The Daily Dose: Forget support, the World Health Organization needs to be empowered

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Remember that study the National Institute of Health left high and dry, pulling its funding because it was a joint international effort that included China? Well, the scientists involved released their data in a paper accepted by Nature. It details the likely origins of SARS-CoV-2. As per the New York Times, “An international team of scientists, including a prominent researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has analyzed all known coronaviruses in Chinese bats and used genetic analysis to trace the likely origin of the novel coronavirus to horseshoe bats.” No wonder the Trump Administration pulled the funding. It doesn’t fit their desired narrative, does it?

An Associated Press investigation into the World Health Organization’s actions early in the coronavirus pandemic paints the picture of a toothless entity stuck between its mandate and a secretive country unwilling to share urgent data about the virus in a timely fashion. As per the Associated Press, “The recordings suggest that rather than colluding with China, as Trump declared, WHO was kept in the dark as China gave it the minimal information required by law… WHO staffers debated how to press China for gene sequences and detailed patient data without angering authorities, worried about losing access and getting Chinese scientists into trouble.” That WHO officials feared angering Chinese officials — for whatever reasons — simply reinforces the notion changes are needed. Somehow, the United Nations Organization should be provided with more ammunition to force countries to tow the line.

On the latest installment of How the World Has Changed (Coronavirus Edition), Nature takes a look at how universities are being forced to change its business model. “The coronavirus crisis is forcing universities to confront long-standing challenges in higher education, such as skyrocketing tuition costs and perceptions of elitism — and some of the resulting changes could be permanent. Over the long term, universities might shift many classes online (a trend already under way), have fewer international students and even refashion themselves to be more relevant to local and national communities — both to solve pressing problems and to prove their worth at a time when experts and public institutions are coming under increased criticism.” Make no mistake, unless an effective vaccine is developed, the existential crisis facing schools will only get worse.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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