We finally have some good news amid the coronavirus chaos! Everyone remembers the bushfires in Australia that burned most of the jungles down and affected millions of animals in the region. According to wildlife authorities, the country has slowly released koalas back into their natural environment after months of destruction that surrounded the animals. Source: Weather In the Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the state of New South Wales, four adult Koalas and one brand new joey have been released. During the bushfires, they were rescued from the Blue Mountains area and were put in the shelter with 8 other koalas in Sydney’s Taronga Zoo since January. Others will be released soon due to the risk of coronavirus outbreak so this month, 13 koalas will return to their homes safely. In the destruction that reached its peak in January, almost 10,000 koalas that amount to a third of the total koala population of NSW were killed. The drought in the summer proved to be even more dangerous and the koala hospitals in the country received an overwhelming amount of emergencies, mostly for burns and dehydration.Source: Time After therapy and proper treatment, four fortunate Koalas along with a newly acquired joey have been taken to the wild by Sydney-based not-for-profit wildlife conservation organization Science for Wildlife with the assistance of San Diego Zoo Global, the U.S. zoo's nonprofit that works with partners on international conservation projects. Source: NewYork Post "While they have coped well in care we are delighted to finally send our koalas home," said Dr. Kellie Leigh, executive director of Science for Wildlife in a press statement. "We have been busy assessing the burnt area that we rescued them from, to establish when the conditions have improved enough that the trees can support them again. The recent rains have helped and there is now plenty of new growth for them to eat, so the time is right. We will be radio-tracking them and keeping a close eye on them to make sure that they settle in OK." The Blue Mountains Koala Project has been in action for five years now after it was set up by San Diego Zoo Global and Science for wildlife and it aims to provide resources in the wildlife to increase the population of Koalas in the region. They worked towards removing as many koalas as they could when the bushfires broke out in New South Wales and even though the number of species rescued wasn't high, it still helped in restoring some of their population. Source: New York Post "During the massive fires, as 80 percent of the World Heritage Area burnt, we were at risk of losing the entire koala population at this site and so that’s what drove us to try something so radical and pull these koalas out before the fire hit," said Dr. Leigh.Dr. Leigh also talks about the devices they used to track the location as she said, "The radio-tracking devices that enabled us to find the koalas quickly and move them from in front of the fire will now allow us to follow them and find out more about how koalas use the landscape after fire, including where else we might find pockets of surviving koalas. That will help us to plan a future for koalas under climate change, where we expect more frequent and intense fires." Source: Queensland Times Climate change has caused many animals in the world to go extinct and this bushfire would have wiped out the entire evolution of koala bears if not for the rescue operations carried out by the authorities. They have been declared “functionally extinct” by the Australia Koala Foundation so wildlife organizations are doing everything in their power to increase their population.
It has been almost 3 weeks since the whole world went into partial or total lockdown depending on the situation in different countries. However, one thing that remains common between every citizen who is tired of staying at home is the question- when will this end and when can we go out? Sadly, scientists and governments do not have a definite answer but we are all relying on their efforts to make the cure as soon as possible. After all, earth has dealt with viruses before and we have come out on the top by developing cures, treatments and stronger immune systems. So scientists who previously helped us in fighting the battles are giving hope that we might not have an antidote right now but it will be developed soon and our normal routines would be restored. Source: Wired One such researcher is the epidemiologist, Larry Brilliant who is on the forefront when it comes to calming the people across the world and asking them to have faith in science. Just like his name suggests, he is an absolutely brilliant scientist himself and assisted the world in getting rid of the smallpox epidemic. He spoke to a TED audience 14 years ago and informed them about the structure of the future pandemics. His speech was quite ominous as he said, “A billion people would get sick. As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable.” And we're right where he predicted us to be. However, the news wasn’t all too bad and he is now sharing his expertise with the paramedics working to eradicate this pandemic. Even though the numbers are less than what Brilliant predicted, the curve has still not flattened. Source: Gulf news The good news is that he is chairing the board of Ending Pandemics and is hopeful that we might come across the treatment soon. He is trying to contain himself from saying ‘I told you so but the truth remains unchanged because he did tell us that this would happen. Brilliant also served as the senior technical advisor for the horror movie based on pandemic, Contagion and the storyline surprisingly follows what is happening in the world right now. He has assisted the world in combating flu, polio and blindness but is now 75 years old, so he does not work in the lab anymore. Team for Wired contacted him via phone and Brilliant had tips to share, given his success with dealing with dangerous diseases in the past. He said, “by slowing it down or flattening it, we're not going to decrease the total number of cases, we're going to postpone many cases until we get a vaccine—which we will because there's nothing in the virology that makes me frightened that we won’t get a vaccine in 12 to 18 months. Eventually, we will get to the epidemiologist gold ring.” Basically, what he means is that either we wait for our immune systems to become strong enough to deal with the virus on its own or develop a vaccine soon. However, the first option comes at a cost of a lot of fatalities so let’s hope his efforts in chairing the team working to end the pandemic actually get us somewhere and we all get rid of isolation soon.
