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TOPIC: covid

Coronavirus

As COVID Explodes, An Inside Look At China's Gray Market Of Generic Drugs

COVID infections have skyrocketed since China eased restrictions as public health policy has not been able to keep up. Unable to find medications, many have turned to generic drugs of questionable safety. It's the culmination of a longstanding problem.

BEIJING — When her grandfather joined the millions of infected Chinese, Chen quickly decided to buy COVID-19 drugs to limit the effects of the virus. She woke up early to shop on Jingdong, one of China’s biggest online shopping websites, but failed in snatching the limited daily stocks made available.

Fearing COVID's effect on her grandfather, who suffers from dementia, she contacted an independent drug agent and bought a box of generic pharmaceuticals.

With China having suddenly ended its zero-COVID policy, infections have peaked. According to the latest estimates by Airfinity, a British medical information and analysis company, severe COVID outbreaks happened over Chinese New Year with 62 million infections forecast for the second half of January.

In a press conference held by China's State Council on Jan. 11, COVID-19 pills were mentioned as part of the new epidemic control mechanisms. In late 2021, Pfizer developed Paxlovid, the world's first potent COVID drug, with one 100 mg white ritonavir and two 150 mg light pink nirmatrelvir tablets taken every 12 hours. China imported the first batch of Paxlovid for clinical use in March 2022 and included it in the ninth edition of the treatment protocol.

But the first 21,200 boxes of Paxlovid were dispersed to only eight provinces, and no further information is available on where the drug ended up and how much it was used.

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China v. India: A New Twist In Asia's "Billion Club" Rivalry

The news that China's population has shrunk for the first time in 60 years, comes as India appears to be outperforming its giant neighbor on a number of fronts. But this reversal of fortune still has too many variables to predict the demise of one or the rise of the other.

-Analysis-

PARIS — China and India have at least one notable feature in common: the Asian giants are the only two countries in the world with a population above one billion. Yet Beijing announced this week that China has registered its first decline in number of inhabitants after 60 years of continuous expansion. This comes as India’s population continues to grow — on the path to overtake China as the world's most populous country.

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Why Making COVID Predictions Is Actually Getting Harder

We know more about COVID than ever before, but that doesn't make it easier to predict what will happen this year. It also remains to be seen if we'll put the lessons we learned into practice.

In 2020, we knew very little about the novel virus that was to become known as COVID-19. Now, as we enter 2023, a search of Google Scholar produces around five million results containing the term.

So how will the pandemic be felt in 2023? This question is in some ways impossible to answer, given a number of unknowns. In early 2020, the scientific community was focused on determining key parameters that could be used to make projections as to the severity and extent of the spread of the virus. Now, the complex interplay of COVID variants, vaccination and natural immunity makes that process far more difficult and less predictable.

But this doesn’t mean there’s room for complacency. The proportion of people estimated to be infected has varied over time, but this figure has not fallen below 1.25% (or one in 80 people) in England for the entirety of 2022. COVID is very much still with us, and people are being infected time and time again.

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Kyiv Claims Strike Killed 400 Russians, Lula Sworn In, Farewell Kuna

👋 Aluu!*

Welcome to Monday, and happy new year from the Worldcrunch crew! 🎊

Ukraine claims 400 Russian forces were killed in a missile strike in the Donetsk region, Lula is sworn in as Brazil bids adeus to Pelé. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based The Initium focuses on the very particular situation of China’s Catholics, caught between Xi Jinping and Pope Francis.

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Ideas
Worldcrunch

Reverse Aging, Mole In Iran, Precious Ukraine: The Year's Most Popular Worldcrunch Stories

Here are the 10 most-read articles of the past year:

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Ideas
Worldcrunch

Worldcrunch Staff Picks Its 10 Most Memorable Stories Of 2022

Worldcrunch asked its staff to choose the articles published this year that made a particular impression on them. They largely cover the major events that marked the news in 2022, from the war in Ukraine to the protests in Iran and the overturning of Roe v Wade in the U.S.

Here are the 10 stories that we selected:

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Coronavirus
Emma Albright

Masks And Me: Take This Pandemic Story At Face Value

Even if COVID cases are rising again, the author isn't ready to mask up again. But she's also not quite ready to say goodbye forever...

-Essay-

PARIS — Waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day, I heard a customer ask for a COVID-19 test. The pharmacist let out a long sarcastic sigh: “We’re still doing those?”

Of course they are, as cases are again rising ahead of winter here in France and many other places around the world. But the true sign of the depth of our collective COVID fatigue were the masks at the pharmacy. That is, there were none, not even the pharmacist was wearing one, even if a sign hangs in front saying they’re required.

The regular announcements that have begun airing again on French radio about the importance of masks in containing the virus sound beside the point. Indeed, wearing masks is no longer a requirement anywhere in France, merely a suggestion.

Still, masks have by no means gone away, either in society, or my mind. That becomes clearest when I’m riding the metro in Paris. As I count the ratio of masked to non-masked, and hear the daily announcements on the benefits of wearing one, a dilemma starts to creep in…

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In The News
Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Laure Gautherin

Jiang Zemin Dies, New COVID Clashes In China, World Heritage Baguette

👋 Mari mari!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where former Chinese President Jiang Zemin dies at age 96, Oath Keepers leaders are found guilty of sedition in the U.S. Capitol riots, and a French staple food earns its spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. And just as fresh anti-lockdown clashes erupt in southern China, an article from The Initium traces the origins of the protests and asks where they will go from here.

[*Mapuche, Chile and Argentina]

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Ghibli Park Opens, New Zulu King, World Ballet Day

November 5-6

  • Welcome to Listenbourg
  • Peru’s Avengers police
  • France’s funeral cargo bike
  • … and much more.
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Economy
Alan Shipman

Rishi Sunak — It's The Economy, Smarty

Nobody questions the new British Prime Minister's intelligence, or even his performance as Chancellor of the Exchequer. But the economic conditions after the debacle of his predecessor Liz Truss leaves little margin for error for Rishi Sunak.

As the incoming UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak has the immediate advantage of perceived success in his two years as chancellor.

His tenure ended last July when he resigned due to a difference of opinion with then-prime minister Boris Johnson over the economy. But during his time as chancellor, he is credited with rescuing households and businesses from the effects of the COVID pandemic lockdowns by launching an innovative and impressively timely furlough scheme. He reversed a “small state” approach to become the private sector’s temporary paymaster, spending an unprecedented £70 billion to shorten the recession.

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Dottoré!
Mariateresa Fichele

Quantifying The Effects Of The Pandemic On Nonna's Cooking

"Dottoré, if today is to be my last lunch ..."

Back in the early days of the pandemic, a study was carried out on a sample of about 100 women in their seventies. It showed that the day after they got their first shot against COVID-19:

• 80% of the respondents woke up early to start making ragù, the meat sauce. Of these, the majority made it with pork ribs (tracchiolelle), a minority with ground beef.

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ Fuel Shortage Bots, Endometriosis Breakthrough, Best Fat Bear

October 15-16

  • Putin's nuclear pressure
  • COVID orphans
  • An endometriosis breakthrough
  • … and much more.
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