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Claims that living at high altitudes protects against COVID-19 ‘speculative’

Experts have cast doubt on the notion that people adapted to breathing the rarefied air at high altitudes are less susceptible to severe COVID-19 as a result.Share on PinterestThere is little evidence to suggest that living at high altitudes protects against COVID-19.A recent analysis found that, compared with lowland areas, there is a lower incidence…

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Experts have cast doubt on the notion that people adapted to breathing the rarefied air at high altitudes are less susceptible to severe COVID-19 as a result.Share on PinterestThere is little evidence to suggest that living at high altitudes protects against COVID-19.A recent analysis found that, compared with lowland areas, there is a lower incidence of severe COVID-19 in Tibet and parts of Bolivia and Ecuador that are more than 2,500 meters above sea level.Lead study author Christian Arias-Reyes — from the Faculty of Medicine at Laval University in Quebec, Canada — and colleagues argued that physiological acclimatization or particular environmental characteristics associated with high altitude may protect people from SARS-CoV-2. This is the virus that causes COVID-19.The international group of scientists proposed several mechanisms to explain this possible resistance to infection. These included having fewer of the cell receptors that the virus uses to invade cells and having a higher tolerance of low oxygen concentrations in their tissues. Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.In addition, they suggested that the virus may not survive well in the cold, dry conditions at high altitudes, which would reduce its transmission.However, another group of scientists has now urged caution in interpreting this evidence. The researchers — led by high altitude specialist Matiram Pun, at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada — describe the reported lower incidence of COVID-19 as “intriguing.” However, they say that there are several alternative explanations.They point out that some low-lying countries, such as the island nations of the Pacific, also have very low incidences of the infection.Their analysis now appears in the journal High Altitude Medicine & Biology.“The data regarding virus transmission should be carefully interpreted and any current observations regarding high altitude-related differences in incidence, prevalence, and morbidity/mortality of COVID-19 must be considered speculative and hypothesis-generating because of the multitude of other environmental, political, temporal, and healthcare system factors at play.”– Matiram Pun, et al.Arias-Reyes and team suggested that physiological adaptation to low oxygen levels in people living at high altitudes may result in their cells having fewer ACE2 receptors.ACE2 is the receptor in cell membranes that the virus uses to invade the cells.However, evidence regarding the effect of low blood oxygen levels on the number of ACE2 receptors is mixed, say Pun and colleagues.Although some research in cell cultures and animal models has found a decrease in the production of ACE2 under these conditions, other studies actually found an increase. Most importantly, the scientists write, there have been no investigations in either animals or people into the effect of low oxygen levels on the production or “expression” of ACE2 in the cells lining the respiratory tract. This is where the virus first infects cells following inhalation.“Furthermore,” they write, “any such experimental observations on [low oxygen] exposure may not be relevant to genetically adapted high altitude populations such as Tibetans, Sherpas, Andeans, Ethiopian highlanders, or those not of these ethnic groups, who were born and raised at high altitude.”“Thus far, there are no published data that genetically or highly adapted high altitude residents have downregulated ACE2 expression.”The bodies of people who live in the low oxygen environment at high altitudes are adapted to use oxygen more efficiently. In particular, their blood contains higher concentrations of hemoglobin, which is the molecule that transports oxygen.It is conceivable that these adaptations could make people more tolerant of COVID-19-related lung damage, write Pun and colleagues.However, because people living at high altitudes already have lower concentrations of oxygen in their blood, further decreases as a result of COVID-19 could actually be more dangerous for them, the scientists write.Arias-Reyes and co-authors also speculated that the cold, dry conditions and higher levels of UV radiation at high altitudes could inhibit the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.However, Pun and team say that there is no consensus on this effect. They cite evidence from China and the United States that the incidence of COVID-19 actually declined with increasing temperatures. Other research suggests that neither temperature nor UV is significantly associated with the virus’s transmission rate.Pun and team further question whether or not sunlight can destroy the virus. They point out that it does not contain the wavelengths of UV that inactivate viruses. They suggest that higher levels of vitamin D among people living at high altitudes as a result of greater UV exposure could boost their immunity to infection. However, research has not yet tested this hypothesis.Communities living at high altitudes, especially those above 3,000 meters, have a low population density, Pun and co-authors point out.“Low population density and remoteness may have played a major role in keeping COVID-19 at bay in these regions, where social (physical) distancing is more an extension of everyday life than an unusual hardship,” they write.In addition, the active lifestyle required to make a living at high altitudes may mean that populations are generally fitter and less likely to have medical conditions that would increase their risk of severe COVID-19.However, the scientists warn against complacency. Limited access to healthcare and low levels of viral testing and contact tracing in these communities would make them more vulnerable should an outbreak occur.In summary, they write, “We should avoid reaching the conclusion that any community has an innate protection from COVID-19 in the absence of robust evidence.”“Therefore, standard preventive measures currently implemented by health agencies worldwide must also be practiced by high altitude travelers and residents, until adequate controls are in place, and ultimately effective treatments and vaccines become available.”– Matiram Pun, et al.For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.
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150,000 Covid-19 cases quarantined so far in Abu Dhabi

