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Overall risk for global pandemics higher than previously thought, study finds

Overall risk for global pandemics higher than previously thought, study finds

Science
Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The COVID-19 pandemic may be the deadliest viral outbreak since the Spanish flu in 1918-19, but these events may not be as rare as previously thought, according to an analysis published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The assessment of new disease outbreaks over the past 400 years found that the probability of a pandemic with similar impact to COVID-19 in a given year is about 2%, the data showed. This means that a person born in 2000 had about a 38% chance of experiencing a major outbreak by now, the researchers said. That probability is only growing, highlighting the need to adjust perceptions of pandemic risks and expectations for preparedness, they said. "The most important takeaway [of our study] is that large pandemics lik...
Ocean noise: Study to measure the oceans’ ‘year of quiet’

Ocean noise: Study to measure the oceans’ ‘year of quiet’

Science
AlamyOcean scientists around the world are studying the "unique moment" of quiet created by the pandemic. The researchers have called their vast listening experiment: The year of the quiet ocean. "Lockdown slowed global shipping on a scale that would otherwise be impossible," explained Prof Peter Tyack from the University of St Andrews. The scientists plan to listen to the ocean soundscape before, during and after lockdown. They have identified 200 ocean hydrophones - underwater microphones that are already in place around the global ocean. "So the idea is to use those to measure the changes in noise and how they affect marine life - like calling whales or fish choruses," Prof Tyack said. "Just like people and cities may have noticed that, with much less traffic noise and human activity, ...
Study: Drought-breaking rains more rare, erratic in US West

Study: Drought-breaking rains more rare, erratic in US West

Technology
Rainstorms grew more erratic and droughts much longer across most of the U.S. West over the past half-century as climate change warmed the planetBy MATTHEW BROWN Associated PressApril 6, 2021, 9:53 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBILLINGS, Mont. -- Rainstorms grew more erratic and droughts much longer across most of the U.S. West over the past half-century as climate change warmed the planet, according to a sweeping government study released Tuesday that concludes the situation is worsening.The most dramatic changes were recorded in the desert Southwest, where the average dry period between rainstorms grew from about 30 days in the 1970s to 45 days between storms now, said Joel Biederman, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Southw...
Majority of e-cigarette users want to quit, study finds

Majority of e-cigarette users want to quit, study finds

Health
April 2 (UPI) -- Just over 60% of e-cigarette users want to quit the habit, according to a study published Friday by JAMA Network Open. In addition, more than 15% of adults who vape reported they have made an attempt to quit in the past year, the data showed. Advertisement The findings highlight that most people who use electronic cigarettes or vaping products want to stop, and that current smoking cessation approaches, designed for smokers of traditional cigarettes, may not be effective for them, researchers said. "Many people may have started vaping as part of an attempt to stop smoking cigarettes," study co-author Benjamin A. Toll told UPI in a phone interview. "What our data shows is that many of them are starting to realize that they are replacing an old habit with a new one that th...
1 in 4 hospitalized patients with most severe form of COVID-19 will die, study finds

1 in 4 hospitalized patients with most severe form of COVID-19 will die, study finds

Health
April 2 (UPI) -- About 23% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 experience the most severe form of the disease and roughly one in four of them will die due to its complications, according to a study published Friday by PLOS ONE. An additional 60% suffer from the "normal" symptoms, but still have serious heart and lung complications that carry a 10% risk for death, the data showed. Advertisement Collectively, COVID-19 patients in these two categories are more than seven times as likely to be hospitalized due to the illness and nearly three times as likely to die from it, compared to the 17% percent of patients with mild infections, the researchers said. "Patients do not suffer from COVID-19 in a uniform matter," researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis wro...