COVID-19 in the News

The Washington Post Monday
In search for covid origins, Hubei caves and wildlife farms draw new scrutiny

The World Health Organization has requested access to China's wildlife farming areas such as the mountains of Enshi prefecture, an agricultural corner of China's Hubei province, calling it a key step in the search for the origins of the coronavirus. Beijing has denied the requests. China's government and the WHO say the likeliest origin of the pandemic is natural transmission through wildlife. Yet little progress has been made in establishing a definitive natural pathway from a bat to a Wuhan market – or for any competing theory, for that matter – because of the Chinese government's refusal to grant scientists access. "We really need to find out more about what viruses are circulating in those bats" in the Enshi caves, said Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona. "That kind of proximity of farmed animals and bats that could be carrying coronaviruses is exactly the kind of thing we worry about."

USA Today Oct. 6, 2021
At least 140K US children have lost caregivers to COVID-19. Children of color have taken the brunt of it.

At least 140,000 children across the U.S. have lost a primary or secondary caregiver to COVID-19, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Pediatrics. What's more, researchers found children of color account for 65 percent of children orphaned from COVID-19through June. That's more than 91,000 children of color, compared to 51,000 white children. Indigenous children also suffer unique challenges compounding the deaths, said Hopi tribe member Dr. Felina Cordova-Marks, a University of Arizona professor and health disparities expert, who founded the Southern Arizona Urban Native Indigenous COVID Relief program. "The loss of a caregiver will definitely impact mental health and all aspects of health among American Indian children, as it may compound historical trauma," she said. "As Native Indigenous people, we look at health holistically with a loss of life and loss of culture affecting all of these. Resilience is woven into us as a people as well. Culture is connected to resilience."

AFP France Sept. 24, 2021
Document from 1906 falsely shared as world's oldest vaccine certificate from Ottoman Empire

A photo of a vaccine certificate has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok alongside a claim that it shows the "world's oldest vaccine certificate" that was issued in 1721 under the Ottoman Empire. However, the claim is false. Benjamin Fortna, professor of history and director of the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona, said the year at the bottom of the certificate corresponds to 1906 in the Gregorian calendar. "The date given at the end of the document states 27 Agustos 1322, which is given in the Rumi (Ottoman administrative solar) calendar," he told AFP, adding that he used the online calendar conversion provided by the Turkish Historical Society (Turk Tarih Kurumu). "What is clear is that the document dates from 1906," he said.