COVID-19 – GLOBAL


Merck requests FDA authorization for COVID-19 antiviral pill

By Joseph Choi

Read the full article from The Hill, here.

Merck has said that its pill, which targets the enzyme that allows the COVID-19 virus to make copies of itself, is likely effective against COVID-19 variants, including the highly infectious delta variant.

The U.S. government already has a supply agreement with Merck to acquire about 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir if it receives emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Moderna, Racing for Profits, Keeps Covid Vaccine Out of Reach of Poor

By Rebecca Robbins

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

Moderna, whose coronavirus vaccine appears to be the world’s best defense against Covid-19, has been supplying its shots almost exclusively to wealthy nations, keeping poorer countries waiting and earning billions in profit.

After developing a breakthrough vaccine with the financial and scientific support of the U.S. government, Moderna has shipped a greater share of its doses to wealthy countries than any other vaccine manufacturer, according to Airfinity, a data firm that tracks vaccine shipments.

The Delta variant is detected in 99% of U.S. cases, according to C.D.C.

By Víctor Manuel Ramos

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

The C.D.C.’s Covid Data Tracker, reporting results for the two-week period ending on Sept. 11, put the B.1.617.2 lineage of Delta at 99.4 percent among variants of concern, with two other Delta lineages tracked at 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, the Mu variant — first detected in January in Colombia — at 0.1 percent and several other, unidentified variants at 0.2 percent. That data is based on thousands of sequences provided every week through the C.D.C.’s national genomic surveillance efforts, according to the agency’s website.

A new study found half of Covid patients had lingering symptoms one year later

By Pam Belluck

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

One year after becoming ill with the coronavirus, nearly half of patients in a large new study were still experiencing at least one lingering health symptom, adding to evidence that recovery from Covid-19 can be arduous and that the multifaceted condition known as “long Covid” can last for months.

The study, published Thursday in the journal The Lancet, is believed to be the largest to date in which patients were evaluated one year after being hospitalized for Covid. It involved 1,276 patients admitted to Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, who were discharged between Jan. 7 and May 29, 2020.

The prospect of booster shots is igniting a global health debate

By Daniel E. Slotnik and Noah Weiland

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

As the Delta variant rages around the world, a heated debate has arisen over whether public health officials should recommend booster shots.

On one side are global health officials who contend that available vaccines would be better used to inoculate high-risk people in poor nations where few have gotten the shots.

On the other are leaders and health officials in wealthier countries, who are setting aside doses for more vulnerable people who may need additional doses to protect them from the virus.

Where a Vast Global Vaccination Program Went Wrong

By Benjamin Mueller and Rebecca Robbins

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

After months of struggle, the U.N.-backed Covax alliance will soon have many more doses, promising relief for vaccine shortages in poorer countries. But it faces a deepening crisis: difficulties getting shots into arms as the Delta variant spreads.

Disinformation for Hire, a Shadow Industry, Is Quietly Booming

By Max Fisher

Read the full article from New York Times, here.

A London-based public relations agency wanted to pay them to promote messages on behalf of a client. A polished three-page document detailed what to say and on which platforms to say it.

But it asked the influencers to push not beauty products or vacation packages, as is typical, but falsehoods tarring Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. Stranger still, the agency, Fazze, claimed a London address where there is no evidence any such company exists.

Trudeau’s Border Plan Seeks to Allow U.S. Travel by Mid-August

By Kait Bolongaro and Niluksi Koswanage

Read the full article from Bloomberg, here.

The country will be able to welcome fully-vaccinated travelers from the U.S. as early as mid-August, and from all other countries by September, if “the current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue,” the prime minister’s office said Thursday night in a summary of his meeting with provincial leaders.

The world’s reported Covid death toll passes four million

By Daniel E. Slotnik

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

The world’s known coronavirus death toll passed four million on Thursday, a loss roughly equivalent to the population of Los Angeles, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Spectators at Tokyo Olympics May Be Barred Amid New Covid Emergency

By Ben Dooley

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

Tokyo reported 920 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest number since May, when the case count briefly rose over 1,000. The state of emergency will start on Monday and be in effect for the duration of the Tokyo Olympics, which begin on July 23.

Venezuelans turned away for 2nd shots due to vaccine shortages, groups warn

By Reuters

Read the full article from NBCNews, here.

Now, some patients eligible for second doses — recommended for three weeks after the first for both vaccines Venezuela is administering, Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm — are being turned away due to a lack of supply despite having appointments, according to Jamie Lorenzo, director of the Doctors United for Venezuela advocacy group.

As Global Pandemic Worsens, U.S. Keeps Blocking Vaccine Patent Waivers Amid Big Pharma Lobbying

Listen to the full story from Democracy Now! here.

“Dozens of countries from the Global South, led by India and South Africa, are demanding a temporary waiver on vaccine patents, but rich countries, including the U.S. under both the Trump and Biden administrations, have opposed the move. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, says there is a “glut” of vaccines going to wealthy countries while much of the rest of the world is left waiting.”

Capitalism’s Covid Recovery Will Deepen Social Inequality

By Grace Blakeley

Read the full article from Tribune, here.

Across the West, governments are plotting pandemic recoveries which will enrich asset-owners and squeeze workers – it’s time to build coalitions that can fight back against the next phase of capitalist inequality.

WHO authorizes AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine for emergency use

By Maria Cheng

Read the full article from AP News, here.

The WHO’s green light for the AstraZeneca vaccine is only the second one the U.N. health agency has issued after authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December. Monday’s announcement should trigger the delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to countries that have signed up for the U.N.-backed COVAX effort, which aims to deliver vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Co-ops in Spain’s Basque Region Soften Capitalism’s Rough Edges

By Peter S. Goodman

Read the full article from The New York Times here.

“The pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the pitfalls faced by companies built to maximize shareholder returns. The shutdown of much of the world’s economy has sent joblessness soaring, threatening the ability of workers to feed their families and stay current on rent and mortgage payments — especially in the United States. Government rescue packages have emphasized the protection of assets like stocks and bonds, bolstering investors while leaving workers vulnerable.”

We should applaud the Cuban health system

By Medea Benjamin

Read the full article from New Frame, here.

“It is truly inspiring that this small, poor island has basic health indicators equal, or better, to those of the world’s richest countries. This is even more remarkable after it has faced a brutal US blockade and sanctions for 60 years. Cuba’s infant mortality rate of four per 1 000 live births is lower than in the United States – and that’s according to the CIA!”

Universities must help shape the post-COVID-19 world

By Ira Harkavy, Sjur Bergan, Tony Gallagher and Hilligje van’t Land

Read the full article from University World News, here.

“The post-COVID-19 world must be based on the values we cherish: democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as social justice, inclusion and equity. Higher education can add momentum by renewing our commitment to our core values of academic freedom, institutional autonomy and engagement by students, faculty and staff, and re-emphasising the role of higher education institutions as societal actors for the public good.”

Spain’s Hospitals Have Suffered Death by a Thousand Cuts

By Brais Fernández

Read the full article from Jacobin, here.

“Spain has the third highest number of detected coronavirus cases in the world — and numbers are fast rising. The figures are extremely volatile, and we are currently experiencing exponential increases in both detected infections and deaths, which total 85,195 and 7,340 respectively as of March 29. It is still too early to know if the measures adopted by the Socialist Party–Unidas Podemos (PSOE-UP) coalition government will be able to stop the contagion’s course of growth. But the health crisis is rapidly becoming a multifaceted crisis of Spanish society.”