Jul 6, 2022 Episode 106
Newsy Pooloozi’s Corona Capsule – from the silly to the serious here are our COVID-19 stories
LEELA: This is the special Newsy Pooloozi Corona Capsule!
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello, I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and for the month of July we have a very special bit of programming we’re doing.
MAMA: That’s right. I’m Lyndee Prickitt, Leela’s sidekick and Newsy Pooloozi producer.
LEELA: And my mama!
MAMA: Yes, that too. So, we realize we do a lotttttttttt of new stories about the same topics. So, we’re going to enter into capsule mode this month. As in – encapsulate –you know to put stories of a similar topic together into a single place or single episode or capsule.
LEELA: One is about a subject we LOVE – yes, we’re talking space stories!
MAMA: We have tons of space news and background stories all about the galaxy.
LEELA: So, we’re putting them all in one single place – a “space capsule” (get it?)
MAMA: That will be next week.
LEELA: But… we’ve also done quite a lot of stories about things we don’t necessarily looove, but that we… have… a…
MAMA: Let’s say a fearful fascination with.
LEELA: Like… creepy crawlies! Why do we do so many stories about bugs and spiders, lizards and snakes?! Yiiiick!
MAMA: Like I say, sometimes we’re fascinated by the things that scared us the most.
LEELA: Or that FREAK us out!
MAMA: Yes, that would be the other topic we have covered A LOT on Newsy Pooloozi.
LEELA: Poo! Yep, you heard me right. We cover a lot of poo news. Or excrement, if you prefer.
MAMA: So, we’ll be putting together a poo capsule too – for later this month.
MAMA: And, of course, there’s another topic we’ve covered extensively, one we can’t avoid that definitely has freaked us all out one way or another, and that’s the…
LEELA: Pandemic! Yes – we’ve got a Corona Capsule too.
MAMA: So – let’s dive deep into each one of these categories.
LEELA: This week – it’s the… Corona Capsule!
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 1 – Corona resurgence
MAMA: Surprise, surprise – we’re going to talk about the coronavirus.
LEELA: Isn’t that really old?
MAMA: Good point, little journalist… But… there’s been a resurgence. Do you know what that means?
MAMA: Well, surge means to push forward [push L] … Actually, more like a wave coming at you, which is what happened with the virus. It went like a wave across the world. So just about every country on earth – as you know – went into a lockdown.
LEELA: Boy, do I know.
MAMA: And India had the most extreme lockdown in the whole world, as you also know… But now that the lockdown here and everywhere has lifted, there’s a resurgence of infection. So, re means again, so a resurgence means corona is pushing forward again. Say resurgence.
MAMA: Great. So, in America many states that were beginning to end their lockdown measures – like my home state of Texas, are experiencing a resurgence. And now there are more infections then ever – in fact there’s a new record of 40,000 people from all over the US people the virus in one day.
Even Europe, which seemed like it was over the worst, has seen an increase in cases of Covid-19 – that’s the specific, or actual, name for the coronavirus.
And, by the way, do you know why it’s called Covid 19?
MAMA: Let’s break it down.
The ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. The 19 just stands for 2019, as in last year, when they discovered this thing.
Actually, it’s full name was ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ – and novel is the important part there.
You know what novel means?
LEELA: The book you’re writing?
MAMA: Ahh, that’s the other definition. In this case the novel means new. That’s one of the reasons it’s so deadly because experts just didn’t know how it spreads, what it does to the body and, worse, how to fix it. Now, while doctors and researchers are learning more every day – it’s still pretty overwhelming.
Especially in places, like here in India – the second most populated country in the world – where there aren’t enough hospitals. Unfortunately, every day the number of people getting the virus is increasing… Over half a million people have been infected so far. But guess what?
SFX – TRAINS
MAMA: To help cope… 500 train carriages are being turned into hospital wards right here in the capital, New Delhi. But the trains will stop moving first, of course.
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 2 – Corona Poo Fighters
MAMA: Well, you want the good news or the bad news?
LEELA: Hmmmm….. Bad news first.
MAMA: Well, the big story of the week is about coronavirus again.
LEELA: Not again!!!
MAMA: Yep, numbers are still surging forward, particularly here in India and the US…. In fact, even US President Trump seems to finally agree wearing a mask when in a crowded place is probably a smart way to contain the spread of the disease. He’s even joked that if he wore one, he’d look like the famous fictional cowboy called, The Lone Ranger. (His mask covered his eyes, but still.)
