Rising and Falling of Prices during Covid-19 Pandemic – Virus 13

Sunday, May 24, 2020
One of Japanese foods, just for illustration

Last two shopping trips at grocery stores, we noticed price increasing. Yes, we heard news from mainstream medias about price increasing of grocery items. We are not aware so much in real life.

It is said that grocery prices have been increased by average of 2.6%. But, we believe several items more expensive, may be more than 3.5%. Some of them:

- eggs (We saw supply shortages).
- bread
- doughnut
- muffin
- cookies
- fruits (oranges, apples, citrus)
- soft drinks, juice
- protein sources (chicken, fish, meat)
- vegetables, especially canned vegetables

Clothes inside Walmart supermarket

Panic shopping is the reason price increase at the beginning of Covid-19 Pandemic, now, here two prominent reasons:

- disrupting of “food supply chains” which include production, processing and delivery systems from farmers (producers) to stores across the nation.

- demand keep continue, even higher in some foods after panic shopping, but supply chains such as meat processing are closing, thus causes food shortages.

However, we have good news that rising and falling in price come together. I noticed these items are getting lower in price:
- sausage
- butter
- tomatoes
- cupcakes

In addition to groceries, following items and services are dropping in prices as well:
- gasoline (raw and at stations)
- clothes
- car and car insurances
- airfare (travel tickets)

Do you notice any increasing and tumbling in prices in your areas? What items and services?

Virus relate postings

Why Friendship may Improve Healthy Heart? - Heart 7

Sunday, May 17, 2020
Building a friendship (source: Exposure)

We all know that good friendship or socializing contributes to our mental health as mentioned in many literatures.

Several sources noticed about significant relationship between socializing and improvement of our physical health.

Some benefits of good quality friendship are:
- increase memory
- sharpen cognitive abilities
- not feel lonely
- improve happiness
- likely to live longer

The two specific advantages, make me surprising about socializing that:
- friendship through technology (social media) as important as in person.
- may reduce cardiovascular diseases.

The connections between friendship and heart diseases are following:
- no friendship means live lonely
- loneliness causes stress
- stress increases hormone cortisol production.

Positive friendship either in person or online or both means lower hormone cortisol production, lower blood pressure, lower damaging to our blood vessels, hence, improve our healthy heart.

Hope, our friendship may lead to healthy live, both mentally and physically even through online (blogging) only.

Relevant posts:

Do You Know that an Owl Flies Without Sounds?

Friday, May 15, 2020
An owl siting on the branch of tree

I saw owls in my backyard sometimes, but I never know that they fly so smoothly without sound.

To have an idea, you may compare an owl and other birds while they are flying in this video: Experiment! How Does An Owl Fly So Silently?

It is clear that other birds produce sound while their wings flap. The noise is due to air turbulence created by flapping wings.

In case of owl, no sound is produced is relating to at least to three following factors:
- the structure of two wings resemble to the comb
- wings have great quality of velvet feathers to form soft layers
- owl’s feathers form the ragged fringe on the wing trailing edge.

The combination of these 3 factors is believed to reduce turbulence noise while owl flying.

Another reason that owl has broad wings, thus make its gliding more, but flapping less. Gliding more means no noise, silent.

Flying silently make owls to be efficient predator in the night, their prey can not able to detect dangerous warning.

In many palm plantations, owls have been used to reduce damages due to rodent pests. They could catch 3 to 5 rats per night. Success story of using silent flying predator.

Updates of Vaccines to Combat Covid-19 – Virus 12

Monday, May 11, 2020
Vaccine candidates

Since my first post about vaccine (When Will Vaccine for Covid-19 Available? - Virus 4), the development is so fast.

We have about 20’s vaccine candidates at the beginning, then developed to be 70’s, then, at least 100 vaccine candidates now.

The vaccines belong to government, private and even NGO research institutes around the globe.

