DAILY DOSE: Study revises Covid-19 mortalities in India up by millions; Global coronavirus death count hits 6 million.

Keeping accurate records of Covid-19 mortalities has been a problem since the very first days of the global pandemic. No matter where the virus spread, public health officials struggled to properly track how many people succumbed to the disease. One recent study offers a startling estimation of fatalities in India. According to the study in PLOS One, “Our findings point to a death toll of approximately 3.2–3.7 million persons by early November 2021. Once India’s age structure is factored in, these figures correspond to one of the most severe cases of Covid-19 mortality in the world. India has recorded after February 2021 the second outbreak of coronavirus that has affected the entire country. The accuracy of official statistics of Covid-19 mortality has been questioned, and the real number of Covid-19 deaths is thought to be several times higher than reported.” Needless to say, this represents a significant upward revision. https://bit.ly/3vJQk34


The “official” death toll of the global pandemic hit a terrible milestone Monday. Per the Associated Press, “The official global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 6 million on Monday — underscoring that the pandemic, now entering its third year, is far from over. The milestone, recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is the latest tragic reminder of the unrelenting nature of the pandemic even as people are shedding masks, travel is resuming and businesses are reopening around the globe.” Considering the chronic undercounting of mortalities worldwide, 6 million probably represents a conservative tally. https://bit.ly/35VR8ai


Even in light of the fact that the death toll from Covid-19 continues to rise and resource-poor countries are still struggling to contain outbreaks, some countries are pushing to declare the pandemic over (at least locally). This has put the World Health Organization in a peculiar position. Per Science, “Already, nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have functionally declared an end to the pandemic in their countries, lifting almost all health restrictions even as New Zealand and Hong Kong struggle with record-breaking surges. Deciding when to sound the all-clear is ‘not an enviable task,’ says Yonatan Grad, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). ‘Do you call it over when there might still be a wave in one part of the world but it’s a small part?’” If the WHO declares the pandemic over, all of the “pandemic” policies put in place to fight the disease, including affordable access to vaccines, will no longer be available. Obviously, that is a problem. https://bit.ly/3I2fInv


Most people agree that wildlife conservation is a good thing. That said, the means to the end can often be a contentious topic. Rewilding is one of them. An organization involved in the process makes their case in an article published in Nature. According to the authors, “In 1998, we started a rewilding programme in Argentina to try to reverse this appalling loss. Our non-profit foundation, Fundación Rewilding Argentina, was spun out from the US non-profit organization Tompkins Conservation. We create protected areas where we can reintroduce native species, re-establish their interactions, restore ecosystem functionality and build valuable ecotourism based on wildlife viewing. Both rewilding and ecotourism can be controversial. We think that our work is an instructive example of how active restoration of crucial species, when done responsibly, can benefit both ecosystems and local people. It should be in the toolkit for meeting the 2030 biodiversity targets that will be discussed at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference of the Parties in Kunming, China, next month.” https://go.nature.com/3vLJEkY

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


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