Google-owned YouTube on Wednesday announced that it is reducing streaming quality for users in India in order “to reduce strain on Internet networks during the coronavirus pandemic.”
In India, YouTube will temporarily default HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content at bitrates no higher than 480p on mobile networks, until March 31.
“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
“Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today,” the spokesperson added.
Last week, Google announced that YouTube streaming rates in Europe would be moved to Standard Definition as default rather than High Definition in an effort to assuage lag times. YouTube has seen little change in the peaks, and have mostly seen changes in usage patterns from more people at home-expanding across additional hours and lower usage peaks.
“Despite that, we’re taking this action globally to do our part to minimize stress on the system,” according to YouTube. In addition to YouTube, streaming-video services Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus and Apple have also moved to reduce bandwidth utilization in the Europe. Facebook and Instagram also announced to lower video quality in India, Europe as well as Latin America. (IANS)
Examining how the COVID-19 has impacted different countries, researchers have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), could be a potential new tool in the fight against the disease.
The study that appeared in the pre-print repository medRxiv, proposed that national differences in COVID-19 impact could be partially explained by the different national policies respect to BCG childhood vaccination.
The BCG vaccine has existed for almost a century and is one of the most widely used of all current vaccines.
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BCG vaccine has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children.
It has also been reported to offer broad protection to respiratory infections.
For the study, the researchers compared large number of countries BCG vaccination policies with the morbidity and mortality for COVID-19.
“We found that countries without universal policies of BCG vaccination (Italy, the Netherlands, the US) have been more severely affected compared to countries with universal and long-standing BCG policies,” said the study conducted by researchers from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) College of Osteopathic Medicine in the US.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has increased to 142,502, the highest in terms of infections globally, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).
The CSSE data showed that at least 34,026 people have died due to the disease in the country.
In Italy, which is one of the worst affected countries, 10,779 people have died due to COVID-19.
In this latest study on impact of BCG vaccination on COVID-19, researchers also found that countries that have a late start of universal BCG policy, for example, Iran had high mortality, consistent with the idea that BCG protects the vaccinated elderly population.
“There was a positive significant correlation between the year of the establishment of universal BCG vaccination and the mortality rate, consistent with the idea that the earlier that a policy was established, the larger fraction of the elderly population would be protected,” said the study.
“For instance, Iran has a current universal BCG vaccination policy but it just started in 1984, and has an elevated mortality with 19.7 deaths per million inhabitants.
“In contrast, Japan started its universal BCG policy in 1947 and has around 100 times less deaths per million people, with 0.28 deaths. Brazil started universal vaccination in 1920 and also has an even lower mortality rate of 0.0573 deaths per million inhabitants,” the resulst showed.
Iran announced 2,901 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the total number of confirmed cases soared to 38,309. Also, the death toll from the disease reached 2,640 in Iran, while 12,391 patients have recovered.
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As the numbers of tuberculosis cases dropped in the late 20th century, several middle high and high-income countries in Europe dropped the universal BCG policy between years 1963 and 2010.
“The combination of reduced morbidity and mortality makes BCG vaccination a potential new tool in the fight against COVID-19,” the researchers concluded.