In the United States, most of the Covid antivax agitation comes from rightwing sources. It is dangerous and reprehensible because it threatens legitimate public health efforts to bring a pandemic under control that has already killed at least 750,000 people in the U.S. and five million worldwide. The rightwing ideologues who carry out this campaign of disinformation are simply unconscionable scoundrels.
If currently available vaccines continue to protect us from severe disease and death, which seems likely at this stage, vaccinated people in developed countries should be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
But with a yawning gap between vaccination rates in high- and low-income nations, Omicron could present a major problem for the world. It could cause a further wave of preventable disease and premature death in developing countries, and exacerbate poverty in parts of the world that are already struggling with the pandemic.
And unless governments take urgent action to correct these inequities, we risk the emergence of further variants, some of which may evade vaccines.
New Delhi: “The government is not listening to us alive. Hopefully, it will hear us out when we are dead.” These were the last words of 42-year-old Jai Bhagwan, a farmer from Haryana.
Bhagwan, like several others from his village, was a regular at the Tikri border protest site ever since the farmers’ protest began last year against the three contentious farm laws.
“He would volunteer all the time. He would be present at the protest site all the time and urge everybody to join the protest. His last words still ring in my ears all the time,” says Bhagwan’s wife, Renu Rana, who is yet to come to terms with her partner’s death. Bhagwan consumed poison at the protest site and killed himself.
“If it wasn’t for the protest, my family would have been together today,” she adds.
Chandigarh: The protest against the farm laws mainly centred around Punjab. Yet two developments played a vital role behind taking them to Delhi’s doors and onto international spheres.
First, representatives of around 30 Punjab farmers’ unions that later became part of Sanyuta Kisan Morcha that conducted the protests at the national stage decided in a meeting on October 27, 2020, to take their stir beyond Punjab’s borders.
Second, on November 20, 2020, the SKM itself was formed, when the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and various factions of Bharatiya Kisan Union came together. A meeting in Chandigarh in connection with the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on November 26 saw farmers resolve to march together.
The humiliations suffered by undocumented Central American migrants who try to cross Mexico to reach the United States, seeking to save themselves from the institutional violence of the narco-State, in the case of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, have hurt a lot. The famous northern triangle that is so much charged here and there by politicians in the discourse of transnational corporations that in exchange for a crumb that they throw from the rocking chair where they rock; placid and jampones, they take the entrails of the land that they are drying, because it is not theirs, it is that of the peoples sullied for centuries.
The appearance of Omicron has once again evidenced inequalities. While 67 percent of the EU population has received all doses, only 7.1 percent of Africans has received more than one dose so far.
To help the African Union (AU) achieve its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022, President Xi on Monday announced that China would provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as donation and 400 million doses to be provided through such means as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries.
Since early in the COVID pandemic, the Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa has been monitoring changes in SARS-CoV-2. This was a valuable tool to understand better how the virus spread. In late 2020, the network detected a new virus lineage, 501Y.V2, which later became known as the beta variant. Now a new SARS-CoV-2 variant has been identified, known as B.1.1.529. To help us understand more, The Conversation Africa’s Ozayr Patel asked scientists to share what they know.
What’s the science behind the search?
Hunting for variants requires a concerted effort. South Africa and the UK were the first big countries to implement nationwide genomic surveillanceefforts for SARS-CoV-2 as early as April 2020.
Variant hunting, as exciting as that sounds, is performed through whole genome sequencing of samples that have tested positive for the virus. This process involves checking every sequence obtained for differences compared to what we know is circulating in South Africa and the world. When we see multiple differences, this immediately raises a red flag and we investigate further to confirm what we’ve noticed.
At 7:30 a.m. on 24 November, Kristian Andersen, an infectious disease researcher at Scripps Research, received a message on Slack: “This variant is completely insane.” Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh was reacting to a new SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence found in three samples collected in Botswana on 11 November and one picked up a week later in a traveler from South Africa to Hong Kong.
Andersen looked at the data and then replied: “Holy shit—that is quite something. The length of that branch …” A few minutes later he added: “Just had a look at the list of mutations—so nuts.”