The Daily Dose: A grim first for Europe’s COVID-19 pandemic; NATO agrees to build a dedicated space center.

In a striking sign of how bad the second wave of COVID-19 is hammering Europe, the Netherlands has had to airlift its first patient into a neighboring country due to overstretched hospitals. Per the Associated Press, “A bright yellow helicopter rose into a blue sky Friday carrying a COVID-19 patient from the Netherlands to a German intensive care unit, the first such international airlift since the global pandemic first threatened to swamp Dutch hospitals in the spring. The clatter of the helicopter’s rotors as it lifted off from a parking lot behind the Flevohospital in Almere, 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Amsterdam, was a noisy reminder of how the coronavirus is again gripping Europe and straining countries’ health care systems.” Germany is also in talks with the Czech Republic to accept COVID-19 patients.

When U.S. president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out of the Paris Agreement, many officials on a local level vowed to take matters into their own hands. Numerous promises and environmental goals were declared. Fast-forward to today and new research indicates that half of those pledges remain just that – pledges. Per Science, “Among the 100 largest cities, only 45 set specific targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions during the past decade and inventoried emissions levels within city boundaries as baselines for measuring progress. Twenty-two more cities have made general pledges to address emissions. But the Brookings analysis found they haven’t set emissions targets or inventoried current emissions levels.” It’s obvious that despite good intentions, local governments need some guidance and support from Washington.

The journal Nature has assembled an antibiotic resistance section, in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Shionogi. The dwindling number of effective medicines capable of fighting infections is a slow-burning crisis that will end in catastrophe unless more is done to change our current course.

The militarization of space is continuing at breakneck speed. Nothing symbolizes this more than the collective decision by NATO to build a dedicated space Center for member countries. The Associated Press reports, “In December, NATO leaders declared space to be the alliance’s ‘fifth domain’ of operations, after land, sea, air and cyberspace. Over two days of talks starting Thursday, NATO defense ministers will greenlight a new space center at the alliance’s Air Command in Ramstein, Germany… It’s part of the alliance’s efforts to keep ahead in a fast moving and hi-tech sector, particularly amid concern about what member countries say is increasingly aggressive behavior in space by China and Russia.” Everything from mining on the moon to colonizing Mars has been steeped in nationalism. We suggest globalism in space travel may be the best approach.

Speaking of globalism, a very thorough Scientific American article explores the dangers involved in placing humans in space. Ultimately, one scientist sees interplanetary voyages more in yerms of humanity as opposed to nationality. Per Scientific American, “Launius, like many others, views the moon as akin to Antarctica, which contains multiple international scientific stations. It is difficult and dangerous to access, but people do it all the time, cycling in and out in small crews. ‘We can do camping trips to the moon,’ he says. ‘We can go up and spend a few days; take everything you need with you. There’s not any reason to think we don’t have the capability to put a lunar base up and stay there for some period of time. But here’s the problem: Fundamentally, going into space with humans is about becoming a multiplanetary species. If that’s not the reason, then why are we doing it? Once you do that, we’re talking not just about a lunar research station.'” You just have to watch The Expanse to see that one day it may be a question of interplanetary warfare.

Thanks for reading. Have great weekend. Be safe. Be kind.

IMAGE CREDIT: Alberto Giuliani

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