COVID Policies Should Be Decided by Public Health Agencies, Not Corporations

The grinding two-plus years of the pandemic have yielded outsize benefits for one company — Pfizer — making it both highly influential and hugely profitable as COVID-19 continues to infect tens of thousands of people and kill hundreds each day. Its success in developing COVID medicines has given the drugmaker unusual weight in determining U.S. health policy. Based on internal research, the company’s executives have frequently announced the next stage in the fight against the pandemic before government officials have had time to study the issue, annoying many experts in the medical field and leaving some patients unsure whom to…

How your brainwaves could be used in criminal trials

An expert explains the technology behind a brainwave test that could change the way crimes are investigated.

Five things you can do to help you have a more positive birth experience

Don't be afraid to make your preferences clear to your care provider. Syda Productions/ Shutterstock Whether you’re a first time parent or have had children before, you’re probably willing to try anything to ensure you have the most positive birth experience you can. After all, the kind of birth experience you have can not only affect your own mental health, but can have an affect on parent-child bonding, as well as partner-to-partner relationships for years after giving birth. It can be confusing to know what to expect or where to turn to for advice, especially as maternity services have changed…

Monkeypox may not mutate as fast as coronaviruses, but that doesn’t mean it can’t adapt to its new hosts

The recent outbreak of monkeypox virus has called into question the capabilities of these kinds large DNA viruses to evolve, adapt and change their biology. Compared with small RNA viruses such as coronavirus, monkeypox virus and other large DNA viruses are thought to evolve slowly. Yet there’s clear evidence that this really isn’t a hindrance to these viruses. In fact, they can adapt to new environments like us. Although most infections remain mild, monkeypox can be a serious life-threatening disease, resulting in sepsis, encephalitis (brain inflammation) and blindness. The most common symptoms are rash and skin lesions, alongside flu-like symptoms…

Many Nations Have Used COVID to Impose the Tyranny of Transnational Capital

The following is an excerpt from the Introduction to Global Civil War: Capitalism Post-Pandemic, which has just been released by PM Press. Not far from my home in Los Angeles are about a hundred houses that have been boarded up for years. The houses were bought up by the city in the late twentieth century through eminent domain in order to make way for an extension of the 710 freeway that dead ends into my El Sereno neighborhood. But opposition from affluent communities further east eventually killed the project, leaving the houses to lay vacant. Meanwhile, there were on any…

Activists Say WTO Deal on Vaccine Patents Is “Sham” Dictated by Rich Nations

The World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial Conference ended Friday with an agreement on patent rights that campaigners said would do virtually nothing to address vast global inequities in coronavirus vaccine and treatment access, a failure they attributed to relentless obstruction by rich countries and the pharmaceutical industry. Reached after marathon negotiations, the narrow deal clarifies governments’ ability to use compulsory licensing to ramp up vaccine production without the consent of patent-holding pharmaceutical companies. The agreement also temporarily eases restrictions on the export of vaccines produced under compulsory licenses. The final text, which is set to remain in effect for a…

Medicare for All Could Have Prevented 338,000 COVID Deaths in the US

A universal health care system could have saved more than 338,000 lives in the United States by preventing roughly one in three deaths resulting from the COVID-19 infections through March 2022, according to a new study. A single-payer health care system would also have saved the nation an estimated $105.6 billion in health care costs associated with COVID treatments and hospitalizations, leading the study’s authors to conclude that universal health care, often called “Medicare for All,” is both a moral and financial imperative for policymakers. Published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, the study…

Board games: how playing them online can bring grandparents and grandchildren closer together

Video calls with younger relatives can be awkward - but only if we let them.

Jurassic World Dominion: a palaeontologist on what the film gets wrong about dinosaurs

The biggest crime of the film was exaggerating the size of dinosaurs.

State Audit Reveals Florida Undercounted COVID Deaths by Thousands

An audit released by the state of Florida on Monday suggests that information that the state released to the public during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic was inaccurate and incomplete. The report, conducted over the past year by the Florida Auditor General, examined the state’s COVID-19 response from March to October 2020. The audit reviewed a sample of tests from three separate state-run facilities in its investigation — and ultimately came to the conclusion that data on case and death counts frequently went unreported, and that the state often failed to adhere to protocols regarding the virus. State-contracted…

COVID Is Not Behind Us — It’s Still Sending Children to the Emergency Room

“Americans have declared an unofficial end to the pandemic,” writes Robert Pearl, M.D. for Forbes. “Most people are no longer willing to mask up, keep their kids out of school or avoid spending time with family and friends…. Americans are moving on from Covid-19, whether or not health-policy experts believe they should.” All over, you say? Someone forgot to tell that to the preschool-aged son of my dear friend and colleague, a 4-year-old who presented with a viciously spiked fever over the weekend. As with nearly 4 million children in the U.S., my colleague’s child is susceptible to seizures if…

Nobel Laureate Calls for Ending Intellectual Property Rules for COVID Vaccines

Social entrepreneur and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus on Saturday called for a comprehensive waiver of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, declaring that “freeing” the technology “from profit and patent is the key” to a global health system that puts human lives above corporate profit. In an op-ed published Saturday in Stat news, Yunus — who’s previously joined with other Nobel laureates in pushing for an end to intellectual property barriers — pointed to the global inequality in access to vaccines. He referenced Oxfam’s estimate that it could take an additional two and a half years…

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