The Guardian Weekly - UK (2022-05-06)

(EriveltonMoraes) #1

The Guardian Weekly 6 May 2022


8 Global report
United Kingdom


SCI ENCE A N D EN V I RON M EN T


VIRUSES


Climate crisis could cause


increase in future pandemics


There will be at least 15,
instances of viruses leaping
between species over the next 50
years , researchers have warned. As
the planet heats up, many animal
species will be forced to move into
new areas , bringing with them
parasites and pathogens. This
will heighten the risk of “zoonotic
spillover ”, where viruses transfer
from animals to people, potentially
triggering a pandemic of the
magnitude of Covid-19.
“As the world changes, the face
of disease will change too,” said
Gregory Albery, an expert in disease
ecology at Georgetown University
and co-author of the paper,
published in Nature. “This work
provides more incontrovertible
evidence that the coming decades
will not only be hotter, but sicker.”


AGRICULTURE


Degraded land puts ability to


feed half of population at risk


Human damage to the land is
accelerating, with up to 40% now
classed as degraded, while half of
people are suff ering the eff ects, UN
data has shown.
The world’s ability to feed
a growing population is being put at
risk by the increasing damage, most
caused by food production.
Degraded land – which has been
depleted of natural resources, soil


fertility, water, biodiversity, trees
or native vegetation – is found
all over the planet. Most of the
damage by people has come from
farming, but consumption of other
goods such as clothes also makes
a big contribution.

ARCHAEOLOGY


‘Unprecedented’ Phoenician
cemetery discovered in Spain
Workers upgrading water supplies
in southern Spain have come
across an “unprecedented” and
well-preserved necropolis of
subterranean limestone vaults
where the Phoenicians who lived on
the Iberian peninsula 2,500 years
ago laid their dead.
Archaeologists exploring the site –
discovered amid Roman ruins in the
town of Osuna, 90km east of Seville


  • say the Phoenician-Carthaginian
    cemetery dates back to the fourth
    or fi fth century BC and is highly
    unusual as such sites are normally
    found in coastal areas rather than
    so far inland.


AGEING


Study settles on optimum
sleep time for older adults
Seven hours of sleep each night is
the ideal amount in middle to old
age, research suggests.
The study of nearly 500,
adults aged between 38 and 73
found that both too much and too
little sleep were linked with worse
cognitive performance and mental
health, including anxiety and
depression. A consistent amount of
sleep also appeared to be benefi cial.
Prof Barbara Sahakian, from
Cambridge University’s department
of psychiatry, said: “For every
hour that you moved away from
seven hours you got worse. It’s
very clear that the processes that
go on in our brain during sleep are
very important for maintaining our
physical and mental health.”
A good night’s sleep, she added,
was important at all stages of life,
but particularly as people aged. “I t is
as important as getting exercise.”

CORONAVIRUS


Court rules Covid care
home policy was illegal
The government’s policy towards
care homes in England at the start
of the Covid pandemic has been
ruled illegal, in a signifi cant blow
to ministers’ claim to have thrown
a “protective ring” around the
vulnerable residents. The high
court said the policy not to isolate
people discharged from hospitals
to care homes in spring 2020
without testing was “irrational”.
Dr Cathy Gardner, (below,
left) who along with Fay Harris
(right) brought the case after
their fathers died from Covid
in care homes in spring 2020,
called on Boris Johnson to resign
after the landmark ruling, saying
the care homes policy was just
one of several failures in the
management of the pandemic.
She also called on the former
health secretary Matt Hancock
to consider whether he misled
parliament over the protection
of care homes and described
his “protective ring” claim as “a
despicable lie of which he ought
to be ashamed and for which he
ought to apologise”.
Hancock had said that “right
from the start we have tried to
throw a protective ring around
our care homes”, but government
guidance issued on 2 April 2020
as ministers rushed to free up
25,000 hospital beds amid fears
the NHS could be overwhelmed
confi rmed that “negative tests are
not required prior to transfers/
admissions into the care home”.
The Department of Health and
Social Care said: “We sought to
safeguard care home residents
based on the best information
at the time ... we had to act
immediately to prevent the NHS
from being overwhelmed .”

 Bats will
account for the
majority of virus
spread because
they can travel
large distances.
Research
indicates there
are about
3,200 strains of
coronaviruses
already moving
among bat
populations
GETTY IMAGES

1/
The proportion
of reptile
species facing
extinction,
according to
the largest
ever analysis
of populations
worldwide
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