The Daily Dose: Vaccine fatalities in Norway; Giant Asian hornets not leaving the U.S. any time soon.

Norway has experienced a number of fatalities potentially linked to a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Per the Associated Press, ”Norwegian officials have adjusted their advice on who gets the COVID-19 vaccine in light of a small number of deaths in older people, leaving it up to each doctor to consider who should be vaccinated. The Norwegian Medicines Agency on Thursday reported a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, 13 of them fatal. All the deaths occurred among patients in nursing homes and all were over the age of 80.” Unfortunately, fatalities are not unexpected considering the total number of vaccinations being administered worldwide.

News reports of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy have been verified by a new YouGov poll. Per Reuters, “People across the world are generally likely to say yes to getting a COVID-19 vaccine, but would be more distrustful of shots made in China or Russia than those developed in Germany or the United States, an international poll showed on Friday… The survey, conducted by the polling company YouGov and shared exclusively with Reuters, found Britons and Danes were the most willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, while the French and Poles were more likely to be hesitant.” Fortunately, most of the hesitancy does not come from anti-vaxxers, but from people adopting wait-and-see attitude.

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A strong earthquake has hit Indonesia. Per Al-Jazeera, “At least 42 people have been killed and more than 600 injured after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck and toppled buildings in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island in the early hours of Friday. The epicentre of the quake was six kilometres (3.73 miles) northeast of the city of Majene, at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).” That area of the Pacific Rim — including Malaysia and the Philippines — is a well known area of seismic activity.

If you’re not a big fan of large flying insects swarming in your neck of the woods, you won’t be happy to hear that the invasion of the giant Asian hornets is likely to get worse. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “The realized niche of introduced populations is small compared to native populations, suggesting introduced populations could spread into habitats across a broader range of environmental conditions. Dispersal simulations also show that V. mandarinia could rapidly spread throughout western North America without containment. Given its potential negative impacts and capacity for spread, extensive monitoring and eradication efforts throughout western North America are warranted.” This isn’t one of those times when we’re willing to advocate for compromising with Nature. We draw the line at giant killer wasps.

If you thought dolphins relying on teamwork to hunt fish in the Everglades was impressive, take a look at electric eels. Not only do they have the unfair advantage of having an electricity-generating-superpower, they are also adept at working as a team to build an electric net that incapacitated animals it traps. Per the BBC, “More than 200 years after the electric eel inspired the design of the first battery, it has been discovered that they can co-ordinate their “zaps”. Researchers working in the Amazon filmed eels gathering in packs to herd prey, then stunning them with a synchronised electric shock. “It was really amazing – we thought these were solitary animals,” said researcher Carlos David de Santana.”

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend. Let’s be careful out there.

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