amidst the potential second wave, doctors in South Korea are entering their second day of countrywide strikes, leaving hospitals depleted and having to rely on medical students. “The ongoing standoff between the government and the medical community has been escalating as doctors have continued their nationwide strike, Thursday, for the second day in protest of the government’s medical reform plan. The Ministry of Health and Welfare warned of stern action against those participating in the doctors’ strike, but it did not stop tens of thousands of interns and resident doctors at general hospitals participating in the second collective action.” Unless a compromise is reached, a third day appears likely.

Japan is on the verge of downgrading the official disease classification COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has been “currently classified under Category II Infectious Diseases, the second highest on the five-notch scale on the level of danger of designated infectious diseases. The ministry is expected to consider lowering the classification for the coronavirus disease, informed sources said.” This is, perhaps, in reaction to the condition’s low fatality rate.

Beijing’s determination to become less reliant on all things Western has taken aim at the software and app development community. Employing its unprecedented ability to create local winners-and-losers, the CCP has selected a company to serve as the GItHub of China. Per Sixth Tone, “The Chinese government appears to have selected, a 7-year-old site, to be molded into a domestic version of GitHub. Gitee’s parent company, Shenzhen-based OSCHINA, won a project contract for an undisclosed value from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in July to make Gitee an appealing platform for domestic open-source software development.” While the country obviously has its fair share of coders, it will take more than that to rival GitHub’s scope. Time will tell.

Ancient alien life-forms invading Earth during the planet’s early “soupy” days doesn’t seem so crazy the more our knowledge and ability to understand bacteria develop. A recent paper indicates that free-floating, solitary bacteria cannot survive the interstellar conditions. “But by banding together, some bacteria can withstand that harsh environment, shielded from the extremes of space by the group’s outer layers. Microbes huddled in the heart of balls of Deinococcus bacteria as thin as five sheets of paper have survived on the exterior of the International Space Station for three years, researchers report August 26 in Frontiers in Microbiology. Such microbial arks might be able to drift among planets, spreading life through the universe, a concept known as panspermia.” Biofilms continues to be a fascinating subject of microbiological research.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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