Bits ‘n pieces from east, west and beyond

| July 14, 2020 7:22 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

How blood type affects responses to COVID-19 exposure: patients with Type A blood are 50 percent more likely to need oxygen and require a ventilator, according to a study (not yet peer-reviewed), reported on by The New York Times. Scientists in China are also finding that patients with Type A suffer more with COVID-19. Type O people appear to be up to 18 percent less likely to test positive for COVID-19.

New research from Brown University shows that baldness indicates a likelihood of developing serious symptoms.

Asia’s murder hornets have been spotted in Washington state and British Columbia. They are the largest of the hornets, with a two-inch queen and a stinger that can cause anaphylactic shock (Japan reports 50 deaths annually from their stings). The invasive hornets can wipe out beehives in hours. Their nests hold up to 1,000 larvae.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture sees the next few years as the best, if not the only window, for wiping out the invasive species.

Data collected by The Guardian appears to confirm that fatal police shootings in the U.S. are beyond the norm. In Australia (pop. 23.1 million), there were 94 fatal police shootings between 1992 and 2011. That’s compared to the U.S. (pop. 316.1 million), which saw 97 fatal police shootings in just one month in 2015. More figures are available at

Camden, N.J., was one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. in 2010. With a population of 770,000 and 40 percent of residents below the poverty line, it also had a broke police department, according to Politico. Half the department’s officers were laid off.

Arrests fell; murders and burglaries increased. Five officers were charged with planting evidence and with perjury, leading to the overturning of 88 convictions. A bipartisan effort led to the dissolution of the city police department. Law enforcement duties were transferred to the county.

New policies were pursued. Officers were to take on the role of a “facilitator and convener,” as opposed to “arbitrary decider of what’s right and wrong.” There was no quota system for tickets or arrests. Officers were told to integrate peacefully with the communities they patrolled.

There are still complaints about crooked cops, but critics have acknowledged that the police are moving in the right direction in that city.

A person can appear symptom-free but still suffer lung damage from COVID-19, according to a new paper in Nature Medicine. NPR reported that the number of people with asymptomatic infections is not clearly known. It may be up to 41 percent of the population as people typically get tested only if they suspect they have COVID-19. The paper analyzed 37 asymptomatic cases, and CT scans showed 57 percent suffered from lung abnormalities. NPR noted that it is thought the lung abnormalities can be reversed.

New research using ultra-sensitive lasers tracked droplets spewed out by mere human speech. As reported in The Week, researchers found that talking released 2,600 droplets per second. It was even more when people spoke loudly. The droplets remained airborne for up to 14 minutes. A sneeze can deliver 40,000 respiratory droplets. The discovery may explain why COVID-19 proliferates in confined areas with limited air flow.

An Australian data scientist has examined studies of mask effectiveness and nearly all block droplets that can contain infectious ingredients spewed out during conversation. More information is available at

A federal judge has ruled that the Dakota Access pipeline must be shutdown within 30 days. According to Indian Country Today, the judge said approval was illegal as it was done without an environmental impact statement. Reconsideration will occur with a completed impact statement.

Russian officials said that reports that they paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers are an “outright” lie. But American officials said they have intercepted data showing substantial money transfers to a Taliban-linked account. The New York Times reported that there remains no evidence Russia’s president gave approval to the bounty system.

The U.S. death count from COVID-19 was 132,764 on July 6, according to The seven-day average of cases continues to set records (according to the Washington Post). Officials have placed the blame on premature re-openings, which have been misinterpreted by the public as meaning no health precautions are necessary.

Blast from the past: Frederick Douglas said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one … but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

Douglas was born into slavery in 1818 as Frederick Bailey. When he escaped in 1838 he changed his name and became a skilled orator. At risk of capture when he wrote his autobiography, he moved to Great Britain, where supporters raised the $711 needed to buy his freedom.

Douglas strongly influenced President Abraham Lincoln. After the Civil War he served as a U.S. Marshall and as a Recorder of Deeds. He died at age 77. His statue in Rochester, N.Y., was recently found 50 feet from where it was ripped from its pedestal.