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Native Americans reached Polynesia around 1200AD and colonised the area BEFORE European settlers – Daily Mail

Native Americans reached Polynesia 800 years ago by raft and interbred with local islanders — centuries before European explorers arrived in the Pacific.

Researchers from the US and Mexico used large-scale genetic analyses to show that modern-day Polynesian populations contain traces of Native American DNA.

Statistical analysis revealed that prehistoric Polynesian populations first met and interbred with people from what is today Colombia around the year 1,150 AD.

This event — which took place on the South Marquesas islands  — occurred at  roughly the same time Polynesians first arrived in the area from the west.

The finding finally confirms a long-running theory that the two groups had met — and explains why sweet potatoes from the Americas can be found in Polynesia.

Native Americas may have sailed on a raft like the Kon-Tiki — the 1947 vessel led by the explorer Thor Heyerdahl which crossed from Peru to the Polynesian Islands. 

Native Americans from modern-day Colombia reached Polynesia around 1200 AD on a Kon-Tiki-like voyage, colonising the area before Europeans reached Easter Island, geneticists found. Pictured, an illustration showing the diverse genetic routes of modern Polynesians

Researchers from the US and Mexico used large-scale genetic analyses to show that modern-day Polynesian populations contain traces of Native American DNA. Statistical analysis revealed that prehistoric Polynesian populations first met and interbred with people from what is today Colombia around the year 1,150 AD

The notion that Native American and Polynesian populations underwent prehistoric interactions has long been a subject of debate for archaeologists and historians.

While some experts questioned how the two groups, separated by thousands of miles of open ocean, could have interacted, others pointed to a seemingly unlikely clue for the meeting — the sweet potato.

The starchy root vegetable was originally cultivated in Central and South America but, prior its dispersal by European colonists, could also be found in one other place — the islands of Oceania. 

‘The sweet potato is native to the Americas, yet it’s also found on islands thousands of miles away,’ said paper author Alexander Ioannidis of Stanford University. 

‘On top of that, the word for sweet potato in Polynesian languages appears to be related to the word used in Indigenous American languages in the Andes.’

The connections suggested that either Polynesians once landed in South America (most likely Colombia) and brought the potato home with them — or, alternatively, that some Native Americans and their vegetable once ended up in Polynesia.

Efforts to prove that the tubers were once exported from South America to Oceania by analysing the plant’s genome, however, proved fruitless — with experts finding the sweet potato’s genetic history too complex to conclusively reveal its origins.

Attempts to compare ancient DNA preserved in the bones of Native Americans and native Polynesians also proved inconclusive, with the genetic material having become too degraded to establish a link between the populations. 

Dr Ioannidis and colleagues, however, took a different track — analysing DNA samples from 807 modern-day Polynesians and Colombians sourced from across 17 of the Polynesian islands and 15 Native American groups along the Pacific Coast.

In particular, the team sought out segments of DNA that are characteristic of the different populations, alongside those that are ‘identical-by-descent’ and could therefore be attributed to the owners having had a shared ancestor in the past. 

This interbreeding event — which took place on the South Marquesas islands — occurred at roughly the same time Polynesians first arrived in the area from the west

While some experts questioned how the two groups, separated by thousands of miles of open ocean, could have interacted, others pointed to a seemingly unlikely clue for the meeting — the sweet potato, pictured. The starchy root vegetable was originally cultivated in Central and South America but, prior its dispersal by European colonists, could also be found in one other place — the islands of Oceania

The notion that Native American and Polynesian populations underwent prehistoric interactions has long been a subject of debate for archaeologists and historians. Proponents of the theory suggested that Native Americas may have reached Oceania on a raft like the Kon-Tiki, pictured — the 1947 vessel led by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl which crossed from Peru to the Polynesian Islands to prove that Native Americans could have once done the same

The team’s large-scale modern genetic analysis was able to prove what studies of the sweet potato itself and ancient bones were not.

‘We found identical-by-descent segments of Native American ancestry across several Polynesian islands,’ Dr Ioannidis said.

This, explained, provided ‘conclusive evidence’ for a ‘shared contact event’ prehistoric Polynesian and Native American peoples — one in which children with a parent from each group were born. 

Further analysis of the genetic signals revealed that the event occurred around 1,150 AD — during Europe’s Middle Ages — and, Dr Ioannidis said, ‘around the time that these islands were originally being settled by native Polynesians.’

Alongside this, the team were also able to confirm the previous theory that the Native Americans who interacted with the Polynesians came from the region that, today, is Colombia. 

Analysis of the genetic signals revealed that the event occurred around 1,150 AD — during Europe’s Middle Ages — and, Dr Ioannidis said, ‘around the time that these islands were originally being settled by native Polynesians’ Pictured, moai on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. According to the researchers, the mixing of Polynesian and Native American DNA began here somewhat later than on the South Marquesas islands, at roughly 1,380 AD

‘If you think about how history is told for this time period, it’s almost always a story of European conquest — you never really hear about everybody else,’ said Dr Ioannidis.

