ON BENDED KNEE.
The American Centers for Disease Control continued its wonderful habit of releasing muddy guidance regarding Covid-19 infections and subsequent isolation/quarantine periods. Per NPR. “More than 200,000 people are testing positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. each day. Until this week, a positive test meant you should stay home for 10 days to avoid infecting others. Now, those who don’t have symptoms after five days can go back to their regular activities as long as they wear a mask, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The change in guidance released Monday was ‘motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness,’ according to the CDC.” Scientists voiced skepticism of the new guidance, some even suggesting that the decision was not based on science at all and that pressure from corporate America played a major role in the 5-day quarantine rules. One prominent expert went so far as to suggest that, in this case, people should actually ignore the CDC. That’s how bad it’s gotten. It’s sad that people expected the situation to improve under the Biden Administration. So far, it’s only gotten worse. We’re not even going to mention the lack of tests available. https://n.pr/3HkHM5j
The dark side of Beijing’s Zero-Covid-19 policy emerged yesterday when video of local policemen in Jingxi parading a group of men through the city’s streets. According to the BBC, “Police in southern China have been captured on camera parading four alleged offenders through the streets in a public shaming exercise. The four men were accused of smuggling people across China’s borders, which are largely sealed because of Covid. They were paraded through the streets of Jingxi city in Guangxi province in hazmat suits. The shaming drew mixed reactions online, including in state-owned media. Images and video of the incident, which took place on 28 December, show four men in hazmat suits and face shields being walked through an area of the city by police. They were carrying placards displaying their names and photos. Some people could be seen watching the event unfold.” The incident immediately calls to mind the use of public shaming during China’s Cultural Revolution. The State-owned Beijing News denounced the public shaming but local officials and news outlets differed in opinion. https://bbc.in/3qz1xPR
IT’S NOT GETTING BETTER.
The 1-2 punch of the Covid-19 Delta and Omicron variants have caused the number of infections around the world to swell. Per the Associated Press, “The World Health Organization says the number of COVID-19 cases recorded worldwide increased by 11% last week compared with the previous week, with the biggest increase in the Americas. The gain followed a gradual increase since October. The U.N. health agency said in its weekly epidemiological report released late Tuesday that there were nearly 4.99 million newly reported cases around the world from Dec. 20-26.” Omicron has yet to gain a foothold in Asia, so it won’t be surprising to see infection rates continue to balloon. https://bit.ly/32JxoVZ
YEAR OF THE MASK.
The BBC did a insightful hybrid photo essay/essay regarding facemasks. Titled “The Year of the Mask” it documents the many ways the ubiquitous PPE has influenced society beyond the public health realm. Here is the introduction to the article: “December 2021 marks two years since the first concerning cases of a new respiratory disease began to emerge in Wuhan, China. Within weeks, the virus – Sars-CoV-2 – had spread across the world and ushered in a frightening new disease for the 21st Century: Covid-19. Health agencies across the world realised quickly that even relatively humble disposable masks, if worn correctly over the mouth and nose, went a long way to preventing the spread of the virus. In 2021, as the world entered its second full year of the Covid-19 pandemic, masks were a ubiquitous reminder of the health emergency the world was grappling with.” https://bbc.in/32xdWvL
SUSTAINABLE CITY EXPERIMENT STRIVES FOR IMPROVEMENT.
Almost two decades ago two Asian powerhouses teamed up to create and environmentally sustainable city, dubbed the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. After building and inhabiting the city, the two countries continue to improve their creation, much to their credit. Per Channel News Asia, “Singapore and China have agreed to deepen cooperation to make the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City greener and more sustainable, said the Ministry of National Development (MND) on Wednesday (Dec 29). This includes plans to further weave greenery into the built environment and bring nature closer to the Eco-City’s residents and visitors, MND said in a media release. There will also be programmes to promote awareness of the benefits of greenery and nurture community stewardship of the city’s natural environment. Under the MOU, both sides will jointly plan, design and develop features such as a 27-hectare green belt, 18km of park connectors connecting the city’s green spaces, as well as pocket parks at street corners in the central area of the Eco-City.” The city originally had roughly 20,000 inhabitants. Today, there are well over 100,000. https://bit.ly/3EE5rvG
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.