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Wednesday was National Nurses Day and this year, in particular, all nurses are our heroes. We know they are an indispensable part of our health care system and they are working in conditions that are far less protective than what they deserve. In particular, shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) persist in many areas of the country.Worse yet, many nurses have to deal with not only the health risks of contracting COVID, but also with the risk of being fired for bringing their own PPE to work, whistleblowing about supply shortages on social media, and helping out overworked peers in COVID hotspots.
That’s why we want to highlight the brave actions of one nurse who spoke truth to President Trump. During a White House event, Sophia Adams respectfully refused to stay on the President’s message that everything is going great in the fight against the pandemic. She heads the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and explained her struggles in New Orleans with the inadequate supply of PPE, saying that she wore the same N95 mask for “a few weeks” and that her health system’s supply was “sporadic.” In doing so, she spoke up for tens of thousands of nurses all over the country. As did the members of National Nurses United, who protested across the street from the White House yesterday, on behalf of their fallen colleagues. They shouldn’t have to work without basic protective equipment. But they do. They are true heroes.
There are about 1.7 million viruses that afflict mammals and birds, and about half of them could potentially infect humans, just like COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola. But a team of researchers at UC Davis are attempting to help prevent another pandemic from disrupting the world, by creating an app called SpillOver.
Why this Matters: The scientists creating the app believe that by creating a prioritized watchlist of viruses, we can better have improved detection and thus reduce the risk of disease transmission and maybe even preemptively develop vaccines, therapeutics, and public education campaigns for the viruses that pose the greatest risk.
Why This Matters: We’ve been relying on old data about farmworkers’ exposure to pesticides for the past 30 years, and thus the full picture of the harmful impact of these products on people has been underappreciated.
A coalition of 63 health, wildlife, and environmental organizations has written a letter urging the Biden administration to adopt policies to combat the increased threat of zoonotic disease spillover into human populations. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say that human population expansion and increased interactions with wildlife, present increased chances for future pandemics as well.
Why This Matters: According to the World Health Organization, there are over 200 known zoonoses, diseases that have jumped from non-human animals to humans.
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