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How Australia Tackled The Flu Season Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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Australia was able to control cases of flue despite of predictions of a spiraling outburst.

Australia was apprehensive about its health care system due to the approaching flu season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike these negative expectations, the actual results have been very promising so far.

Flue season in Australia

Being located in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia generally experiences the flu season from April to October, with the peak taking place in August.

Cases of influenza are sometimes followed by hospitalizations, with deaths occurring in severe circumstances. Being respiratory diseases, both influenza and coronavirus present similar symptoms in patients, although coronavirus is about ten times more deadly.

This year authorities were fearing the ‘dreaded duo’ to affect a large proportion of the Australian population. The estimated numbers were expected to double every three to six days. This had put healthcare systems under tremendous pressure of an unknown amount hospitalizations and ICU admissions that would likely follow.

Contrary to these anticipations, cases of influenza infections have been unusually low in Australia. According to Ian Barr, deputy director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza based in Melbourne, Australia, “It’s been a bit of a non-entity really. Since the end of March, the influenza season has virtually dropped off to baseline or negligible levels,”

As of August, the total number of influenza cases stood at 21,000 in the region. In contrast to this, there were about 247,000 cases reported around the same period last year.

Why have influenza cases seen a drastic decline in Australia?

According to experts, the measures that were put in place to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 helped to control influenza.

“All the measures which have been taken for COVID-19 — the social distancing, the low circulation of people, hand hygiene, now mask-wearing and one of the big ones I think is school closures,” Barr said.

In addition to this, an increased uptake of flue vaccines by the Australian population has also helped considerably. The record-breaking demand of flue vaccines from the public resulted in about 18 million vaccinations throughout the region. Earlier, in 2019, the numbers stood at 13 million only.

According to Mary-Louise McLaws, PhD, a member of the WHO Health Emergencies Program Experts Advisory Panel for Infection Prevention and Control Preparedness, Readiness and Response to COVID-19, ” It was a combination of luck during an adverse event and… Australians are now increasing their uptake of flu vaccine, which has helped considerably. We’ve been fortunate, really fortunate not to have had to deal with that, and I’m not sure that the public fully appreciates how lucky they’ve been that the uptake of vaccine has actually protected them,”

What does this mean for other countries?

Results in Australia have shown that increasing flue vaccinations can definitely help the reduce burden on the healthcare system.

According to the reports of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination will hold a major importance this year to curb the impact of respiratory illnesses and reduce infections among the population.

From here, the health care system is highly dependent on private manufacturers of the vaccines.“The manufacturers have produced more and shall continue to do so, and every professional organization is promoting influenza vaccine. I’ve even said that figuratively speaking I’m down on my knees begging people to get their flu shots,” said Dr. William Schaffner specialist in infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Dr. William Schaffner addresses the fact that the trends seen in Australia might not necessarily translate equally effectively for other regions. “What happens in the Southern Hemisphere does not always predict what happens in the subsequent winter in the Northern Hemisphere,” he said.

Despite of this he has stressed the need to get vaccinated and follow proper SOPs. “We would like in public health to promote more of that because we really think it’s effective in reducing the transmission of these respiratory viruses in the wintertime,” he added. “We’ll see if the American public cottons to that.”

He further added, ” We don’t need a double barrel flu season. There would be, of course, much confusion because the clinical presentations are entirely similar. There would be further stress on our testing program which still is not sufficient, and, of course, there would be a big strain on our healthcare system, which here and there is keeping up but struggling.”

A graduate in Bachelors of Business Administration, Yumna Haq is an ardent researcher and a dedicated writer. Having lived in three different counties, her cultural exposure is vast, allowing her to reflect more knowledge in her work. She's currently working for Cannabis Health Insider as a news writer.

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How Michigan’s New Cannabis Social Equity Reforms Work

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Black & Brown Cannabis Guild compensates convicts

Cannabis regulations, when done right, can pave the way for an equal and prosperous society. Unfortunately, much of history, especially in the United States of America, reflects the opposite. The nation’s long standing so-called ‘War On Drugs‘ still leaves lasting scars on entire communities. That’s why when it comes to racial justice and activism, expungement of cannabis-related charges can bring a lot of good. And especially since studies show black and non-white minorities faced tremendously greater risk of arrest then white cannabis users. Enter the Black & Brown Cannabis Guild.

