Football: How the home advantage dwindles in the pandemic – knowledge

How would it be if in the future everyday work only took place in front of an audience? The whole department goes to an appointment with a supplier, it is about an incredibly important order, the presentation is meticulously prepared, the weal and woe of the company depend on the outcome of the negotiations. After a difficult journey, the colleagues arrive. In the conference hall, not only are the employees of the supplier waiting, but also an audience that begins to greet you with slurps. In the course of the meeting, the audience roared down every suggestion from the guests and cheered every utterance of the hosts. For reasons of fairness, a mediator also takes part, a kind of referee. But he is shouted down as soon as he agrees with one of the visitors. You know very well where your car is, the audience sing.

The scenario sounds absurd, of course. In football, on the other hand, it is everyday life and the effects of the spectacle are summarized under the term “home advantage”. The fans shout down the visiting team and they scold the referee anyway. With success: a lot of data shows that the home team enjoys an advantage. Wins are more likely in your own stadium; The referee also decides somewhat more often on average in favor of the hosts. But now the corona pandemic has turned professional football around as well as everyday life, since last spring the vast majority of games have been taking place in empty stadiums. No chants, no roars, no applause, and that, as Vincenzo Scoppa reports in Journal of Economic Psychology, has destroyed home advantage in professional football.

As if the Bundesliga wanted to solemnly approve the researcher, not a single host team won their game last match day – four draws, five defeats. This can also happen with an audience, but it is more likely in empty stadiums, as Scoppa shows in his study. To do this, the researcher from the University of Calabria evaluated data from the top leagues in Germany, Spain, Italy, England and Portugal. He compared statistics from the past ten years with data from games that have been played in orphaned bleachers since the corona pandemic.

“The evidence for the existence of home advantage is robust,” says Scoppa, “but the question of the mechanism of action has not yet been adequately clarified.” After all, many factors could play a role: The visiting team is tired from the long journey, the surroundings are unfamiliar, which can also influence a game.

The study now suggested, however, that social pressure primarily affects the players and referees – i.e. the roar, support and abuse of the fans. “The data show a clear drop in the home team’s performance,” writes Scoppa. The visiting teams, on the other hand, turned up slightly: more shots on goal, more corners, more hits. And the referees decided without fans more neutrally and less in the interests of the home teams, as was otherwise the case. If a few tens of thousands of people are sitting on your neck, staring at you, cheering you on or yelling at you, it hardly goes by without a trace – not even professional footballers and referees.

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Corona vaccine: Astra Zeneca’s vaccine also protects against Covid-19 – health

Just a few weeks ago it was completely unclear whether there would actually be an effective vaccine against Covid-19. But the shelf is gradually filling up with apparently effective corona vaccines: On Monday, Astra Zeneca, the third pharmaceutical company, presented interim results from its ongoing effectiveness studies. According to the press release, the AZD1222 vaccine developed at the University of Oxford achieved an average effectiveness of 70 percent, and depending on the dosage schedule, an effectiveness of 90 percent was achieved.

This means that a vaccination reduces the likelihood of Covid 19 disease after infection with the virus to an average of just under a third and, in the best case, to a tenth. According to the Oxford researchers involved, there are also indications that the virus not only prevents diseases, but also infections. The scientists conclude from tests on British participants in the study, in which fewer asymptomatic infections occurred among the vaccinated than in the placebo group. Such effects are not yet known from other vaccines.

