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Weekly News Roundup 3/20 to 3/26

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ASPCA commits $5 million in COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Initiative to help animal welfare organizations and pet owners

To assist pet owners and animal welfare organizations affected by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is launching the ASPCA Relief & Recovery Initiative, a $5 million multipronged strategic relief response to the crisis. The response includes $2 million in grants to animal welfare organizations in critical need of funds, and pet food to pet owners who face challenges providing food for their animals. Grants will help organizations fund essential lifesaving services such as basic operations, adoptions and foster programs, and veterinary services, which are proving to be crucial animal welfare services during this crisis. . . . more

Hospitals muzzle doctors and nurses on PPE, COVID-19 Cases

Over the past month, an orthopedic surgeon has watched as the crowd of sick patients at his hospital has grown while the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff has diminished. As he prepares for another day of staffing testing tents and places his one and only mask on his face, he also receives a daily reminder from hospital management: Don’t talk about it. The surgeon, who works in a COVID-19 hotspot in the Northeast, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of employer retribution. “It’s very clear; no one is allowed to speak for the institution or of the institution,” he said in an interview. “We get a daily warning about being very prudent about posts on personal accounts. They’ve talked about this with respect to various issues: case numbers, case severity, testing availability, [and] PPE.” The warnings mean staff at the hospital suffer in silence, unable to share the troubling situation with the public or request assistance with supplies. . . . more

NYU med school will graduate students early to help New York fight coronavirus

As COVID-19 continues to slam New York City hospitals, New York University’s (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine this week took the dramatic step of letting its graduating class depart early to join the response effort. New York City has rapidly become a hotspot for COVID-19, with more than 15,000 of the world’s roughly 500,000 cases as of the morning of March 26. Doctors and nurses have been working around the clock to care for the surge of patients. NYU’s action aims to add more physicians to the ranks. . . . more

Like humans, most female mammals live longer than males, study finds

From elephants to lions and orcas to seals, most female mammals outlive males—just like their human counterparts, new research suggests. Researchers looked at 101 species of wild mammals living in 134 different locations and found that females lived longer than males in 60% of cases. What was particularly surprising to the researchers was just how much longer they lived—on average, they had an 18.6% longer lifespan. By contrast, in humans, females live 7.8% longer than males, according to the study. . . . more

IDEXX Laboratories tested thousands of pets for coronavirus. None have come back positive

As fears about COVID-19 continue to mount, there’s something that can be a source of comfort rather than concern: our pets. In mid-February, IDEXX Laboratories, a global leader in veterinary diagnostics, started testing samples from dogs, cats, and horses for the coronavirus strain responsible for COVID-19. Veterinarians submitted more than 3,500 specimens from dogs, cats, and horses in South Korea and all 50 US states, including areas experiencing human COVID-19 cases like Seattle. To date, none have tested positive. . . . more

Lieutenant Dan the two-legged hound has been named the next Cadbury Bunny

Cadbury, the company behind the popular egg-shaped chocolate, has named its next mascot—and he’s not a bunny. The candy company announced Tuesday that after holding nationwide tryouts, two-legged hound Lieutenant Dan has won the title of Cadbury Bunny. Lieutenant Dan, who sports a pair of pink bunny ears, “has overcome adversity [and] has won the hearts of America,” Cadbury said in its news release. The rescue pup, who was born with a deformity in his hind paws and tail that led to their eventual amputation, fetched the most amount of votes. He beat out several other contestants, including Ginger the hamster, Conswala the llama, Dilly Bar Dabbler the duck, and a handful of other pets. . . . more