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DAILY DOSE: Hong Kong is struggling with its outbreak; Endemic Covid-19 means full surrender.


Covid-19 infection rates continue to increase at an uncomfortable pace in Hong Kong, this despite having a zero-Covid strategy similar to Mainland China’s. The situation is looking grimmer by the day. Per the Associated Press, “Hospitals in Hong Kong were struggling Wednesday to keep up with an influx of new coronavirus patients amid record numbers of new infections as the city doggedly adheres to its ‘zero-COVID’ strategy, and China’s leader Xi Jinping said the local government’s ‘overriding task’ was to control the situation. Hong Kong is facing its worst outbreak of the pandemic, topping 2,000 new COVID-19 cases each day this week. The city government has already instituted strict rules banning gatherings of more than two households. But health care facilities are beginning to overflow, forcing the city’s Caritas Medical Center on Wednesday to treat some patients in beds outside the building.”


Society seems to have pretty much surrendered to the Covid-19 pandemic. Governments are dropping Covid-19 mitigation measures like 8-track tapes. The word “endemic” is the buzzword representing this trend. Not everyone is thrilled with the trend. Per Science, “Some of those moves came with assertions that it’s time to “live with the disease” and treat the coronavirus as endemic—a stable, enduring figure in the panoply of human pathogens, alongside cold viruses and influenza. That suggestion troubles many scientists, who warn it is eroding governments’ commitment to tracking and responding to the pandemic—which could leave countries flying blind and unprepared for any new variant. ‘Endemic delusion is probably what captures it the best,’ says Kristian Andersen, an infectious disease researcher at Scripps Research who has been especially critical of recent moves by his home country of Denmark, which include an announcement that as of this month COVID-19 would no longer be categorized as a ‘socially critical disease’ even though related death and hospitalization rates were still climbing there.” The endemic line of thinking falls in line with the classic, “If we test less, we will discover less infections.”


Biomedcentral has an interesting interview with a researcher specializing in environmental microbiology, a term that includes the study of microbiota. Here’s the Q&A’s introduction. “For our ‘Scientists of the Future’ series, we talk today to Dr Rebecca Ansorge from the Quadram Institute about her research, what she thinks environmental microbiology research would be like in a few decades’ time, and her advice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in environmental research. Rebecca won the 2021 Environmental Microbiome prize for her presentation at the Molecular Microbial Ecology Group (MMEG) meeting 2021.” Undoubtedly, fields that include the study of microbes making their homes on our bodies are on the ascendency.

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

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