Johnson has ignored the science and blown our chance to stop a second wave

We shouldn’t be here. Back in June, England had the opportunity to suppress the virus. With a functional test and trace system, support to help people self-isolate, a robust set of regulations to keep work and leisure spaces safe and a clear public communications campaign, we could have suppressed coronavirus into the winter.



Boris Johnson in a suit and tie: Photograph: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images

But the opportunity was squandered. Worse, as restrictions were lifted on 4 July – what became known colloquially as “Freedom Saturday” – we were encouraged to relax, to travel back to work, to go to the pub, to mix and mingle. Meanwhile, the country’s dysfunctional, centralised and privately-run test and trace system lurched from one calamity to the next. World class? At failing to contact people and succeeding in losing data, perhaps.

The virus never went away. In some deprived communities, such as Bolton and Rochdale, infections remained endemic. As the summer faded we moved indoors, and schools and then universities returned. Infections began to rise again, slowly at first, but then faster and faster. The signs were unmistakable. If the government did nothing, England would be back to a similar number of cases that we saw in March, and the death rate would begin to climb again. The NHS would be overwhelmed.

On 21 September the scientific advisory body Sage produced a paper with a simple message: do something now or else lose control over the virus. That “something” would have to be sufficient to reduce infections to a level where the virus could be controlled without shutting businesses and curtailing livelihoods. At a minimum, that would mean restricting social mixing, closing pubs, offering university classes online and working from home.

On the day that advice was given, there were 4,696 infections across the UK. The government hummed and hawed, dillied and dallied, and by the time ministers finally made a decision on 12 October, three weeks later, infections had tripled to some 14,000 cases per day. If anything, this alarming growth meant they had to go further than the Sage advice to bring the virus under control. So what did they do?

Video: Dr Hilary tells Brit to ignore dangerous coronavirus theory about surfaces (Birmingham Mail)

Dr Hilary tells Brit to ignore dangerous coronavirus theory about surfaces

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Rather than following the science, the government plumped for an anaemic compromise between its scientific advisers and those arguing against any new restrictions. England’s new three tier system still falls far short of what Sage advised back in September. Ministers couldn’t even bring themselves to close pubs, instead opting for a nonsensical policy in England whereby pubs in areas under a tier 3 lockdown can remain open and serve alcohol so long as they also serve a “substantial” meal. This might keep Wetherspoons open, but it certainly won’t suppress coronavirus.



Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: ‘In an extraordinary piece of political theatre, Chris Whitty followed the PM’s announcement of the three-tier system with a warning that these new measures won’t work.’


© Photograph: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images
‘In an extraordinary piece of political theatre, Chris Whitty followed the PM’s announcement of the three-tier system with a

5 must-know leaders in medicine, science and tech

Now more than ever, it is undeniable how integral science and research have become to public health. Nationwide, doctors, scientists and experts are working around the clock to find the most up-to-date and reliable information to prevent and stop the spread of Covid-19.

Here are five must-know women who are shattering ceilings, making groundbreaking discoveries, and spreading public awareness during the global pandemic.

Joy Buolamwini

Joy Buolamwini, founder of Algorithmic Justice League, speaks in New York on March 27, 2019.Bess Adler / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joy Buolamwini is the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL), a computer scientist and an expert in artificial intelligence bias. Four years ago, when Buolamwini was a graduate student at MIT’s Media Lab, she began looking into the racial and gender disparities in commercially-available facial recognition technologies. Her research culminated in two groundbreaking, peer-reviewed studies, published in 2018 and 2019, that revealed how systems used by Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others were unable to classify darker female faces as accurately as those of white men—essentially shattering the myth of machine neutrality.

Buolamwini’s research helped persuade these companies to put a hold on facial recognition technology until federal regulations were passed. Through her nonprofit AJL, she has testified before lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels about the dangers of using facial recognition technologies with no oversight.

In the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd, Buolamwini has called for a complete halt to police using such facial surveillance and is providing activists with resources and tools to demand regulation.

It’s not easy to go up against some of the biggest tech companies when you know they can deploy all of their resources against you. I am still very aware that I am a young Black woman in America. And in the field of AI, the people I was aiming to evaluate held all the purse strings. – Joy Buolamwini

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, left, senior research fellow and scientific lead for coronavirus vaccines and immunopathogenesis team in the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, talks with President Donald Trump as he tours the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., on March 3, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP

Dr. Corbett is a viral immunologist and research fellow in the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). She went viral on social media this spring after news broke that Dr. Corbett, a Black female scientist, was leading the team of researchers working on a Covid-19 vaccine at the NIH.

