Brazil is battling an awful COVID-19 wave that has been worsened by an insufficient government reaction, slow vaccine rollout, and a new strain that is reinfecting previously infected people. Per the New York Times, “Brazil is battling a more contagious variant that has trampled one major city and is spreading to others, even as Brazilians toss away precautionary measures that could keep them safe. On Tuesday, Brazil recorded more than 1,700 Covid-19 deaths, the highest single-day toll of the pandemic… And the news just got worse for Brazil — and possibly the world. Preliminary studies suggest that the variant that swept through the city of Manaus is not only more contagious, but it also appears able to infect some people who have already recovered from other versions of the virus.” The strain has already escaped Brazil’s borders, reinforcing the fact that fighting SARS-CoV-2 must be a global effort. https://nyti.ms/2OhU20r
Some more not-so-great news… According to Science, the largest COVID-19 Therapy trial has stalled. “The only global trial of potential COVID-19 treatments is languishing. The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Solidarity trial, set up last year to quickly test potential COVID-19 therapies with tens of thousands of patients, produced headlines in October 2020 when it showed that four candidate treatments offer little benefit. But since then, it hasn’t launched any new tests. On 27 January, John-Arne Røttingen, who works at Norway’s foreign ministry and chairs the trial’s executive group, pulled the plug on the study’s only remaining arm, which tested the antiviral remdesivir. ‘The Solidarity trial is now on pause,’ he says.” Its great that the world has vaccines now, but clearly people will still get sick. It’s imperative healthcare workers are able to effectively treat the disease. https://bit.ly/3kGdrnE
Remember how lockdowns lowered global emissions? Well, that’s over. According to the Associated Press, “Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose slightly in December compared with the same month of 2019, indicating the sharp drop seen due to the pandemic was short-lived. Figures released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency show emissions from the production and use of oil, gas and coal were 2% higher in December 2020 than a year earlier. The Paris-based intergovernmental agency said a resurgence in economic activity coupled with a lack of clean energy policies mean many countries are now seeing higher emissions than before the coronavirus outbreak.” It was pretty inevitable though, wasn’t it? https://bit.ly/2PnxhZi
Australia has reported that a number of species has gone extinct since the continent was colonized. Per the Guardian, “The confirmed historic mammal extinctions are the desert bettong, the Nullarbor dwarf bettong, the Capricorn rabbit-rat, the broad-cheeked hopping mouse, the Liverpool Plains striped bandicoot, the marl, the south-eastern striped bandicoot, the Nullarbor barred bandicoot, the long-eared mouse, the blue-grey mouse and the Percy Island flying fox.” Expect more animals to be added to that list. https://bit.ly/3qeVKwA
Ending on a positive note, the annual MIT Koch Institute Image Awards are Online. As usual, the work on display is all sorts of gorgeous.
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.