Sunday, January 2, 2022
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Pollution and pandemics: A dangerous mix. Research finds that as one goes, so goes the other -- to a point.
Are we setting ourselves up for the spread of a pandemic without even knowing it? Story here.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Where people go, there too, goes Covid-19! Surprising? Perhaps not. But, if more solid science will help to convince the doubters - here it is!
|A busy London pub. Photo by Steve Parker.|
Reopening places such as restaurants, fitness centres, cafes, and hotels carries the highest risk for transmitting SARS-CoV-2, according to a modelling study based on data from the United States published in Nature. Reducing occupancy in these venues may result in a large reduction in predicted infections, the model suggests. The study also highlights disparities in infection risk according to socioeconomic status.
To assess how changes in movement might alter the spread of the virus, Jure Leskovec and colleagues use phone data (collected this spring) to map the movements of millions of people from different local neighbourhoods. They combined these data with a model of transmission. This allowed them to identify potential high-risk venues and at-risk populations. The simulations from their model accurately predict confirmed daily case counts in ten of the largest metropolitan areas (such as Chicago, New York City and San Francisco).
The level of detail of the mobility data allowed the researchers to model the number of infections occurring, by the hour, at nearly 553,000 distinct locations grouped into 20 categories — termed “points of interest” — that people tended to visit regularly. Their model predicts that a small number of these locations, such as full-service restaurants, account for a large majority of infections. For example, in the Chicago metropolitan area, 10% of the points of interest accounted for 85% of the predicted infections at points of interest. The model predicts that compared with higher-income groups, lower-income populations are more likely to become infected because they have not been able to reduce their mobility as substantially and because the places they visit tend to be smaller and more crowded, which increases the risk of infection. For example, grocery stores visited by lower-income individuals tended to have 59% more people per square foot than those visited by higher-income individuals, and their visitors stayed 17% longer on average.
By modelling who is likely to be infected at which locations, the authors were also able to estimate the effects of different reopening strategies, and they suggest that their model can inform reopening policies. For example, capping the occupancy of a venue at 20% of its maximum capacity is predicted to reduce new infections by over 80%, but would only reduce the overall number of visits by 42%.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Global death rate from rising temperatures projected to surpass the current death rate of all infectious diseases combined
|A PinP photo.|
This summer, the world is experiencing record hot temperatures: A weather station in Death Valley, California, clocked one of the hottest temperatures ever observed on Earth. Simultaneously, the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating mortality impact and economic fallout are demanding society prioritize public health like never before. Details here.
Sunday, April 26, 2020
The task of building a safer, healthier planet, surely, will only begin anew once we have defeated this beastly pandemic. So, are there lessons we can learn from Covid that we can actually use to blunt the assault of that other existential threat - manmade climate change?
|Smoke obscures the sun in one of the increasing number of|
wildfires in recent years - infernos which are starting earlier,
lasting longer and burning more intensely.
A Wikimedia photo.
And rightly so.
Instead, we've been going ahead full-tilt with building more pipelines (including the one in BC that's trampling indigenous rights in the process), extracting more fossil fuels (including ones most damaging to the environment), and electing leaders who either deny the science, promote policies which lead to further, widespread destruction of the rain forests and oceans, or all of the above! Those efforts have surely been nothing short of misguided, vapid or wilfully harmful.
The very things climate scientists have been warning us against, are now unfolding, as I write this. Flooding has devastated Fort MacMurray, Alberta, a scant four years after wildfires raged through, destroying thousands of homes and businesses.
The tragedy of the Australian bushfires emerged in all its horror, for all to see, scant months ago.
Yet our news media remain shamefully reluctant to even ask whether any of this might be because of manmade climate change. So the residents (or their leaders) don't talk about it, either. To me, it's the elephant in the room...hard to ignore...but, they're doing it!
They simply don't (or won't), see the connection between unlimited air travel, unlimited and unfettered events like the World Cup and the Olympics, and increasing greenhouse gas concentrations that are leading us down a calamitous road.
Eerily, some of the very steps being so desperately taken to beat down the virus - closing industrial plants and limiting air travel and large crowds - are among those which will help alleviate our climate crisis, too. Sadly, those measures will need to carry on after the virus has gone, simply because the ones taken, so far, are short-term and will not be enough to bring about the kind of transformation needed.
After all, the relentless burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has not "taken a pause," to wait for Covid to end.
Saturday, April 11, 2020
|An Australian sun, shrouded in bushfire smoke.|
A public domain photo.
Photo credit - World Weather Attribution.
A crack team of climatologists has determined those fires “down under” (which ruined an area the size of more than 40 Riding Mountain National Parks), were made much more likely due to manmade climate change.
|Unharvested crop in a Manitoba field. Unusually bad weather |
made 2019 an extremely poor year for both cattle & grain producers.
A PinP photo.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Monday, March 30, 2020
THE NARWHAL Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C. Jeffrey Wynne , If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination proble...
Winnipeg Free Press - By: Mike De Souza - 18/11/2010 Scrapped without Senate hearings, debate... =========== TAKE ACTION: Tell MPs and th...
A massive die-off of fish in Shoal Lake, in western Manitoba, has raised the spectre of a huge cleanup ahead.by Larry Powell Countless dead fish litter the shores. The magnitude of the die-off has emerged over the past few days, with spri...
Larry Powell Powell is a veteran, award-winning journalist based in Shoal Lake, Manitoba, Canada. He specialize in stories about agriculture...