101-year-old woman survives coronavirus pandemic


This 31 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

This doctor says the American South could see the next big COVID-19 outbreak.

In US news and current events today, the American south could see the next big COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Peter Hotez is co-director for the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and dean of the Nat’l School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

As New York City and other cities on both coasts have become high profile COVID-19 hot spots, Dr. Hotez says our attention also needs to shift to the South, specifically Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Louisiana’s COVID-19 cases increased faster in the first 14 days than anywhere in the world, according to a study from UL-Lafayette published in March.

Nearly half of southern residents also don’t have health insurance, Dr. Hotez says. COVID-19 could also highlight the health disparity and poverty of the Gulf Coast region, specifically for African Americans.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

A 101-year-old corona patient was discharged from the IJsselland Hospital in Capelle aan den IJssel today, Rijnmond regional radio writes. The woman experienced shortness of breath a week and a half ago and was subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the nursing staff, “the brave lady” is an example for everyone. “She coughs neatly in her elbow and keeps an appropriate distance.” The woman is taken to a nursing home to recover further.

101-year-old Dutch coronavirus survivor

This photo shows the 101-year-old woman survivor.

Recently, also a 101-year Italian male coronavirus patient survived the disease.

United States workers fight for their health


This 30 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Amazon, Instacart among companies who plan to strike over safety concerns amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita joins the On The Move panel to break it all down.

Support the striking Instacart, Amazon and Whole Foods workers: here. Like Amazon and the Washington Post daily, Whole Foods is owned by the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos.

Late Monday night, online retail giant Amazon fired Chris Smalls, a management assistant at its JFK-8 distribution center in Staten Island, hours after he led a walkout in protest against unsafe working conditions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 50 Amazon workers took part in the job action, holding up signs which read, “Our Health is just as Essential”, in reference to management’s use of the government’s designation of Amazon as “critical infrastructure” to force workers to remain on the job without any meaningful safety measures: here.

“We should be the ones deciding how this could be run to be safe for us”. Amazon warehouse workers describe unsafe conditions and discuss forming workplace committees. By Douglas Lyons and Samuel Davidson, 31 March 2020. Workers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York announced yesterday that they plan to walk out today to protest the prevailing conditions: here.

From UltraViolet in the USA today:

This week, Instacart delivery workers are on strike to demand protections for their health and safety.1

Delivery workers are on the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus. They’re critical for getting food, medication, and other basic needs to families across America.

But 175,000 Instacart workers–personal shoppers for a service where anyone can request a shopper and delivery for stores like CVS, Costco, and Petco–are being forced to put their health at risk, without even the most basic of benefits.

Instacart, whose workers are mostly women, is refusing to provide basic protections including hazard pay, hand sanitizer, or paid sick leave for people with pre-existing conditions.2,3

Together, we can show Instacart that customers and the public support Instacart workers and believe that benefits like paid sick leave are critical.

Will you sign the petition in solidarity with Instacart workers?

Instacart is seeing a big jump in business right now, because of the increased demand for home grocery delivery. In fact, Instacart is seeing so much demand that it’s planning to hire 300,000 new shoppers.4

While Instacart’s corporate employees get to work from home and have benefits like paid sick and family leave, health insurance, and life insurance, Instacart won’t even give basic protections to the workers who do the direct work of shopping and delivering orders.5

Starting today, Instacart workers will not accept orders until the company agrees to provide:

  • Hazard pay of an additional $5 an order;
  • Free safety gear (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and soap); and
  • Paid sick leave to include workers with pre-existing conditions who have been advised by their doctors not to work at this time.

Instacart claims that “the health and safety of our entire community–shoppers, customers, and employees–is our first priority.”6 But refusing to provide basic protections puts employees–more than half of whom are women–and customers at risk.

That’s why we’re adding our voices to support Instacart workers’ and show the company that its customers and the general public support worker’s demands for basic health protections.

Instacart isn’t alone in failing to provide worker protections, and this strike marks the first time employees in what’s known as the gig economy–jobs that are short-term or freelance rather than employees with benefits–are striking in response to the coronavirus. Showing support for these workers won’t just help protect them and the consumer they’re providing services for, it also puts pressure on other companies to support their workers with paid sick leave and other crucial benefits. Together, we can help ensure that Instacart workers get the benefits they deserve and pressure other companies to follow suit.

Thanks for speaking out!

–Shaunna, Kat, Kathy, Anathea, Melody, Pam, Lindsay, Sonja, Kimberly, Maria, and Katie, the UltraViolet team

Sources:

1. Instacart’s Gig Workers Are Planning a Massive, Nationwide Strike, Vice, March 27, 2020

2. Ibid.

3. Why Suburban Moms Are Delivering Your Groceries, NPR, May 25, 2019

4. Instacart Wants To Hire 300,000 Shoppers To Help Meet Coronavirus Demand, Forbes, March 23, 2020

5. Instacart’s Gig Workers Are Planning a Massive, Nationwide Strike, Vice, March 27, 2020

6. Ibid.

In a press briefing held Monday in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared that a death toll of 100,000 to 200,000 in the United States as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic would represent “a good job” by his administration: here.

‘The Worst Type Of Leader To Have In A Crisis’. Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat has an urgent message during the coronavirus crisis: Authoritarians like Trump don’t care about human life. They care about power.

“A lot of people don’t get a ventilator when they come to a hospital now, no matter how young they are”. New York City paramedic speaks out about dire conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic: here.

On Monday the official total of positive COVID-19 cases in New York City prisons rose to 167 prisoners, 114 staff and 23 prison healthcare workers. The infamous Rikers Island, with a population of 4,740, now has the highest infection rate of any defined population globally, at almost 3 percent. Rikers’ infection rate is almost 10 times more than New York City as a whole, which has an infection rate of 0.357 percent, according to the Legal Aid Society: Given the scarcity of testing, the true case numbers are undoubtedly much higher. At least two prison workers have died in New York: here.

More than 150 immigrants held at the York County Prison detention center in Pennsylvania have started a hunger strike demanding immediate release amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The strike, first reported by the Movement of Immigration Leaders in Pennsylvania, is part of a growing movement across detention centers around the country. As reported last week, 350 immigrants held in the Stewart Detention Center in southwest Georgia have been on a hunger strike since last Thursday demanding better protection against the pandemic: here.

As 150,000 hotel rooms remain empty, Las Vegas government forces 500 homeless residents to sleep outside on asphalt parking lot: here.

This 31 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Insurance Companies Already Know How They’ll Profit From COVID-19

40 million people just lost their health insurance along with their jobs. Former Cigna VP Wendell Potter says tying health insurance to employment has made the outbreak devastating for people, but not for insurance companies.

“It’s the profit system at the root of these problems”. Teachers across the US discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: here.

The profit system is sabotaging the struggle against the coronavirus. By Patrick Martin, 31 March 2020. Giant American corporations have blocked the development of inexpensive ventilators and are hoarding supplies of materials needing to make billions of N95 masks for health care workers.

The number of deaths in Detroit from the coronavirus increased by 49 percent on Monday, with 27 new fatalities bringing the total from 35 to 52. The total number of confirmed cases in the city rose to 1,801, according to data published by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: here.

Tennessee state officials recommend health care workers use swim goggles, diapers and garbage bags as protection from COVID-19: here.

Coronavirus news, all over the world


This 30 March 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus – Brazil: ‘Jair Bolsonaro is putting people’s lives at risk’

The fight against coronavirus turns into an economic battle in Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro on March 29 flouted his government’s social distancing guidelines against the spread of the coronavirus by mixing with supporters on the streets of Brasilia and urging them to keep the economy going. ‘Jair Bolsonaro is putting people’s lives at risk’, an inhabitant said.

BRAZIL’S CRUSADING BOLSONARO WILL GET PEOPLE KILLED Jair Bolsonaro is many things, including an ardent racist, sexist and homophobe. But there is one thing he is clearly not: smart enough to lead Brazil responsibly. Over the last two weeks, he has shown the world that he lacks the intelligence, intellectual curiosity or humility necessary to cobble together a proper response to the coronavirus outbreak. To Bolsonaro, this is just another conspiracy-driven culture war in which the goal is to troll his opponents to literal death. [HuffPost]

“As a part-time worker I got no sick time, no benefits, and no vacation”. Canadian workers speak out on impact of coronavirus crisis. By our reporters, 31 March 2020. Workers decried the lack of support from government and pointed to their exposure to unsafe working conditions that threaten to accelerate the spread of the pandemic.

“We cannot abandon the nurses”. Nurse suicides rise in Europe amid stress of COVID-19 pandemic: here.

Millions of Europe’s health care workers endangered by government neglect: here.

“This is a worldwide medical emergency and we shouldn’t put our frontline NHS staff at risk”. UK doctor in forensic pathology speaks: here.

HUNGARY’S LEADER USES VIRUS TO GAIN UNLIMITED POWER Prime Minister Viktor Orban gained sweeping powers after the country’s Parliament passed an emergency coronavirus bill that effectively lets the far-right leader rule by decree. The dramatic new measures include declaring a state of emergency with no time limit, empowering the government to jail citizens for “disinformation” and suspending elections. [HuffPost]

Germany: The coronavirus pandemic and the destruction of the public health system: here.

Australian government resorts to “pandemic capitalism” as depression looms: here.

Australian warehouse workers strike over COVID-19 safety demands: here.

Four thousand nurses are to strike across Papua New Guinea (PNG) this week over a lack of medical supplies and funding to handle the coronavirus outbreak. The action follows a sit-in by nearly 600 nurses in the capital Port Moresby on March 26 over the failure to provide personal protective equipment for medical staff: here.

How some snakes became venomous


This 2017 video from Australia says about itself:

The inland taipan and eastern brown snake are the 2 most venomous snakes in the world.

From Swansea University in Wales:

Snake venom evolved for prey not protection

March 25, 2020

It is estimated that every year, over 100,000 human deaths can be attributed to snakebite from the world’s 700 venomous snake species — all inflicted in self-defence when the snakes feel threatened by encroaching humans.

However, a new piece of research concludes that snake venom did not evolve as a defence mechanism.

Senior Lecturer Dr Wolfgang Wüster, an expert on snake venom evolution at Bangor University’s School of Natural Sciences explained:

“We know that snake venom is used primarily for foraging; for overpowering and killing prey. However, we also know that snakes use their venom in self-defence — that’s why so many people get bitten, and sometimes killed, by venomous snakes worldwide. We wanted to investigate whether defence was a driver in venom evolution.”

To provide efficient defence from a predator, the snake venom would need to provide sufficient instant pain to deter the predator and enable the snake to escape, much as a bee-sting hurts immediately.

A new paper published in Toxins reveals that surprisingly few venomous snake bites cause immediate pain, implying that the venom make-up has not evolved for a defensive primary purpose.

Bangor University student Harry Ward-Smith tested this hypothesis under Dr Wüster’s supervision.

He gathered online survey responses from reptile keepers, herpetologists and fieldworkers, as part of his undergraduate degree in Zoology with Herpetology.

His survey, which gained nearly 400 responses world-wide, asked people working with snakes about the time-course of pain after bites they had sustained.

The results of around 600 experiences revealed that only a minority of bites and species regularly cause rapid, severe pain. Moreover, where early pain evolves during snake evolution, it is likely to be lost again in descendant lineages.

Dr Kevin Arbuckle, Senior Lecturer in Biosciences (Evolutionary Biology) at Swansea University’s Department of Biosciences and a co-author of the paper commented:

“Our results suggest little evidence for widespread evolution of venoms driven by their use in defence, though interesting exceptions likely exist such as the defensive use of venom ‘spitting’ in some cobras, and these specific cases deserve further study.”

Dr Wüster added: “Even though we might have expected defending your life to be more important than feeding, it turns out that natural selection for diet does seem to be the main driver of venom evolution in snakes”.

Coronavirus news from the USA


This 31 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Doctors Resort to Black Market For Medical Supplies As Trump Refuses Pleas for Equipment | NowThis

This doctor had to buy COVID-19 gear on the black market because of the nationwide lack of medical supplies.

In US news and current events today, this doctor spent $17k on black market medical gear because of the nationwide lack of supplies to fight COVID-19. Hospital workers across the country are forced to get creative with how they protect themselves while treating COVID-19 patients.

A NYC nurse who treated COVID-19 patients died from the virus. He worked at a hospital where nurses have taken to wearing garbage bags as protection because they ran out of gowns. Health care workers and state officials are calling on Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would order businesses to produce protective equipment. Trump says that enough companies have been volunteering.

TRUMP SENDS WRONG MASKS TO ILLINOIS Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state has purchased more than 5 million N95 masks and more than 5 million surgical masks, which will be arriving by the end of the week. The governor said he asked the federal government to send N95 masks, but the White House instead sent 300,000 surgical masks — not what the state needs to protect health care workers. [HuffPost]

TRUMP AGAIN ACCUSES HEALTH CARE WORKERS For the second day in a row, President Donald Trump pushed groundless speculation that health care workers are stealing or squandering protective masks during the coronavirus pandemic. A reporter began to ask him in the Monday press briefing about remarks he made Sunday that masks may be “going out the back door.” Trump cut off the reporter, saying a “tremendous power in the business,” seemingly a supplier of masks, had backed up his notion. [HuffPost]

INSTACART WORKERS GO ON STRIKE FOR BETTER PROTECTIO Thousands of Instacart grocery shoppers stopped responding to requests for deliveries and say they will not go back to work until the company provides them with protective equipment such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, hazard pay of $5 per order, and expanded paid sick leave to cover those with health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus so they can afford to stay home. [HuffPost]

Video shows Amazon workers packed into cafeteria less than two weeks ago.

