DAILY DOSE: China steps away from Zero-Covid strategy; Volcanos are erupting left and right.


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It’s a new day in China. Beijing has begun relaxing some of the strict Covid-19 rules that has caused so much resentment among the population. Per the Associated Press

China is easing some of the world’s most stringent anti-virus controls and authorities say new variants are weaker. But they have yet to say when they might end a “zero-COVID” strategy that confines millions of people to their homes and set off protests and demands for President Xi Jinping to resign.

On Monday, commuters in Beijing and at least 16 other cities were allowed to board buses and subways without a virus test in the previous 48 hours for the first time in months. Industrial centers including Guangzhou near Hong Kong have reopened markets and businesses and lifted most curbs on movement while keeping restrictions on neighborhoods with infections.

The government announced plans last week to vaccinate millions of people in their 70s and 80s, a condition for ending “zero-COVID” restrictions that keep most visitors out of China and have disrupted manufacturing and global trade.

Obviously, this is fantastic news. https://bit.ly/3VTLjPg

Even though Covid-19 appears to not hit children as hard as adults, they have still suffered during the pandemic. In this case, the pandemic has interfered with the quality of care children with tuberculosis were able to get. Per the Lancet Global Health,

Our findings suggest that COVID-19 has substantially affected childhood tuberculosis services, with the youngest children most affected. Although children have mostly had fewer severe health consequences from COVID-19 than have adults, they have been disproportionately affected by the effects of the pandemic on tuberculosis care. Observed sex differences suggest that targeted interventions might be required. As countries rebuild health systems following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that childhood tuberculosis services are placed centrally within national strategic plans.

It will take a long time to unwind the harm the Covid-19 pandemic has had on society. https://bit.ly/3HbRfiB

When most people think of dinosaurs, they normally picture them in warm climates. Who can blame them? Most depictions of the massive creatures feature them in hot, tropical climates. Research has shown that dinosaurs were able to survive in a wide range of settings, even in Arctic tundra. Per BBC Futures,

Though we tend to think of dinosaurs as tropical creatures – monstrous, toothy reptiles that patrolled the world's forests and swamps when the planet was warm and wet, scientists are increasingly realising that this is not entirely correct. There were dinosaurs in cooler places too, and it's becoming clear that they were far from occasional, fair-weather visitors.

From Australia to Russia, scientists have now unearthed tens of dinosaurs that may have once lived at frigid extremes – closing their beady, hawk-like eyes under skies filled with dancing aurora light displays each night, and sometimes foraging for food among blankets of pristine silver snow. These dinosaurs weren't just clinging on in at the fringes of their habitable range – in places like Alaska, they were thriving.

The findings have implications far beyond the strange scenes they conjure – with tyrannosaurs shaking the snow off their (possible) feathers, or fluffing themselves up to wait out a blizzard. With each new discovery, polar dinosaurs are revealing fascinating insights into the group's physiology and behaviour. And as scientists learn more about them, they're helping to answer one of the most intractable questions in palaeontology: were dinosaurs warm or cold-blooded?

The case for warm blooded is mounting. https://bit.ly/3BcLRrA

It’s been a busy few weeks for volcanologists. First the biggest volcano in Hawaii erupts and now another has joined in, this time in South East Asia. Per Channel News Asia,

Thousands of residents in Indonesia's East Java were on high alert on Monday (Dec 5) after a violent eruption at the island's tallest volcano prompted authorities to impose an 8km no-go zone and forced evacuations of entire villages.

The provincial search and rescue agency deployed teams to the worst-affected areas near Mount Semeru to assess the damage, with low rainfall giving some reprieve, Tholib Vatelehan, a Basarnas spokesperson, told Reuters.

"Yesterday, the rainfall level was high, causing all the material from the top of the mountain to come down. But today, so far, there's no rain, so it's relatively safe," he said.

No casualties have been reported and there has not been any immediate disruption to air travel. https://bit.ly/3XYVLHm

Speaking of the Hawaiin volcano , Reuters has some stunning pictures of the Mauna Loa eruption. Check them out here. https://bit.ly/3OZdv16

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

IMAGE CREDIT: Klaus Von Vilver.

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