It’s now like a cruel pandemic in the Middle Ages or even the 17th-20th
Centuries, when The Plague and Smallpox, respectively, were ravaging the world. There was loss of life, untold sickness and suffering, and fleeing people. Today, though, we still have Covid-19 but now there’s a much more insidious plague striking us at our existential hearts as well as bodies. Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters have been unjustifiably attacked as have our democratic beliefs. I heard on the radio a young Ukrainian woman saying that she and her country are fighting not just for their freedom but that of the entire world. How can it be, we lament, that in the 21st Century a barbarian can again be on our gates, wontonly attacking women, children, health care facilities and even a nuclear generating station - and then try to deny it when all the world has already seen it? As with Covid-19, just as two years ago when the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic, we may again be deluding ourselves if we think it’s all going to end soon. Putin and his generals and backers continue, everyday, to spread their ugliness.
The unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia is an egregious assault on a peaceful democracy. This attack violates international norms, treaties, and the Geneva Conventions. It is inflicting loss of life, disability, and the destruction of Ukraine’s economy and its environment. The attacks against Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and threats to use nuclear weapons by President Putin demonstrates an appalling disregard for human life and global security—and threatens a global health crisis involving nuclear fallout.
More than 1 (now >2) million people who were living their lives peacefully last month are now refugees, fleeing for their lives. This is a humanitarian disaster, and the worst refugee crisis Europe has faced since World War II.
The Consortium of Universities for Global Health roundly condemns President Putin and his government for executing this unprovoked invasion. We call on him to withdraw his forces from Ukraine and halt his attacks against the country immediately. The consequences of this war of choice will be not only be felt by that country but also by the Russian people, and the world.
CUGH supports the international community’s efforts to penalize Pres. Putin, his cronies and the oligarchs who support him, and support the Ukrainian people in their fight for their freedom.
And in today’s Planetary Health Weekly (#10 of 2022)you’ll read more about other pressing issues:
CLIMATE CRISIS UPDATES:
Wildfires are getting more extreme and burning more land.
The UN says it’s time to ‘learn to live with fire,’
How Canada fits into the IPCC report’s ‘atlas of human suffering,’
Canada must prepare for more climate catastrophe, environment minister warns,
IPCC depicts unfolding climate emergency,
Australia: thousands flee deadly floods,
On the ground in Churchill, Manitoba: polar bears fight for survival as ice disappears,
Table of solutions to the climate crisis from Project Drawdown,
Analysis of Covid-19 vaccine type and adverse effects following vaccination,
The Covid heart: one year after SARS CoV-2 infection, patients have an array of increased cardiovascular risks,
Research sows psychological impact of pandemic on UK nursing and midwifery workforce,
Severity of hospitalizations from SARS-CoV-2 vs influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infection in children aged 5-11 years in U.S. states,
1 million Sputnik coronavirus vaccines expire in Guatemala,
At least 10,000 infected people still waiting to be admitted to Hong Kong hospitals ass cases overwhelm public health care system, THEN
‘Most important climate deal since Paris’ UN agrees future treaty to end scourge of plastic pollution,
U.S. sees continued rise in maternal deaths, CDC reports,
Infant formula survey shows ‘pervasive, aggressive’ marketing,
How will Russian’s invasion of Ukraine affect global food security?
White House to install hundreds of thousands of EV charges on U.S. highways,
Two-thirds of seafloor life is waiting to be discovered,
Francis Fukuyama – Putin’s war on the liberal order,
Predicting and preparing for the impact of approaching storms, Kasabonika Lake First Nation declares state of emergency over Covid-19 outbreak,
New event added: McGill University Sumer Institutes in Global Health,
Infographic: Visualizing literacy rates around the world,
Invasive species: if you can’t beat them eat them?
Guns overtake car crashes as leading cause of U.S. trauma-related deaths,
The reason behind deaths of thousands of crabs and shellfish found washed up on U.K.’s NE beaches,
Newish book: “Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin” by Marion McKinnon Crook,
McGill Summer Institutes in Global Health detailed, and finally
ENDSHOTS remembering the joy of the last three weeks in Mexico as war began in Europe.
Read it all below. Best, david
David Zakus, Editor and Publisher
Russia attacks peaceful Ukraine, unprovoked, causing huge loss of life, destruction and pain.
Smoke rises from a forest fire outside the village of Berdigestyakh, in the republic of Sakha, Siberia, in July 2021. UN researchers are encouraging policymakers to reframe how they think about wildfires, switching "from reactive to proactive." Credit: CNN
A report just released by the UN Environment Programme suggests it's time we "learn to live with fire" and adapt to the uptick in the frequency and severity of wildfires that will inevitably put more lives and economies in harm's way.
