600 Physicians Say Lockdowns Are A ‘Mass Casualty Incident’

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Grace-Marie Turner 6-7 minutes


224,476 views|May 22, 2020,12:00pm EDT

More than 600 of the nation’s physicians sent a letter to President Trump this week calling the coronavirus shutdowns a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing negative health consequences” to millions of non COVID patients. 

“The downstream health effects…are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error,” according to the letter initiated by Simone Gold, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist in Los Angeles. 

“Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%,” the letter said. Other silent casualties:  “150,000 Americans per month who would have had new cancer detected through routine screening.”

From missed cancer diagnoses to untreated heart attacks and strokes to increased risks of suicides, “We are alarmed at what appears to be a lack of consideration for the future health of our patients.”  

Patients fearful of visiting hospitals and doctors’ offices are dying because COVID-phobia is keeping them from seeking care. One patient died at home of a heart attack rather than go to an emergency room. The number of severe heart attacks being treated in nine U.S hospitals surveyed dropped by nearly 40% since March. Cardiologists are worried “a second wave of deaths” indirectly caused by the virus is likely.

The physicians’ letter focuses on the impact on Americans’ physical and mental health.  “The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.

“It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown,” the letter says. “Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events, and the effect on a person’s health is not lessened because it also has happened to 30 million [now 38 million] other people.  Keeping schools and universities closed is incalculably detrimental for children, teenagers, and young adults for decades to come.” 

While all 50 states are relaxing lockdowns to some extent, some local officials are threatening to keep stay-at-home orders in place until August.  Many schools and universities say they may remain closed for the remainder of 2020.

“Ending the lockdowns are not about Wall Street or disregard for people’s lives; it about saving lives,” said Dr. Marilyn Singleton, a California anesthesiologist and one of the signers of the letter. “We cannot let this disease change the U.S. from a free, energetic society to a society of broken souls dependent on government handouts.” She blogs about the huge damage the virus reaction is doing to the fabric of society

Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, also warns that restrictions are having a huge negative impact on non-COVID patients. 

“Even patients who do get admitted to hospital, say for a heart problem, are prisoners. No one can be with them. Visitation at a rare single-story hospital was through closed outside window, talking via telephone,” she wrote us.  “To get permission to go to the window you have to make an appointment (only one group of two per day!), put on a mask, get your temperature taken, and get a visitor’s badge of the proper color of the day.”

How many cases of COVID-19 are prevented by these practices? “Zero,” Dr. Orient says.  But the “ loss of patient morale, loss of oversight of care, especially at night are incalculable.”

Virtually all hospitals halted “elective” procedures to make beds available for what was expected to be a flood of COVID-19 patients.  Beds stayed empty, causing harm to patients and resulting in enormous financial distress to hospitals, especially those with limited reserves. 

Even states like New York that have had tough lockdowns are starting to allow elective hospital procedures in some regions.  But it’s more like turning up a dimmer switch. In Pennsylvania, the chair of the Geisinger Heart Institute, Dr. Alfred Casale, said the opening will be slow while the facility is reconfigured for COVID-19 social distancing and enhanced hygiene.  

Will patients come back?  COVID-phobia is deathly real.

Patients still are fearful about going to hospitals for heart attacks and even for broken bones and deep lacerations. Despite heroic efforts by physicians to deeply sanitize their offices, millions have cancelled appointments and are missing infusion therapies and even chemotherapy treatments. This deferred care is expected to lead to patients who are sicker when they do come in for care and more deaths from patients not receiving care for stroke, heart attacks, etc. 

NPR reported about a Washington state resident who had what she described as the “worst headache of her life.”

She waited almost a week before going to the hospital where doctors discovered she had a brain bleed that had gone untreated.  She had multiple strokes and died. “This is something that most of the time we’re able to prevent,” said her neurosurgeon, Dr. Abhineet Chowdhary, director of the Overlake Neuroscience Institute in Bellevue, Wash. 

As the number of deaths from the virus begin to decline, we are likely to awaken to this new wave of casualties the 600 physicians are warning about. We should be listening to the doctors, and heed their advice immediately.

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/gracemarieturner/2020/05/22/600-physicians-say-lockdowns-are-a-mass-casualty-incident/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year | Plastics

amp.theguardian.com

A worker sorts through plastic bottles at the recycling plant near Bangkok in Thailand.

Show captionA mound of plastic bottles at a recycling plant near Bangkok in Thailand. Around 300 million tonnes of plastic is made every year and most of it is not recycled. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPAPlastics

Carlsberg and Coca-Cola back pioneering project to make ‘all-plant’ drinks bottles

Sat 16 May 2020 08.05 EDT

Beer and soft drinks could soon be sipped from “all-plant” bottles under new plans to turn sustainably grown crops into plastic in partnership with major beverage makers.

A biochemicals company in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project that hopes to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels.

The plans, devised by renewable chemicals company Avantium, have already won the support of beer-maker Carlsberg, which hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic.

Avantium’s chief executive, Tom van Aken, says he hopes to greenlight a major investment in the world-leading bioplastics plant in the Netherlands by the end of the year. The project, which remains on track despite the coronavirus lockdown, is set to reveal partnerships with other food and drink companies later in the summer.

Ears of wheat.

Sugars extracted from wheat, along with corn and beets, will be used to produce the plant plastic. Photograph: Images of Kent/Alamy

The project has the backing of Coca-Cola and Danone, which hope to secure the future of their bottled products by tackling the environmental damage caused by plastic pollution and a reliance on fossil fuels.