And although the efficacy of the Oxford vaccine is probably slightly lower than that of the vaccines of its competitors Moderna and the team from Biontech and Pfizer, Astra Zeneca’s vaccine meets the central criteria of the US FDA. Accordingly, a vaccine must prevent at least 50 percent of the diseases in order to be considered for approval. Astra Zeneca now wants to prepare such approval in the event that the final analysis – as in the case of Biontech’s vaccine – confirms its effectiveness. So far, only about half of the study participants have such data. Astra Zeneca is currently testing its vaccine on 60,000 people around the world. The two studies considered for the interim analysis involved a total of 23,000 subjects in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

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The vaccine can be stored and transported at normal refrigerator temperatures

AZD1222 is the first proof of efficacy vaccine that does not belong to the RNA-based vaccine family. Rather, it is a so-called vector vaccine: A harmless virus serves as a ferry into the interior of the body, known in technical jargon as a vector. The transport virus is genetically modified in such a way that it can present an important component of Sars-CoV-2 to the immune system.

The specialty of the Oxford vaccine lies in the choice of the vector virus: it is a weakened, no longer capable of reproducing cold virus that infects chimpanzees. It has not yet been used in any approved vaccine. The question of side effects is therefore particularly sensitive. Although Astra Zeneca’s tests had to be halted twice, there should be no evidence of serious adverse effects. Around three billion doses of the vaccine could be produced by the end of 2021. These could be stored and transported at refrigerator temperature, which is an advantage compared to the RNA vaccines, which have to be stored at minus 20 or even minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Experts were pleased with the news of a third apparently effective vaccine, but warned against jumping to conclusions. “Unfortunately, we do not yet have the primary data for these results,” says Leif-Erik Sander from the Berlin Charité. Only with this information will it be possible, according to the vaccine expert, to explain, for example, the different efficacies of the dosage schemes.

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Data centers should get greener and smaller – knowledge

The data center of the future has gotten a bit dirty. Quite a lot of muck, actually. So much that a worker unpacks the high-pressure cleaner and hoses the data center. The shower leaves the data memory unmoved. It’s waterproof, after all.

“Natick” is the name of the data center of the future – at least if the Microsoft engineers are to be believed. Two years ago, the software company sank the white steel tank, packed with 864 servers, in the North Sea. This summer he brought Natick back to the surface with algae, mini crabs and sea anemones. Internally, the data center was not impressed by any of this. It did, says Microsoft, what it should do: calculate, and do it more economically and efficiently than its counterparts on land.

The software company is not alone with these research activities. Other digital companies are also working to make their data centers fit for the future. They should no longer be cost drivers, energy guzzlers and bottlenecks. Instead, they should become smaller, greener and more decentralized. However, this is urgently needed if the dream of a thoroughly digital world is not to end suddenly.

After all, nowadays nothing works without data centers: the mostly inconspicuous buildings are the backbone of the Internet. This is where the images that people upload to Instagram are stored. The videos from Netflix are played here. Here Google searches are carried out, Amazon orders and the battles of the computer game “Fortnite”. More and more calculations are made here – for all those processes that have been outsourced to the nebulous “cloud”, that global, invisible computer. In short: Without the estimated eight million data centers around the world, no smartphone would work and no digital information would reach its recipient.

But data centers are also huge power guzzlers. The centers around the world pulled a good 200 terawatt hours from the socket in 2018 – around one percent of global electricity consumption. This is the conclusion that Eric Masanet from Northwestern University comes to in a recent study that the engineer and colleagues published in the specialist magazine Science published. It could have been worse: Since 2010, the global computing load in the centers has increased sixfold, Internet traffic has increased by a factor of ten, and storage space has even increased by a factor of 25. Nevertheless, according to Masanet, power consumption has only increased by six percent in the same period . Economical processors and increasingly busy servers have made this possible.

But can it go on like this? In 2023, the number of Internet users worldwide will exceed the five billion mark for the first time, estimates the network equipment provider Cisco. Two thirds of all people can then save their cat pictures online. The amount of data will also rise rapidly, by around 60 percent per year, as the consulting firm IDC has determined. According to this, 175 zettabytes or 175 quadrillion megabytes could be reached by the middle of the decade. IDC estimates that almost half of them will be in the cloud – and thus in data centers. Can all of this be achieved without the energy consumption going through the roof?

