The Daily Dose: The global game of Whack-a-Mole; Dog domestication discovery shakes things up.

Dark times keep getting darker. More COVID-19 lockdown fuelled unrest continues to plague the Netherlands. Per the BBC, “Protesters defying a curfew in the Netherlands have clashed with riot police in a third night of unrest. More than 180 people were arrested on Monday in several cities. In Rotterdam, police fired a warning shot and used water cannon, after an emergency order failed to move demonstrators. Riots started at the weekend as protesters kicked back against newly imposed coronavirus restrictions.” One day there will be volumes upon volumes of studies about the mental health aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its broader social implications.

It seems like the global response to COVID-19 is a massive game of Whack-a-Mole. Once one country gets a hold of its local outbreak, another serious one occurs in a different country. Look no further that the Iberian Peninsula for proof. Per Al-Jazeera, “As little as nine months ago, Portugal was considered a model of success in the battle against COVID-19, particularly in comparison to neighbouring Spain. But in early 2021, with the country’s rate of new cases reaching the highest in the world in proportion to its population last week, and ambulances queueing outside Lisbon hospitals as its health service buckles under the strain, it is a grimly different story.” With new strains of SARS-CoV-2 emerging, it’s difficult to predict how things play out, even with vaccines available.

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Just in case anyone forgot how the opacity of the Chinese Communist Party’s opened the door for the global pandemic cripping countries across the world, the BBC has put together a detailed account of five crucial days at the start of the outbreak. According to the BBC, “A year ago, the Chinese government locked down the city of Wuhan. For weeks beforehand officials had maintained that the outbreak was under control – just a few dozen cases linked to a live animal market. But in fact the virus had been spreading throughout the city and around China. This is the story of five critical days early in the outbreak.” The article will make you feel enraged, depressed, and reflective. Makes you wonder what could have been.

Japan is trying to push through with the Summer Olympics which was cancelled last year thanks to the pandemic. The government and International Olympic Committee are trying to dispel any concerns regarding holding a massive global event while the world continues to struggle. Per the Associated Press, “With calls for a cancellation mounting, pressure is building on Japanese organizers and the IOC to explain exactly how they plan to hold the Tokyo Olympics in the midst of a pandemic. The International Olympic Committee and the local organizers are expected to roll out ‘Playbooks’ next week that are to provide step-by-step details about how athletes and thousands of others will get safely in and out of Tokyo.”

A new and ingenious approach toward estimating when the domestication of dogs first took place has determined that the event probably took place much earlier than believed. According to Science, “The researchers analyzed previously sequenced mitochondrial genomes of more than 200 dogs from all over the world, some dating back 10,000 years. The mitochondrial DNA—short sequences that are more abundant in fossils than nuclear DNA—showed all ancient American dogs carried a genetic signature—dubbed A2b—and that they splintered into four groups about 15,000 years ago as they populated different parts of North America.” The study also resulted a few interesting findings involving the human migration from Asia to North America.

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

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