Racism isn’t a novel issue, it’s been with us from the inception of human conflict. However, the world has evolved and hideous issues like racism are dealt with extreme aversion. On the contrary, we come across many deplorable incidents which give us a reality check that racism is here to stay.
One such unpleasant incident took place recently and revealed that racism is an unabashed truth! The vaccine for COVID-19 is being created by major countries like U.S. , China and Canada. This vaccine is not for the people who have been affected by the virus and the disease of COVID-19 has started developing in their bodies, It is for the ones who are healthy and have to step out , to travel, for instance, can use this vaccine, as it will make the immune system strong enough to combat the coronavirus.
Now the whole process includes-Creating/developing the vaccine, testing and producing. The testing part of this vaccine has created an upheaval since a health official of Congo has confirmed that “Democratic Republic of Congo, has been chosen for the testing this vaccine”.
The controversial part: A huge chunk of the population of Congo will be used, as the vaccine will be injected inside their bodies and they will be exposed to coronavirus afterwards! If their bodies don’t develop any symptoms of COVID-19, then this test will be considered a huge success.
BUT! Why the people of Congo have been chosen for this? Why not other countries?
The head of National biological institute of Congo, Jean-Jacques Muyembe affirmed : “The vaccine will be produced in the U.S or Canada or china. We’re candidates for doing the testing here”. This sparked a huge controversy that “Why the population of DRC is being used as Guinea pigs?”
Some scientists gave reasons like – Africa offers better conditions for testing the vaccine. And this was not convincing at all.
If we look at some previous incidents, African countries have been used for testing vaccines numerous times!
A tweet by Didier Drogba shed some light on this issue , he tweeted: “It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this. Africa isn’t a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racist words. Help us save Africa with the current ongoing COVID-19 and flatten the curve.”
Some doctors on a television show in France even mentioned that the vaccine should be tested on the population of Congo because there are problems like poverty and unhygienic conditions , so the testing must be done there given that it will give us an idea about how and whether the vaccine works!
These racist comments created a storm and French anti-racism NGOs, SOS Racisme, protested against the same, saying: “ AFRICANS AREN’T GUINEA PIGS”
Tell us what do you feel about these dire circumstances in the comments scetion below.
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Nearly 4,500 coronavirus deaths in US in 24 hours, highest spike: Report
Washington, April 17
A record number of 4,591 Americans have died in the last 24 hours due to the deadly novel coronavirus in the US, which has the highest number of COVID-19 casualties in the world.
According to the Johns Hopkins University data, by 8 pm on Thursday, as many as 4,591 Americans have died in the last 24 hours, The Wall Street Journal said.
The previous highest was 2,569 on Wednesday.
By Thursday, more than 662,000 Americans tested positive with the coronavirus.
The dreaded disease, which originated in Wuhan city in China in December last year, has so far claimed more than 144,000 lives and infected over 2.1 million people.
The virus has infected over 671,000 people and claimed more than 33,000 lives, the highest for any country in the world.
New York City and its adjoining areas, including New Jersey and Connecticut have emerged as the epicenter of the virus in the US.
New York alone accounts for 226,000 cases of infections and 16,106 deaths.
In New Jersey, as many as 3,518 people have died of the disease and 75,317 have tested positive.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, till April 14, four per cent of the Americans infected with COVID-19 were of Asian origin and nearly one-third (30 per cent) were African Americans.
US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that experts and scientists report that his strategy to slow the spread of the virus has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
“Models predicted between 1.5 million and 2.2 million US deaths. If there was no mitigation, it could have even been higher than that and between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths with mitigation. It is looking like we will come far under even these lowest numbers,” he said.
Noting that experts say the curve of the virus has flattened, and the peak in the new cases has passed, Trump said that nationwide, more than 850 counties or nearly 30 per cent of the country have reported no new cases in the last seven days.
“Because of our early and aggressive action, we have avoided the tragedy of health care rationing and deadly shortfalls that have befallen in many other nations, nations which wherever possible we are helping,” he said.
According to Trump, at least 35 clinical trials are already underway, including antiviral therapies, immune therapies, and blood therapies in the form of convalescent plasma. So far, more than 3.5 million tests have been carried out. PTI
Spain coronavirus death toll nears 19,500: Govt
Madrid, April 17
Spain’s death toll increased to nearly 19,500, government figures showed on Friday.
