COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
Denmark will burn millions of mink culled over Covid-19 concerns and excavated from mass graves
Denmark plans to burn millions of dead mink that have been excavated from mass graves over concerns the carcasses could pollute nearby waterbeds, Danish state broadcaster TV2 reports.

Around four million mink were culled in the autumn and buried in military grounds over concerns the animals could spread Covid-19 after the virus was found on more than 200 mink farms.

Subsequently, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency said that nearby watersheds could be polluted by the mass graves. After six months in the ground, authorities expect the carcasses no longer pose a risk of infection of the virus. Excavated mink from graves in Jutland will go to 13 incineration plants throughout Denmark later this month and the last mink is expected to be burned in mid-July.

One plant is carrying out test incinerations on what they say is an “unusual task” in order to check the “process,” to see how “easily the waste burns” and also to determine the best way to handle the carcasses.”

In a statement, the Maabjerg Energy Center said the waste “consists of a mixture of soil, mink and lime, and we do not yet know the exact composition. Therefore, we also do not know how easily the waste burns.”

Some Danes have expressed concern about the potential odor, which the Maabjerg Energy Center says could be a problem especially during transporting and unloading the mink.

“We have updated the extraction system, so we are as prepared as possible. The actual combustion and smoke from the plant will not smell, as the high temperatures in the combustion process neutralize odours,” it says.
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Uruguay Death Toll Soars as Virus Slams South America
The outbreak has strained hospitals in Uruguay, which has a population of 3.5 million.

On March 1, Uruguay had 76 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units. This week, medical professionals were caring for more than 530, according to Dr. Julio Pontet, president of the Uruguayan Society of Intensive Care Medicine who heads the intensive care department at the Pasteur Hospital in Montevideo, the capital.

... Despite the continuing high number of cases, there is optimism that the country will be able to get the situation under control soon because it is one of the few in the region that has been able to make quick progress on its vaccination campaign. About a quarter of the population has been fully immunized.

“We expect the number of serious cases to begin decreasing at the end of May,” Dr. Pontet said.
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Just 45% of House Republicans say they've been vaccinated while 100% of congressional Democrats say they've gotten the shot
  • Every Democratic lawmaker in the House and Senate says they've received a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But just 45% of House Republicans say they've been vaccinated, while four GOP senators haven't gotten the shot.
  • Skepticism and opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines is widespread among conservatives and is hindering the US's efforts to achieve herd immunity.
"I'm not going to talk about it. I don't think anybody should have to share their personal, private medical information with anybody," said Rep. Greg Steube of Florida.

... Opposition to the COVID-19 vaccines is particularly widespread among conservatives. 43% of Republicans said they would probably never get the vaccine, according to an April Monmouth poll. Vaccination rates are particularly low in counties that voted for Trump in 2020.

Public health experts say that a combination of vaccine hesitancy, lack of access to the shot, and the growth of new variants will make achieving herd immunity in the US unlikely or even impossible.

Prominent Republicans have sided with many of their vaccine hesitant constituents in arguing that Americans shouldn't feel shamed or pressured into getting the vaccine.
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are variable, but often include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Symptoms begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. Most people (81%) develop mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia), while 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging) and 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction). At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time, but can spread the disease. Some patients continue to experience a range of effects—known as long COVID—for months after recovery and damage to organs has been observed. Multi-year studies are underway to further investigate the long term effects of the disease.

Source: Coronavirus disease 2019 - Wikipedia