Now… There’s finally some good virus news. And even better… It’s all about poo.
LEELA: Ewww… That’s the GOOD news???
MAMA: Well, yeah, we get to have some really cool sound effects!
LEELA: Uhhhhh, Mama…!
MAMA: Don’t worry, we’ll just keep it to this:
SOUND: TOILET FLUSH
MAMA: So, for a long, long-time people who study diseases, have known that our poo, sorry… our excrement, or bowel movement, or our stools, our waste… boy there’s a lot of words for this… our poo, OK? contains all sorts of valuable information about what’s going on in our bodies. Like when we’re really sick, sometimes doctors not only want to get a sample of our blood, but a stool sample also, your poo, to see what’s bugging you. Literally, what bugs are inside you, that may be making you sick.
LEELA: I have bugs inside me?
MAMA: We all do. At least three types: parasites, bacteria and viruses. Most are harmless, some are even good for us. But the bad ones can be very bad and make us sick. Now, back to…
SOUND OF FLUSHING
LEELA: Mama! (Laugh!)
MAMA: Well, it’s part of the story, I promise!
When we do our business and flush the toilet, where does the waste go?
LEELA: Down a pipe?
MAMA: That’s right. And all the pipes from all the houses collect together into bigger pipes – that’s called a sewer. Well, if you take a sample of the sewage from a neighborhood, you can tell if some people there might have coronavirus.
Here’s the key… Most people don’t get tested until they have symptoms – that can be two weeks after they get this pesky thing… But if someone’s sampling the poo, I mean, sewage from the neighborhood, they can know a lot sooner.
LEELA: OK… So….
MAMA: What good does that do? It means we can find out if the virus might be spreading in an area before lots of people start to get sick. And that means that… IF a good sewage testing system is in place… we might be able to relax some of these yucky rules we’ve been living with, like lockdowns or even social distancing, and masks, and no school, no play dates, no fun…
LEELA: What a relief that would be!
MAMA: That’s right. Scientists here and there have been doing this for a while. But now, in the United Kingdom, they’ve created a standardized test – that means a system everyone can use – which if used across the country they reckon can spot increases in cases 10 days earlier than what’s happening now!
So, think of it this way: poo is important and sewage samplers are the new soldiers in this fight against the virus!
LEELA: Poo fighters!
MAMA: Errrr… uhhhhh…. yeahhh???
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 15 – COVID-19 dogs
LEELA: So, this is a COVID-19 story with a twist that’s barking mad (that’s British for totally crazy).
SFX BARKING NOISE
LEELA: Oops, we really let the “cat out of the bag” now… I mean – the dog off the leash!
Here to tell us more is our reporter, Ameyaa Kholi.
AMEYAA: Thanks, Leela!
Now, we all know dogs like to sniff a lot!
But did you know their ability to smell is ten thousand times more accurate, or better, than humans?
That means they can smell odors we can’t even detect.
Dogs can even smell… illnesses and diseases on other dogs AND on humans.
Yep, last year scientists found dogs can smell the disease known as cancer!
And now they’ve discovered they can smell COVID-19 too!
Well, in Finland – where I sometimes live, because I’m part Finnish – they’re putting this to good use.
At the main airport near the capital, Helsinki, sniffer dogs will be on duty to check if arriving passengers have the coronavirus.
Travelers – who want to be tested – will swipe their skin with a special material.
That will be put into a container and taken to a dog to smell in a separate area.
In just ten seconds the clever canine can tell if the sample is COVID positive or not.
If so, the passenger can take a proper test to confirm if the dog got it right.
The airport says this method is not only faster and friendlier, but cheaper too.
Back to you, Leela!
(Then says goodbye in Finnish)
LEELA: Thanks for that Ameyaa. I like your Finnish goodbye. But surely, you’re not done yet? You said you were part Finnish … Get it, like, you’re not finished…
AMEYAA: Good one, Leela! Let me be clear then. I’m part Finnish, but I’m finished with this report!
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 22 – Thankful for vaccines
MAMA: For the past few weeks we’ve been reporting news about vaccines that’ve done well in test trials…
MAMA: Indeed. But what does it actually mean?
