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Mink cull ordered in Denmark due to coronavirus mutation; Naples hospital gives oxygen to COVID patients in their cars

A look at how COVID-19 is impacting life around the world.

by Stranger’s Guide

Denmark

The Danish government ordered all farmed minks to be culled after scientific evidence showed a mutation of the coronavirus detected in minks could be transferred to humans, potentially affecting the efficacy of a future vaccine. But the controversial decision drew even more criticism when the government acknowledge it did not have the legal authority to order the killings outside of “risk zones for transmission.” Opponents of the measure say the decision spells the end of Denmark’s multi-million dollar mink fur industry. (The Local)

Italy

Campania has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in Italy, and its hospital appeared unable to cope with the influx of patients. The situation is so severe that one  hospital in Naples, Italy, gave suspected coronavirus patients oxygen in their cars as they queued for admission.  The daughter of one patient described the situation as shameful, saying “the health system here is totally collapsed.” (Euro Weekly News)

Argentina

South African gold mining firm AngloGold Ashanti suspended operations at its Cerro Vanguardia mine in Argentina after cases of COVID-19 were detected among its workforce. Argentina’s coronavirus cases now stand at more than 1.26 million. Back in May, the same company, which also owns the world’s deepest gold mine in South Africa, halted operations in its home country and put workers into isolation after 164 cases of COVID-19 were detected. At the time South Africa had the most cases of coronavirus in Africa. (Mining Technology)

Brazil

Brazil has suspended the Phase III clinical trial of one of China’s most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Brazil’s health ministry said it had discovered that a participant in the trial experienced a “severe adverse event.” A spokesman for Chinese biotech firm Sinovac said the company doesn’t believe the incident was related to its vaccine. (Fortune)

Texas

Texas has over 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and the state’s funeral homes and hospitals are bracing for new wave of admissions and deaths. Since October, the number of patients in Texas hospitals has already almost doubled. In El Paso, hospitals are so overwhelmed that earlier this month the Department of Defense sent medical teams there to assist. Funeral homes in the area are preparing additional refrigerated storage space and El Paso County has installed 10 mobile morgues. (Texas Tribune)

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Don’t Yuck My Yum

“Don’t yuck my yum” has become a common refrain from parents teaching their children to respect food that others like that they might not. Turns out we could all learn that lesson. According to Julie Lesnik of the Department of Anthropology at Wayne State University in Michigan, when Europeans first arrived in America they were aghast that indigenous peoples ate insects. But Lesnik says billions of people on the planet today eat insects, and this just shows an “ability to exhibit dietary flexibility in order to make lives for ourselves in a wide range of environments.” Their way of life is actually far more sustainable than ours. “When I give talks and offer insect-based snacks,” she says, “it does not matter to me if people will not try them; however, I ask people to respect them.”