Dr. Corbett’s passion for science stems from her summer break during high school, when she began working in a chemistry lab at the University of North Carolina. After being paired with Black grad student and future mentor, Albert Russell, she was able to see how it was possible for her to impact science through representation. Dr. Corbett has stressed the importance of mentors and advocates, crediting her boss, Dr. Barney Graham,

Some U.S. doctors flee to New Zealand where the outbreak is under control and science is respected

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media at a press conference ahead of a nationwide lockdown at Parliament on March 25, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Hagen Hopkins | Getty Images

Dr. Judy Melinek knew it was time to make a change when she started fear for her health and safety.

While working as acting chief forensic pathologist for Alameda County in California, she read early reports about a virus in Wuhan, China. By June, after repeatedly sounding the alarm about the need for health workers to have sufficient personal protective equipment, she’d had enough. She also hoped for temperature checks, social distancing and masks, but she noticed that not all of the staff in her office were taking these steps.

And then an email appeared offering her the opportunity to relocate to New Zealand, a country that has reported less than 2,000 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths, drawing widespread praise from around the world for its science-led response. Melinek jumped at the opportunity. 

After a period of quarantine, she’s now living and working in Wellington City, New Zealand. She’s been impressed so far. “There’s a lot more respect for the government and for science here,” she said. 

Melinek is part of a wave of U.S. doctors plotting a move to New Zealand. A spokesperson for Global Medical Staffing, a recruitment group that helps doctors find short and long-term positions around the world, noted that inquiries have increased about relocating to New Zealand from the U.S. as more physician jobs have been affected during the pandemic. In addition, more physicians currently employed in New Zealand who already located are choosing to extend their contracts “because of fewer reported cases of Covid-19,” meaning that there’s a slight dip in open roles. 

Melinek has been open about her decision on social media, and has subsequently heard from half dozen of her peers considering doing the same. She expects the number to keep rising as the pandemic continues. “America will suffer an exodus of professionals to other countries that have responded better, with economies that have recovered faster,” she said. 

In the the United States, where the federal government has largely left the response for the pandemic up to the states, more than 213,000 people have died from the virus. Across the country, some states have largely reopened, despite recent surges in cases. An outbreak that tore throughout the White House has spread to at least 37 people, including President Donald Trump, according to a website tracking the infections. 

New Zealand, by contrast, recently declared victory over the virus after eradicating community spread for the second time. 

In addition, many public health workers and scientists based in the United States say they have faced online harassment and threats while sharing guidance to the public about measures to keep them safe, including masks and social distancing. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly praised scientists, and offered empathy to the public at the most trying times, including during the early lockdown. 

New Zealand

Trump hosts first public event since COVID-19 diagnosis, says virus will ‘disappear’ with ‘science, medicine’

President Trump on Saturday hosted somewhere between 300 and 400 people on the South Lawn of the White House, marking his first public event since he was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 last week. It’s been just two weeks since a crowd gathered in the Rose Garden for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, which experts believe may have been the catalyst for a coronavirus outbreak that affected both the Trump administration and Republican senators.

Trump was scheduled to speak Saturday for about 30 minutes, but wound up only utilizing 18, an unusual instance of efficiency for the president, who is known for going on tangents that drift far beyond the scope of his planned marks. His voice reportedly sounded “a touch hoarse,” but he showed no outward signs of illness and said he was “feeling great,” The Associated Press reports.

During his speech, Trump said the coronavirus “is going to disappear” largely thanks to “science, medicine,” and “the American spirit.” That’s a familiar line for the president, although this time the optimism appeared based in his belief that newly-developed coronavirus therapies, rather than wishful thinking, would lead the charge.

The event was not billed as a campaign rally, but the president’s rhetoric suggested otherwise. Read more at Axios.

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Coronavirus pandemic and election-year politics collide, eroding trust in science

The positive development immediately became entangled in election-year politics, with President Trump repeatedly making false and exaggerated claims about the new therapeutics. He called them a cure, which they’re not. He said he was about to approve them — a premature promise given that the FDA’s career scientists are charged with reviewing the applications.