The country reported 585 new fatalities in the past 24 hours, but said it had revised its counting mechanism, making the figures hard to compare to previous daily tolls.
The total number of deaths in Spain now stands at 19,478, the third highest in the world after the United States and Italy. mdash; AFP
Trump proposes 3-phased country re-opening plan
New York, April 17
US President Donald Trump has proposed a three-phase, locally targeted plan for opening the coronavirus-battered nation, but will leave the decision on implementing it in the hands of the state Governors.
“We are opening up our great country,” Trump declared on Thursday with his two highly regarded medical advisers, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx at his side.
“America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open,” he said.
The plan requires states to meet basic criteria called “gating” before Governors can move them into the three phases of opening that takes into account the diversity of the country.
Any setback will push them back into the more rigorous earlier phase.
Trump unveiled the guidelines after a teleconference with state Governors where he told them: “You’re going to call your own shots.” By leaving the decision to the Governors after having asserted that he has to the authority to end the restrictions nationwide, Trump is avoiding a show-down with recalcitrant governors and also making them face the consequences.
Trump’s plans to restart economic and social activities in a nation facing serious economic and social setbacks have met with opposition from Democrats and some public health experts who think it is premature and could lead to coronavirus flare-ups.
Even a phased, geographically targeted plan may not mollify them.
New York’s Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he had told Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that the restrictions should be kept everywhere because the areas with low infections now could end up like his city.
Before Trump’s announcement, New York’s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s Stay-at-Home orders shutting down educational institutions and non-essential businesses till May 15.
Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told her legislators to rely on scientists and not on Trump and warned that Americans cannot return to work safely unless there is adequate testing.
Fauci, who is widely respected by the nation and so far by Democrats, backed Trump calling the plan “a rather robust program for re-entering into normality”.
He gave the assurance that for the physicians, scientists, or public health experts involved in developing the plan “the predominant and completely driving element that we put into this was the safety and the health of the American public”.
“We are a very large country and we have different dynamics in the country,” he said explaining the phased and targeted reopening.
But he also warned: “There may be some setbacks that we may have to pull back a little. And then go forward.” Trump initially wanted to loosen the restrictions on April 12, Easter Sunday, but on the advice of his medical experts, he held off. His next target date was May 1 and he may be able to partially meet it.
There have been public protests in some places against the lockdown.
The US has so far managed keep the infections and deaths far below the predictions of deaths that ranged from 2.2 million to 240,000 to 80,000 according to different models and scenarios of mitigation.
So far there have been only 671,151 infections and 33,268 deaths in the pandemic.
Some states have very few cases like Wyoming, a mostly rural state that has recorded only 296 cases and two deaths, while the pandemic’s epicentre New York has had 293,661 cases with 14,832 deaths as of Wednesday evening.
Because of this, Trump leaves it to the Governors to decide how to proceed based on the guidelines developed by the medical experts in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Trump said that some states already meet the gating criteria and can start the first phase “tomorrow”.
Birx, a respected physician and epidemiologist who won her spurs in the battle against AIDS, is the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and she outlined the plan in detail.
To be gated in order to begin the phases, a state will have to have a downward trajectory of people with both influenza and COVID-19 symptoms as well those testing positive for the disease, in addition to having adequate testing for health care workers.
In the first phase, some of the workers can return to work in phases, with special accommodation for vulnerable people and social distancing, but telecommuting will be the preferred method.
Vulnerable people will be under Stay-at-Home rules and others will have to observe social distancing and groups of more than ten will not be allowed to socialised.
Religious meetings and events like sports can take place under social distancing norms.
If there is no rebound and the states again meet the gating requirement like cases going down further over 14 days, they can move to the second phase, where restrictions are further loosened to allow socialise in groups of up to 50, permit non-essential travel, and reopen schools and gyms, allow elective surgery.
After again meeting the gating criteria, states can move to the third phase, which will allow vulnerable people to resume public activities, drop workplace restrictions to allow full staffing and permit sports and other such events with limited physical distancing requirements. IANS
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