EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #1

Reports that are of interest for the week

Wired article of the WHO advisory committee looking into COVID -19 origins 
There are two major investigations going on to understand where the COVID-19 outbreak came from. They are led by the World Health Organization and the medical journal The Lancet. It is believed that if the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak are understood, we can “better prepare for future pandemic threats”.

Interim Report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response 
"The Panel will continue to gather evidence and to analyze the main features of national and subnational responses, including the relationship between decision-makers and sources of scientific advice, the timeliness of decisions taken, the coordination between subnational and national government responses and the degree of decentralization in national health systems, whether there were perceived trade-offs between economic costs and public health responses, the role of communities in shaping responses, and the extent to which the international system was able to respond to national needs, including through the quality and consistency of its advice."

Royal Society of Canada report on “Public Representations of #COVID-19 Science”  
"COVID science is being both done and circulated at a furious pace. While it is inspiring to see the research community responding so vigorously to the pandemic crisis, all this activity has also created a churning sea of bad data, conflicting results, and exaggerated headlines.” 

Scientific American “Biden Names Top Geneticist Eric Lander as Science Advisor” 
Biden names Eric Lander as a science advisor and gives him five things to focus on including “how to draw lessons from the pandemic to inform public health more broadly and how science and technology breakthroughs could help address climate change.”

UK officials resist calls by doctors to cut the delay between vaccine doses 
Due to a lack of vaccine resources and troubles with distribution, the UK has been slower getting out doses of the vaccine. There is debate around the effectiveness of the vaccine the longer a person waits to get the second dosage, but it does provide protection either way.  Similar Article from BBC.

Jones-ing for COVID Data
“Last week, Rebekah Jones, the scientist ousted from her position formatting COVID data for Florida Department of Health (DOH), said she will be returning to Florida to face criminal charges related to cybersecurity.”

Black Churches Step in to Help Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines 
Pastor R. B. Holmes Jr is grouping together with other churches and black communities in Florida to provide vaccines in a comfortable, more accessible way. This article also provides information about racism within medicine. 

3 Reasons Scientists are Optimistic Under President Biden 
The three reasons are, according to this author: “the elevation and restoration of science”, freedom of scientists being able to tell the population what they know, and no longer having fear or constant conflict between the scientists and the president. 

Covid-19 Updates: Biden Officials Confront US Vaccination Woes 
This article aims to give an explanation around many concerns people in the US are having regarding the vaccine. This includes Biden’s goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days and concerns around governor’s purchasing the vaccines and distributing them themselves. 

Dramatic changes to radiotherapy treatments due to COVID-19
The author David Lewis explains how the distribution of radiotherapy had to change because of the pandemic and how it affected the patients. It provides an explaination on how well hospitals in England were able to react and still provide the care needed to these cancer patients. 

Emerging Secrets of the Coronavirus Task Force
This article gives a look into what was happening with the plans for the pandemic under the Trump administration. Specifically, the controversy between the science and facts and what was actually being said. 

Strengthening preparedness for health emergencies: implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005)
This is an “Interim progress report of the Review Committee on the Functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 Response” including information with communication between the science and the people, the responses of the people, and what kind of impact the pandemic is having on the US.