The Daily Dose: China and Russia join forces in quest for COVID-19 vaccines; Music takes a beating

China and Russia joined at the hip. That’s a match made in heaven, right? Their governments and scientific communities sure hope so. They’ve teamed up to tackle the challenges of developing and testing potential COVID-19 vaccines. According to the South China Morning Post, “Chinese scientists have offered to carry out joint vaccine trials with their Russian counterparts in what could be seen as a vote of confidence following Moscow’s decision to rush through approval for a Covid-19 vaccine. The plan was announced by China’s top respiratory diseases expert Zhong Nanshan on Sunday during a symposium with Russian scientists. He did not specify which vaccine candidate would be tested or where the trials would take place.” If the collaboration results in the development of a safe and effective vaccine, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. On the contrary, it’s what the world needs. Where it comes from matters much less.

Asia continues grappling with the pandemic. Unfortunately, governments are doing their best to address the economic damage of long-term lockdowns with public safety. Just like in other parts of the world, the rush to reopen is happening regardless of the state of local outbreaks. Per the Associated Press, “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to ease a mild coronavirus lockdown in the capital and four outlying provinces to further reopen the country’s battered economy despite having the most reported infections in Southeast Asia.” Meanwhile, South Korea is attempting to contain a recent surge in coronavirus cases by banning large public gatherings and shutting churches and nightspots in the greater capital area. Not all regions in Austral-Asia are experiencing upticks. Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, Victoria state, reported its lowest number of new infections in weeks. The state’s health department reported 222 new cases Tuesday, the lowest tally since July 18.

The Trump Administration’s onslaught against environmental protections has shifted its focus to American waters. An opinion piece in Science maps out the implications of the Environmental Protection Agency’s redefinition of what “American water” means. According to the authors, “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which was published in April by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (“the Agencies”), has redefined ‘waters of the U.S.’ (WOTUS) to restrict federal protection of vulnerable waters. With its emphasis on ‘continuous surface connections” and “permanen[ce],’ the NWPR removes or reduces protection for U.S. waters, including millions of miles of streams and acres of wetlands, many of which comprise headwaters that are critical for sustaining water quality and healthy watersheds.” The administration has also moved to cripple methane restrictions recently.

Among the United Kingdom’s most influential exports is its music. From the British Invasion in the 1960s to the 2010’s Grime explosion, the island nation has always punched above its weight. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that may be at risk now, much to the dismay of music lovers around the world. As the Associated Press reports, “the music scene they know and love may soon be unrecognizable because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has plunged the U.K. economy into its worst recession on record. Live music venues have been forced to shut doors for nearly five months — and scores are at imminent risk of permanent closure. According to the charity Music Venue Trust, which represents 670 grassroots venues, more than 400 across the country are in crisis… The British government announced that indoor and socially-distanced live music could resume on Saturday. But this doesn’t mean that the country’s vibrant live music scene will be immediately restored.” To say that this is unfortunate is an understatement. Can we just fast forward to 2021? That is, assuming it will be better than this miserable year.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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