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Scientific Imperatives for COVID -19: Water Sector

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... Satellite data are showing significant reductions of NO 2 (nitrogen dioxide) over major cities in China, Europe, USA, and India (NASA Earth Observatory 2020); in Venice, Italy, canal water appeared visibly clearer (Link 2020). Impact of COVID-19 on water resources has been reported by Krishan (2020) and its impact during and post-COVID-19 by Krishan and Kulshrestha (2020) where emphasis is laid on hydro-geoethical and holistic approaches to achieve sustainable governance working on the experiences of experts from different disciplinary domains (Marone and Bohle 2020). ...
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In the present study, a total of 48 groundwater samples (13 from shallow aquifers depth < 50 m and 35 samples from deep aquifers in the depth range 50–200 m) were collected from three industrial dominant districts (Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Moga) of Punjab after the lockdown period and before the start of southwest monsoon in the month of June, 2020 (pre-monsoon). The values for total dissolved solids (TDS) observed in Monsoon season (August, 2020) and November–December, 2019 (post-monsoon) were compared with the values taken in June, 2020 (pre-monsoon) to see the impact of lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic on groundwater salinity. ~ 60% of samples were found to have TDS values more than acceptable limit (500 mg/l) before lockdown (post-monsoon season of 2019) period and after or during lockdown period (June, 2020) number of samples more than the acceptable limit (500 mg/l) reduced to 45%. Average TDS values reduced by 25% in shallow aquifers after lockdown and area under TDS values in acceptable limit (500 mg/l) increased by 23% of samples as compared to the TDS values found in monsoon season of year 2019. In deeper aquifers, increase of only 3% area under TDS values in acceptable limit of 500 mg/l was found. Reductions in TDS values in shallow aquifers clearly show that there is an urgent need for proper management of salinity causing elements and regulating these to check groundwater contaminations using the holistic and hydro-geoethical approach.
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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has caused human respiratory infections with a high case fatality rate since 2012. However, the mode of virus transmission is not well understood. The findings of epidemiological and virological studies prompted us to hypothesize that the human gastrointestinal tract could serve as an alternative route to acquire MERS-CoV infection. We demonstrated that human primary intestinal epithelial cells, small intestine explants, and intestinal organoids were highly susceptible to MERS-CoV and can sustain robust viral replication. We also identified the evidence of enteric MERS-CoV infection in the stool specimen of a clinical patient. MERS-CoV was considerably resistant to fed-state gastrointestinal fluids but less tolerant to highly acidic fasted-state gastric fluid. In polarized Caco-2 cells cultured in Transwell inserts, apical MERS-CoV inoculation was more effective in establishing infection than basolateral inoculation. Notably, direct intragastric inoculation of MERS-CoV caused a lethal infection in human DPP4 transgenic mice. Histological examination revealed MERS-CoV enteric infection in all inoculated mice, as shown by the presence of virus-positive cells, progressive inflammation, and epithelial degeneration in small intestines, which were exaggerated in the mice pretreated with the proton pump inhibitor pantoprazole. With the progression of the enteric infection, inflammation, virus-positive cells, and live viruses emerged in the lung tissues, indicating the development of sequential respiratory infection. Taken together, these data suggest that the human intestinal tract may serve as an alternative infection route for MERS-CoV.
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Globally, approximately 170,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) have been reported, including an estimated 7,000 deaths in approximately 150 countries (1). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic (2). Data from China have indicated that older adults, particularly those with serious underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness and death than are younger persons (3). Although the majority of reported COVID-19 cases in China were mild (81%), approximately 80% of deaths occurred among adults aged ≥60 years; only one (0.1%) death occurred in a person aged ≤19 years (3). In this report, COVID-19 cases in the United States that occurred during February 12-March 16, 2020 and severity of disease (hospitalization, admission to intensive care unit [ICU], and death) were analyzed by age group. As of March 16, a total of 4,226 COVID-19 cases in the United States had been reported to CDC, with multiple cases reported among older adults living in long-term care facilities (4). Overall, 31% of cases, 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths associated with COVID-19 were among adults aged ≥65 years with the highest percentage of severe outcomes among persons aged ≥85 years. In contrast, no ICU admissions or deaths were reported among persons aged ≤19 years. Similar to reports from other countries, this finding suggests that the risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19 is higher in older age groups.
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In this study, the persistence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was observed in feces, urine and water. In addition, the inactivation of SARS-CoV in wastewater with sodium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide was also studied. In vitro experiments demonstrated that the virus could only persist for 2 days in hospital wastewater, domestic sewage and dechlorinated tap water, while 3 days in feces, 14 days in PBS and 17 days in urine at 20 degrees C. However, at 4 degrees C, the SARS-CoV could persist for 14 days in wastewater and at least 17 days in feces or urine. SARS-CoV is more susceptible to disinfectants than Escherichia coli and f2 phage. Free chlorine was found to inactivate SARS-CoV better than chlorine dioxide. Free residue chlorine over 0.5 mg/L for chlorine or 2.19 mg/L for chlorine dioxide in wastewater ensures complete inactivation of SARS-CoV while it does not inactivate completely E. coli and f2 phage.
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To study whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) could be excreted from digestive system. Cell culture and semi-nested RT-PCR were used to detect SARS-CoV and its RNA from 21 stool and urine samples, and a kind of electropositive filter media particles was used to concentrate the virus in 10 sewage samples from two hospitals receiving SARS patients in Beijing in China. It was demonstrated that there was no live SARS-CoV in all samples collected, but the RNA of SARS-CoV could be detected in seven stool samples from SARS patients with any one of the symptoms of fever, malaise, cough, or dyspnea, in 10 sewage samples before disinfection and 3 samples after disinfection from the two hospitals. The RNA could not be detected in urine and stool samples from patients recovered from SARS. Nucleic acid of SARS-CoV can be excreted through the stool of patients into sewage system, and the possibility of SARS-CoV transmitting through digestive system cannot be excluded.
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