In this month's round-up, you'll find that we've been writing about and discussing a range of topics, from the ever-present dangers and complexities of the coronavirus to the need for accurate scientific journalism. And not only are we laser-focused on the deadly force of the tiny microbe, we've also got our eye on that big, wandering moose. What do we mean by that? Read on.
Actually, a Chinese Virologist Didn’t Prove that COVID-19 Was Man-Made -- When journalists the world over a few weeks back were diving deeper into the unsupported claim that the coronavirus might be a human creation tied to nefarious uses, a little-known outfit called The New York Times happened to call upon ACSH.
In trying to provide clarification regarding this controversial subject, Kevin Roose, a contributing reporter to the newspaper's Daily Distortions column, chose to cite one of our scientific experts. Quoting us, he wrote: “The most straightforward explanation for the ‘suspicious’ genetic traits is natural recombination with other coronaviruses, Alex Berezow, a microbiologist, wrote in an article for the American Council on Science and Health." Not only did that Sept. 18 Times report receive widespread attention around the Northeast, it also benefited from a multiplier effect, leading to widespread re-publication placements in six other major U.S. newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, the Hartford Courant, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, VA.
Scientific Journals Are Now Like Facebook -- An article by Dr. Chuck Dinerstein, our Director of Medicine, was featured on Real Clear Science. Under a large photo of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, our good doctor begins: "Bad behavior has consequences, except when you are a social media platform. But the number of peer-reviewed articles subsequently retracted raises the question of whether medical journals believe that they too are 'platforms,' without responsibility for what they publish and disseminate."
Arango Opposition to Marijuana Legalization is Misguided -- In a recent opinion column about a New Jersey politician published on NJ.com, Dr. Berezow was quoted, stating that legalization “took away some of the mystique associated with marijuana. Teenagers can be rebellious and are often attracted to things they know they shouldn’t do. But smoking a joint is hardly taboo anymore.”
Public Mistrust of Science? Challenges & Opportunities -- Under this headline in the well-read website Medium.com, ACSH was featured mid-month with this prominent pull-quote in a thought-provoking article on the issue of credibility in science writing.
The Risk of Airline Travel Increases Due to Coronavirus -- On Sept. 10, Dr. Berezow was quoted in the Washington Examiner about cabin air quality, which he reports is surprisingly good. But instead, he added, travelers should focus on other areas of concern.
“Airplane air is fresh and probably cleaner than office air. The airplane’s cabin air is completely refreshed 20 times an hour. They also use HEPA filters, which should remove most viral particles,” Dr. Berezow stated. But the "biggest concerns" he added, are "bathrooms and tabletops and being in close quarters with other people.” He singled out commodes as the greatest danger, explaining, “The bathroom is a festering petri plate.” One solution is to “carry disinfectant wipes with you and wipe stuff down. That’s what I do.”
WHY HAVE YOU ABANDONED PAIN PATIENTS WHILE U.S. DOCTORS SUPPORT THEM? -- Dr. Josh Bloom, our Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science and a recognized expert in the realm of medicated pain management, was quoted in this open letter by the Chronic Pain Association of Canada to the Canadian Medical Association (Canada's equivalent of the AMA in the U.S.).
Experts Warn of China’s Emergency Use of COVID-19 Vaccine -- ACSH was referenced in an article posted on the website of Voice of America, on the relative effectiveness of vaccines.
Kirby Wilbur Radio Show –– On Sept. 15 and 29, Dr. Berezow appeared on the Seattle-based talk show Kirby Nation on KVI, discussing the efforts and obstacles in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.
And speaking of obstacles ...
Make sure you absolutely steer clear from that random moose when you're driving down the highway. Yes, working to assess relative risk for visitors to the mountainous, Northeastern region while on the road, the Adirondack Almanack (clever spelling, right?) checked in with us before posting its article titled Adirondack Moose Sightings: Rare and Majestic.
Cautioning vacationers to be aware, the AA wrote, citing some of our previous work, that: "Studies done by the American Council on Science and Health show the center of mass of a moose is above the hood of most passenger cars. In a collision, impact studies show that it crushes the front roof beams and individuals in the front seats. Collisions of this type often end in a fatality, leaving seat belts and airbags irrelevant in providing safety."
So not only can media outlets across the county count on us to assess safety threats like microscopic COVID-19, they (along with mountain men and women) also have a go-to source on the dangers of unexpected meet-ups with magnificent creatures weighing 1,000 pounds or more.