The Daily Dose: India’s festivals in jeopardy; Immigration policies damaging America’s scientific community.

India announced that the country has hit the 6 million mark for COVID-19 infections. This has put a significant damper on upcoming festivals which normally serve as important seasonal economic drivers. Per Reuters, “India’s festival season, which climaxes in October and November with the popular Hindu celebrations of Dussehra and Diwali, poses additional challenges, as officials try to dampen the usual large public celebrations and cross-country travel. Typically the festival season brings a big increase in consumer spending, and the more sombre atmosphere this year will further dampen an economy that contracted by almost a quarter in the three months to June – the worst figure on record.” The pandemic continues to demonstrate how biology can devastate economics.

Tokyo has placed the entirety of Japan on suicide watch. According to Al-Jazeera, “Following the death of a popular actress on Sunday, Japan’s government is urging people to seek help if they are struggling to cope. The death of Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40, shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their own lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides.” Takeuchi is the latest example of a Japanese celebrity or public figure taking their own lives in recent times. Three other personalities have died in similar fashion in the last year.

Medical device maker, Philips has launched a single-use device that physically clears potentially dangerous blood clots lodged in the arms and legs. “The QuickClear all-in-one system provides both an aspiration pump and a catheter for removing clots from peripheral arteries and veins, which the company says will offer faster overall procedures and eliminate the need for larger capital equipment and various accessories.” The vacuum system is designed to pull out a clot through different sized catheters.

Radiation exposure is an oft-cited concern about the future of space travel. While radiation levels have been established in low Earth orbit thanks to years of inhabiting the International Space Center, much less is known about levels on the moon, presumably humanity’s next space destination. We’re a little closer to establishing how much radiation bombards the Earth’s satellite. Per Science News, “Detectors on China’s lunar lander Chang’e-4 measured radiation from galactic cosmic rays at the moon’s surface in 2019, from January 3 to 12 — just after landing on the farside of the moon — and again from January 31 to February 10. An astronaut would be exposed to an average daily dose of 1,369 microsieverts of radiation, researchers report online September 25 in Science Advances.” The lack of an atmosphere plays a significant role in the levels of radiation that make it to the lunar surface.

With the U.S. elections a little more than a month away, it’s important to focus on just how much the present administration’s anti-immigration policies have shaken and possibly weakened the scientific community in America. Nature spent time with five scientists impacted by the uncertainty President Trump’s policies have introduced. According to the article, “Experts warn that a lack of scientific talent from other nations threatens US research and innovation. Nature spoke to five international researchers whose career paths and aspirations have evaporated or have been put on hold as a result of the administration’s visa bans and travel restrictions.” Foreign-born scientists have long played a central role in the scientific community’s vibrancy and innovation.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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