Veteran science journalist Helen Branswell has kept a laser-focus on the Covid-19 pandemic since before it even had a name. She has had a front row seat to many of the crucial moments during the crisis. In a recent article for STAT, she compiled a list of things she has learned over the course of covering the pandemic. They include: You gotta act fast; Simplicity rules; The calculus for kids is just different; Even in the face of a deadly pandemic, politics override public health; and Most people have no clue how science works. And that’s a problem. Check out her article to learn what else she learned. They’re pretty spot on. https://bit.ly/3HlMn7c
In yet another clear case of Big Company’s-gonna-get-bigger, Microsoft has cleared a major hurdle in its acquisition of Nuance Communications. Per FierceBiotech, “A month after the European Commission opened an investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of transcription software developer Nuance Communications, the E.U.’s competition bureau determined that the $19.7 billion business combination wouldn’t pose a threat to antitrust regulations and doled out an unconditional all-clear to the transaction. Regulators began looking into the purchase in November, after the companies submitted their proposal for review. At the time, per Reuters, E.U. authorities sent out questionnaires to clients and competitors of Microsoft and Nuance to ask whether they viewed the two companies as competitors and if they believed the merger would negatively impact their own businesses.” https://bit.ly/3HhDbRp
INSULT TO INJURY.
As if the Covid-19 pandemic weren’t bad enough, we’re all in for an abnormally intense flu season. Per the Associated Press, “The U.S. flu season has arrived on schedule after taking a year off, with flu hospitalizations rising and two child deaths reported… In the newest data, the most intense flu activity was in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and the number of states with high flu activity rose from three to seven. In CDC figures released Monday, states with high flu activity are New Mexico, Kansas, Indiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia and North Dakota.” Public health officials have warned that since last season’s flu season was practically non-existent because of Covid-19 lockdowns, we are particularly susceptible this year. On top of that, vaccine makers chose the wrong influenza strains to combat, making flu vaccines basically useless. Good times, eh? https://bit.ly/32Jjt28
The eminent and, at times controversial, evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson passed away on Sunday. This New York Times obituary provides a succinct summary of Wilson’s career from his early days at Harvard until his retirement when he backtracked on aspects of natural selection, much to the consternation of his fellow evolutionary biologists. https://nyti.ms/32EwKZG
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.