In one of the more disturbing and disgusting stories in the news today, a plague of mice of biblical proportions is threatening to wreak major damage in Australia. According to the Associated Press, “Vast tracts of land in Australia’s New South Wales state are being threatened by a mouse plague that the state government describes as “absolutely unprecedented.” Just how many millions of rodents have infested the agricultural plains across the state is guesswork.” NSW Farmers, the state’s top agricultural association, predicts the plague will wipe more than 1 billion Australian dollars ($775 million) from the value of the winter crop. That is on top of the damage caused by the pandemic and other events. http://bit.ly/3uqIlnf
Iranans stricken with rare epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a deadly genetic disorder that causes blisters, sores and wounds to form on the skin are suffering due to U.S. sanctions. The condition is treated with a foam dressing called Mepilix. According to Al-Jazeera, “[But] after the United States under former president Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, Molnlycke stopped exporting the Mepilix product to Iran and his temporary relief was brought to an end.” Sanctions are unnecessarily blunt tools that end up hurting the most vulnerable. http://bit.ly/34qHMzh
The COVID-19 origins controversy shows no sign of abating. If anything, it’s getting worse with everyone — scientists, journalists, politicians — at the unproductive stage where people speak at each other instead of with. “Calls to investigate Chinese laboratories have reached a fever pitch in the United States, as Republican leaders allege that the coronavirus causing the pandemic was leaked from one, and as some scientists argue that this ‘lab leak’ hypothesis requires a thorough, independent inquiry. But for many researchers, the tone of the growing demands is unsettling. They say the volatility of the debate could thwart efforts to study the virus’s origins.” http://go.nature.com/3upIBTC
A study published in PLOS One examined mental health among University students during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found higher levels of depression, anxiety, and frustration due to a number of factors. The study also notes that “being enrolled in medicine-based courses and having a greater degree of family support were factors associated with less anxiety symptoms after adjusting for age, gender, and marital status.” http://bit.ly/3oXwUCD
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. Let’s be careful out there.