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BY GOKUL BHAGABATI
With the novel coronavirus leading to over 100 fatalities in China, people need to be extra cautious while making their travel plans, be it an international conference abroad or a vacation.
While several organisations have started putting restrictions on the travel of their employees to China, there could still arise the need for you to travel to other countries. As the infection from the virus is spreading to other destinations as well, it would be better for travellers to be cautious.
“As there is no vaccinations available to prevent the spread of this virus, it is advisable to take certain precautions to prevent nCov (novel coronavirus),” Suranjeet Chatterjee, Senior Consultant in the Internal Medicine Department of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi, told IANS.
“Wash your hands often with soap and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, observe good personal hygiene and avoid contact with people with possible symptoms and avoid travel to areas where coronavirus infection has been reported,” Chatterjee said.
Experts in population mapping at the University of Southampton in Britain have identified cities and provinces within China, and cities and countries worldwide, which are at high-risk from the spread of the 2019-nCoV.
Bangkok (Thailand) is currently the city most at risk from a global spread of the virus – based on the number of air travellers predicted to arrive there from the worst affected cities in mainland China, according to a report by the university’s WorldPop team.
Hong Kong is second on the list, followed by Taipei. Sydney (12), New York (16) and London (19) are among the 30 other major international cities ranked in the research.
The most ‘at-risk’ countries or regions worldwide are Thailand (1), Japan (2) and Hong Kong (3). The US is placed 6th on the list, Australia 10th and the UK 17th.
Within China, the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing were all identified as high-risk by the researchers, along with the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Henan.
While much is yet to be known about the novel coronavirus in China’s Wuhan city, human-to-human transmission has been confirmed. Early studies have revealed that the virus can cause severe respiratory illness.
“So far, the main clinical signs and symptoms reported in this outbreak include fever, difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing bilateral lung infiltrates. As of 27 January 2020, human-to-human transmission has been confirmed largely in Wuhan city, but also some other places in China and internationally,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“With the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions on international traffic,” said the statement from WHO.
Talking of the precautions that one needs to take, Vaibhav Rohatgi, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Jaypee Hospital, Noida, said, “First of all if possible travel to China at this time should be avoided, unless it is very important.”
“For safety measures, wear masks, avoid crowded places, maintain basic hygiene and keep sanitising your hands, and avoid direct hand contact with eyes and nose.
“People with weak immunity are more prone to the risk of getting this infection, hence opt for healthy cooked food. This new coronavirus strain is rapidly spreading now in China and only prevention is the best cure,” Rohatgi said.
The WHO has advised that you should avoid travel if you have fever and cough.
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“If you choose to wear a face mask, be sure to cover mouth and nose – avoid touching mask once it is on. Immediately discard single-use mask after every use and wash hands after removing masks,” said the advisory.
“Eat only well-cooked food, avoid spitting in public, avoid close contact and travel with animals that are sick,” it said, adding that if you become sick while travelling, it is important to seek medical care early. (IANS)
NASA will pay up to $1 million to people who can come up with innovative and sustainable food production ideas to feed astronauts in space, as the US space agency prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before. Giving future explorers the technology to produce nutritious, tasty, and satisfying meals on long-duration space missions will give them the energy required to uncover the great unknown. In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA has launched the 'Deep Space Food Challenge' that calls on teams to design, build, and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that provide tangible nutritional products -- or food.
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"Feeding astronauts over long periods within the constraints of space travel will require innovative solutions," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, DC. "Pushing the boundaries of food technology will keep future explorers healthy and could even help feed people here at home," he said in a statement. Over time, food loses its nutritional value. That means for a multi-year mission to Mars, bringing along pre-packaged food will not meet all the needs for maintaining astronaut health.
Innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. |UnsplashUnsplash
In October 2021, Phase 1 of the challenge culminated as NASA awarded 18 teams a total of $450,000 for their concepts for innovative food production technology that produces safe, acceptable, palatable, nutritious food products. NASA now invites both new and existing teams to enter Phase 2 for a prize purse up to $1 million. "Everything needed to store, prepare and deliver food to the crew, including production, processing, transport, consumption, and disposal of waste should be considered," said NASA. Proposed technologies such as plant growth systems, manufactured food products, and ready-to-eat solutions combined could provide the future crews with a variety of options that would provide the needed daily nutrition, it added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : NASA, innovative, food, healthy, idea, astronaut, USA, tasty, technology, space, travel, explorer, health, nutrition, prize, solution, variety.)
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People suffering from depression are more likely to believe vaccine-related misinformation, according to a new study. The study found that people with moderate or greater symptoms of depression were more likely to believe at least 1 of 4 false statements about Covid-19 vaccines.
Those who believed the statements to be true were half as likely to be vaccinated, the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated. 'It is clear the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of Americans, especially young people," said researcher Katherine Ognyanova from Rutgers University, the US.
People suffering from depression are more likely to believe vaccine-related misinformation. | Unsplash
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately one-quarter of adults in the US have consistently reported moderate or greater depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings suggest that people suffering from depression may be at a higher risk of Covid-19, highlighting the need to address mental health disorders.
For the study, the team used data from the research group The Covid States Project, which conducted surveys approximately once every six weeks since April 2020. The researchers analysed data from 15,464 adults in the US and the participants were asked to rate vaccine-related misinformation as accurate (statement is true), inaccurate (statement is not true) or not sure.
Approximately one-quarter of adults in US reported moderate or greater depressive symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. | Unsplash
The four statements of misinformation included "The Covid-19 vaccines will alter people's DNA", "The vaccines contain microchips that could track people", "The vaccines contain the lung tissue of aborted fetuses", and "The -19 vaccines can cause infertility, making it more difficult to get pregnant". The survey participants completed a health questionnaire to measure major depressive symptoms over two weeks. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: depression, vaccine, misinformation, patients, health questionnaire, study)
The space economy is on track to be valued at a trillion dollars by the end of 2030, but assets such as navigation, weather and communication satellites that serve our society daily are threatened by space debris, an Indian-American professor has stressed. According to NASA, it is estimated that millions of pieces of space debris orbit around Earth. A major portion of these objects as well as active satellites reside in the low-Earth orbit region, at altitudes between 200 km and 1,000 km. In November last year, Russia destroyed one of its own satellites with a ground-based missile, creating thousands of pieces of debris that passed through the International Space Station (ISS).
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The astronauts and cosmonauts had to take shelter in their Soyuz and Dragon vehicles docked at the space station, as the orbital lab continued to pass through a debris field every 90 minutes. The US identified more than 1,500 trackable pieces of debris from the event, and many thousands of smaller ones couldn't be traced. According to Piyush Mehta, Assistant Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University, the US, in low-Earth orbit, our ability to safeguard these space assets depends on modelling of the aerodynamic forces acting on the satellites, specifically satellite drag.
The astronauts and cosmonauts had to take shelter in their Soyuz and Dragon vehicles. |Unsplash
"The drag force acting on a satellite is affected by various physical parameters, however, the most crucial and uncertain are the drag coefficient and mass density," said Mehta, who leads a collaborative effort on satellite drag coefficient modelling under the International Space Weather Action Teams (ISWAT) initiative. Mehta explained that because of the interconnectedness of the two parameters, one of them is held constant, typically the drag coefficient, while the other is investigated.
However, he added that this causes inconsistencies or inaccuracies in our understanding of the mass density variability in the upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Jason Gross, Interim Chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Statler College, West Virginia University, said: "With the continued rapid increase of manmade satellites in low-Earth orbit, his (Mehta's) work towards improved orbital decay prediction becomes more important for the future of space environment sustainability with each passing day. His lab is at the forefront of this important field." (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : dollar, space, economy, debris, satellite, navigation, weather, orbit, astronaut, cosmonaut, inconsistency, aerospace, collaborative.)
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