Also: Contract tracing scams, getting the flu shot 

Florida mosquitoes: 750 million genetically modified insects to be released 

(BBC, 8/20/20) 

The biotech company Oxitec was granted permission to release genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Florida in 2021. The plan is for the modified male mosquitoes to breed with wild mosquitoes, but the modification means that their female offspring will not survive to maturity. Female mosquitoes bite people and are therefore responsible for the spread of diseases like Zika and dengue fever.   

How To Tell A Real COVID-19 Contact Tracer’s Call From A Scammer’s 

(Julie Appleby, NPR, 8/20/20) 

Public officials like the Montana attorney general are warning people about a scam involving fake contract tracing. The scammer calls a person and claims they have been in contact with someone who had COVID-19, and then asks for payment information. Officials warn that real contract tracers will never ask for bank information. 

When should I get my flu shot this year? Everything to know about flu season during the coronavirus pandemic 

(Adrianna Rodriguez, USA Today, 8/21/20) 

The CDC is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year amid concerns that the combination of flu and the ongoing COVID pandemic could overwhelm health services. They urge people to get the flu shot no later than the end of October, with the understanding that it takes a few weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective, and it lasts about six months. 

—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker