Dutch footballers get COVID-19


This video is called Famous Footballers who have Coronavirus | Soccer players, coaches who have tested positive for COVID-19.

And that was a 29 March 2020 video. When the coronavirus pandemic was basically just starting.

Today, Dutch NOS radio reports that players of Dutch Premier League professional football clubs Feyenoord Rotterdam and Willem II Tilburg have become infected with COVID-19.

Today, Willem II was supposed to play a training match against amateur club IJsselmeervogels. That match has been cancelled.

Scotland: Men’s football Aberdeen v St Johnstone postponed due to coronavirus: here.

New Guinea, world’s most diverse flowers


This 2014 video says about itself:

Some of the spectacular diverse plant life of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

From the University of Zurich in Zwitserland:

New Guinea has the world’s richest island flora

August 5, 2020

Summary: New Guinea is the most floristically diverse island in the world, an international collaboration has shown. The study presents a list of almost 14,000 plant species, compiled from online catalogues and verified by plant experts. The results are invaluable for research and conservation, and also underline the importance of expert knowledge in the digital era.

Almost 20 times the size of Switzerland, New Guinea is the world’s largest tropical island. It features a complex mosaic of ecosystems from lowland jungles to high-elevation grasslands with peaks higher than Mont Blanc. Botanists have long known that this mega-diverse wilderness area is home to a large number of plant species. Efforts to identify and name thousands of plants collected in New Guinea and archived in herbaria all over the world have been ongoing since the 17th century.

However, since researchers have worked mostly independently from each other, a great uncertainty remains as to the exact number of plant species, with conflicting estimates ranging from 9,000 to 25,000. “Compared to other areas like Amazonia, for which plant checklists were recently published, New Guinea remained the ‘Last Unknown’,” says Rodrigo Cámara-Leret, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Prof. Jordi Bascompte in the UZH Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. Under his lead, 99 scientists from 56 institutions and 19 countries have now built the first expert-verified checklist for the 13,634 vascular plant species of New Guinea and its surrounding islands.

Merging databases and human knowledge

The researchers began their large-scale collaborative effort by compiling a list of plant names from online catalogues, institutional repositories and datasets curated by taxonomists. After standardizing the scientific names, 99 experts on New Guinea flora checked almost 25,000 species names derived from over 700,000 individual specimens. For this, they reviewed the list of original names in their plant family of expertise and assessed whether these names were correctly assigned in the online platforms. Finally, an independent comparison was performed between the list accepted by experts and a list contained in Plants of the World Online for New Guinea.

Tremendous, mostly endemic plant diversity

The resulting checklist contains 13,634 plants, demonstrating that New Guinea has the world’s richest island flora, with about 20% more species than Madagascar or Borneo. By far the most species-rich family are the orchids and almost a third of the species are trees. One particularly remarkable finding is that 68% of the plants are endemic, they are only found in the region. “Such high endemic species richness is unmatched in tropical Asia,” says Cámara-Leret, “It means that Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, the two states into which the island is divided, have a unique responsibility for the survival of this irreplaceable biodiversity.”

Foundation for research and protection

The new authoritative checklist will improve the accuracy of biogeographic and ecological studies, help focus DNA sequencing on species-rich groups with high endemism, and facilitate the discovery of more species by taxonomists. Thousands of specimens remain unidentified in the collections and many unknown species have yet to be discovered in the wild. “We estimate that in the next 50 years, 3,000 to 4,000 species will be added,” says Michael Kessler, co-author of the study and scientific curator of the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich. These efforts will be important for conservation planning and modelling the impact of changes in climate and land use.

The collaboration also underscores that expert knowledge is still essential in the digital era, reliance on online platforms alone would have erroneously inflated species counts by one fifth. However, many of the New Guinea plants experts are already or soon to be retired, and almost half of them are non-residents. The researchers therefore advocate building a critical mass of resident plant taxonomists.

Policy-wise, the study shows that long-term institutional and financial support is critical if significant advances are to be made over the next decades. “Our work demonstrates that international collaborative efforts using verified digital data can rapidly synthesize biodiversity information. This can serve as a model for accelerating research in other hyper-diverse areas such as Borneo,” says Cámara-Leret. “Such initiatives pave the way for the grand challenge of conserving the richest island flora of the world.”

Coronavirus damages young people


This 19 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Coronavirus: Young People Are Falling Seriously Ill From Covid-19

New evidence from Europe and the U.S. suggests that younger adults aren’t as impervious to the novel coronavirus that’s circulating worldwide as originally thought.

Despite initial data from China that showed elderly people and those with other health conditions were most vulnerable, young people — from twenty-somethings to those in their early forties — are falling seriously ill. Many require intensive care, according to reports from Italy and France. The risk is particularly dire for those with ailments that haven’t yet been diagnosed.

“It may have been that the millennial generation, our largest generation, our future generation that will carry us through for the next multiple decades, here may be a disproportional number of infections among that group,” Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a press conference, citing the reports.

The data bears out that concern. In Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, almost a quarter of the nearly 28,000 coronavirus patients are between the ages of 19 and 50, according to data website Statista.

Similar trends have been seen in the U.S. Among nearly 2,500 of the first coronavirus cases in the U.S., 705 were aged 20 to 44, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 15% and 20% eventually ended up in the hospital, including as many as 4% who needed intensive care. …

One of those younger adults is Clement Chow, an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Utah. “I’m young and not high risk, yet I am in the ICU with a very severe case,” Chow said in a March 15 tweet.

According to his Twitter posts, Chow had a low-grade fever for a few days and then a bad cough that led to respiratory failure. It turned out to be the coronavirus. He ended up on high flow oxygen in the ICU. When he arrived at the ICU, he was the first patient there.

It’s true that risk of death climbs precipitously with age. While there were only 144 patients over age 85, as many as 70% were hospitalized and 29% needed intensive care, according to the CDC report. One in four died, the agency said in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

… Yet, as college campuses across the country close down and require students to leave, even the most conscientious young adults face a difficult choice. Finding their academic years abbreviated and graduation plans shattered, many are driving or flying home, where they risk of exposing their parents and grandparents to Covid-19.

..

Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the hosts how stressful the outbreak has been.

“You cannot imagine,’’ he said. “You see what happened in China, you see what’s happening in Italy. We have the virus in the United States, and we want to make sure by our efforts that we don’t have that degree of disease and suffering that we are seeing in other countries.’’

And he called on young people to embrace the effort to protect themselves and the broader population.

“No one is invulnerable, but even if you are doing very well, you have to be a very important part of our national effort to contain the outbreak,’’ Fauci said. “You are not a passive person in this. You are an important part of the active plan to contain this epidemic. We really do need you. This isn’t something that can be successful without you.”

Translated from Belgian weekly Humo.August 2020:

These coronavirus patients have been gasping for breath for months. ‘I have yet to turn 21, but I have the body of an eighty-year-old’

Six patients talk about the consequences of coronavirus. ‘I kept hearing, “Oh, you’re young: your body will solve that.” But we are now four months on and I am still not any better.’