DAILY DOSE: Monkeypox mistakes mounting in UK; RoundUp herbicide wins and loses in court.


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As the United Kingdom’s monkeypox cases continues to increase at an alarming rate, patients are beginning to speak out about the shortcomings of the public health response. They paint the picture of an uncoordinated effort plagued by on-the-fly decisions that often prove harmful. Per The Guardian, “Joel* told the Guardian he had sought advice on testing and vaccination after becoming aware a close contact had been exposed to monkeypox and had developed symptoms. However, Joel said he struggled to access testing in London over the jubilee bank holiday and was turned down for a vaccine, initially being told it was only available to healthcare staff. Joel was subsequently confirmed as a close contact of a monkeypox case by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and was told he should have been offered the vaccine. However the delay meant he was no longer eligible for the jab. Current guidelines suggest the vaccine should ideally be given within four days of exposure to prevent or lessen the impact of infection, although it can be given to high-risk individuals up to 14 days after exposure to reduce symptoms.” Why does it feel like we’ve learned nothing from the Covid-19 pandemic still raging around the world? https://bit.ly/3xG45iH


Roundup, the herbicide commonly used in industrial farming, has been in the legal news a lot lately. In a broad sense, the two separate hearings contradicted each other. In the first case, the outcome favored Bayer, the herbicide’s manufacturer. According to a report in Reuters, “A U.S. jury found Bayer’s (BAYGn.DE) Roundup weedkiller did not cause an Oregon man’s cancer, the German agriculture and pharmaceuticals company said on Saturday, handing the firm its fourth consecutive trial victory over such claims. The verdict, reached on Friday by the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Oregon, is ‘consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide as well as the overwhelming evidence from four decades of scientific studies concluding that Roundup can be used safely and is not carcinogenic’, Bayer said.” It’s worth noting that although the verdict establishes that Roundup was not the cause of the man’s cancer, that does not mean that it doesn’t act as a carcinogen in other people. It’s Bayer that makes the claim that 40 years of studies supported the ruling. https://reut.rs/3y5ukR5


Meanwhile, in another court case, this time in California, takes the opposite view on the herbicide. Per the Associated Press, “A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a Trump administration finding that the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup does not pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans. The California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reexamine its 2020 finding that glyphosate did not pose a health risk for people exposed to it by any means — on farms, yards or roadsides or as residue left on food crops.” As with the Oregon case, the ruling does not say anything definitive about safety concerns.  https://bit.ly/3y4TuiC

So for anyone keeping score, that’s two cases and two rulings that contradict each other, basically leaving the issue where it started.


Externalities can be really interesting and the Covid-19 pandemic has spawned tons of them. For example, the near universal use of PPEs by the general public has caused a deluge of facemask trash that litter streets, sidewalks, and sewage systems. It also breathed new life into video conferencing applications and businesses like Zoom. China’s Dynamic Zero strategy toward combating Covid-19 is driven by mass testing that can be ramped up at a moment’s notice. The thing is, processing the tests is not automated and depends on armies of lab technicians responsible for executing the process in the most efficient way. That has led to them feeling as if they are more like factory workers than scientists. According to an article in Sixth Tone, “Almost every nucleic acid tester interviewed described their current mood with the same refrain: ‘assembly line.’ They see themselves as the new line workers — from collecting samples to dispensing reagents, testing, and applying films, nucleic acid testing is a labor-intensive process with low levels of automation.” Just wait until they are replaced by a machine. They’ll be pining for the halcyon days when they worked the Covid-19 assembly line. https://bit.ly/3tOJE1Q

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

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