DAILY DOSE: Monkeypox outbreak spreads across the world; Shanghai finally turns the corner.

Another disease outbreak is spreading across the globe on top of Covid-19 and the mysterious child hepatitis cases. This time it’s monkeypox, the country-cousin of the eradicated smallpox virus. Per the Associated Press, “Massachusetts on Wednesday reported a rare case of monkeypox in a man who recently traveled to Canada, and health officials are looking into whether it is connected to small outbreaks in Europe. Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa, and rare cases in the U.S. and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there. A small number of confirmed or suspected cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain. U.S. health officials said they are in contact with officials in the U.K. and Canada as part of the investigation. But “at this point in time, we don’t have any information that links the Massachusetts case to cases in the UK,” said Jennifer McQuiston of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” https://bit.ly/3wWNqHx

And here’s a real-time update, complements of Twitter and the always reliable journalist Helen Branswell


SHANGHAI TURNS THE CORNER.

With each passing day, the situation in Shanghai appears to be improving, both on the Covid-19 and the re-opening fronts. Per Reuters, “More Shanghai residents were given the freedom to go out to shop for groceries for the first time in nearly two months on Thursday as authorities set out more plans for exiting the city-wide COVID-19 lockdown more fully. The commercial hub of 25 million recorded no new infections outside quarantined areas for a fifth day in a row, further cementing its ‘zero COVID’ status with each day. ‘I feel very happy, the lifting of the lockdown is starting,’ shopper Zhong Renqiu said at a Carrefour (CARR.PA) supermarket in the central Changning district that had just reopened.” China’s largest city has been essentially closed for just over two months. Re-opening is to be expected. It’s the Covid situation in the rest of the country that is worrisome, particularly in Beijing. https://reut.rs/3sLGjjM


CAN AI EXPLAIN THE LONG COVID MYSTERY?

In the drive to get a better grasp on long Covid, it was inevitable that researchers turned to artificial intelligence for possible leads or lines of inquiry. A recent study did just that. Per Fierce Biotech, “In the study, the researchers pulled data from the electronic health records of nearly 100,000 adults who had tested positive for the virus—with or without hospitalization—including almost 600 who were diagnosed as long-haulers and treated in a long COVID clinic. Using information about the patients’ demographics, healthcare utilization, diagnoses and medications, the NIH-backed team trained a trio of machine learning models to look for data points that distinguish long-haulers from those diagnosed with COVID but without the follow-up condition. With that training, the AI was able to sift through a larger database of de-identified EHRs that represented nearly 5 million people who have tested positive for COVID. In records dating up to October 2021, the model was able to spot more than 100,000 people who had many of the risk factors and symptoms of long COVID; the researchers estimate that number has since doubled.” https://bit.ly/3ML4JC5


ATTACK OF THE CREEPY DOLLS IN TEXAS.

Beaches along the Texas coast have become scenes straight out of a horror film. Strange dolls continue to wash ashore like some invasion of Chucky’s creepy cousins. For a while, it seemed like an unexplained phenomenon. Per Smithsonian magazine, “And though it’s not clear why dolls, specifically, keep washing up on the beach, the unnerving discoveries help raise awareness about the ripple effects of littering. It’s an eerie illustration of one of the reserve’s important research findings: That Texas beaches get 10 times the amount of trash as those of other north-central states along the Gulf of Mexico. Texas likely gets so much debris because of the loop current, a warm-water flow that travels up from the Caribbean and into the gulf, according to a two-year study the reserve conducted with other Gulf-Coast research organizations. The study found that the majority of washed-up debris was made of plastic and that the amount of garbage increased in the spring and summer.” https://bit.ly/3PphkfI

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


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