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DAILY DOSE: U.N. Chief urges countries not to be crazy in race for fossil fuels; Humans to the rescue.


The war in Ukraine has set off the most random and potentially damaging race to the bottom of the fossil fuel well. Countries are trying to lock in somewhat favorable rates at any cost. The United Nations has take notice. Per the BBC, “The UN Secretary General says the rush to use fossil fuels because of the war in Ukraine is ‘madness’ and threatens global climate targets. The invasion of Ukraine has seen rapid rises in the prices of coal, oil and gas as countries scramble to replace Russian sources. But Antonio Guterres warns that these short-term measures might ‘close the window’ on the Paris climate goals. He also calls on countries, including China, to fully phase out coal by 2040.” Let’s be honest here. There’s very little the U.N. can actually do if governments feel compelled to act contrary to their wishes.


It’s amazing how, even after 2 years of people suffering and dying from Covid-19, so many people can be so cavalier in their attitudes to the disease. One of the long term complications that is clearly emerging is that even mild infections can cause significant cardiovascular problems down the line. One large scale study observed problems such as heart attack or stroke after infection. Per Scientific American, “Overall, the risk of any heart complication over the course of one year was 63 percent higher in people who had gotten COVID compared with those in the contemporary control group. At the end of a year, there were 45 additional cardiovascular events—such as stroke or heart failure—per 1,000 people among those who tested positive for COVID. The comparison with historical data yielded similar results: the risk of cardiovascular problems in the group that had COVID was 58 percent higher than what was seen in the prepandemic control group.” When the researchers looked at people with mild COVID specifically, they found that this group had a 39 percent higher risk of developing heart problems, compared with the contemporary control group, or 28 additional cardiovascular problems per 1,000 people in 12 months.


Public health experts in Hong Kong have had to go out of their way to defend the effectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine after a report in a local newspaper indicated that people who received the vaccine died at a higher rate than those who received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. Per the Hong Kong Free Press, “Authorities have defended the effectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine following a report showing that majority of fifth-wave deaths among vaccinated Covid-19 patients had received the China-made jab. The Centre for Health Protection’s Chuang Shuk-kwan said during Sunday’s Covid-19 briefing that a recent report was “a bit misleading” and needed clarification, referring to an article published by Ming Pao earlier that day. She said that, since the fifth wave began, the fatality rate for those who were unvaccinated was 2.58 per cent. The figure fell to 0.09 per cent for patients who had received two doses of Covid-19 jabs.” Hong Kong’s response to their Covid-19 outbreak has left a lot to be desired. Needless to say, they aren’t alone in that respect.


There has been a noticeable reluctance from African-American communities to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Unfortunately, that reticence is also reflected in seeking medical treatment in general when compared with other populations. The reasons are complicated but one very important aspect that cannot be discounted is the U.S. Government’s savage biological experiments done on Black men in the past. A new podcast from STAT addresses this, “For this first episode of ‘Color Code,’ a new STAT podcast, we take a look at this important issue of mistrust and its impacts today. Many people are familiar with the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment, a 40-year study in which Black men with syphilis were not offered treatment for the disease despite it becoming widely available during the time. As this episode explains, this tragedy is just one example out of many, many more.” Even after the pandemic has ebbed, addressing the lack of trust will be a long-term and sensitive endeavor.


Humankind is great at messing up Nature. That said, sometimes, we do okay. The recent release of critically endangered birds in New South Wales, Australia is a case in point. Per ABC, “Nicknamed “Goldilocks”, it is a miracle these tiny, critically endangered birds have found somewhere to call home. Also known as plains-wanderers, 10 of the animals, which were hatched in captivity, have been released in native grassland near Hay, in NSW’s south-west. It is hoped the inaugural project will boost Australia’s dwindling population, estimated to be at less than 1,000 in the wild. But the breeding program would not have happened without the help of a dedicated team of conservationists and farmers, including Bert Matthews at Bedarbidgal Station.” You could say humans are like broken clocks…

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

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