Wildfires have intensified around the globe, providing a stark reminder of how the climate crisis is upending lives and inflicting billions of dollars a year in damage. And it will only get worse, according to dozens of global fire experts. Read more at CNN ___________________
How Canada Fits Into the IPCC Report’s ‘Atlas of Human Suffering"
As the planet warms, Canada will face increased wildfire risks. Fire seasons will get longer, increased heat waves will bake forests making fires more likely, and lightning strikes will become more frequent. Areas that previously would have a fire once every 400 years will see fires once every 50 by the end of the century if emissions remain high. Canada says the cost of fighting wildfires has surpassed $1 billion annually in six of the past 10 years and that will only increase as the planet warms.
Similarly, sea-level rise, flooding, landslides, permafrost thawing and extreme weather will continue to destroy infrastructure across the country. In Atlantic Canada, sea-level rise is expected to be higher than the global average, putting communities on the coast at increased risk from flooding and coastline erosion. In the North, ice roads, critical for remote communities, will become more dangerous as the planet warms, and permafrost thawing will disrupt infrastructure for northern communities. The report also says annual rainfall will leap 20% if emissions continue to increase, making infrastructure failure, like British Columbia experienced from the atmospheric river last November, more likely.
Food insecurity in Canada will be made worse by a warming climate, the report also predicts. For Indigenous peoples especially, climate change will continue to have harmful effects on traditional foods, leading to negative physical and mental health outcomes as well as exacerbating food insecurity by requiring more foods to be imported at a higher cost. Aquaculture will be particularly impacted by climate change because of increased ocean acidity and reduced habitats for fish. If emissions stay high, fish production in Canada is expected to drop 66% from 2030 to 2050, while shellfish would see a 51% drop over that same period.
Agriculture is a bit more complicated. Some crops like maize could see a drop in production, while low levels of warming may in fact lead to increased short-term yields in other crops, the report says. However, increased warming would, in time, wipe out higher yields, and increased warming is expected to make pests and diseases worse.
Canada’s economy will also be affected by global climate change. There are domestic impacts ranging from things like damaged infrastructure or lower agricultural yields, but Canada cannot completely untangle itself from international supply chains, making the country vulnerable to shocks around the world. The IPCC authors have “high confidence” there will be large economic damages across North America if global emissions aren’t brought down rapidly.
Another finding of the report is that a major barrier to climate action in North America is the undermining of climate science from politicians and industry. “Rhetoric and misinformation on climate change and the deliberate undermining of science have contributed to misperceptions of the scientific consensus, uncertainty, disregarded risk and urgency, and dissent,” the report finds. “Additionally, strong party affiliation and partisan opinion polarization contribute to delayed mitigation and adaptation action, most notably in the U.S. but with similar patterns in Canada.”
“Vested economic and political interests have organized and financed misinformation and ‘contrarian’ climate change communication,” the report adds.
Also, a 2019 study from the Corporate Mapping Project found that between 2011 and 2018, the fossil fuel industry recorded contacting Canadian government officials more than 11,000 times, representing more than six communications per working day. Read more at National Observer
Globally, nationally and locally, the pandemic continues. It has not ended.
Over the last week there were again about 11 million new cases (though testing is now sorely insufficient and this is a underestimation) and 47,000 deaths (down ~15%). About 100 million people received a vaccine, down ~7%, while COVAX distribution is catching up with demand.
In Canada there are still about 60 deaths/day, 1300 in the USA, 200 in Germany, 40 in Denmark., 170 in South Korea, 680 in Russia. France leads the way, by far, in hospitalized patients followed by the U.K. The hotspots for cases remain the rich industrialized countries.
Question What factors are associated with adverse effects after COVID-19 vaccination?
Findings In an online cohort study including 19 586 adults who received a COVID-19 vaccination, the factors most strongly associated with adverse effects were full vaccination dose, brand of vaccine, younger age, female sex, and having had COVID-19 before vaccination. Allergic reaction or anaphylaxis was reported in 0.3% of participants after partial vaccination and 0.2% of participants after full vaccination. In this real-world cohort, serious COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects were rare. Read more at Jama Network
Delegates react in Nairobi, Kenya on March 02, 2022 after the United Nations agreed to start negotiating a world-first global treaty on plastic pollution. Credit: Tony Karumba | Afp | Getty Images
World leaders, ministers and other representatives from nearly 200 countries at the United Nations environment assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, agreed to develop a treaty designed to bring an end to the scourge of plastic pollution.
The resolution, which addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including production, design and disposal, will be developed over the next two years.
Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, described the breakthrough as “a triumph by planet earth over single-use plastics.”. Read more at CNBC
There has been a slight rise in the number of women dying due to pregnancy or childbirth each year in the United States, and the maternal death rate among Black women is still three times the rate for White women, a new federal report shows. Read more at CNN
A bottle of milk prepared from infant formula sits on a table Beijing, China, on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. More than a decade after tainted infant milk powder in China killed six children and exposed institutional neglect of food safety, Chinese parents still don't trust local companies to feed their babies. Credit: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg
Infant formula makers are systematically targeting women through social media and health-care professionals to gain influence over feeding decisions, according to a new study the World Health Organization says is the largest ever.
More than half of the parents and pregnant women surveyed said they’ve been targeted with formula-milk marketing. The study was commissioned by Unicef and the WHO, which has been trying for years to rein in such promotions, calling them disruptive to efforts to increase the rate of breastfeeding around the world. Read more at BNN Bloomberg
The unfolding crisis in Ukraine has roiled commodity markets and threatens global food security. Ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have already driven up food prices. Poor harvests in South America, strong global demand, and supply chain issues have reduced grain and oilseed inventories and driven prices to their highest levels since 2011-2013. Vegetable oil prices have also been at record levels, reflecting the short South American soybean crop, reduced palm oil supplies due to harvest problems in Malaysia, and sharply increased use of palm and soybean oil for biodiesel production. Prices of key energy-intensive inputs like fuel, fertilizer and pesticides have also been at near-record levels. Read more at IFPRI.
The Biden administration has unveiled a massively ambitious plan to install roughly 400,000 EV chargers between now and 2030, bringing the total number of publicly available chargers to half a million.
The US Departments of Energy and Transportation announced that they will dedicate $5 billion over the next five years to the project, making good on Biden’s promises to modernize American infrastructure and tackle a growing climate crisis. Read more at Futurism.
Most of our planet is filled with water. Amazingly, though, two-thirds of life occupying the seafloor is still waiting to be discovered, finds a recent study published in Science Advances. DNA sequencing techniques also revealed that there is at least three times more life on the seafloor than higher up in the ocean.
The fact there are so many more incredible discoveries to be made is exciting. Such as these impressive upside down underwater lakes divers stumbled across last year, uncovering multiple novel species including “Elvis worms” and “glitter worms.” Also, this deep-sea expedition back in 2020 found 30 new types of species.
Why is there such a variety of life on the seafloor?
The complex environment that the seafloor creates allows for a collection of microhabitats to survive, including underwater volcanoes and deep coral reefs. “If you have a very uniform environment, then all species are exposed to the same habitat,” co-author Andre Gooday said. “But if that habitat is divided into lots of microhabitats, then species can specialize.” Read more at Optimist Daily.
The horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has been seen as a critical turning point in world history. Many have said that it definitively marks the end of the post-cold war era, a rollback of the “Europe whole and free” that we thought emerged after 1991, or indeed, the end of The End of History.
Ivan Krastev, an astute observer of events east of the Elbe, has said recently in The New York Times that “We are all living in Vladimir Putin’s world now”, a world in which sheer force tramples over rule of law and democratic rights. Read more at FT
Climate experts and engineers have created a new model to predict the damage caused by adverse weather. This new framework for 'consequence forecasting' enables first responders to effectively target resources prior to an extreme weather event, such as Storm Eunice.
Read more at Science Daily
Credit: Kasabonika Lake First Nation has declared a state of emergency over a COVID-19 outbreak in the community. (CBC News )
Kasabonika Lake, a remote northern Ontario First Nation about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, has declared a state of emergency over a COVID-19 outbreak.
In a media release, Kasabonika Lake, which has a population of 1060, said there were 138 active cases in the community, with more tests pending. There have been three deaths related to the virus in the last week, and three elders, one youth and one adult have been airlifted to hospital from the community, which has a vaccination rate of 36%, according to the release.. Read more at CBC
Quote Of The Week:
Building on the renewed focus on adaptation at COP26, the February, 2022 IPCC report reconfirms the need for richer nations to "provide higher levels of financial support for adapting to climate shocks … and addressing the costs of loss and damage experienced by poorer countries," said Camilla Toulmin, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Environment & Development.
The world's poorest people "contribute least to the problem of climate change" yet suffer the most devastating impacts, she added.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the average per capita carbon footprint in 2020 is around 0.1 tons per year compared to up to 15 tons in Australia, Canada and the US.
Inforgraphic: Visualizing Literacy Rates Around the World
For many people around the world, the ability to read is an essential tool that’s needed for day-to-day life. Yet, despite its importance, approximately 773 million people across the globe do not have access to this basic, often life-saving skill. When it comes to literacy rates, which countries are leading the way, and which ones are lagging behind?
This graphic by Eleonora Nazander visualizes literacy rates in over 150+ countries and provides a breakdown of male versus female literacy rates in each country, using data from UNESCO.
From oral contraceptives to proposals to edit their DNA, efforts to control the U.K.’s invasive grey squirrel population have become increasingly elaborate. But a growing number of chefs and conservationists have a far simpler idea, which they see as part of the trend in ethical dining: eat them.
