EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #36

Reports that are of interest for the week

COVID-19 pandemic has caused the biggest decrease in life expectancy since World War II, study finds
A study by the University of Oxford looked at 29 countries including most of Europe, the United States, and Chile. Out of the 29 countries, 27 had reductions in life expectancy in 2020.

Social distancing measures in the spring of 2020 effectively curbed the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, study finds
Using mobile phone data and detailed figures from the Robert Koch Institute, a couple of authors were able to provide evidence that lockdown regulations at the beginning of the rise of COVID-19 prevented the disease from taking a much larger toll on the German population.

Biden gets COVID-19 booster shot before cameras, pushes vaccinations
On September 27th, US President Biden received a Pfizer vaccine booster, creating some confusion around when people should be getting booster shots. He simply stated that while boosters may be important, especially for those over 65, they are not as important as getting as many people vaccinated as possible.

Orlando Science Center holds COVID-19 vaccine event while educating visitors about them
On Saturday the 25th, the Orlando Science Center held an event that educated the public about COVID-19 vaccines and how the disease spreads. They also had people on site who could administer the vaccine shot and gave visitors a free return ticket so they could come again.

Chairman disbands panel investigating COVID-19’s origins saying its links to a nonprofit that worked with a Chinese lab raises bias concerns
A group of scientists that were studying the origins of COVID-19 has been disbanded by Jeffery Sachs, a professor at Columbia University. They had links with EcoHealth Alliance which worked with and gave funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which could cause some bias in their results.

Government’s plan to get South Africa taken off the UK’s red list: Report
Before the pandemic, UK visitors to South Africa was a crucial part of their tourism industry. South Africa is working hard to make it easier for UK citizens to visit without spreading COVID-19.

CDC director defends unusual decision on Pfizer’s Covid boosters: ‘This was a scientific close call’
This article talks about the decision to offer Pfizer booster vaccines to those 65 and older, teachers, health-care workers, and other essential workers. It also gives quotes and information directly from Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director.

UK-Chile science advice in the UK report launch
The British Embassy Santiago, the Science and Innovation Network and the Science and Government Department of the Chilean Science Ministry worked together to launch the ‘Science Advice in the UK’ report. This report looks at the way science advice is and has been presented in the UK and how it can be improved.