This has been the 2020 pattern: Politics has thoroughly contaminated the scientific process. The result has been an epidemic of distrust, which further undermines the nation’s already chaotic and ineffective response to the coronavirus.

The White House has repeatedly meddled with decisions by career professionals at the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other science-based agencies. Many of the nation’s leading scientists, including some of the top doctors in the administration, are deeply disturbed by the collision of politics and science and bemoan its effects on public health.

“I’ve never seen anything that closely resembles this. It’s like a pressure cooker,” Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview.

Trust has been damaged by White House intrusions and the FDA’s own mistakes. Earlier this year, the agency granted emergency authorization to hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug wrongly touted by Trump as a treatment for covid-19, then reversed course when it became clear the medication could cause dangerous complications. In August, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn drew sharp criticism for inaccurately describing the benefits of convalescent plasma, statements for which he later apologized.

Millions of Americans have embraced some version of a conspiracy theory that imagines the pandemic as a wildly exaggerated threat, or even an outright hoax, pushed by politically motivated scientists and the mainstream media to undermine the president. This is a form of science denial that leads many people to refuse to wear masks or engage in social distancing.

Scientists, meanwhile, worry that the politicization of the regulatory process could undermine the rollout of a vaccine even if it is approved by career professionals at the FDA. This is shaping up as a communications challenge for the government: Many people will want to know who, exactly, is greenlighting a vaccine.

“If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely,” Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic nominee for vice president, said in Wednesday’s debate with Vice President Pence. “But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Moments later Pence said it is “unconscionable” for Harris “to undermine public confidence in a vaccine.” He added, “Stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

The scolding by Pence was remarkable given that Trump has repeatedly framed the vaccine effort in terms of the November election — including just hours before Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate, when he came close to accusing his own government’s scientists of trying to delay a vaccine.

“We’re going to have a great vaccine very, very shortly. I think we

Are non-stick pans safe? | Live Science

Spending each morning at the kitchen sink scraping at the charred remains of breakfast gets tedious after a while. Non-stick cookware may seem like an appealing alternative — but is it safe?

Usually when people inquire about the safety of their non-stick cookware, they’re talking about Teflon, said Suzanne Fenton, a reproductive endocrinologist at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina. Also known as polytertrafluoroethylene (PTFE), this clear plastic is used to coat metal pots and pans, giving them a waxy, easy-to-clean surface — and for decades, scientists have debated whether it’s safe for cooking.

Experts tend to agree that Teflon itself isn’t a problem. The coating itself is considered non-toxic. Even if you ingest small flakes of it, it passes right through you. But some experts are concerned about what happens when Teflon gets too hot. “When pans are overheated, that PTFE coating begins to disintegrate,” Fenton told Live Science. As Teflon breaks down, it releases a host of toxic gases. In rare instances, breathing in these chemical fumes can cause polymer fume fever, a condition characterized by a high fever, shortness of breath and weakness. These gases also deadly to birds — lightbulbs coated in Teflon have wiped out poultry houses. Of particular concern is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), one of the chemicals released when Teflon pans heat up. Long-term exposure to PFOA is linked to a host of conditions from cancer to thyroid disease, Fenton said. 

Related: What makes something fireproof?

Not all researchers think that people need to worry about their Teflon pans breaking down. Some point out that no studies have specifically analyzed the long-term effects of Teflon pans on humans. Instead, these studies focus on the health-effects of Teflon’s chemical byproducts, like PFOA. Much of the data on these toxins come from cases of environmental exposure — such as drinking water or factory settings, where exposure levels are much higher than they would be from non-stick cookware. “Generally speaking, nonstick pans are not dangerous,” said Kyle Steenland, a professor of environmental health at Emory University in Atlanta.

Steenland and other scientists also argue that people don’t cook at high enough temperatures for these chemical reactions to take place. “Now, if you burn your pans for an hour at high heat, it [Teflon] will break down,” “But that will be the least of your problems because your house will be on fire.” 

