Medical Notes this week…


One of the biggest questions about the coronavirus is whether people who are infected are immune from reinfection… and if so, for how long. Now a study in the journal Immunity has an answer—yes, people who are infected are immune for at least five to seven months, and maybe longer. Researchers measured long-lasting antibodies in blood plasma… and predict that immunity likely lasts two years or more. A similar virus that causes SARS has produced immunity for up to 17 years. 

Wildfires have dollar costs that go beyond property loss… and health economists at the University of California, Santa Barbara say this year’s western wildfires have cost plenty. They say smoke from wildfires this year have generated respiratory and circulatory illnesses costing more than 1.3 billion dollars. They say the costs extend into areas hundreds of miles away from the fires themselves.

And finally… fast fashion means more plastic pollution of both our water and land. A study in the journal PLOS One shows that over the past decade, the amount of synthetic microfibers being shed into the wash cycle has risen dramatically. That means every time we do the laundry, tiny particles of plastic go down the drain. That’s bad for water…but also for land. Most sewage treatment plants have filters for microfibers…so those tiny pieces of plastic end up embedded in sludge used for fertilizers.

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