Not with today’s technology: So far, data centers have been rather inhospitable places. Anyone who has the opportunity to visit such a data temple is standing in the middle of large cupboards. Everyone is piled to the top with servers, none of which are bigger than a half-height cutlery drawer from the kitchen. Diodes flash, it’s loud, cold, dry and drafty.

Servers run hot as soon as they do complex calculations – much like the old laptop when it plays videos for hours

There is a reason for the uninviting environment: servers overheat as soon as they do complex calculations – much like the old laptop at home on the sofa when it has to play videos for hours. In order to dissipate the heat, data centers have so far mostly blown cold air into the server room through holes in the floor. The air flow is directed over the processors and extracted again from the ceiling – now significantly warmer due to the heat from the computer. The principle works quite well for server cabinets with an output of up to 20,000 watts.

In the future, however, engineers expect 100,000 watts per cabinet or more. Dissipating such amounts of heat with air alone would be extremely inefficient and expensive. The power requirement for cooling, which in today’s data centers is between ten and 20 percent of the total energy consumption, would increase massively. Therefore, the centers are increasingly switching to water-cooled systems.

Microsoft is going a different way. Instead of pumping water through servers, the software company wants to put its servers in the water. In the case of the white computing cylinder called Natick, which was sunk in June 2018 off the Scottish Orkney Islands at a depth of 35 meters, fresh water is fed to the processors from an internal, closed cooling circuit. The water heats up and flows out through pipes, where a heat exchanger transfers the energy to the sea – without the risk of a water bill. A similar system is also used to keep the inside of submarines cool.

The biggest concern in the run-up to Natick was that algae or other sea creatures would settle on the cooling fins of the 14 meter long steel tank and impede the exchange of heat, says project manager Ben Cutler on the Microsoft website. The engineers therefore experimented with different coatings, even the use of sound and ultraviolet light was discussed to drive away marine life. In the end, an alloy of copper and nickel prevailed. The material dissipates heat well and at the same time resists the growth of marine organisms, but is somewhat more expensive than conventional heat exchangers.

Fears that the surrounding water would become very hot due to the power of the submerged data center – after all, 240 kilowatts – were apparently not materialized. A few meters away from the steel cylinder, temperatures were measured that were only a few thousandths of a degree Celsius higher than before, writes project manager Cutler in the trade journal IEEE Spectrum. However, the measurement data have not yet been published in independent specialist journals. It is also unclear what effects huge server farms, composed of many individual computing cylinders, would have on the maritime environment.

For Stockholm’s municipal utilities, however, it can’t get hot enough. The Swedes are going in the opposite direction. They want to use the waste heat from data centers to heat their homes. The up to 85 degrees Celsius hot water from the cooling systems is fed into the city’s existing district heating network. According to the Stockholm engineers, ten megawatts of power are enough to heat 20,000 apartments. For comparison: a modern large data center, such as that operated by Facebook, among others, reaches 120 megawatts. By 2035, ten percent of the city of Stockholm should be heated with the waste heat from data centers.

Nordic countries are already very popular with the operators of the centers: The climate is frosty, which reduces the cost of cooling systems. The electricity is cheap (or, as in Sweden, heavily subsidized) and mostly comes from renewable sources. Facebook, for example, has set up a huge data center in Luleå, Sweden, right next to a hydropower plant. The power for the Natick cylinder on the Orkney Islands also comes from wind, sun and waves. According to Microsoft, it has been shown that a data center can be operated with a power mix that was previously considered “unreliable”.

Based on the weather forecast, the algorithm predicts the hours in which a particularly large amount of green electricity can be expected

Unreliable, but above all impractical: All the major digital corporations claim that they can count on electricity from renewable energies. Most of the time, however, the companies acquire global eco-certificates, while the electricity comes from the nearest coal-fired power station. In order to also become greener locally, Google has recently been experimenting with a new algorithm in its data centers: Based on the weather forecast for the coming day, it predicts the hours in which a particularly large amount of regenerative electricity can be expected, and places unnecessary computing tasks in precisely these Periods. As project manager Ana Radovanovic writes in the internet giant’s blog, this includes editing videos and training in the company’s own translation software.