‘These are common public health practices that contribute to preventing the spread of infectious diseases’ More than 150,000 cases of Covid-19 were admitted to quarantine centres or underwent home isolation in Abu Dhabi so far, the local health authority said on Saturday. The Department of Health (DoH) said more than 70 isolation centres have been…

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‘These are common public health practices that contribute to preventing the spread of infectious diseases’

More than 150,000 cases of Covid-19 were admitted to quarantine centres or underwent home isolation in Abu Dhabi so far, the local health authority said on Saturday. The Department of Health (DoH) said more than 70 isolation centres have been established across the emirate.
“The DoH, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) and the authorities concerned, has prepared quarantine and home quarantine and home isolation locations that have been set up for Covid-19 patients and those who have been in direct contact with them,” the DoH said its tweet. “The DoH is keen to provide the best healthcare services, raise the absorptive capacity according to the needs of the sector, and establish a clear working mechanism with a preventive framework to track cases, control infection and limit the spread of the virus.”
The health authority noted that people are sent to quarantine facilities and home isolation according to the situation. Suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patients are kept at isolation centres to avoid the spread of the virus. And quarantine facilities are for separating and restricting the activities of healthy people for a period of time as determined by the health authorities concerned.
“These are common public health practices that contribute to preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Isolation and quarantine are imposed on infected individuals or those who have had contact with an infected person, by separating them from healthy people in order to prevent the spread of disease.”

DoH, in collaboration with @adphc_ae & the concerned authorities, has prepared quarantine and home isolation locations that have been set up for #COVID19 patients & those who have been in direct contact with them. pic.twitter.com/9V3Feda3aF
– ????? ????? – ?????? (@DoHSocial) September 19, 2020
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre is placing awareness notices at the entrances to residential units with self-quarantine cases. The initiative is aimed at limiting the spread of the virus and increasing community awareness on the importance of safe distancing measures.Also, people arriving in Abu Dhabi have to undergo a mandatory Covid-19 PCR test and wear a tracking wristband during a 14-day home quarantine.

@adphc_ae to provide awareness notices at entrances to residential units with self-quarantine cases, as part of efforts to limit the spread of the virus and increase community awareness on physical distancing measures. pic.twitter.com/hsfZJWY36V
– ???? ?????? ???????? (@admediaoffice) September 18, 2020
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Ashwani Kumar
I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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Trixie Mattel’s Twangy Cover, Aquihayaquihay’s Sunny Future, And More Songs We Love

Allan Villanueva / Getty Images The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new? Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t…

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Allan Villanueva / Getty Images

The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

Aquihayaquihay: “Sencillo”

Something is frayed on “Sencillo,” the wonderfully languid latest effort from self-described “anti-boy band” Aquihayaquihay. As much as Steve Aoki’s label signees sound embattled as they sing in Spanish, the sounds themselves direct the song’s emotionality toward hope. Embracing both modern bedroom-production hallmarks and an exploration of past R&B-pop sounds, “Sencillo” plays like a completely welcome meeting of past and present while also pointing to a sunny future. —Patrick Hosken

Trixie Mattel: “Video Games”

Trixie Mattel opened up a beer and said, “Get over here and play my ‘Video Games.'” The RuPaul’s Drag Race legend takes her body to Pioneertown and gives Lana Del Rey’s 2011 melancholy single an Old West country-music twist. The dramatic cover features Trixie strumming her trusty autoharp, but it also serves cowboy shootout realness with some ominous desert outlaw whistles. We hope you like the bad girls, honey, because Trixie really brought it with this cover. Lana Del Rey? More like Lana Del SLAY. —Chris Rudolph

