The long-term lessons America learns from the coronavirus pandemic will spell life or death.
- As the US commences its early stages of COVID-19 vaccinations, Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, argues that now is not the time to relax. "There are lessons to be learned by systems like ours based upon our experience," says Dowling, adding that "we know what these lessons are, and we're working on them."
- The four major takeaways that Dowling has identified are that the United States was unprepared and slow to react, that we need a domestic supply chain so that we aren't relying on other countries, that there needs to be more domestic and international cooperation, and that leadership roles in public health must be filled by public health experts.
- If and when another pandemic hits (in the hopefully distant future), the country—and by extension the world—will be in a much better place to deal with it.
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Researchers discover that cancer cells go into hibernation to avoid chemotherapy effects.
- Cancer cells go into a state similar to hibernation when attacked by chemotherapy.
- The low-energy state is similar to diapause—the embryonic survival strategy of over a 100 species of mammals.
- Researchers hope to use these findings to develop new cancer-fighting therapies.
Cancer cells may go to into diapause, entering a drug-tolerant persister (DTP) state.
Plan S is starting to take hold, but the cost is merely shifting even more to the researchers.
- Launched in 2018, cOAlition S is trying to make all of the world's state-backed scientific papers open-access.
- Prestigious publishers like Springer Nature and Elsevier have now adopted a Plan S option for researchers.
- While more studies will be available to read for free, some of the expense is being passed back to authors, which could limit research in the future.
Chart: Science<p>The cost to publish remains prohibitive for some researchers, with certain journal prices for one article exceeding annual budgets. This has forced many researchers to confront an existential question: publish behind a paywall and wither in obscurity, or pay up and hope enough people read (and cite) your work.</p><p>While inflated journal prices have plagued the scientific community, Brainard notes that a purely open-access model could place even more of a burden on researchers. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"A complete shift to open access could lead publishers to boost publishing fees even further, to try to make up for lost subscription revenues[...] Although just over 30% of all papers published in 2019 were paid open access, subscriptions still accounted for more than 90% of publishers' revenues that year."</p><p>cOAlition S is advocating for increased transparency to push back on price gouging. Just as researchers must disclose funding and conflicts of interest, "Plan S requires publishers to disclose to funders the basis for their prices, including the cost of services such as proofreading, copy editing, and organizing peer review."</p><p>Although Brainard briefly mentions an increase in the number of non-researchers and institutions—laypeople—reading open-access journals, this topic is relevant to this conversation. America is suffering from a longstanding dearth of public science information, evidenced in the <a href="https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-18/anti-vaxxers-team-up-alt-right-against-covid-19-vaccine" target="_blank">anti-vax fervor</a> that's growing in volume (<a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/12/03/intent-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-rises-to-60-as-confidence-in-research-and-development-process-increases/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">if not in numbers</a>) since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines. </p><p>Access to scientific studies won't solve all of our woes. But lack of transparency is a major reason why so many citizens have grown suspicious of pharmaceutical companies and public health agencies. An ability to read studies without having to pay exorbitant prices (to the layperson) would be an important step in public health and science education. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
At the height of the first wave, many people took heart from the drop in air pollution resulting from global lockdowns.
Experts agree that the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for years, even after the immediate threat has passed.
Source: Oxfam<h3>5. Immunization has been set back by the pandemic</h3><p>While the world has been focused on fighting coronavirus, deadly diseases have not gone away. But <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/immunization-disruption-covid-19/" target="_blank">efforts to combat them by immunization have taken a back seat</a> to combatting COVID-19, and the results could be serious unless inoculations pick up the pace.</p><p><a href="https://data.unicef.org/resources/immunization-coverage-are-we-losing-ground/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">UNICEF estimates that 80 million children under the age of one could go unvaccinated</a> due to the disruption of immunization programmes. "Immunization is one of the most powerful and fundamental disease prevention tools in the history of public health," <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/22-05-2020-at-least-80-million-children-under-one-at-risk-of-diseases-such-as-diphtheria-measles-and-polio-as-covid-19-disrupts-routine-vaccination-efforts-warn-gavi-who-and-unicef" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General</a>.</p><p>"Disruption to immunization programmes from the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to unwind decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles," he adds. <a href="https://data.unicef.org/resources/immunization-coverage-are-we-losing-ground/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">UNICEF agrees</a>: "As we recover from COVID-19, our aim should not be to just make up lost ground, but to break through the long stagnation that has held us back for the last decade."</p>