“The first results show that the climate-friendly load distribution works,” says Radovanovic, but without giving concrete figures on CO2 savings. In any case, there is potential: According to Google estimates, only about two thirds of all calculations by the company have been made with green electricity. Artificial intelligence should also help to better adapt the cooling systems to the predicted computing needs. Three degrees less room temperature theoretically reduce energy costs by a quarter. In practice, Google wants to have reduced electricity consumption by 30 percent in this way.

The problem: Up in the north, where it is cool and the electricity is clean, none of these amounts of data are required. The metropolitan areas are elsewhere. Due to the large distances, however, the latency increases, as computer scientists call the delay in retrieving information: If a data center is 100 kilometers away, it takes a thousandth of a second before it can react to a click. If there are 5000 kilometers between the computer and the server, 50 thousandths of a second pass. This is negligible when playing a movie. However, if the local word processing is moved to the cloud, which requires a lot of interaction with the server, a high latency becomes noticeable.

The trend is therefore towards small, decentralized data centers right on the doorstep. Natick should also contribute to this. More than half of all people live less than 200 kilometers from a coast, according to Microsoft. Data centers sunk in the sea – efficient, quickly connected and without high property costs – could therefore represent a good alternative.

But only if a diver doesn’t have to stop by for repairs every few days. Data centers like Natick, named after a city in the US state of Massachusetts, therefore work autonomously – for years until the end of their planned lifespan. It apparently worked well off the Orkney Islands. According to Microsoft, some servers stopped working during the test run. Overall, however, the failure rate was only one eighth of the value of a comparable land-based data center.

Project manager Cutler blames the dry nitrogen atmosphere in the hermetically sealed cylinder, which prevented corrosion and temperature fluctuations. And he points out that no technicians shuffled through the data center and accidentally bumped into servers, that they didn’t rip cables or cause other chaos.

However, this could also be achieved without messy steel cylinders coated with algae and crustaceans: through autonomous, completely maintenance-free data centers on land. Microsoft, Google & Co. are already working on this.

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How to explain the political polarization in the USA – knowledge

Even innocent questions sometimes provoke violent reactions. As is so often the case, this can be observed in a highly concentrated form in the indignation reactors, which someone long ago gave the misleading name “social media”. A prototypical escalation from the question to an outburst there goes something like this: someone posts a position on a politically explosive topic. The position expressed is characterized by a certain radicalism, insofar as it is not immediately understandable for less involved and just provokes questions: What is that meant? What exactly do certain terms mean? The respondents then like to react with self-righteous indignation: It is not their job to enlighten the questioners, these ignorant idiots should piss themselves off to get information.

Anything that is not unconditional consent is considered an affront

Such small scenes can be read as an example of how divided at least the users of social media are. Ultimately, behind the response of the respondents is the attitude that anything that is not unconditional approval of their position is tantamount to an affront – as if it were proof that all counter-attitudes are motivated by meanness, malice and delusion. Now nobody should confuse social media with so-called real life. And yet the digital chambers of anger make it clear what also takes place in analogue life: there are increasingly irreconcilable political camps facing each other, grateful for every little occasion.

The political scientists Heather Ondercin and Mary Lizotte have just verified this in a large sample for the USA and the results in the specialist journal American Politics Research published. In it, the researchers trace for the period from 1980 to 2016 how the animosity of the political camps in the USA has steadily increased. They also present a surprising finding: According to this, there is a somewhat greater degree of affective polarization among women than among men. The reason for this lies in the fact that “women maintain more solid camp identities,” write the scientists. According to Ondercin and Lizotte, women identify more and more with a political side than men, who a little more often described themselves as politically independent.

