Hundreds of millions of people traveling across the country by road, rail and air.
1. More than 107,000 people died in the United States last year by overdosing on illegal drugs. That is the country’s highest figure ever, and two-thirds of the deaths were attributed to fentanyl. Fentanyl deaths have nearly doubled since 2019. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, putting users on a razor’s edge between intense pleasure — the high — and mortal peril. Under proper medical supervision, it is extremely effective for treating severe pain because of its ability to depress the central nervous system. But when too much fentanyl hits the bloodstream, it can quickly trigger respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. The Washington Post’s series on fentanyl is worth reading in its entirety. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
2. Shanghai's historic Bund district and downtown core are largely deserted as Covid-19 infections rip across the financial hub and beyond, while millions take refuge at home after China abruptly rolled back years of ultra-strict virus curbs. Like in the capital Beijing, Shanghai's hospitals and medical clinics have been swamped with patients seeking treatment as pharmacies run short of ibuprofen and Lianhua Qingwen, a popular brand of anti-inflammatory drug. "There are 40 patients now," said a registrar at a clinic in one of Shanghai's public hospitals. "We're open around the clock so that we can deal with the growing number of patients." In Beijing, where a big data analysis by internet giant Baidu found that up to 78% of the capital's population has been infected, university student Ann Wu said her classmates were scrambling to get treatment. "There is a shortage of medicines in the school hospital," she said. "Some people are selling their extra medicine in online chat groups." The infection rate in Shanghai appears to be considerably lower than in Beijing, but that hasn't stopped some of the city's 25 million residents from flocking to overwhelmed hospitals to stock up. "It is ridiculous," said a doctor at one private clinic, adding that nearly half of the 50 patients he saw on Wednesday had no virus symptoms but still asked for medicine. "I can't turn them away because people are worried." (Source: asia.nikkei.com, italics mine)
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