COVID-19

Coronavirus
Deng Yuwen

Why COVID-19 Has Made China Stronger

The COVID-19 outbreak has reshaped the world's emerging superpower both at home and abroad, making China emerge as a more efficient power and helping Chinese overcome their inferiority complex vis-a-vis the West.

-Analysis-

BEIJING — We are now entering the third year of the pandemic since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020. During the past two years, the coronavirus has spread from China to the whole world. Not only is this pandemic a testimony of every government and social response, but it has also had an impact that goes beyond public health, especially among the major powers. To some extent, the pandemic has brought about changes in our way of life and has reshaped the world's geopolitics.

China is the original epicenter of where the virus was found, and the propagation of the infectious disease occurred at a moment when China and the United States were plainly engaged in a trade war. The Chinese government's response to the crisis has been significantly different from that of other countries.

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Ideas
Susanne Gaschke

For A Holiday Moratorium On Debating COVID

The topic of COVID is dividing siblings, old friends and parents at daycare centers. So maybe we need an experiment and stop sharing opinions, from the dinner table to your local news outlet.

-Essay-

BERLIN — In his first government declaration, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said something about COVID that will be remembered for its understated accuracy: "Nobody is doing so well in these times..." That is a description that also captures the mood of a divided nation that Scholz began leading this month.

Anyone who still claims that there is no polarization over the pandemic either refuses to see it — or has no friends or family members with whom to quarrel.

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Society
Carl-Johan Karlsson

Time To Tally COVID's Deadly "Side Effects"

The unexpected rise in highway deaths, even with far fewer drivers on the road, is a reminder of the many ways the virus is killing us even if it doesn’t enter your body.

-Analysis-

Last Tuesday afternoon, 20 ambulances were racing from all directions toward a highway tunnel in the province of Tolima, in central Colombia. A chain collision had left a mangled scene of death and wreckage after a truck had lost control, causing 15 vehicles including several freight trucks to crash. The pile-up left 8 dead and 33 people wounded, Colombian daily El Tiempo reports.

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Coronavirus
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Carnival, Coachella, Beijing Games: COVID Threatening Live Events Again

The Omicron variant is again forcing event organizers to weigh whether to cancel, postpone or forge ahead in the face of superspreader risks.

Part of the shock in spring 2020 was seeing the COVID-19 pandemic bring virtually all major world events, from concerts to sporting competitions to holiday celebrations, to a screeching halt. Now, with the Delta and Omicron variants exploding around the world, the same hard reality will be facing event organizers in 2022 for a second or third year in a row, while the rest of us are left to ponder what it means to live in a world where we can’t come together en masse.

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Ideas
Jeff Israely

In Praise Of Science: The Pandemic Story That Must Be Told

Two years on, even if they’ve still not given us the definitive answers to COVID-19, scientists are our best hope. But they can’t do it alone.

-Essay-

PARIS — Ours, they say, is the age of the storyteller, the reign of the carnival barker and stand-up comic … and the venture capitalist, of course. Still, the current hour clearly belongs to the scientist.

We know now that we should have handed the keys over to science much sooner, heeding its well-documented warnings on climate change – and the looming risk of a global contagion. The non-stop flood of information requires that we have the means to retain what matters, especially when the bad news of the hour can literally be spread by all.

Yes, even in this dark hour of new variants and vaccine doubts, to paraphrase a Louisiana carnival barker: It’s the science, stupid.

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Coronavirus
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

Why The COVID-19 Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting Teenage Girls The Hardest

A growing number of studies around the world show that COVID and lockdown restrictions have prompted a disproportionate increase in mental health illness and suicide attempts among adolescent females.

Catherine Zorn had struggled through her youth with mental health until discovering a passion for dance that helped suicidal thoughts and panic attacks largely disappear. “Then the pandemic ripped away her lifeline. In March 2020, her dance school shut down.” So begins an article by Rose Wong and Kailyn Rhone for the Tampa Bay Times, about how COVID-19 has brought a rise in teen suicide attempts, particularly among girls, in Florida, and elsewhere in the United States.