It is known from other studies that women actually define themselves more strongly through group identities than men and also have a somewhat more pronounced in-group bias – they prefer the members of their own camp or their own group over others. Of course, it must always be emphasized that such findings are average values ​​from which no statements about attitudes and behavior of individuals can be derived. In addition, it should also be emphasized that the differences between the sexes are, as almost always, rather small. Nevertheless, they are interesting because they are anti-intuitive, camp thinking is more likely to be assumed by men.

According to Ondercin and Lizotte, the gender polarization gap emerged in the 1990s and expanded into the current phase of increasingly irreconcilable opposition between the Democrats and Republicans in the United States. Compared to men, “women are now somewhat more hostile towards supporters of the political opposite side,” the scientists write. The comparison between the supporters of the two major US parties is also surprising. The difference in affective polarization between Democratic supporters is greater than that between Republican women and men. Basically, one can say with certainty about the USA at the moment: regardless of gender, supporters of both camps find each other pretty stupid there.

The opinion of the other side is dismissed as malice or stupidity

“Political polarization increasingly threatens the continued existence of democratic institutions,” wrote psychologists around Michael Schwalbe and Lee Ross in a recent journal PNAS published study. In it, the scientists from Stanford University trace the thinking behind the term (affective) polarization. The debates of the US presidential election campaign in 2016 showed in various analyzes that it did not matter what the candidates said, but only who said something.

Your own camp is therefore almost always right, almost irrespective of what is being said. The others, however, are blinded: their opinions and statements are disgraced as the result of malice and stupidity. Both sides don’t give each other anything, and many studies have shown that again and again: followers adjust their view of things or so-called reality across the political spectrum to suit them. Behind this is the all too human assumption that one cultivates a halfway objective view of the world, how could it be otherwise? And if someone then dares to question this view or even to ask what exactly is meant, he gets to feel the anger of the self-righteous.

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Paediatricians against wearing masks in primary school – health

Leonie is always licking her mask, which then becomes “wet and disgusting,” as she says. Felix cried at the beginning when he heard that he should even wear a mask in physical education class, but now he’s got used to it. And Sarah even really likes her mask, she always paints a mouse face on it. Primary school students in Germany not only learn to read, write and arithmetic, but also to wear masks. In more and more federal states and municipalities, masks are now compulsory even for the youngest – on the way to school, in the hallways of the school, during lessons, during breaks and even when doing sports.

For the children this means: They live up to nine hours a day with the mask in front of their mouth, they are only allowed to go down to eat. This is far longer than the vast majority of adults have to cover their mouth and nose. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that mouth and nose covering will soon apply in all primary schools across Germany from the first to the last ring – at least that is what Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) want.

Educators are critical of wearing masks in primary schools

However, there is great discomfort among parents. With all due respect for the necessary protection against the pandemic: Can this be good for the little ones? After all, educators are also critical of the wearing of masks for first and second graders in class: “Children in first-reading lessons are particularly dependent on clear articulation by both the teacher and their classmates,” says educational scientist and elementary school teacher Jörg Ramseger from the Free University of Berlin. This is undoubtedly made more difficult by a mouth and nose covering, which is a problem especially for non-native speakers. For this group of schoolchildren, the mask requirement in primary school classes means “an enormous impairment of learning,” says Ramseger.

The parents’ initiative “Families in Crisis” recently called for a protest in Wiesbaden when the city wanted to impose a mask requirement in primary schools as well. “We understand that further measures are necessary to reduce the increasing number of infections,” write the parents. But this is wrongly “carried out on the back of the children”. Elementary schools played such a small role in the spread of the infection that it was neither proportionate nor useful.

