Australia Aims to ‘Live with Virus’ Instead of Eliminating It

Renju Jose and Jonathan Barrett wrote . . . . . . . . .

Australian authorities on Wednesday extended the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne for another three weeks, as they shift their focus to rapid vaccination drives and move away from a suppression strategy to bring cases down to zero.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged a staggered easing of the tough restrictions once 70% of the state’s adult residents receive at least one dose, a milestone he hopes to reach at least by Sept. 23, based on current vaccination rates.

“We have thrown everything at this, but it is now clear to us that we are not going to drive these numbers down, they are instead going to increase,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne, the state capital, after a lockdown for nearly a month failed to quell the outbreak. The lockdown was due to end on Thursday.

“We got to buy time to allow vaccinations to be undertaken all the while doing this very hard work, this very painful and difficult work, to keep a lid as much as we can on cases.”

New local cases jumped to 120 in Victoria from 76 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 100 have spent time in the community while infectious.

Neighbouring New South Wales state, home to Sydney, on Wednesday brought forward its target date to fully vaccinate 70% of people above 16 to the middle of next month from the initial target of the end of October, as outbreaks spurred a surge in inoculation.

“No matter where you live, life will be much, much better, much freer, as long as you’re vaccinated at 70%,” Berejiklian told reporters. So far 37% are fully vaccinated in the state, while 67% have had at least one dose, slightly higher than the national numbers but well below most comparable nations.

A total of 1,116 new cases were detected in New South Wales, down from 1,164 a day earlier. NSW reported four new deaths, taking the total number of deaths in the latest outbreak to 100.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Wednesday Australians ultimately needed to be released from lockdowns.

“Australia can live with this virus,” he said in Canberra.

LIVING WITH COVID

Australia is trying to get a handle on the third wave of infections that has locked down more than half of its 25 million population. Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, and capital Canberra are in weeks-long strict stay-at-home orders.

Despite the recent flare-ups, it has managed to keep its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with just over 55,000 cases and 1,012 deaths.

Among the Group of 20 big economies, Australia was the last to record 1,000 COVID-19 deaths, a grim but modest marker by global standards reached this week. read more

Several major Asia-Pacific economies have fewer COVID-19 deaths, with New Zealand recording just 26.

While Australian authorities had been able to douse past outbreaks through lockdowns, the highly infectious Delta variant has forced the country’s two biggest states to plan for a reopening even as infections rise.

Australian Medical Association vice president Chris Moy told Reuters that Delta’s high infectivity, short incubation and asymptomatic spread had meant the “old playbook did not work”.

“Your window of opportunity at the start to eliminate it is so much smaller and basically once you’re passed that, Delta decides its destiny,” Moy said.

The federal government is pressing the states and territories to stick to a national reopening plan once vaccination rates reach 70%-80% although some virus-free states said they may delay given the rapidly rising Sydney cases. read more

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg urged the state leaders to follow the national reopening plans.

“Stick to the plan … a plan that allows businesses to reopen and plan for their own future … a plan that takes Australia forward to living safely with the virus,” Frydenberg said.

Source: Reuters

Character Bento (キャラ弁)

The Risk of Developing a Disease Linked to Genetics Tends to Decrease with Age

People often get sicker as they grow older, but new research from Gil McVean of the University of Oxford and colleagues finds that the impact of a person’s genes on their risk of getting sick actually wanes with age. The researchers published their new findings August 26thin the journal PLOS Genetics.

The genes we inherit from our parents influence our risk for almost all diseases, from cancer to heart disease to autoimmune disorders. With new genomic technologies, scientists can now use a person’s genome to predict their future disease risk. However, recent work has shown that the predictive power of a person’s genetics can depend on their age, sex and ethnicity.

In the new study, McVean’s team investigated whether the risk of developing a disease posed by carrying certain genes changes as a person gets older. In other words, they wanted to know if there are windows when people are more or less likely to develop diseases linked to genetics. They used genomic data from 500,000 people in the UK Biobank to look at how their genetics impact their risk of developing 24 common diseases. While different diseases had different risk patterns, the researchers showed that a person’s genetic risk is highest early in life and then drops off for many diseases, including high blood pressure, skin cancer and underactive thyroids.

Currently, the reasons why the risk posed by a person’s genes decreases with age are not clear. The researchers suspect that there may be unknown processes at work, such interactions between a person’s genes and their environment that lead to disease. A better understanding of how age impacts a person’s risk of developing a disease linked to their genes may help researchers make more accurate predictions about whether an individual will ultimately become sick with that condition.

McVean adds, “Our work shows that the way in which genetics affects your risk of getting a disease change throughout life. For many diseases, genetic factors are most important in determining whether you will get a disease early in life, while — as you age — other factors come to dominate risk.”

Source: Science Daily

Singapore Fried Noodles

Singapore Fried Noodles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons dried shrimp
8 oz rice or egg vermicelli noodles
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1-1/4 inches fresh ginger, finely sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and finely sliced
1 tablespoon hot curry paste
3 oz char sui (Chinese barbecued pork) or cooked pork, very finely sliced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
6 scallions, finely sliced lengthwise
2 fresh red chilies, cored and very finely chopped

Method

  1. Put the dried shrimp in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Soak the noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. If using egg vermicelli, cook for about 3-4 minutes in boiling water, rinse in cold water, and drain.
  3. Heat a wok, add the oil, and stir-fry the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and drained shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the curry paste and pork and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the drained noodles and bean sprouts and toss well.
  6. Add the soy sauce, scallions, and chilies, and toss until just wilted.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and serve alone or with other dishes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Noodles and Pasta


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