LEELA: The end of lockdown! The return to normal life: classrooms, playdates, going on swings and slides…!
MAMA: Whoaaaa… Hold on there, cowgirl. Sadly, it’s not that easy. It’s not actually the vaccine that will return our lives to normal… but the vaccination.
MAMA: In other words, getting everyone the vaccines require a LOT of work and organization and cooperation. It’s a massive undertaking.
MAMA: OK, let’s back up a sec. So you know that a vaccine is a substance, or a potion, used to get your own body to produce something called…
MAMA: Right – which do what?
LEELA: Fight the disease.
MAMA: Correct. But developing the vaccine is just the first step in the vaccination journey.
SFX – “All aboard”
MAMA: So, each vaccine is different. One of them – the Pfizer vaccine – has to be kept soooo cold….
SFX – Blizzard
MAMA: Yeah, but you can’t pack a blizzard, so something called dry ice is needed the whole way of the journey. And, get this, there might not even be enough dry ice in the world right now.
LEELA: So then? No dry ice, no vaccine?
MAMA: Right again. So remote areas and developing countries, like India, will lose out. Luckily other vaccinations are easier to store. But still… how do we move these vaccines around? You’ll have to get a LOT of sanitized glass just to transport it for a start. Then you’ll need a lot of nurses, never mind needles, to give the shot.
LEELA: Aaaaiiii yaaaiiii yaai!
MAMA: And… most vaccines are going to need two doses.
LEELA: Two shots? Gulp!
MAMA: So that’s TWICE the journey and work.
LEELA: And doctors and nurses get it first.
MAMA: Then the old and weak… Experts predict it won’t be till the middle of next year before the majority of us will get vaccinated.
LEELA: Oh, brother….
MAMA: I know… But when you start to feel sorry for yourself… It would be a good idea to keep the tale of Ian Jones in mind…
LEELA: Oh, yes siree
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 28 – Vaccine relief
LEELA: In case you haven’t heard – the vaccine is here! Here, there and everywhere!
MAMA: Yep, India, the UK, the US and most places in between. And as a little reminder: A vaccine is a substance used to help your body produce antibodies which is the thing that fight disease.
LEELA: So surely that means the end of the nasty old coronavirus is near?
MAMA: Well, yes and no.
LEELA: Oh, brother.
MAMA: I know. There’s never a simple answer. Well, firstly, as we did discuss when news of the vaccine trials first came out You need to get the majority of your population vaccinated before it will mean life can go back to normal. And doing this is no walk in the park. It’s more of a military operation
SFX: SOLDIERS MARCH SOUND
As it takes a lot of what we call logistics to get the vaccine from the laboratory, shipped all over the world to a clinic near you and you into that clinic and the jab in your arm.
LEELA: Ewww! But, I know, I know. A little jab is worth it if it means I can start seeing my friends again.
MAMA: And probably not just one jab but two, which is more logistics and challenges.
LEELA: And the front-line workers get it first and those most vulnerable, like the elderly… OK, OK. I get it. It’s going to be a while.
MAMA: Spring at best, maybe summer. And, again, just a people getting it is not enough. The majority of your population needs it for it to really be effective. And a majority is?
LEELA: More than half in other words: at least fifty percent.
MAMA: Yep. Although it’s thought that 60-70% of the global population must be immune to stop the virus spreading easily and that’s billions of people. And then there is the new strain one that was first really noticed here in the UK and an even more tricky one showing up in South Africa to contend with… though early reports seem to suggest that the vaccines can be altered or tweaked to work against them.
LEELA: Phew. So, we have to keep marching on. “Ten huts! One, two, three four, one two three four!”
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 44 – India’s COVID crisis
MAMA: Now, whether you’re in America, Britain, Taiwan or anywhere in between, you’ve probably heard that things are bad here in India.
LEELA: It used to be just friends of friends you knew… who were COVID positive. Now, just about everyone here in India personally knows someone who’s got it and maybe even knows someone who’s in the hospital too. I do.
MAMA: And as we said last week, there’s a dire shortage of hospital beds, oxygen tanks and medical supplies that’s only gotten worse now, especially for those without the means –
LEELA: You mean money!
MAMA: Money, connections – it’s a tough country, especially for those who are poor. But what a lot of you – even here in India – may not know, is –
LEELA: Why has it gotten so bad, so fast!