Germany’s paediatricians generally agree. They do not consider the masks to be harmful, but also not particularly useful outside of extreme infection hotspots. “Fears that masks could impair breathing, endanger the supply of oxygen or lead to a dangerous accumulation of carbon dioxide are unfounded,” says a current statement by the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI), the professional association of paediatricians as well as the South German Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine. Also, masks did not lead to mental problems. “Rather, they protect the pregnant child and possibly also its surroundings.” Parents should empathically explain wearing a mask to their children, for example by stating that it protects older people such as grandma and grandpa. “Even the smallest ones wear masks without hesitation if this is conveyed to them well,” says the child and youth psychiatrist Renate Schepker from the Center for Psychiatry South Württemberg, who co-signed the statement.

Primary schools are not infection hotspots

However, according to the current state of knowledge, children under ten years hardly contribute to the infection process in Germany. Therefore, the benefit of the masks in elementary schools is small compared to the inconvenience of wearing masks for hours. “Primary schools are not hotspots for infections,” says DGPI board member Johannes Huebner, deputy head of the children’s clinic at the University of Munich. “In high-incidence areas, of course, infections are carried into schools, but so far there have been no outbreaks in primary schools.” Therefore, measures should be taken in moderation. “Children aged 6 and over can optionally wear a mask, but they shouldn’t be forced to and they should be able to take it off at any time if they want,” the statement demands.

Because: “Six, seven or even nine hours with a mask – that is very, very long for a child,” says Renate Schepker. Should a mask requirement in elementary schools be unavoidable in the classroom due to increasing infections, then it is important to adapt the rules. “There must then be opportunities for the pupils to take off the mask from time to time,” demands Reinhard Berner, director of the children’s clinic at the University of Dresden. Berner advocates shortened lessons and staggered, extended, mask-free breaks. “Creative use of breaks can reduce stress,” says Renate Schepker.

In any case, in the opinion of paediatricians, there is one thing that is even more uncomfortable than wearing a mask in class: when the pupils have to stay at home again, like in spring. “As long as wearing a mask is a way of preventing schools from shutting down,” says Renate Schepker, “then everyone benefits.”

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Corona vaccine: Moderna presents its own vaccine – health

It has only been a week since Biontech and its partner Pfizer, the first competitors in the race for a vaccine against the new coronavirus, presented promising interim results of their effectiveness study. This Monday, the American biotech group Moderna went public with an interim analysis of its vaccine. As the company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reports, the new vaccine has an effectiveness of 94.5 percent according to the interim report and is thus slightly better than the vaccine from competitor Biontech.

Moderna had only announced at the end of October that the last of the 30,000 participants in the comprehensive efficacy study, the so-called COVE study, had received the first of two vaccinations. The results now presented are based on the first 95 cases of Covid 19 disease within two weeks of the second vaccination. Of these, 90 cases occurred in the placebo group that had only received a sham vaccine. Eleven of these patients became very seriously ill. In the group actually vaccinated, there were five diseases; according to the company, there was no serious clinical picture.

Moderna originally wanted to do the first analysis after 53 cases, but apparently the number of diseases in the unvaccinated placebo group was increasing faster than expected. The study by the US company is also of great interest because it includes an unusually high number of previously ill and elderly people. You have a particularly high risk of developing serious Covid-19 and even dying. However, the company has not yet submitted an age analysis of the interim results.

Nevertheless, experts are confident that the vaccine is well tolerated on the basis of the available side effect data – and apparently highly effective. “It is the first study that also reports severe cases,” says pharmacoepidemiologist Stephen Evans of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “And although there is still uncertainty in the results, the absence of severe cases in the vaccine group and at the same time the occurrence of eleven such severe diseases in the placebo group is very strong evidence that the vaccine prevents both mild and severe courses.”

Evans also highlights another advantage of the Moderna vaccine: the vaccine, like that from Biontech, is based on a so-called RNA platform. This means that it consists of small snippets of code that encode the spiked protein of the virus, and that are assembled by the body cells of the vaccinee to form this protein. The immune system then builds up a defense reaction and an immunological memory against this protein. Biontech’s vaccine, however, has to be kept in a consistent cold chain at minus 70 degrees before it is used. Moderna’s vaccine is apparently more stable and therefore less demanding due to synthetic amplification of the RNA. “Although you need a good commercial freezer for maximum shelf life, a normal refrigerator is sufficient for 30 days,” says Evans. The vaccine is even stable for twelve hours at room temperature.

