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News Briefs

  • At the start of the pandemic a year and a half ago, it appeared very likely that the origin of SARS-CoV-2 was zoonotic, an animal-to-human transmission. By this past May, however, a flurry of questions had emerged, partly owing to the refusal of the Chinese government to fully cooperate with WHO investigators and the fact that no zoonotic transmission had been found. The LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik has since written three detailed, extended articles refuting the lab-origin theory. He cites a Sept. 16 paper by 21 virologists in the journal Cell, along with more recent studies, and concludes that “there is no evidence that the virus leaked from the Wuhan laboratory or any other lab,” adding that the lab was not working on any virus “that had anything but a very distant resemblance to SARS-CoV-2.” Hiltzik acknowledges, nonetheless, that there are “creditable scientists who regard a lab leak as a plausible scenario.”


  • The LACCD is currently negotiating with the MTA to provide free transit passes for our students. This would encourage more students to take public transportation, thus reducing traffic and helping to facilitate a cultural shift from the single-use vehicle to public transportation, an absolute necessity if we are going to reduce carbon emissions significantly. And it would, of course, save them a significant amount of money at a time when many are stressed financially. Lobbying is needed, however, so please send emails supporting the free student transit pass to Marla Veloz (, who is negotiating on behalf of the chancellor, and to Mike Fong, the contact person for the Board of Trustees.


  • Heal the Bay has set up a page for updates regarding the Orange County oil spill, and the LA Times has listed ways we can help the clean up. Besides extensive local media coverage, the New York Times reported on the problem of continued offshore oil development off the West Coast but also in the Gulf of Mexico. The Guardian looked at the way in which oil drilling is likely to be ignored and underfunded as the energy industry in California moves away from fossil fuels.  

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