The Daily Dose: Pinpointing the origins of SARS-CoV-2 seems miles away.

Beyond the tragic loss of life, one of the more dispiriting aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the inability of the international scientific community to find pin down the SARS-CoV-2’s origin. It is a serious problem. Per the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, “We find ourselves ten months into one of the most catastrophic global health events of our lifetime and, disturbingly, we still do not know how it began. What’s even more troubling is that despite the critical importance of this question, efforts to investigate the origins of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and of the associated disease, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have become mired in politics, poorly supported assumptions and assertions, and incomplete information.” Considering the recent progress report from the World Health Organization’s official inquiry into the coronavirus’ origin, establishing the truth may never happen.

While we’re on the topic of United Nations organizations, a Nature editorial highlights the ups and very frequent downs of the UNESCO. According to the authors, the world has much to lose should the organization continue to muddle along. “When Nature spoke to UNESCO’s current and former staff, as well as to researchers who study and collaborate with it, we found immense affection for the organization and respect for its past achievements. However, there was also a sense of frustration over its future. UNESCO needs to put these concerns to rest once and for all.”

Just as people in the United States are getting ready to spend an entire day eating, drinking, staring at some form of a screen, and sitting on the sofa, a PLOS study quantifies the link between a sedentary lifestyle and cardiovascular disease. “A total of 5606 subjects (3157 male, 51.5±11.7 y/o) were enrolled, and 14 cardiovascular risk factors were analyzed in an exploratory group (n = 3926) and a validation group (n = 1676), including sedentary behaviors…This study confirmed the clustering structure of cardiometabolic risk factors in the general population, including sedentary behavior. HsCRP was clustered with adiposity factors, while physical inactivity and sedentary behavior were clustered with each other.” Happy eating!

We’re all about science here, right? A national holiday is no reason to stop thinking critically or experimentally, for that matter. In honor of all things science, Discover magazine listed five citizen science projects that you can kill some time with in between plates of food.

If Citizen Science isn’t your thing, the education site, “What I have learned,” offers a trove of interesting and accessible Turkeyday-themed experiments that the whole family can enjoy. Some samples of what’s on offer: Cranberry Spy Juice; Edible Cranberry Slime; Exploding Pumpkin Volcano. If nothing else, these experiments are perfect ways to combat the family gathering boredom.

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