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Climate change could make us dumber… literally – BGR

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Some might argue that mankind’s gradual destruction of planet Earth is proof that we’re not the smartest species around. I mean, how smart can we really be if we, as a species, refuse to correct our wrongs in the most dramatic way possible? Yeah, we’re not terribly smart.

Now, new research shows that as the human-caused climate crisis worsens, one of the symptoms of our increasingly sick planet may be dumber and dumber humans. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, this probably isn’t going to end well.

The new research paper, written by a team of scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder, the Colorado School of Public Health, and the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that the gradual rise of CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere could cause cognitive decline in humans as a whole.

CO2 is a byproduct of many different types of human activity and, as we continue to destroy forests and foliage that help scrub the air and provide humans and other animals with breathable air, the amount of CO2 in our air gradually climbs. Studies have shown that too much CO2 in the air can trigger cognitive issues, decreasing the ability of a person to focus and hinder learning.

Getting a few breaths of oxygen-rich “fresh” air tends to clear that up, but in a future where fresh air becomes harder and harder to come by, it could lead to an overall “dumbening” of the human race. For the study, researchers simulated two different future scenarios. In both, students would perform various tasks in rooms where the air has different concentrations of CO2. Based on established data regarding how CO2 impacts cognition, the researchers crunched the numbers and came up with some pretty scary results.

The researchers report that in the first scenario, students were still exposed to so much CO2 that their cognitive abilities were decreased by 25 percent by 2100. In the second, which was the business-as-usual scenario, the students were exposed to so much CO2 when the windows were opened that they experienced a 50 percent reduction in cognitive ability.

It’s just a theoretical experiment, but the scenario the researchers used assumes that humans are unable to curb their CO2 emissions by the year 2100. We’d hope that wouldn’t be the case, but things were to play out in this way, the amount of CO2 in the air would lead to a 50% reduction in cognitive ability.

A future where the human race is even dumber? Sounds about right.

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Teen working in long-term-care home identified as Yassin Dabeh, a Syrian refugee who fled to Canada for a better life – Toronto Star

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Nearly five years ago, Yassin Dabeh’s family fled war-torn Syria for a better life in Canada.

Now the family has been confronted with the unspeakable horror of watching Dabeh become the youngest person in the Middlesex-London area to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dabeh, 19, worked as a contract cleaner at the Middlesex Terrace Long Term Care home in Delaware, Ont., just west of London, and died after contracting the virus, said Mohamad Fakih, a businessman and philanthropist, who spoke with the young man’s father.

“In 2016, they arrived as immigrants from Syria,” said Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, who reached out to the grieving family to offer financial assistance for the funeral. “He said that the community came together and paid for the funeral.”

Fakih said the teenager, who had three brothers and one sister, died on Thursday and was buried on Friday.

To honour Dabeh’s life in his own way, Fakih asked the organizers of a biweekly community outreach event in which 500 meals are cooked for those in need in Regent Park, if Sunday’s event could be held in Dabeh’s memory. They agreed.

Fakih said Dabeh’s father cried when he told him the meals would be served in his son’s honour.

“People need to feel that they’re not alone, especially if they’re refugees,” said Fakih, an immigrant himself who came to Canada from Lebanon more than 20 years ago. “We want to show them that … Canadians, we’re all one big family and they’re not alone. He was very appreciative, the father.”

Details around Dabeh’s death, and its cause, are still emerging.

Dr. Alex Summers, Middlesex-London Health Unit’s associate medical officer of health, told the Star he couldn’t confirm Dabeh’s identity, but only that a male between the ages of 10 and 19 who worked at a long-term-care home had died after testing positive for the virus.

“Obviously a death amongst somebody recently diagnosed with COVID in this age group is a surprise to many and something that is tragic,” said Summers, adding that the deceased was the youngest individual in the health unit region to have died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The public health unit investigation is primarily on understanding where individuals contracted an infectious disease such as COVID and where it might be spread and trying to intervene to limit transmission,” he noted.

He said that the case in question was considered “resolved,” meaning that the patient was no longer infectious.