In Michigan, a state where recreational and medicinal marijuana received legal status in 2018, wrongs need righting. Over the past several decades, countless convictions subjected the innocent. And the punishments, disproportionately severe in relation to the offence, certainly didn’t fit the crime. Simple possession of cannabis could lead to misdemeanor charges, while usage often led to jail time. All of these criminal prosecutions led to permanent stains on records, leading to further marginalization for many.

The Black And Brown Cannabis Guild (BBCG) seeks to secure recompense for racial persecutions

Once Michigan legalized cannabis usage, the obvious question arose. What about those currently serving sentences over cannabis charges, and those with permanent strikes? After all, the countless African American, Latino and other people of color being punished should no longer face criminal records. That’s like prosecuting homosexual relationships, years after the practice got decriminalized. It certainly seemed like amnesty and a clean slate were sorely due.

Recently, the state of Vermont signed off on proposed bills that would try to improve social equity. The two main ways the bill seeks to do this included increased funding for small retailers and expungement. The former seeks to help out minority owners of cannabis stores get up on their feet and compete with bigger, more-privileged chains. And the latter measure would not only immediately release convicts but also wipe the slate clean for all with cannabis charges. Only with this, the bill says, will marginalized communities gain the tools to overcome decades of racism and prejudice.

The War On Drugs left many minority communities persecuted, and expungement is the only moral compensation

The United States at some point decided that drugs of any kind needed brutality to get rid of, at any cost. As a result, police raids, widespread arrests, convictions and wiretaps became all too common since the 1970s. The Nixon-era policy sought to curb increasing illegal drug use, despite not targeting the root causes behind drug usage. This means that instead of combatting poverty, addiction, gang influences and corruption the program simply punished the poor users. The BBCG therefore wants to assist the people of color, and anyone else, wrongfully persecuted.

People with cannabis charges on their permanent record simply face too much oppression. Even outside of jail, they bear reduced likelihoods of employment opportunities, security checks, prejudice and stigma. They carry the label the police wrongfully stuck to them. It doesn’t matter if the arrest was over a simple weed joint or crystal methamphetamine, the stigma remains the same. Furthermore, entire minority communities of former convicts often face discrimination.

The move comes as long overdue, but it is still a step in the right direction

Nothing the government does can magically erase decades of oppression. And it also cannot cure racism, bigotry or discrimination overnight. However, by issuing due apologies, absolving the convicted of charges and funding minority communities, something positive is carried out. These steps hopefully will go a long way for many marginalized groups, as the BBCG hopes.

We can only hope other states catch onto this much-needed policy. For the latest, stay tuned!

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Cannabis Factory Invigorates Small Missouri Town

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Cannabis factory helps small town

Take a drive into the heart of Missouri, and you’ll come across a small little town by the name of Carrollton. A small, idyllic place, there’s a lot to catch the eye, but very little in the way of commercial hustle bustle. Or at least, that’s what you would have seen last year. Today, things are rapidly changing for this remote town, and for the better. This comes in the form of a cannabis factory.

Thanks to the contribution of Carrollton born Ty Klein, the area is soon to be economically bolstered by the advent of a new local industry. And you guessed it, it’s a brand new cannabis processing plant! It is definitely going to be a godsend for industrial development in this town, catalyzing further development. But the most interesting part is how the history of the region and how that will affect the growth in terms of economic output.

 

A new cannabis factory is ideal for the location

 

With a modest population of 3,600 people, Carrollton is by no means a small town. It has a lot of empty space, just what a medium sized investment venture needs. And it is ideal for growing cannabis, with just the right temperatures most of the year. And that’s exactly why the owner believes that Carrollton will become a leading point in raising marijuana acceptance in the heart of America, where distrust for the drug is rife.

The company has chosen the name Carroll County Cannabis Co., which is quite the mouthful. To smoothen out that tongue twister, the company just goes by C4. Considering that the region has seen massive unemployment, this could be phenomenal in improving the lives of Carrolltonians. And not just by paying them well.

 

Growing marijuana in turbulent waters

 

Despite the fact that cannabis is legal in Missouri, there’s still quite the stigma against it. Culturally, the Mideast is not the most accepting of using recreational drugs. For a variety of political reasons, the opposition to cannabis distribution is wide and vocal. But this cannabis factory might just change opinions slowly and surely.

