The Good News!

Our Year 12 Social Justice Committee has created a new bulletin for our Ascham School community, called The Good News, so that amid all the bad news of the COVID-19 pandemic we can reflect on all the great things happening in the world.

Here is their very first issue. Go girls!

‘We understand that what we are experiencing is a once-in-a-generation event and is constantly brought up in the news, in the public and at home. You are doing everything you can at the moment to minimise the risk of your health and everyone around you. We would like to say how grateful everyone is for your help in trying to flatten the curve.

We think it’s time to stop talking about COVID-19 for once… and recognise all the good news happening in our world.

Please enjoy The Good News…

Ascham grounds are looking cleaner than ever!
Mr Powell (Ascham Head of School) reported that there is no rubbish on the grounds of Ascham. The clean area has driven ibis and crows away from the overflowing bins. The possums are thriving in their environment and are staying out late at night.

Animal Shelters report a boost in foster applications
Now that people are spending prolonged periods of time at home and inside, they need a furry friend to look after. Various sources say, “they want companionship and to not feel alone during this unsettling time, and it is benefiting our animals directly.”

People are sending cards and letters to nursing home residents
Due to limited visits allowed in nursing homes, the facilities are requesting cards and letters to be sent to lift the residents’ spirits. Since this began, the residents have loved receiving the cards.

Scientists are getting really close to eradicating the second disease from the planet
First, humans got rid of smallpox. Now scientists are on the verge of wiping out the Guinea Worm parasite, which painfully erupts from people’s skin. At the start of 2015 there were 126 cases of Guinea Worm left on earth, mostly thanks to an ingenious and cheap drinking straw filter that stops people from being contaminated by water. As of May this year, there were only five recorded cases.

Australia is on track to become the first country to wipe out one type of cancer
According to a new study, Australia will become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer by 2028, with a predicted rate of just four new cases per 100,000 people. And in just two years it will be considered a rare cancer. This is thanks to a comprehensive prevention strategy that started back in 1991, involving regular pap smears and since 2007, free HPV vaccines for girls (and boys since 2013). Last year Australia also replaced pap smears with HPV cervical screening tests, which are predicted to reduce cancer rates by up to 30 percent in combination with the vaccine.

Scientists are closer than ever before to having a drug that can treat autism symptoms
A small, but promising clinical trial in the US showed this year that a 100-year-old drug called suramin can measurably improve the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. There’s a lot more work to be done, but it’s the first time they have been so close to having a drug that can potentially treat ASD symptoms.

NASA has released all its research to the public for free
Last year, NASA announced that any published research funded by the space agency will now be available at no cost, launching a new public web portal that anybody can access. The free online archive comes in response to a new NASA policy, which requires that any NASA-funded research articles in peer-reviewed journals be publicly accessible within one year of publication.

Air pollution continues to decrease across the world
All this has led to a massive drop in air pollution, which kills a total of 4.2 million people every year, and over 1 million in China alone. The last two months have seen a huge uptick in air quality, especially in hard-hit areas like Wuhan and Northern Italy, as well as a number of metropolitan areas throughout the US. By one conservative estimate, cleaner air has saved about 50,000 lives in China alone over these past few months. Similar trends can be seen in other European cities where lock-down measures have been implemented during the week of 16-22 March:

  • In Milan, average concentrations of NO2 for the past four weeks have been at least 24% lower than four weeks earlier this year.
  • In Rome, average NO2 concentrations for the past four weeks were 26-35% lower than for the same weeks in 2019.
  • In Barcelona, average NO2 levels went down by 40 % from one week to the next. Compared with the same week in 2019, the reduction was 55%.
  • In Madrid, average NO2 levels went down by 56% from one week to the next. Compared with the same week in 2019, the reduction was 41%.

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