WAREHOUSE WORKERS’ NEW HEALTH HAZARD: FRIVOLOUS ORDERS Business should be very slow for Pier 1 Imports, which filed for bankruptcy in February. But an employee told HuffPost that business is running full tilt now, with many workers logging overtime since the coronavirus crisis began, leaving them to wonder how critical wind chimes, three-wick candles and artificial plants are during a full-blown pandemic. “This is unnecessary,” said the worker. “I don’t want to be the person who died for fragrant oils.” [HuffPost]

Michigan’s migrant workers especially vulnerable to virus. By Kurt Williams, March 27, 2020.

CORONAVIRUS IS A DEFINING TEST AND U.S. GOVERNMENT IS FAILING It’s not just Trump. Our inept political system is completely unsuited for any real response beyond bailouts for the rich. [HuffPost]

TRUMP HANDS CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING TO MYPILLOW EXEC Trump used Monday’s White House daily briefing on coronavirus to again parade out private company executives — including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who used the platform to praise Trump and tell Americans amid a global pandemic to “read our Bibles”, During the briefing — meant to inform Americans about COVID-19 — Trump handed the podium to several CEOs. [HuffPost]

SMALL BUSINESSES FACE ‘EXTINCTION’ AS CONGRESS PROTECTS BIGWIGS America’s small businesses may not survive the economic shutdown enacted by federal, state and local governments to stop the spread of the coronavirus — and Congress’ $2.2 trillion relief package is unlikely to save them. “They are all at risk from the shock because small businesses are really facing an extinction-level event,” said Adam Hersh, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. [HuffPost]

FLORIDA MEGACHURCH PASTOR ARRESTED OVER SERVICE Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor of the River megachurch in Tampa, Florida, was arrested Monday for holding a crowded service in defiance of a local order that limits gatherings amid the coronavirus. Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister slammed Howard-Browne at a news conference, saying his “reckless disregard for human life” not only put his congregants at risk of COVID-19 but also those who come into contact with him and his followers. [HuffPost]

There’s no such thing as social distancing when you’re incarcerated.

OHIO, IOWA SUED OVER ABORTION BANS DURING CRISIS State officials in Iowa and Ohio were hit with lawsuits over their bans on abortion during the coronavirus outbreak. Both states recently deemed abortion a nonessential surgical procedure that must be deferred or canceled in order to preserve medical supplies for the pandemic. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and Ohio are asking district courts to immediately restore abortion access. [HuffPost]

Female wild mammals live longer than males


This 2013 video from Poland is called Red Deer Rut/ Mating Season. Sir David Attenborough‘s opinion.

From the University of Southern Denmark:

Female lifespan is longer in wild mammal animals than in humans

March 25, 2020

On average, women live longer than men: About 90% of people reaching 110 years old or more are women. The current record holder is Jeanne Calment, who was 122 years old, when she died in 1997.

Now a new study shows, that even greater differences in lifespan are found in wild mammals. The average female wild mammal lives 18.6 % longer than her male counterpart. In humans, the difference is “only” 7.8 %.

The study was conducted by researchers from University of Southern Denmark and University Lyon 1 in collaboration with several international teams. It is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Moose, killer whale and sheep

“The greatest differences are found in animals like common brushtail possum, lion, killer whale, moose, greater kudu and sheep,” says Fernando Colchero, associate professor and an expert in biostatistics at Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark.

The researchers compiled demographic data for more than 130 wild mammal populations and were able to estimate the average longevity and the rate of increase in the risk of dying as a function of age for both sexes.

The analyzes led to unexpected results. Not only do females generally live longer than males in wild mammals, but the difference in longevity between the sexes, although very variable depending on the population, in the vast majority of cases exceeds the difference observed in human populations.

Lower risk of female mortality during adulthood

“For about half of the mammal populations studied, the increased risk of mortality with age is actually more pronounced in females than in males,” Fernando Colchero explains.

These results show that the larger longevity of females than males is most likely due to other factors that affect individuals during their entire adult life.

To reach this conclusion, Colchero and his colleagues calculated the average age at death, as well as the rate at which mortality increases with age.

Is risky male behavior a cause?

