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Top News: (10/31-11/6)

Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!

All sources are at the end of the post.

US faces highest flu hospitalization rate in a decade with young kids and seniors most at risk:

A nurse administers a flu vaccination shot to a woman at a free clinic held at a local library on October 14, 2020 in Lakewood, California. Mario Tama | Getty Images

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the US is facing its highest flu hospitalization rates in over a decade with children and the elderly being most at risk. Flu and respiratory syncytial virus abated during the COVID-19 pandemic due to mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing, but now the viruses are staging a major comeback. At least 1.6 million people have fallen ill with the flu so far this season, 13,000 people have been hospitalized, and 730 have died, according to CDC data. In the Southeastern US, about 20% of respiratory samples are testing positive for H3N2, a strain of the flu-associated with more severe illness in children and the elderly, Dr. Jose Romero said. Mitigation measures implemented during Covid left large portions of the US population uninfected with other common respiratory viruses, consequently allowing these viruses to now be surging as young children in particular lack immunity from prior infections. The federal government is prepared to send medical teams and provide supplies from the strategic national stockpile if hospitals are stretched beyond capacity, according to Dawn O’Connell, a senior official at the Health and Human Services Department. No state has requested such support so far, O’Connell said.

North Korea fires more missiles as U.S. flies bombers over South:

This undated photograph released by the Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate shows the wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupyansk, Ukraine. (Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate via AP, File)

On Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister acknowledged for the first time that his country has supplied Russia with drones, insisting the transfer came before Moscow’s war on Ukraine that has seen the Iranian-made drones used in bombing Kyiv. The comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian come after months of confusing messaging from Iran about the weapons shipment, as Russia has been using them to target Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets. Previously, Iranian officials had denied arming Russia in its war on Ukraine. Just earlier this week, Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Amir Saeid Iravani called the allegations “totally unfounded” and reiterated Iran’s position of neutrality in the war. Even so, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has vaguely boasted of providing drones to the world’s top powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has extolled the efficacy of the drones and mocked Western hand-wringing over their danger. During state-backed demonstrations to mark the 1979 US Embassy takeover on Friday, crowds waved placards of the triangle-shaped drones as a point of national pride. As he acknowledged the shipment, Amirabdollahian claimed on Saturday that Iran was oblivious to the use of its drones in Ukraine. He said Iran remained committed to stopping the conflict.

She Just Loves Cleaning and Now Helps Women in Need By Scrubbing Homes for Free While Traveling the World:

Auri Katariina / SWNS

A woman loves cleaning so much that she gave up her job and is now traveling the world scrubbing homes for free, helping women who need a huge hand. Auri Katariina was a service manager at a cleaning company in Finland in the summer of 2021, when she decided to quit and follow her unique passion. Her dream is to clean all over the world and started posting videos online giving cleaning tips. Then one day a woman contacted her through her social media account asking for help with cleaning her home. She had lost her husband and was struggling to clean while taking care of three kids so Auri was happy to help. Auri then went over on a weekend and cleaned her home for two days and by the end, the woman she helped was crying and her kids were hugging me and thanking her. The young woman from Tampere has gone as far as the USA and UK to help people who are in desperate need of decluttering and cleaning. With her following on social media, she has gotten sponsors to pay for her cleaning endeavors and now she continues to take appointments online, helping give homeowners peace of mind and a clean home.

Vibrations From Mobile Phones Traveling on Bridges Can be Used to Assess Structural Integrity:

Data collected by mobile phones could be used to assess the structural integrity of bridges, suggests a new study, informing potential maintenance requirements and keeping them in action for 30% longer. Researchers have already found that smartphones can capture the same kind of information about bridge vibrations picked up by stationary sensors. To test the viability of this, in a study researchers drove over it 102 times with their devices running and they used 72 trips by Uber drivers with activated phones as well. They then compared the resulting data to what had been collected by 240 sensors that had been placed on the Golden Gate Bridge for three months. The findings suggest that crowdsourced monitoring could be a cheap and convenient way to monitor the structural integrity of transportation infrastructure worldwide. Results showed that data from the phones converged with that from the bridge sensors. For 10 particular types of low-frequency vibrations the engineers measured, there was a close match, and in five cases there was no discrepancy between the methods at all. The structural health of bridges is usually visually assessed by engineers on-site, which is oftentimes very expensive and infrequent. However, with this technology integrity of infrastructure like bridges can be reliably and cheaply measured as frequently as needed.


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