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The Race to Archive Social Posts That May Prove Russian War Crimes

April 11, 2022

(Wired) – In early April, as Ukraine started to regain control of Bucha and other small towns northwest of Kyiv, appalling imagery began to spread on Telegram and other social networks. Photos and videos showed bodies in the streets and anguished survivors describing loved ones, civilians, killed by Russian soldiers. In Chernivtsi, in western Ukraine, attorney Denys Rabomizo carefully built an archive of the gruesome evidence. His aim: to preserve social media posts that could help prove Russian war crimes. (Read More)

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How Hospitals Are Using AI to Save Lives

April 11, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – An algorithm may hold the key to saving your life in the emergency room. Hospitals are making a bet that artificial intelligence can help identify and treat patients at highest risk in their ERs, inpatient wards and intensive-care units, for dangers including the deadly infection sepsis and an impending cardiac arrest or stroke. Artificial-intelligence algorithms are processing vast troves of data in electronic medical records, searching for patterns to predict future outcomes and recommend treatments. They are creating early-warning systems to help hospital staff spot subtle but serious changes in a patient’s condition that aren’t always visible or noticed in a busy unit, and predicting which patients about to be discharged from the hospital are at highest risk of being readmitted. (Read More)

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Shanghai Has Recorded More Than 130,000 Covid Cases–And No Deaths

April 11, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – In a Covid-19 outbreak that has locked 25 million people at home, the city of Shanghai has reported more than 130,000 cases since March 1, but says there have been no deaths and currently only one patient with severe illness. The absence of deaths, and the low incidence of severe illness recorded in Shanghai as cases rise, stands out compared with outbreaks elsewhere, even accounting for the fact that Covid deaths often lag behind infections by several weeks. (Read More)

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Nursing Homes Face Growing Number of Lawsuits from Covid-19 Fallout

April 11, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Two years after the coronavirus ravaged through nursing homes, families of residents who died from Covid-19 are bringing a wave of negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against the facilities. The surge of suits, spurred by a repeal of liability protections and statutory deadlines to file the suits, largely accuses nursing homes of failing to properly curb the spread of disease, identify infected residents and treat their illnesses. (Read More)

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The Holocaust Memorial Undone By Another War

April 11, 2022

(The New Yorker) – After reclaiming Kyiv, Soviet authorities gave a group of foreign journalists a tour of Babyn Yar. The footage of that tour, along with pictures taken earlier by a Nazi photographer and a number of photos taken by a special Soviet state commission which were kept secret for seventy years, made up the visual record from the time. In 1946, while the Nuremberg trials were under way, a court in Kyiv tried fifteen German officers who had committed atrocities in Ukraine. Several witnesses and survivors testified. The court sentenced twelve of the defendants to death; they were hanged in the city’s central square, now known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square. But following those executions the Soviet Union banned any public discussion of what had happened to Kyiv’s Jews. (Read More)

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New Crop of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Could Be Easier to Store, Cheaper to Use

April 8, 2022

(Science) – The two COVID-19 vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) have been the breakout stars of the pandemic. Both trigger impressive immune responses with minimal side effects, and both did exceptionally well in efficacy trials. But the vaccines, produced by the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership and Moderna, have also split the world. Because of their high prices and their need to be stored at extremely low temperatures, few people in lower and middle-income countries have had access to them. That might soon change. More than a dozen new mRNA vaccines from 10 countries are now advancing in clinical studies, including one from China that’s already in a phase 3 trial. Some are easier to store, and many would be cheaper. (Read More)

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Doctors, Crater Disprove Russia’s Hospital Airstrike Misinfo

April 8, 2022

(Associated Press) – Three doctors and a paramedic spoke with The Associated Press to offer new details from a March 9 airstrike that happened when communications were all but severed, and to counter fresh Russian misinformation. They left the city separately in private cars, as have thousands from Mariupol in recent weeks, and are now scattered in other towns around Ukraine and in Poland. Their testimony, along with AP reporting, AP footage from the scene and interviews with munitions experts who analyzed the size of the shell crater, directly contradicts Russian claims that there was no airstrike. (Read More)

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Shanghai, in Lockdown, Struggles to Feed Itself

April 8, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – A citywide Covid-19 lockdown in China’s financial capital of Shanghai has badly disrupted food supplies, causing a wave of anxiety as residents ration dwindling stores of vegetables and staples. Covid-test requirements for truckers entering Shanghai have caused delays in the delivery of foods and other commodities. Within the city, many food delivery workers have been confined to their homes or choose not to work for fear of catching the virus, leaving fewer people to distribute food once it makes it into the city. (Read More)

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Food Prices Soar to Record Levels on Ukraine War Disruptions

April 8, 2022

(ABC News) – Prices for food commodities like grains and vegetable oils reached their highest levels ever last month largely because of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the “massive supply disruptions” it is causing, threatening millions of people in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere with hunger and malnourishment, the United Nations said Friday. (Read More)

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Researchers Discover Chinese Harvesting of Organs Before Brain Death

April 8, 2022

(WebMD Health News) – Researchers from Australia and Israel have found evidence of forced organ harvesting in China on people who were not first declared brain dead. Searching for documentation that organs people need to live are being harvested from executed prisoners who did not give their permission — a practice that the China Tribunal confirmed “beyond any reasonable doubt” in 2020 — Jacob Lavee, MD, an Israeli heart transplant surgeon, and Matthew Robertson, a PhD student at Australian National University, uncovered something even more shocking: that organs are being taken from patients who are still alive. (Read More)

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The Pandemic Exacerbates the ‘Paramedic Paradox’ in Rural America

