Coronavirus: Why the rich world has failed India

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The rich world has yet to provide a global response to the pandemic, a failure that’s hitting hard in India. On Wednesday, the official COVID-19 death toll in that country surpassed 200,000 as it hit another global record of 360,960 new infections.

The U.S. President’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said as much during an interview with the Guardian, published the same day, in which he stressed that helping India was “a responsibility that the rich countries need to assume.”

“There are responsibilities that countries have to each other, particularly if you’re a wealthy country and you’re dealing with countries that don’t have the resources or capabilities that you have,” he added.

But India’s leaders are exacerbating the dire situation. Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continue to hold political rallies despite the horrific second wave. Images shared on the party’s account in Telangana state showed crowds of people gathered at rallies, with few wearing masks or adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Chinese leaders have repeatedly expressed a desire to help India, pledging to “offer support and assistance to the best of our capability if the Indian side informs us of its specific needs.” New Delhi, however, has yet to take Beijing up on this offer, perhaps due to a deep and often mutual distrust between the two Asian powers, Nectar Gan and Jessie Yeung report.

The World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jašarević told CNN the health body is redeploying 2,600 health experts in India on its COVID-19 response. He added that the country faces “a perfect storm” due to “the combination of relaxing of personal protective measures, mass gatherings and more contagious variants while vaccine coverage is still low.”

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q. Should I stop taking my kids to playgrounds in the pandemic?

A: “Avoid (indoor playgrounds) for the time being because all the individuals there, the children, are not going to be vaccinated. Outdoor playgrounds are actually very safe,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

“I have a 3½-year-old, and my husband and I often bring him and his 1-year-old sister to playgrounds. We feel very comfortable doing this,” she added. “However, if a large group of kids … come over to the same piece of equipment that my son is on and they’re not wearing masks, I would pull him at that point.”

If you’re thinking about taking your children to a playground, here’s what you should be concerned about.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting COVID-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

CDC issues new outdoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated people

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday issued new guidance on outdoor mask use for fully vaccinated Americans, saying they can now unmask at small outdoor gatherings, or when dining outside with friends from multiple households.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged all eligible Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying that the new guidance is a great incentive for Americans to roll up their sleeves. It comes as health officials are seriously concerned about sputtering vaccine interest in some areas of the country — endangering chances of herd immunity and driving this pandemic to the ground.

Brazil’s President faces government probe into his handling of the pandemic

Brazil’s Senate launched an inquiry Tuesday into the federal government’s response to COVID-19. The probe could seriously hobble President Jair Bolsonaro’s re-election bid if it leads to an impeachment proceeding or criminal charges, Rodrigo Pedroso and Marcia Reverdosa report.

Bolsonaro has long downplayed the ferocity of the pandemic, while resisting lockdown measures and mask-wearing. While COVID-19 cases have started to plateau or decline in other countries, Brazil’s cases continue to surge.

Miami private school asks teachers not to get COVID-19 vaccine or they won’t be allowed to return next year

A Miami private school has asked its employees to wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine until the end of the school year, but still cautioned that if they do, they won’t be allowed to return next year, the school told staff this month. The school’s CEO and co-founder Leila Centner sent a letter to faculty and staff at the Centner Academy citing unsupported assertions about COVID-19 vaccines, which contradict a large body of evidence showing vaccines’ safety and efficacy.

In the letter, Centner made unsubstantiated claims about adverse reactions non-vaccinated people could have by “interacting with people who have been vaccinated.” These false claims are not supported by research by global and national health bodies.

ON OUR RADAR

  • Australian cricketers were dressed head-to-toe in personal protective equipment, including a mask, visor and a full protective body suit, as they flew to New Delhi for the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s next match.
  • Joe Rogan, one of the world’s highest-paid and most popular podcast hosts, is giving air to anti-vaccine narratives on his Spotify podcast. Rogan told listeners that if a 21-year-old asked him if they should get vaccinated, he would say no.
  • Singapore has topped New Zealand as the best place to ride out the pandemic, according to Bloomberg’s ranking.
  • “Total rubbish” or the truth? UK media outlets from across the political spectrum are engaged in an unusually direct confrontation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson over incendiary comments he allegedly made about the pandemic.
  • Opinion: Anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protesters, who marched through London last weekend, must stop exploiting symbols of the Holocaust, writes David M. Perry.

TODAY’S TOP TIP

A study has found that handwashing has fallen to pre-pandemic levels.

In one Chicago hospital where the use of soap and sanitizer is electronically tracked 24/7 via every room entrance and exit, a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine found staff were 100% compliant just after the virus first struck in the US. But it only took four months for doctors, nurses, techs and cleaning staff to drop back to a 51.5% daily handwashing compliance rate, the study found.

For those who need a refresher, here’s the proper way to clean your hands.





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