January 28, 2023

5 Stories: An explosive test at sea, new data on COVID’s early U.S. arrival and other stories you missed

PBS NewsHour’s “5 STORIES” features interesting stories from around the world that you may have missed.

On this week’s episode:

A Navy vessel gets an explosive test

The U.S Navy detonated 40,000-pounds of explosives near its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford, earlier this month. The “full ship shock trial” was meant to test whether the vessel can withstand a potential hit in combat.

The in-water blast occurred 100 miles off the coast of Florida and was the first shock trial test on any naval ship since 2016. Two more, subsequently closer test blasts will occur near the vessel in coming weeks.

Once the trials conclude, the USS Gerald R Ford will enter a maintenance period. It could be deployed as early as 2022.

New data on COVID-19’s early U.S. arrival

A new study from the National Institutes of Health suggests coronavirus was in the U.S. as early as December 2019 — a full month before the first official case was declared in America.

The NIH’s “All of Us” study analyzed more than 24,000 blood samples taken from participants across the U.S. in the early months of 2020. The researchers found COVID-19 antibodies in several samples taken on January 7, 2020. In order for antibodies to be present at that time, the participants had to have had the virus a few weeks earlier — in December.

Positive samples were found in Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but not in Washington state or New York, which were the country’s early hotspots.

The authors don’t know whether participants with positive samples were infected inside the U.S. or during travel, but the results suggest the virus was spreading under the radar before 2020 began.

Lake Mead hits record low

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, has hit a record-low water level, now filling only 36 percent of its capacity.

Since 2000, the water level has dropped 140 feet, nearly the height of the Statue of Liberty. If it decreases another 20 feet, the water level will be below the top of the dam’s intake gates.

Lake Mead provides water and electricity for 25 million people in the West. Its water shortage comes as Western states grapple with a severe drought, part of a larger climate change-induced megadrought. If relief doesn’t come soon, authorities warn, water supplies to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico could be cut further.

Canadian Indigenous people regain right to use native names

Indigenous people in Canada now have the right to use their native names on passports and official documents. The move comes as the Canadian government seeks to address the consequences of nearly a century of assimilation practices.

Starting in the late 1800s, more than 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in the Canadian residential schools primarily run by the Catholic Church. They were stripped of their cultural practices, given European names and faced widespread abuse.

In the last month, hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered at two former such schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

In the U.S., Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Tuesday that her department will review the U.S. government’s role in forced assimilation and possible deaths that occurred as a result of similar practices.

Bubbles help combat pollution

“The Great Bubble Barrier” uses an effervescent technique to keep plastic and trash in rivers and canals from ever reaching the ocean.

The device, now being tested in Amsterdam, uses a tube placed diagonally along a canal floor to pump a curtain of air into the water, creating a diagonal divide. The jacuzzi-like bubbles direct trash upward, and the current helps direct it all into a catchment system on the side of the canal.

That’s important because 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from rivers. So far, The Great Bubble Barrier has collected plastic as small as a sesame seed and larger items like televisions and Christmas trees, all while allowing boats and wildlife to travel freely.

in Health
Related Posts

How to plan a COVID-safe 4th of July

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

The Fourth of July is around the corner, but the United States isn’t quite ready to declare its independence from...

Supreme Court considers ‘chilling effect,’ enforcement of Texas abortion law

November 1, 2021

November 1, 2021

John Yang: Today’s challenges to the law were brought by Sadler’s Whole Woman’s Health and the Biden administration. This is...

Examining the American Medical Association’s racist history and its overdue reckoning

May 18, 2021

May 18, 2021

The national calls to action over racial justice have brought new awareness of past injustices in many parts of our...

U.S. surgeon general on delta variant, vaccine hesitancy and COVID long haulers

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

Health officials are sounding the alarm this holiday weekend about COVID-19’s highly transmissible delta variant that is causing an increase...

Federal judge tosses out Houston hospital staff’s lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccine

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

HOUSTON — A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system over its requirement...

Hundreds believed dead in Pacific Northwest heat wave despite efforts to help

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Many of the dead were found alone, in homes without air conditioning or fans. Some were...

Why Black women face a triple threat from breast cancer

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

Lorna Baldwin is an Emmy and Peabody award winning producer at the PBS NewsHour. In her two decades at the...

Dr. Fauci on Delta variant, booster shots and masks for the vaccinated

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

Anthony Fauci: Well, it certainly is a game changer, Judy, for people who are not vaccinated. One of the issues...

WATCH LIVE: How to take care of your mental health as the world returns to ‘normal’

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

Many Americans are facing mental health challenges as they deal with the tumult of the last year and the uncertainties...

Enrollment in health insurance lags among Latino children

June 28, 2021

June 28, 2021

Not long ago, Graciela Camarena, a community health worker in the Rio Grande Valley, had a perplexing case. Over a...

Can people vaccinated against COVID-19 still spread the coronavirus?

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines about mask-wearing on May 13, 2021, plenty of...

Supreme Court dismisses challenge to Obama health law

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Obama era health care law, preserving insurance coverage...

WATCH: Biden announces free beer, other new incentives for ‘vaccine sprint’

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dangling everything from sports tickets to a free beer, President Joe Biden is looking for that extra...

Vaccinated lawmakers get to take off their masks in House

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fully vaccinated members of Congress and staffers will no longer have to wear masks on the House...

WATCH: Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80 million doses

May 17, 2021

May 17, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19...