There’s definitely a long way to go. Marijuana remains a strongly controlled and regulated drug to sell. Ty Klein has gotten his hands on three licenses to sell marijuana, which is a great fear in itself. Only a small percentage of aspiring cannabis growers are granted licenses, and against great political pressure. It’s therefore very inspiring how Ty and his company are working right in the heart of the opposition to plant the seeds a brighter future for their state. They plan on reaping what they’ve down before this Halloween, and hopefully show people that there’s nothing to fear from the plant.

 

Klein and crew are getting things done

 

Pushing back against the tide, the intrepid team is hard at work getting everything ready to roll. And teamwork is really central to their ethos. After all, Ty is running the show alongside his childhood best friend, Brandon Green. The two make for inspiring leadership.

As the engines start warming up for large scale, fully fledged, high tech cannabis production, the energy demands of the station are expected to shoot up too. By estimate, the single factory will take the same amount of energy as the rest of the town put together. That’s why the city has agreed to put up a small power station to provide energy to their industry.

All in all, it’s definitely much brighten horizons here on out for Carrollton. Who knows, this might just be the factory to make this small town the next Hershey, Pennsylvania. In any case, things are certainly looking up.

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How The Cannabis Industry Can Reform To Protect The Environment

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Environment issues need to be solved by the cannabis industry

These days, every industry conceivable seems to boast about one thing in particular: how they supposedly help the environment. Look anywhere from the top fast fashion brands, to large-scale agriculture, and they’ll all claim to minimize their ‘carbon footprint’. This term entered the vernacular in the 1990’s by environmentalists, after the ‘ecological footprint’ concept. The carbon footprint refers to the amount of harmful CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions produced by individuals. Therefore, any major company reducing its carbon footprint would entail cutting down its harmful emissions.

In a world rife with rampant climate change crises, environmental protection simply is paramount. According to the scientific consensus, we already caused irreversible climate change due to centuries’ worth of carbon dioxide pollution. Hence, many industries feel spurred to make big environmental changes, albeit sometimes for the press. This holds especially true for the cannabis industry, which needs all the good publicity it can get due to decades of prejudice. The nascent industry, only operating in a few states in the US, needs to similarly learn to take steps to reduce pollution.

 

The National Cannabis Industry Association seeks to guide lawmakers and cannabis companies alike

 

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) campaigns to reform certain practices in the cannabis industry for the better. The cannabis industry consists of a broad variety of goods, each with different production processes. This means that recreational weed, hemp, medicinal marijuana, CBD Oils, dabs and bongs all come from different materials. In processing these materials, various chemical steps and machine exhausts lead to harmful pollution. In the state of Colorado, law requires that low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated plant matter from cannabis get disposed of in landfills.

The problem arises when the company needs to get rid of its waste. By state law, this waste matter gets mixed with other, non-cannabis waste evenly. This mixing must happen in a 50% to 50% ratio, according to legislation. However, since over 90% of the waste isn’t from cannabis producers, it essentially increases the carbon footprint of the company. It’s unfair because the cannabis industry generally produces very little waste so it should have a small carbon footprint. However the company can’t report a small footprint because they can’t control what they’re mixing in with their waste. So they’re kind of getting abused, forced to report much higher carbon footprints than they should. Meanwhile a lot of industries that actually produce a lot of carbon go let off the hook, having jettisoned their waste into the cannabinoid industry.

 

What kind of legislation can help fix this environment issue?

 

Well, for starters, it’s absurd to ask a clear fifty fifty split. We need to keep in mind that the carbon emissions of the cannabis industry far underweigh those of the articles mixed with the former industry’s refuse. And furthermore, saving the environment must reign the number one priority.

Secondly, the waste from the industry disposed of in the most environmentally green way. Whether that means landfills, composting, recycling or bioengineering it to make useful products is yet to be seen. More work needs doing to reduce the environmental fallout of this industry. Thirdly, we need to campaign for ethical landfill laws, and hold larger industries with more waste and hence larger carbon footprints accountable. It’s essential to know where every candidate stands in terms of cannabis regulation laws in your local elections. We have to be able to show the right stance against overly restrictive legislation, and show that we won’t abide an unfair system.

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