It is a situation mirrored in other countries around the world, two years since the pandemic sparked lockdowns and school closures, taking away the normal means of socialization for millions of young people at a formative age of their development. And evidence points to a disproportionate impact on teenage girls.

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Coronavirus
Daniel Friedrich Sturm

Texas In Germany? Saxony Mixes Anti-Vaxxers And Far-Right Politics

When it comes to vaccination rates, there are striking parallels between Germany and the United States. The states with the most opposition to vaccines differ politically from those with the highest vaccination rates. Now the consequences for booster shots are starting to become visible, especially in the United States.

-Analysis-

WASHINGTON — Ok, so Saxony was singled out last week in a New York Times article as an example of the disastrous vaccination situation in parts of Europe. The article talks about the link between anti-vaxxers and the political success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern German state.

In a sense, Saxony is Germany's Texas. For instance, 59% of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated, but in strictly Republican Texas, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the 2020 election, this figure stands at 54%.

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Coronavirus
Steffen Fründt

Pandemic Omens Revisited: Undertakers Prep For Germany's Fourth Wave

Funeral homes are getting ready to deal with more infectious bodies this winter as Germany has become a COVID-19 hotspot. They require more time and money for safety measures — the cost of which is passed on to relatives. But the true cost for friends and family lies elsewhere.

ROSENHEIM — In a storeroom in Rosenheim, Michael Hartl's stockpile of supplies is carefully stacked: he has ordered 75 white plastic body bags and plenty of disinfectant, gloves and protective clothing for himself and his colleagues. In the COVID-19 hotspot of Upper Bavaria, the undertaker is preparing for what may come his way over the next few days, when the fourth wave washes up on his doorstep.

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Society
Kudzai Mazvarirwofa and Fortune Moyo

How COVID-19 Has Made Hunger Worse For Zimbabwe Child-Care Centers

Feeding vulnerable children was already a challenge in Zimbabwe. Since COVID-19 swept the globe, it's only gotten harder.

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Before the coronavirus pandemic, Mai Tafara Children's Center was a bustling refuge for the 50 children it serves.

The kids, many of whom are orphans, would come to the center in Tafara, a high-density suburb in Zimbabwe's capital city of Harare, and enjoy a heavy lunch consisting of sadza — a dense porridge made from maize meal — plus sugar bean, leafy greens or soya mince, an inexpensive, soybean-based protein. They would eat their fill and spend the afternoon doing arts and crafts or homework.

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Coronavirus
Meike Eijsberg

COVID-19 Lessons From Singapore, Facing Its First Crisis So Late In The Pandemic

Its Zero-COVID strategy has mostly worked, and vaccinations are going well. Now a breakout spread is raising multiple questions for the Asian nation and global financial hub.

-Analysis-

When it came to COVID-19, Singapore had seemed to do everything right. Back in March 2020, the wealthy Asian city-state didn't hesitate to impose a strict lockdown. Indeed, Singapore officials took the risk so seriously, that they opted for a Zero-COVID strategy similar to the one countries like China and New Zealand used to stop the spread at virtually all costs.

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food / travel
Gil Zohar*

Bethlehem To Nazareth To Jerusalem: A Christmas Tour Of COVID And Politics

On the same day that Bethlehem’s Mayor Anton Salman inaugurated the Christmas holiday season earlier this month with an impressive fireworks display and tree lighting in the town square, residents of the West Bank city’s three refugee camps — Aida, Dehaishe and Jibrin, also known as Azza Camp — continued their daily protesting against the Palestinian Authority.

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Coronavirus
Nancy S. Jecker

The Bioethics Of COVID Boosters When 2% Of Africa Is Vaccinated

Affluent countries have begun offering COVID-19 boosters to already fully vaccinated citizens. Meanwhile in some low-income countries, access to doses is virtually non-existent.

Should countries that can afford COVID-19 booster vaccines offer them to residents if scientists recommend them?

The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has made his position clear, calling for countries to impose a moratorium on boosters until 10% of people in every country are vaccinated. His plea comes amid mounting concerns about the slow progress getting COVID-19 vaccines to people in low-income countries.

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