“My original starting point with grey squirrel was taste. But it’s also great for the environment,” says Paul Wedgwood, one of Scotland’s leading chefs, whose restaurant on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile has had grey squirrel on the menu since 2008. Wedgwood has even made haggis from the North American rodent that has driven the local extinction of the native red across much of England and Wales.
“It’s mellow, nutty and a bit gamey. It’s just a really nice flavour and it’s easy to match. Anyone who’s doing rabbit could just easily swap in squirrel,” he says.
Wedgwood is not alone among chefs putting invasive species on the menu. At Dai Due restaurant in Austin, Texas, owner and chef Jesse Griffiths is encouraging Americans to hunt and eat more of the millions of feral hogs that cause billions of dollars of damage to farmland. In the Bahamas, Michelin-starred chef José Andrés is serving up invasive lionfish to help protect reefs in the Caribbean. At Fallow in London, chefs are planning to cook king crab, the latest arrival on British shores that has sparked fears for native brown crab and scallop populations.
Guns Overtake Car Crashes as Leading Cause of U.S. Trauma-related Deaths
Firearm deaths have overtaken car crashes are the leading cause of death by trauma in the US, according to a new study.
In 2017, there were 1.44 million years of potential life lost due to firearm deaths, edging out that of motor vehicle crashes (1.37 million years), according to the study published in the journal Trauma Surgery and Acute Care Open. And that trend continued in 2018. Those numbers are based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2009 and 2018, the most recent year for which data were available.
The Reason Behind Deaths of Thousands of Crabs and Shellfish Found Washed Up On U.K.’s North East Beaches
Investigators have completed their research into why thousands of dead crabs and shellfish have washed up along the North-east coast. of the U.K. recently. A number of theories emerged after the crustaceans were discovered on several beaches stretching over several miles.
An investigation was launched by The Environment Agency after local people reported their concerns with some blaming industry in the area. However the result has now been released and the experts believe the creatures died as a result of a natural algae. The investigation is now no longer active however any further incidents will be looked into.
"Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin" by Marion McKinnon Crook
Credit: Book Cover
The true story of an adventurous young nurse who provided much-needed health care to the rural communities of the Cariboo-Chilcotin in the 1960s.
In 1963, newly minted public health nurse Marion McKinnon arrived in the small community of Williams Lake in BC's Cariboo region. Armed with more confidence than experience, she got into her government-issued Chevy―packed with immunization supplies, baby scales, and emergency drugs―and headed out into her 9,300-square-kilometre territory, inhabited by ranchers; mill workers; and many vulnerable men, women, and children who were at risk of falling through the cracks of Canada's social welfare system.
At twenty-two, a naïve yet enthusiastic Marion relied entirely on her academic knowledge and her common sense. She doled out birth control and parenting advice to women who had far more life experience than she. She routinely dealt with condescending doctors and dismissive or openly belligerent patients. She immunized school children en masse and made home visits to impoverished communities. She drove out into the vast countryside in freezing temperatures, with only a candle, antifreeze, chains, and chocolate bars as emergency equipment.
In one year, Marion received a rigorous education in the field. She helped countless people, made many mistakes, learned to recognize systemic injustice, and even managed to get into a couple of romantic entanglements. Always Pack a Candle is an unforgettable and eye-opening memoir of one frontline worker's courage, humility, and compassion.
McGill Summer Institutes in Global Health | May 24 - June 17, 2022
Credit: McGill University
2022 SCHEDULE OF COURSES
Approximate times of live instruction for each course is indicated. Participants wishing to enroll in overlapping courses are permitted to do so, but should be aware that if overlapping courses have live sessions happening at the same time they may have to view some content later as a recording.
May 24-27: Peace through Health
May 30-June 3: Quality of TB Care
May 30-June 3: Decolonizing Humanitarian Action: Challenges and Dilemmas
May 30-June 1: Advances in the Biology and Management of COVID-19
June 2-3: Global Health Diagnostics
June 6-10: Qualitative Methods in Global Infectious Diseases Research
June 6-10: Environment and Human HealthJune 6-10: TB Research Methods
June 6-10: Advanced TB Diagnostics
June 6-9: Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
June 6-8: Strategies to End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
June 9-10: Digital Health
June 13-15: Global Considerations of Disability for Rehabilitation Providers
Publisher and Editor: Dr. David Zakus Production: Aisha Saleem & Julia Chalmers Social Media: Mahdia Abidi, Shalini Kainth and Ishneer Mankoo Website, Index and Advisory: Eunice Anteh, Gaël Chetaille, Evans Oppong, Jonathan Zakus, Dr. Aimée-Angélique Bouka & Elisabeth Huang Blogs: Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, Aisha Saleem and Dr. Jay Kravitz