Initially, it was noticed that only the rich and privileged class was able to get access to the Coronavirus testing kits. However, soon after the uproar, efforts were made to make them available for every social class. Thanks to the work of many social groups and charity funds, testing kits are now accessible to people even while sitting at home. Seattle residents will now receive an at-home facility to get Coronavirus tested all thanks to the wonderful efforts made by Amazon. On Monday morning, CNBC News revealed the thoughtful initiation by Amazon. As per the reports, Seattle residents will now attain at-home COVID-19 testing. SCAN (Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network) is a research organization that aims to explore and understand the novel Coronavirus. Interestingly, Bill Gates funds this SCAN, and to ensure efficiency, he has taken technical aid from his other philanthropic venture Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This effort is similar to the research center in San Francisco developed by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Basically, these are major corporate investments that cover up the government and federal failures. Thus, both corporations are making giant leaps to help the average population get access to medical facilities. Considering the pandemic on the rise, they have played key roles. Amazon already has an internal healthcare platform that is devoted to the employees of the company and their immediate families. However, Amazon will now supply testing kits to anyone eligible through the SCAN program. Amazon will not restrict the healthcare facilities and anyone who shows minor flu-like symptoms will be able to avail this offer. Source: The registerWhile speaking to CNBC, Kristen Helton – director of Amazon Healthcare said, “All the couriers involved have been trained in handling medical material, and they will distribute the self-swab kits to the homes of those who have requested them. Responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis must be a community effort and requires support from both the private and public sectors. We are grateful to be surrounded by a strong community of public health, global health, and academic leaders and are eager to leverage Amazon Care’s infrastructure and logistics capabilities to support this local effort.”As of now, it is being addressed that more than 1000 people have tested positive in Seattle with at least 100 pronounced dead. It’s considered the hardest-hit metropolitan area in the USA. Thus, you can no longer say that the elites are not helping the poor. Everyone is making attempts to reduce the damage and help the helpless. Now, it’s up to each one of us on how we decide to combat this pandemic. We need to stay at home and reduce the possibility of spreading it further. Hence, you don’t have to be rich to help others. Big or small, do your part. Spend time with your family, look after yourselves, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands every twenty minutes. Take all the precautions recommended by the doctors, and you will soon hear some terrific news.
Coronavirus has caused medical health facilities and science labs to take rapid actions to combat the novel virus. We have to hand it to the scientists and researchers who took less than 2 weeks to come up with a testing kit and provided it to countries all around the world for quick identification. Now that it has been two months since the virus first started affecting locals outside of China, The Food and Drug Admission has approved an even faster test for coronavirus. Source: News 18 The test was passed over the weekend and has been developed by the biotechnology company Cepheid that provides results in just 45 minutes. It does not even need a lab test so the whole process becomes super-efficient. However, it is advised that the test should be used for emergencies especially in hospitals and is not to be performed in clinics or doctors’ offices. David Persing, Chief Medical Officer of Cepheid told Stat News that in hospitals, it can help health workers come up with a quick strategy to help the patients. It will be able to detect in a shorter time so equipment and best can be ordered accordingly. Some healthcare facilities in the United States have already developed machines that help in making the new Cepheid test more efficient. Just like the previous test that was being carried out in labs, this new quick plan also looks for the presence of virus in the samples obtained from the patients. As it has been approved over the weekend, the company says they will start shipping the kits later this week. Source: CNBC After delaying the rapid test for common citizens due to lack of funds, the United States has finally taken the growing numbers seriously. They are now performing tests on individuals to detect any sign of contact with the novel virus. The doctors are required to swab a patient's nose or throat and then send those samples to labs in specialized kits where equipment is used to run the test. Source: English.net Right now you would be lucky if your test result arrives in a few hours because the average time is one day. In fact, in states where cases are increasing every day, the labs are providing the test results after 2-3 days at least. So this 45 minutes test comes as a blessing in disguise because it can be carried out outside the lab. The virus is spreading rapidly so such fast techniques are now the requirements. Source: ABC News However, the approved test kits are yet to be shipped to the United States or anywhere else in the world so hospitals would also need machines that could support this mechanism. Right now, there are only 5000 Cepheid system architects operating in the United States and the slower tests are proving to be dangerous. Therefore, researchers are advising the government to install more systems and expand their capacity to test. Until the cure is developed, these quick tests are our only hope of making sure the pandemic remains under control.
