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Corpses Litter Ecuador’s Streets as Port City Rapidly Becomes “Wuhan of Latin America”

Medical professionals believe the true number of COVID-19 cases in Ecuador could be five times the official count or higher.

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Wuhan of Latin America
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(TMU) — Ecuador’s major port city of Guayaquil has become a scene of absolute horror as health authorities appear unable to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus, resulting in corpses being abandoned in the streets.

The sudden spread of the disease in the Andean nation has made the country the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America, with regional newspapers dubbing Guayaquil “The Wuhan of Ecuador.”

According to officials, over 400 bodies have been recovered both from the streets and from empty buildings. The situation has rapidly overwhelmed funeral homes and mortuaries in the city of 3.6 million, reports EFE news agency.

https://twitter.com/Eduardor312/status/1245487464485138433

On Wednesday, Vice Minister of Comprehensive Healthcare Ernesto Carrasco announced that the South American country’s Emergency Operations Committee had registered 3,163 infections and 120 deaths, with 82 of the deaths occurring in Guayas province, whose capital is Guayaquil.

However, Associated Press reports that medical professionals believe the true number of coronavirus cases may be at least five times the official count.

Shocking video shared online showed people collapsing in the middle of the streets and corpses being draped in cloth by loved ones or burned in the open by frightened residents, while images have filtered out depicting coffins strewn throughout the city—suggesting that authorities haven’t yet tallied the recent wave of deaths.

Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who has announced that she has also been infected, has demanded that the federal government of President Lenin Moreno should step up efforts to collect bodies, reports Los Angeles Times.

In a video message posted to Twitter, she said:

“They’re leaving them in the villages, they fall in front of hospitals … No one wants to recover them.”

The federal government has come under sharp criticism for its handling of the pandemic as well as for the neoliberal policies enforced prior to the crisis, which saw thousands of nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers being sacked since President Moreno came to power in May 2017.

Moreno has backtracked on a proposal to dig a mass grave for the dead in Guayaquil as the city’s ruling Social Christian Party has insisted on residents receiving a proper “Christian burial.”

In the meantime, very few coronavirus tests have been made available to the public, with the cost of testing being far too expensive for most Ecuadoreans.

Along with the spiraling mortality rates, the government’s poor handling of the crisis has raised fears that the spread of CoViD-19 will be far more widespread than the government is willing to acknowledge—as well as a terrifying preview of what awaits the broader region.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Health

Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People

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The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.

Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.

Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.

Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.

Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.

“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”

However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.

In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”

“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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