Indian Express Explained 24/05/2020

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1) Explained: What we know about pregnancy, breast milk and Covid-19 so far : The US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) maintains that if a Covid-19 patient chooses to breastfeed her child, she should wear a facemask while doing so and wash her hands before each feeding. Further, she should use a dedicated breast pump and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning.

The CDC maintains that mother-to-child transmission (vertical transmission) of Covid-19 is “unlikely”. “However, after birth, a newborn can be infected after being in close contact with an infected person, including the baby’s mother or other caregivers,” .

What does the new study in The Lancet tell us?

Researchers collected milk samples from two infected mothers after feeding and milk disinfection and viral loads were determined using RT-qPCR tests. Following admission and delivery (day 0), four samples taken from Mother 1 tested negative. On the other hand, virus RNA was detected in the milk taken from Mother 2 at 10 days, 12 and 13. Further, the detection of virus RNA in Mother 2 coincided with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

While it cannot be said for certain if breastmilk with virus RNA can go on to infect newborns who consume it, the finding adds to the emerging evidence about the possible locations where virus RNA can be found. For instance, the presence of viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2 has also been found in faeces, but that does not necessarily mean that it is infectious.

2) Explained: The cicadas are coming out after 17 years, here’s why they take so long to get wings
A brood of periodical cicadas, noisy insects that breed underground for as long as 13-17 years are expected to emerge into some states on the east coast of the US this year.

This year, the grouping dubbed Brood IX will emerge after spending 17 years underground, into states including Southwest Virginia, parts of North Carolina and West Virginia. The emergence of over 1.5 million cicadas per acre is expected. According to Virginia Tech, people living in these areas will experience a “unique natural” phenomenon that has not occurred in most of the area since 2003.

What are Cicadas:- Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground and emerge from the soil mainly to mate. Once out of the ground, their life span is fairly short, somewhere between two-four weeks.
There are three species of 17-year cicadas and three species of 13-year cicadas.

The name 13 and 17 year refers to the number of years that cicada nymphs take to reach adulthood. It is not clear why their development period is so long, researchers suspect that it may be linked to avoiding predators above the soil.

A BBC Earth video described the adult cicadas as “clumsy” and “very edible”, due to their lack of defences because of which they “virutally offer themselves to their attackers” which may include turtles and other inhabitants in a forest. 

After emerging from the ground in billions, the cicadas shed their exoskeletons or outer skins to take their winged form. Their exoskeletons are frequently found attached to tree trunks and twigs.

Lets Make a Prelims Question out of This :-

Q. Which of the Following Statements are Correct regarding CICADAS

1) They are insects
2) Some of their species take more than 10 years to reach adulthood.
3)They spend most of their life before adulthood above ground.

Options: –

A) 1 , 2 & 3 Only.
B) 1 & 2 Only
C) 1 Only
D) 2 & 3 Only

Answer : B) 1 2

3) Explained: How a dam on River Nile may trigger water wars in East Africa :- Africa’s longest river, the Nile, has been at the center of a decade-long complex dispute involving several countries in the continent who are dependent on the river’s waters. At the forefront of this dispute however, are Ethiopia and Egypt

Name of the Dam :- Grand Rennaissance Dam.

When completed, the Grand Rennaissance Dam hydropower project being constructed by Ethiopia, will be Africa’s largest.

While the main waterways of the Nile run through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt, its drainage basin runs through other countries in East Africa, including Ethiopia.

Ethiopia began construction of the dam in 2011 on the Blue Nile tributary that runs across one part of the country. Egypt has objected to the construction of this dam and in Sudan has found itself caught in the midst of this conflict. Due to the importance of the Nile as a necessary water source in the region, observers are concerned that this dispute may evolve into a full-fledged conflict between the two nations. The US has stepped in to mediate.

Ethiopia’s mega project on the Nile may just allow the country to control the river’s waters, and this is essentially what concerns Egypt because it lies downstream. Last year, Ethiopia announced that it planned on generating power using two turbines by December 2020.

However, Egypt has objected to these plans and has proposed a longer timeline for the project because it does not want the water level of the Nile to dramatically drop as the reservoir fills with water in the initial stages.

Lets Again Make a Prelims Question from this :

Which of the Following Statements are Correct wrt Great Renaissance Dam

1) Egypt is Constructing the Dam on the Blue Nile tributary river.
2) Ethiopia is opposing the Construction as it lies Downstream.


A) 1 only
B) 2 Only
C) Both
D) None

Answer:- D) None : ( Construction is done by Ethiopia and not Egypt and the Egypt is opposing since it is downstream )

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