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Self-Driving Cars Could Be Potential Crime Witnesses

May 13, 2022

(Axios) – The police in San Francisco see camera-laden autonomous vehicles as potential witnesses in their criminal investigations, setting off alarm bells for privacy advocates, VICE reportsWhy it matters: As Axios has reported, self-driving cars capture and store huge databases of images so that they can train their algorithms and become better drivers. What that means is that bystanders are often captured in the footage, raising privacy concerns. (Read More)

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U.S. Factory Destroyed More Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Than Previously Thought, Lawmakers Say

May 13, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Hundreds of millions more doses of Covid-19 vaccines than previously disclosed were destroyed due to quality problems at Emergent BioSolutions Inc.’s Baltimore plant, according to a new report from Congress. In total, key ingredients that would have amounted to roughly 400 million Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca PLC vaccine doses were discarded, according to the report released Tuesday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. That was much more than the 75 million doses—and later 85 million doses—that government and company officials had said. (Read More)

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Shanghai to Try to Ease 7-Week Virus Lockdown in a Few Days

May 13, 2022

(Associated Press) – Shanghai will try again to reopen in a few days after it has eliminated COVID-19 transmission among the general population as the outbreak in China’s largest city subsides, an official said Friday. The strict lockdown of the city — now in its seventh week, but lifted and reinforced at times to the frustration of residents — is part of the ruling Communist Party’s “zero-COVID” policy that has exacted a mounting economic toll and that even the World Health Organization says may be unsustainable. (Read More)

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North Korea Says 6 Dead as Covid-19 Spread ‘Explosively’

May 13, 2022

(New York Times) – The coronavirus has been spreading across North Korea “explosively” since late last month, killing six people and leaving 187,800 people in quarantine, the country’s state media reported on Friday. Health officials made the rare admission of an emerging public health crisis after the country reported its first outbreak of the virus — after long insisting it had no infections and refusing outside humanitarian aid to fight any spread. The announcement of fatalities came as the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, was visiting the national disease-control headquarters on Thursday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said. (Read More)

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Publication of the ‘Google Maps’ of Human Cells Is a Milestone. A Pioneer of the Project Explains Why

May 12, 2022

(STAT News) – Starting about a decade ago, a group of scientists began conducting a cellular census of every tissue in the human body to find out what cells actually live there, using a powerful new technology called single-cell RNA sequencing. It illuminates which parts of the genome a cell uses to conduct its unique task. The international collaborative effort, called the Human Cell Atlas, has since grown to include more than 2,000 researchers from 83 countries. And on Thursday, they reported a major feat: the creation of detailed maps of more than a million cells across 33 organs. (Read More)

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The Man Who Controls Computers With His Mind

May 12, 2022

(New York Times) – Only a few dozen people on the planet have had neural interfaces embedded in their cortical tissue as part of long-term clinical research. DeGray is now one of the most experienced and dedicated among them. Since that initial trial, he has spent more than 1,800 hours spanning nearly 400 training sessions controlling various forms of technology with his mind. He has played a video game, manipulated a robotic limb, sent text messages and emails, purchased products on Amazon and even flown a drone — just a simulator, for now — all without lifting a finger. Together, DeGray and similar volunteers are exploring the frontier of a technology with the potential to fundamentally alter how humans and machines interact. (Read More)

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U.S. Civil Rights Enforcers Warn Employers Against Biased AI

May 12, 2022

(Associated Press) – The federal government said Thursday that artificial intelligence technology to screen new job candidates or monitor worker productivity can unfairly discriminate against people with disabilities, sending a warning to employers that the commonly used hiring tools could violate civil rights laws. (Read More)

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At Least 3000 Have Died in Ukraine for Want of Disease Treatment: WHO

May 11, 2022

(Medscape) – The World Health Organization’s European chief said on Tuesday that at least 3,000 people had died in Ukraine because they had been unable to access treatments for chronic diseases. So far, the global health agency has documented some 200 attacks in Ukraine on healthcare facilities, and few hospitals are currently functioning, the official, Hans Kluge, told a regional meeting attended by 53 member states as well as senior colleagues from WHO. (Read More)

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In Radical Claim, Study Suggests Inflammation Wards Off Chronic Pain Instead of Causing It

May 11, 2022

(STAT News) – The results, reported Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, repudiated much of what she and other pain researchers believed about how an initial bout of acute pain can develop into a chronic and debilitating condition. A large body of research suggests that chronic inflammation is a key driver of chronic pain, so many pain specialists focused on hosing down inflammation from the earliest sign of injury, extinguishing the immunological fire before it got out of control. Diatchenko’s results, however, suggest that initial inflammation is necessary for the body to recover. (Read More)

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US Overdose Deaths Hit Record 107,000 Last Year, CDC Says

May 11, 2022

(Associated Press) – More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation’s escalating overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Wednesday. The provisional 2021 total translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes. It marked a 15% increase from the previous record, set the year before. The CDC reviews death certificates and then makes an estimate to account for delayed and incomplete reporting. (Read More)

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Wartime Birth Amid the Air Raid Sirens in Ukraine Hospitals

May 11, 2022

(Associated Press) – It’s easy to tell the delivery room from the rest of the main maternity hospital in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv, even from the outside. Its exterior wall is piled high with sandbags. In the dim basement, where heavily pregnant women must bend low to avoid the water pipes, there is a delivery table in case the baby comes amid the air raid sirens. Stress is part of childbirth, but it’s not meant to be like this.  At least 49 attacks have targeted medical facilities in Ukraine since the Feb. 24 Russian invasion, including a maternity hospital bombed in March in Mariupol, where Associated Press images of a wounded pregnant woman being rushed from the rubble on a stretcher were seen around the world, personifying the horror of the attack on civilians. The woman and her baby later died. (Read More)