However, research suggests pans can easily reach a temperature hot enough to disintegrate Teflon. One group of researchers in Canada published a 2001 study in the journal Nature, in which Teflon broke down at 680 degrees Fahrenheit (360 degrees Celsius). For context: a Teflon-coated pan can reach 750 F (399 C) if left for eight minutes at high heat on a stovetop, according to a 2017 article published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. And at lower temperatures, Teflon coating still breaks down over time, according to a 1998 article published in the journal Polymer Degradation and

How Long Could I Be Contagious Before a Positive Virus Test? | Science News

How long could I be contagious before a positive virus test?

Studies have shown that people may be contagious for about two days before developing COVID-19 symptoms.

In fact, right before developing symptoms is when people are likely the most contagious, said Dr. Werner Bischoff, an infectious disease specialist at Wake Forest University.

People who never develop symptoms can spread infection, too. That’s a problem because many people would never seek testing unless they developed symptoms or knew they’d been exposed.

But there’s a more complicated part to this question: What if someone knows they were exposed but their virus test comes back negative — could they still be contagious?

A negative test within less than seven days after exposure “is a very, very poor indicator of whether you have virus on board,” said Dr. Alan Wells of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Some tests are less accurate than others, and you have to factor in the incubation period, he said.

A negative test between seven and 10 days of exposure is a better indicator, Wells said, but even then some people might not test positive until later.

“That is why if you have had a credible exposure, you should wear a mask and you should self-quarantine if there’s any question,” he said.

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.

Can the coronavirus travel more than 6 feet in the air?

How can I volunteer for a COVID0-19 vaccine study?

How can I tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Avicenna: the Persian polymath who shaped modern science, medicine and philosophy

(MENAFN – The Conversation) Over a thousand years ago, Nuh ibn Mansur, the reigning prince of the medieval city of Bukhara, fell badly ill. The doctors, unable to do anything for him, were forced to send for a young man named Ibn Sina, who was already renowned, despite his very young age, for his vast knowledge. The ruler was healed.

Ibn Sina was an 11th century Persian philosopher, physician, pharmacologist, scientist and poet, who exerted a profound impact on philosophy and medicine in Europe and the Islamic world. He was known to the Latin West as Avicenna.

Avicenna’s Canon of medicine , first translated from Arabic into Latin during the 12th century, was the most important medical reference book in the West until the 17th century, introducing technical medical terminology used for centuries afterwards.

‘Arabic Medicine’, 1907, by Veloso Salgado. NOVA Medical School, Lisbon.

Avicenna’s Canon established a tradition of scientific experimentation in physiology without which modern medicine as we know it would be inconceivable.

For example, his use of scientific principles to test the safety and effectiveness of medications forms the basis of contemporary pharmacology and clinical trials.

Avicenna has been in the news recently due to his work on contagions. He produced an early version of the germ theory of disease in the Canon where he also advocated quarantine to control the transmission of contagious diseases.

Uniquely, Avicenna is the rare philosopher who became as influential on a foreign philosophical culture as his own. He is regarded by some as the greatest medieval thinker .

Read more: Explainer: what Western civilisation owes to Islamic cultures

Maverick and prodigious

Avicenna’s birthplace, Bukhara. Author provided

He was born Abdallāh ibn Sīnā in 980AD in Bukhara, (present day Uzbekistan, then part of the Iranian Samanid empire ). Avicenna was prodigious from youth, claiming in his autobiography to have mastered all known philosophy by 18.

Avicenna’s output was extraordinarily prolific. One estimate of his body of work counts 132 texts. These cover logic, natural philosophy, cosmology, metaphysics, psychology, geology, and more. Some of these texts he wrote while on horseback, travelling from one city to another!

His work was a virtuosic kind of encylopedism , gathering the various traditions of Greek late antiquity, the early Islamic period and Iranian civilisation into one rational knowledge system covering all of reality.

Avicenna’s texts were forged out of the colossal Graeco-Arabic translation movement that took place in medieval Baghdad . They then played a key role in the Arabic to Latin translation movement that brought Aristotle’s philosophy back, in a highly enriched manner, into Western thought.

A Latin commentary on Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine by Italian physician Gentilis de Fulgineo, 1477. Welcome LIbrary.

This was a chapter in the story of large-scale transmission of knowledge from the Islamic world to Europe .

From the 12th century on, Avicenna shaped the thought of major European medieval thinkers. Thomas Aquinas’s writings feature hundreds of quotations from Avicenna regarding issues such as God’s providence . Aquinas also sought

the Persian polymath who shaped modern science, medicine and philosophy

Over a thousand years ago, Nuh ibn Mansur, the reigning prince of the medieval city of Bukhara, fell badly ill. The doctors, unable to do anything for him, were forced to send for a young man named Ibn Sina, who was already renowned, despite his very young age, for his vast knowledge. The ruler was healed.

Ibn Sina was an 11th century Persian philosopher, physician, pharmacologist, scientist and poet, who exerted a profound impact on philosophy and medicine in Europe and the Islamic world. He was known to the Latin West as Avicenna.

Avicenna’s Canon of medicine, first translated from Arabic into Latin during the 12th century, was the most important medical reference book in the West until the 17th century, introducing technical medical terminology used for centuries afterwards.

‘Arabic Medicine’, 1907, by Veloso Salgado.
NOVA Medical School, Lisbon.

Avicenna’s Canon established a tradition of scientific experimentation in physiology without which modern medicine as we know it would be inconceivable.

For example, his use of scientific principles to test the safety and effectiveness of medications forms the basis of contemporary pharmacology and clinical trials.

Avicenna has been in the news recently due to his work on contagions. He produced an early version of the germ theory of disease in the Canon where he also advocated quarantine to control the transmission of contagious diseases.

Uniquely, Avicenna is the rare philosopher who became as influential on a foreign philosophical culture as his own. He is regarded by some as the greatest medieval thinker.




Read more:
Explainer: what Western civilisation owes to Islamic cultures


Maverick and prodigious

Avicenna’s birthplace, Bukhara.
Author provided

He was born Abdallāh ibn Sīnā in 980AD in Bukhara, (present day Uzbekistan, then part of the Iranian Samanid empire). Avicenna was prodigious from youth, claiming in his autobiography to have mastered all known philosophy by 18.

Avicenna’s output was extraordinarily prolific. One estimate of his body of work counts 132 texts. These cover logic, natural philosophy, cosmology, metaphysics, psychology, geology, and more. Some of these texts he wrote while on horseback, travelling from one city to another!

His work was a virtuosic kind of encylopedism, gathering the various traditions of Greek late antiquity, the early Islamic period and Iranian civilisation into one rational knowledge system covering all of reality.

Avicenna’s texts were forged out of the colossal Graeco-Arabic translation movement that took place in medieval Baghdad. They then played a key role in the Arabic to Latin translation movement that brought Aristotle’s philosophy back, in a highly enriched manner, into Western thought.

A Latin commentary on Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine by Italian physician Gentilis de Fulgineo, 1477.
Welcome LIbrary.

This was a chapter in the story of large-scale transmission of knowledge from the Islamic world to Europe.

From the 12th century on, Avicenna shaped the thought of major European medieval thinkers. Thomas Aquinas’s writings feature hundreds of quotations from Avicenna regarding issues such as God’s providence. Aquinas also sought to refute some of Avicenna’s positions such as that which argued

Has Fashionable Science And Medicine Done More Harm Than Good?

Health Savings Accounts assist you to arrange a tax-deductible account to pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by your medical health insurance. Naturopathic medicine relies on the idea in the physique’s personal therapeutic powers, which may be strengthened by way of the use of sure foods, nutritional vitamins, herbs, or different “natural” treatments. Remedy with therapeutic mineral water (balneology) is part of training in some European medical colleges.

Many diseases akin to smallpox, measles and skin ulcers have been handled in historical china with the medicine that had gold in it. Within the south, even right now, it’s extensively utilized in medicines for numerous therapies. This condition is pretty straight ahead, and there are various effective treatments and medicines.

Now, if every cell in our body is affected ultimately by our each thought then this makes it doable to influence our well being in a positive manner by breaking detrimental thought patterns & really conditioning our mind into positive patterns of thinking.

A nutritious diet, an active lifestyle plus the proper sorts of medications will certainly assist you attain your aim which is to help rid your self of blocked up arteries for good. Stress, fasting, “harsh” liver cleaning, gallbladder removal, dangerous eating habits, alcohol, some drugs, and recreation medicine badly affect in proper regulation and work of the sphincter of Oddi.

Hibiscus has been proven in medical trials to be efficient for decreasing blood strain, and it has even been compared with some prescription medicines, with promising results. If left untreated, this syndrome can result in complications including high blood pressure.…