Kristen Ford: “Stick Shift Corolla”

Nashville-based alt rocker Kristen Ford piles on the breakup feels in this moody track from No Plans, her new EP. Tension grows verse by angst-fueled verse. “I don’t want you back / Time don’t work like that,” Ford insists, although if the explosive guitar and drums punctuating the final verse are any indication, that realization doesn’t undo the hurt that’s been done. —Sam Manzella

Lulu Simon: “Strangers”

Pop music has a new rising star, and she comes from a pretty impressive pedigree. On her new single “Strangers,” Lulu Simon, daughter of Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, gets breezily bitter about an ex who can’t quite accept that a relationship has met its expiration. Over a stacked production of ’80s synths and electronica pops, Simon’s lyrics read like a diary or a heated string of texts — you know, the unhinged ones you send in quick succession to a friend when you’ve got some feelings and you’ve got to get them out. Considering that her sarcastic yet sweet debut “Wasted” is just as much of a bop, it looks like there’s more where that came from. —Carson Mlnarik

Cautious Clay: “Agreeable”

Cautious Clay’s voice is smooth, his arms are open wide, and on “Agreeable,” he sounds about a thousand miles high. Much like “Cheesin’,” the virtual posse cut he anchored earlier this year, the elastic artist stretches and flexes in equal measure here — but the party’s over in just two minutes. Before you know, you’re back on the ground. You might not even know you left it. —Patrick Hosken

John K: “Happiness”

The lyrical melancholy of the emerging pop crooner John K’s latest single betrays its peppy title. Here, “Happiness” functions less like an expression of joy than a painful reminder of better days long gone: “Happiness, are you there? / Are you gone? Are you comin’ back?” Yet, delivered by a voice that a new listener might mistake for Troye Sivan or Sam Smith, it seems pleasant all the same. —Coco Romack

Bosco: “4th of July”

The chorus finds Bosco directing your gaze upwards — “Bombs bursting into the sky” — but even fireworks on Independence Day might have a hard time keeping your attention in this plush ecosystem populated with silken guitar waves and a treasure chest full of booming R&B rhythm. Don’t let the title fool you; this is a leafy autumn song through and through. —Patrick Hosken

Bop Shop
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Cautious Clay
Trixie Mattel
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Kristen Ford

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OnePlus 8T Tipped to Launch on October 14: Expected Specifications

OnePlus 8T is now rumoured to launch on October 14. Previously, the phone was expected to launch later this month or sometime early October, but the new rumour suggests a slight delay due to the coronavirus pandemic that may have resulted in production hiccups. The OnePlus 8T is reported to have a different camera setup…

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OnePlus 8T is now rumoured to launch on October 14. Previously, the phone was expected to launch later this month or sometime early October, but the new rumour suggests a slight delay due to the coronavirus pandemic that may have resulted in production hiccups. The OnePlus 8T is reported to have a different camera setup design than the OnePlus 8 range. The upcoming phone is tipped to be powered by the Snapdragon 865 SoC and pack 65W fast charging support.MySmartPrice has shared information relayed by tipster Ishan Agarwal hinting that the OnePlus 8T will launch on October 14. The tipster notes that there might be slight delays due to the unprecedented circumstances. In any case, the OnePlus 8T will see a delayed launch from last year, given that the OnePlus 7T was unveiled in September itself. There have been no announcements from OnePlus regarding a launch event. Given the situation, the next OnePlus event, whenever it happens, would likely be held virtually.OnePlus 8T specifications (expected)The OnePlus 8T has leaked extensively in the past and it is reported to run on OxygenOS 11-based Android 11 software and feature a 6.55-inch full-HD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate. It is said to be powered by the Snapdragon 865+ SoC and come in two configurations – 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB.There is expected to be quad rear camera setup on the OnePlus 8T that may include a 48-megapixel primary shooter, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 5-megapixel macro shooter, and a 2-megapixel portrait sensor. Up front, the OnePlus 8T may feature a 32-megapixel camera for selfies. The OnePlus 8T is tipped to include a 4,500mAh battery with support for 65W fast charging.As mentioned, there may be a redesigned camera module on the OnePlus 8T with the sensors placed on the top left corner, instead of centre.Is Nord the iPhone SE of the OnePlus world? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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