‘This work helps piece together those untold stories — and the fact that it can be brought to light through genetics is very exciting to me,’ he added.

‘Genomics is at a stage where it can really make useful contributions to answering some of these open questions.’  

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.

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Americans million

Over 44 million Americans file for unemployment since mid-March – CNN

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CDC: Americans desperate to kill coronavirus are dangerously mixing cleaners, bleaching food – MSN Money

, USA TODAY
Published 3:43 p.m. ET June 5, 2020 | Updated 6:08 p.m. ET June 5, 2020

CLOSE

Germs and bacteria can linger in your sink and transfer to your dishes. This is how to keep your sink clean and germ-free.

USA TODAY

Don’t wash your food with bleach. Don’t eat or drink cleaning products.

These lifesaving warnings may seem like common sense, but a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests Americans are throwing common sense out the window as they attempt to keep the coronavirus out of their homes.

In a survey published Friday, 39% of 502 respondents reported engaging in “non-recommend, high-risk practices,” including using bleach on food, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to their skin and inhaling or ingesting such products.

The agency also found many people had limited knowledge of how to safely prepare and use cleaning products and disinfectants. Only 23% responded that room temperature water should be used to dilute bleach and 35% said that bleach should not be mixed with vinegar.

More surprisingly, only 58% of respondents knew bleach shouldn’t be mixed with ammonia.

Mixing those two products creates a solution that emits a harmful gas called chloramine – the same chemical reaction believed to have killed an employee at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Massachusetts last year.  

The CDC said the survey was conducted after poison centers reported a sharp increase in calls. The National Poison Data System noted the following increases in call volumes between March 2019 and March 2020, and between April 2019 and April 2020:

  • A nearly 60% increase in calls about bleach products in March and a 77% increase in April.
  • A 94% increase in calls about disinfectants in March and a 122% increase in April.
  • A 75% increase in calls about hand sanitizer in March and a 56% increase in April.

“They’re getting overaggressive in cleaning,” said Michele Caliva, administrative director of the Upstate New York Poison Center.

Callers have mixed cleaning products, sprayed disinfectant on bread wrappers and wondered if they can eat the bread, bathed their kids in bleach solutions and just generally failed to follow label directions, she said.

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Follow these tips to clean dust off your flat screen television without damaging the sensitive display.

USA TODAY

One caller even asked how she was supposed to drink a cleaning product after President Donald Trump made a comment about drinking disinfectant, which triggered several states to issue a warning against dangerous disinfectant use. 

Caliva’s tips for surviving COVID-19 without accidentally poisoning anyone are simple: Follow directions; don’t mix chemicals; don’t use cleaners or disinfectants on the body; don’t ingest them; be vigilant in keeping such products and hand sanitizers away from children; and don’t spray bags or packages containing food.

Contributing: Amy Neff Roth, Observer-Dispatch. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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A third of Americans surveyed engaged in risky cleaning behaviors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have even gargled with bleach. – CNN

(CNN)Americans are putting their health at risk while trying to protect it.

About a third of Americans surveyed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used some kind of risky cleaning practice to stop the spread of Covid-19, the CDC said on Friday.
People have put bleach their food. Others have gargled or inhaled it. And some have washed their bodies with household cleaning and disinfectant products.
None of this cleaning behavior is recommended by the CDC. But this gap in understanding how to safely clean and handle cleaning products during the Covid-19 pandemic may explain why there’s been a sharp increase in the number of calls to poison centers during the pandemic.
The new research, published Friday in the CDC’s weekly health report, was based on an online panel survey of 502 adults in May of this year.
People said they were cleaning more frequently because of the pandemic, but only about half said that they really knew how to clean and disinfect their home safely. And of those people who were surveyed that acknowledged that they used high-risk cleaning practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19, more were likely to report health problems related to cleaning.
The biggest problem area was people’s limited understanding about how to prepare cleaning solutions. Only 23% knew, for instance, to use only room temperature water to dilute bleach solutions.
People were better about using gloves and other protective equipment.
About 71% said they knew gloves were recommended for use with some cleaning materials and 68% said they knew they should wash their hands after using cleaning products. Most people also said they knew that they should keep cleaners out of the reach of children, but only 54% knew that hand sanitizers should be kept in a place that children couldn’t get to.
The CDC recommends that people always read the instructions on cleaning products. When cleaning, wear gloves or other protective gear. Don’t mix cleaning chemicals.
The CDC also said it will be important to continue education campaigns to help people better understand how to safely clean while they are home.

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More than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, but claims are falling – CBS News

Another 2.1 million jobless claims filed

More than 3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, raising to more than 42 million the number of workers who have lost jobs since the coronavirus crippled the economy.

Some 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 23, the Labor Department said Thursday. Another 1.2 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a new federal program expanding jobless aid to self-employed and gig workers.