There is a common belief that males engage in potentially dangerous sexual competitions and live riskier lives than females, and that this could account for their shorter lifespan.

Contrary to this idea, this study reveals that the intensity of sexual selection does not directly modulate the amplitude of the differences in longevity observed between the sexes.

The results rather suggest that complex interactions between the physiological characteristics specific to each sex and local environmental conditions are at play.

We see many variations in the species studied. For some species, the males actually have the longest lifespan. That said, there is a statistically clear trend and there are a number of plausible explanations, says Dalia Conde, associate professor and an expert in animal conservation, Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark.

Why do the females live longer?

One explanation is that males often are larger and put more energy in sexual characters such as growing larger horns than females. This requires energy, and if the animals live in a harsh climate, the males may be more vulnerable to these extreme environmental conditions.

One example is bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), When these animals live in an environment where resources are consistently available, there are almost no differences in their lifespans. But when they live in harsher environments, where winters are more severe, the males live much shorter lives.

Another explanation is that males produce more androgens (male hormones) than females. Androgens modulate immune performance and when present at high levels, they can impair some aspects of the immune defense, making males more susceptible to infections and diseases.

Belgian anti-Big Pharma doctor Van Duppen, RIP


This video is about the presentation of Dirk Van Duppen’s last book in the Roma theatre in Antwerp, Belgium on 9 February 2020.

Translated from Belgian (right-wing Roman Catholic) daily De Standaard today:

Doctor and politician Dirk Van Duppen (63) passed away

Dirk Van Duppen, one of the prominent doctors of Medicine for the People, passed away on Monday evening. [His leftist political party] PVDA confirms this. Van Duppen had been suffering from cancer for some time.

Van Duppen became known to the general public as the ‘communist general practitioner’ (because of his PVDA membership), an ardent advocate of Medicine for the People and as the creator of the kiwi model. In it, governments have to issue public offers for medicines and only reimburse the cheapest bidder. Van Duppen was not a fan of the big pharmaceutical companies throughout his life. “A sick business model,” he called it. “I have to push on it or nothing will change.”

At the beginning of this year he was still on the stage of the Roma [theatre in Antwerp] to present his new and also last book: “This is how the time allotted to me went.” Van Duppen already knew that he was terminal. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer last year. Monday night he lost the fight at the age of 63.

Also from De Standaard. 15 February 2020:

“I see that my life has made sense”

A Marxist who hates dogma. A doctor who works for a worker’s wage. A terminally ill man who is hopeful. Dirk Van Duppen, figurehead of Medicine for the People and PVDA politician, is it all. An adieu. “Not many people are lucky enough to be able to go to their end like this.”

By Ann-Sofie Dekeyser

Sunday 9 February, 5.15 pm. “O bella ciao, ciao, ciao! / O partigiano, portami via / ché mi sento di morir.” The Roma in Borgerhout is filled to the brim. The venue was sold out in three days. 1,350 people are standing. Some put their left fists in the air, others wipe away a tear. They sing the partisan song full heart. The translation on the red screen does not allow any misunderstandings. “Oh comrades, take me / Because it feels like I’m dying.”

Translated from the site of Van Duppen’s PVDA party, 31 March 2020:

He devoted his life to the most noble cause: caring for others. “In the struggle of life, you’ll find more love. And in the struggle, you will be loved also “, he liked to quote Woody Guthrie‘s famous song. Happiness was for him: being able to mean something to others. …

As chairman of Medicine for the People, he tirelessly went to war against the scheming of Big Pharma and launched the kiwi model for affordable medicines. “Health should not be a commodity on the market. Healthcare must be public, high-quality and accessible”, he argued. That couldn’t be more topical today.

Dirk recognized the dockworkers’ back ailments as an occupational disease, earning him the honorary title of “straight-backed doctor”. But Dirk was also an activist for healthy air. He helped prevent the construction of the Lange Wapperbrug in Antwerp.

That bridge would have generated much air pollution by cars.

And as a PVDA city councilor, he mobilized the people of Antwerp against the water shutoffs by the Antwerp local authorities.

New bee species discovery in the Netherlands


Osmia submicans, photo by Wim Arp

Translated from Entomologische Berichten in the Netherlands:

Last year, two new bee species were reported for the Netherlands, Andrena rufula and Anthidium septemspinosum.

In the spring of 2019, a male of a new mason bee species was also caught [near an insect hotel] in a garden in Renkum: Osmia submicans. This species is very similar to the blue mason bee, but certainly the male has distinctive features. This species brings the number of bee species known from the Netherlands to 362.