The Daily Dose: Testing shortages in the UK; A grim milestone in the US; The ISS dodges space pollution.

Trouble may be brewing with Johnson & Johnson’s contract to supply the United Kingdom with COVID-19 tests. According to the Guardian, “A pledge to hit 500,000 coronavirus tests a day in the UK by the end of next month could be missed as vital chemicals and analysing machines needed to hit the target are “a few weeks” behind schedule, the body representing their manufacturers has said.” With the country facing a fierce uptick in COVID-19 cases, this is the worst timing for a shortage.

If anyone needed more proofs that Donald Trump has methodically undercut the public health and scientific community during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s more proof. According to the Associated Press, “Over the past six months, the Trump administration has prioritized politics over science at key moments, refusing to follow expert advice that might have contained the spread of the virus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. Trump and his people have routinely dismissed experts’ assessments of the gravity of the pandemic, and of the measures needed to bring it under control. They have tried to muzzle scientists who dispute the administration’s rosy spin.” With over 200,000 Americans dying due to the coronavirus, it’s hard to fathom how anyone in the Republican Party continue to support the president. But that’s America.

In an attempt at wiping the egg from their faces as a result of the Surgisphere scandal, the editors at The Lancet will implement changes to how submissions are reviewed and edited. “The Lancet has announced changes to its editorial policies following the controversial publication and retraction earlier this year of a paper on COVID-19 patients treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine. The changes, described in an comment entitled “Learning from a retraction” last Thursday (September 17), include alterations to peer review and other paper acceptance procedures, and have prompted mixed responses from the scientific and science publishing community.” Some critics say it’s still not enough.

The Arctic continues to show signs that a warming climate is inflicting damaging trauma. The latest indicator comes in the form of new sea level readings. Per Nature, “This year, Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest extent in more than 40 years of satellite measurements. On 15 September, ice covered just 3.74 million square kilometres of Arctic waters at its annual summer minimum. In only one other year — 2012 — has the annual minimum Arctic sea-ice cover dropped below 4 million square kilometres (see ‘Thin ice’).” Until actual cities begin flooding, it’s hard to see how skeptics will acknowledge the dangers climate change presents.

Human pollution in outer space is already endangering lives. The International Space Station had to move out of the way of on-coming junk or risk a catastrophic collision. Per, “Controllers maneuvered the station away from a potential collision with a piece of debris today (Sept. 22) at 5:19 p.m. EDT (2119 GMT). They did so by firing the thrusters on a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft that’s docked to the orbiting lab’s Zvezda service module, NASA officials said in an update today. The three astronauts currently living aboard the station — NASA’s Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner — sheltered in the station’s Russian segment during the maneuver to be closer to their Soyuz spacecraft, the NASA update stated.” Sad thing is that this is only the beginning when it comes to space pollution.

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