SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

508

Estimation of the prevalence and contagiousness of undocumented novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) infections is critical for understanding the overall prevalence and pandemic potential of this disease. Here we use observations of reported infection within China, in conjunction with mobility data, a networked dynamic metapopulation model and Bayesian inference, to infer critical epidemiological characteristics associated with SARS-CoV2, including the fraction of undocumented infections and their contagiousness. We estimate 86% of all infections were undocumented (95% CI: [82%-90%]) prior to 23 January 2020 travel restrictions. Per person, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was 55% of documented infections ([46%-62%]), yet, due to their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases. These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging.

323

An outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among passengers and crew on a cruise ship led to quarantine of approximately 3,700 passengers and crew that began on February 3, 2020, and lasted for nearly 4 weeks at the Port of Yokohama, Japan (1). By February 9, 20 cases had occurred among the ship’s crew members. By the end of quarantine, approximately 700 cases of COVID-19 had been laboratory-confirmed among passengers and crew. This report describes findings from the initial phase of the cruise ship investigation into COVID-19 cases among crew members during February 4-12, 2020.

251

No therapeutics have yet been proven effective for the treatment of severe illness caused by SARS-CoV-2.

214

Although stone tools generally co-occur with early members of the genus Homo, they are rarely found in direct association with hominins. We report that both Acheulian and Oldowan artifacts and Homo erectus crania were found in close association at 1.26 million years (Ma) ago at Busidima North (BSN12), and ca. 1.6 to 1.5 Ma ago at Dana Aoule North (DAN5) archaeological sites at Gona, Afar, Ethiopia. The BSN12 partial cranium is robust and large, while the DAN5 cranium is smaller and more gracile, suggesting that H. erectus was probably a sexually dimorphic species. The evidence from Gona shows behavioral diversity and flexibility with a lengthy and concurrent use of both stone technologies by H. erectus, confounding a simple “single species/single technology” view of early Homo.

188

Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) banks from uses such as air conditioners or foams can be emitted after global production stops. Recent reports of unexpected emissions of CFC-11 raise the need to better quantify releases from these banks, and associated impacts on ozone depletion and climate change. Here we develop a Bayesian probabilistic model for CFC-11, 12, and 113 banks and their emissions, incorporating the broadest range of constraints to date. We find that bank sizes of CFC-11 and CFC-12 are larger than recent international scientific assessments suggested, and can account for much of current estimated CFC-11 and 12 emissions (with the exception of increased CFC-11 emissions after 2012). Left unrecovered, these CFC banks could delay Antarctic ozone hole recovery by about six years and contribute 9 billion metric tonnes of equivalent CO2 emission. Derived CFC-113 emissions are subject to uncertainty, but are much larger than expected, raising questions about its sources.

184

Climate change will cause a substantial future greenhouse gas release from warming and thawing permafrost-affected soils to the atmosphere enabling a positive feedback mechanism. Increasing the population density of big herbivores in northern high-latitude ecosystems will increase snow density and hence decrease the insulation strength of snow during winter. As a consequence, theoretically 80% of current permafrost-affected soils (<10 m) is projected to remain until 2100 even when assuming a strong warming using the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5. Importantly, permafrost temperature is estimated to remain below -4 °C on average after increasing herbivore population density. Such ecosystem management practices would be therefore theoretically an important additional climate change mitigation strategy. Our results also highlight the importance of new field experiments and observations, and the integration of fauna dynamics into complex Earth System models, in order to reliably project future ecosystem functions and climate.

178

To examine the association between reporting on suicides, especially deaths of celebrities by suicide, and subsequent suicides in the general population.

170

We estimate the distribution of serial intervals for 468 confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus disease reported in China as of February 8, 2020. The mean interval was 3.96 days (95% CI 3.53-4.39 days), SD 4.75 days (95% CI 4.46-5.07 days); 12.6% of case reports indicated presymptomatic transmission.

158

After decades of robust growth, the rise in US life expectancy stalled after 2010. Explanations for the stall have focused on rising drug-related deaths. Here we show that a stagnating decline in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality was the main culprit, outpacing and overshadowing the effects of all other causes of death. The CVD stagnation held back the increase of US life expectancy at age 25 y by 1.14 y in women and men, between 2010 and 2017. Rising drug-related deaths had a much smaller effect: 0.1 y in women and 0.4 y in men. Comparisons with other high-income countries reveal that the US CVD stagnation is unusually strong, contributing to a stark mortality divergence between the US and peer nations. Without the aid of CVD mortality declines, future US life expectancy gains must come from other causes-a monumental task given the enormity of earlier declines in CVD death rates. Reversal of the drug overdose epidemic will be beneficial, but insufficient for achieving pre-2010 pace of life expectancy growth.

145

Protected areas (PAs) are a foundational and essential strategy for reducing biodiversity loss. However, many PAs around the world exist on paper only; thus, while logging and habitat conversion may be banned in these areas, illegal activities often continue to cause alarming habitat destruction. In such cases, the presence of armed conflict may ultimately prevent incursions to a greater extent than the absence of conflict. Although there are several reports of habitat destruction following cessation of conflict, there has never been a systematic and quantitative “before-and-after-conflict” analysis of a large sample of PAs and surrounding areas. Here we report the results of such a study in Colombia, using an open-access global forest change dataset. By analysing 39 PAs over three years before and after Colombia’s peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), we found a dramatic and highly significant increase in the deforestation rate for the majority of these areas and their buffer zones. We discuss the reasons behind such findings from the Colombian case, and debate some general conservation lessons applicable to other countries undergoing post-conflict transitions.