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The Tiniest Babies: Shifting the Boundary of Life Earlier

May 11, 2022

(Associated Press) – Until recently, trying to save babies born this early would have been futile. Butler was in the fifth month of her pregnancy, one day past 21 weeks gestation. That’s seven weeks earlier than what doctors once considered “the lower limit of viability,” the earliest an infant could possibly survive outside the womb. But over the last half century, medical science has slowly shifted that boundary downward. And that’s made viability — a word many associate with the abortion debate — key to decisions about desperately wanted babies at the very edge of life. (Read More)

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Shanghai’s Covid Lockdown Leaves Thousands Sleeping in Its Streets

May 11, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Shanghai’s lockdown has kept tens of millions of residents trapped indoors for a month and a half. Thousands of others in China’s wealthiest city have found themselves in the opposite predicament: living in the street. Victims of the same strict Covid-19 rules that are keeping most residents homebound, many of the newly homeless are migrant laborers from rural areas and smaller cities who often live hand-to-mouth while sharing an apartment with other workers. (Read More)

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Company Hit Problems with COVID Vaccines from FDA

May 10, 2022

(Medical Xpress) – Evidence of quality control problems was hidden by a company contracted by the U.S. government to produce hundreds of millions of COVID vaccine doses, a new House committee report shows. It noted that Emergent BioSolutions didn’t disclose the issues at its Bayview plant in Baltimore to U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors in February 2021, six weeks before the company told federal officials that 15 million doses had been contaminated, The New York Times reported. (Read More)

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The ‘Five Pandemics’ Driving 1 Million U.S. Covid Deaths

May 10, 2022

(STAT News) – Officially, the U.S. will almost certainly reach an awful milestone in the next two weeks: its one millionth recorded Covid-19 death. In reality, this milestone was likely unofficially crossed days or weeks ago, and we’ll never know the exact toll or the identity of the pandemic’s actual millionth victim. Nor are humans well-equipped to fully grasp loss on this scale, let alone the magnitude of a global toll estimated to be as high as 14.9 million. One way to start understanding how a country as advanced as the U.S. lost so many people is to look at the ocean of public health data that was gathered as 1 million individual tragedies rippled through civic life. Analysis of the data will continue for years, but it is clear that, when it comes to deadliness, there were five different pandemics — depending on when and where you lived, and who you were. (Read More)

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For Widows in Africa, COVID-19 Stole Husbands, Homes, Future

May 10, 2022

(ABC News) – Across Africa, widowhood has long befallen great numbers of women — particularly in the continent’s least developed countries where medical facilities are scarce. Many widows are young, having married men decades older. And in some countries, men frequently have more than one wife, leaving several widows behind when they die. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has created an even larger population of widows on the continent, with African men far more likely to die of the virus than women, and it has exacerbated the issues they face. (Read More)

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Firearm Homicides Hit Highest Level Since 1994

May 10, 2022

(Axios) – The firearm homicide rate in the U.S. reached its highest level since 1994 during the first year of the COVID pandemic, with significant racial and class disparities, according to a CDC report published Tuesday. Driving the news: 2020 saw a historic rise in homicides in the U.S., and the upward trend continued into 2021. About 79% of homicides and 53% of suicides in the U.S. involved firearms in 2020, according to the CDC report. (Read More)

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The Promising Treatment for Long COVID We’re Not Even Trying

May 10, 2022

(The Atlantic) – To date, no established treatments exist for long COVID. But in recent weeks, a smattering of long-haulers—McGovern among them—have been surprised to feel their sicknesses subside after taking Pfizer’s new drug. The case for treating long COVID with antivirals is far from open-and-shut. But should these anecdotal reports augur a flood of similar data, Paxlovid might offer a surprisingly straightforward fix to one of the pandemic’s biggest puzzles. Long COVID is so ranging, so diverse, so capable of wreaking havoc on a multitude of tissues that treatment, for many, will undoubtedly require the rehabilitation of many bodily systems at once. Maybe, though, for a subset of long-haulers, a few days of antiviral pills could be all it takes to rev the healing process into gear. (Read More)

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BioNTech Completes Phase II Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine in China

May 10, 2022

(Reuters) – Vaccine developer BioNTech completed a Phase II clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in China in January but has yet to release its results, a registry of such trials showed on Tuesday. The vaccine, based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, is one of the most widely used worldwide against COVID, but has yet to receive approval in China, which has vaccinated 89% of its 1.4 billion population with several domestically developed non-mRNA shots. (Read More)

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Shanghai’s Covid Lockdown Gets Tougher: ‘If One Person Tests Positive, the Whole Building Isolates’

May 10, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – After six weeks of strict lockdown, Shanghai authorities are again tightening Covid-19 restrictions amid a renewed push by central-government officials to eradicate the virus, sparking a new wave of frustration in the coastal city of 25 million people. Though Shanghai officials haven’t formally announced any new citywide measures, residential communities and grass-roots authorities have expanded the scope of people being taken into centralized quarantine while cutting off deliveries of nonessentials to swaths of the city, according to half a dozen Shanghai residents who have received notices and shared them with The Wall Street Journal. (Read More)

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