COVID-19

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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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
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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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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Society
Tarushi Aswani

COVID-19 Widows In India Face A Sexist Bureaucracy

Women who have found themselves in charge of a family after the sudden deaths of family members discover rules, regulations and laws making mockery of their situation.

NEW DELHI "He died months ago but the government reminds us of our loss every day," says Dipanwita Das, whose husband died on April 25, 2021, at the height of India's second wave of COVID-19.

Das admitted her husband to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital as his vitals dipped and temperature rose. Her husband, Partho, passed away soon after, beginning an ordeal for the widow that she had entirely not foreseen.

First, the hospital misspelled her husband's name on official documentation, delaying the procurement of a death certificate. To rectify this mistake, hospital authorities asked Dipanwita to file an application. They also asked her to update the "registered contact" with her own number, as the hospital had entered the number of a hospital attendant in that space.This process took weeks.

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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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Coronavirus
Carl Karlsson

​Swedish Tantra Festival Becomes Touchpoint For Organic Anti-Vaxxers

"Conspirituality" is what some are calling the movement of those spirituality seekers and organic food devotees who don't trust the vaccine. It's highlighted in the fallout from a summer peace-and-love festival of Tantra followers that became a COVID cluster.

In rural Sweden, what was supposed to be six days of summer love turned into a COVID-19 superspreader event as more than 100 people became infected during a tantra festival. At the time, the June gathering in the town of Ängsbacka for enthusiasts of the peace-and-love eastern rites created a minor (and brief) storm in Sweden, and beyond.

But even though they have mostly faded from view (and recovered from COVID), the attendees are now being mocked as everything from filthy hippies to sex-obsessed anti-vaxxers, according to a recent interview with event organizer Lin Holmquist in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

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WORLDCRUNCH
Carl Karlsson and Clémence Guimier

How Far The No-Vaxxers Will Go To Dodge Vaccine Mandates

Countries are rolling out increasingly aggressive campaigns in an international effort to vaccinate the world out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two weeks ago, Italy became the first European country to make COVID-19 health passes mandatory for all workers, while others, including the U.S, France and Hungary, have mandated vaccination for federal workers or healthcare staff. Meanwhile, rules and laws are multiplying that require full vaccination to travel or enter movie theaters, restaurants and other indoor activities .

But with the increased pressure comes increased resistance: From anti-vaxxer dating to fake vaccine passports, skeptics are finding new — and sometimes creative — ways to dodge mandates and organize against their governments. Here's how people around the world are getting around vaccination rules:

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food / travel

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Expat Life

COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of billions of people all over the globe, and expats are no exception.

Sponsored content

In one of the biggest annual surveys on expat life, Expat Insider, the global networking community InterNations asked both locals and expats about the impact of the pandemic.

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food / travel
Laure Gautherin

La Sagrada Familia Delayed Again — Blame COVID-19 This Time

Hopes were dashed by local officials to see the completion of the iconic Barcelona church in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the death of its renowned architect Antoni Gaudí.

By most accounts, it's currently the longest-running construction project in the world. And now, the completion of work on the iconic Barcelona church La Sagrada Familia, which began all the way back in 1882, is going to take even longer.

Barcelona-based daily El Periodico daily reports that work on the church, which began as the vision of master architect Antoni Gaudí, was slated to be completed in 2026. But a press conference Tuesday, Sep. 21 confirmed that the deadline won't be met, in part because of delays related to COVID-19. Officials also provided new details about the impending completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin).

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In The News
Jane Herbelin, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Poland-Belarus Border, New Vaccine Mandates, Mexican Wedding Scandal

👋 Habari!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where tensions escalate as hundreds of migrants at the Poland-Belarus border, Austria reintroduces restrictions to curb a new COVID wave and an 83-year-old sets a new record on the Appalachian Trail. Meanwhile, Worldcrunch's Hannah Steinkopf-Frank (a human) takes a look at rad robots around the world.

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Coronavirus
Melanie Loos

Europe's Deadly Cocktail Of Bad Policy And Vaccine Hesitancy

If you compare vaccination rates in European countries, you immediately notice huge differences. And this is despite the fact that the EU has provided all members with sufficient coverage. There are clear reasons of culture, history and attitudes for the gap.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — The next wave of infection is rolling into Europe. Some countries, including Germany, are already in the middle of it. The differences are considerable: While the situation in some Western European countries, such as Spain, Italy or Portugal, is still relaxed with comparatively low numbers of COVID, the situation in Eastern Europe is quite different.

There, infections have been rising rapidly for the past several weeks. Some countries have even recorded significantly more COVID-19 cases than a year ago, when the second and third waves hit the continent. In Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania, hospitals are now completely overloaded.

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