DAILY DOSE: Doubts arise regarding Shanghai Covid-19 data; Climate change will shrink bees.


It’s been interesting to observe politicians around the world hang their political fortunes on Covid-19 policies. The latest sh**-show has been happening in China, specifically Shanghai. While the entire city has been on very strict lockdown for over three weeks amidst a massive outbreak, Beijing has reported about 2 dozen fatalities. This flies in the face of global trends and now people are beginning to express reservations regarding the veracity of China’s numbers. What’s more, people who have lost loved ones in China are beginning to speak out. Per the Associated Press, “Interviews with family members of patients who have tested positive, a publicly released phone call with a government health official and an internet archive compiled by families of the dead all raise issues with how the city is counting its cases and deaths, almost certainly resulting in a marked undercount.” The opacity and blatant undercounting is like February 2020 all over again. The World Health Organization’s silence has been deafening as well. https://bit.ly/3jXIUCb


A study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases investigated vaccination rates among 5-11 year olds in the United States. The results are pretty much as expected. Per EID, “Vaccination coverage among children 5–11 years of age was only 24% and lagged vaccination coverage among children 12–15 years of age (33.3%) during the first 2 months of vaccine rollout (4). Many disparities among children 5–11 years of age emerged during the first 2 months of vaccine rollout, including racial and ethnic disparities. Children of Asian descent were overrepresented and White, Black, and Hispanic children were underrepresented. Many factors could explain these disparities. For instance, Asian Americans are less likely to live in poverty overall compared with other racial and ethnic groups (5). Poverty rates among Black (19.5%) and Hispanic (17.0%) communities are among the highest in the country (6), and lower income parents face challenges taking leave from work to get their children vaccinated or to care for children who have vaccine side effects (7).” The study also found child vaccination rates were highest in the Northeast and lowest in the South.  https://bit.ly/3Eybl3f


Africa has borne a significant brunt of environmental changes due to climate change yet nobody has studied their views on the phenomenon. In a paper published in PLOS One researchers surveyed Africans regarding their views. “We include five different dimensions of climate change beliefs: climate change awareness, belief in anthropogenic climate change, risk perception, the need to stop climate change, and self-efficacy. Based on these criteria we identify five key results: (1) climate change in Africa is largely perceived through its negative impacts on agriculture; (2) actual changes in local climate conditions are related to climate change beliefs; (3) authoritarian and intolerant ideologies are associated to less climate change awareness, and a diminished risk perception and belief that it must be stopped; (4) women are less likely to be aware of climate change, and (5) not speaking French, English or Portuguese is linked to a hindered understanding of climate beliefs.” So what happens next? https://bit.ly/3MDh8aL


While we’re on the subject of climate change, researchers examined how bees would be affected by the changes in the environment. The effects would be drastic. Per The Guardian, “The climate crisis could lead to more small-bodied bees but fewer bumblebees, according to research warning of potential ‘cascading’ effects on plant pollination and across whole ecosystems. Scientists in the US trapped and studied more than 20,000 bees over eight years in an area of the Rocky Mountains to find out how different types reacted to changing climatic conditions. In research published on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the authors said that while environmental conditions varied from year to year, the sub-alpine region from which they took samples was ‘particularly vulnerable to climate change’, with generally warming spring temperatures and earlier snow melt.” Will they produce less honey as well? https://bit.ly/3K1FeKw


The universe is full of surprises. Turns out, supernovas – those explosions of explosions – have their own mini-Me. Researchers announced the discovery of what they call micronovas. Per Reuters, “Astronomers have detected a previously unknown type of stellar explosion called a micronova involving thermonuclear blasts at the polar regions of a type of burned-out star called a white dwarf after it has siphoned material from a companion star. The researchers said on Wednesday a micronova is by far the least powerful type of star explosions now known – less energetic than a blast called a nova in which a white dwarf’s entire surface blows up and tiny compared to a supernova that occurs during the death throes of some giant stars.” https://reut.rs/3rGSm16

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

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