The Daily Dose: Japanese Olympics to have empty stadiums due to COVID-19; Dengue, malaria will spread to temperate regions.

Japanese authorities pulled the trigger on excluding all fans from the upcoming Summer Olympic games. Per the Associated Press, “Fans were banned from the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics which will open in two weeks, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said after meeting with IOC and Japanese organizers on Thursday. The ban came hours after a state of emergency in the capital starting from Monday, declared by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to contain rising COVID-19 cases. The twin decisions have turned the Olympics into a made-for-TV event in a decision pushed by the Japanese government and supported by the International Olympic Committee.” You could say that Japan was pretty unlucky with regards to the timing of the current COVID-19 spike. All things considered, though, they made the right decision. It must have been pretty painful to make and they should be applauded.

Climate change is transforming once temperate regions to warmer, more humid climates. This shift comes with some serious public health consequences. Diseases once limited to equatorial countries are now creeping further from their natural area. Per the Guardian, “The study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal, found that if emission levels continue to rise at current rates, the effect on global temperatures could lengthen transmission seasons by more than a month for malaria and four months for dengue over the next 50 years.” Malaria alone would have been bad enough but the addition of dengue makes it even worse. The trend could result in the deaths of millions.

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The journal Nature has an article that discusses the evidence that reopening schools can be done safely if proper contingencies are implemented. While the author argues that it’s okay to open schools and that re-openings last spring were, for the most part, successful, one quote sticks out: “Deepti Gurdasani, an epidemiologist at the Queen Mary University of London, says some of her colleagues seem too blasé about the impact of COVID-19 on children. ‘It has really puzzled me why we’re so comfortable exposing children to a virus that we haven’t studied that much,’ she says.” Speaking truth to power.

Speaking of truth… A recent pre-print paper coming out of Brazil indicated that an experimental prostate cancer drug was able to reduce COVID-19 mortality rates by a whopping 77%. The push-back to the study was swift with scientists poking more holes in the study than a cheese grater, in essence arguing that the trial was not only polly-anna-ish but also sloppy science. Per Science, “Alleged irregularities in the clinical trial have reportedly triggered an investigation by a national research ethics commission in Brazil. Top medical journals have rejected a paper about the study, and its main author, Flavio Cadegiani, an endocrinologist at the biotech company Applied Biology, has previously touted unproven COVID-19 medications, such as ivermectin, azithromycin, and antiworm compounds as COVID-19 therapies. And to many, the claims simply seem implausible.” Sometimes, pre-print really ain’t so good, eh?

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

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