EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #33

Reports that are of interest for the week

When politics makes science impossible
This article talks about what happened in the past year with trying to discover the origins of the coronavirus. It then talks about how policy has affected and is affecting this research. 

Largest study of masks yet details their importance in fighting Covid-19
A randomized research study was done with 340,000 people in Bangladesh across 600 different villages to understand the effectiveness of surgical masks to lower the transmission of coronavirus. It found that there was an 11.9 percent decrease in COVID-19 symptoms and a decrease in overall Covid cases. 

Demand surges for deworming drug for Covid, despite scant evidence it works
Ivermectin is a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms and has not helped people infected with COVID-19 in clinical trials, however, there has been a sharp rise in prescriptions for this drug, about 88,000 per week. 

COVID-19 vaccination rate must rise above 85% to avoid fall lockdown, Ontario modelling shows
As the Delta variant spreads, Ontario plans ahead to the fall. They found that 85% of their eligible population needs to be vaccinated to avoid lockdown and until then they need to reduce contact between people by 70%

Health officials advise White House to scale back booster plan for now
The US government has made the decision to start offering boosters to adults who had received their second vaccine at least eight months ago on September 20th. However, many health officials are telling them to hold off until there is more evidence that it will make a difference. 

Scientists not backing Covid jabs for 12 to 15-year-olds
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization in the UK has decided that the gain from getting the vaccine does not outweigh the potential costs for children aged 12-15 years. 

China’s trade hit record levels last month despite the global shipping process
China’s trade has not been negatively affected by the pandemic. Exports have spiked 25.6% and imports have also risen by 33.1% in August from a year ago, showing resilience and strength in the Chinese economy.