EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #8

Reports that are of interest for the week

Covid-19 risk increases with airborne pollen
Airborne pollen can significantly influence infection rates, studies show. 154 researchers analyzed pollen data from 130 stations in 31 countries on five continents found that pollen can increase infection rates up to 20% more.

CDC released highly anticipated guidance for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19
If you have been vaccinated, the CDC has finally released guidelines on what they believe is safe while other people have been vaccinated. They have said that being around low risk people without masks is okay, as well as being around others who have been vaccinated. However, in public spaces, masks are still advised.

Why certain lifestyles and interests may have influenced COVID-19 decision-making more than others
This article goes into the decision-making process behind British politicians around their policies for COVID-19. It talks about how some people were prioritized over others and what is influencing those decision.

Column: What COVID-19 taught us about science this year
• This article talks about what things we have learned from the COVID-19 virus including the versatility of biomedical research, vaccine and biotechnology development, and racial disparities in medicine and health treatments.

A year ago, we asked 6 questions about COVID-19. Here’s how the answers evolved
This article talks about how when the virus first came out, ScienceNews wrote six specific questions and tried to answer them. Now, they have answered the questions to the best of their ability and still have more questions to answer.

Helpful behavior during pandemic tied to recognizing common humanity
This research goes into the human psychology of why people choose to follow pandemic guidelines. It found that over patriotism, a connection to humanity caused people to follow guidelines and help one another.

‘Pandemic within a pandemic’: Expert sounds the alarm over variants in Ontario
According to Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, 42% of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases are variants of concern, so while rates of the older variant of the virus are going down, rates of new variants are going up.

Biggest challenge facing Covid-19 vaccination effort? Getting Americans off the fence
A third of people who took part in a Kaiser Family Foundation survey fell into the ‘wait and see’ category for taking the vaccine. This becomes an issue as covid variants continue to mutate, and getting people vaccinated can help slow that process down.

Survivors struggle as scientists race to solve COVID mystery
Long-haulers are talked about in this article and their lingering symptoms. Studies are being done to see why this happens (there are theories as to why) as well as what effects they have.

Environmental Justice Plays a Key Role in Biden’s Covid-19 Stimulus Package
Americans who have been exposed to disproportionate air pollution are more likely to have more severe complications with COVID-19. Biden’s stimulus package aims to correct this by giving money to these people and showing that he is aware of the problem.

Over six Covid-19 vaccines to come up in India, says Health Minister Harsh Vardhan
This article gives an overview of how India is doing with giving out vaccines while also talking about the great impact that India has had on creating and distributing vaccines.

Fighting the First Wave: What is the relationship between political choices and scientific advice?
In a five-minute video, Peter Baldwin aims to answer the question of: What is the relationship between political choices and scientific advice? How has this changed over the course of the pandemic?

Roger Pielke, Jr. on shadow science advice
Roger Pielke Jr and Toby Wardman of SAPEA Communications talk about science advice in a podcast. They aim to answer the following questions: Can unofficial or self-appointed science advice structured be valuable, or are they establishing? What responsibilities does a science advisory have when the disagree with the consensus view? What’s going wrong, if anything, and a politician picks up the phone and calls their own favorite scientists for input?