Globally around 300 million tonnes of plastic is made from fossil fuels every year, which is a major contributor to the climate crisis. Most of this is not recycled and contributes to the scourge of microplastics in the world’s oceans. Microplastics can take hundreds of years to decompose completely.

“This plastic has very attractive sustainability credentials because it uses no fossil fuels, and can be recycled – but would also degrade in nature much faster than normal plastics do,” says Van Aken.

Avantium’s plant plastic is designed to be resilient enough to contain carbonate drinks. Trials have shown that the plant plastic would decompose in one year using a composter, and a few years longer if left in normal outdoor conditions. But ideally, it should be recycled, said Van Aken.

The bio-refinery plans to break down sustainable plant sugars into simple chemical structures that can then be rearranged to form a new plant-based plastic – which could appear on supermarket shelves by 2023.

The path-finder project will initially make a modest 5,000 tonnes of plastic every year using sugars from corn, wheat or beets. However, Avantium expects its production to grow as demand for renewable plastics climbs.

In time, Avantium plans to use plant sugars from sustainable sourced biowaste so that the rise of plant plastic does not affect the global food supply chain.

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Superpod of an Estimated 1,000 Dolphins Filmed Swimming Along Whale-Watching Boat in California

By Rosie McCall On 5/19/20 at 6:40 AM EDT U.S.CaliforniaDolphinVideo

Whale watchers were in for a surprise when they encountered a “superpod” of more than 1,000 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) during a trip off Laguna Beach, California, on Saturday.

https://videos.newsweek.com/share/515672?amp=1&autostart=1&publisher=amp_nw&items=1&nwcat=nwus-us&iabcat=IAB12&ivt_fq=0#amp=1

Newport Coastal Adventure, a whale-watching tour agency, shared a video of the event, showing hundreds of dolphins leaping through the waves as the boat sails past.

“We saw this Common Dolphin “superpod” chasing fish off Laguna Beach for our 5:30pm Private Charter Whale Watching trip today,” said Newport Coastal Adventure. “Some lucky families got to experience what it’s like to be amongst at least 1,000 dolphins.”https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0 https://d-38292508244107259295.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html

“The experience was incredible,” Ryan Lawler of Newport Coastal Adventure told Newsweek. “Thousands of dolphins tightly packed together, just about an hour from sunset.”

Lawler said the super pod was seen during a private charter trip with a single family, explaining the company is currently restricting trips to members of one household and maintaining distance between the captain and whale watchers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more These Dolphins Beach Themselves As Part of a ‘Risky’ Feeding Behavior 13 Spectacular Photos of the Planet From the Lens of a Travel Photographer Gutted Carcass of Endangered River Dolphin Found in Bangladesh

Dolphins are highly social and gregarious creatures that live in groups. Recent research has highlighted the extent of their collaborative behavior, from the observation that male dolphins sing together (to coerce females into sex) to dolphins’ ability to make friends through shared interests, specifically their interest in “sponging,” which involves using sponges as foraging tools to find food. Other studies suggest dolphins use different vocalizations, or names, to identify friends and rivals, forge long-lasting alliances and lean on each other when raising their calves.

While common dolphins tend to travel in groups in the hundreds, they have been known to gather in large schools containing thousands of dolphins, dubbed megapods or superpods. Some of the largest contain more than 10,000 individuals. Within these congregations, there are a number of sub-groups, each consisting of 20 to 30 individuals who are connected through relation or factors such as age and sex.

“Super pods of common dolphins are spectacular but not rare. If the conditions are suitable, they can occur anywhere in the world,” Danny Groves, a spokesperson for marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), told Newsweek, noting they have been spotted off the U.S., Scotland, South Africa and many other places.

Large pods like these often form for a short period of time during courtship or in response to prey. Take, for example, the gathering that aggregated near Monterey Bay, California, on Labor Day last year. According to Monterey Bay Aquarium, hundreds of common dolphins came together “hot on the tails of billions of baitfish.” Something similar appears to be occurring here—according to Newport Coastal Adventure, the dolphins were spotted chasing fish.

“I would say we see this phenomena a few dozen times a year. Sometimes we go months without seeing it. Other times we will see it a few times in one week,” said Lawler. “Common dolphins often travel and live in groups of 20-200 here, but if there is enough food around they will form a super pod such as this one for a small amount of time to take advantage of the strength in numbers in pursuing their prey, anchovies.”

“If prey are plentiful, then hunting in big pods can be beneficial. Likewise if there is a predator threat to the dolphins, then being in a large group provides security,” said Groves. “If they are just being sociable, then we might expect dolphins to get similar benefits that humans get from getting together in large groups—a sense of community and enjoyment, ironically something they are able to do right now whilst we are isolating.”

Groves added: “Whilst we humans are locked down, the seas are quieter and less polluted, and nature seems to be reclaiming its territory.” A pod of common dolphins surf the bow wake of a boat on July 16, 2008 near Long Beach, California. Footage taken last week shows a superpod of “at least” 1,000 common dolphins near Laguna Beach. David McNew/Getty

It is not clear from the video what type of common dolphin is being filmed. Though initially considered a single species, since 1994 it has been split into the long-beaked common dolphin and the short-beaked common dolphin.

According to WDC, advances in science suggest the initial classification was correct and the short-beaked and long-beaked dolphins are variations of the same species, which can be identified by their different sized beaks and their coloring.

https://www.newsweek.com/super-pod-1000-dolphins-whale-watching-boat-california-1505010?amp=1&__twitter_impression=true