At least four countries have been involved in vaccine development and test its with quite clear steps:

1. Germany
- Vaccine called “BNT162” has been injected to 200 human volunteer with doses 1 to 100 microgram. No result was reported yet.

2. China
- This country has conducted clinical trial to 108 volunteer with vaccine called Ad5-nCoV, but no report yet.

3. USA
- USA had completed first clinical trial with “progression well” results. Vaccine called mRNA-1273 has been shot to two initial groups of 28 and 17 volunteer.
- Other 60 adults will be included in the trials.
- Second shot has been administered and will be followed about 13 months whether the vaccine is safe and effective.

4. United Kingdom
- Vaccine called ChAdOx1 has been success to cure infected monkeys with Corona virus.
- Then, 550 volunteers have been injected with vaccine. The temporary results shown that vaccine is safe to human.

Since ChAdOx1, UK vaccine is the most promising so far, moreover, one of largest pharmaceutical companies in the world ask for the production license.

This Indian based drug company intends to produce ChAdOx1 (vaccine) as soon as possible, might be by next month or no later than September this year.

However, UK government and scientists do not quite sure about timetable of mass production.

Research is still on going, not complete yet. It might be by the end of this year year (2020) or early 2021 for production.

We just wait and see. 

Why We Should not Feed Monkeys with Banana?

Saturday, May 9, 2020
Monkey eats banana

We might wonder with the title: Why We Should not Feed Monkeys with Banana? Actually, there are two types of banana generally:

- commercial banana which we buy from groceries, and eat almost everyday.
- wild banana in the forest or jungle

Our cultivated banana contains more sugar and a lot of calories, suitable for human being only.

If this commercial banana is given to a monkey, it will give them equal to sweet foods such as chocolate, cheesecake and pop tarts.

Many zoos in several countries prohibited to feed monkeys with grocery bananas, its because the fruit likely:
- causing damage to monkey’s teeth
- leading to diabetes.
- causing gastrointestinal problems

The question then, do monkeys eat wild banana which are plenty in the forests and jungles?

No, Monkeys do not eat wild bananas. It was humans first introduced monkey with banana in 1936. Since then, monkeys have been associated with bananas.

Wild monkeys eat both plants and animal protein such as:
- plant based foods include fruits, nuts and seeds
- animal protein based foods that are insects, spiders, bird’s eggs and lizards.

Finally, yes, some animals consume wild bananas, they are:
- birds
- elephants
- bats

Is Remdesivir a Potential Drug Against Covid-19? - Virus 11

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
A potential drug to combat Corona Virus
(credit to Daily Mail)

At previous posted, we discussed about the time length to produce possible vaccine of Covid-19 (When Will Vaccine for Covid-19 Available? - Virus 4).

We just listening and watching “good news” about prospect to combat SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 in recent days.

Drug called “Remdesivir” was designated to control the Ebola virus, but the effect “not so good.”

Since its able to block “the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase” enzyme which is used by virus to replicate itself (by helping from human cells), the “Remdesivir” then applied to combat SARS and MERS viruses.

Remdesivir ables to control both SARS and MERS viruses in the laboratory and animal experiments.

In case of Covid-19, the drug has been given to 1,063 patients in 22 countries, include:
- China
- Japan
- UK and other several European countries.

Reported from several resources showed that drugs have positive effects on:
- shorten recovery from 15 days to 11 days.
- reducing mortality rate from 11% to 8%.

Yes, the result was “promising,” but not significant statistically, thus it needs to be further analyzed, and the trial might be expanded.

However, CEO of Gilead Sciences, the company which produced “Remdesivir,” has planned to supply the drugs to hospitals in the USA by next week.

The drugs will be used to treat about 200,000 infected patients. If success, the drugs will be developed into three forms:
- administered through IV
- by injection
- pills

We wait and pray for the best, hope, Covid-19 disappears soon.

Do You Know this Kind of Animal? - Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise - part 2

Sunday, May 3, 2020
You can see the feet (credit to YouTube)

From previous post (Do You Know this Kind of Animal? - part 1), you may see its feet now.