The global pandemic has so far been the deadliest thing in the twenty-first century. But no matter how much you hate quarantine and social isolation, you cannot deny the positive outcomes of coronavirus. Since the restriction has been put into effect, levels of pollutants have significantly gone down in the world. BBC says that researches in New York have shared their early results regarding carbon monoxide transmitted from the cars. This aspect has noticed a 50% drop in comparison to last year. Carbon dioxide levels have also gone down and right now, we are better than any other year. Source: Daily MailScientists have said that usually, CO2 content is quite high in the atmosphere due to the decomposition of leaves. However, if the same practice is observed, the levels will go down drastically, breaking a 10-year record. Even though travel restrictions have just started, the information on its impact suggests that this could bring a positive change in the environment. In New York City, the traffic levels in the region were predicted to go down by 35%. Source: BBC However, with the entire city in social isolation, the drop has been around 50% according to researchers at Columbia University. A solid drop in methane and a 5-10% drop in CO2 was also observed in New York. Scientists have warned that when official social distancing is lifted, the number might increase drastically. But for now, the conditions have improved. According to an analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief, there has been a 25% drop in energy use in China and emissions have also decreased by the same percentage. Experts believe that if this continues, there is going to be a total fall of about 1% in carbon emissions of the country. Source: BBCChina and Italy are the two most affected countries right now. They are observing national lockdowns, and therefore, the nitrogen dioxide content has also decreased in both the regions. The gas is responsible for air pollution and has been categorized as a warming chemical. So amid this chaos of coronavirus, this comes as a piece of good news.Previously, when the Flight Shame movement was started to discourage the use of aeroplanes, no one took it seriously. However, aviation has been put on hold due to international travel restriction, and so the carbon footprint has decreased significantly. With so many people working from home, the environment has also seen the changes that a different lifestyle can bring in the world.Professor Roisin Commane of Columbia University who carried out the New York air monitoring work said, “I expect we will have the smallest increase in May to May peak CO2 that we’ve had in the northern hemisphere since 2009, or even before.” Other researchers also agree with her and say that if the lockdown continues for the entire year, we will see a major change in the climate sector.“It will depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and how widespread the slowdown is in the economy, particularly in the US. But most likely I think we will see something in the global emissions this year,” said Prof Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia. Well, considering how much our restriction to home has benefitted the animals and the environment in general, we cannot help but wonder what the real virus is. Let’s hope that coronavirus or no coronavirus, we try to alter our lifestyles to benefit the world we live in.
A new device is underway, and it is Apple’s new iPad Pro. It is available for either $799 or $949 for 28GB Wi-Fi configurations. They are open for orders, and Apple says shipment will take place on March 25th. Source: Pocket Now The 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes both have a close resemblance to the model released last year. But the processor and camera system appear to be new. The most important feature right now is the LIDAR scanner to go along with the camera. This would be used for depth sensing and AR but what will amaze you the most is the keyboard that comes with it. When the keyboard is unfolded, it elevates the iPad to a more comfortable viewing position for the user. A trackpad has been attached with it, and Apple says, “Rather than copying the experience from macOS®, trackpad support has been completely reimagined for iPad. As users move their finger across the trackpad, the pointer elegantly transforms to highlight user interface elements.”Source: ForbesThe name suggested by the keypad for this device is called “Magic Keyboard” that matches the branding it recently used on the updated version of the MacBook keyboard. The keypad lights up, supports USB-C pass-through charging and has a “smooth angle adjustment”. When it comes to local availability, it won't happen until May, but the good news is that it can connect to almost any version of iPad Pros. Apple also has full plans of making a massive amount with this new add-on as it will cost $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch version. Source: Cult of Mac The iPad Pro itself would have extra power in the processors, and just like previous models, it is expected to be a hit. Apple calls the processor “A12Z Bionic chip” with eight cores in the GPU, and if you think Apple is modest about their new development, then you are wrong. The tech giant said that it is “more powerful than most Windows PC laptops." The battery life is predicted to be at least 10 hours, and it supports gigabit LTE but unfortunately, not 5G. Source: The Verge There are three cameras at the back that look identical to the iPhone 11 Pro, but the setup is quite different. A regular wide-angle and ultra-wide are the same as they were on the phone, but the third sensor is LIDAR. This feature uses lasers for augmented reality and depth-sensing.The triple-camera system does not come as a shock to us because rumours regarding the feature were already present in the market. Rumours regarding the support for the trackpad on Apple’s smart keypad were already circulating which the company has now confirmed. Source: Universmartphone The device of Apple iPad Pro was already due because they have a history of releasing new products every 500 days. In 2020, we are also expecting MacBook Air, so if both these models are released, Windows will face severe competition.