Cuban plans to distribute 200 million doses of its homegrown Covid vaccine to lower-income countries were said to have reached a “historic turning point” on Tuesday.
David Adler, who headed a Progressive International delegation to the socialist island, said the “lifesaving package” was an example of vaccine internationalism that saw public health “placed above private profit and petty nationalism.”
In early 2020, we saw the beginning of the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’. The world went into lockdown and even after lockdowns in various countries had been lifted, restrictions continued. Data now shows that lockdowns seemingly had limited, if any, positive impacts on the trajectory of COVID-19 and in 2022 the world – especially the poor – is paying an immense price not least in terms of loss of income, loss of livelihoods, the deterioration of mental and physical health, the eradication of civil liberties, disrupted supply chains and shortages.
Cuba puts people before profits – showing the world an alternative to the monopolistic practices of Big Pharma. It promotes a public health system, state-funded research and shows global solidarity through tech transfer and vaccine delivery to developing countries
In yet another success story from Cuba, the country has fully vaccinated more than 85% of its population, and another 7% have got their single dose. This is more than most other developed countries, including the United States. And this is despite the six decades-long trade embargo that the US has imposed on the small developing country.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) warns: The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic may take years to reign in. The WEF has also sheds light on major concerns regarding the future from the globe’s economic elite.
“Covid-19 and its economic and societal consequences continue to pose a critical threat to the world. Vaccine inequality and a resultant uneven economic recovery risk compounding social fractures and geopolitical tensions,” said the new Global Risks Report released by the WEF on Tuesday states.
The report is based on opinions of nearly 1,000 global risk experts and leaders from business, civil services, government, academic, and other spheres.
The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India sparked by the new variant of concern omicron has stoked fears about an unprecedented rise in cases, followed by a rise in hospitalisations and an overburdened healthcare system — as was seen in the ghastly second wave of April 2021.
India’s metropolitan cities are the epicentre of the third wave of COVID-19 cases. With 2,135 infections of the new variant across the country as of January 5, 2022 — 653 in Maharashtra and 464 in Delhi alone — omicron is fast establishing its dominance.
With 11,665 new cases in the last 24 hours, dedicated COVID-19 hospitals in the national capital are preparing for an unprecedented rise in cases, even though evidence, for now, suggests that omicron infections remain mostly mild.
Down to Earth visited a few hospitals in the national capital to take a pulse of the situation.
Early indications from South Africa and the United Kingdom signal that the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is less dangerous than its predecessor Delta. Now, a series of laboratory studies offers a tantalizing explanation for the difference: Omicron does not infect cells deep in the lung as readily as it does those in the upper airways.
“It’s a very attractive observation that might explain what we see in patients,” says Melanie Ott, a virologist at the Gladstone Institute of Virology in San Francisco, California, who was not involved in the research. But she adds that Omicron’s hyper-transmissibility means that hospitals are filling quickly — despite any decrease in the severity of the disease it causes.
THE pandemic alas is not yet over, but there are no economic disruptions in the current fiscal year in the form of lockdowns or workers’ absence. The economy’s performance therefore can no longer be attributed to the prevalence of the pandemic; whatever it is, it is caused by economic factors.
Government spokesmen are busy claiming that the economy is displaying a robust recovery, and that the current fiscal year will post a double-digit growth rate. But a double-digit growth rate in the current year means nothing; since the previous fiscal year had witnessed a sharp absolute drop in GDP, in fact one of the sharpest among all countries of the world because of the government’s imposing a lock-down more stringent than anywhere else, a drop amounting to a staggering 24 per cent in the April-June quarter of 2020, a bounce back from such a trough is naturally to be expected; there is nothing to crow about it. The real question is how the current fiscal year’s performance compares with that of the pre-pandemic fiscal year, i.e., with 2019-20. And on doing so, we find that the first quarter’s GDP this year was well below that of the first quarter of 2019-20. The second quarter’s GDP is about the same as the GDP of the second quarter of 2019-20 (in fact it is just marginally higher by 0.3 per cent). In other words, given the 7.3 per cent drop in GDP last year compared to the previous year, even a double-digit growth rate of 10 per cent, which is higher than what government agencies like the State Bank of India are projecting for the current year (which is 9.5 per cent), will just about put the current year’s GDP 1.97 per cent above what it was in 2019-20; this is hardly indicative of a positive trend in the economy.
The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in the Tshwane district of South Africa’s Gauteng province between November 21 and 27. Now, a leading health professional has prepared a detailed profile of the first patients. And the picture that emerges is encouraging.
Fewer people have been administered specialist care than previous waves of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The in-hospital death-rate has been significantly lower. There has also been a decline in the average length of stay in the hospital.
The results offer reason for hope even as the Omicron variant has now spread to all South African provinces and triggered the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the COVID-19. It has also spread to 40 other countries.