April 8, 2022

(Kaiser Health News) – Paramedics are often the most highly skilled medical providers on emergency response crews, and their presence can make a lifesaving difference in rural areas where health services are scarce. Paramedics are trained to administer specialized care from the field, such as placing a breathing tube in a blocked airway or decompressing a collapsed lung. Such procedures are beyond the training of emergency medical technicians. But paramedics are hard to come by, and a long-standing workforce shortage has been exacerbated by turnover and resignations related to pandemic burnout. (Read More)

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Medicare Finalizes Its Restrictions on New Alzheimer’s Drug, Despite Pressure from Drugmakers

April 8, 2022

(STAT News) – Medicare on Thursday finalized its plan to restrict coverage for the controversial, pricey Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm to patients participating in clinical trials. The decision marks the end of an intense pressure campaign from drugmakers and some patient groups who wanted Medicare to reverse its initial proposal and pay for the drug for more patients. As clinical trials are usually run out of major medical centers, the decision will likely mean some interested patients won’t be able to access the drug. However, Medicare isn’t explicitly requiring that patients be treated at hospital-based clinics like the initial proposal. (Read More)

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How a Zambian Morgue Is Exposing the Real Covid Toll in Africa

April 8, 2022

(MIT Technology Review) – The morgue at Lusaka’s University Teaching Hospital (UTH), a sprawling brick facility near the center of Zambia’s capital, is not the most pleasant place to carry out a clinical study. Inside the cavernous interior, newly arrived bodies linger unattended—on rolling metal tables or on the concrete floor wrapped in blankets. Others lie stacked on open-air racks, where some stay unclaimed for months. The stench is overwhelming. But it is here, among the cadavers at Zambia’s largest hospital, that researchers are finally close to solving one of the pandemic’s enduring mysteries: why Africa appeared to have been spared the brunt of the covid death toll experienced elsewhere. The truth, it increasingly appears, is that it wasn’t. (Read More)

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Horrors of Ukraine’s Bucha Laid Bare on Yablunska Street

April 8, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – The shootings on Yablunska were part of what residents and Ukrainian officials say was a spree of killing, raping and looting that marked Russia’s monthlong occupation of Bucha, a well-heeled town on the northwestern outskirts of Kyiv. Several hundred civilians were killed there, say Ukrainian officials, who want to make Bucha a prime exhibit for an investigation into potential war crimes in areas occupied by Russian forces. Moscow has denied targeting civilians in its military assault on Ukraine and called the video and photographic images from Bucha staged. (Read More)

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Researchers Identify New Genetic Link to Schizophrenia

April 8, 2022

(Washington Post) – Researchers have found variations in a small number of genes that appear to dramatically increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia in some people. The interplay of a wide array of other genes is implicated for most people with schizophrenia, a severe brain disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions and inability to function. But for some who possess mutations in the 10 genes identified in the new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the likelihood of developing the disease can be 10, 20 and even 50 times greater. (Read More)

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‘He Is a Child of War’: Giving Birth Amid Chaos in Ukraine

April 7, 2022

(New York Times) – The Russian assault on Ukraine has been a nightmare for expectant mothers, particularly in cities like Mariupol, Kharkiv and Chernihiv that have been under almost constant bombardment from the beginning of the war in late February. In the besieged city of Mariupol, in southern Ukraine, last month, Russian artillery struck a maternity hospital, resulting in the death of a pregnant woman and wounding a number of others, according to the Ukrainian authorities. (Read More)

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Up to 65% of Africans Have Had COVID, Far More Than Thought

April 7, 2022

(Associated Press) – The World Health Organization said that up to 65% of people in Africa have been infected with the coronavirus and estimates the number of actual cases may have been nearly 100 times more than those reported. In a new analysis released Thursday, the U.N. health agency reviewed 151 studies of COVID-19 in Africa based on blood samples taken from people on the continent between January 2020 and December 2021. WHO said that by last September, about 65% of people tested had some exposure to COVID-19, translating into about 800 million infections. In contrast, only about 8 million cases had been officially reported to WHO during that time period. (Read More)

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Shanghai Residents Plead for Help Online as Daily Covid-19 Count Nears 20,000

April 7, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Nearly a week into a citywide lockdown to combat a Covid-19 outbreak, many of Shanghai’s 25 million residents turned to social media for help to get food, medicine or, if they are taken away for quarantine, advice on what to do with their pets. Cases continued to rise, and neighboring provinces were preparing to take some of the overflow of Shanghai residents needing to go into quarantine. Shanghai reported nearly 20,000 new local infections Wednesday compared with a little over 17,000 the previous day, according to the city’s health commission. Over 98% of the new cases are asymptomatic, authorities said. Nationwide, the country reported almost 23,000 new cases. (Read More)

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Families Grappling with Baby Formula Shortages

April 7, 2022

(Axios) – Parents and caregivers looking for baby formula are facing increasingly dire shortages owing to supply chain challenges and a massive recall. 29% of baby formula inventory was out of stock nationally the week of March 13, up from 18% when the year started and 3% a year earlier, according to data analyzed for Axios by consumer product data analytics firm Datasembly. (Read More)

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Betrayal, Guilt, Shame: Trauma Among Health Care Workers Comparable to That of Combat Vets

April 7, 2022

(NBC News) – As Covid cases surged across the U.S. in spring 2020, comparisons were routinely made between war zones and hospitals in a state of chaos. Health care workers of any specialty — from urologists to plastic surgeons — were recruited to help with the tsunami of extremely ill patients. Intensive care specialists were unable to save lives. Many thousands of patients died alone without loved ones because hospitals barred visitors. And workers were constantly terrified that they, too, would get sick or infect their families. The war zone comparisons may not have been far off the mark: In a study published Tuesday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers reported that the levels of mental health distress felt by doctors, nurses, first responders and other health care personnel early in the pandemic were comparable to what’s seen in soldiers who served in combat zones. (Read More)

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