MAMA: Well, the biggest factor is the simplest. There are just too many people in this country compared to the resources and healthcare available.
LEELA: 1.3 billion people live here!
MAMA: That’s one-seventh of all humans on this earth, living in India – a country that’s about a one-third the size of America.
LEELA: And having soooo many people mean most of us live very close to each other, some even crammed into little spaces – one or two rooms.
MAMA: Another reason is that there are mutations, or variants –
LEELA: Which is a fancy word for versions, as in other versions
MAMA: That’s right. There are new versions or variants of the virus, which are thought to speed up how quickly it can be passed from person-to-person.
LEELA: So see, before these new variants showed their ugly faces, loads of people were acting like the virus had come and gone.
MAMA: Yeah, because it seemed as though India was pretty prepared, or lucky, when the first wave came.
LEELA: So then people started meeting up – often without masks – having birthday parties and big playdates.
MAMA: Large weddings resumed as did huge religious gatherings, never mind that big farmer protest, that’s still going on. And the politicians, instead of leading people to stay vigilant and be cautious, were holding big election rallies too.
LEELA: Mostly without masks.
MAMA: And so here we are.
LEELA: Staying put.
MAMA: Trying to stay safe. Despite 350-thousand new cases every day here in India. But the good news is, other countries are stepping in and offering to help supply medical equipment and elements needed to make produce vaccines, which were in short supply here.
LEELA: Didn’t India give a lot of help to other countries, like with supplies and vaccines, over the past year?
MAMA: Yep. India was quick to manufacture protective gear and then vaccines, shipping millions out to poor and rich countries alike.
LEELA: Payback time!
MAMA: Well… What’s really important now is to remind ourselves, that for the vast majority of the people who get COVID19, it’s like having a bad cold or flu. And then you recover. Especially for children.
LEELA: Three of my closest friends got it! Two were asymptomatic – that means they don’t have any symptoms. Phew. But our very own correspondent, Ananya Kazmin Roy, had a fever for several days last week. We’re happy to say she’s much better now and wants to share her story!
ANANYA: (Not transcribed)
LEELA: Thanks, a lot, Ananya. You don’t know how happy I am that you’re doing better! Which was no fun. But she’s better now. In fact, she was exercising today and attended her online craft class.
MAMA: And the more adults who can get vaccinated, the more chances we have of stopping the virus from spreading and mutating further – wherever you are in the world.
SFX OF BELL AND WHISTLE: Episode 46 – COVID kindness
MAMA: This has been a truly hard year for all of us.
LEELA: You can say that again.
MAMA: This has been a truly hard year. (laughs) It’s no doubt the nasty coronavirus is awful. But studies show there IS a rather pleasant side-effect?
LEELA: It’s official – COVID is making us kinder!
LEELA: That’s nearly three-quarters.
MAMA: – say this year has made them more selfless and aware of the needs of others than ever before.
LEELA: More kind.
MAMA: Yep. And more generous. 87% of Americans donated money to someone in need even though most of them were experiencing their own financial difficulties.
LEELA: And it’s not just money people are giving away.
MAMA: That’s right – it’s their time and their love. Some helped strangers cross the street, others have taken their neighbor’s trash to the curb, shoveled out the snow from their neighbor’s drive and even walked other people’s dogs.
LEELA: And it’s happening here in India too.
MAMA: Yep. We can go on about how tough things still remain as Indian cities and villages alike are struggling to care for the influx of COVID patients, but boy oh boy, everyday there’s a new group of people getting together to start some initiative, like figure out how to get oxygen to those who need it most.
LEELA: Or making food for those stuck at home and sick.
MAMA: And even loads of businesses are at it, sourcing oxygen tanks.
LEELA: Or turning their factories into places that can make and fill the tanks.
MAMA: Some are also turning parts of their warehouses into treatment centers.
LEELA: Feels good to help.
MAMA: That’s right. And maybe when things settle down here, the tourism industry will do what they’ve done in Mexico. Where a fancy resort is giving away all-inclusive holidays to a hundred healthcare workers to say thanks. How’s that for kind?
LEELA: Impressive. Ahhh! What I wouldn’t do to be on a resort.
LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this special Newsy Pooloozi capsule. Alrighty then – we’ll see you next week in the splishy-splashy news pool for kids – Newsy Pooloozi!
– ends –