Carter Manson, a five-year-old African American boy, had his first public asthma attack at a friend’s birthday party. His mom, Catherine, attributes such incidents to a larger issue: social and environmental disparities heavily impacting the African American community.
Racial housing laws and related systemic discrimination have forced many Black families to live near pollution sources or in substandard housing with mold and other asthma triggers. The prevalence of asthma in the Black community is significantly higher than in any other race in the US, affecting over 12% of Black children compared to 5.5% of white children. This issue extends beyond health implications, disrupting education and family finances.
Despite some legislative efforts and healthcare programs aimed at controlling asthma, advocates argue that more specific actions are required to address the stark racial disparities in asthma rates. (Associated Press)
Researcher Ben Hu, who reportedly fell ill with Covid-19 in Wuhan in 2019 before the acknowledged outbreak, was funded by the U.S. for controversial gain-of-function research on coronaviruses. Documents obtained by White Coat Waste Project show that Hu received $41 million from USAID and the NIAID, headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci at the time.
It was earlier revealed that three Wuhan Institute of Virology workers, including Hu, were hospitalized with Covid symptoms in November 2019, well before the outbreak’s alleged origin at a seafood market. These revelations challenge the theory that the virus jumped from an animal to a human at the market.
Investigations indicate that the Wuhan institute collaborated with Chinese military scientists, raising concerns about the potential connection to bioweapons research. (The Intercept)
Around 170 people have died in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, two densely populated states in India, due to an intense heatwave. Hospitals in the region are overwhelmed with patients, and power outages exacerbate the challenges.
Uttar Pradesh reported 119 heat-related deaths, while Bihar recorded 47, according to local media and health officials. The Indian Meteorological Department stated that temperatures in the northern states have consistently exceeded normal levels, reaching highs of 43.5 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) recently. A heatwave is declared in India if temperatures are at least 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal or if they exceed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). The IMD had issued a red alert warning for extreme heat in several states, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The government faced criticism for not issuing heatwave advisories earlier. The largest hospital in Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh, was unable to accommodate more patients, and its morgue became overwhelmed after 54 deaths due to the heat.
Despite the growing death toll, officials disputed the cause and fired a chief medical officer who attributed the deaths to the heatwave. Power outages have compounded the situation, leaving people without essential services like running water and cooling devices. The government pledged to ensure uninterrupted power supply and urged citizens to use electricity judiciously. Inside Ballia district hospital, chaotic scenes unfolded as doctors and families struggled to cope with the influx of patients. The hospital lacked functioning air-conditioners, and attendants resorted to fanning patients with books to alleviate the heat. (Al-Jazeera)
A 42,000-year-old graphite pendant unearthed in northern Mongolia might be the earliest known depiction of male genitalia, according to a study published in Nature Scientific Reports.
Found at the Tolbor site, the 4.3 cm piece could predate known anthropomorphic cave art and statues. Solange Rigaud, an archaeologist at the University of Bordeaux, believes the pendant’s carefully defined features suggest it’s a phallic representation. Microscopy and surface analyses also indicate the pendant was carved with stone tools, and its wear suggests multi-generational use. However, some researchers remain skeptical due to the object’s small and rather indistinct shape.
If confirmed, the pendant could illustrate early humans’ capacity for symbolic representation and the personal significance of such ornaments. (Science)
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WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)
IMAGE CREDIT: Solange Rigaud.