“Certainly COVID as a virus can have implications for people well beyond whether or not somebody’s infectious,” Summers said. “Sometimes the repercussions can extend beyond the infectious period certainly. In this instance, all I can share is unfortunately a person of that age recently diagnosed with COVID has passed away.”

According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit, an outbreak was declared at the Middlesex Terrace Long Term Care Home on Dec. 23 and remains “active.” The number of infections at the home is not published.

In the health unit as a whole, there have been 601 COVID-19 cases, 292 of which have been among residents and 309 in staff members, as well as 79 deaths.

Mary Raithby, CEO of APANS Health Services, the company that owns the network of homes to which Middlesex Terrance belongs, said in an email to the Star that “we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Yassin.”

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“Out of respect for their loss and grief, we are declining any interview or statement requests at this time,” she said.

Unifor Local 302, which represents employees at Middlesex Terrace, told the Star that Dabeh was not one of its members, but that it sends its “deepest sympathies to this young man’s family and friends.”

Some politicians took to social media Sunday to express their thoughts on Dabeh’s death.

On Twitter, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called Dabeh’s death “a tragedy.”

“Essential workers are at risk every day,” Singh wrote. “Paid sick days, faster vaccine rollout and access to PPE are needed urgently — to save lives.”

“My sincerest condolences to this young man’s family, friends, & loved ones — and all victims of COVID-19,” tweeted London mayor Ed Holder. “The virus doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, race, religion, or creed. Everybody needs to take this seriously, otherwise anybody can find themselves at risk.”

Samir Sinha, director of geriatrics at the Sinai Health System and University Health Network, said the vast majority of young people who get COVID-19 experience mild, asymptomatic courses. But he said there is a very small segment of young people who get serious and hard-to-treat bouts of the virus that require hospitalization.

“One of the biggest reasons people die due to influenza is not actually due to influenza but because influenza can actually trigger other issues,” he said. “For a lot of older people, influenza can actually trigger a pneumonia or a co-infection with something like pneumonia. It can also, if you have something like heart disease, trigger you to actually have a heart attack or other things.”

Sinha noted that it is really hard to say at this stage what may have happened to Dabeh.

“It could have been something completely unrelated … or it might have been that COVID-19 triggered something else or caused something else to get worse.”

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Dentists, teachers disappointed they won’t be prioritized for vaccine in B.C. – Global News

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Dentists, bus drivers and teachers are among the essential workers who are disappointed they won’t be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia.

B.C. rolled out its vaccination plan on Friday, revealing that after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized, shots will be given out according to age, with the oldest residents first in line.

That means many people who have not been able to work from home during the pandemic, including grocery store workers, police officers and mail carriers, will have to wait to get the vaccine along with others in their age group.

Read more:
Boost school safety if B.C. teachers won’t get COVID-19 vaccine early, union says

The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan strongly urging him to include dentists in Stage 2 of the vaccination plan, alongside family doctors and medical specialists.

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“Dentistry is an essential service. More importantly, dental care, including aerosol-generating dental procedures, are provided to patients who cannot wear a mask during treatment,” said association president Dr. Anthony Nadolski in the letter.






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B.C. teachers and grocery store workers won’t get COVID-19 shots early


B.C. teachers and grocery store workers won’t get COVID-19 shots early

“B.C. dentists continue to do everything they can to ensure dental offices are safe for patients and staff. Early access to vaccines will ensure continued access to urgent and emergency dental care.”

Other agencies such as the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have included dentists and dental workers in Stage 2 along with doctors and specialists not directly involved in providing care to COVID-19 patients, Nadolski added.

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More recently, Ontario included dentistry in its second stage because dentists generally provide in-person care and many dental procedures are urgent and cannot be delayed, he said.

The B.C. Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

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The province initially suggested that people delivering essential services such as teachers, grocery store workers and those in law enforcement could be prioritized to get the vaccine.

But when the finalized plan was released on Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said scientific evidence supports an age-based approach because older populations are at much higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19.