“The U.S. economy is suffering its most traumatic job loss in history, with twice as many Americans put out of work over the last two months than during the entire Great Recession,” Oxford Economics analysts wrote in a research note. “Sadly, more pain awaits in May. But labor market conditions should start to improve thereafter as shuttered businesses reopen.”

Still, there are hints of an economic recovery in the weekly numbers, experts say. The number of initial unemployment claims has been dropping for eight straight weeks. And the number of workers who are receiving unemployment benefits dropped by 3.9 million from May 9 to May 16.

“The decline in continuing claims is encouraging, signaling at least some people are finding jobs or are being rehired as the economy is reopening,” Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics told investors in a report.

The hit to the economy has been severe. The U.S. gross domestic product — the total of all economic activity — shrank by 5% in the first quarter, according to a new estimate released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

Millions of service workers don’t qualify for unemployment

The big question on policymakers’ minds is how quickly spending bounces back as businesses reopen, and how many workers who have lost jobs or been furloughed during the coronavirus crash will return to work. About 80% of those who became unemployed in April expect to be back at their jobs within six months, according to Labor Department figures. 

However, most economists see the jobs numbers getting worse before they get better. The unemployment rate, currently at 14.7%, is expected to hit Great Depression-era levels of 25% later this year, according to Goldman Sachs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Only half of Americans say they would definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to poll – Boston.com

Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The poll, released Wednesday, found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.

Health experts already worry about the whiplash if vaccine promises like President Donald Trump’s goal of a 300 million-dose stockpile by January fail. Only time and science will tell — and the new poll shows the public is indeed skeptical.

“It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“The unexpected looms large and that’s why I think for any of these vaccines, we’re going to need a large safety database to provide the reassurance,” he added.

Among Americans who say they wouldn’t get vaccinated, 7 in 10 worry about safety.

“I am not an anti-vaxxer,” said Melanie Dries, 56, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. But, “to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a year or two … causes me to fear that it won’t be widely tested as to side effects.”

Dr. Francis Collins, who directs the National Institutes of Health, insists safety is the top priority. The NIH is creating a master plan for testing the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in tens of thousands of people, to prove if they really work and also if they’re safe.

“I would not want people to think that we’re cutting corners because that would be a big mistake. I think this is an effort to try to achieve efficiencies, but not to sacrifice rigor,” Collins told the AP earlier this month.

“Definitely the worst thing that could happen is if we rush through a vaccine that turns out to have significant side effects,” Collins added.

Among those who want a vaccine, the AP-NORC poll found protecting themselves, their family and the community are the top reasons.

“I’m definitely going to get it,” said Brandon Grimes, 35, of Austin, Texas. “As a father who takes care of his family, I think … it’s important for me to get vaccinated as soon as it’s available to better protect my family.”

And about 7 in 10 of those who would get vaccinated say life won’t go back to normal without a vaccine. A site foreman for his family’s construction business, Grimes travels from house to house interacting with different crews, and said some of his coworkers also are looking forward to vaccination to minimize on-the-job risk.

The new coronavirus is most dangerous to older adults and people of any age who have chronic health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. The poll found 67% of people 60 and older say they’d get vaccinated, compared with 40% who are younger.

And death counts suggest black and Hispanic Americans are more vulnerable to COVID-19, because of unequal access to health care and other factors. Yet the poll found just 25% of African Americans and 37% of Hispanics would get a vaccine compared to 56% of whites.

Among people who don’t want a vaccine, about 4 in 10 say they’re concerned about catching COVID-19 from the shot. But most of the leading vaccine candidates don’t contain the coronavirus itself, meaning they can’t cause infection.

And 3 in 10 who don’t want a vaccine don’t fear getting seriously ill from the coronavirus.

Over 5.5 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected by the virus, and more than 340,000 deaths have been recorded, including nearly 100,000 in the U.S., according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Experts believe the true toll is significantly higher.

And while most people who get COVID-19 have mild cases and recover, doctors still are discovering the coronavirus attacks in far sneakier ways than just causing pneumonia — from blood clots to heart and kidney damage to the latest scare, a life-threatening inflammatory reaction in children.

Whatever the final statistics show about how often it kills, health specialists agree the new coronavirus appears deadlier than the typical flu. Yet the survey suggests a vaccine would be no more popular than the yearly flu shot.

Worldwide, about a dozen COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in early stages of testing or poised to begin. British researchers are opening one of the biggest studies so far, to test an Oxford University-created shot in 10,000 people.

For all the promises of the Trump administration’s “ Operation Warp Speed,” only 20% of Americans expect any vaccine to be available to the public by year’s end, the poll found. Most think sometime next year is more likely.

Political divisions seen over how the country reopens the economy are reflected in desire for a vaccine, too. More than half of Democrats call a vaccine necessary for reopening, compared to about a third of Republicans. While 62% of Democrats would get the vaccine, only 43% of Republicans say the same.

“There’s still a large amount of uncertainty around taking the vaccine,” said Caitlin Oppenheimer, who leads NORC’s public health research. “There is a lot of opportunity to communicate with Americans about the value and the safety of a vaccine.”


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