For the American market in particular, which should receive the first 20 million doses for ten million people by the end of the year in the event of emergency approval, the logistical requirements of the vaccine are crucial. Many rural hospitals do not have freezers that can cool down to minus 70 degrees Celsius. Moderna has already signed a large number of international treaties; there is currently no agreement with the European Union. Like Biontech and Pfizer, Moderna intends to apply for emergency approval from the American Medicines Agency in the coming weeks.

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Corona, measles, diabetes: the age of pandemics – knowledge

From Markus Brauer

Markus Brauer (mb)Profile

/ dpa

Everyone is talking about Corona. Other dangerous epidemics – like measles: In 2019, more than 200,000 people worldwide died of the virus disease. And diabetes: there are 1,500 new cases of diabetes every day in Germany.

Packaged FFP2 masks are on the counter in a pharmacy: Covid-19 is pushing other epidemics such as measles and diabetes out of the public eye.  Photo: Hauke-Christian Dittrich / dpa

Packaged FFP2 masks are on the counter in a pharmacy: Covid-19 is pushing other epidemics such as measles and diabetes out of the public eye.

Photo: Hauke-Christian Dittrich / dpa

Tübingen / Geneva – According to the German Diabetes Society (DDG), the number of diabetes patients in Germany is at least eight million and is steadily increasing. “We have around 1500 new cases in Germany every day, mainly type 2 diabetes cases,” says the diabetologist Baptist Gallwitz, who works as deputy medical director at the University Hospital in Tübingen. Twelve million people are expected to be infected by 2040.

WHO: Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called diabetes an epidemic for years. As with Covid-19, there are treatment options, but unlike the viral disease, there is no chance of a cure.

According to the DGG, there are at least eight million diabetics nationwide. In addition, there are an estimated two million who are not yet aware of their disease. This can be dangerous with a corona infection. “If the metabolism is not well under control and the blood sugar levels are well above the norm, the immune system is weakened,” explains Gallwitz.

Measles case numbers continue to rise

The corona crisis has also pushed the subject of measles infection into the background. Around 207,500 people died of measles in 2019, according to estimates by the World Health Organization and the CDC. The death toll rose 50 percent compared to 2016, according to the WHO and CDC report.

In the previous year, a total of almost 870,000 people who were infected with the highly contagious virus were registered. As many as not since 1996.


Read here: Global health – humanity is insufficiently prepared for global epidemics

Corona pandemic exacerbates the situation

Fatal complications can occur with measles, which is considered a childhood disease: According to the WHO, around 2.6 million people worldwide died from it every year until a vaccine was introduced in 1963. Experts fear even worse vaccination rates in countries with poor health care as a result of the corona pandemic. According to WHO estimates, 94 million people in 26 countries are currently at risk of missing their measles vaccinations.

In Germany, the number of measles cases has fluctuated significantly so far. In the years 2010 to 2019, the Robert Koch Institute counted between 165 and 2,465 diseases.

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Corona, measles, diabetes: the age of pandemics – knowledge

Packaged FFP2 masks are on the counter in a pharmacy: Covid-19 is pushing other epidemics such as measles and diabetes out of the public eye. Photo: Hauke-Christian Dittrich / dpa


Everyone is talking about Corona. Other dangerous epidemics – like measles: In 2019, more than 200,000 people worldwide died of the virus disease. And diabetes: there are 1,500 new cases of diabetes every day in Germany.

Tübingen / Geneva – According to the German Diabetes Society (DDG), the number of diabetes patients in Germany is at least eight million and is steadily increasing. “We have around 1500 new cases in Germany every day, mainly type 2 diabetes cases,” says the diabetologist Baptist Gallwitz, who works as deputy medical director at the University Hospital in Tübingen. Twelve million people are expected to be infected by 2040.