Click to play video 'The immense logistical challenge of B.C.’s mass vaccination program'



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The immense logistical challenge of B.C.’s mass vaccination program


The immense logistical challenge of B.C.’s mass vaccination program

Currently, hospital workers, Indigenous communities and long-term care home residents, staff and essential visitors are among those being vaccinated in Stage 1 of the plan.

Stage 2 will begin in February and include people 80 and over, Indigenous seniors over 65, general practitioners and medical specialists.

Read more:
B.C. prioritizing age and vulnerable people over non medical essential workers in mass COVID-19 immunization plan

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In April, the province will start vaccinating the general public according to five-year age groupings, starting with seniors aged 75 to 79 before moving on to those aged 70 to 74 and so on.

However, Henry added that the approval of more vaccines may mean the province’s plan could be revised to vaccinate essential workers between April and June.

Metro Vancouver bus drivers are “very disappointed” they will not be prioritized while they risk their lives to provide transportation to the public, said Balbir Mann, president of Unifor Local 111.


Click to play video 'B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan'



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B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan


B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

The union is calling on the provincial government to immediately change the plan and include transit operators in Stage 2.

“We’re basically frontline workers, taking people to work and grocery shopping. Our members are real heroes,” said Mann. “They’re putting their lives in front of this to help out the general public.”

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Teachers are also disappointed there is no prioritization for front-line workers who have kept schools, public services and the economy open, said B.C. Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring.

“However, the vaccine supply limit is beyond our control and those among us who are most vulnerable of death and serious illness must be vaccinated first,” she said in a statement.

READ MORE: 57% of British Columbians give low score to province’s vaccine rollout plan: poll

Hopefully more vaccines are approved and the immunization strategy will be appropriately adjusted and accelerated, she said.

Mooring added if teachers are not prioritized for vaccines, the government must take immediate action to improve safety measures in schools, including mandatory masks, better physical distancing and ventilation upgrades.

“There is no denying that teachers are stressed, anxious and even afraid. We do not have the layers of protection in our schools that exist in other environments.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Saskatchewan now over 100 per cent in COVID-19 vaccines administered; 260 new cases, three deaths, 168 recoveries – paNOW

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Daily COVID-19 Statistics

There are 260 new cases of COVID-19 to report in Saskatchewan on January 24, 2021, bringing the provincial total to date to 22,177 cases.

Three Saskatchewan residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have died. One death reported was in the 60-69 age group from the Far North East zone. The two other deaths were reported in the Regina zone – one in the 60-69 age group and the other in the 80+ age group.

The new cases are located in the Far North West (26), Far North Central (one), Far North East (three), North West (52), North Central (14), North East (nine), Saskatoon (72), Central West (six), Central East (11), Regina (42), South West (one), South Central (four) and South East (17) zones. Two new cases have pending residence information.

Eight cases with pending residence information were assigned to the Far North West (one), North West (four) and North Central (three) zones.

A total of 18,673 individuals have recovered and 3,251 cases are considered active.

One hundred and ninety-six (196) people are in hospital. One hundred and sixty-four (164) people are receiving inpatient care: Far North West (four), North West (13), North Central (23), North East (one), Saskatoon (68), Central West (three), Central East (eight), Regina (36), South West (one), South Central (one) and South East (six). Thirty-two (32) people are in intensive care: North West (two), North Central (four), Saskatoon (15), Central East (one), Regina (nine) and South Central (one).

There were 2,684 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on January 23, 2021.

To date, 490,939 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Saskatchewan. As of January 22, 2021 when other provincial and national numbers were available, Saskatchewan’s per capita rate was 279,708 people tested per million population. The national rate was 452,236 people tested per million population.

Further statistics on the total number of cases among healthcare workers, breakdowns of total cases by source of infection, age, sex and region, total tests to date and the per capita testing rate can be found on the Government of Saskatchewan website. Please visit here.

The seven-day average of daily new cases is 272 (22.5 new cases per 100,000 population) and is now available on the Government of Saskatchewan website. This chart compares today’s average to data collected over the past several months. Please visit the dashboard here.

panews@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @princealbertnow

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