Yes, two prominent characters of birds are able to dance in addition to sing to attract females for mates.

Its English name quite strange for me, “Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise,” but recently called as “Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise,” and Lophorina niedda as a scientific name.

The fact, birds of paradise inhabit two countries:
- New Guinea (Papua New Guinea)
- Papua, Indonesia.

In Papua, Indonesia, the paradise bird is well known as member of “Cendrawasih,” distributes mainly in the mountains and rain forest, West Part of Papua island. 

Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise”
(credit to Telengana Today).

Both two pictures display of mating dance, where blue eyes mean attractive smiling to a female.

Female usually produces eggs 1 to 3 eggs, then lay them in the nest. The time for hatching is about 2 to 4 weeks.

Many paradise birds in the endanger species list, luckily “Greater Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise” considered as population stable.

Effect of Drink Chia Seeds for Diabetes Patients – Diabetes 23

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Chia seed in a glass of water

Some friends told me that Chia seed is good for health. The seeds are from plant includes in mint family.

Two species of plants, Salvia hispanica and Salvia columbariae could be found in the areas of:
- the southwestern United States
- Mexico
- Central America

Chia seeds are quite small, 1 mm in diameter with color tend to dark gray. We found white and black spots on these oval seeds.

We may consume seed with water. 10 gram of Chia seed is good enough for one glass of water. Some flavors such as orange, mango and lime may be added to the drink.

In term of diabetes, seeds are believed to benefit for type 2 diabetes patients. Few studies have shown that Chia seeds:

- improve insulin sensitivity
- control blood sugar
- lower blood sugar level after eating foods.

Do you know Chia seeds? Have you consume it?

Other posts relate to diabetes:

Do You Know this Kind of Animal? - part 1

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Eyes and bright color (credit to News Nation)

The above image shows black thing with sections of two small spots and the blue section. You may guess what group of this animal? Few choices in vertebrate classification:

- fish
- amphibian
- reptile
- birds
- mammals

Just for hints that this animal live the tropical country, endemic to New Guinea. Ernst Mayr, Germany evolutionary biologist discovered this animal in 1930

First, this animal was described as sub species. Then, the animal included as very new species in 2018.

This new species, actually part of 50 species exist in the world. Many species are very rare, and live in certain areas only.

Since, females are very low in number, the males attract a female by distinctive dance. The competitions are very intensely fierce among males to get attention from a female.

Now, can you guess (what kind of animal it is)?

I will post the answer in the part 2.

Should We Get Covid-19 Antibody Test to Avoid Lock-down? - Virus 10

Saturday, April 25, 2020
Machine to detect virus infection and measure antibody concentration in the blood 
(credit to Abbot)

As of previous post, we talked about method to half spreading of Covid-19 is better by lock down or physical (social) distant than herd immunity (Is Herd Immunity without Vaccine the Worst Strategy? - Virus 9).

We might intend to avoid “lock down or physical (social) distant” rule. How? Should We Get Covid-19 Antibody Test to Avoid Lock-down?

Antibody test also called as:
- immunity titer
- antibody titer
- serological test.

It is a test to measure IgG and IgM antibodies where they are detected in the blood after exposing to the virus, in this case SARS-CoV-2 virus.

IgM refers to antibody caused by recently infection, whereas IgG antibody is formed after 7 to 10 days infection. IgG antibody may include currently and past infections.

We have success to conduct similar titer tests to following communicable diseases:
- mumps
- rubella
- varicella
- measles
- hepatisis B

Moreover, New York state have recorded that 13.9% of 3,000 tested residents are positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

What is it mean?

If this percentage hold to the whole nation, there are projected of 46 million of USA citizens have IgG and IgM antibodies to protect them from Covid-19 infection in the future.

These people may avoid stay at home order or even doing:
- normal job in the offices as usual.
- high risk jobs to take care Covid-19 patients
- customers services

Do you think antibody test is useful? Do you want to be tested?