World Coronavirus Dispatch: Covid smashed human illusion of immortality

China’s vaccine conundrum

China is preparing for its mass immunisation drive on a war-footing, but there is only problem. Barring Sinopharm, which released the trial data for its vaccine, most makers haven’t put out late stage trial results, showing whether the shots are effective and safe. China has already vaccinated a million, and plans to inoculate 50 million people by February. Many vaccines are in Phase 3 trials, and have not revealed enough information before moving ahead. Scientists are sceptical the vaccine makers in the country have side-stepped many established practices in order to catch up with global peers in vaccine race. Read here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 81,986,277

Change Over Yesterday: 647,833

Global deaths: 1,790,415

Nations with most cases: US (19,515,428), India (10,244,852), Brazil (7,563,551), Russia (3,073,923), France (2,631,110).

Source: John Hopkins Research Center.

New variant does not cause more severe illness

As scientists rush to try and understand the nature of the new variant first detected in Britain and spreading to many countries, a new study has showed it doesn’t cause more severe illness. The hospitalisation rates or the mortality differences were statistically not significant. The researchers also found that the UK strain is unlikely to cause more re-infections. Another study had earlier found that the variant is 56 per cent more transmissible. Countries had moved fast to cut travel links from Britain after the new variant was reported. Many including Canada, Japan, India and US have detected the cases of new strain. Read here

Covid is reshaping death, and maybe life

That the once-in-a-century pandemic has left a heavy toll behind, is an understatement. As much as one may want to look at the data that keeps adding up day after day as mere numbers, the virus has changed the we see death forever. Millions have died, alone, in isolation, in hospitals and some at home, while trying to make sense of what was happening to them. The deaths were sudden and devastating. Death, which was once hidden, came out in the open, and reached our streets, even some of our homes. The story argues: “Our illusion of immortality, an anomaly in human history, is at least temporarily shattered” Read here

China’s vaccine diplomacy’ seems to be working for now

China’s vaccine diplomacy seems to be working for now as Egypt announced that it will start vaccinating medical workers, with Sinopharm’s shots. There are concerns around lack of transparency from China over data not being put out from late-stage trials, but the country is confidently pushing ahead with its “vaccine diplomacy” – using its cheaper options and availability to build bridges with countries in the Middle East and north Africa. Sinopharm has announced that its candidate had a 79 percent efficacy rate in interim late-stage trials. Read here

Long Read: Forecasting the world in 2021

After a pretty daunting year for everyone and everything, what does 2021 offer and will it be any different than the current year? The story forecasts the events that will shape the world next year. As countries roll out vaccinations, will the majority of the world be inoculated? The answer is no. Will there be an end to the pandemic? the clear answer is no. Will there be an independence referendum in Scotland? What does Joe Biden’s presidency looks like? The writers try and dissect these issues and predict many other events in this riveting piece. Read here

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