WHO: Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called diabetes an epidemic for years. As with Covid-19, there are treatment options, but unlike the viral disease, there is no chance of a cure.

According to the DGG, there are at least eight million diabetics nationwide. In addition, there are an estimated two million who are not yet aware of their disease. This can be dangerous with a corona infection. “If the metabolism is not well under control and the blood sugar levels are well above the norm, the immune system is weakened,” explains Gallwitz.

Measles case numbers continue to rise

The corona crisis has also pushed the subject of measles infection into the background. Around 207,500 people died of measles in 2019, according to estimates by the World Health Organization and the CDC. The death toll rose 50 percent compared to 2016, according to the WHO and CDC report.

In the previous year, a total of almost 870,000 people who were infected with the highly contagious virus were registered. As many as not since 1996.




Read here: Global health – humanity is insufficiently prepared for global epidemics

Corona pandemic exacerbates the situation

Fatal complications can occur with measles, which is considered a childhood disease: According to the WHO, around 2.6 million people worldwide died from it every year until a vaccine was introduced in 1963. Experts fear even worse vaccination rates in countries with poor health care as a result of the corona pandemic. According to WHO estimates, 94 million people in 26 countries are currently at risk of missing their measles vaccinations.

In Germany, the number of measles cases has fluctuated significantly so far. In the years 2010 to 2019, the Robert Koch Institute counted between 165 and 2,465 diseases.

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Apes and humans are even more similar than expected – knowledge

Chimpanzees use tools, communicate, have deep emotions, and maintain friendships. How much monkey is there actually in humans?

From

Tina Baier

It challenged the human image of himself when primate researcher Jane Goodall observed a couple of chimpanzees poking sticks at a termite pile in the 1960s. The monkeys had previously broken off the branches and apparently used them deliberately as tools by inserting them into the insect’s den, pulling them out again and licking the insects attached to them. Until then, anthropologists had defined humans as “toolmakers” and saw in this ability the decisive difference to animals.

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Comment: PhD students earn appropriately paid jobs – knowledge

A fairy tale common in many minds is the assumption that we live in a competitive society. In fact, our market economy is primarily about scarcity, i.e. about supply and demand. In the labor market in particular, demand does not always correspond to the skills and performance of the applicants, but mostly to current needs that can be monetized by the private sector. That is the reason why investment bankers, management consultants and notaries make a little too much money and young journalists and scientists far too little. In this respect, it is to be welcomed when, for example, members of the Junge Akademie – a representative of outstanding young academics – repeatedly demand a well-paid collective agreement for doctoral students.

The system still benefits from the passion and curiosity of the young researchers

Obviously, markets don’t have to judge what a job is essentially worth. And if the investment banker makes his bank rich (instead of shattering it) and the management consultant saves a company with a clever analysis, then the client should decide on the fee. But there are socially important areas where markets do not work because the excellent services provided there cannot earn enough money, at least in the short term. That is the reason why the state in Germany heavily subsidizes opera houses and theaters so that people can experience performances that cannot be seen in most countries of the world.

It is a little bit the same in science. In basic research in particular, money cannot be made quickly, but in the long term it is even more important for the future of society than top opera. Even so, many PhD students, especially in the humanities, lead a rather precarious existence on half a job with full work. You can perhaps justify that as a dry spell if you can really get started professionally as an engineer or AI researcher in your early 30s. Those who want to stay in science or enter the job market as a cultural anthropologist will often have to struggle for years anyway.

The science system in Germany still benefits from the fact that enough young people, out of passion and curiosity, decide to do a doctorate despite all the adversities. But it is possible that research is already missing out on some clever minds who no longer want to live in a shared apartment by their late twenties. But apart from that, it is simply a question of fairness that demanding work is paid according to market rates.

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